…the web, NYC, the obvious…baking and some cows…

Archive for August, 2007

Grab It!

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Here is the most random Hello Kitty item I own. A co-worker saw this and picked it up for me a few years ago. Squeeze the handle, she’ll grab things for you!

Hk Grabber

Plus… What?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Mm, Diet Coke! I often drink it for caffeine and the fact it is calorie-free. I realize it is probably rotting my teeth, the lining of my stomach, or gods know what else.

It might make sense if calcium were added to caffeinated beverages. Caffeine increase calcium loss, or so I hear. It’s a good reason to take your coffee with milk (cow or fortified soy). Our healthy friend spinach has calcium issues, too - it decreases its absorption - but luckily it has built in calcium, so maybe it evens out. Ok, so why not add vitamins and minerals to things like soda?

Enter Diet Coke Plus… It became available in the U.S. in April, and I first encountered it last week in a drugstore. I was tired and dehydrated and had forgotten to take my daily vitamin. I thought, “Why not?” and bought a bottle. It tasted like normal Diet Coke - empty sweetness - with an extra chemical punch that almost reminded me of vodka for a second.

Diet Coke Plus

So what’s in this stuff? According to, Diet Coke Plus is “everything you love about Diet Coke, plus several essential nutrients.” It includes B6, B12, niacin, zinc, and magnesium. No calcium, sorry. Take your supplements. (It’s only about 15% RDI of the above anyway.)

I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s good for me - in fact I’m pretty sure it is not - but if I’m drinking this stuff anyway, why not get the one with some vitamins?

Pepsi has one called Diet Pepsi Max, but it’s got ginseng and EXTRA caffeine instead. Wow. (I’ve not tried it.)

Maybe I’ll stick to, um, water.

I’m actually drinking less soda than I used to, generally opting for something juice-based with lunch. I go for some flavor of Vitamin Water (by Glaceau) almost daily. It’s probably a big scam, but it feels better than drinking the brown bubbly stuff.


Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Social Networking has spread like the plague…and that’s sort of the point.

They are addictive, viral beasts, these websites. I was recently roped into FaceBook. I’m also on Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, and countless similar websites I can’t even remember. I’ll ignore them until someone adds me as a friend or sends me a message. Then I wake up and realize I’ve been browsing around for longer then I’d like to admit and remember I could actually do something like go outside during my free time. Seriously, the non-work time I have to myself is limited, why would I spend a second of it on MySpace?

Well, I actually have reconnected with old friends, some friends do have amusing profiles or even put up useful info like events, etc…. I get it. I’ve been sucked in like all the rest.

MySpace especially drives me crazy, though. I understand that it is fun to have the control to create something of your own with relative ease. But given the opportunity, countless seem to go for anything that blinks, clashes, or is visually painful in some way. It’s back to personal websites ca. 1997 or so.

MySpace screenshot

I mean, come on! (This one belongs to a woman claiming to be 35 years old, it’s not even a teenager’s.)

Ok, each to their own. I realize I’m saying this while I blog away on a Hello Kitty site. Who am I to talk?

What I really find interesting is the amazing marketing bonanza. The profile above has buttons for T.G.I. Fridays, eBay, and Wal-mart, among others. These are not ads but images the user herself has added. Thousands of start-ups these days are trying to think up more ways to exploit this potential, and I say go for it.

Millions of people use MySpace, advertisers love it. There are banner ads on every profile, or Google AdWords tied into - as far as I can tell - terms/phrases used on the profile you’re logged into. This is seriously brilliant. That’s not even including the ads on the homepage. Its background even sports the latest movie releases.

FaceBook is a little more subtle, one ad per page. I’m sure they make plenty of dough off that, especially since they opened things up to the general public. Friendster has an average of 2 ads a page, as does LinkedIn. But this is not shocking, the whole web is like that, we understand it and are used to it, just like network tv.

Hey, as I wrote above, go for it. I mind the ads less than what people willingly put on their pages. And I kind of can’t wait to see what they’ll try next.

Hm, what can I put on my MyFriendsterBookSpace profile next?

Brush, Brush, Brush

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

I bought a new toothbrush. I know, exciting, isn’t it? Oh, but you don’t understand.

Once, long ago, I just used a normal toothbrush. I was puttering along, flossing every day (how I became a true daily flosser is another story…involves a popcorn kernel), thought I was a star of dental hygiene.

Then my mom gave me an Oral-B Plaque Remover as a gift. I was confused - and a little disappointed - at first. She swore it would change my life. I scoffed. I put it in a cabinet.

I charged it up and tried it for kicks one day. And my mother was right. It did change my life.

Know that slightly fuzzy feel to the back of your front teeth? It only goes away after a professional cleaning? Gone. Seriously, you get a fresh-from-the-dentist feeling every day. (In that you have nice, shiny teeth, not that you’re in pain and drooling. You do have to go to the dentist for that.)

My old one died recently, so I went to replace it and realized there are many more options now! It was a hard decision, but I settled on the Oral-B Sonic Complete Deluxe.

It’s got three speeds, a timer, an ergonomic handle, and almost brushes your teeth for you.

It scared me a little at first. It is different from my previous one, and I was a little concerned. The noise it makes led me to wonder if it might be painful. Luckily, it’s not. And after several days of use I’m thinking it pretty much rocks. My teeth feel great, and the timer really is encouraging me to brush all areas of my mouth evenly.

Plus, look how pretty it is!


Potter Crack

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

I finished reading the latest (and last) Harry Potter book on Monday night. And I had waited several days before purchasing it in the first place. I guess I am a bad fan. It did take me just 3 sittings, though perhaps that’s not impressive compared to how quickly some gobbled it up.

It’s a little odd to be reading something everyone else is reading. I mean EVERYONE. Except for maybe those who think it’s Satanic to write/read/think about witches and wizards…

A friend of mine saw no less than 5 adults reading in the small park near her apartment one day. I saw 2 people devouring it in the same subway car - a soccer mom and a goth kid - one day last week.

What is it about this book?

It’s easy enough to read. It has characters to whom almost anyone can relate. You’ve got your brains, bullies, athletes, popular kids, not-so-popular kids, airheads… (Huh, I feel like I’m quoting Ferris Bueller.) And throw them into a world with magic, and that’s just cool for everyone.

I read a lot of fantasy. I used to read more, actually. I have a bookcase devoted to my sci-fi/fantasy collection, but I haven’t added to it much lately. Well, it is full anyway.

I would have been a Harry Potter nut if I had been 11 when it came out. When I was 11 or so I was reading Madeleine L’Engle books (A Swiftly Tilting Planet was my favorite) and the Chronicles of Narnia (I read The Voyage of the Dawntreader to death) .

My current fantasy favorite is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. It is way more grown up than Harry Potter. The Detroit Free Press says it’s “a fantasy series for hip, smart people, even those who don’t read fantasy.” Which I guess means I won’t run into too many people reading it on the subway.