Make it stop…

I hate the Geico commercials with the cavemen.  So much so that I want the person who invented the advertising idea to be beaten into a bloody pulp.  But I am really, really hating the new Geico commercials with the eyeballs on top of a stack of cash.  What the hell?

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As seen on TV…

For years I was obsessed with watching the infomercial for the GT Xpress 101

It is a sandwich maker thing with two deep wells that cook the food on both sides at the same time.  During the infomercial an older woman demonstrates about 2 dozen recipes that can be cooked in about 9 minutes in the GT Xpress 101.  She makes salmon with a side of wild rice.  She makes omelets.  She makes angel food cakes with strawberries inside them.  She makes use of leftover meatloaf and garlic bread.  She makes breakfast burritos with your restaurant leftovers.  She makes those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in less time than it takes to heat up a standard oven.  Essentially, she makes anything and everything you can dream of.

Anytime I happened to flip to a channel that had the GT Xpress 101 infomercial on, I watched it.  I’ve probably seen it all the way through about 100 times.  But, I’ve never really ordered anything off of the television before, no matter how obsessed I was with the product.  That all changed one day last January.  I went online and purchased the GT Xpress 101.  Actually, because of the way the product is sold, I bought two for the price of one but had to pay the shipping on both which is where I was taken for a ride.  After I ordered the product I started reading reviews of it on various websites and I got freaked out.  Half of the reviews were horrible.  Some people said that the GT Xpress 101 was total junk.  Others said that not only was it junk, but it took three months to arrive.  Needless to say, I totally freaked because I had just spent $70+ on it.

Due to the awful reviews, I half expected the GT Xpress to never arrive.  And if it ever arrived, it wouldn’t work.  But, it did arrive, about two days beyond what I was told to expect (16 days).  And, it worked.  It made everything that the infomercial said it would.  It made amazing burritos.  S and I cooked in it everyday, several times a day for three months.  It made these great breakfast sandwiches with a raw canned biscuit, an egg, two slices of bacon and a handful of cheddar.  I cannot express just how much I love the GT Xpress 101.

Of course, the novelty eventually wore off and we use it a lot less than we did when we first got it.  I still love it and it still works, but now I am crazy about this wok that S’s grandma gave me.  I wok the house.  I wok my world.  But every now and again, I still whip out the GT Xpress 101.

The thing is, I have a whole new As Seen on TV obsession.  It is the Sham Wow!  I am fascinated by the Sham Wow!  I need a Sham Wow!  I just haven’t gotten around to ordering one yet.  I had been putting it off, sort of like I did with the GT Xpress 101 but the other day, while waiting for my pictures to be developed at Walgreens, I found that they sell the Sham Wow!

I will be buying one in the coming days.

2008 Year In Review…

It was a presidential election year, which made it all the more interesting. 

It was our first full year in our new house and that made it all the more comforting. 

It was the year that my grandmother passed away and that made it all the more bittersweet. 

It was a year in which we got a new little family member and that made it all the more awesome.

It was the year the economy tanked and that made it all the more disconcerting.

It was the year I was forced to go listen to jazz fusion and that made it all the more ear damaging.

It was the year we discovered Wade Oval Wednesdays and that made it all the more delightful.

It was the year we took little Shaggy to her first amusement park and that made it all the more amusing.

It was the year that we remodeled our kitchen counters and that made it all the more sanitary.

It was the year of really big snow and that made it all the more delightful.

It was the year I got an autographed copy of Liberal Fascism and that made it all the more Jonahish.

It was the year in which I finally started feeling like an adult even if I still haven’t begun fully acting like one.

A night with Ike…

That was one wicked wind storm last night.  It sounded like Marine One was landing on our front yard, repeatedly, for several hours.  The power kept flickering.  Branches fell out of trees and blocked the roads.  I found a rather large tree branch on the hood of our car this morning.  No damage, thank G_d, but a whole lot of people in northeast Ohio woke up to damaged cars and houses this morning.  My poor tomato plants did not survive the wind storm.  They were ripped into bits.

Just sitting in my living room, hoping and praying that the power wouldn’t go out during the Steelers/Browns game, I wondered how in the hell anyone in Texas, especially Galveston, rode out Ike in their homes.  Frightening.  I often wonder why anyone would choose to live in a hurricane plagued are or a tornado prone area or along a fault line.  I don’t think I am as tough as those people.  Perhaps I don’t have the fortitude to deal with those things.  Then again, I deal with Lake Erie winters, so I am somewhat tough.  Right?

At this very moment I am listening to a local talk radio program where the host is taking calls from people perplexed by the sudden increase in gas prices.  Of course they are blaming the oil companies, not the huge range of factors caused by the hurricane.  I find that frustrating.

S’s mom and dad are planning to visit this coming weekend.  We are going to take them to the Yankee Peddler festival on Saturday.  Mrs. S has been nagging us to take her for about four years now.  I don’t think that Mr. S is looking forward to it at all.  When we took them to a county fair last summer, they practically jogged us through the whole thing, all the while complaining about the smell of the animals.  Seriously, we were in and out of the Cuyahoga County Fair in a little over an hour.  Now, there won’t be animals at the Yankee Peddler, but it is still pretty much just a huge craft fair.  When we have gone in the past, we usually stay about four hours.  I am willing to bet that this year we do the whole festival in two hours.

Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live as Sarah Palin was priceless.  However, the rest of the show was horrible.  Maybe they used all the funny on the opening skit and that is why all the rest of the skits lacked the funny.  But I am pleased t report that S and I watched Baby Mama (Tina Fey and Amy Pohler)on Friday and it was funny.  I feared that it was going to be one of those movies where all of the funny parts were in the advertisements, but no.

I checked out my stocks this morning and got a little ill.  But then I made the decision not to look again today while there is the Lehman uproar.  I already feel better.  Things ebb and flow and I usually resist getting too caught up in the whirlwind of financial prognostication.  Today should be no exception.

Finished reading Fleeced  by Dick Morris this weekend.  Not a very good book.  Too shallow.  And I got the impression that some of his “down with the tyrants” rants were hollow.  I don’t think he really believes half of what he wrote in that book.  Total waste of my money and time and for that I should slap myself in the face, because I have alwasy avoided his books in the past.

Blog reading regrets…

It started last week, probably Monday or Tuesday.  I have this list of blogs in my favorites file, separated into sections like “mommy blogs“, “dad blogs” and “people blogs“.  There are about ten to twelve blogs in each section.  I love those blogs and they really are my favorites even though there are also a lot of other blogs that I enjoy.  But blogs that are not in my favorites are ones that I visit maybe once a month.  The blogs that are favorites, I visit at least once a day, sometimes five times a day depending on their output or if there is something that begs to be read and re-read and then read aloud to S.

There are all sorts of blogs in those favorites.  I’ve come to enjoy “meeting” people through their writing that I would probably never bother to meet in my day to day life.  The people that I enjoy the most are so very different than me and my life, beliefs and ideology.  One person is even a New England Patriots fan, but I still love his blog.  I love reading about people with children because I truly find their lives fascinating.  I love their stories.  And, of course, I have come across plenty of blogs written by people who support Barack Obama and truly believe that his policies are the best policies for the future of the United States.  I’ve enjoyed reading their posts about why they believe those things and support that candidate.  They haven’t swayed me, but I appreciate reading their posts.  They are expressing political opinions in a non-offensive, non-Kool-Aid drinking way.  They aren’t ranting and raving, which is a turn off for me.

The thing is, I was enjoying all of that until last week.  It seems that John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate really was quite the “game changer”.  That choice started to seep into some of my favorite blogs.  And not so much in a good way.  Suddenly these reasonable people have started lacing their posts with an acidity that I just can’t understand.  Suddenly the “mommy” bloggers and the “dad” bloggers have gone from entertainment to something I just don’t enjoy reading anymore.  Same with the “people” bloggers, but I kind of expected that because they were always a little more political than the others. 

By last Thursday I had started to avoid my favorites.  But I was lured back to one that I considered safe because he had never really talked about politics at all before.  Sadly I found a post that said he knew a guy who had drunken photos of Sarah Palin from college that the friend was afraid to release to the media because he has a job in Alaska politics and feared for that job.  I’ve now stopped going to that blog, which sucks because he always had great photos.  Maybe I’ll return after the election.

I love talking politics.  It is my favorite subject, with football coming in a close second.  And I don’t mind reading about why Sarah Palin’s policies are unappealing to some.  So long as it is factual.  And so long as it is not a rant about her family.  I have a section in my favorites file for “political blogs” both left leaning and right leaning.  I expect hyperbole there.  I expect teeth gnashing there.  I expect lies, de-bunking, smears and cheerleading there.  I just don’t expect it from my entertainment, from my gentle favorites.

It has become so bad that when I came across a blog that had a reasonable political post, I actually left a comment.  And I never comment on blogs.  But it was a refreshing read and I felt the need to thank that person.  I don’t know if that blog will ever make it onto my favorites list because the other posts weren’t all that interesting to me, but I really did appreciate that one post.

So, there has been much less blog reading for me lately.  I suppose that will continue for awhile.  It is regretful because something that I once enjoyed has become disappointing.  I hope that things can go back to normal after the election.  Perhaps in December once the dust has settled.  I sure hope so.  And if Obama beats McCain, I will read the victory dance posts in hopes that the posts that follow get back to the cute school stories and complaints about work.

X-Files, among other things…

Back in 1997, when S and I started dating, I was not much of a sci-fi fan.  Sure, I grew up loving Star Wars, but just the movies.  I was not into the fan-fiction and continuations of the stories that a lot of Star Wars fans were into.  My love of the trilogy sent me in the direction of loving Carrie Fisher and her books and her sense of humor.  I couldn’t have been any less into sci-fi if I had tried.

Also, I was not so much into conspiracy theories, with the exception of the JFK assassination, but I think that was more about politics than dark, looming conspiracy.  I did not spend my days thinking about the secret group of men who “really” ran the whole world or black helicopters or one world government.   I thought more about how laws are made and the legislative process and back room deals and Tammany Hall.  That seemed complicated enough…

But then I started dating S…  She worked in a science themed store, watched X-Files religiously and had friends who believed in the Illuminati and such.  During the whole “getting to know you” phase of the relationship, it was like she was speaking a foreign language or perhaps came from a different country with a whole different culture than I was used to.  I had never spent time around someone who was into those kinds of things.  Science, yes…  But science like becoming a doctor or a pharmacist, not science like alien autopsies and life on other planets.  It was a crazy time.  And if she hadn’t been so damned cute, I don’t know that we really would have gotten past the first few dates.

As we were starting to spend more and more time together there were evenings when we hunkered down in my apartment to rent movies or watch television.  That was an odd experience.  When she picked the movies, they were those crazy Japanese animation movies or bizarre science fiction movies that were poorly written and poorly acted but “classics”.  I don’t have a problem telling you that I was in Hell on the nights that she chose the movies.  And I have no problem telling you that she was in Hell when I made her watch “Love Story” and “The Paper Chase“.  But then she introduced me to The X-Files. 

Yes, I was aware that there was a television show that was cultly popular, but I had never watched it and really didn’t know anything about it other than it was “weird”.  But, Gillian Anderson was hot and sometimes that is all it takes for me to have interest in a television program.  We would watch the current shows together on Sunday nights and in between, we would rent the videos of seasons past so that I could get caught up.  At first, I agreed to watch X-Files because it pleased S so much and I was really into pleasing her and then there was the Scully hot factor and then I was introduced to the overall conspiracy of the show.  A secretive syndicate of people who ran the government and pulled the strings of the FBI agents who threatened their power.  Okay, I always thought the alien stuff was silly, but I tried to suspend my disbelief.

After a year or two of living together with X-Files posters on our apartment walls, we got less and less engaged in the show.  The cast changed and I never really cared for the “weird” episodes as much as S did.  And at some point I sucked S into The West Wing and that became “our” show.  We did race out and see the X-Files movie when it hit the big screen and we bought the video when it came out.  S watched it more than a dozen times, but we were never as obsessed with the show as we once had been.  People change.

We’ve had the Sci-Fi channel for a couple of years now, but I rarely ever watch it.  Sometimes, when S is in charge of the remote, she seeks it out.  They run old X-Files episodes, which she still loves to watch.  About a month ago the channel had a mini-marathon, running the last three episodes of the series, which neither of us had ever seen because they came after we had lost interest in the show.  They turned out to be disappointing but at the end, there was a commercial for a new X-Files movie, which took us by surprise.  So, for the past month of so we have had the opening weekend date for the X-Files movie on our calender.

We had no idea what the plot of the movie was about.  The movie trailer didn’t give any real clues.  We searched the internet but the plot was being kept under wraps although we read that the plot would be along the lines of the most beloved X-Files episodes.  So, we went to see it on Tuesday and while it was a good and entertaining movie, it was more along the lines of S’s beloved episodes, not mine.  See, no spoiler here.  If you loved or even just liked the television show, go see the movie.  But go to an early show for the cheap price.  That’s all I’m saying by way of review.  It was well worth $6.50.  I don’t know that it was worth $8.50.

Oh yeah, and Gillian Anderson is even hotter now that she is older.

Good things…

In effort to prove my contention that I am not an angry person, I will post a few of the things that I am happy about this week.

1. Looking over my current DirecTV bill I found that my NFL Sunday Ticket has automatically been renewed, at the early purchase discount rate, no less.  Yeah!  You have no idea just how much I love football.  Or just how much I love my Pittsburgh Steelers.  If it had not been automatically renewed, I might have had some purchasing guilt over it again this year like I did last year.  It’s kind of a lot of money to spend on watching football when there is really just the one football fan in the house.  Sure, S likes watching Steelers games, but she does not live and die with them like I do.  But, the decision has sort of been made for me and I have a little less guilt.

2.  I am totally enjoying our evening walks with the dogs.  And the dogs are quite pleased as well.  During the walks we’ve gotten to meet more and more of our neighbors and a local police officer who lives on the next street up from ours.  I like participating in the community, even if it is just in a small way.  Also, S has started taking Rummy jogging in the afternoons and they both seem to be enjoying that.  Emma and I get to stay home, which pleases both of us.

3.  The county fairs start next week!  We love county fairs.  Oh, the corn dogs I will be eating…

4.  We found a decent local pie place and last night we tried out some pies.  We bought four different slices to share and sample and they were all pretty good.  When we lived on the other side of town we had a great dessert place that we indulged in, but it is now way too far away for the indulgence.  But now we can at least get a pie fix on this side of town.

5. This morning we watched the trailer for the new Harry Potter movie, due out in November.  Brilliant from the looks of it so far.  The Tom Riddle boy seems like perfect casting.

6. Last Thursday I purchased and then grilled to perfection a Porterhouse steak.  Life is good, very good. 

7.  We are having house guests this weekend, S’s brother and his wife.  Which means we get to show off the house again and I do love that.

8.  A family has moved into the house next door to us.  Mother, father and children.  The house has been vacant since before we bought our house and while I enjoyed the quiet and the privacy, I worried about living next to a somewhat run-down, empty house. 

I thought I would have ten things, but no.  Oh wait, I started reading a really good book last night.  Yeah, that’s #9.  Oh, and in the past two weeks I read biographies of James Madison, James Monroe and John Tyler, so there, that’s #10.