Getting rid of Snail Spam

Enough is enough. I get too many pounds of junk mail every week in my mailbox. Such a small thing can become infuriating over time. More importantly – it fills up my recycling box even quicker and creates more paper clutter on tables – resulting in more chores. Chores are not good. Chores make me unhappy.

Paper junk mail:

  • Wastes paper
  • Wastes ink
  • Wastes fuel in transportation and printing
  • Wastes corporate advertising dollars. If I didn’t sign up for your credit card the first 75 mailings, why would I on the 76th?
  • Wastes time.
  • Wastes space

The main offenders:

  • RedPlum. These guys send out ridiculously large coupon papers once or twice a week. I never look at the coupons or discounts. I’m not fooled by loss-leaders. I don’t care. Go directly to recycling bin. Do not pass eyes. Do not waste time.
    • To cancel, fill out the form here.
  • AAdvantage Citi Card offers. Seriously once a week! You’d think it would be a single piece of paper, too, but these envelopes are packed to the max.
    • To cancel, call AAdvantage customer service and request to be taken off of the mailing list. It takes about 2 minutes.
  • Mortgage Insurance offers. The fun never stops. After closing on a home, I’ve gotten one to two of these daily, slowly tapering down until I refinanced. Now its back up to several a day. I have yet to figure out how to stop this bombardment from numerous companies – none of which even care to share their actual name. These are horrible life insurance policies from most likely illegitimate companies. I will not fill out and return your form full of my personal information. Direct to recycling bin.
  • 401k/Investment statements and fund prospectus. Does anybody actually sit down and read these 100-page dry documents on every single detail of the fund? If you do – get a life or a better fund. Or better still – read it on your computer. I guess this material is good if you have problems falling asleep. It is also very thin, dry paper which I imagine would be excellent at starting campfires.
    • I signed up for the electronic version

Thats it for now. If you have any advice on how to get rid of more junk mailings – feel free to comment. My goal is to end up with just mail which is extremely important, mail from friends and family, and the occasional check from… who knows where. Also – if you want to send me money in the mail – feel free.

National Bike Bill

After my message to Senator Hutchinson regarding offshore drilling (which I received a very generic who-cares lets lower gas prices e-mail from), I thought I’d try again with another bill that is set to move through the Senate tomorrow. This one is a bit less controversial. I can’t imagine why somebody would not support it, unless they feel that perhaps it doesn’t go far enough. Or unless they simply hate any bill created by somebody outside of their party.

Dear Senator Hutchinson,

I would like to request that you please vote in favor of the National Bike Bill that is being presented tomorrow morning before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. I apologize for not putting in this request with more advanced notice, but I was unaware that such a bill existed until this afternoon.

As somebody who bikes to work now on a near weekly basis, I can see the direct benefits of doing so. It does sadden me to see how much more improvement there could be in bicycle safety, awareness, and infrastructure, and how little emphasis is placed on making bicycling an enjoying and accessible method of transportation, while so much money is poured into massive multi-lane highways for automobiles to sit in congested, polluting traffic.

Yes, I also drive a car. Unfortunately, bicycles cannot completely replace the automobile, but for many small-trip purposes, they can. However, as long as local governments cannot afford to nor are given incentives to make bicycling more friendly, many Americans will choose the automobile for a 1/2 mile trip rather than a bicycle.

The small cost of enacting this bill is certainly worth it. It helps with our nations health issues, energy issues, climate issues, and creates more pleasant communities and recreation.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

-Brian Saghy

Offshore Drilling

I believe this is my first political, environmental, and energy related post. The subject of offshore drilling is something which I feel very strongly about. Enough so that I wrote a letter to both of my senators from Texas. I urge you to do the same in your state.

Future Beach View - Photo by Lance and Erin

Beach View - Photo by Lance and Erin

Dear Senators Hutchison and Cornyn,

Having recently read President Bush’s plans on offshore drilling, I became quite alarmed that our country may be too quick to take actions which will have, if any, a delayed and very temporary effect on our energy crisis.

In a time when the world is being threatened by global warming and pollution, when our coral reefs are dying from contaminates and increase in water temperature – it seems that allowing offshore drilling near our Texas coastline would be simply irresponsible, nearsighted, and selfish.

Yes, our energy costs have gone higher and I understand that for everybody it makes life more difficult. However, for the first time in a long history of environmental skepticism and indifference, we are beginning to finally see a cultural shift in the United States where more people are actually thinking harder about their own personal energy consumption. Higher gas prices does have a benefit. Unfortunately, it seems many people will not consider what vehicles they drive, their commute distance, or to not leave their automobiles idling for 15 minutes at a time unless it hits their pocketbook. Corporations have no problem shipping items and food across the entire country (or from Mexico and Canada), even when goods can be produced locally, until it affects the quarterly balance sheet.

The real US Energy crisis is not a current low supply of oil, but a mentality that energy supply should be cheap, unlimited and constantly accessible, and that we deserve such a supply no matter what consequences it may have to our country or the rest of the world. Offshore drilling will only push that necessary cultural mind shift off to a point in the future where it may be to late.

Texas is hot enough. Its beaches are already polluted enough. I do not, for one, look forward to basking in 115 degree weather in Galveston covered in a grey film of crude oil enjoying the smells of rotting fish that washed up on shore while enjoying a view of oil rigs littering the horizon. Compared to many parts of the Caribbean and Gulf – we’re not that far off from that nightmare in Texas already. Why further it along in the name of politics? I doubt this is what Texans truly want.

I beg of you to please reconsider your stance on offshore drilling to keep our Texas shores clean. I hope that you can see in your heart that it is the right thing to do, no matter how temporarily burdening it may be on our economy until we come up with alternative energy sources and adjust our way of life to be more sustainable.

Thank you for listening.

Sincerely,

Brian Saghy