Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I just returned from a weekend in Rhode Island, a state that has got it going on when it comes to public restroom hand dryers. The whole state (and by whole state I mean at least three buildings in Providence) is full of these brilliant inventions called Dyson Airblades. You put your hands in them, palms forward, into little hand-shaped pods, and slowly draw them out as a thin blade of air shoots horizontally from the sides, magically drying your hands faster than you ever thought possible. It's amazing. It feels like the water is being instantly sucked out of your skin. It feels like the future.

Just take it from this blue-shirted woman to your right. Or take it from one of the shocking number of YouTube videos demonstrating these sensational implements. Or take it from me, who washed her hands three times in the Providence airport just to dry them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

King of the bench

Let's take a moment for this guy I saw at the park Friday evening:

1. Lavender polo shirt
2. Khaki shorts
3. Mandals
4. Gelled hair
5. Smoking a cigar
6. Staring at a PDA
7. Legs spread way wider than necessary
8. On a public park bench

It's like he had a checklist of jackassery and just went right the hell down it. Check. Check. Check.

[Drawing by Matt Wiegle]

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chop chop

Like many people, I have a difficult relationship with my hair. It does things I don't want it to do. Most annoyingly, it grows. Every time I get it cut, I say, "I don't care what you do, as long as it's extremely short." I'll gladly look like Private First Class Jacobs at first if it means that I don't have to go through this bothersome haircutting ordeal for another two months. Unfortunately, very few stylists seem to comply, and I am almost always left itching for a cut in three weeks. So I decided to forget this professional-haircut poppycock and take matters into my own hands. If it goes badly, I figured, I've got a purple wig and I'm not afraid to use it.

For $3.99 -- a fraction of the cost of a haircut! -- I bought something called the Tinkle Hair Cutter. The Tinkle is a comb with a double-edged blade embedded in it, "so you can cut your hair as you comb it." And really, who hasn't wished they could save time by both combing their hair and ripping six inches off of it with a cheap rusty razor at the same time? Count me in. I plunged ahead. The results? Perfect! Or at least, well ... adequate! Let's just say I am far less afraid of the Tinkle Hair Cutter than the lady on its package appears to be:

Thanks to the latest hair styling created by my Tinkle Hair Cutter, I won't be in a salon chair anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book hounds

If you happen to be the author of way too many mass-market novels, you are faced with the predicament of having to take way too many author photos. Some writers spice things up by posing with their favorite things: Alexander McCall Smith with his musical instruments, Danielle Steel with her tacky ballgowns, James Patterson with his bad mood.

Many authors choose to pose with their dog/s, an option I fully support. I recently came across a stellar example of this, courtesy of Dean Koontz:

Reasons I like this picture:
1) That dog is adorable.
2) The dog seems to be the featured member of this portrait. Did he write the book?
3) These two look like they have a strained marriage and have been forced to sit next to each other and smile at their daughter's wedding.

In conclusion, keep up the good work, bizarre dog-loving novelists.

My allotment of daily Internet fame

Something I submitted to the Museum of Food Anamolies in August of 2006 was just published:


I feel so proud. I'd like to thank my photographer, my undying love of fresh produce, and above all, the Red Hook Fairway.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Open request

Dear people in charge of the Dr. Pepper company,

I am writing this letter to beg you to continue to manufacture Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper. I know I was skeptical at first. After all, Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper is nearly indistinguishable from regular Diet Dr. Pepper and therefore is a stupid waste of fridge space (no offense). But I was wrong to doubt Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper, wronger than I can say. It is the finest carbonated beverage I have ever drunken. I love its retro '70s Roll-Bounce-style label. I love how inside every bottle is a "Save $1" coupon that is impossible to extract without a sharp pair of scissors and an agile hand. I love how it turns my tongue an unnatural shade of red. And I love most of all its delicious flavor. How did you manage to convert Tootsie Roll to liquid form?

I know you keep saying this is a limited-time thing. And I accepted those terms when I signed up. But now I don't know how I'd go on without it. When I look back on that thing with Diet Sunkist, I see what a child I was. Please don't make me go back.

Yours truly,
Nailgun Alley

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Someday my prince will come

Three years ago, at the Nearly New Shop in my fair Midwestern home town, I made the finest secondhand purchase I have ever made. What is this desired article, you ask? A pair of perfect-condition Frye boots? A cozy knitted scarf? One of those '60s A-line mini-dresses you're oh so fond of? Why, none of those things can match the endless entertainment of this gem:

Here's how it works: In this box you will find a stack of 3" by 5" cards, each featuring the head shot of devastatingly good-looking Boy From The 80s. Draw three of these cards and set them face up for all to see. You now have three lily-white young men (don't worry, suburban mom! No minorities here!) looking back at you, like so:

Now pretend that you are at a rockin' high school party. Ask yourself, who would you rather ask you to dance? Bobby, Clayton, or Johnny? Secretly write your choice down on a piece of paper. Then, try and guess which Heartthrob each of your fellow players will pick (Isn't this fun already???) and secretly write down your guesses. Done? Great! Everyone discuss. You get a point for each correct guess.

OK, folks, round two. Draw two "personality" cards per Heartthrob and place them under the face cards. Now we've got a little more insight into these mystery boys:

This time, the stakes are raised. Now these budding Captains of Industry are asking you out on a date! Oh snap. Who's it gonna be? Has Bobby's love of baked goods changed your decision? Do you really want to listen to Johnny's sub-par jokes all night? Repeat picking, guessing, and discussing a la round one. One more point per correct guess.

Round three: two more personality cards, and this time he wants to go steady. (The game does not explain what "steady" entails, but I'm guessing lots of full-on tongue kissing and awkwardly saying, "I'm not ready.") Assess, choose, discuss, add points.

End of round. Repeat entire sequence. Continue to play until you are bored or have fallen into a pit of despair. At that point, add up all your points. The most perceptive lady or gentleman (the one with the most points, that is) wins.

The more you play Heartthrob, the more depressing it becomes. You gradually realize that you're not choosing from the pick of the Central Prep litter. After a while, you find yourself staring at options like this mess:

It's like an elaborate game of "Would you rather" with the gloomiest choices ever. i assume that the creators are a bunch of middle-aged, chain-smoking, G&T-drinking female Milton Bradley lifers determined to teach the bubbly little high-school chicklets who play this game a thing or two about life: that's right, kid. If he's not talking to aliens, he's walking around with his pants unzipped. That's life. That's love. Deal with it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hello, User #49565! You seem to enjoy black people!

A considered and insightful recommendation from my Netflix account: