I brought some stuff over to my grandma’s house, today. As usual, she gave me a grocery bag full of food and other stuff to take back home (for whatever reason; we certainly don’t need it).
When I get it home, I start to unpack the bag and put stuff where it should be — canned goods in the cabinet, soft drinks by the fridge, etc.
Then I stumble upon a box of Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake mix. I only casually glance at it as I pull it from the bottom of the bag. However, when I put it on the shelf, I realize that this box looks very old: the colors are faded, the corners very worn, and the overall style of the printing just screams “Reaganomics”.
So I pick it up, trying to see what the expiration date is. Well, there’s no expiration date. I look at this “proof of purchase” sort of offer for a free recipe book, on the side of the box. My information must be received by July 1, 1992. I also discover, on the bottom of the box, that this mix was boxed at the General Mills plant in 1990. I don’t know if she just recently bought this or if this product has been in her possession for 18 years but I knew I had discovered something special.
Thanks, Nanny. Although next time… might want to just put this in a sarcophagus.
Five products I want to proclaim love for:
The voice-changing thing is kind of forgettable (as it was on this) but it’s a surprisingly well-made and heavy-duty prop (I’ll say this for the Hasbro-Star Wars partnership: it consistently delivers everything anyone could want). Of course, the lens, paint, and details will have to be modified to look fully awesome but… hey, $20 and a little project for the next month. Fun.
I got these for $10… 78% off retail. BOOM. It pays to visit Surf Shops and get new flip flops at the end of the summer.
Thin but not too thin, warm but not hot, big enough to ensconce my giant moon head, cheap, and available in a variety of colors. This is basically all I could ever ask out of any product. The UK wins again.
I spent weeks trying to find out what people recommended as the best laptop cooler for a 17” MacBook Pro. Nobody ever really had a reasonable thing to say. Everything got middling reviews or dozens of “why can’t Apple just make a laptop cooler themselves?!”. So, I went to Circuit City, the Apple store, Comp USA and couldn’t really sell myself on anything I saw. But then I went to Best Buy and looked at this one before deciding just to buy it… and it is phenomenal — quiet, effective (it not only keeps my lap cool but actually keeps the computer cool), easily portable, and cheap. Shapow. Wins all around.
Three for $10 at Target. Awesome shirts. I feel kind of like a Greaser when I wear them just by themselves, with jeans. They’re emerging as my favorite Target item of the last year.
Ten ideas I would like to see realized as soon as possible.
THE POWER BIKE
Idea: a mass-marketed stationary exercise bike that has a turbine in each wheel, for producing electricity. These, at the very least, should start appearing in gyms by the dozens.
Drawbacks: I don’t know… are exercise and clean energy bad?
Bonus: obesity epidemic hopefully slows down.
THE BABY CLASS
Idea: in both movie theaters and planes (and, really, where ever else it would help), anyone traveling with a child under a certain age must sit in a specified section with said child… preferably a soundproofed section.
Drawbacks: I guess well-behaved kids and their parents would be stuck in the likely-loud-and-destructive Baby Class. That’s too bad.
Bonus: Happy, peaceful experiences in public, for hours at a time.
Idea: an umbrella made out of fabric photovoltaic cells (solar cells). It stores its power in a battery housed in the handle, which comes with outlets. You can plug in stereos, fans, phone/iPod/laptop chargers while at the beach or on a picnic or whatever.
Drawbacks: I don’t know anything about science so I have no idea if an array of solar panels the size of a normal umbrella would provide nearly enough power for any of the ideas mentioned above.
Bonus: Umm… jamz at the beach = ladies. Derr.
Idea: on standard commercial bags of chips (small, large, super-big, whatever), attach Ziploc-style plastic closing things at the top.
Drawbacks: I suppose the lucrative chip clip business may flounder.
Bonus: You could save the bags and use them at home, instead of having to buy additional Ziploc bags.
Idea: like “Wikipedia meets Facebook” — on a private page connected to your profile, friends can submit notes and memories about you and your history, like how anyone can update the page of a story/company/celebrity on Wikipedia with anything that they want.
Drawbacks: I don’t know how many people would actually participate in this. I would. But I’m an idiot who remembers everything.
Bonus: I wouldn’t forget embarrassing stories about myself or my friends.
Idea: movie theaters offer memberships. Discounted tickets, specials, certain packages like “see as many movies as you want for [x] dollars per year”… this is basically all I want.
Drawbacks: The cost of, say, an annual membership would be expensive (probably near $1000) and you would kind of have to hope that there’s enough legitimate movies being released to validate that cost. Getting through the detritus that is February-April would be a blow. Also, this would affect/complicate the calculation of box office numbers… although it may initiate the “why hasn’t this happened yet?” changeover of tracking “Tickets sold” rather than “Box office gross” to determine a movie’s popularity.
Bonus: I would definitely be the first person to get offered a platinum card and free concessions. Also, members could have reserved seats if they want them.
Idea: I think most people have seen the kinetically powered wristwatches, where the power to run the watch comes from the movement created by your arm/body. Let’s put this idea into a cell phone (which sees plenty of movement).
Drawbacks: obviously a cell phone doesn’t see as much movement as a watch (for most people) and this would only be a “maintain full charge” sort of thing, not enough to validate you throwing out your phone charger.
Bonus: if your battery died, you could just shake your cell phone like a bottle of orange juice for a few minutes and have power enough to do whatever.
Idea: rather than having to fiddle with those damned strings on my horizontal blinds (it’s 2008 and we’re still going with the “pull down, and sharply to the left” method…?), there’s just a remote keypad attached, with “UP” and “DOWN” buttons. It could run on D batteries. Same set-up as now, just put two little winches inside the bar that runs across the top. Bang. Done.
Drawbacks: I have nothing.
Bonus: I don’t know. I get less psychotically frustrated when I clean my room?
Idea: cupholders in airplane arm rests. What. are. we. waiting. for.
Drawbacks: none… seriously. NONE. Well, my name for this idea isn’t exactly sterling. But “cupholders” really doesn’t need to be jazzed up or altered.
Bonus: great things for everyone and all their spatial relationships.
REMOTE HOME ENTRY
Idea: you just need one finger to unlock the door and get inside (dually one finger to lock all the doors when you run out in a hurry). You can still have keys and deadbolts but at least give me the option of not dropping a dozen bags of groceries because I can’t reach into my own pocket.
Drawbacks: I don’t know.
Bonus: you could program a cool sound for when you lock or unlock the doors — like how a car honks, your house could make a cool “boooowwwup” robot sound effect.
Get to work.
So, I’ll come right out and say it: I wrote an article for this magazine. Here it is. Blah dee bloo dee blah blah. Not the point (well, it is… sort of).
Now, even though my involvement with their publication may suggest a certain very low editorial standard, this site does actually have a lot of very good writers and articles that could help most any person who falls into the age range largely occupied by everyone on this here Internet — like the one my buddy Mills wrote.
Tangent: should “internet” be capitalized at all times? I think so.
Primer claims to be largely for guys but there’s several things that would apply to anybody seeking information on a number of subjects. However, it was a small snippet from their ABOUT page that helped me decide that I really liked the cut of their jib:
“As a departure from the status quo of typical men’s journalism, we are shredding the portrait Maxim and GQ paint of us. We’re over week-long binge drinking and the post-pubescent hunt for random hookups. We want to stay in shape and dress well but don’t relate to the idea of wanting or needing a $2,500 suit.”
Am I in shape? Ehhh. Do I dress well? Ehhh. Shut up. The important thing is that I enjoy that perspective of being nestled very much in the center of reasonable humanity. Not trying to deliberately attach to one pole of culture is something I can relate to (no, really). It’s more interesting in the middle.
Anyway, I felt that since they were nice (see also: drunk/confused) enough to ask me to write for them, the least I could do is try to forward some of my e-friends to click on their link… so… please do.
(Plus, they linked to this very page at the end of my piece, so… I mean, that’s like going steady with someone, in the parlance of our times.)