Random Bag Of Fun

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Random Bag Of Fun

Postby Wafath on Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:09 am

So, is there going to be a random bag of fun this year, or should it be canceled for being way too much stress for Gav?

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Postby towr on Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:29 am

It doesn't necessarily have to be Gav that organizes it.

(I'm not volunteering though, and most likely won't participate either, but I like the idea of it)
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Postby Gav on Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:35 am

No worries, I'm gonna do it again. I do have to work out some problems that occured last year. Yes, it was a lot of work to do all the buying, package pickups, wrapping, shipping, etc., but I was expecting that.

The things I didn't expect that need to be fixed:
  • A bunch of people sent money in a way I couldn't accept without upgrading to a "business" account. I guess this means they paid by credit card instead of direct Paypal funds transfer. I ended up having to reject those payments, and instead just shelled out a couple hundred bucks of my own money. If I'd accepted those payments, then all my transactions would be charged a fee, not just the credit cards. While I think it would be fair if this were a commercial endevour, since I consider this a non-profit gift exchange, I don't want Paypal taking away from the pot. Obviously, I have to find a way around this. I'm not sure putting up a "No credit cards" notice will work, but I can try.
  • My "personal" paypal account only allows me to receive $500/month before I have to turn it into a "business" account, and pay fees on every transaction. We came dangerously close to $500 last year. We probably would've gone over if I hadn't paid for all the credit card people myself. This puzzles me, because Nate has a personal account in which he regularly transfers thousands of dollars with no fees.
  • I think possibly one person didn't get a present last year. This is very sad to me and I wish he would complain. The problem is that I lost the sheet of paper with everyone's details on it and I think there was still one name I hadn't crossed off. I need better organization.
  • I need to buy postal supplies early. ;)
  • The timing was tough, because I don't want to announce anything Agnostica-related before December 14 (QM Day, and the first day of Agnostica). However, by the time you all get a chance to buy stuff and ship it to me, and then I wait to receive it all, wrap it up, and ship it back, it got to be late January for some of you.


If anyone has advice on a way around the Paypal problems, let me know. Otherwise, I may make a pre-Agnostica mini-announcement in my news to let people know they can start shipping early if they want.

In fact, if anyone wants to get a jump on things, send your gift for exchange (along with your address) via USPS to:

Random Bag of Fun
P.O. Box 4735
Berkeley, CA 94704-4735

Or, send $20 to the above address and I'll do the shopping for you. Don't Paypal yet, though.
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PP advice

Postby cyberwood on Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:55 am

I think PP upped the limit on personal accounts for received cash of 1000.00 (pushed that limit this fall thanks to the virtual garage sale called eBay, I did get a warning that my personal account was about at receiving max for 30 days). Now, once you've verified a personal account, you can send as much money as you want, it's the receiving that has the cap.

I you can still offer the PayPal option, just put text and/or graphics everywhere saying that no Credit/Debit - and if someone sends you on accidently, reject it and state why. I've had people get click happy, send me a CC payment, get rejected, relize they messed up and re-send the correct format. Takes time, but generally people understand their mistake and your reasoning for a personal account.

Now...on the shipping front...I suggest setting up a FedEx account (via the web, free and easy). Somewhere about the 3-4 LB range, FedEx gets cheaper than USPS, and includes tracking/insurance (assuming you declare a value). If you have a FedEx Ground drop off near you (KedEx office or Kinko's), you can get the shipping labels ready on-line, tape 'em to the boxes and just drop them off. No waiting in long USPS lines to weigh boxes. Just be aware that if you go down this road FedEx likes phone numbers so if a box is lost, they have a chance at calling the recepient to help the process. Home deliveries aren't a big deal, but business recepients could be. Granted, I've filled in 555-555-5555 when I didn't know a number and couldn't get one.

Good luck this year. If I can squeeze some $$ out of my checkbook, you'll see my name in the hat...pesky house...why can't life just stay out of my checkbook. :lol:
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Re: PP advice

Postby Gav on Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:23 pm

cyberwood wrote:I think PP upped the limit on personal accounts for received cash of 1000.00 (pushed that limit this fall thanks to the virtual garage sale called eBay, I did get a warning that my personal account was about at receiving max for 30 days). Now, once you've verified a personal account, you can send as much money as you want, it's the receiving that has the cap.


Well, my account is still capped at $500. However, the "roll over" date is the 18th, so if I announce it on the 14th, there's a good chance that I'll get less than $500 before, then go over after the 18th.

I'm going to sign up for a second account just to see if I'm getting screwed by having an old account.

I you can still offer the PayPal option, just put text and/or graphics everywhere saying that no Credit/Debit - and if someone sends you on accidently, reject it and state why. I've had people get click happy, send me a CC payment, get rejected, relize they messed up and re-send the correct format. Takes time, but generally people understand their mistake and your reasoning for a personal account.


Yeah, this is probably what I'll do. The other solution would be to set up a separate business account and charge a bit extra for credit card/debit orders.

But the real issue is that I wasn't organized enough last year to deal with it. I should be more prepared this year.

Now...on the shipping front...I suggest setting up a FedEx account (via the web, free and easy).


Hmm. Interesting. This sounds like good advice. I'll have to research it. Actually, more than just the "waiting in line" aspect, it would be nice to be able to do my shipping at some time other than business hours, since the Kinko's near here is 24 hours.

Okay new rules people! If you want to participate, you have to send me a phone number for the FedEx people as well. Don't worry, I have no intention of calling you at 2am.

Oh, and hot girls should send glossy photos of themselves in pink lingerie, their measurements, and their relationship status. For FedEx. Yeah, I don't make the rules, sorry!
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Postby the Siliconopolitan on Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:06 am

How does he credit card problem arise.

Back when I lived in the UK I could transfer a lump sum to PP and then use that, but now that I'm back in DK Paypal draws the excact amount for every purchase. Is that the sort of transactions that'll give problems?

I think I'd have to just pay a little extra. I could do a banktransfer to my UK bank and thence to my UK Paypal, but that'll probably take some two weeks.

Of course, I could just buy a gift and send it, but I'm horribly unimaginative. I never give my family gifts that haven't appeared on a wishlist. Dirac forbid I should have to be creative.
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Postby cyberwood on Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:04 am

If you have seperate checking/savings accounts (and e-mail addys too, go gmail), you should be able to have 1 account set as personal and one as business. Give the personal addy first, and if you get hit w/ CC PayPals, reject them and tell the sender to send the CC payment to [altAccount@server.com].

Oh, FedEx doesn't deliver to PO boxes for those us in the USA, nor will UPS. I personally like FedEx better...24 hour Kinko drop offs are nice, tracking, declared value Insurace, more nice perks. For those shipments outside of the USA, you might still have to do to PO line, just so you can declare the item as a gift, (hopefully) saving the recepient Duty/Custums Taxes.

Oh, go to your favorite discount dept store and/or grocery store for boxes. Just cover any bar-code like printing and you're good to go. As long as you avoid oily or meat boxes, have at 'em. Call ahead to these places ot hit them in the EARLY AM (right after re-stocking). I've walked out with enough free boxes to fill the bed of my truck (literally, for a house packing prep).

Can you tell I've shipped a lot of stuff in the last few months? :) I normally ship extremely fragile collectibles. Packing peanuts generous sized boxes are my friends.
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Re: PP advice

Postby cyberwood on Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:37 am

Gav wrote:Yeah, this is probably what I'll do. The other solution would be to set up a separate business account and charge a bit extra for credit card/debit orders.


If you do this, be extremely careful how you word it. Technically, the EULA/TOA, states that you maynot charge someone extra because they are using credit/debit (some goes w/ a merchant CC account vs taking checks). If someone getts uppity or mad at you, actions on PP's side could happen if it's been reported you're doing this. I don't what the actions could be, but I wouldn't want to see you shut down over this. Granted I don't see the people taking part in this Random Bag of Fun griping over the extra fees, but it's a standard CYB action.
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Re: PP advice

Postby Gav on Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:01 am

cyberwood wrote:If you do this, be extremely careful how you word it. Technically, the EULA/TOA, states that you maynot charge someone extra because they are using credit/debit (some goes w/ a merchant CC account vs taking checks). If someone getts uppity or mad at you, actions on PP's side could happen if it's been reported you're doing this. I don't what the actions could be, but I wouldn't want to see you shut down over this. Granted I don't see the people taking part in this Random Bag of Fun griping over the extra fees, but it's a standard CYB action.


Yeah, but you're not really buying anything. This isn't a business venture. You're just making a donation to the random bag fund. If you don't want to pay extra, don't. If you don't want to play, don't. I have no worries whatsoever that someone is going to get pissed off about this. If they do, then I pay for their gift myself and make them feel like a complete ass. ;)

Mostly, I would raise the "suggested donation" just to discourage people from sending credit card payments. I wouldn't turn away anyone who donated less. It all just goes into one big pot and the more money in the pot, the cooler stuff I can put in the bag. Hell, if anyone wanted to play but couldn't afford $20, I'd let them donate less.

As for shipping, there will always be some that have to go through the USPS. I can save a lot of money by sending books "Media Mail," for instance.

das Siliconopolitan wrote:Of course, I could just buy a gift and send it, but I'm horribly unimaginative. I never give my family gifts that haven't appeared on a wishlist. Dirac forbid I should have to be creative.


Actually, if you're living outside the US, you don't have to be terribly imaginative. It's nice to add something "cultural" to the bag. And failing that (all western cultures are unfortunately overblended now), something gaudy and touristy. Someone last year sent some cool "Australia" oven mitts with kangaroos and opera houses and the like all over it, and I think it was one of the best additions to the bag.
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Postby the Siliconopolitan on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:04 pm

Well, I missed the big Christmas market this weekend so it'll have to be a little less regional (incidentially, "das Siliconopolitan" would probably be "das Siliconopolitaner" and that's still a little to far south. Round them here parts it would be "Siliconopolitaneren". I wonder whether anyone has actually figured out what was my third source of inspiration for that utterly pretentious nickname.)

Anyhue, I've had an idea for something which might make it there in time. Is there an address to send stuff to somewhere?
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Postby Gav on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:42 pm

the Siliconopolitan wrote:Well, I missed the big Christmas market this weekend so it'll have to be a little less regional (incidentially, "das Siliconopolitan" would probably be "das Siliconopolitaner" and that's still a little to far south. Round them here parts it would be "Siliconopolitaneren". I wonder whether anyone has actually figured out what was my third source of inspiration for that utterly pretentious nickname.)


D'oh!

I put "das" when I thought you were from Germany. I think you were listed as "DK," and I had only remembered the "D" and had "Deutchland" in my head. Later, I saw you were from "DK" and not "DE", but forgot about the "das." Oops.

Third source? I'm not even sure I know your second source. ;)

Anyhue, I've had an idea for something which might make it there in time. Is there an address to send stuff to somewhere?


Scroll back up to my first post in this thread. It's up there.
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Postby the Siliconopolitan on Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:24 pm

Gav wrote:
Anyhue, I've had an idea for something which might make it there in time. Is there an address to send stuff to somewhere?


Scroll back up to my first post in this thread. It's up there.

The "D'oh!" is on me this time.

Everyone knows the Siliconopolis is the nation-formerly-known-as-Denmark (that's one). Or they would know if they read Funny Farm by Ryan Smith (that's two). Number three is solis sacerdotibus.

[SPAM] But to reitereate: Go read Funny Farm, now! It has robots. And sentient computers. And evil megalomaniacs. And cute chicks.

OK, perhaps I lied about the cute chicks. But there're evil chicks. That must count for something.[/SPAM]

PS: Just made a purchase (Vive l'internet) and asked to have it sent to Berkeley rather than Denmark. Hope it worked.
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Postby Gav on Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:31 pm

the Siliconopolitan wrote:Everyone knows the Siliconopolis is the nation-formerly-known-as-Denmark (that's one). Or they would know if they read Funny Farm by Ryan Smith (that's two).


Ah, I assumed that "Denmark became Siliconopolis in Funny Farm" was "one," not "one" and "two." So I guess I did know #2.

Number three is solis sacerdotibus.


Hell, it took me a Google search just to identify what that meant... ;)

PS: Just made a purchase (Vive l'internet) and asked to have it sent to Berkeley rather than Denmark. Hope it worked.


Cool, looking forward to it.
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Re: PP advice

Postby miss kyri on Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:36 am

Gav wrote:
Oh, and hot girls should send glossy photos of themselves in pink lingerie, their measurements, and their relationship status. For FedEx. Yeah, I don't make the rules, sorry!


All I have is Matte and Black, damn fed ex is getting picky this year! I don't even know where you'd buy pink around here....

;D
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Re: PP advice

Postby Gav on Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:19 pm

miss kyri wrote:All I have is Matte and Black, damn fed ex is getting picky this year! I don't even know where you'd buy pink around here....

;D


I... uh... just "spoke" with Fed Ex, and they, uh, said that they would authorize an exemption on the color requirements for hot girls between 18-21 years of age. ;)


Though, sadness at the thought of a town without pink lingerie.

Eh, I'm more into pink hair than pink lingerie anyway...

Er, I mean Fed Ex is... of course. :shifty:
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Postby the Siliconopolitan on Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:58 pm

Gav wrote:
Number three is solis sacerdotibus.


Hell, it took me a Google search just to identify what that meant... ;)

Woops! That's a bit revealing, isn't it? In my defence it's something like twelve years since I read that book. And that phrase is all I've retained. According to my dictionary it means "solely for the priesthood" and here I were thinking of it as "only for the initiated". Ah well, live and learn.
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Re: PP advice

Postby towr on Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:58 pm

Gav wrote:Eh, I'm more into pink hair than pink lingerie anyway...

Er, I mean Fed Ex is... of course. :shifty:
So no lingerie, but instead pink hair. ?
Last edited by towr on Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gav on Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:08 pm

the Siliconopolitan wrote:Woops! That's a bit revealing, isn't it? In my defence it's something like twelve years since I read that book. And that phrase is all I've retained. According to my dictionary it means "solely for the priesthood" and here I were thinking of it as "only for the initiated". Ah well, live and learn.


Not sure which book to which you're referring now (unless it's the Bible in latin), but my research did lead me to the "only for the initiated" definition, which fit your usage. The literal translation is "solely for the priesthood" (or, alternatively, "priesthood of the sun," as solis can mean "only" or "sun"), but of course this can be used (and is used) as a colloquial way of saying "only for the initiated."

towr wrote:So no lingery, but instead pink hair. ?


The pink in hair may only be substituted for the pink in lingerie, but not for the lingerie, itself. Color requirements are waived for ages 18-21. In no way is the lingerie requirement waived. Hey, I don't make the rules...
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Postby the Siliconopolitan on Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:51 am

I don't know what sort of rota there usually is to the Keenspot newsbox, but I'll go out on a limb here and assume, that <strike>Gav</strike> Darren as semi-surpreme consul of all things Keen has rigged it for his own purposes today.

Happy Agnostica, everybody.
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Postby towr on Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:28 am

Wow, it seems I don't even notice the newsbox at all anymore these days.
I wonder what'd happen if every keenspot reader decided to join in the random bag of fun.
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Postby Gav on Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:21 am

We each get the newsbox about once every two months and can request the specific day within that rotation. I always request December 14 (QM Day) to promote Agnostica.

Thus far, the newsbox hasn't been too successful. Probably not appealing and/or informative enough. I wanted to put in more information but just that one took about four hours, all the time I had available.
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Postby CodeGuy on Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:46 am

Being informative doesn't get people to do things. We wouldn't have our President if that were true.

Appealing, on the other hand, might work. You've got a girl in a bag. That's rather eye-catching. I give it good odds of doing better this yeat.
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Postby Conina on Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:02 am

This is slightly off-topic, sorry (and may well have been addressed elsewhere) but is there an Agnostica Day? Like Christmas day is the 25th of December each year, although the holiday itself tends to be spread out over several days, so is there an Agnostica day, on some specific date?
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Postby towr on Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:13 am

Conina wrote:This is slightly off-topic, sorry (and may well have been addressed elsewhere) but is there an Agnostica Day? Like Christmas day is the 25th of December each year, although the holiday itself tends to be spread out over several days, so is there an Agnostica day, on some specific date?
Theres QM day, which is the start.
For the rest it's just the 'indeterminated number of days of Agnostica', like the 'twelve days of christmas'. If there is an 'Agnostica Day' in there, it hasn't been observed yet and so has some probability to be on any one of those (based on the uncertainty principle).
I'm not sure whether it might be heresy to observe an 'Agnostica Day', thereby fixing it.. :roll:
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Postby the Siliconopolitan on Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:38 am

towr wrote:
Conina wrote:This is slightly off-topic, sorry (and may well have been addressed elsewhere) but is there an Agnostica Day? Like Christmas day is the 25th of December each year, although the holiday itself tends to be spread out over several days, so is there an Agnostica day, on some specific date?
Theres QM day, which is the start.
For the rest it's just the 'indeterminated number of days of Agnostica', like the 'twelve days of christmas'. If there is an 'Agnostica Day' in there, it hasn't been observed yet and so has some probability to be on any one of those (based on the uncertainty principle).
I'm not sure whether it might be heresy to observe an 'Agnostica Day', thereby fixing it.. :roll:

Another question is, what parameter cannot be determined, if we manage to locate Agnostica with sufficient certainty.
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