Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taco Bell Logic

So we drive down to Bloomington an hour before the game to have dinner with Kevin, our friend’s son who has the good luck to be a college student in 2009. Unfortunately, we still didn’t get it right, because Scotty’s Brewhouse was packed. We knew better than to even try Mother Bear’s.

There was no other choice than to hike across the street to Taco Bell, where all three of us visibly jumped when we saw the new Southwestern remodel.

“Wow, what else do you need in life except the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, a large Mountain Dew and a clean Taco Bell?” Kevin said.

Can I please be a college sophomore again?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let's Get This Straight

Yes, it was my decision to perm my hair in November. Now it’s my prerogative to change my mind and want it straight again.

Apparently, however, this is not an entitlement.

My goddaughter says all I have to do is use a round brush with my hair dryer and blow it out straight. Well, honey, it’s obviously I’m an old person so I know that. And if I had that talent, do you think I’d be hunting all over hell’s half acre for a solution to an unwanted perm?

My friend’s daughter loaned me her flat iron to try. Sigh. An hour later and I had flatter frizz and an anxiety attack wondering how I’d find roughly 5 more hours in my week to style my hair this way.

A friend suggested I try an Aveda product called Hang Straight. I’m sure it’s effective for what the bottle says: smoothes flyaways, boosts shine, and resists humidity for curly or wavy hair. Not a peep about perms, and at $17.99 plus shipping for an online beauty store, it’s a lot of money to invest on a hope.

So I did the next best thing. I drug my friend’s daughter (Ms. Flat Iron Wizard) to Wal-greens with me one evening to hit the hair care aisle. She went nuts gushing over how Pantene’s Pro V Extra Straight shampoo and conditioner saved her life when she needed her hair to lie flat. We were off to a great start because it was on sale, 2 for $7 or something like that.

I had the styling gel in that set in the basket too, when my teen advisor showed me a cool gadget that looks like a flat iron with bristles. Apparently you clamp it onto your hair and pull the brush through it while holding the hair dryer to the vents on the outside of this contraption. “Make blow drying your hair straight a snap.” At $8.99, I was sold.

Then I stumbled onto the end cap clearance goodies, where I discovered a product called EasyStraight styler. “Flat-Iron Style, No Flat-Iron Required” it shouted. (I should have known the inventor was clueless, as the second Flat Iron reference doesn’t need a hyphen because it’s not an adjective.) The back of the bottle was even more promising: Say good-bye to your flat-iron (yep, there’s that misused hyphen again!) without saying good-bye to sleek, super-straight styles. This revolutionary formula coats each hair strand with high-tech styling polymers to hold it straight all day long – no matter how coarse or curly hair is.

And it was half the cost of the Pantene version, so I was in business. If you’re adding as we go along, I’ve now dropped $18.50 + tax on this product bonanza.
As you can see even from this crappy photo my husband took, I might as well have set $19.79 on fire in my driveway this week. By the time I use enough coupons on other purchases to recoup that money, the perm will grow out.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Capital Idea

I've received press releases that made me giggle, a few that mystified me, and a handful that got my goat in the past quarter century. And then, I opened this little gem this week:

dear ms. sturgeon,

i would love to discuss with you a story
about what happens upon graduation
from a school of hospitality-

the question i would like to work with you on to answer is-
who is getting the jobs and why?
and where the jobs are.

i would like to introduce you to the hospitality industry
using the fiu school of hospitality as a jumping off point.

as you know, the hospitality industry is contracting, a bit
but graduates of the fiu school of hospitality are still getting jobs in the industry-
from restaurants & hotels, from casinos to cruise lines- to starting one's own business.

the hospitality industry is a career
that draws up on a balance of education & skills, experience & contacts,
with a natural desire to please-
but do people know what hospitality really is....

i would love to work with you on a story about hospitality in motion-
a behind the scenes look
at south beach wine & food festival-
with fiu school of hospitality students as your guide.

the students have been given responsibilities that in the real world would have to be paid for:
from soliciting restaurants to sponsorship fulfillment to cooking food served up by celeb chefs.

(for your reference, south beach wine & food festival, the nation's largest such event in the country,
raises money for the school of hospitality for scholarships, curriculum and faculty. students work side by side
with some of the most innovative chefs, sommeliers and cocktail inventors working in the industry
jamie oliver, giada de laurentiis, rachael ray, emeril lagasse, bobby flay, anthony bourdain, rachael ray, tyler florence, among others.

for your reference,
i've attached a bit of info about cooking for south beach wine & food festival's signature event,
bubble Q BBQ, and about fiu school of hospitality, in general.

thank you for you time and patience.
please read and think about all of this info at your leisure,
i look forward to exchanging ideas with you.

enjoy your weekend,
and i'll speak w/u soon,


Wow. Just wow. I supposed if you twist my arm, I could forgive the fact it looks like a haiku verse gone wrong, since that could be an email formatting problem. I'll take sole blame for the fact my poor eyesight read all these references as the Flu School of Hospitality.

On the other hand, if someone can't come forward and prove to me that this p.r. gal's capitalization key is broken on her computer, I gotta bust her chops for this mess, and everyone who ever worked with this child in English class. Being in charge of promotions for a big-time university division typically requires you to present yourself more maturely and with a tad more polish than if you were texting your friends.

My fear is that she did pound this out on her iPhone, in which case she just sent the longest text message in history and was still too lazy to capitalize my name, the name of the event, the city, her school name, celebrities' names ...

But the real offense? I considered giving Ms. Lisa a pass because I don't want to come off like a complete witch every time I sit down at my keyboard. You'll notice I'm not waxing on about her use of punctuation or the rambling nature of this pitch.

Then she emailed it to me twice.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Seat Talk, Or How I Nearly Lost My Mind at the IU Basketball Game

Holding a ticket to a basketball game at Assembly Hall is like winning the lottery as far as I'm concerned.

But this past Saturday, the prize wasn't so great. Yah, I know. We lost and I could go on for pages about how I beat Ron's arm black and blue in frustration with most of the calls. But that wasn't what made me roll my eyeballs.

OK, I confess: I made fun of the gal singing the National Anthem. I actually like opera, but not when I'm wearing candy-striped warm-up pants and eating popcorn. So yah, I might have mentioned to Ron after she finished the last warble that I could applaud the fact it was over. Three minutes later, the guy behind me tells his seat mates, "Well, it was nice talking to you, but here comes my woman and our tickets are actually in the next row."

Yes, out of 17,200 people, I had the good luck to sit next to the singer and her husband after making that crack.

Any remorse I felt quickly evaporated, however, when they spent the entire first half chatting about everything except the action taking place on the court. Curious, I eavesdropped on what was so fascinating you'd waste seats at the Ohio State game over, and got to hear where the bathrooms should be located in some building for my effort. Get outta here -- if that's so frigging important to you on a Saturday afternoon, why not just head across campus in the opposite direction with a jack hammer and start the renovations already?

Surprisingly, and sadly, they weren't the worst of my neighbors. That honor goes to the diva in front of me, who traipsed in wearing a tight green shirt amidst the sea of red sweatshirts that is Assembly Hall on game day, and clutching her Coach purse tightly in her lap. Apparently Coach purses aren't cleanable -- I wouldn't know as I'm forever throwing my $5 Target bag in the washer.

She didn't wait five minutes before blessing the rest of us with her high-maintenance demeanor. During the team introduction, the crowd was on its feet, screaming out players' names when suddenly she whipped around around and whined, "You hit me with your pom-pom." Really? Look around. They passed these out at the gate, so 17,199 other people just got hit, too. And for the record, Princess, it's a wad of plastic stringers touching the back of your hair. I would hardly qualify that as painful.

Ask Ron. He would have been grateful to merely feel a pom-pom on the back of his head. But at least he was one husband in our section who got to watch — and enjoy — the game.