Saturday, October 23, 2010

Scary Baby Carrier

Did you know there is a stroller that costs $879? The Bugaboo. It is essentially a baby carrier - a pram, as they call in England - that costs nearly 900 dollars. I am curious about what patented stroller technology the Bugaboo has that other strollers are lacking. It must have amazing hidden features, maybe James Bond-style gadgets for a quick getaway.

For $879, that thing better dispense soft serve ice cream, tone my arm muscles AND sing the baby to sleep. Realistically, I think the Bugaboo is just a very expensive status symbol for mommies who are still Totally Trendy.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up what else can be purchased for about $879:
And why are we naming a baby stroller after a scary, evil mythological creature anyway? Seems counterintuitive. When I was young, a Bug A Boo was a song by Destiny's Child. The lyrics referred to a male who sends a girl too many pages and emails, and won't stop calling. I guess when you think about it, a baby could be called a monster who won't stop bugging you, but that's hardly something we want to advertise as we walk down the street with our bundle of joy, now is it?

Besides, just think about how many Gucci diaper bags you could buy with that $879. Oh, probably just the one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

George Would Be Proud

Today I spent a bit of time reflecting upon what makes DC unique. Here are a few things I came up with, which may or may not resonate with readers, depending on whether you live or spend time in the nation's glorious capital. In any case, here in DC, we have much to offer:
  • Broken escalators. These fancy metal staircases can be found at nearly every Metro station in the city. The best thing about broken escalators is the nice surprised feeling you get when you happen upon a working escalator every now and then. It's the little things...
  • High-priced homes and the country's worst public schools. Yes America, that's right. In the proud city named for the Father of Our Country, you can simultaneously pay more than $400,000 for a one-bedroom condo and send your child to a school where he or she will be as likely to be bitten by a rat as to land in a school with adequate funding and facilities.
  • More rain than Seattle. Based on an article I read but won't be citing here because -- let's face it, I'm too lazy to look it up -- DC had more inches of rain last year than Seattle, the city that people like to think of as being the rainiest in the land. We also have drivers who act as though Satan himself were bringing the world to an end via a fiery hellstorm whenever a few drops fall from the sky. They turn driving during rush hour into a fun game of hit the gas, hit the brake, wait, swerve a bit, aaand repeat. You would think that they'd be used to it by now...
Now I don't want to be a Negative Nelly here. We also have lots of fun, wholesome, American things to offer in DC. Such as monuments, museums, the Presidential motorcade, the filming of Transformers 314 on the National Mall, and lobbyists!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, like in any place, you have to take the bad with the good. And it could be worse - we could get huge snowstorms that shut down the city for weeks at a time. Oh, wait...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Worst Buy

Seven weeks ago, I decided to buy a microwave from Best Buy. A fairly simple pursuit, or so I thought at the time. In fact, I ordered several kitchen appliances from Best Buy’s Web site, and they were sporadically delivered to my house without much notice. All except for the damn microwave.

Last Friday, it was finally delivered. But not by Best Buy! It was sent by an eBay seller, who I bought the microwave from (again) after Best Buy failed to deliver the appliance. This was after 12 phone calls from my husband and me, a written letter of complaint, a flurry of negatively aimed Twitter posts, and false promises from Best Buy's delivery company, resulting in raised and dashed hopes over the period of a month.

Our conversations went like this:
Monday: “Your microwave is here! It will be delivered on Wednesday.”
Wednesday: “Oh, your microwave isn’t actually here. We don’t know when it will be.”
Thursday: “You ordered a microwave?”
Friday: “Your microwave will definitely be here on Monday. You’ll have it next week!”
Monday: “It could be weeks before your microwave is delivered. We just don’t know.”

I find it amusing that a company that devotes so much energy, focus, manpower and money to advertising offers very little in the areas of customer service, item tracking, and delivery services. You know – things that actually matter to the customer!

My entire kitchen remodel has been held up by this nonsense because the microwave has to be built-in above the oven. So I have been eating hot dogs, burgers, and things that can be grilled or cooked in a frying pan since August. Thanks, Best Buy, or as my friend Pamela so cleverly called it, WORST BUY. Never again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sucking it Up for Mother Earth

I have an interesting lunch today. I bought it from Chick fil-A, and they gave me fancy ketchup! What’s so fancy about it? Well, it says “Fancy Ketchup” on the packet, so it must have a little something extra inside. Perhaps some truffle oil. There is also a picture of two tomatoes on the side of the package, which does liven it up quite a bit, I must admit.

The ketchup packet is one of those modern conveniences that I really get a kick out of. You can pick up plastic rectangular packets in almost any fast food restaurant, tear it open, and voila! A delicious tomato sauce-like substance in a wonderful shade of red comes out and revs up your food.

What I do not like about today’s lunch is the cardboard straw that came with my meal. In Chick fil-A’s defense, this was a straw supplied by my employer. You see, we have “Gone green.”

I was originally impressed and glad to hear that we were making efforts to be more sustainable. But I didn’t realize that this meant employees over the age of 50 would continue to print out every email they receive, while I am forced to suck down my delicious beverage through a cardboard tube.

It just doesn’t feel right on my tongue. You don’t get the same suction that a plastic straw creates. I doubt that one could suck just a bit of liquid into a cardboard straw, trapping it inside by placing one’s tongue on the end, moving the straw away from the cup and then shooting it into a desired target. This game provided endless minutes of entertainment to my siblings and I as children. I pity the generation that has to grow up with a childhood devoid of plastic straws.

Not to mention the fact that my soda now has a distinctly cardboard taste to it. Well, I’ve got to go. My straw is getting soggy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Carrot Cake Pissed at Similar Food Name

Today I heard a story on NPR about the Corn Refiners Association, which is lamenting the unfair treatment of High Fructose Corn Syrup, a substance we all know can be found in soda, bread, yogurt—pretty much any beloved American food.

In recent years, the CRA says, reports of the negative effects of consuming High Fructose Corn Syrup (which I will from here on call HiFu Sup), are grossly over exaggerated. Damn those obesity researchers! They would probably feel better if they just chilled on the couch with some sweet snacks.

Anyway, this brings me to my favorite part of the story. To improve the image of HiFu Sup—because for some reason people with muffin tops all over the country have stopped consuming it—the CRA wants to rename this much maligned substance.

What do they want to call it, you ask? Corn Sugar.

Corn Sugar! I can just imagine what the health-conscious masses will say. “That sounds so…healthy!” they’ll exclaim. “I’m going to supplement my balanced diet with some essential corn sugar! It can’t be bad for you; half of its name is a vegetable!”

I’m sure that those who have given up soda and sugary cereals in recent years will be delighted to know that they can in good conscience go back to consuming whatever they want. Because they’re in good hands. Delicious, sweet, Corn Sugar hands.

Friday, September 3, 2010

One mattress please, not in white

Labor Day Weekend is here, and we all know what that means. Picnics! A three-day weekend! An end to what we think of as summer, hot temperatures be damned. And, thank goodness, a clearly recognized end to the carefree flaunting of white shoes, pants and skirts by women across America.

If it weren't for Grover Cleveland and the labor strikers who lost their lives in a stand against low wages and layoffs, we as a society might be doomed to muddle through the entire year without knowing when to stop wearing white. I shudder to imagine crowds of white-clad women making their way through leaf-covered streets on their way to work in October. Or white heels on the dance floor on New Year's Eve! Fashionistas (and barbeque enthusiasts) everywhere should tip their hats to the valiant men who took part in that important strike against a railcar company in 1894.

And let's not forget about the plethora of furniture sales being held across our great nation this weekend. Mattresses, sofas and bunk beds in all 50 states will be on sale for 30%, 40%, or even 50% off! I myself am excited about purchasing an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, and maybe an arm chair for my den, as long as I can find one in a color other than white.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Strike a 100 pages

Looking back, my first entry was super serious, wasn't it? And now on to the topic that first inspired me to start this thing in the first place.

Recently I picked up a copy of Vogue magazine, a favorite among many of my peers. I admit that it was an impulse purchase, a decision made as I waited in the check-out line at my local grocery store.

I was drawn to the issue by the pretty blue color of Gwyneth Paltrow's outfit on the cover, and the teaser, "Age Issue," which caught my eye because I'm starting to grow ever more conscious of my increasing number of gray hairs and fine lines.

As someone who majored in magazine journalism in college and once aspired to be the editor-in-chief of a major women's magazine -- but a smart one, one that didn't focus solely on looks and pleasing your man! -- I am arguably more critical of the glossy publishing industry than the average citizen.

But I find it preposterous that the first page of the magazine that actually contains an article is page 84. 84! This means that the magazine contains at least 80 pages of advertisements before the reader gets to something even remotely information-driven that is not trying to sell her something. (Let's forget for a moment that many of the articles and editorial pages are essentially just thinly veiled ads for clothing, accessories, and other products.)

It's a shame that the Internet is killing newspapers. But I think it's even worse that the magazine, a once unique and exciting medium that served extremely specific niches of the public, has denigrated, for the most part, into a package of advertisements with a few "articles" snuck in to hold people's interest.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that, despite my complaints, I still subscribe to three magazines and regularly buy others off the stand. Maybe I'm trying to support what I still see as being my profession, or maybe, just maybe, I'm an optimist after all.

But I doubt it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Post

Hello world.

My very first blog entry was going to be about something entirely different, but now it is going to be about bloggery (possibly a word I just invented) and the fact that every blog name I could think of has already been taken. I wonder how many other people have been through this experience.

I spent 25 minutes trying to register various blog names and couldn't seem to come up with one that wasn't taken. I am thinking that this means one of several things.
1. I'm an unoriginal bastard.
2. Too many people have blogs.
3. Maybe a lot of people having blogs is a good thing. Democracy and the freedom of expression and all that. But you could also argue that the saturation of the Internet with thousands of voices has made it more difficult for people to find things that they actually want to read about online.

Or maybe I haven't gotten enough sleep this week. Moving, getting a new boss at work and having one's assistant go away for her honeymoon during the same 5-day period can do that to a person.

Well. My first post has turned out to be more serious than I intended. Next time: A blistering yet humorous review of Vogue magazine. I hope.