Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{February 3, 2008}   What’s Up With Receipts?

Why does the default on cash registers seem to be “print receipt,” even though most people don’t want one?

Cash registers everywhere I go seem to just automatically spit out a receipt.  I see it when I buy something at the caf at work or at the Tim Horton’s or the Starbucks or… well, you get the picture.  In fact, at the caf, the cashiers automatically assume that you don’t want one and so they just grab the receipt from the machine and throw it a big pile unwanted receipts without even offering it to you.  If they know that most people don’t want them, why not set the machine up so that it won’t print receipts automatically and only print them when the customer asks for one?

What set me off on this rant today was this receipt from Blenz.  This receipt isn’t even a real receipt in the proof-of-purchase sense of the word.  This is a receipt that just lists what you bought.  Because, you know, it takes about 2 minutes to make that steamed vanilla milk and in that 2 minutes, you might forget what you ordered.  So when they put the steamed vanilla milk up on the bar and say “steamed vanilla milk,” you’ll be able to look down at that receipt and know it’s yours and not someone else’s.  Except THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN THE STORE!

Perhaps they think we have too many pesky trees here in Canada and this seems like a good way to thin out the forests?

I’m now on the second leg of my Christmas tour – at Sarah & Dave‘s place in Ottawa. Tired and should go to bed soon, but first I thought I’d show y’all a few Christmas photos.

Like this one, a picture of my niece with the stuffed Quatchi1 that I gave her:


And here, she’s tucking Quatchi into the new bed she got for Xmas:


And this is my sister’s boyfriend, my niece and I, looking out the window of her new playhouse. The house is about 3 feet tall2, and was packed with all the toys she got for Christmas, which she carefully placed into this house before insisting we join her in said house. Translation: it was rather crowded.


OK, Beth sleep now. Beth will blog more coherently tomorrow.

Update: For the record, I’m in Ontario, but my blog timestamps using Pacific Time. So I’m really not going to bed at 9:40 p.m.

1Aunt Beth, spreading the love of Quatchi eastward!
2Disclaimer: I am completely useless at estimating heights.

So, I was wondering all day why no one commented on my engaging tale of the 12 Bars of Christmas. I get the comments on my blog emailed to me, so I didn’t look at the blog itself – just didn’t get any emailed comments. And just now when I went to write a new posting, I discovered that, although I finished writing the posting yesterday, I didn’t actually click “publish.” D’oh! Guess that kind of absentmindedness is a sign that perhaps one shouldn’t go to 12 bars in one night. Anyway, here’s the posting:

So, I have a confession to make. I did not successfully complete the 12 Bars of Christmas this year! *hangs head in shame*. I made it to all the bars. I sang all the verses of the 12 Days of Christmas at the appropriate times and in the appropriate locations, as per the rules of the 12 Bars. But I was not able to drink a drink at every bar! Well, I suppose I would have been able to, so I probably should say I was unwilling to given that my body was telling me that I needed a break after 8 drinks1.

I think part of the problem as that I couldn’t stick to the same game plan I had last year – which was to stick with a specific drink2 for most bars, with the occasional shot when we got behind schedule and needed to get in and out of a bar really fast. Why couldn’t I stick to that game plan, you ask? Because the 12 Bars got waaaaay too popular! Last year, we started out at Erika & Paul’s place with something like 7 people and then ended up with about 30 by the last bar, as people joined us along the way. This year, we had somewhere around 30 people at the first bar!! By the end, we have no accurate count of participants as friends of friends had joined up and no one really knew who was with us and who were just randoms in the bar. But there had to be over 50 of us by the end. This resulted in two things: (a) we didn’t get to meet as many new people, as you sort of had to stick with your little group in order to not get totally lost in the crowd, and (b) it’s really hard to get a drink at a bar when 30-50 others are also all trying to get a drink in 30 mins3 – somehow always seemed to be the last people served and so had to take a few shots off the start because there wasn’t enough time to drink an actual drink. I think this set a poor tone for the evening!

My night went something like this.

Bar #0 – Erika & Paul’s place (UNOFFICIAL START) – Vodka & Sprite. I agreed to have a drink here. This was my first mistake!

Bar #1 – Las Margarita’s – OFFICIAL START – Jolly Rancher shot. I wanted a margarita here, but by the time we got to the bartender, it was pretty much time to leave, so we had to do a shot.

Bar #2 – Room 18Polar bear shot. Bar #2 was supposed to be Hell’s Kitchen5, makers of the best Amaretto sour at last year’s 12 Bars. When Hell’s Kitchen was called early in the day and asked if they would be open at 4 p.m., they replied “yes.” Apparently “yes” means “no” at Hell’s Kitchen, because when we go there, they weren’t open. So we improvised and went to Room 18 instead. They didn’t want to let us in at first, saying they couldn’t handle 34 people with just one bartender. So we promised that we’d all get the exact same shot and be out in her hair in life 15 minutes, probably the fasted $300 that bar will ever make. So another unplanned shot for me, but a great photo opp!

Bartender at Room 18 makes 34 Polar bear shots.

Bar #3 – Brown’sAmaretto sour. Finally! Although this one wasn’t like any Amaretto sour I’d had before – it was brown rather than green. Weird.

Bar #4 – Kitsilano RestaurantWhite wine. This is the place where we stop to eat. But it counts as a bar, so we have to drink their too. So I enjoyed a much too full glass of wine with my yam rolls, veggie tempura and teriyaki tofu. About halfway through the wine was when my brain took notice of the unnecessary amount of alcohol to which it was being subjected.

Bar #5 – Tatlow’sSpiced rum & diet Coke6 – I don’t think I have anything special to report about this bar.

Bar #6 – Darby’sAmaretto sour! Yay! Darby’s makes a tasty A.S. And it was green. Making for a very Christmasy photo of red and green drinks.

Casey shows off our Christmas coloured drinks –
Vodka cran + Amaretto sour.

Bar #7 – Nevermind Spiced rum & diet Coke6 – Unlike it’s sister restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, Nevermind was open. Unlike last year, where we convinced a #84 Express bus to pick us up and drive us to Nevermind despite the fact that Nevermind is not where the #84 bus is supposed to stop, this year we had to walk all the way to Nevermind. Which, by my calculations, is 872 blocks from Darby’s.

Between bars #7 and #8 is where I officially decided to wuss out. My tummy was telling me that it was sufficiently stocked with alcoholic beverages at the moment and any further deliveries would be returned to sender. So, in the interest of not puking, I decided to skip the drinks at the next two bars.

Bar #8 – Gargoyles – No drink!

Bar #9 – The Fringe – No drink again!

Bar #10 & #11 – Coppertank Spiced rum & diet Coke. We were supposed to go to Elwood’s for Bar #10, but they told us that brinigng 50ish people would put them over capacity, so they wouldn’t let us in. So we decided that Coppertank could have more of our money and decided to stay there for an hour instead of the usual 30 mins, having two drinks (and sing two verses of the 12 Days of Christmas) instead of the usual 1. I felt better enough to have one drink, but decided that I didn’t really need two.

Beth and Kalev tell us that we are at Bar #10.
Unfortunately, Coppertank counted as 2 bars, I forgot to take a “Bar #11” pic.

Bar #12 – Regal BeagleSpiced rum and diet Coke. And thus ended the 12 Bars.

Bar #13 – Lola’sSpiced rum and diet Coke – In celebration of not having died, we went next door to Lola’s to dance, and make fun of the other patrons fashion choices behind their backs.

Hooray for Bar #13. Go team!

You can view all the photos here.

1In my defence, I would like to remind everyone that I’m somewhat on the small size. I don’t think 115 lb people are meant to drink 13 drinks!
2In my case, Amaretto sour.
3And the 30 minutes includes travel time between bars. And, given that we were having a blizzard4, travel time was somewhat slower going than one would like.
4To my readers out east: “blizzard” in Vancouver vernacular means “it was snowing out.”
5You may recall Hell’s Kitchen as the location of my brief but celebrated career as a coat check girl.
6I think. If memory serves me, they didn’t have Amaretto here so I had to improvise. But I could be misremembering – memory started to fuzzy for some unidentifiable reason.

On my recent flight to Vegas, I found myself flipping through “SkyMall” – the catalog for those who can’t last a whole three hours without satisfying their need to purchase stuff. And this catalog was rife with items that I just can’t imagine anyone actually purchasing. Things like:


Seriously? Do people really want to brand their beef?

And you might think it’s just because I’m a vegetarian that I wouldn’t want to buy a beef brand. But I also don’t want to brand my toast:


And while it was the branding of the toast by this product that first caught my attention, upon closer reading of the description of this item, I noticed this:


Seriously? We need a digital countdown to tell us when our toast is ready? Doesn’t the “pop” of the toaster popping tell you all you need to know? And then I noticed this:


Are people really willing to pay $130 for a toaster that tells you when the toast is ready… just like every other toaster ever invented???

Here’s another product I just don’t get. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but I just don’t understand why you would buy this:


If you have a device that uses wifi, doesn’t it already detect hot spots and their signal strength? Why would you need a separate item, which doesn’t do anything else, for this purpose?

Want to make sure your kid grows up to be a good consumer? Why not give them a fake ATM to play with:


Much like with cola, it’s important to start kids’ learning about how to spend-spend-spend early!

I think this picture speaks for itself:


Giddy up!!

And thank god I can finally “STOP COUNTING THUNDER!”


Because, you know, I spend so much time counting thunder, this is going to be a real time saver!

And can someone explain to me how, exactly, they get away with saying this is the “world’s largest” storage tower?


Really? You’ve seen all the CD storage towers in the entire world and this one is the biggest? Really?

Next up, Items That I Would NEVER Use to Decorate My Place:


This totally makes me think of the “major award” that the father wins in A Christmas Story.


And what yard is complete without a two foot tall statue of Bigfoot? Creative gardening style indeed!


This is just sad. I don’t want a “total environmental makeover”1 – I want a Christmas tree, dammit!

Now we have Items That Allow You to More Effectively Neglect Your Pets:


Because cats are just so high maintenance that you need a device to keep them occupied “so you can do other things.” Why do I suspect that the “other things” the type of person who buys this item has to do are, like, watching TV for 8 hours straight? “Momma’s watchin’ her stories, kitty, go play with your laser.”

Also for people who are too busy for their pets, why not get this lovely 8 Day Autopetfeeder:


Going away for 8 days? Sure, you could do the responsible thing and have someone watch your pet, or put them in a cat-spa/doggy daycare/whatever you call those places where actual human beings care for your pets while you are away, but why not just leave them some food in an automated dish instead? I mean, what else could your pet need in EIGHT DAYS??

Finally, we have Items That Make Me Shake My Head in Disbelief at the State of Humanity.

Such as this brush that regrows hair:


It’s “consistently seen in the news and magazines,”2 so who I am to question that?

And this sure looks like good times:


“Imagine the faces of your pre-game buddies when they see you kicking back in this”?2 Shouldn’t that say “imagine the faces of your pre-game buddies when they kick your ass for spending $200 to look like an asshat?

This one just makes me sad.


This woman not only has no one to spoon her and has to use this pillow to simulate spooning, but she got herself a rose. Because clearly no one else loves her.

Perhaps she’s alone because she “easily hid” this item in the car…


… to find out where her spouse was going3.

And finally, because you should always save the best for last:


It’s about time we had cookies that make you lose weight! As a nutritional scientist, I can see absolutely nothing wrong with this idea. Nothing!

1Who writes this stuff anyway?
3Which reminds me, while waiting for luggage at Vancouver airport after the flight home, the man next to me was very loudly talking to his buddies about HIS MISTRESS! Saying things like “So my wife was kind of suspicious, but I said, “I can’t even handle you, what would I do with two women??” and “Never admit it. Never. That’s the two million dollar mistake.” So if you (or someone you know) have a husband who flew from Vegas to Vancouver on US Airways on November 3, you (or they) might want to get yourself a good lawyer – apparently there’s 2 million dollars in it for you.

Yeah, so, Vegas. It’s a place I went1. And I heard that all y’all wanted to hear about it. So here goes – everything you’ve ever heard about Vegas is true. Overwhelming sights and sounds – check. Oxygen and delightful scents and free drinks pumped into casinos, where there are no clocks/windows/any way of telling how long you’ve been there, to keep you gambling as long as possible – check. People walking the streets with foot tall tubes of booze – check. Guy at the slot machine next to you getting “comped”2 because he lost so much money that the casino is willing to give him a free hotel room so he’ll stay and lose more – check. Giant pyramid with a light shooting off the top that can be seen from outer space – check. People standing on street corners flicking business cards of prostitutes – check.

The one thing that you hear about Vegas that isn’t true – people carrying buckets of coins around. All the slot machines have been changed to run on paper money and when you cash out, they print a ticket that you have to redeem at a cashier’s desk. No coins comes falling down when you win – it’s just credits on the screen – and when the slot machine prints out your little ticket, it makes this lame noise that is supposed to sound like coins falling jdown into the little now-vestigial metal tray at the bottom of the machine. Lame city!! Maybe next time I go to Vegas, I’ll bring my own bucket and put my little paper ticket into my bucket, just to screw with everyone’s head.

Stuff seen in Vegas:

  • Magician comedian who was filling in for Mac King at Harrah’s and whose name escapes me at the moment. Had a pretty funny schtick where he made it look like he’d screwed up the trick and then it would turn out to be a fairly neat trick after all.3
  • Dead bodies.
  • Mamma Mia – the musical based on ABBA songs. I swear, you’d think ABBA wrote their songs for that plot – it’s soooo well constructed.
  • The Blue Man Group. This blew my fucking mind. Like nothing I’ve EVER seen before. OMG, you need to see this. NEED TO!

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Blue Man & Me.
The fact that I wore a blue dress this day is merely coincidental.

Most nauseating thing seen in Vegas:

  • Picture this: You are playing your little $1 chips at the roulette table, mumbling under your breath that the $15 minimum really is too rich for your blood. A man walks up and lays 10 $100 bills on the table and asks for one chip. The dealer carefully counts the money out and hands over a $1000 chip. He lays the chip on black and walks away, doesn’t even watch the little ball spinning around the roulette wheel. The little ball lands on red. Bye-bye $1000! Then he does the same thing again – another 10 $100 bills, another $1000 chip on black and another loss. Then, just for good measure, he plays $100 on splitting the zeros and loses again. It seriously made me feel sick. If someone is willing to part with $2100 in like 45 seconds, why not just give it to charity??

Things learned in Vegas:

  • Tony Danza, Barry Manilow, Toni Braxton, all the people you thought were dead are, in fact, performing in Vegas. I think this means (a) they are not dead after all, or (b) Vegas is the afterlife for third rate celebs.
  • When playing roulette, you may be tempted to play Canucks jersey numbers… 22 – Daniel Sedin, 33 – Henrik Sedin, 16 – Linden, 9 – Pyatt, 7 – Morrison, etc. Don’t. Just don’t.
  • Waitresses will only come by to bring you free drinks when either (a) your down to your last dollar on the slot machine or (b) you say, “I’m cashing out if I don’t win on the next spin!” So that you’ll have to stay around waiting that free drink and will put more money in the machine. They have it down to a freakin’ science, I swear.
  • Vegas waitresses are not as hot as I have been led to believe. I’m willing to bet, though, that they make more money than I do.
  • If you walk around Vegas dressed as a bat, even on Halloween, you will get a lot of looks.
  • Everything in the Venetian is made of gold… including the toilets4.

  • The red carpets you see celebrities photographed on showing them going into Vegas nightclubs…. they don’t actually go anywhere! It’s just a bit of red carpet and a backdrop set up in the hallway for photo ops. As is my habit when I see ropes blocking things off or signs telling you not to go somewhere, I hopped over the ropes to get this paparazzi shot:
<img src=”” alt=”

And speaking of photos, I took these pics for Sarah & Dave:

<img src=”” alt=”
Saw our favourite arcade game, which is found in every bar, pub, tavern and daycare5 in Calgary, in one of the hotels in Vegas and just had to take a pic for you!

<img src=”” alt=”

Then I noticed this poor man’s Big Buck Hunter, called “Deer Hunting USA” right next to it. Apparently it also has “Animated Violence: Mild.

So that, in a nutshell, was my trip to Vegas.

1Tip o’the hat to David T. McLean, Esq.
2comped = getting free stuff (like a free buffet, a free hotel room) when you lose lots of cash at a casino.
3Wow. My description makes it sound really lame, but it wasn’t – it was quite good!
4Yes, I took a picture of the toilet. See, there is nothing I won’t do for you, gentle blog reader. Nothing!
5OK, so we didn’t actually go to any daycares in Calgary, but I’m willing to put money on them all having Big Buck Hunter.

{November 5, 2007}   Did Ya Miss Me?

I’m back from my gallivanting. Too tired to write about it all now1, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s 2K worth of words for ya…

This is me on Halloween night at, let’s say, The Bellagio2.


This is me and my beloved eBay shoes in, let’s say, The Venetian3. This picture was taken especially for you, blog readers, because I know you *love* updates on the adventures of my ebay shoes.

1Perhaps I’ll pull a Dave and write about *my* trip to Vegas 472 days after said trip.
2 I have to admit that I have trouble remembering which hotel/casino was which because (a) I saw one hell of a lot of hotels/casinos on this trip, (b) each hotel/casino was more ornate than anything I’d *ever* seen in my life, (c) the hotels/casinos were so friggin’ big you could be walking for like half an hour and still be in the same friggin’ hotel/casino, meaning that I often didn’t know which hotel I was in at any given point in time. Also, (d) they give you free drinks.


Ever wonder what 3 months worth of recycling looks like? Well, wonder no longer:


This is the recycling that has been piling up in my kitchen since the city workers’s strike started back in July. They are *finally* going to pick up recycling this week and I can’t wait to put this stuff outside and get my kitchen back!!

In other cleaning-up-my-place news, I was struck with my biennial “I feel like cleaning” mood on Friday and did some tidying up and organizing. Apparently there is this new invention that’s like a sponge on a stick and you put the sponge part in soapy water and run it across your floor. I believe they call it a “mop.” So I tried that out and now have shiny kitchen and bathroom floors1

Some other features of my newly semi-organized place include taking my shoe collection from looking like this:



To looking like this:


Although I do have to admit that even with a five-story shoe rack, I don’t have enough room for all my shoes2


Also, I hung up a whole bunch of stuff on the walls, as seen here:

My two favourite pieces:
“Spirt Bear” by Joseph M. Wilson and
“Haida Killer Whale – Skaana” by Bill Reid

My friend Therese brought these two pieces,
which apparently I have not hung up straight,
back from San Fran for me.

The flower paintings were done by my cousin’s husband and given out
as gifts to everyone at their wedding. The gingerbread man cutting board
was given to me by either my mom or my sister (I can’t remember which).

This is my bragging wall… or, walls I guess, as I couldn’t fit them all on one wall
(Go to the Flickr page if you want to see what each of these degrees/diplomas/awards are).

Of course, there are still piles of paper on various tables, chairs, filing cabinets and other available surfaces (photos not available3), but I’m sure I’ll get around to cleaning them up in 2009, when the mood to clean hits me again.

1Although the tile in my kitchen, like the paint on the walls and all the furniture, is older than me, so it still kinda looks like crap.
2Plus, there are four more pairs in my bedroom that I forgot to take a photo of and I’m too lazy to take a photo and upload it now that I’ve realized that I didn’t take a photo of them.
3Because I don’t want to document what a slob I am. Despite my claims to the contrary, I’m really not at all about fair and balanced reporting .

{October 16, 2007}   Canucks game recap

My recap of last night’s Canucks game:

Taylor Pyatt scored after a beautiful shot by Brad Isbister hit the post, bounced off of Taylor and went into the net. A PyattIsbister double team – it’s like my dream come true!

Then some other stuff happened, but we don’t need to talk about that.

In other Canucks news, I want these earrings, which I just saw over on The thing is, I don’t $73.99-plus-tax-want them.

Seriously, 80 bucks? Seriously?

{October 16, 2007}   Blog Action Day

Although my previous post was, at least in part, about the environment it was not actually intended as part of Blog Action Day. I actually didn’t know about Blog Action Day until Darren mentioned it in the comments on that post.

In his post, Darren asked “what is your big eco-sin?” Like most of his commenters, I try to be good to the environment:

  • I don’t own a car – I take the bus to work and for most of my transportation around the city, and I joined the car co-op for getting to hockey games
  • even when I do take a co-op car, I usually try to do multiple things on a given trip (such as go to the grocery store after my hockey game) in order to minimize the number of car trips I take
  • I’m a vegetarian and I don’t wear leather
  • I use a travel mug1 to avoid using paper cups and I bring my own Tupperwear container to the cafeteria to avoid using Styrofoam containers
  • I bring my own bag to the grocery store so I don’t have to take plastic ones
  • I recycle anything that can be recycled2
  • I turn the lights out in the bathroom, the kitchen and the photocopy room at work when I leave them3
  • I use the back of old printouts as note paper before I recycle them
  • I don’t buy anything new if I can get it used instead and buy almost all of my clothes in consignment & thrift stores
  • I rarely fly anywhere4

But I do have one big eco-sin. I leave my computer on. All the time. 24/7. Even when I’m at work all day, my computer at home is on. And the main reason I do this is a rather ridiculous one – when I come home, I like there to be messages waiting for me. Even though I haven’t had my landline and it’s accompanying answering machine for months now, my natural inclination when I walk in the door is to look for the little flashing red light telling me that someone cared enough to call me! And since I don’t have that anymore, my msn serves that purpose. With my computer on, people can msn me all day long and when I get home, I have messages waiting for me. OK, now that I write that down, I see it’s silly. Starting tomorrow, I’m shutting my computers off when I leave.

On a related note: why, since the librarians have been on strike for four months, were all the lights on in the local library branch when I walked by there tonight?

1A friend of mine said that he feels if he can’t have his act together enough to bring his travel mug with him, then he feels that he doesn’t deserve a coffee. I think this is a good philosophy
2and in light of the 4 month garbage strike that has, mercifully, just ended, this is a real sacrifice as I can barely fit in my kitchen because I have so much recycling piled up in there!
3and have noticed that some of my co-workers have started following my example
4Although, truth be told, this has more to do with my lack of money (thanks, $70,000 of student loans!) than with a conscience choice to fly less

{September 16, 2007}   Bus Girl

There’s something really strange about wearing clubbing clothes outside of the clubbing district. Like while waiting, in actual daylight, at a bus stop in the sleepy neighborhood in which one lives. And whilst on said bus, once it arrives.

And when you are fond of the type of outlandish footwear that I am, doubly so.

Perhaps the people on this bus with me don’t realize that I can see their glares.

Another problem with being a bus girl who lives in a sleepy old person neighborhood who therefore needs to take relatively long bus trips to get to dinner and clubbing venues has to do with the limited purse size that one can reasonably take to a club. Ordinarily when I’m on a bus, say going to work or shopping or meeting a friend for coffee, I take a big canvas bag with me. Said bag will stow such things as my lunch, travel mug and importantly, a book. I do almost all of my reading on the bus. I’ve trained myself to read books on the bus. But I can’t very well bring a big ole canvas bag to a club, now can I? And club purses are minuscule. It’s an unspoken rule of clubbing, like that the skankiest girl in the bar will inevitably be the one wearing the white Daisy Duke shorts with stiletto heels1. My club purse will hold my camera & Treo2, but not much else. I can’t even fit my wallet into my club purse – I just take the necessary cards3 and some cash. Oh yes, and my iPod and a lipstick. These are all tiny items, especially in comparison to a book.

So what’s a girl to do to keep herself occupied on the bus? Write a blog entry on her Treo, of course! On her Treo’s wee little keyboard. Boy, she sure wishes that she had this spiffy fold out keyboard that would allow her to type on a full-sized keyboard on her Treo, but yet will fold up so small that it will fit even in her tiniest of club purses. She really hopes that Santa will bring her one for Christmas.

Hint hint.

1For the record, I don’t even *own* a pair of white Daisy Duke shorts.

2my still *nameless* Treo, by the way.

3driver’s license, Care Card4, credit & debit cards

4Clarification for my Ontarian readers, this is the BC equivalent of an OHIP card. For my American readers, we have this thing in Canada called universal health care – you carry around a card and the government pays your medical bills. You should try it out. I always bring my CareCard with me. Being superstitious, I feel it is a talisman against my becoming sick or injured and thus *needing* to have my CareCard with me.

{August 20, 2007}   Name My Gadgets

Anthropomorphizing1 my iPod and my Palm Treo in yesterday’s blog posting got me to thinking… I really should name them. My iPod and my Palm Treo, I mean.

Do you have any good ideas for what I should call them? The only rule is that you can’t use Vancouver Canucks player names. I have some other, um, electronics that I’ve named after Canucks.

1or would that be technopomorphizing?

{August 17, 2007}  

A while back I posted some cool T-shirts that I wanted from the site T-Shirt Hell. Well, the other day I received their e-newsletter saying that some shirts were on sale, like a warehouse clearance thing, so I decided to take a gander and ended up finding one of the ones I liked (although not one of the one I’d posted in my previous posting). And so I bought it and, in the process, discovered that their checkout process, much like their products, their newsletter and their T-shirt Whore of the Month page, is quite amusing.

I first noticed something was odd on the page where I had to pick what payment type I wanted to make:

Then, on the confirmation page, there’s a sweet little message from the site telling you how very much they enjoyed you purchasing their wares:

Now, of course, you are wondering what T-shirt I ordered, aren’t you? 25 points to the first person who correctly guesses which one!

{July 18, 2007}   Adventures in Packaging

A few packages have made me go “WTF?” lately and so I thought I’d share them with you, gentle blog reader. First up, Veggie Patch Spinach Nuggets:

I was in the grocery store the other day, looking for some delicious and proteinaceous foodstuffs and as I was checking out which of the Yves Veggie pretend-meat items were on sale, I noticed a package of spinach nuggets that looked tasty. I started reading the packaging, as is the habit of the nutritional scientist (how many calories? how many grams of protein? are there any trans fat? for the love of all that is good in the world, tell me if there are any trans fats!!!) and saw a picture of the new – and, in my humble opinion, infuriating1 – American Food Pyramid. Being that I’m in Canada, I found this a little strange – shouldn’t it have Canada’s Food Guide on there? And then I read what was written next to it – it actually does talk about Canada’s Food Guide there. But that’s not a picture of Canada’s Food Guide!!! Canada’s Food Guide is a RAINBOW, people, a RAINBOW! What is up with that???

Next up, Reversaflex tabs.

In the cupboard where the stationery items live in in my office, there was a box of those clear plastic tabs you use to label hanging file folders… you know, like this kind of thing:

Photo courtesy of some random on Flickr.

In one of my “I’m going to be organized” moments, I decided to use them file away some of my papers in an orderly fashion2. I just printed up labels and stuck them on the tabs, but check out how the instructions suggest you deal with them:

A *typewriter*? Are you serious?? Or a *tapewriter*?? Do you remember those things? My parents had one and I thought it was sooo cool. Like when I was 5 years old. Sure, I found these in a supply cupboard and do not know how long they’ve been there so, in theory, they could have been produced in 1981, but I should point out that my program has only been in existence for like 4 years. And the organization in which my program is based for like 10. So really, they can’t be older than that3. And I’m pretty sure that typewriters and tapewriters were not prevalent in 1997.

And now, my favourite of the packages that made me go “WTF” this week. This one is from a lipgloss that my mom sent to me:

Hook up lip color? My *mom* sent me something called hook up lip color?? I can only conclude that she either did not read the packaging or she does not know what “hook up” means. Seeing as this is a woman who referred to S&M as M&M, I’m betting on the latter.

1infuriating because pretty much the only thing that people understood about the US Food Pyramid was that it’s big on the bottom and small on the top… so the groups on the bottom (Grains, Veggies & Fruits) are what you should have more of and the ones on the top (Meat, Milk, Oils) are what you should have less of. People couldn’t get their heads around portion sizes or figure out the specific numbers of servings from each group they should be getting or pretty much anything else about the damn thing, but at least they knew that you should eat more Veggies & Fruits than Meat. But in this latest incarnation of the Food Pyramid (as seen on the package above), they changed it so that the food groups run vertically instead of horizontally, with the (barely discernable differences in the) width of the groups representing which (unlabeled) groups you should have more of and which you should have less of. And the fact that the groups are each wider at the bottom means that some (unspecified) types of, say, Meats & Alternatives are better than other (also unspecified on the Pyramid) groups. And somehow you are supposed to get that from the unlabeled, different coloured slices in the Pyramid. Like I said, infuriating!

2As opposed to my usual method of throwing papers haphazardly on any available table, counter top or deskspace.

3unless, I suppose, they were somehow inherited from another organization, but that’s a pretty unlikely possibility

{July 16, 2007}   I Want A Smart Car!

So yesterday I went to Richmond for the fourth fifth time in my life1, despite having lived in Vancouver for almost seven years. More specifically, I went to the Richmond Auto Mall to help my friend Sasha buy a car, hers having been stolen last week3. First of all, I’d like to say that I hate salesmen. This one guy was totally trying to put on the pressure to get Sasha to buy a car right then and there and was totally playing around with the numbers to try to convince her (and even tried to argue that he wasn’t playing with the numbers when he was called on it). She, however, had already decided not to rush into anything and knew going in that she wasn’t going to be driving off the lot in a new car, no matter what! On the plus side, his dragging out of the “negotiations” for the car she never bought meant that we got to sit in the nice air conditioned dealership for longer – it’s still ridiculously hot out!

On the minus side4, I’ve fallen in love with the Smart Car. They get ridiculously good mileage (they run on diesel), are surprisingly safe for their size, would be super easy to park and, despite how small they look from the outside, they do have enough storage space for my hockey equipment (which is my one and only requirement for a car, truth be told). And they are so damn cute! Anyone out there in blogland have any opinions about the Smart Car?

Oh ya, while we were looking at the cars, I noticed an odd item listed as one of the features of a particular car5:

… tethers for children?

1not counting times I’ve been to the Vancouver airport which, while techincally in Richmond, doesn’t really count
2the other three four times include: (1) going to Shalu’s house in Richmond after her mom picked us up at the airport when we came back from San Francisco, (2) going to a lab Holiday party at a bowling alley, followed by dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, (3) for my recent trip to Seattle we stopped in Richomond on the way back to go to the Garage outlet, which turned out to be not open. Stupid Richmond. Update 17/07/2007: talking with Shalu yesterday, she reminded me of another time I’d been in Richmond – a party at a lab tech’s house.
3Sasha is the second person from our softball team to have their car stolen this summer. Car theives suck.
4I say the “minus” side because it’s a lot of money and I know that if I buy a car, I’ll have less cash to do fun things. It would suck to buy a car on the premise that it fits my hockey gear, but then not be able to afford to play hockey!
5My apologies for the crappiness of this photo. It’s always on the one day that I don’t bring my camera with me that I end up having something I want to take a photo of! So I used my camera phone which is, clearly, not ideal. I also took a picture of a drive-through liquor store (only in the ‘burbs, man, only in the ‘burbs), but it came out so fuzzy you can’t even tell what it is, so I’m not bothering to post it).

{July 6, 2007}   I’m a Big Kid Now

My sister has been harassing me for the last decade to start an RRSP and my excuse of “I live on student loans below the freaking poverty line!” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Since I’ve been happy so far with my dealings with Vancity, and since I knew that they have options for “socially responsible investing,” I decided to start my RRSP with them. So now I have an RRSP. Just like a grown up.

This had me thinking about my grade 4 teacher. I remember, just like it was yesterday, her telling my class that within our lifetimes there would be no more paper money and no more coins. “Everything will just be points,” she said, “and you’ll pay for things with a plastic card and your paycheque will just show up as points in your account.” I remember thinking she was crazy. No paper money, no written cheques… in my lifetime? No way, I thought! Granted, we aren’t quite there yet (e.g., my favourite produce store only accepts cash), but we are pretty damn close. Today alone:

  • points automatically went from my employer to my two bank accounts
  • points automatically went from my employer to the government (for my taxes, CPP, EI) and to my pension plan
  • points automatically went from my bank account to my student loan accounts
  • points went from my other bank account to my two credit cards and my cell phone company via online banking
  • points went from that bank account to an RSP account

And all of this was done without anything physical changing hands… someone typed something into a computer and viola! – it is done.

And, what’s more, for signing up for a new internet connection1, I got a “100 point” AmEx card. Each point is worth $1, so I’m not sure why they don’t just call it a $100 card. But regardless. I used it to buy myself a bluetooth headset for my beloved Treo. So, yes, now I’m going to be one of those people, walking around with an earphone, looking like I’m talking to myself. On the plus side, when I’m talking to myself, people will just thinking I’m on my phone now.

1and it wasn’t even really a new internet connection. I was just going to change the account from Danielle’s name to mine, but the customer service person said, “why don’t we just cancel hers and start one in your name? There’s no connection fee and you’ll get a free gift and a free router/modem.”

et cetera