Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back From Ashes

Today was an abnormally warm, spring-like day. The sun was out and shining. There was a bit of a breeze and the temperature was in the sixties. So, it seemed a good day to start prepping the garden for springtime planting.

Lana had died, this past December, and we'd opted to have her cremated. We've kept her ashes in the box the pet crematorium delivered her to us in. We'd wanted to spread them in our yard and gardens so that she might give us one last gift.

I just got back in from raking the Moo's ashes into the garden. Hopefully, she'll help make it nice and green in the coming years.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Food or Toy?

So, after a nice, spicy dinner, a bit of sweet often goes well. For me, a frequently-preferred sweet is a nice, freshly-peeled navel orange. So, I reached into the fruit bowl and gathered one up. As I started for the living room, I realized, "oh, it's time for my evening meds." Not wanting to carry the orange with me back to the kitchen, I tossed the orange at my couch before heading back to the other end of the house. Well, my aim was a touch high (actually, I was trying not to clobber my cat with it as he lazed away on my couch). The orange hit the top of one of the back-rest pillows and then started rolling downward and off the couch. It tumbled to the floor and rolled its way to a stop along the one wall. Cira had seen all of this transpire and was immediately captivated by it. I was just going to fetch it up after taking my meds, but decided that it wasn't worth risking her trying to treat it like a chew toy in my absence. So, I reached down, plucked it up and tossed - properly, this time - onto the couch where it came to a stop next to my lounging cat.

I'm not sure Cira knows whether this orange is food or a ball: either way, she's not happy it's not in her possession. When I came back from the kitchen, she was sitting in front of the couch, head cocked, staring intently at the mysterious object and whining. The whining was not diminished by my picking it up to peel it.

Once I finished peeling it, I figured, "offer her a piece so she knows it's food and not some toy I'm withholding from her." Turns out that oranges are one more bit of human food she's not sure she wants to accept as beggings.

Stupid daig.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What the Change?

Vending machines fascinate, vex and confound me. For such a ubiquitous and long-lived technology, vending machines never seem to quite work. Soda machines keep the sodas too warm (or, rarely, dispense a can or bottle of solid ice). Sometimes, you press a button and nothing comes out. Other times, you press a button and something other than what the button is labeled with comes out. The "sold out" light for your preferred item shows up with far too great a frequency.

Perhaps the most confounding and annoying is the coin return. Many times no change is returned. Often, incorrect change is returned. And, even when the amount returned is correct, it's never returned in an ideal mixture.

Case in point, today at work. Our soda machine charges $1.35 for a 20oz bottle of soda. Fortunately, it generally accepts dollar bills. Today was one such lucky day. I put my two dollar bills in and hit the button. I heard the familiar churn and thunking-tumble of the soda's fall (it always sounds like it's falling from the TOP of the machine). I waited a few more seconds to hear if it was going to try to give me my change. Eventually, the coin return mechanism began to churn. It sputterd forth my 65-cents change. However, when I looked in the return slot, I found nothing but nickels. Awesome.

Other times, I have the joy of having to get my money back after it tells me that my soda choice is not available (what happened to the individual "out of selection" lights for each button just staying lit?). Given the price of the sodas, it's generally a case of shoving two dollar bills into the machine. However, when you have to get your money back, instead of simply returning the two dollar bills, it spits back an array of coins. Dammit: I don't need money for the laundromat and I don't need money for parking (many locations around here have switched to centralized parking kiosks that take credit cards - at $2/hr for street parking they kind of have to). So, why does my selection-bereft soda machine insist on giving me coins back for my dollars??


Interesting Juxtaposition

From CNN.Com front page: "Woman saves hubby from tiger" and "Tiger fined for spitting":

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brand Suicide

For years, I've seen restaurants proudly place "Zagat rated" signs on their doors or in their windows. Granted, I never really bothered to read to see exactly what their ratings were. I've also never bothered to pick up a Zagat guide to decide where to eat (and the presence or absence of "Zagat rated" sign influenced my decision to patronized a restaurant). However, I always sort of assumed that someone, out there, must have found value in the "recognition". I figured that there must be some value to the "Zagat" brand that restaurants bothered to put the signs in their windows.

Recently, however, Zagat gave KFC some kind of "best fried chicken" rating. Now, I have several problems with this. For starters, how can one give out an award for chain food? I mean, chain food, by it's very definition, is the food equivalent of an industrialized or mass-produced eating experience. Second, if you're going to give a rating to a chain food, how the hell can you justify giving it to KFC? I mean, KFC's food is truly mediocre. I've had a lot of fried chicken, over the years. None of the mass-produced stuff out there is as good as any number of mom & pop shops' stuff (I've had some great fried chicken in places like Memphis, Dallas and a number of other southern locales). So, there's an immediate "red-flag" on the validity of the rating. And, even of the chain food places out there, KFC sucks compared to places like Popeyes (seriously: how can you have "the best fried chicken" when you don't offer a spicy fried chicken??).

At the end of the day, when I see KFC flogging that "best fried chicken" Zagat-rating in their commercials, it pretty much renders any other Zagat ratings I see meaningless. It makes me wonder, "how much did KFC pay for that rating". It also makes me wonder how much financial trouble Zagat was in that they would have sold that rating. I mean, I have to believe that somebody at Zagat stopped to think "if we give out this rating, we severely damage our credibility". So, I'd have to assume that they'd want to make such damage worthwhile. I mean, at this point, if I see a restaurant sporting a Zagat sign, I'm gonna have to ask the manager, "so, how's it feel to be in the same class as KFC?"


Why Ask When I Want It Delivered?

I'm not big on the whole giving flowers thing. Least of all am I a believer in flowers for Hallmark holidays like Valentines Day. I mean, I give flowers, but I like them to be spontaneous and unexpected. So, I generally avoid participating in the traditional flower days.

This year, I actually bought Vallentines flowers for my wife. I had them included a card that said, "because, sometimes I do send flowers". I'd ordered the flowers several days ago. Still not sure why, just seemed the thing to do, this year. When I ordered them from the FTD web site, in addition to asking where to deliver them, they ask when. Since they were for Valentine's day, I asked that they be delivered on Valentine's day.

Imagine my surprise when, after being in Philadelphia all day, today, we get home and I find the flowers sitting on our front porch. Now, if you notice the posting-date of this post, you'll see that I'm writing this on February 13th.  Now, we didn't get home until nearly 21:00. I'm fairly sure that those flowers had to have been delivered before 17:00. I mean, how many florists are delivering after that on a Sunday. So, those flowers were sitting exposed on our front porch for a minimum of four hours. And, they were sitting there on the wrong day. Hell, the flowers delivery tag included a delivery time request of the 14th.

What the fuck? Thanks, guys. What if I'd asked for them to be delivered on the 14th because we weren't going to be getting home until the 14th??

Yeah, I'm kinda pissed.