Saturday, November 23, 2013


Napsack from Poler
Who wouldn't want one of these? A sleeping bag and a coat, all in one. You would never - absolutely never - have to get out of bed. And if you're camping, you wouldn't have to get out of your sleeping bag when you have to go to the bathroom! Where was this product 40 years ago?

All this for the incredible price of $130 from Poler - the world's highest standard of stuff.

Attractive, no?

I first saw this product in the Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine Holiday 2013 Gift Guide (November issue, page 103). And I said to myself, I must have it.

Move over, Snuggy! I've got a sack that I can nap in!

As soon as I got on the ground, I searched for "sleeping bag coat" and I got quite a range of results. On one end, I got this:
What this has to do with The Strand Hotel NYC, I have no idea.

I also got this, which was far more interesting:
The self-heated, waterproof and multi-functional Elements Survival Coat is designed around over 18,000 homeless people living in Detroit. It converts readily into a sleeping bag at night, while providing portable warmth during the day. . . .
Donations are being accepted to help buy velcro, plastic tubing, scissors and hot glue that go into the construction process. Of course, clothing alone is not the solution – this coat comes with a minimum-wage job, food to eat and other assistance for getting back on one’s feat. It might not be a long-term solution, but any home is better than none … and the materials+assembly price is difficult to beat.
Read more: Sleeping Bag Coats: Makeshift Wearable Homeless Shelters
(Also, here: ABC News.)

Instead of buying a Napsack from Poler, I'll make a donation to The Empowerment Plan instead. Their mission:
We're a Detroit-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the homeless community. We hire homeless women from local shelters to become full time seamstresses. These women manufacture a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag, which is then given out to homeless individuals living on the streets at no cost to them. ​ 
We believe in giving second chances to those who want it, and providing warmth to those who need it.
Or, you could get the Norma Kamali Narrow Sleeping Bag Car Coat from Saks Fifth Avenue for a cool $600. Does it come with a car? Because, if it does, I'll donate to that.

In the End

DIY Death: Natural, At-Home Funerals And Their Boomer Appeal - WBUR
“Once people’s fears are relieved about body care, body mechanics, smells and fluids, a light goes off and they say, ‘Why would I not want to do this?”
Something to think about anyway.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Antique Doorknob Collectors of American Can't Handle It

In September, Vancouver council adopted new amendments to its building code, effective next March, that, among other things, will require lever handles on all doors and lever faucets in all new housing construction.
Vancouver’s ban on the humble doorknob likely to be a trendsetter - The Vancouver Sun
(Photos, too.)

Middle, Revised

If I add Los Angeles to the mix, that puts us in Cheyenne, Wyoming. (Or the Denver area, if you prefer.)

Rodeo, anyone?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Who Wants to Meet In The Middle?
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is roughly in the middle for persons traveling from Seattle, Boise, Cincinnati, and Boston. If I toss in Phoenix, then the middle is really a cornfield on the South Dakota-Nebraska border, approximately midway between Denver and Minneapolis. Kansas City, Kansas, appears to be as close to the middle of the United States as it gets, so maybe that would be a good meeting spot.

Or we could try something completely random. How about Greece?

Adventures in Travel

There’s a loud talker on the flight. I’m in row 3 and this guy is across the aisle in row 4. He talks a lot - although he’s quiet now because he’s watching his digiplayer. But, he’s a talker. A loud one. I’ve been listening to my iPod because this guy is so distracting I can’t read, or even do a puzzle. If looks could kill, I swear the woman ahead of me, in row 2, wishes this guy serious harm. Okay, probably not. Just quiet. She keeps peering through the gap between her seat and her husband’s, staring arrows just over my left shoulder to the guy across the aisle in row 4. Just by looking at her face, I can just read her thoughts: “Shut the fuck up, already!”

I can’t hear anyone else around me. I don’t think it’s that they’re not talking, although the rest of first class is fairly subdued, playing solitaire on their iPads or working a Sudoku puzzle. I thought for a while that maybe this new 737 was just more quiet than other airplanes - like riding Amtrak. If you ride the train, you can hear everyone’s conversation. Even the lady discussing private medical issues with her doctor on her phone. Stuff I really don’t want to be made aware of, you know?

It’s a good thing I had something to listen to and I still had some battery life left on my iPod. I hope my new phone* has enough battery power for a 5-6 hour flight. Then, all my entertainment will be with me wherever I go - books, podcasts, and puzzles. What more could a girl need? Lotions, but I guess you can’t put that in a phone, can you?

We were gone for ten days and, as usual, I over packed. The last time we went to Hawaii, I made notes for myself so I wouldn't over pack which I didn't read again until we were already in Hawaii. I must have remembered some of it anyway because I packed in the little suitcase this time, not the big one. Still, it weighed a ton. I knew it wasn't my bathing suit. It wasn't my shoes either. (I only brought the pink flip flops Aunt J. gave me.) It probably wasn't my pillow either. And if I packed my pillow in my little suitcase, that didn't leave a whole lot of room for clothes so what made my suitcase so heavy?

Stuff I don’t need, that’s what: lotions and electronics. Okay, geerheads, before you get all excited, I didn't say all electronics but there were some I definitely could have lived without for ten days. Similarly, there were some lotions that I could have left at home. And, I’m the Lotion Queen.

This is what I brought:
  • Cleansers
    • One just for my face
    • One for my hair
    • Is shave cream a cleanser?
    • Toothpaste
    • (In case you’re wondering ,the body soap was provided by the hotel/condo so don’t get all lathered up about it)
  • Lotions
    • Hair conditioner
    • Morning face lotion
    • Evening face lotion
    • Eye cream
    • Hand/body lotion
    • Body lotion with shimmer
  • Other
    • Self tanner
    • Sunscreen (why would someone bring self tanner and sunscreen?)
    • Deodorant
    • Makeup
    • Almond exfoliating face scrub (To be fair, this was just a sample size)
    • Anti-aging seaweed facial mask to be applied twice per week (Hey, I was gone for ten days.)

Guess how much all that weighs? A freaking ton, that’s how much. So this is what I did. When I left Hawaii I left behind the sunscreen, the shampoo, conditioner, and the hand/body lotion (which gives you sense of my priorities, I suppose). You know what? My suitcase still weighed a ton. That’s because I also had:

  • An electric toothbrush and charger
  • A battery operated, freaking, face-cleaning device with rotating brush head
  • Laptop
  • Kindle
  • A bigger than necessary paperback (for when I had to turn the Kindle off in flight, although I didn't need to do that this time)
  • HDMI cable, for hooking up everything to everything else
  • Cables for charging everything
  • Camera with which I took not a single picture

Good to get away from it all, right?

Next time, I might just consider going old school and brush my teeth with a manual toothbrush and wash my face with a washcloth. And while my face probably doesn't know whether it’s day or night, my crows feet will know if I don’t bring the eye cream. And since I didn't wear any makeup or take any pictures, I can probably leave those items at home. The rest of it I can buy for a couple bucks in travel sizes at my destination and forget transporting it, especially the half gallon of sunscreen of which we used approximately one tablespoon.

Unless I forget to read this before the next time I go to Hawaii.

Oh, yeah. I also need to remember to bring a set of earplugs.

*You know, it was the apple that got Adam and Eve in all that trouble, right? And so, it is with some trepidation that I’m switching to the dark side in my choice of phones (soon). But, at least I didn't have to do it with AT&T. That would have really been sinful.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Coffee Maker Cooking: Brew Up Your Next Dinner - NPR
A few months ago, we introduced you to the wild world of dishwasher cooking. Poach salmon while cleaning dirty plates? No problem.
But some of you expressed concerns about having your sockeye sit so close to soapy water and the high energy cost of running a dishwasher.
Well, we've stumbled upon another wacky cooking method that may overcome these issues: using your coffee maker. From steamed broccoli and couscous to scrambled eggs and poached salmon, the possibilities appear endless.
There you go, road warriors. Now you can have a home cooked meal right in your hotel room.

I was wondering what to do with that drip coffee maker.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Speaking of Slogans

Frito Lay
. . . is probably not what Frito Lay had in mind when it made Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
“We have a population who loves to eat the hot, spicy, not-real foods, and they come in [to the emergency room] with these real complaints,” Dr. Martha Rivera of White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles told KABC-TV. “[The kids are being] set up for ulcerations, erosions and… peptic ulcer disease.”
Andrew Medina, 12, told KABC-TV that he eats up to 20 or 30 bags of spicy snacks each month. After he started experiencing stomach pain, he visited a doctor, who told him that the snacks were causing gastritis – a condition associated with bloating, burning and vomiting.
Spicy snack foods sending children to the emergency room, experts claim | Fox News
An apple a day will keep the doctor away, but a bag of these everyday will send you to the emergency room. Maybe you should cut down on the chips, Andrew.
Dr. Martha Rivera, a pediatrician at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, said she sees between five and six cases of children with gastritis daily.
Super Spicy Snacks Send Kids to Emergency Room | ABC News
Five or six cases per day? We should consider feeding our kids real foods.
Frito Lay, which makes and sells Cheetos, says it is “committed to responsible and ethical practices, which includes not marketing our products to children ages 12 and under.”
Schools Take Aim at Popular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos |ABC News
The Logo Board Game
Maybe they are, maybe they're aren't but then how did we end up with this?
Put your consumer knowledge to the test with the Logo Board Game, a fun and simple question game that anyone aged 12 and up can enjoy. Requiring two to six players, the objective of Logo is to answer questions correctly about popular brands and logos, which then advances game pieces along the spiral game board. With its diverse categories and challenging questions, the Logo Board Game entertains the entire family with fun facts about your favorite companies. . . .
And since almost everyone is exposed to consumer advertising, the entire family, young and old, can participate in the fun. . . .
Manufacturer recommended age: 12 - 15 years
My brother and I used to amuse ourselves on long car rides by quizzing each other on our commercial knowledge. This is 40 years ago if you can believe it. We even came up with a catchy name for the game, like Commercial Quiz or something like that. (Help me out, brother, if you're reading.) One of us would hum or sing a jingle and while the other guy tried to guess the product as quickly as possible.

Ah, well. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Except we weren't farting hot spicy, non-real foods.

More Better

Saw a print ad in The Maui News that used the words "Increasingly Preferred." Just like that, too, with the quotation marks. It was in a large, loopy, italics font that took up the center of the ad which was maybe 3 x 5 inches.

Increasingly preferred, what does that mean? More people liked us today than yesterday?

Did I mention? The ad was for a mortuary.

"Increasingly Preferred"?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I'm sitting here, just behind the flag on the railing. I would be on the other side of the railing, in the sand, except it's too hot out there. Actually, it's getting pretty hot in here as the sun is encroaching on my once-shady spot. It's not bad right down at the water's edge, though, so I might wander down there to get my feet wet.

We've been on the island for six days and I've been too busy being lazy to do much goofing off. That will only sound logical to those of you who take their goofing off seriously.

Not much to add. Just checking in.

I'll probably be sitting in the same spot tomorrow. For the next few days, even.

Latitude :: 20.9288337
Longitude:: -156.69265199999995

Monday, November 11, 2013

There's an app for that

TSA now has an app cleverly named My TSA App. Now you can get groped simply by putting your phone in your pocket.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Letter

My love,

Remember when we said we wanted to grow old together? Well, now that it's here, I'd like to renegotiate. I guess there's nothing to be done about the growing old part and I suppose it's better to grow old with someone than by one's self but it's not turning out they way I thought it would.

I thought it would be like a Cialis commercial. It would be all hazy lighting, walking hand in hand, smiling and looking younger than our years, with that sexy background music. (I swear to god, I hear that music in the grocery store and I get horny.)

But getting older isn't as pretty as it is in the brochure. Hair grows in places it didn't before. Like on my chin. That just shouldn't happen. And I shouldn't get acne anymore either. What's that all about? If there should be any benefit to getting older, I shouldn't get acne.

And it hurts, getting older. In more ways than one, I suppose. I look at younger people and think they have it coming. But I get cramps in my calves and feet which makes shoe shopping a particular chore (although, that alone has probably saved you hundreds of dollars). My stamina and flexibility aren't what they used to be. (I'm sorry about that but I had no idea we'd still be having sex at this age. Twenty years ago, the idea of old people having sex was gross. I guess it still is, come to think of it. So, moving on. . . .)

My elbows hurt now. Who's ever heard of that? Even as I write this I have ice packs strapped to both arms and I don't even play sports. I'm right handed so it makes sense that some sort of activity caused the problem. (Personally, I think it was vacuuming.) But the left? I have no idea what caused that. The only thing I do with the left arm is lug my purse around. (I wonder how much that thing weighs anyway.) The result is I'm now, literally, a two-fisted drinker because I can't lift even a glass a water to my lips without using two hands. (Note to self, get straws.)

And now my doctor wants me to send her a stool sample. In the mail. When I said I wanted to grow old with you, I wasn't signing up for that. (Neither was my mailman.)

In the end, though, you're still my best friend even if you're more annoying to be around. (I know you're getting older too but no one wants to hear about it.) And, I'm not really sure what can be done about this. We could pretend it isn't happening but that could be . . . shit, I hate it when I can't think of a word . . . perilous, if not lethal.

Damn, my alarm just went off. I need to go take a pill or something. Just wanted to let you know I still love you. Even if it means getting older with you.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friends With Words

I cannot believe how much time I can waste in a day. Truly, it's after noon and I haven't done a thing.* Actually, I've done a lot of things but nothing that amounts to anything.

Let's see:
- I made coffee, showered, and got dressed for work. (Check!)
- Promptly goofed off. (Wait, what?)

I'm sure I did something, right? I sent some e-mails that contained highly valuable, well researched reviews, in my opinion, of restaurant and entertainment options in Maui. (Because someone asked.) I gathered information regarding what's to do this weekend. I researched real estate in various retirement meccas.

I had all afternoon to work.

And, then, I discovered Words With Friends which is whole new level of time waster. It should be called Friends With Words, by the way. Words With Friends suggesst a disagreement where Friends With Words suggests you keep company with people who have good vocabularies.

Yesterday, I play four Words games simultaneously (I'm coming for you, ChefRandom) while playing Mathdoku all on my phone. Good gravy, I get distracted from my distractions!

I set out to write something every day and before you know it, I'm surfing the internet for something infinitely more important. Like reviews for cell phones (Apple or HTC?) and espresso makers, or whatever.

I had a plan for today. I really did. But at this pace, I should just go back to bed and start over.

But, I'll bring my phone with me in case you want play Words.

*Easily distracted, I started this post and didn't finish until Saturday. Well after noon, too, btw.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Two dead candidates get majority of votes in WA

In the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, John Rosentangle won 71 percent of the vote over write-in candidates in the King County Water District 54. The 63-year-old died in August of an illness.
On the Washington coast in Aberdeen, John Erak is leading Alan Richrod with 53 percent of the vote in a city council race. The 81-year-old Erak was a former state representative who died in June shortly after announcing he was running to retain his seat on the city council. His current lead is only 12 votes, and the results aren't final.
MSN News

Coffee News

For the next two days you can get a Starbucks gift card worth $10 for only $5 at Groupon. It makes a great gift! (But don't hold your breath, I got it for myself.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Math of The Simpsons: Pi, Algorithms and Counting on 8 Fingers

Voted today. Did you?

I wrote in two names. One was mine for the position of Director of District No. 2, Renton School District No. 403 after I read the unopposed incumbent's statement:
We establishes a structure which local circumstances creates an environment designed to ensure all students the opportunity to attain their maximum potential through a sound organizational framework.
This guy doesn't need to be anywhere near a school district.

The other was my friend, Tim, for County Sheriff. Actually, I first thought to write in his wife, Kris, because I think she would do a better job. But the idea of Kris with a gun scared the crap out of me so I put in Tim's name because Tim's more likely to hurt himself than someone else and he'd  probably do a better job than the guy who's doing it now.

A wise sage once said, "If you trade in yours, I'll trade in mine." He wasn't referring to these local elections but was thinking ahead two years. Let's just replace them all, he said.

I'm in.

We don't have to agree on politics. We don't even have to agree on who should take their places. All we have to agree on is that the ones who are there need to go.

So, I'm in. I'll fire mine if you fire yours. In fact, I'm up for firing mine even if you don't. I don't care who the incumbent is or how well he writes his statement. S/he's behaving badly and s/he needs to be put in Time Out.

Who's with us? I say we do this thing.