Friday, September 25, 2009

Product Review

For his birthday this year, Jericho requested an at-home, pull-up bar. Our apartment complex gym is lacking in equipment for such a workout-er as Jericho and he would love to be able to do pull-ups at home. So I bought him a pull-up bar. He researched some and found a couple for me to look into. I looked up the user reviews on Amazon and found this gem. I'm not sure if the guy is really so enthused by this product or if he has too much time on his hands. I look for passion and belief in a product when I'm looking at reviews. This guy definitely covered that criteria.

I love this more than my own mother.
April 12, 2009
I was a little leery of making this purchase. Normally, products that seem too simple for too reasonable of a price just never end up satisfying in the way you hope (e.g. The Dodge Neon, anything on Jack in the Box's value menu, my two years at DeVry). But this? Oh. Oh, my faith has been restored in cheap American products.

Because, you see, kids. This is a WELL ENGINEERED cheap American product. Yes, a rarity. I was worried that it would be difficult to assemble. I was worried that it wouldn't really hang from my door frame. I was worried that it would break under my underwhelming 155lbs. I was worried the Utah Jazz wouldn't be able to gear up and start winning road games as the playoffs grew nigh.

I mostly worried for naught.

I assembled the Iron Gym Extreme in about 15 minutes. Probably could have done so a lot more quickly, but I was distracted by Boston Legal on DVD, and by gunning my power ratchet wrench at my cat to stop her from playing in the packing materials.

(Note: You do NOT need your own tools to assemble this product. It comes with a little tool. But you can speed up the process with your own tools. You should have your own tools anyway, you know? Be a man.)

Once you assemble the Iron Gym Extreme, you'll need to pick a doorway. It seemed to fit all my doorways perfectly, but I have heard word of older houses having issues. You will need to insert a small metal wedge into the top of your doorjamb. This helps to secure the device and make sure it doesn't fall on anyone's head. It's not as scary as it sounds, you just kinda shove the thing behind the wood. Then you kinda wiggle it and say "Will that hold it?" Then a few minutes later you say "Gol-darn, it WILL hold it. Ain't that somethin'." Should any friends be standing nearby, this would be an excellent time to exchange high-fives.

I then chin-upped. Well, I tried. God as my witness I had no idea I was such a wuss. I had like no upper-body strength. I'm pretty sure I heard my cat laughing at me somewhere down the hall behind me, but the blood was thumping in my ears so I can't be sure. But the bar sure worked!

I didn't give up and kept at the bar. Now, no, several weeks later I'm nowhere close to entering any Ultimate Fighting Competitions or anything, but I can do buttloads of reps now, and my cat has stopped mocking me.

This product has been excellent. Buy with confidence.

The Utah Jazz, however, appear to be headed towards a first-round sweep at the hands of the L.A. Lakers.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grammar Nazis

In a splendid episode of Family Guy, Stewie finally takes over as president of the world. He gives a television broadcast to inform the country of his takeover and implements four new laws. One of which is that anyone caught using the words "all of the sudden", "a-whole-nuther" and "irregardless" will be sent to a work camp. It was fantastic.

A while ago I came across the most glorious website (seen here). It is a list of common errors in the English language. It's the most extensive list I've found and is extremely helpful for pretty much anyone. I use it on a regular basis when I find myself stuck on something like effect/affect.

I thought I would research for more misused words in the English language and found quite a few sites and articles devoted to the topic. From various articles, here are a few words that are often used erroneously:

What people think it means: regardless
What it actually means: absolutely nothing. "Regardless" means "without regard" and "ir-" means "not". So then irregardless means "not without regard"? WTH does that mean?
*It is, however, a very yummy restaurant in downtown Raleigh. 

What people think it means: first; very ultimate; super most fabulous ultimate ever
What it actually means: next to last. It's not even the ultimate of last-ness. It's the runner up to last.

What people think it means: an amusing coincidence
What it actually means: an outcome opposite of what one would have expected
Ironic: If Michael Phelps drowns in the bathtub.
Not ironic: If Michael Phelps began endorsing Nair.

What people think it means: mildly amused
What it actually means: bewildered or confused
This one is tricky because the word itself sounds like it should mean "sort of amused." But it doesn't.

What people think it means: enormous
What it actually means: outrageous; heinous; atrocious
War-crimes are enormities. A ten-foot wide super-pizza is not.

What people think it means: a lot of something
What it actually means: overabundance; excess
A "plethora of pinatas" is only accurate if El Guapo decided he only wanted 20 pinatas for his party but in fact he had 50.

Do you mind?/Would you mind?
Most people answer these types of questions with "yes" but when you say "yes" you are telling them that you would object to whatever it is that they're asking. If you are okay doing what they ask, you're answer should be "No, I don't mind."

"I could care less"
What people think it means: I don't care at all; not one little inkling of care. 
What they should say: I couldn't care less. Otherwise, if you yell "I could care less about who Billy is dating!!! Jerk!!", you really are saying that on your personal level of caring, you only kind of don't care. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least amount of care possible), your caring is anywhere from 2-10. Not really all that impressive.

This is just a small list. What others have you noticed? What ones make you cringe whenever you hear them used? There are many that I find myself using and try to catch. If you find that I've used numerous grammatical errors in this post or any previous post, please hold them to yourself and let me enjoy my moment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Project: Flower Panels

As previously mentioned in my clock post, I have been striving to put crap up on the walls of our apartment and since I think wall decorations are overpriced, I have been making mine. I anticipated this post would be up earlier since I anticipated the project not taking months and tears and sore fingers to be completed.

In my old apartment, I made this. Apparently wall decals are one of "the hottest trends in home decorating" but can also be expensive so I researched on how to DIY. Mine is made from tracing and cutting out black contact paper (that stuff you put on the bottom of drawers or kitchen cabinets). It was so cheap and fun and turned out so well that I decided to take on another contact paper mural for my new apartment. This time was a bit more difficult. I found a picture of panel decals (similar to this) and decided to recreate that design.

One of the reasons I decided to post this project is for the benefit of those that might want to try this at home so you can see just how much harder it is to do by hand instead of buying someone's computer guided laser cut decals, even if they are upwards of $100.

 Exhibit A: another sad, blank wall. But look at the pretty TV! Oooo!
This is my sketch of the first panel of the design. It's a flower. I used the paper from a desk calendar I found shoved behind a desk in my office. It's from 2006.

After sketching out the design, I cut it out with an Exact-o knife. Then I took the design and taped it to the back of the contact paper (reversed), traced it onto the contact paper, and then Exact-o-ed the design again.

Then we carefully applied the decal to the wall after we measured about a thousands lines to make sure they would be straight. The white pieces are the designs for the next two so we could space out and mark where they'd go once they were finished. The wall looked like this for some time. But I persevered...

Skip ahead about a month... And this is the finished product.

And this is from an angle that you can better see our new super-cute IKEA lamp.

I know it seems like I skipped over some steps but the next two panels were the same process. The last one was the hardest to draw and apply. Luckily by that point I figured out that I needed to put little pieces of tape on the black side after the design was done so the decal stayed put while I applied it to the wall.

My conclusions from this project- while it's nice to be able to pat yourself on the back when you look at something cool in your apartment and know that you did it with your own two hands, sometimes it's okay to spend the extra money. This project took FOREVER! Cost wise, this project cost me less that $20. Time wise, I have no idea. It did give me chance to catch up on summer reruns on the CW.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Product Poetry

24 inches from crown to tip
with natural, yet deceptive and demanding, curl
this hair cannot run out the door
with a little scrunch
and a little fluff
oh no
one hour plus each day
in attention it requires
to be tamed
to be sculpted
resisting and fighting
and clinging to its will to frizz
product after product I've tried
with little variance in success
what solutions remain?
cut and simplify?
straighten and fry?
quarterly chopping offers temporary remedies
ridding hair of excessive straw-like bulk
but if long hair is to be kept
it needs something more
skeptical of gimmicks and shallow promises
of $20 goops and gells
on a leap of faith I found in Herbal Essences
a long term relationship
for $4 and generous applications
I have found protection and sustenance
health and longevity
and love

the time has now come
for a quarterly visit with the shears
brought only to my attention by a calendar
and, for once, not by the rebellions
of my unruly, poofy, and split-ended hair

gone are the days
of chopping dry, lifeless ends
oh yes
a long term relationship
it shall be

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Blog Report Card

I have a super secret device attached to my blog. It tracks every computer that encounters by blog, what city, what country, what time, for how long, on what day. It's not actually that super secret. It's a little program you can get through Google called Analytics. I don't do this to stalk people. I do this for self esteem purposes only. That way when people don't leave comments and I'm sad because it feels like no one reads my blog, I can see the hundreds of visits I get per month and give myself a little smile and nod in the mirror because people really do read my blog. Or at least see it. For an average of 34 seconds.

One of the perks of my little monitor is that my blog ends up in people's searches for really random stuff. I have not disabled my blog to be taken out of any search engines. I'm not too worried about people reading about my life or stealing my stuff. I'm sure it annoys people because the same thing happens to me when I'm searching for something, only wanting legitimate sites and someone's ridiculous blog clogs up the results. I am one of those such blogs. But what makes it rewarding is having Analytics set up. Analytics keeps track of what specific search terms people have used that have led them to my little internet world. What a serendipitous blessing for them.

The following are a few of my favorites:

buy emma mascarpone cheese 16oz
minus and the chocolate touch
crying in an office and performance review
i hate wearing shoes
best of color me badd (I recognize that I featured this in a post, but it's frightening to think someone was actually seeking this out)
cutest boy in chronicles of narnia?
is tyler hansbrough getting married
mom always want us to be happy. that is why
the advantages of wearing shoes
disadvantages of wearing shoes
"ny?" "that's nw"

In other exciting statistics, my blog (mainly through random searches) has appeared on the computer screen in 36 countries. How exciting is that!?! A little piece of me has reached the life of at least one person in such places as: Brazil, the UK, Italy, Spain, India, Afghanistan, Russia, Croatia, Mexico, Poland, to name just a few. If only they would leave a comment every now and then. Then we could be pen pals. And swap stories about our countries. And then maybe I could have a free place to stay when I tour the world.

As can be expected, most of my visitors are from the US. But just how many? According to Analytics, my blog has been accessed from 38 states!! That means that 76% of the United States of America has seen my blog! Well, not quite, but that sure does sound cool. I'm sure my numbers would be much lower if I took my blog out of the search engines. But that would ruin all my fun.

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