This is where 'everything else' goes.

Pharmaceutical Grudge Match

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , , , , — Wigi @ 7:17 pm March 27, 2009

There are two problems with having a cold. One is that you don’t feel like doing that much, except lying around and watching television. The other is that you lie around and watch television.

And since I am watching television, I must tell you, I am confused.

There’s a drug out there that men can take that men take to help them urinate. There is a drug out there that women take that prevents them from urinating.

Now I am not making light of the fact that there are real medical reasons why one might need one of those or the other… and that for those that suffer those conditions, those are real problems. But you have to admit, it is rather strange that there are two drugs whose primary purpose is to prevent what the other one does.

This is not a new area of interest for me. About twenty years ago I worked in radio, where I was the studio engineer – and this meant listening to a lot of late night talk radio programs, and inserting the commercials into the broadcasts. I always thought it was interesting that you would get ads for ozone generators and antioxidants in the same program. And when I was in grad school, my thesis advisor would regularly direct me to the dietary supplement aisle at the grocery store, where I might find just the right mood enhancer (guarana) that one might need to complete your thesis as quickly and effectively as possible. In my search for her supplement du jour, I came across two products, made by different manufacturers: Undo and Redo. I have no idea what they did, but I imagined that one was the antidote for the other.

As for those drugs that assist with urinary symptoms, I think we’re left with our imagination as to whether they would duke it out in a biochemical battle. First, women aren’t even supposed to handle the drug for men, much less take it. And honestly, I think most men are a bit too squeamish about how things function ‘down there’ to entertain themselves by taking them both and seeing which one wins.

What an ugly battle that would be.

As Seen on (at) TV (Bed, Bath and Beyond)

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , , — Wigi @ 7:47 pm March 22, 2009

I don’t care for shopping… not even a little. A shopping trip with me almost always ends badly.

Since I don’t shop much, the latest trends in retail are lost on me. On the other hand, I did work in television for a while, so I am fairly tolerant of advertising, particularly television advertising… so while I might not be inclined to go into a store to buy something, I have a reasonably good idea of what might be out there on the market. I like to watch ads to see if the advertiser did a good job of getting his or her point across.

So the other day, we received a print ad for Bed, Bath and Beyond, and one of the family members pointed out that on the back page of the ad, it showed that they had “Pedi-Paws”, which is basically a manicure device for your pets. This is one of those cases where advertising meets need – we have a neurotic dog that hates to have his feet touched, much less have his nails clipped… So we have been contemplating this purchase for a while. The impediment was ordering it by mail, and the wait. So when we found out that you could walk into a store and buy it, we were sold (that and the $10 off coupon sealed the deal).

So yesterday evening, off we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. When you combine my disdain for shopping with the kind of merchandise that one might find at Bed, Bath and Beyond, it is no surprise that last night’s trip was my first visit there… ever.

It wasn’t what I expected.

It was as if Crate and Barrel, JC Penney, TJ Maxx and Costco had a four-way love child. Every endcap had an “As Seen On TV” item. “Pedi-Paws” was right by the front door, which for the Anti-Shopper, was incredibly convenient. They had those bowl-sealing things – those were on clearance for $5. They even had that item that looks like a bluetooth headset, but is really a hearing aid.

It was like walking into the Infomercial Store.

There were ten thousand of every kitchen gadget ever. The “Mandolin Slicer?” . . . Had it.

Strangely, I had a certain curiousity about the things I saw in there. It wasn’t a consumer curiousity, but more of a people-watching or car crash curiousity… except for retail items.

Living in Alaska, you live a relatively sheltered life when it comes to the retail world. If a big retailer comes to Alaska, it is probably the end of their growth cycle: Target. Kohls. Bed, Bath and Beyond. They arrive here with a bit of fanfare. Ultimately, they’re just another store. And I feel a little bit of culture shock when I go into these places. Every square inch of usable merchandising space is occupied, managed, and designed to put these consumer items within easy reach of you as you walk through the store… and as a result, puts your hard-earned dollars within easy reach of their cash register.

But I have to hand it to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Were it not for the “As Seen on TV” items, there would be virtually no reason for me to ever go back there. I doubt I would make a special trip back… but if I was in the neighborhood, I might stop in… Which is what I do when I go to the local mall, where they have a “Hotdog on a Stick.”. If you’ve never been, it is worth the visit.

The Guest Alarm

Filed under: Life,Sports — Tags: , , , — Wigi @ 10:51 am March 6, 2009

I am shy about some things. For example, if I happen to be over to someone’s place for dinner, I am not likely to help myself to the last piece of chicken, even if I am famished. It is just one of those things… you never know if the host is thinking that they might like leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or something. It’ll sit there and get cold first.

I bring this up because I am out of town this weekend, and I am staying at a friend’s place. I have a hobby (ham radio contesting) that calls me away for a weekend at a time, and a number of us get together at our friend’s place pursue this particular hobby.

My friend is married, and his wife is occasionally there when we do these weekends, so being a respectful guest isn’t just about respecting the sensibilities of my host, but also his partner, who is a very sweet woman, but has no interest in the hobby herself.

Invariably, after a number of hours doing this, it comes time to freshen up. This means rummaging through linen closets to find a towel, and then going to take a shower.

I feel uncomfortable about just helping myself – I imagine the situation where someone is visiting my home, and I suddenly discover them in my shower. On one hand I imagine that my guests should just make themselves feel at home… but then I imagine the situation where my expectation was not that they would be in my shower at all.

So the first time this opportunity presented itself at my friend’s new place, I fought through all my petty insecurities, grabbed a towel, and headed in to take a shower. I got undressed and turned the water on, and got it just to the right temperature. I pulled the handle on the valve, and the water cascades out of the shower head. So I get in, and I am just getting settled under the warm water, and I realize that the water pressure seems to be dropping ever so slightly. I start to pay attention to this, and I can actually hear the sound of the water moving through the pipes change slowly.

All of the sudden, the showerhead starts making a sound that is just like a teakettle. It is this loud screeching sound that water makes when it is somehow restricted as it flows. I am imagining that sound as it reverberates through the house… like an alarm: Wigi is in the shower! Wigi is in the shower!

I am thinking to myself, my host is going to start banging on the bathroom door and start screaming, “Hey! what are you doing in there? Are you trashing my bathroom?” Of course, that never happens… but as time goes on, the pitch of the water-siren gets higher and higher… like it is saying, “Hey, if you didn’t notice, Wigi is in your shower! Aren’t you going to do something about it?”

It is almost like my host saying, “Hmmm… taking the last piece of chicken, huh? I see how you are.”

The screaming shower gets higher and higher (and I am imagining, louder), and then all of the sudden it stops screaming. The water pressure jumps up… and now the only sound is water coming from the shower head.

Now I can relax.

So I go through my usual shower ritual, and I am forgetting my insecurities. I start rinsing off, and all of the sudden, that infernal racket starts again!

“Hello! Wigi is in the shower, you idiots! You installed this alarm for a reason!”