I've been seeing a lot of ads on TV lately for Vistaprint. They're a printing company that I would have to say revolutionized the marketing and on-line printing of small-quantity business goods. I get about ten e-mails a week from them with incredible offers for printed hats, cups, pens, lawn signs and refrigerator magnets. Since I've been seriously considering re-branding myself, I jumped at the chance to get 250 PREMIUM (that's right, not the crappy ones they apparently usually sell) business cards for the ridiculously low price of ten bucks. Can't buy much for ten dollars these days. Even the liter and a half of cut-rate Zinfandel that counts as the house swill around here tops up at eleven bucks. So, spending a Washington less than that to improve my image with my adoring public is kind of a no-brainer, which is good, since I'm fairly brainless.
One of the best things about Vistaprint is that they make ordering printed stuff very easy. There's an online interface that allows the user to select a design, enter whatever they want to and click to order. In olden times, like ten years ago, to order business cards, one would go to a local printer, choose a layout from a big, dusty book on the counter, fill out a 3 x 5 card with the desired information and a few weeks later, receive a box of cards. Typically, the local printer did NOT print the cards in-house as they're a pain in the ass to print, most people would want raised lettering which uses special thermal ink that bubbles up when heated which required an oven with a conveyor belt which most local printers had no reason to own, as well as a business card slitting machine. What? You though some refugee sat around with a pair of scissors, snipping each one of your precious cards from a giant sheet of them? Or that the cards were printed one at a time on tiny little sheets of paper? Huh. Really.
Anyhow, Vistaprint has thousands of designs available online, obviously created by Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates with massive college debt. With so much choice, it's not easy finding the "look" that best represents me -ME, dammit. Using their search tool, I looked up ME - no luck: I was prompted to upload my own design. Sure, as a person with massive mad design skilz, I could mos def do that, but it kinda defeats the porpoise, though why anyone would want to battle such an intelligent and friendly creature is beyond me.
So, I tried a different search, starting with my best qualities and interests, since I don't have a specific business to promote. I mean, how can I boil down all that I am into a single function? Impossible. So, let's see . . . my best feature is that I'm incredibly sexy. This is what I got:
Right - moving on. In what I write, which is often a distillation of my persisitent mental noodling also know as obsessive thought patterns, if you want to get all clinical about it, despair, regret, lament, sadness, mortality with just a hint of death are just a few of thirty-one flavours of depression I neurotically feature. Naturally, I searched "death" and this is what their search engine suggested:
Naturally, this whole process is spinning me downward, and I don't make it a habit of adding scotch to my corn flakes, which are, by the way, both excellent inventions on their own but are far too sad-making to be consumed together. So, I search for "drug dealer." Nothing. "Pills" gives me predictable designs with pharmacist-looking characters with mortar and pestle logos and colourful pills - it's a wonderland of apothecary. Drugs - I want drugs! Which gives me: