Archive for April, 2010

Gaming Factoids

Found this on StumbleUpon. I have to say, I’m proud to be part of the relatively small percentage of female Xbox360 players!


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Seeing Things

As I was walking from the library to my car, I noticed a really nice house for the first time. It was an odd occurrence because I must have walked by it about a hundred times, but only today did I realize it was there. The funny thing about it is that it’s situated next to an apartment building that I almost always look at, for whatever reason. It’s weird to think that, at least for me, there are things that my brain decides to see or not see on a daily basis.

I wonder what else I’m missing.

René Magritte, La Condition Humaine, 1933

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It took me a while, but I finally made some more bread last week. This was bread #22, Pain de Campagne, another French bread.

The most exciting thing about making this bread was that I got to use our brand new oven! A few weeks ago, Michael was broiling some short ribs, and the old oven apparently got so hot that the cheap little plastic on/off knob melted and became very misshapen. The busted knob and the theory that the temperature gauge was most likely off led the landlord to get us a new oven about a week later. I’m happy to report that its maiden bread voyage was a success.

This bread was pretty standard and easy to make. And, the great thing about it is that there is a wide variety of ways in which you can shape the dough. I thought it would be fun to try three different shapes, but then worried that it would affect baking times, so I thought it would be better to just stick with one method. I decided to do a simple boule, accentuated with a little extra flare on top, which I accomplished with kitchen shears.

The final product tasted and smelled wonderful, and made for a nice morning toast.

Bread #23 is Pane Siciliano. I have been really excited to make this bread because it looks so beautiful in the book. The only drawback is that it’s going to take a total of three days to make. My goal is to have it finished next Monday—we’ll see!

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Idea #1,093

I have loads of ideas, most of which are brilliant. Many are for inventions—and of those, about half wind up being invented by someone else down the road, while the other half turn out to be (unfortunately) already in existence. The other ideas pertain to everything else: new businesses, alterations to existing businesses, and general changes to society as a whole.

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I had another one. I thought that, instead of just Happy Meals, McDonalds should make additional value meals that encompass more emotions. This way, they could form a more emotional attachment to the customers. Obviously, these meals would not be limited to children, and would hopefully appeal to a wide range of adults. There could be Sad Meals, Angry Meals, Excited Meals, Bored Meals, the list just goes on. Each meal could then contain a little something that pertains to each mood (this is where it may start to get expensive). For example, the Sad Meal could have a personalized napkin that says, “Keep your chin up!” and would maybe come with an automatic dessert, since people like to eat sweets when they’re feeling down. Bored Meals could come with a little toy, like silly putty or something, to keep people occupied when they go back to work. Angry Meals could include a stress ball, or a little plastic inflatable pillow that people can then blow up and punch.

Not only could this idea be good for McDonalds, but it could also help Big Brother get a read on large chunks of the population. I know that sounds kind of evil, but it’s not like The Man isn’t already watching us anyway. Since so many people eat fast food, statistics could be taken to get a reading on the mental states of large groups of people. They could be used the same way those Consumer Outlook studies are used to analyze stock market trends. In short, these value meals could quickly become a cornerstone of the global economy.

Thoughts? I welcome constructive criticism, and if I like your input enough, I may give you a cut of the profits if the idea does ever blossom into existence.

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I’m curious to know whether the concept of “doorbuster” sales exists in other countries, or if they are unique to this great American society of ours. Whenever I see ads or tv commercials for these types of sales, I can’t help but get riled up. They’re terrible because all they do is try to get people as frenzied as they possibly can, to the point where they’re running around the store, arms outstretched, wallets open, offering up their hard-earned cash to anyone with a name tag and a price scanner. And these days, most people are so brainwashed by our consumer culture that they fall for these things. Repeatedly!

Now, not only is it the absolute end of the world if you don’t get that bath mat for 75% off, but they’re also going to make you get up at 4am, because the offer is only good from 4am-8am, after which time that bath mat will change back into a pumpkin (and a more expensive pumpkin at that!).

So now it’s Black Friday, the holiday season kickoff, and Wal-Mart has you so stoked about that flat screen TV that you stayed up all night just so you would get there before the sun comes up like all of the other freaks. The maniacal mob begins to form, tensions start to rise because people may start to consider that the TV-to-people ratio may not be in their favor, and by the time the doors open, everyone’s so hysterical that they’re not even phased when a store employee gets trampled to death. This is what we have become.

As a society, I guess you can say we’ve come a long way, what with our scientific discoveries, our intellectual, social, and cultural movements, and our wide array of gadgetry. But really, all it takes is a big enough sale to reduce people to a Lord of the Flies mentality.

I realize this blog is a little random considering we’re not really in peak shopping season, and my diatribe may be better suited for the holidays, but I was inspired after seeing a Toys R Us circular advertising a doorbuster sale this weekend. Good thinking, Toys R Us—get ’em while they’re young and teach them the ways of American shopping!

Just one of the many things that sort of makes me want to move away.

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