Pedo-Meter Reader

I love sending away for free stuff, but I don't think the feeling is mutual. I've recently had a string of really bad luck as it relates to mail-aways.

As you may remember, Sara Lee ran out of Buzz Lightyear lunch boxes before I could get mine; my Toy Story 3 Alien light and Hamm bank from Kellogg's have been lost in postal limbo for the past month; and M&M's never sent me the free bag of Pretzel M&M's they promised me on Facebook!

Today the mailman (who always double parks behind the three cars closest to the mailboxes) left me a small padded envelope in my mailbox. The envelope was sent from Nature's Bounty. That name didn't ring a bell, but the envelope was addressed to me (or current resident), so I knew it had to be important.

Inside was this tiny green digital clock.

Twenty-three o'clock? You certainly get what you pay for. Wait, maybe it's set to army time. Wait some more, there's a tiny piece of folded-up paper in the envelope as well.

Oh, now I see. According to this instructional pamphlet, this is actually a "Mini Pedo-Meter". Thanks for the intel, instructional pamphlet. You have served your purpose and can now be thrown away without a second thought.

From what I can gather, a Pedo-Meter measures the distance between you and the nearest pedo. Does that mean that my "Mini Pedo-Meter" will only measure mini-pedos? I suppose they are the sneakiest.

If this Pedo-Meter is to be believed, the nearest pedo is 38.251 somethings away. I hope that's miles. If they are any closer than that, aren't they required to tell us?

Update: I have been informed that a pedometer is primarily used to measure the steps you have taken.

I have to admit feeling somewhat silly now. I actually remembered that my girlfriend and I each purchased this pedometer a while back. They worked really well for about a year. Then the battery died and we were faced with making a decision between buying replacement batteries or never again knowing how many steps we have taken. Sometimes you are rewarded for procrastination.

I put the pedometer on my dog because I'm more interested in how many steps he takes in a day. Do I have to multiply the number by two because he has two sets of legs?

To Dell and Back

My previous blog was composed and posted from my wonderfully understanding girlfriend's laptop.

A little more than a week ago, my computer greeted me with the always unwelcome blue screen of death. I tried all the usual tricks to try and resuscitate it; I turned it off. I unplugged it. I dusted it. Nothing was working.

My extended service warranty had lapsed and Dell's normally helpful tech support could only do so much without treading on charge-me-by-the-minute territory. I was understandably pessimistic about the situation. I was stuck in a balancing act between wanting to have my computer back and an aversion to spending a lot of money. Between parts and labor, I wasn't sure if fixing the machine I've had since 2004 was financially the best option.

I finally conceded that I would lug my tower into Best Buy to see what the Geeks thought; but before that, I was going to give DIY tech support one more attempt. I ran a memory test and it failed right off the bat. I had already diagnosed one of my two hard drives as a paperweight and was still operating under the presumption that the problem was directly related to that.

I have two memory sticks installed in my machine that equal 1gig of memory. I removed one and tried the memory test again. Fail. I removed the other and replaced the first and ran the test one more time. Pass!  A big, green, triumphant pass!

From there on, things ran smoothly. I was able to install my OS and even updated from XP to Vista. My sound wasn't working at first, but I ran Windows updater and just like that we were in business. I'm down to one hard drive and more unfortunately only 500mbs of RAM, but the important thing is I fixed my computer I didn't have to pay nobody a dime.

Suck it, Geek Squad.

Amazon's Most Expensive Items

Hey big spender, the holiday gift giving season may be several months away, but if you plan on having any of these items under the tree come Holiday morning, then your broke ass will want to start saving now.

Are you under constant threat of lion attack? Then the Proporta Elephant Camouflage kit may be for you. Proporta uses their “Clear Blue Sky Disappearing Technology” to help you literally vanish into thin air, allowing you to “evade dangerous predators, tourists and boring guests at tea and bun parties”. It’s unclear if this elephant camouflage is an elephant shaped suit for expeditionists hoping to get an up close look at some nature or if this item is aimed at actual elephants who are looking for a little peace and quiet. You can find out yourself for a mere $1,484,423.95.

I don’t own Kindle and if Selected Nuclear Materials and Engineering’s $6,431.20 price tag is an indication of how much it costs to read books on a calculator, I think I will stick to paperbacks—or nothing, as the case my be.

The Ultrafin Stirrup is perfect for that aspiring OBGYN in your family. For only $8,426, little Johnny can get a leg up on the competition. Ultrafin’s reinforced rod and joint assembly and flexible boot allows the system to accommodate patients weighing upwards of 800 pounds; but that’s disgusting. The Ultrafin Stirrup is found in the Beauty section of Amazon alongside Osmo Essence’s Blinding Shine Illuminating Finisher, which can be yours for a reasonable $19,318 per 4.2 ounces.

Supposedly a diamond is a girl’s best friend, but for $685,380, this Certified Diamond better promise to be more than friends. The diamond is described as pear shaped, but it looks more like a tear to me, which is appropriate if the lady you give this to turns you down. Almost 700 thousand dollars may sound like a lot of money for something you’re buying from Amazon, but keep in mind that this item does qualify for free shipping.

Ordering food on-line has never sounded appetizing to me, but even I have to agree that this $8,020.32 Iranian Asetra 000 Caviar Malossol looks delicious. I think if I was paying more than 8 thousand dollars for a snack, I would be more inclined to lock it away in a safe rather than put it next to the mustard in the fridge. Luckily for hypothetical me, Amazon lists this $180,000 Traum Heirloom Safe. I would buy this safe, but I’m holding out for the temperature controlled version. Also, the combined value of everything I own is considerably less than the cost of the safe.

Wind up Bumble Boxing

In a previous blog, I compared shopping at Thriftko to dumpster diving. I originally intended that metaphor to describe my experience at Tuesday Morning, but after braving through what Thriftko has to offer, I can honestly say that Tuesday Morning might as well be Saks Fifth Avenue compared to Thriftko.

Tuesday Morning is a closeout retailer. They sell the stuff that other stores couldn’t. Each item inside a Tuesday Morning bears a sticker listing three prices: regular price, sale price and Tuesday Morning’s price. Everything sold at Tuesday Morning is severely discounted and they let you know it; both by price and the condition of their stores.

To be fair, not all Tuesday Mornings are created equal. You may very well encounter a location with orderly shelves and products in their correct aisle. However, you’re more likely to find the stores resemble a child’s play room, minus any sort of parental supervision. It’s sort of fun, though. It makes shopping like a treasure hunt.

Our definition of what constitutes treasure may vary, but I would gladly take a pirate’s chest full of today’s blopit (blog topic): Wind up Bumble Boxing!

“The ultimate 80’s wind ups are back for a boxing match you’ll never forget! Bumble Boxing combines knockout laughter with and old school punch. Who will be the next great boxing champ? Wind up your boxer and let the fight begin… it could go the distance, a full 12 rounds!”

That’s an exciting combination of words, but it doesn’t tell me much about who the bumble boxers are. Why should I care about one of them becoming champ? I don’t even know their names! If I can’t make a connection with these combatants then you can forget about this being a match I’ll never forget, because I won’t even remember it.

Since the text on the box does little to define the personality of our adversaries, it’s up to us to fill in these blank slates. Right off the bat, it’s impossible to ignore the family resemblance. They could be identical twins if it wasn’t for Blue’s pasty white skin. Perhaps he is the product of his mother’s lusty, Guinness-fueled romp with an alabaster skinned Irishman.

Blue (or “Lucky” because sports nicknames are often ironic and/or mean) was abandoned at an orphanage until the age of 12 when he was deemed “unadoptable”. Lucky scraped by on the pittance he collected for brawling in illegal street fights that made cock fighting look humane. Lucky would eventually scrounge together enough cash for a trip to America where he hoped to find his biological mother.

Red is Rocky Balboa.

Now that our bumble boxers have a back story, their bout for the championship will be all the more interesting.

A picture is worth a thousand words and one second of video is made up of 30 pictures (frames), so a three minute video is worth more than five million words. Rather than accelerate my inevitable arthritis, I made a video to illustrate just how great the bumble boxers are. I even scored the video to the music of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out! for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Disney Thieves must be EPCAUGHT

Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. For that reason, they prefer to perpetrate their pilferages under the cover of night and avoid stepping on cracks for fear of breaking their mothers’ backs.

Last Saturday night, my girlfriend and I caught a showing of Scott Pilgrim vs the World. In the film, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) must defeat Ramona Flowers’ seven evil exes if he has any hope of being with the girl of his dreams. Scott Pilgrim mixes video game culture with anime sensibilities and a quirky sense of humor that rewards the audience’s otherwise useless knowledge of pop culture.

We both liked the movie; however, our enjoyment was short-lived. When we returned to the car, we immediately realized something was askew. The pink Disney Princess antenna topper that normally adorned the rear of my girlfriend’s car was absent.

“The wind?”

“A bird?”

No. We both knew the truth. The topper had been stolen.

I checked around the car in an act of futility. Antenna toppers, Disney-themed ornaments in particular, are big business in Central Florida. Scanning the surrounding vehicles, I didn’t see a single topper floating above the autos. It was clear that we had been the victim of a roaming band of antenna topper burglars. Their bounty was ample that night.

The theft has made me appreciate my own car topper even more. Kermit has proudly sat atop my car for well over a year. His original vibrant green has faded and his decal is peeling, but I can’t imagine my car without his ever present smile.   

Does your car feature a topper upon its antenna? If so, do you worry about your topper being pillaged? What can we do to better protect our foamy friends? Register your answers in the comments section below.

Dear Diary... today I bought a little girl's journal

Thriftko is a consignment shop much like The Salvation Army store, except the money you spend doesn’t go to a good cause. Shopping at Thriftko is a lot like dumpster diving, except you are expected to pay for the trash you collect.

Second-hand stores like Thriftko are great for putting together Halloween costumes because of the variety of old clothes you can find at yard sale prices. Unfortunately, mostly because of all that ancient clothing, the air quality in these stores hovers dangerously around toxic levels. A Thriftko in my town recently moved into a new building, so it was the perfect time to peruse the refuse without inhaling 50 years worth of mothballs.

Whenever I encounter a yard sale or a flea market or a consignment shop, I’m always hopeful that I will stumble upon some long lost treasure that the experts on Antiques Roadshow will appraise at thousands of dollars. It hasn’t happened yet, but during this most recent trip, I did find something almost as good as treasure: a little girl’s journal!

I don’t know what inspired my girlfriend to pick up this pink spiral notebook, but we were both immediately thankful she did. I was under the impression that Thriftko acquires the lion’s share of their merchandise through donations, but now I think they are just taking people’s garbage. There are plenty of periodicals in the “literary” section at Thrikfto, but one would not expect to find a used diary amongst the John Grisham novels.

I left the store without the journal that day, but it has haunted me ever since and I knew that I must buy it and share its contents with the world. I went back today and—thank Jesus—it was still there. The price etched into its cover read 49 cents, but the cashier didn’t seem to notice and rang up a miscellaneous price of 69 cents. I wasn’t about to argue over 20 cents. I would have paid 100 cents for such a prize.

Gomez, Go!

Gomez is the—sometimes anthropomorphic—normally insectoid—mascot for Mezco Toyz [sic]; purveyor of action figure oddities and collectable curiosities. Gomez is also the inspiration for a 2008 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive that has managed to elude me for the past two years.