Saturday, November 19, 2011

Airplane Etiquette

This one is about airplane etiquette (yup, I'm still in the air). So, my traveling companion and I boarded the flight a little more than 1/2 way into the boarding process so the plane was a little more than 1/2 full. I know. My math skills are dazzling. Anyways. We found a window and middle seat next to this big dude on the aisle. After a few minutes we realize that we we sitting amongst a large group of 40-something year old football fans on their way to see a Chargers vs. Bears game. I'm not sure how many there are but it feels and sounds like 50 of them.

Drink service comes around and the party starts. These guys are getting absolutely loaded and are louder than if we had our heads inside the jet-engine. Now, anyone who knows us well enough (especially with the shenanigans my friend and I got into this week) is probably thinking that this a blatant case of the pots calling the kettles black but there are two major differences here. 1) We are delightful and charming 2) We carry on like this in a BAR. This is an airplane for f**ksake!

Speaking of f**k, I have heard about 30 F-bombs in the past minute and a half and some of the most inappropriate talk ever. Again, my closest readers are laughing their asses off at the thought of me and my potty mouth being offended by anything, but again..location, location, location! We are on a PLANE! A jam-packed flying bus full of grannies and toddlers and people from all walks of life. Not cool! I heard one guy say to another as loud as can be "...and by the way, thanks for making me shave your prostate earlier...". I can't even begin to imagine the origin of that inside joke, nor do I want to.

The flight continues and so does the drinking. You know how the pilot says "Feel free to move about the cabin"? I am relatively certain this is not what he means. These guys are chillin' in the aisle, leaning against people's seats.

(We are now on the second leg of our journey sans football fans so I will be switching to the past tense. Hold onto your hats!)

My friend and I got up to use the restroom. We went together to avoid having to ask the big dude to get up twice. While waiting to get in the bathroom I joked to the flight attendant "So, are you out of booze yet?" She shook her head and replied "Almost" at which point she showed me the racks of tiny bottles that were two thirds empty and whispers "These were full, and you girls are sitting right in the middle of those guys.". She shook her head, again.

Upon returning to our seats, one of the football fans said "So you girls went to the bathroom together, huh?" (insert drunken inappropriate laugh here). He continued to mutter more on this topic that we fortunately couldn't hear over his rambunctious buds.

Meanwhile, the poor blonde flight attendant was bringing drinks over as fast as she could and they were harassing her like it was 1960. "Which of my buddies is the best looking? C'mon, just lean over and whisper it in my ear." I think I heard someone call her a "good-looking broad". Kidding. Sixties joke.

Fortunately, the giant sitting beside me was one of the quiet ones, although every time he turned to talk to one of his buddies, I had half of his ass in my seat. My ass is big enough, thank you very much, there is no room for yours.

Soon enough, the loudest of the bunch was leaning over talking to the gentle giant to my right. They start taking about kids and the passage of time. Real "cats-in-the cradle" stuff. I guess this is the point in the drinking binge when guys get all mellow and deep and starting saying "I love you, man!"

Returning to the football talk, the conversation was heating up and they started singing the Chargers rally song (or whatever you call that. Can you tell I'm not a football fan?). I'm prayed they didn't distract the pilot.

While descending into Chicago, we ran into some wicked turbulence. The flight was bumping all over the place and they were cheering like it was fourth down and one yard to go (again, I'm clueless here. I just leaned over to ask my friend)

We landed safely. The pilot jokingly asked if the Chargers fans would wait on the plane until the preferred Bears fans has safely de-boarded. They booed and yelled things like "F**k you!" and "That's why you are just a pilot.". I'm not really sure how the latter one was supposed to be an insult. Pilots are pretty awesome because, like, they fly planes and stuff. Did he mean "just a pilot" as opposed to a drunk, obnoxious Chargers fan?

As they readied to get off the plane we hung back so we would't be in the midst of their group. One of them offered to let me go ahead. I said, "No, you go catch up with your friends.". One of the other guys said "She doesn't want any of us anywhere in front of her or behind her.". He was awfully perceptive for an drunken idiot.

In their defense, the guys did yell thanks to everyone for putting up with them. They were mostly harmless - unless you were the blonde flight attendant, someone trying to sleep or the nearby toddler who was able to say 10 more words than he could before the flight started, all of them bad.

It really is astonishing how obnoxious drunk people can be. When you aren't one of them, that is. I'll try to remember that when the tables are turned, but I'll forget because I'll be drunk.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guilt-Free Mommy Time

I don't travel for work often but I am returning from a conference today. As a matter of fact, I'm on the plane right now drafting this Pages on my iPad and wishing to Heaven I'd brought my bluetooth keyboard case. This will require much editing, otherwise, between my manicured nails, the iPad keyboard and autocorrect neither you or I will have any idea what i was intending to write.

Anyway, I typically travel for work about once or twice a year. My babies are 5 and 6 1/2 and it is hard to leave home. This time I was gone for a full week. Technically, 6 days but by the time I get home tonight, they will be sound asleep. I miss them terribly. I miss my husband. I miss my house. FaceTime has been a tremendous help.

Now that i have made it clear that I miss my family and you all think that I'm a nice person, I will let you in on a little secret (that won't be a secret after I hit "publish"). I had a blast and don't feel guilty at all! I know! A mom NOT feeling guilty about doing something for herself for a change? That's a travesty! What is this world coming to? What can I say? I'm a rebel.

But I don't feel guilty. The conference was well put together and intellectually stimulating. During the day, we discussed how to work with college kids and at night we went out and acted like them. I ate delicious food at restaurants that didn't have paper placemats and crayons on the table. I got to bond with one of my bestest girlfriends/coworkers and I'm so glad she came. As we are geeks, our industry tends to be a bit of a boy's club and it was essential to have her with me. I had loads of fun with a few new and a few old conference friends, though likely a bit too much fun as I'm feeling the achingly memorable twinge of a hangover as I write this.

But the very best and most selfish part of the whole week is that I only had to worry about me! I only had to think about what I was going to eat and wear and do. I didn't have to check anyone's book bags for teacher notes. I didn't have to take anything out for dinner. I was never interrupted in the shower to be asked if the 5-second rule applied to granola bars. I didn't have to stop to buy milk or mini-marshmallows to send to school for a class party.

Granted, the week leading up to the trip, my brain was in overdrive trying to take care of anything and everything that might be needed at home in my absence but I it was worth it not to have to think or worry this week. I also have my husband to thank for executing everything at home and my kids to thank for being "extra good" for daddy.

So, the moral of this is story is simply to remind all the other working moms out there not to ever feel guilty when it's mommy time. It's is necessary for our sanity or we are likely to snap and start spreading hand lotion on the sandwiches instead of peanut butter.

I know I've blogged about this before but it bears repeating. You are't just a mom, you are a beautiful, dynamic woman with your own personality and interests. It's important not to lose who you are in motherhood. Or, at least if you do, leave a trail of Reese's pieces so you can find your way back. I was lost for about 2 1/2 years after becoming a mom but I am glad I found myself again because I kinda dig me. I am fairly awesome after all.

Alas, the mommy vacation has to end and just in time because I miss the hell out of those little faces! I'm done with my little fantasy where I am the queen and am in charge of what session to go participate in, where I go out to eat or whether I'm going to spend the night partying or in my cozy hotel bed. I'm relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to go home and clean up legos and bake cupcakes for school. Game on!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why Steve Meant So Much To Me

I figure I would just join the endless list of RIP Steve Job posts.   Read it if you like.  Don't read it if you feel like you've heard it all already.  I don't care.  This isn't about you.

I am not just an Apple Fan-Girl (although I totally am!).   I wasn't even an Apple Girl until '07 but when I drank the apple-flavored Kool-Aid I drank long and I drank deep.  I became enamored with every Apple product I got my greedy little fingers on.   It was shortly after I became deeply engrossed in the beauty of the usability that I wanted to learn about the genius behind it.

Shrine of Apple products accumulating at my workplace
The more I learned about Mr. Jobs the more impressed I became.  I am a designer by career and visual person by nature.  I've always been enthralled with all things shiny and beautiful.  In addition, I have a real passion for usability and an outright disdain for poorly designed products and software.   Steve Jobs had an unprecedented vision and commitment to the end-user.   Take away the billions of dollars, the "up-by-his-bootstraps" backstory, charitable works and dozens of other things that made the man great and that is what impresses me the most.   In the face of opposition, he has always kept his final goal as crystal clear as an iMac display - "EASE OF USE".

I've heard many people doubt his goals.  Most geeks I know (that's not a slur - these are my people I'm talking about) feel that he's been too rigid with the iDevice designs by not adding ports or integrating flash or allowing file navigation.   I've always said "with flexibility comes complexity" and that was not part of his plan.   In Steve I trusted.

He's given us the very best end user experience in the design of the Mac OS.  It is just brilliant in it's simplicity.   To name just a humble few (feel free to comment your OS faves):

  • Built-In Screen Capture (Windows STILL doesn't have this right)
  • Spotlight
  • Preview
  • Cover Flow
  • The best mail search EVER in Apple Mail
  • Print to PDF

He's changed the way we think about...well...almost everything with the innovations in iOS.   We can now carry our lives in our pockets or purses with the easiest to use mobile devices on the planet.   He's made the world smaller by making it easy for EVERYONE to connect with these devices.  It's not a special club for the tech elite.  It's for everyone.

Steve, for the hundreds of ways you has made my life, my job and my computing experience, easier and more enjoyable, I will be forever grateful.

I am sure that you have left brilliance in your wake because, if you have inspired millions who didn't know you the way you have, those closest to you must be bursting at the seems with innovation.   Carry on.  Do him proud.  The world is waiting.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The New Facebook Timeline is Coming - DON'T FREAK OUT!

Yesterday Facebook announced a plethora of revolutionary changes at it's f8 developer conference.  Among those change is the ground-breaking, Timeline profile.  

I was able to already activate timeline because, I once developed a stupid quiz using Facebook's quiz API so I am technically a developer.  You can pretend to be a developer and get it now too.

I think Timeline is pretty awesome.  Basically, Facebook is building upon what its users already do, which is to post life events, by making it easier to do so and a cinch to look back upon.   Facebook is also using what it already knows about you to build this timeline.  As I said, I think it's awesome but most users are going to freak the f**k out!

I don't really understand why someone would freak out.  It should come as no surprise to that Facebook has this information.   Of course it does, the user put it there.   Nevertheless, I think people are often surprised by the consequences of their own actions.

Once again, I remind you, as a fellow user, NOT TO FREAK OUT!  It's not a big deal.  This is your stuff, that you put there.  It's only shared with the people you shared it with originally.  Plus, you can go to your privacy settings and globally change the privacy settings for all of your past posts.

Timeline Privacy Setting
You can also go in and change who you have shared individual posts with.  Finally, there is always the ability to "VIEW AS" which allows you to see how others or the public view your timeline.  So if you don't trust what FB is showing the world, you can always double-check.

Facebook's "View As" Feature

Personally, I am jazzed that I can scroll back and see what I was doing years ago.  I can quickly see pics of my babies or antidotes that I posted about them.   I think it did a pretty good job of initially picking out things that belong on the timeline and it can only get better.

A Snapshot of My Timeline

In conclusion, change is good.   Facebook isn't stealing your thoughts.  The internet is not evil.  Sharing is okay.  You are in control of your information (for the most part).   Take a deep breath --- and dive in.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thank You, Irene!

I, by no means, want to minimize the damage and loss that some have incurred from this storm.  I, however, live in an area that was never really on the "path of destruction" outlined by NOAA.  We are on the inland edge of the "cone of potential mayhem" but that didn't stop everyone from running around in a panic.   There are some power outages and some flooding that I know of but the storm is nearly passed and we are, mostly, none the worse for wear.

I would like to take a moment to thank Hurricane Irene.

Because of the threat of you, we were all forced to stay home.   Because of this, I cleaned my house.  I washed the floors.  I cleaned a sh*t-ton of old toys out of my kid's room.  My husband and I cleaned out the front hall closet and threw out a bunch of crap.  My husband found "The Dangerous Book For Boys" that I gave him shortly after our son was born.  Our kids handprints are inside from when they were 18 months and 3 1/2 years old.

Because the world was closed and the roads were unsafe, I took a long hot shower.  I gave myself a facial and a salt scrub.  I still plan to work in a pedicure.

I played with my kids.  We all played a "Zack and Wiki" on the Wii and I got past a board I've been putting off for a bit over a year now.  My husband cooked a bunch of food to put in the freezer for me because he's going to be out of town soon and he's awesome like that.  The kids helped him cook.

I blogged.

Irene, thank you for the gift of time.  There's nothing like the potential for a natural disaster to make you stay home with the ones you love - or evacuate with them, depending on where you live.

I know many people aren't going to say thank you, but I am.   Now, that doesn't mean I want you, or any of your cousins to come visiting again any time soon, but I can appreciate the good in all the mess.


I'd also like to thank who-or-whatever gave me the patience not to kill my damn kids today because no matter what they did they were bored and drove me freakin' batty - thus the glass of wine at my right hand.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


"Mortality".  Wow.  Funny title, right?  Not really.  I'm going to try to make light of a semi-serious subject but I'm feeling somber and am moderately inebriated so this post may end up in the trash.

I am having surgery next week. It's not elective or anything.  If it was, at least I'd have a flat tummy or perky boobs to look forward to.  It is totally minor and not a big deal but I'm still kind of freaking out.  It's weird for me because I'm a "tough cookie", as they say.  Who the hell came up with that anyway?   I've never had a tough cookie in my life. Stale, maybe, but tough, never.

As I was saying, it's weird for me to feel scared about this. It is so NOT a big deal. Many people have been through so much worse that it is not even funny. But, the thing is, I've never been in the hospital to do more than have my kids and going in for that is wonderful, despite the bloodbath and agony, that is. When you are going in for that, you have many things to look forward too, such as 1.) not being pregnant any more  2.) cute little pink babies  3.)  not being a ginormous bloated whale anymore, etc. It's like going in for new boobs.  There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

I guess there's a light this time too. I get to not have something wrong with me anymore.  Yippee!  Some how it is not as much of a motivator as perky boobs or pink babies but it's something and, regardless, it's necessary.

I've never been under anestesia before. I hear good things and, frankly, I could use the rest.  However, there's that little nagging voice in the back of my stupid head saying "you know some people die, right?"  Shut up! Logically, I know that the statistics are teeny tiny and that most of those people have other health issues causing complications but, still, the voice remains. I don't think I'd care so much about not waking up if I didn't have two little people who are expecting me to come home from the hospital. When I think about that,  I realize that moms are a twisted breed. Do we really think so little of ourselves that our only reason for living is those little snot factories that can't put their underwear on properly without our assistance? Yes. Yes we do.

The other thing bugging me is that my ability to carry a child will be affected. That shouldn't bother me. I'm done having babies. My husband is very much in agreement that we are done having babies.  When I told him my concerns, he immediately asked if I planned to remarry. I told him I wanted to keep my options open.  That didn't go over too well. Of course, I'm kidding but I always thought that my ability to have kids would go the natural way of things.  Again, I am well aware that I am dually blessed with two beautiful children and that there are so many people that aren't as lucky as I am but there's that nagging voice again.  I hate that voice.  That voice is really annoying.

My point, if I even have one, is that this little stupid surgery has caused me to confront my own mortality and it sucks.  I much prefer living in la la land where everything is good and I think I'm going to live forever.  I still plan to live forever.  I am going to silence that stupid little voice or die trying.  Ha!   But, if by some million to one chance, I don't wake up from the anestesia, please take pity on my husband and offer to babysit or something.  He'll need all the help he can get.

I'm sure, in a week, I'll be wondering what I was worried about.  I'm sure the anestesia will nothing more than a really good nap and I'll be feeling right as rain in no time.  Hey, maybe I'll check back in for new boobs one of these days after all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spa Fail

On a lovely spring day, four ladies set out for a Spa Day at the beautiful Mohonk Mountain House in the Shawgunk Mountains of New Paltz, NY. All checked in to the spa, they decided to explore. They didn't think to take their phones, they didn’t pack water, they kept on their flip-flops and set out with no plan and tissues, lip gloss and a thermos of Mimosas in their arsenal. They intended to take a quick walk around the grounds. They were wrong.

Yes.  I was one of these four knuckleheads and lived to tell the tale.  Our intended stroll turned into three hours of wandering somewhat aimlessly through the greater Mohonk preserve without the first clue of how to get back where we started from.  There was panic.  There was hunger.  There was thirst.  There was talk of who would get eaten first if it came down to it.  It wasn't pretty.

Once we found our way back from the brink of death, we picked up a map. Of course now we are aware that a map would've been useful BEFORE getting lost in the woods for three hours but clearly that thought never crossed our pretty little minds as we stepped out into the world.  What do you want?  We are cute. Do we have to be smart too?!  Geez.  You want everything!

Anyway, having examined the map, I was able to suss out exactly where we went wrong (over and over again) and I made a poster out of it to commemorate this horrific event with some of my dearest friends.

You can click this image for the full map but I'm going to break it down for you right here in the blog.  By the way, you are welcome, in advance, for how smart you are going to feel after you read this.

First is our intended path.  This is what we set out to do.

But that is not what we did.  No.  As it turns out, we set out on the wrong path almost from the get go.  Unaware that we were already on "leg 1" of the walk of fail, we stopped to toast our awesome girl's day out with the mimosas I was toting along.  Also, blissfully unaware that it is against the rules to have alcohol on the hiking trails.  That's another tidbit I learned from the map I picked up afterward.

After walking a bit further, my friend Tami thought we should turn around.   We all still thought we were on a path that would loop back toward the main house.  We ventured on.

We had set out on our walk at 11:00.  It was probably about 11:45 when Nancy's stomach growling began startling small forrest creatures.  She tried to bribe Tami for the cheese she had packed but, sadly, Tami left it in her spa locker along with anything else that might have been useful.

We were starting to feel lost when we came upon a map of sorts at Rhododendron Bridge.  It didn't say anything about the Mountain House but it mentioned a Trapps Visitor's Center.   We had never heard of it but figured a visitor's center meant people who could potentially help us.  My friend Jean thought that would take us away from where we needed to go.

This is the actual sign at Rhododendron Bridge.

Now on "leg 2" of the walk of fail, I tried to break the mounting tension as I offered to allow everyone to eat me if I died first.  The didn't object much at all.

Before my friends could take me up on my generous offer, a jogger appeared wearing a Mohonk Preserve tag.  She shook her head at us guessing that we came from the mountain house and were way lost based solely on our lack of appropriate foot wear or gear of any type.  Who does she think she is?!?! Nancy thought the jogger "saved us".  Looking at the map, I think she might have said "Hey, why don't you walk another 400 yards to the Visitor's center and see if someone can give you a ride back?" Or even "Come with me, I will help you!"  Not exactly the heroine of the day in my opinion.

Following the joggers instructions, we headed wearily back to Rhododendron Bridge which I have dubbed "leg 3" of our walk of fail.  We reached the bridge and headed in the direction she indicated.  Her vague instructions said that the road would be "uphill" so when we came to yet another fork, we took the uphill fork.  Wrong again.

On "leg 4" of the walk of fail, which is by far my LEAST favorite part of this journey, we were on some unnamed service road in the blazing heat.  It was at this point that we began yelling for any nearby help. Tami employed her super loud whistling skills and got a bird to respond but nobody else.   Nancy declared that we were turning back!

Little did we know that we weren't far from a more direct path back to the mountain house but with the decisions we'd been making so far, we probably wouldn't have taken that turn anyway.

Finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  We could actually SEE the resort!  We had been avoiding drinking any more mimosas for fear of dehydration.  We were so relieved we took a much deserved break to quench our thirst.  It tasted like heaven.

We finally reached the dining room for our complimentary spa lunch at just about 2:00.   We burst in like the desperate lunatics we are begging for water and a phone so we could postpone our spa appointments to 3:30.

At last!  With our thirsts were quenched, our appointments were moved and our food on the way we were able to laugh about our excursion... well, a little bit anyway.    We realized that nobody would really feel bad for four dummies who set out unprepared and didn't even miss a meal.


More useful things we found on the map when we got back.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stolen Glances and Why Women Lie

It is a fact.

Men look at women.   Women try not to notice and, if men are good at it, some times women really don't notice.   Most many are very good at it.  They have mastered the art of looking when nobody is looking and not getting caught.  Especially as they have grow from boys to men.  They've been looking at girls since the first one they didn't think was "icky" and  figured out long ago that staring either gets you publicly embarrassed ("What are you staring at?!?!" / "Take a picture, it will last longer!") or assaulted.  But even now, all of us ladies will occasionally run in to an ogler.  This is the man who some how missed that day at "guy school" where they teach you how to do that without getting caught.  Either that, or he doesn't care.   He leers.  He stares.  He looks up and down without acknowledging the appalled look on his target's face.   Well, to be fair,  to see the look on her face he would have to look at her face.

I find this phenomenon fascinating.  Does he really not know that we can see him?  Does he think he is invisible?  I can't figure it out and it is very vexing. He should know how to do this.  Everyone else does!

Well, not everyone.

Women don't know how to do it.  We fare pretty well when we admire a man (and we don't do it all that often, to be honest) but we always get caught when we are looking at another girl.  Ewwww.  Get your minds out of the gutter.  We are not looking in THAT way (usually) and that is why we stink at it.   We don't put any effort into averting our eyes because our intentions are not suspect.  We are usually staring because we are wondering wear she gets her hair cut, or what size those shoes are, or if those are real.  But we get caught.  That is why women are always blurting things out like "I love those shoes." or "Your hair looks great today!"

That is also why we lie to each other.

For every time we are staring at another woman admiring her blouse, there's a time that we are wondering if she got dressed in the dark.  Or we are looking at her new hair cut with amazement that she actually paid someone to do that to her.  Then we get caught and what are we supposed to say?   We can't say what we are thinking so we blurt out  "I love that top!" or  "Your hair looks awesome!".  Sometimes we might say "That top is so you!" or  "Wow, you changed you hair!"   That is our way of being non-committal and a bit more honest.

Only your true friends will tell you the God's honest truth and even then, they will reserve it for things you can change.  They might say "I'm not sure I love that color on you."  And if it is something semi-permanent, like a haircut, they will sugar-coat it like "It's cute but I think longer is better for your face shape."

But we simply can't be brutally honest.  Nobody likes that and we are liable to get slapped.  Next thing you know, you've got a chick fight on your hands and there isn't a guy in America able to pretend he's not looking at that!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Invisible Rapture: Your Soul Has Been Poked

Harold Camping recently predicted that the world would experience Judgement Day on May 21st.   His claim was that 200 million people (roughly 3% of the world's population) would be raptured, which means to be transported from one sphere of existence to another.  The rest of us be damned... literally.

Now, I don't know what you were doing on Saturday, May 21st but I was sitting in a lounge chair on my deck, enjoying a particularly sunny and beautiful day and a tasty beverage as I watched my kids play.   As far as I could tell, there was no rapture to speak of.  I even heard some late breaking reports of rainbows, but maybe those were appearing over the chosen ones.

From the get-go, Harold's prophecy included reports that the world would end on October 21st but it was implied that the righteous would have been scooped up by the Lord in May and the rest of us heathens would be left for five months behind to contemplate our impending doom.

May 21st came and went and the world is not less 3% religious extremists.  How do I know for sure?  Well, Harold is still among us and I imagine he would've been one of the very first to be grabbed up by God.   Considering, he and his followers are still chillin' with the sinners, he found himself with a lot of 'splainin to do.

Here is his explanation (Washington Post):
In a special broadcast Monday night on his radio program Open Forum that his predicted May 21, 2011 Rapture was “an invisible judgment day“ that he has come to understand as a spiritual, rather than physical event.
“We had all of our dates correct,” Camping insisted, clarifying that he now understands that Christ’s May 21 arrival was “a spiritual coming” ushering in the last five months before the final judgment and destruction. 
In an hour and a half broadcast, Camping walked listeners through his numerological timeline, insisting that his teaching has not changed and that the world will still end on October 21, 2011. 
“It wont be spiritual on October 21st,” Camping said, adding, “the world is going to be destroyed all together, but it will be very quick.”
In essence, what he is saying here is "Ooops, my bad!  Did I say the rapture would actually HAPPEN on May 21st?!  I meant God would tag everyone he wants to enrapture later.  You can't actually SEE it."

It was an invisible rapture.  Spiritual in nature, apparently.   God took a look-see at the people of the world and marked the souls he wants to save for later.  It's like some bizarre, ethereal gift-registry.  Do you think he went around with a scanner?  Do our souls have bar-codes?

Maybe it's like Facebook.  He poked his favorite souls.   Funny, I didn't feel my soul being poked.  You would think that would be a noticeable event.

Unless, I wasn't among the chosen!  Oh no.  My wicked ways will be my undoing come October!

Oh well.  I guess I better make the most of the end of days.  Martinis, anyone?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where Are The Chicks On The Market Research Team?

I know I don't have a slew of male readers but for the few I do, I can pretty much guarantee you aren't going to want to read this post.  It's about poor marketing in the feminine product world.  Are you all gone yet?  If you are not, go ahead and take this opportunity to reread my post about my car or one of my technology posts.  Whatever you choose, I'm sure you aren't going to want to read on here - unless you are just dead curious.

So, ladies (and interested gentlemen) here we go.

I was in the feminine hygiene aisle of my local pharmacy, trying not to think too hard about what a terrible descriptor "feminine hygiene" is, and I noticed a new addition to the typical pink and blue packages we are used to seeing.   It was a black box with some wild colors and patterns peeking through the clear window of the box.  Intriguing.  Now, maybe it wasn't new.  It is entirely possible that I am just THAT unobservant but, in any event, it was new to me.

I picked up the box and pondered the merits of essentially the same product in a bright, shiny package.  This is one product where the packaging truly does NOT matter.   You can't polish a turd, right?  (Actually, according to Mythbusters, you can!) Who is going to be swayed by this blatant marketing ploy?  Well, apparently, I am.   Hey, I'm a designer and a visual person.  I like pretty things!

I got my new purchase home and waited with happy excitement for "my friend" to visit.  HA! HA! HA!  Seriously, I can't even fake that for a second! The only time any woman has ever welcomed that moment with a thrill is if she thought she might be unexpectedly expecting!

Sparing the gory details, I must admit that I was less that delighted with my new feminine hygiene purchase.  I'm only 2 days in (suddenly realizing what a delightful way to let the world know when I might be unexpectedly bitchy - mark your calendars, people!) and, despite the pretty swirly things that not only appear on the package but on the pad itself, the "performance" is a bit of an issue.  And it is all about performance!

The absorbency is fine.  The issue, thus far, is with adhesion.  This is one product that needs to have just the right amount of tensile strength.  It needs to stay in place and then release, easily, when it's time to let go. It's the latter part where this product literally falls apart.  The adhesive is so dang strong that the first time I went to remove it, I ripped it.  Super yuck!

Second time, I approached the matter more gingerly.   I had to fight to get the thing off!   There are so many ways that this can go wrong!  With adhesive that strong, imagine what might happen if you didn't properly secure all the wings before pulling up.  OUCH!  No need to go for that wax now!

It was at this time that I became astonished that nobody at Kotex had figured this out before going to market.   Aren't there girls on the market research team?   Didn't anyone say "Hey Sally.  Next time you get a visit from your Aunt Flo, give these a whirl and let us know what you think."?   It's crazy.  I envision a roomful of cigar smoking, cognac drinking suits saying "Who cares?!  A rag is a rag.   Just make the packaging in neon colors and they'll buy them because they are pretty.  Now.  Give me a gun so I can shoot something."

To be fair, I am a "Stayfree" girl, not a "Kotex" girl so, for all I know, the adhesive has always been like that on their product and has nothing to do with the "New U" packaging.  Also to be fair, I also bought the "New U" tampons and they worked out just fine.  No adhesive problems there, thank heaven!

I need to do a bit more research.  There are many factors.  Panty material for one.  Maybe some kind of incredible bond is formed when it touches micro-fiber or satin.   Maybe it's fine on cotton.  I'm not sure.  Maybe it is length of time.  Maybe it releases without issue after an hour but longer than and it has a death grip on your undies.   But, I keep coming back to my original question.  Where are the chicks on the market research team? Shouldn't they have figured all this out already!  You'd think, but apparently not.

I guess the moral of this story is that all that glitters is not gold.  Or if it ain't broke, don't fix it.   Or buyer beware.  Take away from this whatever you like but if you decide to try the "New U" be sure to handle with care.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How To Mod Your Oatmeal Poster To Make It Office Appropriate

I got my new favorite book "5 Very Good Reasons To Punch A Dolphin In The Mouth (and Other Useful Guides)" earlier this week and was wowed.  (Read "Top 10 Things I LOVE About The Oatmeal's Book").

I was also super-excited to tear out the poster of one of my favorite comics "Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable" and hang it up over my own torturous wide-format.  I read the comic again, laughed my a** off and realized that some of the language might offend some stupid, humorless individuals.

Here is how I modified my Oatmeal poster to make it office appropriate.  If you would like to do the same, you will need the following:

  1. One of those tiny useless sticky pads which can be stolen obtained from your office supply closet.
  2. A scissor.
  3. A writing implement.
  4. The ability to play Mad Libs.
The result:

Click for a larger version

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Things I LOVE About The Oatmeal's Book

10. Airline passenger bringing a fridge as carry-on
9. Slutty Oompa Loompa
8. Excessive use of the name "Chad"
7. Calling the Easter Bunny an a**hole
6. Raccoon trying to eat HTML
5. Whored up Velociraptor
4. Bear holding a sign saying "Please Pet Me. I'm Not A Bear."
3. Not one - but two references of chewing on people while they sleep.
2. Nikola Tesla
1. Fruity Blergs

This is by no means an accurate list. I could easily choose 100 things I love about this book and still not be sure they are my favorite things. Except Fruity Blergs. My favorite is ALWAYS Fruity Blergs.

Why Winter Makes Me (and probably you) Fat

T.S. Elliot said that "April is the Cruelest Month." And he was right for a lot of reasons that he doesn't even bother to mention in "The Waste Land".

April is dark and soggy.  It's also very confusing.  One day I think spring is coming and then there is a snow storm or something.  Then there is April Fool's day which may be fun for the prankers but not for the prankees (fortunately for me, I am usually the former!) And let's not forget "Tax Day".

But the main reason I feel that April is the cruelest month is that it is the month I realize the catastrophic damage the winter has done to my body.  I'm sailing through March without a care in the world when all of a sudden, the stores are carrying bathing suits and I suddenly realize how fat I have gotten!  I blame winter.

Here are the top 5 reasons why winter makes me (and probably you) fat:

  1. Human Nature.   Our stupid-ass natural instinct is to eat more and store fat to keep us warm in the winter months.  Obviously our instincts aren't up on the fact that we've evolved to have heated homes and constant access to food. I've got a fridge.  I don't need to store fat in my ass.  (Geek Alert!  Sometimes I wish our brain was able to get firmware updates for just such an occasion.)
  2. I bake.   I don't know about you but I bake a lot in the winter because it's cold enough that you don't mind turning the oven on or you are snowed in and have nothing else to do.   I wish I was a sh*tty baker so I wouldn't want to eat the final product.  Sadly, I rock at baking so everything I make is irresistible.  Pack on the pounds!
  3. I don't drink enough water.   It's too cold to drink water the same way I would in the warmer months.  Also, I don't want to go pee every 20 minutes because the toilet seat is freakin' freezing and I don't want to undress.
  4. Holidays.   Who's dumb idea was it to make the biggest eating holidays in the winter?   Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day (not a lot of eating but ooooh the chocolate).   Couldn't we spread them out a bit?   We've got nothing going on in June or August!
  5. Clothes.  It's easy to forget what I look like because it's painfully cold be undressed for any length of time (seriously, just ask my husband). Therefore, I go from bulky sweaters to fleecy jammies in 3 seconds flat.  I'd wear a snuggie in the shower if I could!  (oooh... million dollar idea there - water proof snuggie!)

So here I am in April, staring down the prospect of bathing suits and tank tops with loathing as I munch on carrot sticks and drink gallons of water a day.  It's a vicious cycle that I am not sure how to break. It's an annual event so, clearly, I shouldn't be shocked when it happens, but I am.  I'm like a deer in headlights the first time I walk in to Target and see a rack of bikinis (SOOOOOO not wearing a bikini anyway but that's besides the point).   

I think I need to remind myself that April is coming in February.  I could get daily notifications that say "Stop eating, stupid." and "Sweater is almost over." Hmmm, I wonder if there is an app for that?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dip-Dyed (Ombre) Hair Experience

I don't usually style-blog but I tried this DIY hair color and I figured I would tell you all about my experience.

I always dye my own hair but this morning I decided I was bored with my hair. No big surprise. I do this a lot. I get bored and I cut my hair real short or dye it or get bangs or whatever. In my boredom, I started googling spring hair color trends. I saw this trend called Ombre (see also Color Streaming; see also Dip-Dyed).

Basically, it's the notion that your hair color starts out darker and gets lighter toward the end. It can be the opposite too but the former trend seems to be more popular. I had black dye and hair bleach in the house so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I was midly terrified because I thought, if the line between the dark and lighter color was too definitive, that I'd look like a black and white cookie or something.

(like this. yuck.)

The bleach I had was actually highlight box of Revlon Color Effects but I'm you sure could use whatever bleach or lightener you usually use. I put an old towel over my shoulders, split my hair in two and put one bunch on each shoulder. I mixed up the bleach and, using gloves, began applying it to the bottom 6 inches of my hair. In some spots I went a bit higher and it some spots not quite as high. Remember, I didn't want a hard and fast black & white cookie line going on.

I would definitely recommend using better gloves than the piss-poor plastic baggies they give you with the hair color. The key to this style is to be a bit free-handed but with those stupid things it is hard to be anything but plain old sloppy.

My lightener kit takes about 45 minutes on hair as dark as mine. For me, this is the hard part. I am used to solid hair color that takes 10-20 minutes. The wait was painful.

Now, you may able to be skip the next part but with all my gray hairs, there is no way I could skip it. I mixed up 1/2 box of black hair color and, when the bleach had 15 minutes left, I applied the color to the part of my hair that was uncovered by the bleach. I figured if the color touched the bleach they could fight to the death.

I let the color set for 10 minutes then readied the shower. I am always in a panic about the dye staining my shower so as I am rinsing my hair with one hand I'm rinsing the shower with the other. Once you have rinsed your hair thoroughly be sure to apply a deep conditioner. Both of my boxes of color came with conditioner so either of those should be fine.

I don't really know why I was worried about looking like a two-tone cookie because my hair is so dark that I can not even fathom the amount of bleach it would take to make it truly blonde. I really like the look but it is certainly much subtler than I intended. It goes from black to chestnut brown. It has a beach-bum feel which is just fine by me because I've had more than enough of winter and anything that makes me think of sun and surf is just fine.

Here is a crappy picture (crappy in quality and subject matter; Rachel Bilson I'm not) but you can see the reddish brown hue at the ends.

All in all I am happy with the results. I should've waited until after I got a trim so my ends would be healthier but, like I said, I was bored and impatient. Next time I'll get a trim first and try to get it a bit lighter.

Good luck if you want to give it a try, I would recommend having a box of fix-it color in the house (solid color of your choosing) in case you are unhappy with the results. Or you could just chop the bottom 6 inches off your hair.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life's Rollercoaster

I was driving in to work today and heard Cake's cover of Gloria Gaynor's 70s hit "I Will Survive".  I love that cover.  Back in college my brother and two of my closest friends were in a band called Hawking 67.  They covered "I Will Survive" at a battle of the bands at my college and won.

Hearing that song today (and, mind you, I listen to that cover all the time) I was suddenly struck by the enormity of how much I miss those friendships.   All three of those men are still very much in my life but in very different ways than they used to be.  My brother is still my brother, of course, but before that, he's husband to my sister-in-law, father to my amazing niece, son to our parents and awesome uncle to my two beautiful kids.

My other two dear friends have wonderful families as well.   I adore each of their wives and their incredible kids but, consequently, our relationships are fundamentally different than they used to be.   We don't see each other as often as we used to.  Hell, in once case we went from living in the same apartment building to living halfway across the country from one another!

In each case, when we do see each other,  it's about the group, not the individuals. It is equally as wonderful, but in a very different way.

On the one hand, I have gained the joy of the friendships with their wives.  I've got a bunch of unique and intensely lovable children in my life, including one beautiful Goddaughter who is celebrating her birthday today some 2,015 miles away. (sad face) On the other hand, I don't have the opportunity to experience those strong bonds that are the foundation our lives are built on.   The bonds are still there, I have no doubt, but I miss the day-to-day of it all.

But that's life's roller coaster, is it not?  People come in and out of your lives.  Some move on quickly but leave a lasting impression.   Some you are glad to be rid of.  Others are always a part of your life, regardless of how your relationships may change. Each day, you know that are lucky to have them even though you may miss them.

Thank heaven for Facebook.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I'm Looking For In A Dentist

I'm not satisfied with any of the dentists I've spent time with.  I simply can't find one that suits my needs.  It's not easy.

The dentist I had before I moved here was a really nice guy and didn't try to make me do things I didn't want to do (like have teeth pulled or get braces when I was 22) but he cleaned my teeth like the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.  When I was were done, I'd look like I'd gotten punched in the mouth.  I stayed with him a long time though.  He was nice most of the time so I dealt with the abuse.  Age-old story.

Then I moved.  The first dentist I tried out was a minute-man.   A cleaning took literally as long as it takes me to brush my own teeth.  I can do that myself.  What do I need him for?

The next one, the one I'm currently seeing, cares way too much.   He wants to see me every three months.  He wants follow up visits.  I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment.  I don't think I'll ever be ready.  I want someone who I can see every 6 months, a nice quick cleaning and I'm on my way.  I don't want to talk about my feelings.  I don't want to try having my wisdom teeth pulled.  I'm 36 years old, if I had any interest in that I would've done it in my 20s.  I don't want to try anything new.  And, also, accept my faults.  I know my mouth is crowded, my teeth are crooked and I have a slight overbite.  Stop trying to change me.  Just clean my teeth and send me on my way.  Don't call me, I'll call you.

There should be a service for finding a dentist that's right for you. 1-800-Dentist doesn't cut it.  None of the search criteria suit my needs.  I'm looking for more than someone in my zipcode but I don't care if they offer Invisalign or bleaching services.

I need checkboxes with criteria like:
  • straight up, no kinks
  • no commitment
  • easily available
  • accommodating
So, I find myself ever-searching and unsatisfied in the dental hygiene area of my life.  I'm not whole until I find a dentist who completes me.  

(Local readers:  I'm totally serious.  If you know a dentist like this, hit me up!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kids Are Not Sorting Blocks

I know you usually come here for the humorous rants but I should preface to say that this one is more rant than humorous. I can only hope that you come for the comedy but stay for the stunning insight and social commentary.

As always, I continue to be concerned about our society but my latest concern is the extreme predilection for labeling children in our school system. I feel like the world has gone MAD in that everyone seems to have drunk the I.E.P. Kool-Aid (Independent Education Plan for the uninitiated).   An I.E.P. is what they give a child after they have been evaluated and diagnosed with something. The I.E.P. dictates that this child is special and needs extra time to do their work, or to take a break when necessary, or any number of ways in which this child needs to be treated differently so that they can develop properly.

Here's the thing. Not every child has ADD or Asperger's or Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Pervasive Development Disorder.  Or, they do, but they didn't have a name for it before, or a treatment.  Back in my day (says the old lady) it was called being a kid.  The one with Anxiety was "a bit nervous". The one with Asperger's was "a chatterbox" or "a daydreamer". The one with ADD had "ants in his pants."

I am certainly not saying that these disorders aren't real or that therapists aren't both talented and important. In many cases, diagnosis and treatment are both good and necessary. However, I think we are too quick to label or kids and sort them into the appropriate bucket. What ever happened to giving them a chance to mature a bit and figure out how school / life / friendship / the world works?  Sorting seems to be the path of least resistance.  The easy way out.   Stick a label on them and make it someone else's problem.

I've seen parents outraged that their child was evaluated and not given an I.E.P.   Isn't it a good thing that it was not deemed necessary for your child to receive intervention?  Doesn't that mean that the professionals don't think your child needs it?   The idea seems to be "Dammit, I pay taxes and should receive free help whether my child needs it or not!!!!"

And what ever happened to good old-fashioned (or in this case new-fashioned) parenting?   Therapists are not magicians.  They are not going to lay on hands and instill coping skills or anger management techniques into your child.  They are going to teach them through play, pictures and words. It's going to take time and not only is it within our ability as parents, to do so, it is our JOB! We are fortunate to have a wealth of information available to us at all times. Resources on the internet. Books in the library. Videos to watch. Games to play. It's our job to know our children, inside and out. It's our job to understand in which areas they need extra help and their learning style to best receive the help we want to provide to them.

It's your job to be you child's advocate.  It means knowing your child like nobody else possibly can. Yes. Sometimes that means fighting to get them the help you know that they need in the form of early intervention and an I.E.P.  But sometimes it means fighting the new norm which seems to be that nobody is normal.   It means putting in the time and effort to give your child the help they need instead of pawning it off on to a team of professionals and, in some cases, it means knowing when it's more than you can handle and getting help. Sometimes.

That's all for now.  I'll be funnier next time, I promise.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Long time no blog.  Sorry.  You may have been lolly-gagging around waiting for random idiots (like myself) to post some such nonsense (like this) on their blogs but I was quite busy with life in December.   A little thing called "Christmas".  Not sure if you've heard of it.

But enough of that!  I'm here to write about the end of days that is clearly indicated by the mass bird and fish deaths all over the world!

I've narrowed it down to a few plausible theories:
  1. Zombies.  I don't know how they could be involved but they always are.
  2. Government conspiracy.  The animals were actually deep cover agents and they had seen too much.
  3. The birds and fish interpreted Justin Bieber's unexplained popularity as a sign of the end of days and committed mass suicide.
  4. God is pissed.

But, seriously folks.  My brain automatically goes to the realm of sci-fi when I hear about birds falling from the sky and massive amounts of fish washing ashore globally but the reality is that this is not the first, nor will it be the last time that this sort of thing has happened.  The media is sensationalizing it.  Shocking, I know, but true.

Similar sensationalizing occurs when there are shark attacks in the summer months.  All of a sudden, Fox News is making it sound like sharks around the world are united in their hatred of human beings and are out for blood.  I feel like we are living the titillating plot of 1987's classic Jaws: The Revenge with the tag-line "This time, it's personal."  Instead of panicking about man-eating sharks and avoiding the beaches, just take a moment to look up shark attack statistics and you will see no increase in the number of attacks, just the an increase in the number of attacks being talked about on the news.

The fact of the matter is that if you Google the history of fish kills you will see, once you sort through the recent news, that this sort of thing has happened many times.  Finding information on "bird kills" was a little trickier.  I'm not sure but I get the impression that, because it's happening along with the fish kills, that the media has just coined the term "bird kills" because if you Google "bird kills" you don't find much.  However, if you Google birds falling from the sky you will see many past reports, including and incident in 2007 of birds falling from the sky in both Australia and Texas.  I seem to remember everyone crying "END OF DAYS" then too!

So, what's the harm in people thinking this is the reckoning?  If it causes people to straighten up and fly right all the better, right?  Well.  Sort of.  Just remember that for every person who's getting "right with the Lord", there's another moron who will use the end of the world as an excuse to do something catastrophically stupid.  Hopefully, just to his or her self but maybe not.  All we need is Joe Loser saying "If this is the end of the world as we know it,  I'm going to commit armed robbery so I can go spend money on hookers and beer."

Spread the sanity, please!  If you see someone running around screaming "The sky is falling", tell them to sit down and go to, or better, yet, just send them here and I'll make it all better.

If the world doesn't end, you'll be hearing from me again soon.
If it does, thanks for reading and see you on the flip.  ;)