Friday, April 30, 2010

Bad commercial! Bad!

Have you seen Merck's latest HPV commercial?  It's he one that starts out about life's great and you're going to Portugal (or somewhere equally exotic; I've actively stopped watching the commercials [okay, it was on again, and it's Miami, which is less exciting than Portugal]) and then you meet a guy and then he gives you HPV and then YOU GET CANCER AND ARE BARREN AND MIGHT DIE.  Um, thanks guys.  Nothing like the most heavy-handed scare tactics you could possibly imagine.

It's not that I'm against the vaccine.  (I haven't gotten it myself, but there's no real need, and I long ago passed the approved age, anyway.)  It's just that I object to any attempt to frighten people into paying for the service that a commercial sponsor provides.  It's the slightly more evil flipside to "If you buy our product, you'll be thinner/richer/happier/sexier/more successful!!"  As we say in my family, "That's asking a lot from a jumper."

I did, however, recently enjoy the Geico commercial where they asked if he was British or Australian.  It is a very nondescript (if charming) accent.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baking tip

If you're going to bake banana bread in a vastly differently sized pan than the one in the recipe (say, a normal loaf pan instead of the eight-inch square baking dish that they suggest) remember to adjust the cooking time, because a toothpick might still come out clean, and you'll wind up with hot liquid banana bread all over your counter, potholder, and hand.  Not that I'd know from first-hand experience or anything.

Curse you toothpick!  I trusted you!

Please don't touch my car

I will freely admit that my car spends most of its time in various states of dirty.  The weather lately has been especially mercurial--note that it was 75 degrees yesterday, and right now it's 39 and raining.  I refuse to wash my car unless the seven-day forecast lacks any animated precipitation, so it's been a while since I washed it.  (Besides, a clean car shows all the little scratches in the paint, which makes me sad.)

Recently, though, someone wrote "Wash me" in the dirt spots on my trunk.  First of all, bite me.  I'll wash my car when I feel like it.  If it bothers you so much, obnoxious stranger, YOU wash my car.  Second of all, though, I find this incredibly rude.  Writing in the dust is bad for the paint.  I don't write messages on your car with ultra fine sandpaper, yet essentially that's what you're doing to mine.

Besides, it had just rained.  Now, on my mission I washed my car in a light rain, but that's because it was Tuesday and we washed our car on Tuesdays, end of story.  I don't wash my car in the rain anymore, and I don't wash my car if it's supposed to rain at any time this week. Deal with it.

On the upside, after this week of rain, it is supposed to be clear and sunny.  Watch for a shiny blue car, clean as a week.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Percy Jackson and the popcorn

We went to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Lightning Thief at the cheap theaters on Saturday.  I normally call it the ghetto theater, but they recently put new seats in, and it's actually quite nice.  But I can't call it the dollar theater, because it's only a dollar on Tuesdays.  But I digress.

I really enjoyed the movie!  It wasn't terribly acted, and I appreciated the abundant use of Greek mythology.  It's like learning, only fun.  And they were pretty good about sticking to the Greek names, which is always a plus.  

I've heard people compare it to Narnia and Harry Potter, but I think it's like Sky High with mythology instead of superpowers.

The other excitement was the refillable popcorn tub.  For $6 you get a tub of popcorn (maybe around a size medium?) that you can refill for $3 at any Cinemark or Tinseltown theater.  Both nearby dollar theaters and the regular theater right by our house are Cinemarks, and I am a huge lover of movie theater popcorn, so we'll definitely get our money's worth.  We haven't seen a lot of movies lately, but it's more fun to see them on the big screen, and we're entering summer blockbuster season.  We're already planning on seeing Iron Man 2 in theaters, which is funny because I only saw the first one a few months ago.

Anyway, I definitely felt we got our four dollars worth from the movie last night.  I haven't read the book, so I can't speak to any variations from the source, but I thought it stood well on its own.  As far as I know they haven't  announced any sequels, but I'd be willing to go see them if they do.

So there you have it--good movie, good popcorn, good times had by all.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why be nice?

Everyone knows my blog is fluff at best, a random hodgepodge of things I like, things I don't like, things I've seen, and things I've eaten.  Allow me to be serious for a moment.  It's like when they bring the lights down at a concert for a slow jam.

Recently finding myself incapable of peeling myself off the couch for much more than a trip to the bathroom, I relied heavily on the goodwill of first my sister, and then my husband.  I needed only ask, and they'd jump up to get me a red popsicle (until I ate them all and had to switch to green) or break a pill into fourths so I wouldn't choke on it...again.  It reached a point where I didn't even have to ask--the dear man would notice that my straw was sucking air and hop up to get me more water.

Friends came by, bringing ice cream, fudgesicles, popsicles, soup, dvds.  Even my husband's friend and coworker stopped by.  I was amazed by the number of people who went out of their way to try to make me a little more comfortable in a really miserable time.

I thought to myself, "Why on earth would someone do that?"  I mean, my husband is contractually obligated to take care of me, sure, but what about all these other people?  Why bother being nice?

And then it hit me (and yes, it's sad that it required this much thinking, but guys, prescription painkillers seriously mess up my head) that this is what charity is.  This is bearing one another's burdens and lifting up the hands that hang down.  That tub of ice cream isn't just vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel and praline bits; it's evidence of someone trying to live their religion.

So thanks guys, for taking care of me when I was sick.  And I promise, if you get your tonsils out, I'll bring you some ice cream.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More fashion frustrations

All the women at my work have to wear skirts (or dresses, of course) and hosiery.  Often, they'll wear knee-highs, the tops of which show when the walk--and worse still, sometimes all the time.  It's like they don't even look in the mirror before they leave the house!  If there's a possibility that the slit/walking vent in your skirt will show your knee-highs, just don't wear them.  Frankly, I always feel a bit frumpy in knee-highs, anyway.  I think I own two or three pair, all leftovers from my mission (which ended three years ago, which shows how often I wear them!).

Along the lines of exposed underpinnings, I can't tell you how many times I see slipped slips.  Again, if the slit is higher then the hem of the slip, don't wear them together!  Most skirts don't need slips, anyway.  It's largely older ladies who do it, because slips are a generational holdover.  My coworker is 25 years older than I am, and she apparently is scandalized when she forgets to put on a slip.

The worst, though--the absolute worst--are those rare souls who manage to expose both the bottom of their slip and the top of their knee highs at the same time.  At that point, you have utterly failed to dress yourself.  Most of these women are married; can they not ask their husband, "Honey, is my slip showing?" or "Do my knee-highs show when I walk?"  I mean, is it so incredibly difficult to make sure one's underpinnings stay underneath one's clothes?

Fashion stuff that just doesn't do it for me

Now, some of you, dear readers, may embrace some of these fashion concepts.  If it works for you, great.  But they bug me, and I have to vent somewhere.

Very skinny jeans, leggings, jeggings...really, anything that looks painted on or poured into.

And speaking of leggings!  Leggings under dresses are not a look I can get behind.  For one, I remember it from the first time around.  Bleck.  You're not wearing tights.  You're wearing pants under a dress.  It's one thing to wear it to the mall, but when people wear them to more formal places--church, the temple, weddings, funerals--oooh, it grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard.

Skinny belts.  They don't DO anything.  They're not holding up your pants.  They're not keeping your shirt buttoned.  They're...chopping your torso in half visually?  This is another reheated 80s trend.  Basically, I don't like the 80s.  THE 80s WERE UGLY.  And if you're going to bring back something, bring back HyperColor t-shirts!

Fashion websites that imply that your baby's figure has flaws--that you need to dress your baby to camouflage a baby muffin top, or that you need to worry about smoothing out the diaper line.  If you want to accessorize your baby within an inch of her life, fine.  But babies don't have figures, and they certainly don't have FIGURE FLAWS.  Muffin top?  Babies have tummies, not muffin tops.  Diaper line?  Why not just get a thong diaper?  I mean, SNL has you covered there:

SNL Diaper Thong Skit

Nichole | MySpace Video

I'm sure there's more.  What fashion trends bother you?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Observations from the couch

A couple things I'd like to point out:

Pepperoni is not the new bacon.  Bacon is still bacon, and pepperoni continues to be for pizzas and the occasional crazy salad.

A bacon cheeseburger is not a grilled cheese sandwich, no matter how much cheese you put on it.  You put meat on it, it's a hamburger.  Add cheese, and it's a cheeseburger.  Grilled cheese is cheese on bread!  Stop trying to fancify it!

Uh, in other news, I haven't eaten in over a week and I'm obsessed with food.  I couldn't fall asleep last night and passed the time listing the things I want to eat.  Pizza, popcorn, grilled cheese, breadsticks, cake, cookies, french fries, a salad, rice crispy treats, rolls, name it, I'm craving it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moderation in all things, including crazy health kicks

A friend of mine posted photos on Facebook of her son's Easter experience.  In his Easter basket he got colored hardboiled eggs, a stuffed bunny, some little toys, and an energy bar.  Another picture is captioned, "Don't feel too bad for him, I did let him hunt for plastic eggs filled with stickers, carob chips, yogurt raisins, almonds, and dried fruit."  I'm sorry?  That makes me feel even worse than if he got no "treats."  Have you TRIED carob chips?  I guess they'd be okay if you've never had chocolate, but c'mon!  They're gross!

I understand why she's doing it.  She wants him to be healthy and have healthy eating habits.  That's great.   But he's three, maybe four.  What happens when he goes to school?  Is he going to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to eat cupcakes, but would you like some of my soynuts" when kids bring treats for their birthday celebration?  Might he feel left out when everyone else is buying dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and tots and he's eating celery with (all-natural) peanut butter?

Far be it from me to say she's doing it wrong, but I will say that that isn't a method that I intend to use.  By making candy a "never food," you just make it that much more appealing.  You never want a food so much as when you can't have it.  (Including solid food; poor FH and his gaping wisdom teeth holes has been dying for something to chew.)  I would much rather treat candy and junk food as "sometimes" foods, that they're special treats we only have once in a while and not the source of all evil that we never ever touch.  Besides, sometimes I want to eat them, too!

And then what happens when he has the freedom to make choices for himself, like at school?  Or when he becomes a surly teenager?  He'll go drunk on the freedom, I tell you!  Or maybe he won't.  But I'd rather teach my kids about self control and moderation then trust them to function in the real world.  Besides, a Cadbury Creme Egg once a year isn't going to kill anybody.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Whatever works

I've heard several people extolling the virtues of Dave Ramsey's get out of debt plan.  I looked into it, and it is remarkably like Marvin J. Ashton's "One for the Money" from 1975, particularly the debt elimination schedule, or "debt snowball" as Ramsey calls it.  The difference is that Ramsey's plan insists you start with the debt with the lowest balance (since you'll have the psychological boost of paying something off quickly) and Elder Ashton just says to start with the debt you want to pay off first. "It may be," the pamphlet says, "the debt with the highest interest rate, or the earliest pay-off date."  Or the one that just bugs you the most, I might add.

I like that it gives you the flexibility to do it how you want, while still has structure to help you succeed.  If there's anything you learn in life, it's that one size doesn't fit all, whether it's in finance plans or souvenir t-shirts.  Some people can't control their spending and do best on an all-cash plan.  Some people--me included--find putting everything on a cash-back credit card is their preferred way.  (You get cash back and the money gets to sit in savings all month!)  But that only works if you're committed to paying it off in full every month, because one or two percent cash back does not make up for the ten or twenty percent you'll pay in interest.

I just find it kind of ridiculous when someone says "THIS is the way to do (whatever)."  It's worlds apart from saying "This is the way that worked for me."  Why, there might even be another way that could work for you!  You don't know for sure if it's the only way, because once you find something that works, you stop trying other things.  (It's like saying something is always the last place you look. Yes, because you find it and stop looking.)  My way of finding a husband may not work for you.  (Frankly, he just kind of showed up and begged me to marry him. That usually doesn't happen.)  Your awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe may turn into cookie pancakes when I make them.  (Perhaps some other day I will explain my issues with making chocolate chip cookies.)  I shower at night because I can't haul my carcass out of bed early enough to do it in the morning, no matter when I go to bed.  I know someone who showers when he gets home from school.  A shower a day is a shower a day.  There's just no one right way for most things.

So I'm giving you permission to do whatever works for you.  Pay your bills the day they come in or pay them the day they're due--either way they still get paid.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Diet starts tomorrow!

The joke is that our little family is going on a diet, since as of tomorrow afternoon FH won't be able to chew, and a week from today I won't be able to swallow.  Well, not that I'm much of a fan now; my  throat has really been bothering me, so much so that last night I dreamed that I went to the doctor.  Dream-doctor was all, "These have to come out RIGHT NOW."  I second the motion, sir.

It's a great excuse, though.  "I can't go to the gym; my throat is killing me."  I can't remember the last time I cooked an actual dinner.  I'm never hungry lately.  This happens periodically anyway, but an aversion to swallowing doesn't help.  If you ask me what I want for dinner, I will invariably say "ice cream."  I haven't been indulging too much, though, because I get as much as I want after they slice me open.  (Speaking of slice, we had Papa John's for dinner on Tuesday, and it was the best it's ever tasted.  Am eating leftover breadstick now.)

A friend mentioned that he lost 25 pounds when he got his wisdom teeth out.  My reaction was along the lines of "Say whaa?!"  I didn't ask, but it made me wonder what happened.  That's not a normal reaction.  Most people are on pudding for a few days, but 25 pounds?  That's a lot of lost calories.

In other news, there's nothing I love more than the first of the month.  Resetting my budgets in Mint, and nothing is over budget yet.  There's something magical about the sense of promise, like maybe this month we won't have ridiculously huge expenses come up and I can actually keep things from going red.  Maybe if someone hadn't refused to drive to California...!  But no, most of it is dumb things like medical bills and windshield replacements and bullet-resistant vests.  And oh, I need to buy more contacts this month!  Don't get me wrong, we'll get the British phone booth DVD cabinet eventually, but it's pretty low on my list. But it is on there.