Monday, October 29, 2007

That figures

Oh man, guys, I need to apologize to you folks. I had this really great story about how I found this pen at work that had this really hilarious note on it -- it was waterproof. What kind of pen is waterproof? In what context would that possibly be useful? Is it like an astronaut pen for scuba divers? I could only imagine someone in a sinking submarine trying to write a note warning the people who discover the wreckage of the giant squid that swallowed the propeller, realizing he had a Bic, and then swearing (sailors swear a lot), wishing he had my pen.

I found myself outside with the pen and your run of the mill Post-It pad, trying to write something down. I don't remember why I was outside writing things down, but that's not the point; the point is, it was raining. What a glorious coincidence! I was oddly outside writing things down in the rain with a waterproof pen! It seemed to work ok, but afterwards it started to crap out. I threw the pen away today. So who would make an outlandish claim about having a waterproof pen, and then have it not be true? That'd be like a pot manufacturer saying that you can use their saucepan upside-down on the burner and get the same results when you boil your spaghetti. Why would you even bother making such a statement?

The problem, though, is that I can't find a link to this pen. It's a Vivo Microfine, one of those wacky ballpointers that looks almost like it's a felt tip. It's black (I refuse to use any pen that is not black [unless it's red, and then only in certain cases; the point is that blue ink was invented by terrorists]), has a nice grip, and nice balance. I like the pen. But it isn't waterproof! I haven't felt this cheated since that time I read a Shakira interview where she said that she wanted to sound like Led Zeppelin.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hey guys, what is?

I hate when people use phrases that are shortened to the point of incompleteness. I am not talking about the now mainstream internet lingo, like IDK, my BFF Jill?, which is its own brand of infuriating. I am talking about when people say things like, "I am on my way to grab a vegan spring roll and a mineral water. Would you like to come with?" My opinion of ending things with prepositions notwithstanding, this is the sort of sentence that would make want to cause as much offense as possible: by walking away without even answering the question and ordering a hamburger at the nearest, greasiest location that served one. Then kicking a nearby dog for good measure.

There are others, too. See you in a few. A few what? Seconds? Days? I know you are probably thinking something along the lines of, "That's clearly context related, Engineer." You know what else is context related? Your face. How is that better than saying, "See you in a few minutes," or "See you in a bit," which is the same length. Or, if you're really that lazy, "See you"? That removes the completely ambiguous and unnecessary statement of "a few." My seventh grade biology teacher used to say, "No naked numbers!" and this reminds me of that. She said she meant that we were to always include unites with our numbers, but I always thought that she secretly was just a little prudish and wanted to repress 4's sexuality. I'm not going answer these people until they tell me with whom or a few what. Finish your sentences, jerks.

I never really got on board with calling Ultimate Frisbee just "Ultimate" either. I feel like that would be like calling Super Mario Brothers "Super." [Don't misunderstand me: I'm not saying that Super Mario Brothers isn't super; I am saying it should be called "Mario."] I really hate things that are described by their modifier rather than the modified word. Consider this example: if someone offered you a peanut butter and milk, you would probably say, "What, like on a stick?" But you'd be missing out, because he really meant peanut butter cookies, and it wouldn't be your fault! Nobody calls peanut butter cookies just peanut butters, or pound cake pound. How come Ultimate Frisbee gets this exception? I don't have time to ponder this question, because I have to go in a few. Hey, do you want to come with? No? Well, I hope you keep reading How.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Make the first one count

Hey, you know what? Ice cream is pretty great. I don't know who is responsible for it, wikipedia says it's both the Mesopotamians and the Chinese in the same article, but I always heard it was the Chinese. (You know, in that same sentence with noodles and paper and fireworks. But you know what they didn't invent? Whiskey. My people handled that one. You're welcome.)

There is one problem that I have, though. You know how the first time you scoop ice cream it comes out so wonderfully, like, well, cream? That is a pretty difficult to surpass dessert experience. There are a few that come close: first bite of fresh cookies, Oreos dunked in chocolate, and throwing a pie at a drifter. But after the ice cream has been in the freezer for a few days, it is not nearly as glorious. In fact, it is hard and barely a cream at all.

There are a few possible remedies, and none of them are particularly good. You can heat up your spoon, but that's only a temporary solution. You can lower the temperature of your freezer, but then you run the risk of having ice cream that's too creamy or cherry popsicles that look like they're crying blood. I think the sanest answer is to get a soft serve machine in my living room next to my couch.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rollercoaster... I hate that song.

I feel I must apologize again for my low output lately. My life has been a series of ups and downs, each down more up than the last, and vice versa. But don't you for a second think I'm going to complain about my life or job on How Observant. I hate blogs like that. If you really gave a damn what was going on in my life you'd call me or something. You didn't, so let's not waste any time. I'm pretty sure I made a promise early on in the life of this blog that I wouldn't talk about garbage like that. I observe in entertaining fashion, hence the title.

I was reminded about one of my chief missions just as I was sitting down for this entry, in fact. One of those stupid AT&T commercials came on -- the Wes Anderson ones where he lives in New Hautelantaugustemson -- and it occurred to me that I need to cover some of those terrible, terrible commercials that are out there again. Wes Anderson, although I am rather fond of his movies (and usually his commercials) did not have a hit with this series. His American Express commercial cracked me right up, though.

The good news for Mr. Anderson is that he's not alone right now. I think a the top of the list, undoubtedly, is Wendy's. There is always a one character doing something absurd while wearing the Wendy's crayon red hair. And, you know, absurdity is sometimes good ("Find the Fish" anyone?) but these people suck at it. Just show us your square hamburgers and be done with it. Kicking trees, playing the didgeridoo in a freezer and turning into a non-blue Veruca Salt just isn't getting the job done. These commercials make me want to go to McDonald's. Ponder that one.

Also, Best Buy. There is a commercial where the customer and the salesman are discussing HDTV, and they are not talking in complete sentences. At one point, the customer says that he likes cowboy explosions, and that's pretty awesome. I can't think of a movie that couldn't be improved with cowboy explosions. Maybe Phantoms.

I do feel the need to give some positive remarks to Geico, though. They parlayed a successful commercial series into a television program. And they have another awesome series right now, with Lauren Wallace (who is made of lightning), the cousin of Mike Wallace. I love those commercials. Take a note, Wendy's, and see what a real commercial looks like.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How un-e-harmonious

Internet dating is turning into a pretty serious deal these days. Some of them try to trick you, like OkCupid, which lures you with obnoxious internet quizzes that they try to pass off as memes, but in order to be a meme, people have to actually recognize the concept they're spreading. But as it turns out, OkCupid is an internet dating site.

I don't get it. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but the whole concept seems ludicrous. Efficient, but ludicrous. Here is my description, as I understand internet dating, separated conveniently by gender.

: sadly browse profiles, skipping entries without pictures, picking one that sounds like she'd be willing to sleep with him with minimal effort, sends out 30 messages to the most likely candidates, browse over to his favorite Star Trek themed pornographic website.

Women: cry, watch Sex and the City, write a profile underexaggerating age and weight while overexaggerting intelligence and culture, post a picture from 7 years ago, be sure to mention how much fun and blond she is, wonder if the guy who just sent her a message could be The One, feed cats.

The event that prompted me to write this post was a commercial I saw for They are one of these web-based dating services, that has E-harmony in its sights (sites?). Even though E-harmony commercials are annoying, I don't think chemistry's tack is the right one here. They typically show a person who reads a list of inoffensive qualities (one person forgot Earth Day, another was gay, another was a Goth or some other lifestyle that takes themselves way too seriously) in an effort to sort out why they were rejected by E-harmony. I guess it could just be my prejudices, but I don't think I want to subscribe to an internet dating service that caters to the rejects of another internet dating service. That's like getting the meal of stuff that wasn't quite good enough to make it onto Taco Bell's menu. No quiero.