The Onion is mocking the lack of racial diversity at my alma mater. This article (it's a joke, laugh!) has some great lines in it, but ISU isn't exactly the Aryan Nation. I posed for some University pamphlet photos when I was a sophomore. They asked for a "diverse group of students" to participate. Twelve African-Americans showed up, and two of us white folks. So, Melinda, the white girl, and I were in nearly every shot they took, as otherwise it would have really looked strange. If you looked closely at the shots, you could see that all of the students in the background were also black, since the cafeteria was closed at the time, and they only had the other students who'd shown up to plant in the background. I just found one of the pictures on the Department of Residence web site, here it is:
This bit was funny:
"Photoshop opens up an exciting new realm of possibilities for America's institutions of higher learning," University of Montana president Karl Watson said. "Here at Montana, for example, we plan to Photoshop up to 10 percent more Latinos into orientation brochures. If we can get funding, we may also Photoshop handicap-accessible ramps onto exterior shots of campus buildings."
I'm not sure that is really a picture fom ISU, that sort of looks like Friley Hall in the background, but I don't think it is. On the brochure I was on, I spent the longest time trying to figure out where the shot on the front of the brochure was taken. It clearly featured Friley Hall in the background, but it just didn't look right. Then it dawned on me, they'd flipped the negative to have the people pictured be walking from left to right in the image. Of course, that made it impossible to place the picture, as it didn't exist the way it was pictured. If you looked closely, the words on the building in the backround were all mirror images..
I've found a number of useful services on the Internet in the last few years, but one of the best I've discovered is Paytrust. Paytrust is an online bill-paying service, and it saves me at least an hour a month in my time, as well as the hassle of buying stamps. I have most of my bills sent directly to them (very handy if you're a student or someone who moves often), they notify me by e-mail when they receive the bill. They scan the bill in so I can view it online, and I can then authorize them to pay it. They print out a check and mail it, and the funds come out of my checking account. You can automate the service too, for instance, I've scheduled my student loan payment to be sent automatically on the first of the month. You can automate as much or as little as you like. At the end of the year, I'm going to pay the $14 to have Paytrust burn a CD with the images of all my bills on it and mail it to me. I'll simply file it away, and I've got a record of all of my bills for the last year.
You don't have to have all of your bills sent to them, either. You can manually enter all of the information for sending your bill in once, then just click on that company, and enter the amount to send to them. It's extremely customizeable, you can really do whatever you want...
So what does it cost? It's a reasonable $8.95 a month, that's actually less than it sounds like when you consider that you no longer have to pay for stamps. If you're like me and send out about 10-15 different bills per month for various things, then you're already spending $3.30 - $4.95, so the service may not cost you as much as you think it does. If you're interested, sign up through this link, and I'll earn a free month of service, and $25 will be donated to charity.