Friday, April 27, 2012

Mustard and Ketchup Juice

I made up the term for this, but I think you know what I mean. It's the weird liquid that sometimes escapes the squeezable ketchup or mustard bottle before the real condiment comes out. First off, what is that stuff? It freaks me out. Secondly, why is it that no matter if the bottle is stored right-side up or upside-down or sideways or whatever, it this liquid is always present? It can ruin a perfectly good [veggie] burger and must be stopped!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Know How to Use Self Checkout Lanes

I think the self-checkout lanes are fun. I enjoy scanning my items and there is usually less of a line than at the normal checkout lanes. What I hate about the self-checkout lanes is the people who use them but actually have no idea how to use them. It's fine if you find them confusing; just use the other lanes where someone can do all the work for you. You don't actually need to know the 4-digit code for bananas (It's 4011. I buy them a lot). The store hires people to know that kind of thing, so put them to good use and pay them a visit. Otherwise you risk standing at the self-checkout line, desperately looking for "ginger" in the produce list, while I glare at the back of your head.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Water in my Ears

I swim once a week, and while I have several other pet peeves about pools, this one is about getting water in my ears that just will not leave. I really hate when you jump up and down to clear the water from one ear, and it just forces the water deeper into the opposite ear. I know there are several methods for attacking this critical problem, but it seems like a bad design that water can get stuck in there so easily.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rubbernecking/Curiosity Delay

Once a week I have been taking an awesome cycling class at a local store that has a big studio. It's a really fantastic workout and approximately one million times better than riding at home alone on my trainer watching reruns of "19 Kids and Counting." The downside of the class is that it is a 15-minute drive to get to the 7am class, and takes 30-35 minutes to get back home after it ends at 8am. As it goes I really hate traffic so I was already frustrated on the drive home a few weeks ago because traffic seemed worse than normal. Turns out, there was a fender bender on the other side of the divided highway. Let me repeat: Not the direction I was going, but the OTHER side. No lanes were closed in the direction I was heading, no police vehicles were stopped with their lights on, signaling us to slow down. All accident-related activity was occurring on the other side of a concrete divider. Yet here we were, hundreds of cars, slowed down to a near crawl just so creepy passers-by could take a gander at the minor wreckage. Therefore, the traffic jam that resulted in a 55-minute trip home should never have happened! I mean really! What is there to see? NOTHING.

Rubbernecking is not only irritating for everyone involved, it is also responsible for its fare share of accidents, exacerbating the problem. Here's some free advice (you're welcome). When you're in the car, look at the road. Pay attention to the drivers around you. Do not look at your cell phone, or the passing trees, or an accident on the other side of the road. Focus on driving, and driving alone, and it will keep you and those around you safe, and create less hassle for me. I mean... for everyone. Cause you're all important, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Trader Joe's at Rush Hour

I love Trader Joe's. From their inexpensive wines to the amazing frozen appetizers to the dried fruit selection, I'm a Trader Joe's gal. In fact, I don't think I've ever met anyone who disliked Trader Joe's. Therein lies the problem. EVERYONE LOVES TRADER JOE'S. And when everyone tries to go shopping from 5-7pm on weekdays or at all on weekends, it is pretty much impossible to go there, especially when all you need is a package of dried cherries. TJs was so ridiculously crowded when I went in there that a woman actually ran me over with her food-laden shopping cart as I bent down to figure out which cherries I wanted. All she said was, "Oh I didn't see you." Yeah no kidding, Lady, because you just ran over my foot! @#&%$*! I wound up leaving and going to an alternate grocery store because there was no way I was waiting in line for 25 minutes for one bag of dried cherries (although they and the granola I made with them were both delicious).

One time my TJs was so crowded and such a cluster-you-know-what that upon entering a departing customer wished me good luck. And I needed it. I understand that stores get crowded near holidays, and on weekend afternoons as people stock up for the week, but this Trader Joe's seems to be insane most of the time. It's difficult to navigate the aisles full of shopping carts, the lines wrap around the store, and the free samples disappear within seconds.

If you are brave and patient enough to visit this Trader Joe's when it's busy--so, anytime, really--under no circumstances should you drive. Both of their parking lots are completely full at nearly all occasions. I didn't see this happen but an employee got pinned between two cars when someone was trying to get into the parking lot. There is even a dedicated traffic director in the main lot and I'm not kidding when I estimate there are only around 30 spots. It is not a large parking lot, hence the problem.

Before you think I'm getting all down on your beloved TJs, remember how much I love it as well. Their vegetable gyoza, the already-sliced watermellon, the frozen palak paneer dish and their roasted unsalted almonds fill my kitchen and my stomach. I just don't like my grocery shopping to be a full-contact sport.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Vent Blowing Directly At My Desk

Even in the dead of winter, the air conditioning seems to be on in my lab. I am not sure why, because I have gone around and turned every air conditioning switch to "off" and raised the thermostats as high as they go. The air isn't just your generic cold air slowly seeping from a vent. Not even close. Here, the vents expel air at gale force for about 10 seconds, and then shut off for 10 seconds. The wind is so strong it actually creates a breeze. I'm not exaggerating. Okay, not exaggerating that much. It is enough that it is unpleasant to sit at my desk no matter the time of year. I have a sweater, a fleece and a sweatshirt in the lab at all times, and I am often found wearing two of them, with the third on my lap as a blanket. I understand we have freezers and other equipment that generate some amount of heat, but is it really necessary to have this much wind blowing through the lab? Trust me, the old windows are leaky enough to let in "fresh" air (I use quotations because here in Boston's Chinatown the air isn't exactly of the best quality. It smells like a combination of roasting chicken and rotting garbage). Adding insult to injury is the fact that because it's a laboratory, we can't eat or drink anything in here, so the hot cup of tea I'd love to have to warm me up, needs to stay out in the office area. Gah. I'd make this post longer but my fingers are going numb.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lines at Redbox

(Dedicated to Tim who loves Mic-Ultra)

The other day I was at the grocery store and needed to return a movie to Redbox, plus pick one up I had reserved at home. There was a line, starting with a couple at the machine searching through every movie, debating what they wanted. Fortunately they turned around at one point and said, "Whoa, there's a big line! Why don't you go ahead if you already know what you want." Finally it was my turn and as I was swiping my credit card to pick up my rental, the couple said, "You can book them online?" Then an older woman (probably in her 60s) who had joined the line said, "Even I know that!"

So for any of you out there that use Redbox, here is a simple guideline for how to use it properly: 1. Before you leave the house go to Redbox.com or download the Redbox app on your smartphone. 2. Look for the closest Redbox to your location. 3. Search for a movie you want from the comfort of your couch. 4. Book said movie(s) with your credit card. 5. Go to actual Redbox, touch the button that says "Redbox.com Pickup" and swipe your credit card. 6. Get movie and leave store in less than 2 minutes, without holding up any line. If you get to the Redbox, and you encounter people searching through every movie, feel free to educate them about the joys of reserving movies at home. Slowly we can spread the word and reduce the lines at Redbox, and thus make the world a better and less hateful place.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hate

This is post #100 on this blog (!) so I figured I should make it a good one.

I was traveling a few weeks ago, as you may have been able to tell from my recent posts. Since I had many hours to waste in airports and on airplanes, I read the Hunger Games trilogy. The books were incredible, by the way. In the first book there is a character named Rue, a 12-year old girl, who befriends main character Katniss. I don't want to give away too much, but you as the reader are supposed to (and do) fall in love with Rue. Unless you've been living under a rock, you also know that the Hunger Games movie just opened in theaters about a week ago. Apparently, when fans went to see the movie, they were surprised that several of the characters, including Rue, are played by Black actors. I have to admit I also missed the two lines in the book that reference Rue's and another character's skin tones. But some movie goers weren't just surprised--they were appalled. In fact, they publicly admitted that they no longer liked Rue.

Since I'm not a writer, or a philosopher or an ethicist and certainly not a specialist on "-isms", I'm not going to make this a long treatise on equality in America and beyond. I simply want to force you to think about how despite portrayal as a country based on freedom, the American society is biased. Women still make less money than men in the same jobs. Minorities are stereotyped constantly in the news and by the public. In this video from ABC news, a White actor, a Black actor, and a White actress all pretend to be stealing a bike in the same area. A camera crew secretly captures the responses of the public. If the results of this short experiment aren't proof that racism is prolific in this country, I don't know what is. Other examples include racial steering in housing, discriminatory mortgage lending, harsher punishments for students of color than white students who commit the same offenses, and racial bias in hiring practices.

Most of this is not overt hatred, and not the typical images that the words "racism" and "sexism" bring to mind, but that's what all those examples are. Just because it's not intentional, doesn't mean it's not racism. What I'm trying to say is I hate hate, and I'm writing this post to bring awareness to the issue. The more people thinking about and discussing the problem, the more likely it will be fixed.