More great fortunes

I could not confirm that the Ohio pet store ad I wrote of yesterday featured paintings of a dog and a cat.  At first, my friend thought I might be right, but when I pointed out just how stupid that would make the ad, she laughed hysterically for a minute, then decided it couldn’t really be true.  I still suspect I’m right, but I can’t be sure…

In any event, the two of us got some of the best fortunes I have ever read from our fortune cookies (manufactured in Hayward, CA, I noticed on the packaging).  Mine read:

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

My friend’s fortune topped mine, and by a long shot, I might add – but I’ll let you be the judge…

“No one has ever drowned in their own sweat.”

I want to find the person that writes these fortunes and hire them for something – I don’t know what, but something.

Mangled words

Tonight I am meeting a couple of friends at the so-so Chinese restaurant next to my favorite dive karaoke bar, both of which I recently mentioned.  On what might seem like an unrelated note, I was just scanning the ever-lengthening list of categories on my blog.  I am obsessed with categorizing, but now and then, I think I might be overdoing it – especially when a category sits for a long time with only one post in it.  Sometimes I try to use those lonely categories as sparks to write other posts so there will be no singletons in the long run.  As my eye skimmed the list, it lingered for a moment on ‘Las Vegas,’ and I think it’s because I’m going to the karaoke bar tonight.  The thing is, I’ve never gone to a karaoke place in Las Vegas – so what is the connection?  Mangled words.

My favorite karaoke bar is called ‘Mel-O-Dee.’  Yep, I know.  Horrible, yet somehow completely appropriate for a dive karaoke bar in a strip mall.

My favorite place to gamble in Las Vegas is called ‘Slots-O-Fun.’  It, too, is a dive – just a dive casino instead of a karaoke bar, and to my opinion, it is also perfectly named.  It’s awesome because it’s cheaper than the casinos in the big hotels (I won a few hundred dollars on a quarter roulette table one night), yet it’s still on the strip – next to Circus Circus and across the street from the Riviera, which is a horrible hotel that used to be nice in the day, according to my grandparents, who never stayed anywhere else in their many trips to Vegas for an annual gun show.

Thinking about the mangled words that make up the names of these places, I am reminded of one other particularly horrible advertisement.  While I haven’t seen this ad in more than 17 years, every single mangled word still sticks in my brain.  It was painted by someone not very skilled at painting, on the brick wall of a building I used to have to walk past to get home every night after work, in a small college town in Ohio –   It was an ad for a pet store, and it read:

We got ’bout EVERYTHIN’
‘cept Cats ‘N Dogs!

I don’t remember if the name of the pet store was included in the semi-washed out wall painting, but I will never forget that horrid line because, unlike my acceptance of the mangled words for the aforementioned karaoke bar and casino, I just could not accept this ridiculous advertisement, yet I had to see it every single day.  I’m not sure I fully trust my memory on this, but I think the ad even had a picture of a dog’s head and a cat’s head – which I personally think is as stupid as stupid gets.

Interestingly enough, one of the friends that accompanies me to Mel-O-Dee happens to have been my next-door neighbor from that college town in Ohio over 17 years ago, and I know that she, too, remembers the ridiculous pet store ad, because she hated it as much as I did – maybe more.  In any case, I will ask her about the ad tonight to see if she remembers either the name of the store or the surrounding poorly painted images on the wall.  I will, of course, share anything interesting that I learn.

Category obsessions

I am obsessed with organizing things.  Last week, I finally figured out that I could display my categories as nested, so I promptly went about creating new categories, regrouping everything, and applying new categories to my 100+ posts.  I loved every minute of it!  Now, when I glance at the navigation pane on the right hand side of the screen, though, I see too many categories with only one post in them – and that’s starting to bug me, too.  Neurotic, I know, but that’s not really news, is it?  See here and here if you think it is.

So, for the moment, I am going to to use my own category list as writing prompt inspiration.  We’ll see how it goes…  First on the list – Cocktails.

I am a cocktail sort of person.  I like wine – drink it at dinner sometimes, but I absolutely abhor beer.  Cardinal sin for someone that grew up near Brew City, I know, but it is what it is. One of my favorite cocktails is the mai tai.  Now, if you’ve never had a really good mai tai, you won’t know that the drink is not so much about the fruit, but about the rum – but, I’ll forgive you for that.  For now.

Interestingly, the best mai tai I ever had was at a restaurant in St. Louis, of all places.  Perhaps more significant was that I was at the restaurant for a work function with my clients at the time – a major beer brewing bunch.  We’re at this super fancy restaurant with lots of marketing bigwigs in attendance, and at each end of the table sits a big metal tub on a stool, full of some of the cheapest beer you can find in the world, among a hill of crushed ice.  I was supposed to drink it – we all were.  Even if you hate the products of your clients, when you work in marketing, you must pretend you love them anyway.  If you drool over them, that’s even better.

Lucky for me, one of the people at the client also disliked beer.  She whispered to me at one point.  “I hate beer.  But I’ve found that if I take a beer, put it in front of my plate, act like I’m drinking it now and then, that’s enough.  I can even sneak in a cocktail on the side and no one will really say much.”  With that, I quietly ordered my mai tai, and as I said – it was the best I’ve ever had, so I’m glad I took the risk.

To help me illustrate my point about just how misunderstood the mai tai is, read this post.  It will set you straight.  If you like rum, and you’ve never had a classic mai tai – try one.  You won’t be sorry you did.

A pep talk in every drop (TM)

I’ve been fighting off a cold this week, and it’s the kind that starts with a nagging sore throat and clogged up sinuses.  So, I went for the Halls.  Though I have half a dozen bags of Breezers, I was out of the real cough drops, and that’s what I needed, so I had to buy a new package of Mountain Menthol.  I was surprised to notice that Halls has taken a sort of fortune cookie/cheerleader approach to communicating with consumers with sort throats.  The wrappers are full of brief motivational messages.

– Tough is your middle name.

– Flex your “can do” muscle.

– Get through it.

– Seize the day.

– Impress yourself today.

– Nothing you can’t handle.

– You can do it and you  know it.

– You got it in you.

– Don’t try harder. Do harder!

– Put your game face on.

– Let’s hear your battle cry.

I’m not sure how I feel about this.  First, I don’t have a battle cry, and even if I can do it and I know it, that doesn’t mean I want to do it when I’m sick.  Sometimes I like to think “tough” is my middle name, but not so often.  My “game face” when I’m sick is non-existent.  Even when I do just “get through it,” most people know because I can be a pretty whiny sick person.

Maybe they’re just trying to be cute.  Then again, maybe their marketers think if they push us to keep going when we’re sick, we’ll need to buy more and more Halls because it will take longer to get better.  Either way, I go through stretches of semi-addiction to Halls every year when I get a cold, so these messages will neither make me buy their product more, nor will it make me buy it less.

I think I would be much more entertained, though, if the messages were more along these lines:

– Tell them it can wait.

– Threaten to cough on them.

– If you must go to work, pass us out in meetings.

– Your bed is calling you…

– Stay home!

– Show off your blue tongue.

Workplace perks and Max Headroom

It has been well publicized that many tech companies offer crazy perks to their employees, probably for a host of reasons.  Pool and foosball tables, video game rooms with PS3, Wii, XBox.  Some of the flashier employers in the Bay Area offer meals, even on-site dry cleaning, haircuts, chair massages, and fitness facilities.  Some people say these perks help keep people at work longer, while others say they are necessary simply to attract the best talent.  When I started my new job, I didn’t expect any perks like this because it’s still a small company, and I was right – there are no relaxation lounges, spinning classes, or laundry facilities, but, they do give us a few things – Starbucks coffee with a variety of extras – milk, half and half, raw sugar, sweet & low, etc.  Friday mornings bring bagels, cream cheese, fruit, and lox, and the fridge is always stocked with Coke and Diet Coke.  I think there might even be orange juice.

I rarely buy soda to drink at home, but I have long been a fan of Coke – I never did like New Coke as much as Classic Coke, except during the days of Max Headroom, when it was cool to take the taste test between Pepsi and Coke in the mall.  If you picked New Coke, you got a Max Headroom poster and other junk that I used to decorate my bedroom walls, along with cutouts of Ralph Macchio and Kirk Cameron from Tiger Beat or whatever the teen magazine of the day was.  Anyway, now I drink coffee all morning, but switch to a can or two of Coke in the afternoon.

It reminds me of my uncle.  I have never known anyone that likes Coke as much as he does.  In fact, his son’s first word was Coke.  We were all sitting at the dinner table, and my young cousin was somewhere around 2.  All of a sudden, hands flailing in his high chair, he yelled, “Coke!” in the sort of clipped voice of a newly talking toddler.  The rest of us laughed, so he repeated the phrase over and over and over.  My cousin is now out of high school, and I have no idea if he turned into a Coke drinker, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t, what with all the Coke my uncle always had in the house.  I do believe that nothing beats Mexican Coke, though.  They still use real sugar instead of corn syrup, and it is so much better.  Not to mention that drinking from a glass bottle is more reminiscent of youth and hot summers, whether or not you actually drank Coke from a bottle back then.