Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I scream....

So, we are about 3 weeks into our transition from regular grocery store eating to all natural, no preservative, organic eating. I have to be honest that when we decided to try it, I thought it would be very difficult, very expensive, and would ultimately be short lived. I was wrong. First, the food is maybe 10% more expensive than regular grocery store food, but since we’ve been figuring out before hand what we need for our meals, and not buying piles of extra snacks, our weekly shopping bill has been less. We’ve pretty much stuck to shopping at Whole Foods, and we may never switch back to regular grocery stores. They have everything you could want, and you can trust it. Lastly, and most importantly, the taste is amazing. Most of the fruits and vegetables are local and bursting with flavor. The meats are cooked in house, and are fresh. Everything just tastes better – more flavor and better flavor.

This week, I wanted to get some ice cream. I usually get Breyer’s but they didn’t have any good flavors, so I tried a new brand that I had never seen before: Alden Farms. This is THE BEST ice cream I have ever tasted. I tried Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip. I usually don’t like chocolate ice cream because it always tastes too artificial to me. This ice cream is creamy, and the chocolate chips are flakey and melt right in your mouth. If you haven’t ever tried it, look for it. If you can’t find it, ask your grocer to get it!   I can't wait to try their other flavors.  Here in California, it is $5.99 for a 1.5 pint size, which is a little bit more than the standard, but well worth it. Check out their website.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A man should smell like jet fighters and punching…

I have seen two of the new Old Spice ads on TV, and all I can say is that whoever came up with that ad campaign deserves a raise. I remember my 80 year old next door neighbor used to bathe in Old Spice, so the smell pretty much makes me think of old man. That point aside, these ads are hilarious, and will definitely make Old Spice a household name again. They are obviously targeting a younger demographic with these ads, as well as targeting both men (with humor) and women (with sex appeal). Funny, memorable, and maybe just as important, this ad can and will be imitated. Watch for SNL skits, youtube remakes, and tons of other satirical impersonations.

Well done Old Spice… Well done.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not out of the Woods yet

Here is a perfect example of how I have a difficult time understanding how people think. The three major networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, will be interrupting regular programming tomorrow to show Tiger Woods give a public statement. Now, I haven’t been living under a rock the last few months, so I know what the story behind his statement is. What I can’t seem to understand is why everyone cares… and cares so much that it will be broadcast live on hundreds of millions of TV’s.

I think people spend way too much time concerned with the personal lives of celebrities. This obsession gets magnified the more famous the person and the more negative the behavior. They don’t break in live when someone has a press conference about how they just gave a large grant to a university, or built a hospital, or any number of things that make this world a better place. The media feeds on negativity because they know that that is what the people want. It’s the same situation as with food. We can’t blame the media for giving people what they want.

I frankly don’t care. It’s none of my business what Tiger Woods does in his personal life. I guess I might be disappointed if I felt that he was someone I looked up to as a family man, but I’ve never had any reason or desire to do that.

In case you’re not able to watch the statement live tomorrow, or on every news and sports station for the entire week, here’s a quick breakdown of what he is going to say (and no, I’m not a psychic):

“I’d like to apologize first to my family and friends. Also to my fans and to the game of golf”

“I’ve made some mistakes, and my family and I are dealing with those mistakes”

“I’m only human, I’m not perfect”

“My family and I would appreciate if you would allow us to deal with this personal and private situation”

Just a guess… and since he won’t be taking questions, I’m sure it will just ignite a firestorm of more headlines. By the way, did anyone notice that the Olympics were on?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The carpool lane

There are a lot of traffic laws/rules that I follow religiously: I always stop at stop signs, I always use my turn signals, and I always wear my seatbelt. But there is one law that confuses and frustrates me so much, that I intentionally break it with every opportunity that I have. And that law is the carpool lane.

In theory, the idea of the carpool lane is great: to reduce the number of cars on the road during the busiest times of day. But since the application of the law has little to do with this idea, I find no real reason (other than the fear of getting a ticket – I will address this point later) to obey this law.

I think we can agree that the odds that you can find someone that works the exact same hours as you and lives close enough to you to actually carpool are pretty slim. And even if you are in that situation, wouldn’t you just carpool anyways? Would you really need encouragement to do so? I would think that splitting gas, switching off who drives and having someone to talk to would be benefit enough. Being able to drive in the carpool lane is just a bonus… not something that would necessarily cause you to car pool when otherwise you wouldn’t. I used to carpool with my boss because of the convenience. We had a 45 minute commute with no car pool lane, but we did it because it made sense. So the fact that some people do carpool has very little to do with the car pool lane, since they would probably carpool regardless.

The letter of law on a carpool lane is that you must have 2 or more people. That’s it. Not 2 licensed drivers, not 2 people old enough to drive… just 2 people. So how exactly does someone with a toddler in a child seat help reduce the number of cars on the road? Exactly… it doesn’t. Also, how does someone driving a Prius alone help reduce the number of cars on the road? Well, you might argue that since hybrids get such better gas mileage, it’s less impact on the environment, and therefore, they should benefit from the carpool lane. Just keep in mind that hybrids actually get worse mileage when at full speed than when in stop and go traffic because the braking helps recharge the battery. At full speed the engine has to run more and more gas is used to keep the battery charged. So actually, a Prius would get better gas mileage if it stayed in stop and go traffic, than if it was always moving. Maybe hybrids should be banned from the carpool lane…

So what keeps people from ignoring driving solo in the car pool lane? Fines and… well, that’s it. Fines. I am actually lucky enough to carpool now, and since I live pretty close to work, we don’t have to take the highway. But before I took my current job, I drove solo in the carpool lane to and from work every day. Each day, I saved 30 to 40 minutes of my life. Multiply that over about 3 ½ years, and I saved roughly 437 hours, or 18 days of my life not sitting in traffic. I’ve told my wife that if I ever get caught, it will be well worth the extra days to pay the fine. Though I don’t see myself getting caught anytime soon. See, to be caught, you have to be extremely unlucky, or just not paying attention. The only way would be to get caught speeding, or to find yourself directly in front of, or behind a police officer (you probably won’t pass one, because they only drive in the carpool lane…solo…you know, to keep extra cars off the road).

So, in conclusion, thank you. Thank you to all the people that do obey the carpool lane. It makes it much easier for me to get where I’m going =).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Food Inc.: A Review

So, we watched Food Inc. the other night. Going in, I had a feeling that it would somewhat change my view of how and what I eat, but I was not prepared for the frustrating and reprehensible situation that we have let ourselves get into in this country. The reason I don't blame the corporations depicted in this documentary (ok, maybe you can blame them a little) is because they are giving us exactly what we want. We've never asked how they make it. We've never even asked what they put in it. All we've asked is that they make more of it than we could ever need, and make it as cheap as possible. And they have delivered in more creative ways than we ever could have imagined.

It is encouraging to see that the knowledge is starting to spread, and that people are starting to realize quality in the food they eat is infinitely more important than the car they drive, the clothes they wear, etc, etc. This country is in the midst of a healthcare war, and the only way it is ever going to be settled is for us, the consumers, to demand better quality in the food we eat. Almost 1 in 12 Americans have been diagnosed with Diabetes, and in 2007 the cost to the US healthcare system for this growing epidemic was $218 billion. That's roughly $700 per year per US citizen. That's not including the costs for heart disease, cancer, and numerous other diseases that can be directly linked to what we choose to put in our bodies.

In my house, we have decided to make food a priority. We've decided that it is necessary to pay more money for, and more attention to, the food choices we make and where that food comes from. Fortunately here in California, we have some good healthy food options as well as a lot of local growers and food suppliers. We shopped at Whole Foods this week, and found that our weekly groceries were not significantly more than the regular chain grocery stores. Not only that, but the taste was amazing…both with the meats, and with the fruits and vegetables.

I really believe that by actually caring about what we eat, and making healthy choices, we can reverse some of the alarming trends we are seeing today... but we really need to make it a priority. I highly recommend to everyone to see Food Inc. You owe it to yourself and to your children to at least have this information, so that you can make informed choices. If enough people demand better quality, the corporations will provide it. Continued apathy will only make the problems worse.