Thursday, December 31, 2009

Now That’s Just Ridiculous

We all know the running gag: Christmas keeps coming earlier every year. Back when we were kids, the Christmas stuff would hit the aisles, the second Thanksgiving was over. As time went on, it started predating Thanksgiving—first a little bit, then significantly. Now by mid-October, we regularly see Hallowe’en and Christmas items being sold side by side. So with all this jumping the gun, I guess what I’m about to say shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me—nor, I suppose, will it to you.

This evening, I stopped by the store after work to grab some last-minute items for our New Year’s Eve party. We already had most everything we needed, but I’d forgotten the marshmallows for the Rice Krispie Treats. In addition to grabbing what I came for and the requisite few other items, I found myself in for quite the surprise.

There they were, right in the front of the store, between two cash-register lanes:

Cadbury Creme Eggs.

In December.

Happy New Year, everybody, and remember: bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk, ba-gawk!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

He Said, She Said

I was recently reading my brother-in-law Ed’s blog entry regarding his eighth wedding anniversary, and I couldn’t help but get to thinking, regarding the wedding photos he posted therewith. It got me to thinking about one of the most obvious differences between men and women.

The photo at right was gleaned from a random web site using Google Image Search. It’s certainly no one I know, which is exactly why I used it: I don’t want anyone to think I’m singling them out specifically. The question I’m getting at, though, is this: what do you see here? On the right, we have a bride, dressed in a beautiful white gown and veil. Her hair is perfect; her face, perfect; if we could zoom in on her nails, I expect they’d be perfect too. Add to this her long, blonde hair, and this bride is the epitome of worldly perfection in every conceivable way.

On the left, we have a guy in a suit.

Is it just me, or is this pretty typical? I know a lot of guys rent tuxes for their weddings, but even that seems almost laughable compared to what their brides go through for their weddings. I mean, come on… a rental? At least I bought the suit I wore to the temple. (Of course, granted, it’s also the suit I’ve worn to probably 75% of the Church meetings I’ve attended in the twelve years since, but at least it’s not the same tux that 83 other guys got married in.) ;-)

As an aside, here’s one of the very few extant photos of my bride and me, on our wedding day. You’ll note that she’s not even wearing her wedding dress. Our receptions were still a few days away, so she changed back into “street clothes” immediately following our sealing. (Our wedding brunch was an unplanned stop at Bennigan’s, so it’s not like we needed to impress anyone.)

Anyway, this photo is actually from the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center, where they were hosting a “Christmas Around the World” exhibit. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Facial Recognition

Just thought my readers here would be interested in my latest Drakelings post:
Facial Recognition


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lost in Translation

Many years ago, Chevrolet released a car called the “Nova.” My wife, Anna, was one of the many individuals to own such a car: a car that was great for a while, but made us very sad when I had to drive my then-fiancĂ©e to work for several weeks—and very happy to have AAA Plus when we had to tow it just over 100 miles from her old apartment in Bloomington to our first home in Lafayette. She would eventually get the car fixed and sell it to her younger sister, who has herself long since moved on to a newer (and thus, more reliable) vehicle. Despite all this, however, my wife generally enjoyed her Chevy Nova for the time that she had it. Until that fateful day that it had a major problem (I think it was the alternator), it had been a pretty good little car.

Unfortunately, this wonderful little hatchback’s success was—shall we say—limited outside the United States. It’s not that it wasn’t dependable; it was. It’s just that when they tried to export it to Latin America, they wasted a lot of money promoting the poor thing before discovering that the problem wasn’t the car, it was the name. You see, in Castilian, “no va” means “It doesn’t go.” It was like trying to sell a car called the “Chevy Immobile.” It just wasn’t going to work.

Conclusively proving that those that don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it, this problem has manifested itself in more recent times, as well—this time, in yet another gigantic company that should really know better but constantly shows us that it doesn’t. That company is Microsoft. A few years back, Microsoft released their ostensible iPod-killer, the Zune (which, incidentally, I’ve only seen in stores. I think the same sister-in-law that bought the Nova from us actually has one, but it’s not like she’s pulling it out to show people). Much like the Chevy Nova, the Zune was discovered to be highly unsuccessful in—strangely enough—Israel. Eventually, somebody pointed out that “Zune” is homophonous with the Hebrew equivalent of the past tense of the F-bomb. Not as strong, mind you—it’s actually more akin to saying “screwed”—but probably not the best name for a product, y’know?

Well, the beauty of life is that anyone can be forgiven for their mistakes. Since Microsoft obviously screwed up by not looking into the meaning of “Zune” in foreign languages, they’re obviously smart enough that they’re not going to make that mistake again, right? Right?!

So why did it not surprise me when I found this in a fortune cookie, a few days ago?

Way to hit one out of the park in the world’s largest market, guys.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Taking Oneself Too Seriously

First of all, hats off to my beloved brother-in-law Ed, who started me down this thought process with this post. If you’d like to read it before continuing here, that’s fine; I’m not going anywhere.

Now for my thoughts: first of all, it’s definitely easy to go to one extreme or the other. I am reminded of the conscious decision I made, somewhere along the line, that I didn’t give a *$#@ what other people think about me as long as I’m happy with myself. I’m still not sure my unconscious mind is completely on board with this decision, but it does manifest itself in things like:

  • When I go to the beach, I generally let my gigantic belly hang out all over the place, despite the fact that most guys my size would be hiding under a T-shirt.
  • When I was 13 years old, I really liked Debbie Gibson (mostly because I was a teenage boy with hormones, but I digress) and actually saw her in concert twice. The day after each concert, I wore the T-shirt I’d purchased there, knowing full well that the social ramifications probably wouldn’t be particularly desirable. (I actually did wind up with a large hole in my shirt where someone apparently took a lit cigarette to the back of it, but I just wrote Debbie and she—or more likely, one of “her people”—sent me a new one. So, nyaah.)
  • Yesterday in my elders quorum meeting, an person that I didn’t even recognize expressed an opinion with which I vehemently disagreed. I wasn’t nasty about it by any means, but neither was I going to just sit there and be afraid of offending someone. I raised my hand and spoke my mind on the subject, and it started a really good discussion. (Most people, as it happened, seemed to agree with my position. Again, nyaah.) ;-)
So from a conscious standpoint, I either take myself too seriously or too trivially, depending on what you think my reasoning is.

Now… what can I do about this? I don’t know. I guess the bigger question for me is whether I actually should do anything about it. For this, I must appeal to my friends: does my desire to be true to myself, no matter what, pose a problem?