Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

We've all heard this. It sounds nice...almost inspirational. But with a little thought, you realize it's a pretty stupid phrase. To illustrate, I'll use one of my favorite debating techniques, the always handy proof-by-counterexample...

How about if someone smacks you upside the face as hard as they can with a boat paddle? Probably won't kill you. Did it make you stronger? I would argue that it did not, in any way, make you stronger. Probably just a lot of pain, a severely damaged relationship, and perhaps a permanent mark.

How about a nasty bout with Leukemia? One which devastates your system to the point of NEAR-death. Unlikely you would be chosen 1st for the tug-o-war team.

And finally...let's say you have SEVERE case of facial acne. Doesn't kill you. Maybe you've learned to deal with it and continue to live your life...maybe even hit the inspirational speaking circuit to tell your story. Oops, no one will book you, don't want to give people nightmares with your scary-looking grill.

Now, in fairness, I think that I get the gist of the phrase. I guess I just take issue with the absoluteness of its tone. More appropriate, I believe, would be "SOME things that don't kill you make you stronger". But how un-inspirational does that sound? :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

BYU wins! BYU wins! That was a classic game in almost every sense. Nothing quite like winning a close one against your rival, and it doesn't get any more "down to the wire" than that. Makes me wish I'd been there. There is something about this rivalry, however, that bothers me...and that is what the media has apparently dubbed it, i.e., the Holy War.

The Holy War? What? Clearly BYU has a religious affiliation, but Utah? They're just a state school, the U of UTAH. Last I checked Utahn was not a religion. If the rivalry were BYU vs. Notre Dame, the title Holy War would make sense. Is it supposed to be...Mormonism vs. Atheism maybe? Mormonism vs. Agnosticism? And what makes it extra stupid is that the predominant religion at the U of U is probably ALSO Mormonism. Are there feuding sects within the LDS faith that I'm unaware of??

A great rivalry deserves a great name, not a contrived misnomer.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's time to talk a little cell phone etiquette...or lack thereof. :)

Let's face it. Using a cell phone impairs your ability to drive safely. BUT, I would venture to say it impairs some a little more (or much more) than others. Have you ever been out driving around, minding your own business, when you see another driver do something so inexplicably stupid or unsafe that you just have to get a look at the driver? And isn't it the case, 9 times out of 10, that they either have a phone crammed into the side of their face, or they're really old, OR (heaven forbid) both? Fortunately technology anxiety makes that last case virtually impossible...but in time it's conceivable that that will change. But I digress. My point is, just as not everyone is suited for driving in general, not everyone is suited for driving while talking on their phone. I think they should make it part of the driver license test. If you fail the "driving while talking" portion of the test, you get a restriction put on your license, like if you wear glasses, etc. Then if a cop pulls you over for doing something stupid, and you were on your cell phone, you get a big NASTY ticket...and the cop has the option to confiscate and stomp on your phone repeatedly, on-the-spot. goes without saying (or should, anyway) that you either turn your cell phone off, or put it in silent mode, when you're at church, or in a movie, etc. I get that sometimes you forget, at least I GOT that sometimes you 8 years ago. :) But now I think there is no excuse for it. Cell phones and their use are so ubiquitous now that not turning them off in church, or a movie, or where ever is simply unacceptable. It would be like showing up to church and then realizing, "Oops! I forgot my pants!" Nevertheless, almost without exception these days, the poor sacrament prayer is tainted by a low-fi, blippy-sounding rendition of some Eminem song echoing louder than life in the chapel...quickly followed by the sound of some poor schmuck desperately trying to silence it (usually takes about 10 seconds). I think you should get a 6 month temple recommend suspension for that. Or maybe...have to give a talk the next week in church. There must be consequences or people will never learn! :)

Lastly, there is a relatively new cell-phone related phenomenon that has been especially bugging me of late, which also occurs in a movie theater. You're watching an exciting movie on a big screen, the room is dark, you're enveloped, engrossed, and then...a small but annoyingly bright light appears three rows ahead of you and takes you temporarily out of the movie. MAN that is annoying. I mean, wouldn't want a little thing like the MOVIE you paid $8 to see, not to mention everyone else in the theater, get in the way of your important text message. HEY TEENAGE CHICK, YOUR MESSAGE CAN WAIT UNTIL AFTERWARDS!!! :) I'm telling you, if they installed cell phone jamming devices in theaters YESTERDAY it wouldn't be too soon. I think it's inevitable...but only time will tell.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Every year around election time (like right now) someone will inevitably get in my face about "getting out to vote." Try as I might, a few simple reasons explaining why I usually DON'T vote never suffices. This so-called "civic duty", as they often put it, must have been ingrained very deeply and from a very early age, because I can never persuade anyone. Or maybe my arguments just suck. :) I'll let you decide...

First, I would like to clarify that I view the act of voting and the right to vote as different. The right to vote I view as very important. The act of voting, specifically me voting, however, I don't view as nearly important. I have several reasons why I feel this way, but I will only go into my latest one here.

If you're the type of person who carefully considers every candidate, reads all the provided literature, and (heaven forbid) does some independent research on the candidates, then this reason does not apply to you. In fact, you are the type of person I would want to vote. That is to say, an informed voter. But the average citizen, myself included, is a far cry from this ideal...or in other words, an grossly uninformed voter. This fact is not lost on the candidates, of course, whose sole purpose in life come election time is to get into office.

Why do you think the message we get shoved down our throats every couple years is a simple "get out and vote."? Wouldn't it be more productive to send a message something more along the lines of "research the candidates and get informed about the issues."? If someone were to take the time to do that, my guess is the simple act of casting a ballot would follow naturally.

The reason is, when you have so many uninformed voters, winning an election is a simple matter of getting your name out the most. E.g., TV commercials, signs, radio ads, flyers, etc. Who you are and what you stand for are pretty inconsequential. He who spends the most money, and therefore gets the most exposure, wins the election. And that's why I think the message they push is simply "get out and vote". The uninformed voter, or the average voter, is just a sheep susceptible to the proven marketing methods that candidates undoubtedly utilize.

An election that can be bought, which is what it pretty much boils down to, I think naturally leads to corruption. And of course corruption is bad for everyone except the corrupt. So to summarize...I consider myself so grossly uninformed that I feel I would be doing society a disservice by casting my ballot and potentially negating an informed voters ballot. Or put as succinctly as possible, an uninformed vote is worse than a no-vote. And that is why I won't be visiting the polls tomorrow. Well, that and a few other reasons, not the least of which is sheer laziness...but I won't elaborate on that point. :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Okay, Little Ceasar's Pizza, you make a really crappy pizza and sell it for really cheap. MESSAGE RECEIVED LOUD AND CLEAR!

Clearly you've subsidized the cost of the pizza by cutting the marketing budget dramatically. It would seem you've created exactly 1 (lousy) radio ad and 1 (equally lousy) TV ad in many many months. One part of the marketing budget you haven't scrimped on, however, is the number of times you run your ad. It's a rare day that I don't hear that nausea-inducing radio spot at least 3 times on my way home from work: "Hot 'n' Ready, just 5 bucks!"

The ironic thing is, I would happily dish out $6 or $7 if you would promise to switch your ads up once in awhile. There's a happy medium on the "cost of pizza" vs. "marketing budget" spectrum, but you're a LONG ways from it. Think about it, little toga man. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

For the LOVE, people. "Loose" does not equal "lose". You don't loose your mind. You don't loose a game of checkers. You LOSE them! LOSE LOSE LOSE. I see this all the time...and someone needs to say something. :)

"Pardon me while I blow my noose." No one seems to have a problem with that. So what is it about loose and lose?

Just stop it!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Is there anything more pointless than asking, "Can I ask you a question?" Man that bugs me. :) And people do it too. I just heard someone ask it, prompting this entry.

Hey retarded time-wasting pointless question askers...just ask your real question! Has anyone in the history of time ever EVER responded to the question "Can I ask you a question?" with "No."? NO!

Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm as unhappy as the next guy about Utah gas stations' apparent gouging of the consumer (my car gets a not-so-Geo-Metroish 17 mpg). I'm not sure what the solution to the problem is, but I can tell you what's NOT the solution. Watching the news tonight, I see that someone has proposed the infamous, if not completely futile, gas boycott.

"If everyone just doesn't buy any gas for one day, we'll flex our collective consumer spending muscles and FORCE them to lower prices." Ahhh, this is so mind-numbingly stupid an idea that I can hardly stand it. :) Let's break it down...

First, not everyone puts gas in their car everyday. Not every OTHER day either. So what that means, is on a given day, most people are not putting gas in their car ANYWAY. And the people who are putting gas in their car on a given day are not doing so just so they'll have extra gas ready just in case they want to go on a long, trivial drive somewhere. No, it's so they'll have gas to get where they need to go. Like to work, for example.

Let's pretend for a moment that everyone is stupid and they go along with this idea. Most won't need to put any gas in anyway, like we've discussed. Those who are close to empty will most likely put some gas in the day before. So that leaves those who will run OUT on the boycott day, and I'm guessing the vast majority of those people, rather than get stranded on the side of the road somewhere, will just say "screw this idea" and go and get some gas anyway.

I guess what I'm saying is, with the extra gas bought the day before, and the day after, it would just all even out anyway and the net effect is that it would do ZERO damage to the oil companies.

Here's what we would need to do. If it were possible for everyone to participate in the following, I believe it WOULD have an effect on the oil companies. Rather than have a "don't buy any gas" day, we should have a "no one drive their car" day, or better yet a week, or a month. If it were possible for everyone to walk or ride their bike or even use mass transit, this is gas that would never be used, and consequently concrete revenue that the oil companies would never see.

But alas...organizing and executing something of this magnitude is a near impossibility...

Looks like my gas light is on, I guess I'm off to the Chevron. Ooh, ooh, $2.79...a steal! :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Here's a gripe for ya. On Friday morning, Sep. 8th, some a-hole, probably on their cell phone, wasn't paying attention and hit and killed my poor cat, Wudang, on Main St. just in front of my house. I found her on the road that morning as I was pulling out to go to work. I gathered her body and then buried her Sat. morning in Provo Canyon.

Wudang was probably my favorite cat, and I've had a few. She was 2 1/2 years old, and I had her since she was an 8 week old kitten, fragile and small enough to fit entirely in the palm of one hand. Here is a picture of her very soon after I brought her home for the first time...

She was a beautiful Siamese breed with pretty blue eyes. I get bummed still when I think of what happened and how I found her, so I will leave it at this. R.I.P. Wudang. Maybe they'll feed you better than the plain ol' dry cat food on the other side. :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Head On: Apply Directly to the Forehead
Head On: Apply Directly to the Forehead
Head On: Apply Directly to the Forehead


If I see that commercial one more time, I am going to apply my foot directly to the television screen. :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Have you ever been at like...a family reunion or somewhere where there's lots of old-timers, bless their hearts, that sit around and reminisce about the "good old days"? And inevitably the subject of what things "used to cost" will come up...

"Why, I remember back when gas cost a nickle a gallon...a NICKLE!"

"I paid $13,000 for my first house."

"I bought my first car, brand new, for $500...and that's a fact."

I remember, what the heck happened to the world?? Life used to be so EASY and CHEAP. Then I learned about a little phenomenon called inflation.

So now all I can think about when I hear these types of conversations is how they are conveniently omitting one small little much their WAGES were back then. Why do we never hear this conversation?

"Why, I remember back when I worked myself ragged everyday for a measly 15 cents an hour. Boy those sure were the bad old days..."
My next gripe is aimed squarely at Subway Sandwiches. Seems like I've had a lot of fast-food related gripes lately...don't take this to be indicative of my eating habits. Okay, take it to be indicative. I have a problem, I know. But that is beside the point...back to Subway.

Subway, eat fresh, make it your way, blah blah, all good and fine. Subway sandwiches are good, no question...but I think they've become a little bit TOO flexible in their sandwich-building process. I mean, you look up at the board and they have all these named sandwiches, tons of 'em. And that's great. But what you don't realize is that, with the exception of one item, the meat, you can turn any sandwich into any OTHER sandwich.

For example. Let's say you want the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich. Sounds pretty good, right? It did to me too. The picture looked scrumptious, in fact. Then comes the onslaught of options. "What kind of bread?" "What kind of cheese?" "Toasted?" "What vegetables?" On and on.

Through all this it occurs to me...what exactly makes this sandwich a Tuscan Chicken one anyway? So far it's just just a chicken sub sandwich with whatever the hell I want on it. So I ask...

"What exactly GOES on this so-called Tuscan Chicken sandwich anyway?"

"Oh, did you want the special Tuscan sauce?"

Um, yeah. Why on earth would they just assume that you know how to make their sandwiches? I asked for the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich, just freaking make me a TUSCAN CHICKEN SANDWICH!! :)

You know what Subway needs? They need to just have defaults on all their sandwiches, but express to you at the beginning that you can substitute anything you want. Not only would this make things easier, but it would speed up the line a little bit too, 'cause let's face it...Subway ain't exactly Wendy's. Maybe I'll fire this gripe off to their HQ as an email...

Friday, July 07, 2006

I go to Fazoli's the other day for lunch. Being one of...great appetite I am naturally drawn to the dish called the Ultimate Sampler. I quickly skim their combo meal menu for the number that corresponds to what would most likely be called the Ultimate Sampler Combo, but find none. After shooing away the elderly breadstick lady for the 3rd time, I spot the Classic Sampler Combo on the board. That's pretty close, I think to myself, surely the ultimate variety of the combo is available...

"I'll take the ultimate sampler combo meal please..."

But all I get from the poor girl working behind the counter is a "deer in the headlights" look. Funny, did I stutter? Accidently order in Spanish? What's going on here?

"See the #1 combo meal. The classic sampler combo? I'd like that, only make it the ultimate sampler."

"Umm...I don't think we can do that, let me ask."

(wait 30 seconds)

"Sorry sir, you can only get the classic sampler in a combo meal. Is that what you'd like to get today?"

I'm sure this has happened to you before. Combo meals were a good idea when they were first introduced back in the day...but for the love of all that is greasy and unecessarily calorie ridden...give your employees some menu flexibility in the name of customer service. SHEESH!

Okay I've said my peace. I think I ended up just getting the Club Submarino, like I always do, instead. (excellent sandwich, BTW). :)

Friday, June 02, 2006

I swing by the Target last night to pick up some personal hygene products. My last "tube" of toothpaste (it was more like...a bottle or something) finally ran out. I didn't care for it. In fact, I don't think I've liked my last, oh, 20 toothpaste choices in-a-row.

Here's the problem. You'd think that with enough experimentation you could settle on one toothpaste that you like and just go with it. But apparently the toothpaste industry is pretty cutthroat competition-wise because they are constantly "innovating" with their products. I use quotes because I don't really consider a more obnoxious printing of the word "WHITENING" or a shiner, sparklier (more sparkly?) box to be true innovation. The innovation is so intense that by the time my previous tube runs out, it's an entirely different line up of offerings from every company.

So I stand there, looking over this incredible myriad of entire aisle, in fact, of tooth-care goops of one variety or another. The only thing they all have in common is the word "whitening". A toothpaste company would not dare omit that word printed all obnoxious-like somewhere on the box. I'm convinced they don't whiten at all...because I've been using "whitening" toothpastes for years and my teeth look the same shade of tooth-color as ever. But that's a topic for another gripe. :)

Oh man, what do I get? Baking soda kind? The one with Scope incorporated for minty-fresh breath? That's never a bad thing. Oooh...this one whitenes and makes your teeth shiny. It is kind of a drag running around with matte teeth. Tartal control? Do I even have tartar? Probably I guess. Dahh, what to do???

Ultimately, after 3 or 4 rounds up and down the aisle, I just say "screw it" and grab the shiniest box and take off. Then I endure what I know will be some gross taste with weird texture, hope for the best oral-hygene-wise...and then do it all over again a month or two later. :)

Friday, May 26, 2006

I fire up Yahoo's page this morning and in their "In the News" section I see this headline: "Lower income may mean higher stress". Lower income may mean higher stress? Are you kidding me? So let me make sure I have this took some scientists and who knows how much taxpayer money to determine that it just MIGHT be stressful to find an eviction notice on your door, or to wonder where your next meal will come from?

Unbelievable. I'm guessing the next study's findings will be something like "Scientists have found that having mountains of cash helps to pay bills on time." Pure genius. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is there a bigger broken record on earth than the nightly world news? Particularly when it comes to the Middle East...

"Our top stories tonight: A car bomb explodes in Iraq killing several US marines. Evidence found showing that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. And there is fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians. All this and more on this day, (insert any day for the past few years), on World News Tonight." (dun dun DUN dun).

Thank goodness for Seinfeld reruns...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

As it gets warmer I'm starting to see those dreaded orange barrels and cones all over the place. It's summer road construction time baby!

First let me is what it is. Roads need maintenance, I understand that. But I have a question (gripe) about the way they go about it. I have no first-hand knowledge of how it's all organized, but best I can tell from my personal observations the first meeting of those involved goes something like this:

"It's almost summertime boys, this is our plan of attack. First we're gonna take every single last road project on the schedule for the entire summer and block them ALL off in one shot with our beloved orange barrels and cones. We should be able to do this in, oh, a couple hours. We can't have cars driving willy-nilly over our work areas just anytime they want.

Then, over the course of the next several months, just get to what you can whenever it's convenient for you. I realize our numbers are small, but hey, we have lives. Ideally we'd like to actually finish these projects before winter...but whatever.

Okay, let's get to it. After lunch I mean. Break!"

Here's my proposal for a new way to do it, and I take a page out of the book of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They can build an entire house in 7 days. How do they do it? Simple. Lots and lots of man hours in one location.

Would it be so infeasible for them to go around the city doing one project at a time, utilizing every hombre on the payroll, go non-stop until it is finished...and then move on to the next? To me this seems like win-win. Projects are done faster, and at any given time only one piece of the road is blocked off. Can someone please tell me what the matter with this plan is? Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2006

As gas prices begin their annual summer increase, I couldn't help but notice something today as I took a scenic drive through Provo Canyon. But first...correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a pretty substantial chunk of the price you pay for a gallon of gas taxed for purposes of road maintenance? I'm totally down with that system, by the way. The more you drive on the road, the more you pay towards its upkeep...makes sense.

I couldn't help but question the use of aforementioned funds, however, when I saw the sign "Falling Rock" as I entered the canyon. This sign, a fairly common one actually, has always puzzled me. It's obviously warning you that you are entering an area where rock falls are common. But what exactly are you supposed to do with that knowledge? How does one alter their driving while in a rock fall zone in a way that somehow minimizes the chances of being hit by one? Seems to me if your car gets crunched by some errant boulder, then you are the victim of extremely bad luck, not a consequence of poor driving.

So the question is, since we've established that we're going to use "obvious signage", where do we draw the line? Why not post a sign that says "Lightning Struck Here Once" or maybe "Driving In An Earthquake Is Scary"? OR, how about we eliminate obvious signage altogether and save a penny or two on escalating gas prices? My vote is for the latter...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Since my last post I've probably thought up at least a dozen new gripes. But I always forget what they are when I get an opportunity to write about them. I will try to do better - these things need to be documented! :)

But I did remember one today. Have you noticed how the length of a person's voicemail instructions on their cell phone seems to be getting longer and longer? The notion of voicemail has been around, in essence, since PhoneMate introduced the Model 400 answering machine in 1971. I guess what I'm getting at, 35 years later, is there anyone on the face of our great planet who is capable of placing a phone call but who doesn't understand how to leave a message? You hear the beep, you leave a message, you hang up. Shouldn't the instructions be getting shorter by now? Or better yet, no instructions at all, just the beep?

But for some inexplicable reason a typical greeting, when someone doesn't answer their phone, goes something like this:

"Hello. You have reached the voice mailbox of (person says their name). If you would like to leave a message, please wait for the tone. Now, since you really have no choice but to wait for the tone, we'd like to take this opportunity to give you some useless options. But first, a little about voice mail. Voicemail is a revolutionary idea that allows you to leave a message when someone either is not available, or simply chooses not to answer their phone, which that person is then able to retrieve and listen to at a later time. Pretty neat, huh? You may now press # if you're ready to continue. Did you press it? Just kidding...gotcha! Oh, by the way, press 2 if you'd like to leave a numeric page. Now there's a useful feature. Never mind that your number is automatically recorded on their phone when you call. Plus, no one really wants to know why you're calling, so a primitive numeric page is a nice alternative to an informative voice message. Let's see here, what else before I give you the tone. Oh yeah, if you're you, please press # now for a whole bunch more options. I'll give you an extra 10 seconds to comply. (10 seconds) (beep)."

It's maddening really. All voicemail should work the same. The phone picks up, you have like 1 or 2 seconds to push a special key, such as the # key for any special options, and then there should be the tone...and that's it. No message, no greeting, no nothing. Perhaps someday...(sigh)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

There is an old-school video game from the 80's that some of you may remember called "Dragon's Lair". In the game you control Dirk the Daring, a valiant knight on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. Here's a screenshot:

The game worked a lot like those old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books -- in each room, you would have a number of obstacles to avoid, usually by simply moving the joystick in one direction or hitting the sword button. One miss-timed or missed move and you suffered one of several heinous deaths built into the which case you had to pony up another 50 cents and start the game over with your newfound knowledge.

The reason I am writing about this game is because I realized the other day that it is a perfect analogy of my dating life. Each new girl is a new game...and each time I flame out miserably by making a "bad move" I chalk it up as a learning experience and try to avoid making the same mistake in the future. And then I suppose "rescuing the fair princess" would be analogous to finally suckering someone into marrying me.

Granted, my dating life is not exactly prolific...but this IS how it kinda feels. :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

PETA is full of whack jobs. It never ceases to amaze me how they repeatedly manage to overshadow their otherwise reasonable message with utterly retarded and wacky stunts. So I was excited when Michelle sent me a newspaper article which stated that "a man and woman will be making out in a bed set up on the sidewalk at Provo's University Avenue and Center Street". I didn't really care what their message was, although I believe it had something to do vegetarians making better lovers or some nonsense...what we were really after was some POTW fodder. Yeah! :) So we grabbed our cameras and headed over there...

You really let us down PETA. That wasn't wacky at ALL. Here's what was touted:

"The couple won't be fully clothed while making out. The man, a former Naval instructor, plans to wear nothing but boxer shorts, and the woman, touted as a 'raven-haired beauty' will be clad in sexy lingerie."

Here's what the article should have read:

"A man and woman will stand around on the corner in their pajamas for about 15 min. looking dumb and really really cold."

For your poor execution, PETA, I guess I'm gonna have to eat two pork chops tonight instead of just one. At least Michelle was able to snap a couple photos with pretty decent POTW's one of them (see if you recognize the person in the middle ;) ):

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's only a matter of I figured I'd pull some preemptive creativity and beat ABC to the punch:

"One man. 25 men. One will be eliminated each week after a series of fun, exciting and exotic dates that will elicit real and raw emotions. Some lucky men will meet his family, and he will visit their hometowns for a slice of their life in an effort to determine the man with whom he is most compatible. At the end of the journey, he may quite possibly have found true love...

Coming to ABC this fall: The Broke Bachelor!"


Friday, February 17, 2006

Quickie gripe. I have at least a half dozen devices that take three AAA batteries. THREE. What genius engineer thought that up? When's the last time you saw a 3-pack of triple A's for sale? I'm convinced these people are in bed with Duracell and Energizer. Think about it...what better way to get an instant 33% jump in sales than force unorganized folks like myself to by four batteries for a three battery device? Because I can guarantee you that "odd man out" 4th battery will be totally and completely MIA by the time I need new ones. And off I'll go to get another 4 pack. Bastages! :)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Geico has some really bad ads. But this radio spot of theirs I heard this morning was one of the worst ever. I don't know if I really could "save 15% or more by switching"...but ads like these make me REALLY not want to even bother trying.

It went something like this..."The Utah state bird is the Seagull. But Geico has such low rates, people in Utah want to change it to the Gecko...(insert more lameness here)".

What? Huh?

First of all, Geico is not Gecko. It's Geico. It's just some stupid-sounding word they came up with. If you want a gecko to be your mascot, maybe you should change your name to FREAKING GECKO! What's next? A pony playing a Sony Playstation? 'Cause that makes sense, right?

And what on earth does the state bird have to do with car insurance anyway? Dahh, this is so stupid I'm getting all worked up just writing about it. :) Let's assume for just a second that it isn't stupid that they use geckos in their commercials...why not say that the people of Utah want to change the state animal or state reptile or something to the gecko?

And finally, what an incredibly unclever and nonsensical stretch to assume that people would want to change the state anything because of car insurance, cheap or otherwise.

Then it dawned on me...perhaps Geico makes their ads lame for the same reason that "Totally Awesome Computers" and "PC Laptops" are in-your-face obnoxious and annoying. To get your attention, to get you talking about them, write blog entries, etc. I.e., generate buzz. Am I a mere pawn in your grand scheme, Geico?

But then I came to my senses. Your ads suck, Geico, and I'll never buy insurance from you precisely because of them. You lose. :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

I swear every time I go into the Maverik to pick up my 12-pack of diet Dew there is some new gimmicky "energy" drink. The market seems to have really taken off for all these Red Bull ripoffs. So it got the ol' hamster wheel spinning...I need to get in on this while the action is hot! You'll notice that there seems to be a game of one-upsmanship among the manufactures of these supposed energy drinks, each new brand has a more extreme sounding name, a more obnoxiously colorful label, more and more useless supplements, and a bigger and bigger can size (not to mention price).

So I've decided to take it to the extreme and TENups anything else out know, take a few quantum leaps in the evolution of the energy drink rather than these pointlessly small increments and just blow away the competition. I give you...Turbo Death Acid!

That's right baby, Turbo Death Acid. Compared to a refreshing can of TDA, everything else will be like drinking your grandma's Metamucil shake. The can is gonna glow like that too. Not sure how yet, but I'll figure out details later. And it's gonna be big. Not some puny 12 or 16 oz'er, I'm talking like a liter and a half. And no flimsy-pants aluminum eighth inch of solid stainless steel. Turbo Death Acid promises more caffeine that the blackest of coffee, but that's just the start.

Oh you want supplements? Get a load of this list...we got Acidophilus, we got Astragalus, we got Beta-Carotene, Alpha-Carotene, and Delta-Carotene. We got Gingko Bilboa, we got Rocky Balboa, we got Cat's Claw, Pig's Hoof, and Owl's Beak. But wait, there's more! It's not called Turbo Death ACID for nothing. We got Alpha-Liopic Acid, Biotin and Pantothenic Acid, and Amino Acids galore! Ginseng? We put in the Ginseng death threshold amount...and then ADDED a couple grams! And all that is just the beginning. How about some Wild Yam, Shark Cartlidge, St. John's Wort, Black Cohosh, and don't forget the Bee Products! What do all these supplements do? No one really knows, but who cares! It's all in there. Add just a smidge of Drain-O and a pinch of Napalm and you then have...Turbo Death Acid! Coming soon to a convenience store near you.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

There's a trend in websites that has been bugging me lately. Have you ever noticed how companies will just randomly insert pictures of people, usually stock photography of business people, on the front page of their website? Usually of people that don't seem to have anything whatsoever to do with the business? Why do they do this? I guess it's an attempt to add some legitimacy or sophistication to their business, regardless of what that business may be. Maybe in some instances it works, but other times I think it's just stupid. For example:

Bob's Raw Sewage.
"We process crap so you don't have to."

I don't know. I'm sure they've done all sorts of marketing studies that show that this kind of thing ultimately is effective, but I will continue to think it's lame. :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I am a big fan of pay-at-the-pump at gas stations. It just makes sense...slip in the card, pump your gas, and go. Easy. There is one thing, however, that bugs me immensely about pay-at-the-pump, and that is how each and every one of them has a slightly different process. Do I insert the card now, or do I hit "Pay Outside"? Do I flip up the handle, or press a button? Wait, where IS the button? How do I select which grade of gas? Debit or Credit? Do I want a carwash? Do I want a receipt? Stop beeping at me!!! Did I know there is a special on Cool Ranch Doritos inside? Dahh!!!

Take note o ye designers of future pay-at-the-pumps. This is how it should go. Pull up, slip in card, open tank, put nozzle in, pump, put nozzle back, done. How can it be this simple, you ask? Defaults. DEFAULTS! Maybe it is the computer science in me, but I learned very early on in my programming career that defaults are your friend. Just before you slip in the card there should a button next to the card reader that simply says: "Press here if you would like to be bothered." If you press it then you get all the stupid options that are currently forced down our throats. Otherwise you get the cheapest grade of gas, you get no receipt, you get no carwash, and it runs as credit. Done.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I go to Walmart today during my lunch break, pick up a 12-pack of Diet Mtn. Dew, and head towards check out. You are now faced with 3 choices once you arrive: regular check out, express check out (20 items or less), and the new self check-out. Regular check out is always a poor option as you will find yourself behind several stay-at-home-mom's who have the next 9 months of groceries densely crammed into one cart. The express lane is usually not any better as people scoff at the supposed item-limit (and I swear the max. number of items gets higher and higher each year - how about a 1 item lane?). Which leaves the relatively recently deployed 3rd option, the self check-out.

I actually like the idea of eliminating the checker and doing it yourself. I've used them several times and they seem to have worked most of the kinks out of the initial models. There is, however, a major problem with the notion of self check-out. Walmart and other stores have GROSSLY overestimated the average person's ability to go through this process in a timely manner. I have never been in line to use one where the person (or persons) in front of me didn't resemble a senior citizen trying to set the clock on their VCR. I mean let's face it...these things are WAY WAY WAY too complex for your average Walmart shopper. There's a touch screen with a myriad of options and buttons. There's a credit card machine with all its buttons and gadgetry. There's a bill slot, a coin slot, a change return, a receipt printer, a laser bar code scanner, a scale, bags, etc., etc. It's simply too much. And the end result is that self check-out lanes are a viable option ONLY when there's no one in front of you. And the odds of that happening at your average Walmart, unless it's 4am Sunday morning, is basically zero.

Ideally they would have some sort of IQ scanning machine you have to step through in order to get to the self check-out machines. Like the machines they have at airport security. "ZZZ. I'm sorry ma'am...but you're too stupid to use the self lane is that way." Or maybe they could have a VCR set up in front with a blinking 12:00, and if you can correctly set the time in less than 20 seconds, you are allowed to enter. Just some ideas. Maybe someday...