Saturday, April 23, 2011

Don't supersize me, bro! Or, Why is my Icee so big?

So you guys remember the McDonald's Supersize? If you grew up in the 90s, I'm sure you do, and you may even have been under the impression that it had been around forever. Actually, it was first introduced in 1993 as part of a Jurassic Park promotion. It was called "Dino-size." After the promotion ended, they decided to keep it around, thus beginning a decade of outrageous overeating.

You also may recall a 2004 film called Supersize Me. This film created a storm of public awareness about fast-food that, many believe, led to McDonald's phasing out their 42-ounce sodas and 7-ounce bags of French fries.

I bring all this up because recently I ordered an Icee at a movie theater concession stand. They gave me the option of "small" or "large." I decided to get the large so I could share. It was rather big. To say the least.

This is no trick photography, dear readers. That Icee is indeed larger than my head. So I can't help but wonder, in an age where fast-food restaurants are trying to offer "healthier" options and Subway is the fastest growing fast-food chain, where Jamie Oliver is a food revolutionary and McDonald's was essentially shamed into removing the Supersize from their menu, how are movie theaters still selling gigantic sodas and bags of popcorn? And why, oh God why, are we willing to pay so damn much for them?

That "large" Icee and a "small" popcorn cost me $12.75. I may be dating myself, but I remember a time when two people could get drinks, popcorn, and movie tickets for less than that. Also, you could get candy, an ice cream sundae, and a foot massage for an upcharge of just $1.23. I may be misremembering this a tad, but you catch my drift. Maybe in the age of Netflix Instant and them fancy DVR machines actually going to the movie theater has become more of an event, making moviegoers willing to pay more as part of the experience. Or maybe, more likely, they know we are all addicted to buttery popped corn and frozen Coca-Cola and giant screens and they are going to make us pay both arms and our left legs for the privilege of having those things. I would be angry and rail against the capitalist machine, but it's stimulating the economy, right?

So my boyfriend and I paid a total of $32.25 to see Hanna. Wait, did I type that right? Oh jeez. I really wish I hadn't done the math on that. Screw the economy. I should've waited for it to be available on Netflix Instant.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Have we considered the possibility that doctors don't know how to use umbrellas?"

DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against doctors. I appreciate what they do and am sure that most of them can use umbrellas without incident.

I have a couple of work anecdotes from yesterday.

The first involves the extremely tedious and time-consuming task I did for most of the morning. For those of you just joining us, I work for a promotional products company. We sell hats, cups, pens, shirts, etc. Pretty much anything our customers want their logo on, we can get it for them.

Well, we recently sold a bunch of umbrellas to some doctors. Some fancy gift or other. They were nice big umbrellas with a button that opens and closes them, but we had some complaints that the open/close buttons did not work. So, because we have good customer service, my boss took the umbrellas back to have someone (i.e. me) test them.

This was not a difficult task by any means, but after opening each umbrella, I had to repackage it in not one but two protective sleeves. I did about fifty umbrellas and it took me nearly three hours. And get this. They. All. Worked. We had two that were defective. Possibly the very two that caused the complaint in the first place. I have to hope that they tried more than two before claiming they were broken.

So I can't help but think, maybe they were doing it wrong? I don't know. Doesn't seem possible, but there's that old truth that sometimes the smartest people lack basic common sense. Or the ability to open and close an umbrella. With a button.

A functional umbrella 

Two protective sleeves

My other work anecdote for the day is about another sweet junk email one of my co-workers received. This one is not poetic by any means. It is a straight-up scam, but I love the way it was executed. Read for yourself:

Our Ref: 423/909 Date: 4th April 2011

I am assigned by the President, Federal republic of Nigeria , Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to look into the plight of foreigners who were dupe in the cause of retrieving their money from Nigeria . This action taking by His Excellency is born out of enormous complain from foreigner complaining that they were dupe out of their hard earn money by some unscrupulous Nigeria in pretends of helping them.
His Excellency decided to take action on the issue because of the embarrassing status that that has cost this country internationally.
It was on that note that I was drafting in to look into the issue and subsequent recommend further actions to the federal government, however, according to his Excellency, those who genuinely carry out authentic contracts in this country without being paid will be paid immediately. Those that their money was not release from the commercial Banks for one reason or another will also be release. Furthermore, I want to advice that, you get all the necessary documents ready as we will ask of it before any action could be taken.
Do sent your reply to me immediately for further action
Yours truly,
Mahmud Yayale Ahmed
Secretary to the Government
Federal Republic of Nigeria .
That was sent by the Secretary to the Government, so you know it's legit. I love that they think that by piggy-backing off the old Nigerian prince scam, they can trick people into being scammed in exactly the same way. The brilliance of it is that it only targets people who fell for the original scam and are, thus, exponentially more likely to fall for this one than someone who doesn't make a habit of sending all their financial information to strangers over the internet. Most people will see through it immediately, but you're always going to have people that go, "Yeah, I want my money back. President Goodluck is such a nice guy for doing that for me."

So if you or anyone you know lost some money in the Nigerian prince scam, you can contact (<-- the address from which this email was sent). I'm sure he'll help you with that.

On an unrelated note, I really like this Adele CD. And I try not to hold it against her that she is only two months older than I and already has two Grammys.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Apocalypse is coming

If you live in Central Florida you have probably spent much of yesterday talking about the weather. Apparently, it's big news even outside the area because I've had friends and family from out-of-state call to make sure we're ok. For the record, I'm fine, but I'm forced to compose this on my phone by candlelight because our electricity has been out since noon yesterday. There's no telling when it may be back. At least it afforded me the opportunity to take this pretty picture:

Photography aside, though, it was a pretty scary day for weather. Having lived here my whole life, I've seen my share of stomrs, mostly in the form of hurricanes. My junior year of high school we lost about a month of class when three hurricanes in a row pelted the area. But despite the destruction and loss of electricity that came with those incidents, yesterday's storm seemed worse, perhaps because of how sudden and violent it was.

The morning was pretty bleak, and it was obvious rain was coming (we've had thunderstorms all week), but it was no worse than I had seen in the past couple days. Around 11:30 or noon, though, everything changed.

I was chatting with my aunt, who had stopped by to say hello, and as I glanced over her shoulder, I saw that outside, which ten minutes before had been overcast and rainy but not inordinately so, was now pitch black. The streetlights were all on, and I swear it was as if night had fallen in the space of five minutes. I'm sorry to say I didn't get a picture of that, but another five minutes later I wouldn't have been able to anyway because sideways rain began hitting our windows, obscuring everything outside. Said windows began to rattle, our lights began to flicker, and then we heard the unmistakable sound of hail. It was around that time that I decided to text several of my friends that the apocalypse had come, and my friend Joe confirmed in his response that he had seen three of the four horsemen. One of my co-workers felt compelled to leave her desk during this period, as she sits in front of a large bank of windows. I didn't blame her. And then, after another ten minutes, it was basically over, where we were anyway.

The rain, thunder, and lightning continued all night and there were reports of tornados all over the county. Driving home after work, I saw limbs down and debris everywhere. To make matters worse, this week is the annual Sun n' Fun Fly-In, an airshow and exhibition that brings plane enthusiastists from all over to the area. As you can imagine, winds powerful enough to create tornados and bring down oak trees did not bode well for a bunch of planes sitting out on the tarmac of the Lakeland Airport. Here's one of many pictures of the destruction:

Yes, that plane is upside-down. The worst report I heard was that a hanger at the Fly-In had collapsed, trapping 70 people. Luckily, that turned out to be inaccurate. It's amazing how rumors can be augmented. It was actually a tent that collapsed, injuring 7. Still not good, but less disastrous than what the initial news reports told us. Silly news reports.

Anyway, from what I hear, 2,000 people were/are without electricity. The storm really wreaked havoc on power lines. Yet, for some reason, my friend Jonny didn't lose power. That wouldn't be weird except that he lives on the other side of my neighborhood. What the hey, Lakeland Electric? I hope it comes back on today. Reading by candlelight is not as romantic as it sounds when you start getting headaches from eye strain.

Oh, and no, this is not my idea of an elaborate April Fool's prank. Hehe, wouldn't that be great, though? How did I convince someone to flip a plane upside-down just for that picture? Oh, Kimber, you're such a scamp.