Archive for May, 2010

Online Dating For The Psychic

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

One interesting thing I notice on online dating sites is that a lot of guys only want to talk to or date someone who lives right near them.

It would be very cool to have the psychic power to know the home airport of my soul mate! I think he could be anywhere. He's probably somewhere in the USA. Hey I could be wrong! He could be somewhere else. But having a 3000-mile radius gives me a lot of potential guys to meet… friends or otherwise.

I can't imagine believing that my soul mate lives within 30 miles from me… and somehow, I've never met him. All the places I've gone. All the cool things I've done. Things he would be doing too, right here in town. I've lived here years, and still haven't met him.

Yeah, I think he probably doesn't live here. Extra good luck to the people who only want local people. I understand why they would want local people. The thing I don't get is when they email me to back say WOW, they loved my profile, I seem really cool, and we seem to have a lot in common… but goodbye and good luck because you don't live in my back yard.

OK!


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Two New Dealbreakers: Illiteracy and Bulldozing

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I'm using a dating website right now. I'm quite clear in my profile info and my written "About Me" type of area on a few things. For example, when I say I want men in a certain age range, that is because I do not want to date anybody younger or older. Emailing me to check you out when you are my parents' age… not gonna happen. At 38, I am unlikely to find someone who is or looks like he's in his 60s or 70s attractive.

Guys with kids are contacting me, even though my profile says I don't have kids and don't want kids. My profile has one picture of some of my pets. Yeah, I'm that person. I am NOT sure who is reading that I don't have or want kids, and thinking that she will LOVE my kids.

Welcome two new but obvious things to the list of dating dealbreakers: illiteracy and bulldozing. I wasn't ever FOR these, but now I'll make sure that I'm noticing when guys are doing this since I don't want this.

If you are going to completely disregard my preferences, and write to me anyway (like I'm going to throw out all of my standards and want someone unlike what I've stated), then I can just start to imagine what kind of boyfriend you might be. A bulldozer. I've dated that person. I think I divorced that guy actually. So I'm not going there again. I would like to be part of a relationship where someone takes what I want into consideration, and takes it seriously… someone who knows that when I express a preference, I'm pretty sure about it!

Illiteracy is ugly! Laziness is ugly. I know we all hate to read. Time is precious, and you have decided you are my future Mr Right without reading the 4 short paragraphs I wrote about myself. FAIL. I'm busy too, but I do read whole dating profiles before deciding if this person would want to hear from me because we seem to be a good match.

Maybe this all comes down to self-awareness and narcissism. I guess it's naturally a bit narcissistic to think that you are SO great that someone will want you, even when you don't match their stated preferences. Like, OK she doesn't have or want kids, and she doesn't want to date someone older than his mid-40s. But if only she could see me! Sure, I'm 60 with 2 kids, but I'm just perfect for her.

Somehow, the obese trucker with no teeth and kids reads my profile, and thinks I should get to know him. I would LOVE to hear the thought process in his head when he is writing me an email. I would love to know what in my profile made him think I was really looking for HIM.

I am only writing to people who I think could be looking for me and I could be looking for him.

Self-awareness and narcissism. I like confidence. I like self-awareness. I know a little narcissism is normal. But can the guys on these dating sites please do SOMETHING? Like read my profile and think critically and honestly about whether or not I'd really want to hear from him?


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Cell Phone Companies Hate Their Customers

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

That's the only conclusion I can draw. Cell phone companies hate existing customers. It's all about new customers. But once you're a customer, you can get f***ed. And I'm so tired of the game.

Sprint, my carrier, who I'm happy with, is coming out with a new phone. It comes out on 4 June. I want it. I have been a Sprint customer for over 6 years (without leaving). If I want to buy this phone, it'll cost me $450.

If I am new to Sprint, say I'm one of the iPhone people who will dump AT&T to get the HTC Evo 4G phone, well Sprint wants to welcome me right in by offering me the phone for $199 if I sign a two-year contract. I'll extend my contract two years. Nope, I can pay $450.

Here's where it becomes the stupidest math problem on the planet.

The early termination fee is $200. If I didn't care about losing my phone number (and so few people have it that that's not so scary), I could cancel my phone for $200. I could then say HEY, I'm new! I'd get the phone for $199. I would come out $50 ahead in the deal… but have lost my old phone number. Which will mean less and less as I give out my Google Voice number more and more.

I have another option. Chew on the wacky stupidity of this one. I have a 2nd phone on my line. It's a phone I had gotten for a previous boyfriend, and hey, the contract lasted longer than the relationship. Shame! That phone is due for an "upgrade" special according to Sprint. On 1 July, I can get the HTC Evo 4G for $199 by using my "upgrade."

I can then cancel that other line, and pay the $200 early termination fee, but finally shut that line off, saving me around $40 per month (over the remaining 13 months of the contract). Another win for me. So this is what I'll do. I'll get the new phone on 1 July, and then cancel that line (paying the fee) because the fee is less than the difference between a $450 phone and a $199 phone!

But look at how many hoops I'd have to jump through to do either of these things. Sprint and other cell phone companies should make this easy. You want me to use my phone. You want me to like my phone. You want me to need my phone. As a long term customer, I am worth way more to you than the $250 extra you are trying to get out of me. When I tell people how happy I am, I am bringing you business. I am worth more than $250.

It's like that bank commercial where the bank gives newer people better things, and they tell you that businesses should know to not do that. Same for cell phone companies. If you cared more about keeping your customers, it wouldn't be so easy to lose them to a hot deal from someone else.

I was recently in the AT&T store, just to see what they had. I don't like their products or services, but I was curious. They tried to make it sound AMAZING that if I signed up with them, I would get a $75 discount. A whole $75!!! I told them I don't give it up for that little money. They were surprised that in this economy, I didn't want to completely change cell phone companies to have $75 that day. I guess people are that fickle or desperate or excited about $75.

Cell phone companies should reward me for sticking around. I don't want anything special. Just the same price on the phone that other people are getting. If I agree to a 2-yr contract extension, what's the difference between me and the guy who is new and gets a 2-yr contract? We are worth the same… except I'm worth more because I've proven that I'll stay. The guy who jumps for your deal will jump the next time he gets another offer.


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Don’t Wish For Me What I Don’t Wish For Me

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

There are some unique things about my life and how I live it. They are things I'm really happy about and proud of. Yet, when I happily and proudly tell people, they are sure these things should be different from how they are. They tell me they wish, hope, and pray that the opposite of what I want to happen to me will happen to me. Huh?

That would be like you saying, "I am so glad that I am going on a Bahamas cruise," and my response is, "Oh, I'd never want to go there. I will pray that a hurricane blows in, and your trip gets cancelled." Makes no sense, right?

Let's not waste your wishing and praying time on that! If you would like to wish and pray for anything, wish and pray for what I want in my life!

So for those of you who hear that I don't have kids, don't pray that I have kids someday because you love kids so much. I don't want kids. Pray that I don't end up with kids. :)

When you hear that I don't want kids, don't wish that I will get out of this "phase," and pursue having a family. Wish that I will have a mountain of fun and a long life without kids!

For those of you who hear that I do not have a relationship with my parents or only sibling, do not wish that I will someday have a relationship with these people. It is mutual and on purpose that I have no relationship with these people. I do not want to speak to them or be connected to them in any way ever again. There is nothing anybody can do to "fix" this, there is nothing to fix, and my relationship with them is exactly what I wanted for as long as I can remember. Please do not hope and pray that we all get together. We're all putting in deliberate effort to stay apart!

So what do I say?

When someone tells me something, I ask them how they feel about it. Even things you'd assume are universally seen a certain way. When someone tells me they're pregnant, I say, "How do you feel about that?" You'd be surprised at the answers I've gotten back. Not everybody was happy, and those who weren't appreciated that I didn't just launch into the usual congratulations, you're gonna be so happy, a baby is so wonderful, etc…

When someone tells me she broke up with her boyfriend, I ask how she feels about that. Sometimes, a woman is thrilled to be done with a bad guy, and it won't have made sense for me to be like, "Oh, I'm sorry, he was so great…" If he wasn't great, she knows it, and especially if I know it, I might as well support her and NOT be sorry or say he was great! If she is sad about the breakup, I probably still wouldn't say he was great.

In conclusion…

Remember that not everybody is happy with a situation you would love, and not everybody is unhappy with a situation you would hate to be in. Why not first gauge how people feel about something? Then you can wish, pray, and hope that the outcome is the one they want for themselves. When you tell someone you wish and pray for an outcome that is OPPOSITE to what they want, you sound weird or unsupportive.


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How To Make Every Day Fun

Monday, May 17th, 2010

There's one very silly thing I do every day that helps pick up my day. I'm suggesting you do it.

I have a shower playlist on my phone. Every month or so, I put together songs I love to sing, and make a playlist. I connect my phone to the speakers I keep in the bathroom. :) And I sing my heart out. It's just so FUN. I like to pick songs I might dance to as well (if nobody is looking).

You pretty much CAN'T be sad or down when you are singing and dancing!!!!

What's on the playlist now? It shuffles when it plays, but in alphabetical order:

  • Don't Go – Yaz
  • Hold Back The Rain (Alternate Remix) – Duran Duran
  • Late Last Night – Split Enz
  • Like Zsa Zsa Zsa Gabor – Erasure
  • Lovey Dovey – Split Enz
  • New Dress – Jonatha Brooke
  • Of Crime And Passion – Duran Duran
  • Parklife – Blur
  • Secrets And Lies – Jonatha Brooke
  • Sexuality – Erasure
  • Situation – Yaz
  • Sometimes – Erasure
  • Sweet Dreams – Split Enz
  • The Chauffeur (Early Demo) – Duran Duran
  • The Woman Who Loves You – Split Enz
  • Tuesday – Yaz
  • Walking Down A Road – Split Enz

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5 Things That Reveal Your Hotel As Not As Classy As You Thought

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Having stayed in some weird places, I thought I'd write a list of the top things that make your hotel room seem way less classy… once you get there. Disregard pictures on the internet.

Counting them down…

Number 5! Outside doors. That means the hotel was built WAY long ago as some sort of bungalow colony or motel. That's usually not as safe. A lot of those places don't have elevators either. You have to carry everything up and down steps.

Number 4! The restaurant staff are chain smoking while cooking and serving you. I think I had that in rural Virginia on one of my road trips.

Number 3! There is a sign in your room about how much you will be charged if you steal any towels or pillows.

Number 2! The mini bar has condoms for sale (at bizarrely high prices). I'm in town on business. But according to my hotel, I am going to have sex with someone I wasn't planning to have sex with (or didn't know). Because if I had PLANNED to have sex, I would have brought my own condoms. According to my hotel, that's who's staying in their rooms. The sexually voracious with no foresight.

Number 1! The number one spot can ONLY be taken by the Radisson in Branson, Missouri. I stopped there on a cross-country road trip, just to see what Branson looked like. Heard the commercials. Had to see it. It was basically on the way. And figured the Radisson would be a step or two up from my usual Hampton Inns, which are nice and consistent.

The room had bugs. The bathroom light didn't go on (but we still saw the bugs). The made bed had hairs all over the sheets, and some blood stains. The room smelled like pee in a garbage can. Checked out 20min after checking in, and refused to pay. Manager asked what was wrong. I said that this was a room only a crime scene investigator could love. She looked completely not surprised. Went to the Hampton Inn, where I should have gone in the first place.

That's our winner! :)


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I Hate El Charro Cafe

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

El Charro Cafe isn't just a handful of restaurants around Tucson. Having started in the 1920's, it's an institution. Hating it makes people look at me funny. Like growing up on Long Island and not being a Billy Joel fan. I'm just an outsider.

But hear me out. Why I hate them goes beyond opinion. I have some interesting facts people should know.

My first trip to legendary El Charro was in 2005 with a then-boyfriend. We sat down, looked at the extensive menu, and ordered an appetizer. The teen waiter apologised that they were out of that. Normally, that's all the waiter says, but there is something bizarrely honest about where I live. He continued, "The factory didn't send us enough of those today."

The factory? We asked him to tell us more. And he did.

He explained that most of the food on the menu is made off-site, somewhere, I guess in some big thing this kid wanted to call a factory (whether it is or isn't, I don't know). It's then delivered to each restaurant, and the food is mostly warmed up and presented.

We were not happy. We ate there anyway. We found it mediocre. We swore to never go back. I'm a great cook, and for what restaurants charge, if I want something defrosted or rewarmed, I can stay home and power up the microwave for a lot less money. For a lot less money, I could cook something really fresh and organic.

I have been back to El Charro twice since, both because friends of mine love it, and like to do special nights for groups of friends there. I love those friends, and hope they're reading this. Love you guys! But in that couple, the husband's parents won't eat at El Charro (the Mom is of Mexican descent).

The first time this couple invited me there, I took a menu over to the manager. I opened it up. I asked him to show me what on the menu will be made fresh for me right there. Hmmmm, he had to think. Salads. The salads are put together fresh. And I think he said some of their dishes with chicken. I guess chicken doesn't freeze and unfreeze well or something. I had a mediocre dinner, and wondered why I go there.

I was there last night. I'm paying for it today, but that's another story. Same fantastic friends, husband's grad school graduation. Super proud of him!! I didn't ask a manager for help. I tried to think of how I could have something made fresh for me, right there. El Charro is famous for their carne seca, so I figured I'd try that. But my plan was to CUSTOMISE my order so they'd have to make it fresh.

I ordered a carne seca quesadilla. For those not in the know, a quesadilla is a Mexican equivalent of a grilled cheese. So you get tortillas with melted cheese, and often some sort of other filling. I asked him to add onions. He told me it already has some onions in it. OK, I asked him to ADD pico de gallo to it. Sure, he said.

When dinner came, I knew I was in trouble. The pico de gallo was on TOP. It was not added and melted in with that cheese. The cheese looked melted. The food was colder than room temperature. The middle was refrigerator cold. Imagine serving someone a refrigerator cold grilled cheese. 

It didn't even taste good. It was incredibly bland. Flavourless tortilla, flavourless cheese, flavourless meat, and this really lame pico on top. I ate it anyway. What else should I do, and I didn't want to draw attention to myself for taking one bite of something and totally freaking hating it. My graduate friend sitting next to me asked me how my dinner was. I told him I refused to answer that question. I didn't want to lie, but I didn't want to start yapping about how bad the food is there… or how his chile relleno was probably made yesterday 100 miles away.

So that's it, I'm done with these people (El Charro, not my awesome friends!). I paid a lot of money to eat something crappy that is making me sick today. I'm sorry to people who think their food is amazing, but I will not eat there ever again. If that is where you are holding your party for something, I will have some chips and guacamole, and I won't order anything else. It's just not worth it.

If you are in Tucson and love Mexican food, head over to newly-renamed La Botana at First and Fort Lowell. It's a bit of a hole in the wall, but the food is so incredibly fresh that you will fall in love. The service is friendly and helpful. They're a really sweet family. They hand-make everything including the chips. Their pico is bursting with flavours, their bean dip is spicy. Their shrimp are so plump and fresh-tasting. Everything there is amazing. That's Mexican food to me. Fave combination over there… get something with their shrimp and poblano peppers.

PS: I now have a habit of going to chain restaurants, and asking them what on the menu is made fresh. I did that at NASCAR Cafe in the Sahara on the Vegas strip. The waiter could only find ONE thing on the menu they would make fresh, and I ordered that. Honestly, it seems awkward, but it's a good question to ask.


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Website Design Should Be 5 Inches Tall

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Say wha? Well, as a website designer, we have to take into consideration how people are surfing the web. More and more, this is from mobile phones and netbooks.

Netbooks are tiny animals! I just got one, and the screen resolution is 1024 x 600. That means everybody designing for more than about 1000 pixels wide, I have a left-right scroll bar, and boo to you!

So if we're thinking about "the fold," and what will get people's attention, we now have a palette of about 5 inches tall to work with. If you are designing for the bigger and bigger canvas known as the home or office desktop monitor, you're not really thinking about where an increasing amount of web surfing is taking place.

I found that when I loaded up websites on my phone, the "fold" was at about the same point as it was on the netbook. Thanks to toolbars and the status bar, I have about 5 inches (roughly 360 pixels) of visible area until I hit the fold. Let's take a look at some full screen shots I took from my netbook. Click to get the full size version.

ScreenHunter_01 May. 08 14.48
 

ScreenHunter_02 May. 08 14.49

ScreenHunter_03 May. 08 14.49

ScreenHunter_04 May. 08 14.50

ScreenHunter_05 May. 08 14.51

Congrats to Best Buy and Amazon for getting some good stuff in before the fold. Boo to CNN for mostly showing me ads and stupid stuff, not even news or breaking headlines. Honourable mention to J Crew. And mostly boo to eBay for really only getting in the Daily Deal and sign in/register buttons. I think something has to be more compelling than that!

Use your 5 inches wisely. :)


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Local Business Should Try Groupon

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Facebook ads kept telling me check out a big local coupon. I wasn't sure what that meant, but I clicked through, and ended up on Groupon.com.

Reminds me of Restaurant.com but combined with viral marketing. Both Restaurant.com and Groupon offer local discounts. For example, I bought a $35 certificate to a local restaurant I've wanted to try. It cost me $15 on Groupon, and that's a huge savings! The same restaurant is on Restaurant.com offering a few certificates… $25 for $10, $50 for $20 (huh?), $75 for $30, and $100 for $40. Wow, that's major savings. I guess if I end up liking that place, I'll buy more certificates at Restaurant.com!

Groupon has two differences:

  1. The offers seem to be time-sensitive. By the time you see the "groupon," there may be hours or minutes left to take advantage.
  2. Groupon wants you to get friends to buy in too. Groupons are only "activated" if a certain number get sold. So for the one I bought, it looked it was activated when 10 people bought in. Well, I bought the 418th $35 certificate.

Smart marketing. Cash flow for the biz. Now I'm thinking about their place. I'll make a plan to go there. I'll bring a friend. Our bill will probably be more than my certificate. And if I like it, now they have a new customer they didn't have before.   

According to the FAQ, Groupon collects the money, keeps an unstated portion, and mails the business a check. I'm thinking this portion must be negotiable or they would just state their rates.

If you have a biz that relies on local traffic, I would give this a try. And let me know how it works! I'm always curious.


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Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

A new TV commercial shows happy, healthily-sized children playing safely. One guy is setting up a lemonade stand type of thing with Pop Tarts.

A cartoon girl asks for a Pop Tart ice cream sandwich. The cartoon showed 2 Pop Tarts with a scoop of ice cream between them, then flattened to make a sandwich. I decided to calculate the calories.

A Pop Tart typically has around 200 calories. A sccop of ice cream typically has around 250 calories. That means your Pop Tart ice cream sandwich, as shown in the commercial, would be 600 calories.

I then wanted to look up how to burn calories. To burn 600 calories, a 70-pound kid would have to…

  • Ride her bike as a casual speed but non-stop for 3 hours.
  • Do light cleaning around the house for 7 hours.
  • Sit and watch TV for 19 hours. That might be the same for playing video games.
  • Swim around a lake for 3 hours.

Seems like a lot of empty calories to me. Why not make an ice cream sandwich by cutting one Pop Tart in half and putting in half a scoop off ice cream? That would be 325 calories. That's a great snack size. And it's important to be thinking about this if you have one of the millions of kids who are overweight, gaining weight quickly, or mostly sedentary.

I'd probably suggest something better than a Pop Tart anyway. Why eat something terribly overprocessed and full of chemicals. Maybe a graham cracker would be better? Just wondering.

Disclaimer: I don't eat Pop Tarts.


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