Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Some People Waste Money Better Than I Do

          I just can’t get over some of the ridiculous “studies” people are running these days. It’s jaw-dropping idiocy. The first one of these things that made me really question what I was doing with my life is the one that read “Most alcohol-related ER visits ‘due to beer.’" It goes on to say that, “Five beer brands in particular were most attributed to patients landing in the ER: Budweiser, Bud Ice, Bud Light, Colt 45 and Steel Reserve.” Really? So you’re telling me that people who get wasted drinking shit beer (have you ever TASTED Colt 45?! I mean it’s as bad King Cobra, which I’m also ashamed to have tasted and is, coincidentally, mentioned later in the study) get in accidents that land them in the ER? They show poor judgment in their beer choice, and then they show poor judgment that lands them in the hospital. Am I supposed to be surprised about any of this?! Who the hell pays to run a study like this?

            Clearly it’s the same kind of people who funded this study: “Children and teenagers who spend lots of time in front of screens - especially TVs - tend to gain more weight as they age.”  So, let me get this straight. Kids who watch a lot of TV get fat. NOOOOOOOO. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. You know who doesn’t get fat? Kids who play outside in the road. Would someone pay me to run that study? Here’s one for you. An Op Ed for the NY Times ("Rich People Care Less") highlights studies that rich people care less than poor people: “Higher-status people are also more likely to express disregard, through facial expressions, and are more likely to take over the conversation and interrupt or look past the other speaker.” Oh and then there’s this, “Exercise can help low back pain, obesity can hurt, study shows.” Uh-huh. Exercise generally DOES help strengthen muscles. And they always talk about the straw that breaks the camel’s back. A “STRAW.” Not 100 extra pounds!
          So how about this old article from the Chicago Tribune I found calling out how much money the taxpayers spend on dumbass studies like this. I mean, I’m all for alternative medicine. Really – I think there’s a lot of value to it. I do not, however, support spending $666,000 to see if distant prayer can heal AIDS. OR $1.25 mill to see if massage would make cancer patients feel better. And the $406,000 spent to spray brewed coffee at intestines to heal pancreatic cancer? I’m just left wondering how Rob Ford got himself on the approval committee for these things, because clearly SOMEONE was smoking a LOT of crack when these decisions were made.
         I could do so much with that money that would be of more value. I mean, for one, if you spent the ENTIRE $1.25 million on giving massages to cancer patients instead of whatever small portion went to the massages and the rest to the people writing the study, I would be fine with that! Nobody begrudges a cancer patient comfort, or a massage therapist an income. And since when does it cost $666,000 to get people to pray for AIDS patients? I’m pretty sure prayer is free. How about you take those $666,000 and pay for some AIDS patients’ medication.

         If you want to WASTE money, however, I can do that really well too. I’d love some new winter pajamas and some good short shorts for yoga – you know, that perfect balance between small as possible without forcing other people to look at my ass cheeks. I’m sure my cat would love one of those really expensive scratch/play tower things. How about some animated outdoor Christmas decorations? I can always use more of that stuff. None of those things are really a waste though. They also don’t cost that much. So I could have my stuff and there would still be enough money left over to find out if chipmunks prefer Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts to go with their nuts.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Want To Make A List!

What good is a list without a donut?
         13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. 10 Things Unhappy People Have In Common. 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People. I particularly enjoy the  7 Steps to Get Into a Professional Orchestra and 8 Steps to Become a Virtuoso Hornist. Who is making these lists?! And WHO are they talking about? And who reads these things for life advice? Wait, I feel like I’ve written this blog before. Oh wait, yes I did, sort of – when I said that no one knows how to do anything anymore. That’s where all these lists are coming from. They are the abbreviated self-help books. They are that jerk Facebook friend of yours’ idea of showing you that they know better how to live life because they read this list and they want you to read it too. Although, I'm fairly certain that the only reason the musical lists are making the rounds is because they are hysterical.
            Well, I’m feeling left out. I think I should be telling you what I do that makes me better than you. And, maybe, after reading this list of things that I do better than everyone else – the things that make me ME, you will want to do these things to be just like me.
1.     Look at people like they have 6 heads if they try and speak to me before I’ve had coffee.
2.     See that my phone is ringing, not bother to see who it is, and just chuck the thing to the other end of the couch.
3.     Eat so much chocolate that I know so well which is good and bad that some chocolate doesn’t even taste good.
4.     Have philosophical conversations with my dog, in which he doesn’t respond, but I pretend that he does. (I was also caught threatening the Christmas lights today - that they had better work when I plug them in tomorrow).
5.     Not make my bed in the morning, yet be so anal retentive about making sure the sheets are straight before I get in the bed to sleep that you would think that I thought wrinkled sheets would kill me. (They would. They have teeth in the night. You think monsters live under the bed? Nope. It’s the wrinkles in the sheets).
6.     Prefer to buy imported European foods in the grocery store because I know they won’t use GMO’s or corn syrup.
7.     Reward myself for going to work by eating a Boston Cream Donut (even though you know it breaks List entry 6 because Dunkin' Donuts does not make natural food). Then rationalizing said food item by looking at the nutritional information and seeing that it has 4% of my recommended daily iron value. That's practically a nutritional supplement.
8.     Become a master of self-deprecating sarcasm.
9.     Pile on the guilt when I’m not practicing my instrument enough.
10. Not read other people’s lists. Know that rules don’t make anyone happy. And marvel at all the people who think they’re being revolutionary or helpful by creating a list of things they think other people should do.

That’s it. Go do something productive.

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Fashion Friday!: Bad Grammar Isn't Cute And Neither Is ModCloth


Some poor unsuspecting sods sent me an unsolicited catalog. Tsk tsk. Based on the contents I can be 100% certain they did not get my mailing address from Michaels, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co., or Salvatore Ferragamo (the four retailers who do regularly grace my snail mailbox). I don’t even get catalogs from Urban Outfitters Corporation anymore, so I really can’t figure out where this thing came from. Alas, its contents were not pleasing.
Gnome heel? With giant gold hearts
on the front? I'm going to be honest. If you buy this shoe,
I'm going to have to reconsider our friendship
and/or lock you in a basement until
you recover your sensibility.
            ModCloth prints on the front “Your Voice. Your Choice. Your Style.” I’m going to go with “No.” as the answer to the question that was not posed. Maybe they thought that by putting a token fat girl (and I only say that in relation to the other girls on the cover – in real life I’m sure she’s normally sized) on the cover, it would entice me to open and peek inside. Again the answer is, “no.” I did, however, look inside because I enjoy a good laugh at a disaster where no one was injured.
Worse than Anthro ugly sweaters. My phone
couldn't even focus on them. 
            Now, if you’ve ever been to Anthropologie in the winter time in the last 10 years or so (Free People counts too) you’re going to know what I’m talking about when I say there are generally at least 3 or 4 sweaters/dresses that you look at, recoil, and wonder “WHO on this green earth would PAY MONEY for THAT?!” Working there gives you the experience of watching THAT person come in and buy those things bringing that perfect “Aha,” moment. My first response upon opening this catalog was that it was a catalog meant for THOSE people. Quite honestly, ModCloth’s product looks like bad rip-offs of Anthropologie garments.  And the sad thing about that is, Anthropologie’s in house garments are often rip-offs of real designer’s work or vintage pieces. (Urban Outfitters Corporation has become pretty well known for intellectual property theft). As I continue to page through past some ugly dresses and the token fat girl I get to the Urban Outfitters style d├ęcor pieces. Creepy cat pillows, a bowl/box/candydish? shaped like a brain that they used for pistachios, playing card Salt and Pepper set, ugly flatware… etc. You get the idea.
            What follows is some eh dresses and some shapewear? I would have been able to put it down and not write about it, but then I had to turn the page to the “Uh, what????” If I were to make a dress to wear, I would want it to cause the following interaction: “That’s a beautiful dress!”
            “Why, thank you! I made it!”
            “No, sir.”
            “Yes, sir!”
I would not want it to go like this: “Oh, that’s cute. Did you make that?”
            “No, I bought it.”
            “OH. Is it vintage?”
            “No, I paid $100 for it from some catalog.”
            “Oh dear.”
These dresses would cause the second reaction. There’s one covered in sunglasses, one with dominos on it, one with dancing ladies. There are also hot air balloon and umbrella prints. Maybe those are just frumpy, but then my eyes were drawn to the top of page 12, where a lot of my cardinal styling rules were just tossed aside to hungry Chinese chicken nugget eating raccoons. Here’s the picture. Which is your favorite? Mine is a toss up between the pink-toned, porpoise-in-the-lap, outer space leggings (NOT PANTS!) and the dress that is printed with vividly colored sandwich innards.
No! Don't add this whimsy! PLEASE!
They tell a story about the beginnings of the company that is so grammatically ambiguous you would think that the owner was selling junk out of her dorm-room closet, and then magically had Made in China fake vintage junk to sell. An English purist might also be distraught by the use of the shortened “Fab” instead of fabulous, and without apostrophe. And then anyone with a brain should be horrified that “Sure Bets For A Fresh, Profesh Look!” made it past any kind of copy editor. Profesh? Are you kidding? There is nothing “profesh” about thinking “profesh” is an appropriate adjective to describe anything but people who like things that are "fesh," whatever that means.
Oh no they didn't… Yes they DID.

            By the end of the catalog, we are watching the token fat girl (in the same outfit from the cover) say goodbye to her guests. There are some hella’ (hell of – let’s just butcher the language while we look at ugly shit) ugly sweaters for you to wear outside. And finally, the last page shows crazy girls’ bedrooms. One girl even had balls of yarn nailed to the wall
EGADS that cat is a PILLOW.
above her bed with cat sheets. Can I please have some pro-fresh disinfectant because I’m feeling awfully violated by yucktasticness right now. I think it’s a SURE BET that I won’t be shopping at ModCloth this holiday season, or any other season. And, I recommend you follow my lead.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Start Stuffin' Those Muffins, Or Else.

I've never had a muffin with that many chips.
Are you cheating on me Dunkin'? Don't
think I won't find out.
 I’m going to be honest, Dunkin’ Donuts. I haven’t been really happy with you lately. It’s not the coffee. I have come to expect your coffee to taste like garbage. I’m willing to settle with that because the coffee that is made at my place of employment is something that should be controlled by Hazmat. I do drink it, but only out of sheer laziness and desperation. I own a French press and a 2-cup filter that I could bring with me. The problem with the French press is that by the end of the pot, it’s cold – since my place of employment is also the site where hell is freezing over. Today, for instance, I was wearing a shirt, two hooded sweatshirts, and a down vest. I was still cold. I was warmer when I left the building. The reason the filter hasn’t made it to work is purely because my work mug is dirty. It had been cleaned, but for some reason made itself dirty again. I never think to clean it until the night before, at which point I’d rather just go upstairs and get in bed. So, this morning coffee from your establishment is a compromise in our relationship. I am willing to settle with it because, at worst, it is consistent.
            The real issue at hand is the quality of chocolate chip muffins you have been trying to pass off as acceptable. While I am a baking snob, I understand that fine baked goods can’t be acquired every day. I was willing to settle with your muffins because I need to eat something sweet and chocolate filled when I get to work at 6:30am. It seems as though every muffin I get has even less chocolate chips in it. How dare you call it a chocolate chip muffin, when it only has about 15 chips in it? That thing should be just speckled in chocolaty brown. As far as I can see it is cake, cake, and cake colored. Sure, a plain muffin is fine. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT I WANT. I do not have time to bake myself muffins for every horrible day that I have to go to work. And I look to this muffin to the high point of my day, which is sure to decline from the moment I swipe that time card. If you’re supposed to be the basis for my work day’s happiness, you are failing. Miserably. I realize that I can’t rely on you to do all the work in maintaining my smiles and sanity throughout the workday. It would be nice, though, if you put in a little effort – like ANY effort at all.

            This relationship isn’t working for me. I’m giving you a chance to change and live up to my demands. I’m not asking a lot. I just want freakin’ chocolate chips in my “Chocolate Chip Muffin.” I don’t need you to make coffee that tastes good. I don’t need you to do anything to your donuts. (I do occasionally still indulge in a chocolate frosted donut, even after the utter failure of my “Donut Diet” initiative). JUST THE CHIPS. CHOCOLATE CHIPS. They are easy to find. You can get them at the grocery store. I don’t care if you poke holes in the muffin to make sure it is chock full. Just, GET IT DONE. I will only ask once. I pay for everything; I’m always the one coming to you; I suffer through your faults. It’s about time you did something for me. If you can’t come through for me, we’re through. Sorry, it’s just how it goes. I don’t want to be some fat chick eatin’ shitty muffins.