Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ridicule is the burden of genius

I’m married to one of those men who watch too much television in general, and way too much fishing television in particular. I long ago stopped feigning even a mild interest in watching men hyperventilate and/or overreact over the simple act of catching a fish, which just doesn’t seem to hold nearly the mystery and allure for some of us that it does for others (and we’re not really sorry that we don’t share the love).

Anyway, the other day one of the fishing shows took a commercial break. I was reading and trying not to listen, but you know how the volume tends to go up when it’s commercial time, so that even if you’ve gone into the other room you don’t miss the sales pitch. It was an
ad for Duck Hunter, an indoor hunting game. A father and son were shown enjoying themselves, their “camo” clothing matching the upholstery and curtains in their house, à la Sound of Music, as they gleefully shot infrared beams at the fake duck, which flapped its fake wings and flew around the house, carefully navigating objects like ceiling lights. Tell me this is how it would play out at your place, where there are clearly no impediments to indoor flight by an blind winged item that’s tossed randomly into the air. Meanwhile, it takes three successful shots to kill the duck, or stop its flight, so you’ve gotta work to take him down.

Indoor hunting games…almost as fun as indoor motocross and at a fraction of the cost. I might even get my guy the extreme indoor/outdoor version. Imagine, his playing outside!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh, no, you din't

Ever been scammed, ripped off, cheated? And I’m not talking about something petty that happened on a schoolyard, or the emotional pain of being lied to by a significant other, I’m referring to the unparalleled lousy-ass experience of parting with money in order to obtain something, then finding out—much, much too late for any reaction on your part—that you’ve been swindled, fleeced, duped…all such ugly words. It’s bad enough when you buy something, say a piece of exercise equipment designed to make your belly fat disappear sans effort, and find it’s not going to live up to your expectations. That is not a good thing, but some part of you knew it wouldn’t work out. It’s another thing entirely to buy something you’re never going to get, because, my friend, you weren’t even making a purchase, you were a deer in someone’s headlights, in the wrong place at the wrong time with a very wrong person. Infuriating, but you pretty much have to suck it up, at least for public consumption, because, as my mother always said, “Who told you this world was going to be fair?”

Really, though, it’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? Very difficult to get over. Not much you can do about it, either, and I don’t know about you, but I’m never fond of chalking things up to experience, living and learning, or allowing someone to get away with my money scot-free. Plus, there are all those moments of hindsight, of fervently wishing you’d seen through this person who really didn’t seem very trustworthy at the time, of angrily thinking of what you’d like to do to him/her should your paths ever cross again. But they won’t.

In my admittedly limited life experience, revenge has a nasty way of backfiring in unpleasant ways. However, unpardonable actions demand some sort of response beyond remorse and rumination. I’m recovering from a recent encounter with a con man, and opting for some preventive maintenance, trying to learn as much as possible as I can about the various ways in which people can, and will gladly, take advantage of me. So many ways, when you start doing a little research, it’s really quite overwhelming! I’m starting my lessons with the slow-motion swindle, which may seem old-fashioned, since many of us no longer carry cash or allow others’ hands to touch ours.

So I’m also getting this book, which is going to teach me how to cheat at everything. Everything!! In a few weeks I’ll be able to say, “This will never happen to me again,” although I’m not sure I’ll ever really believe it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And eat it too

Been noticing America’s widespread love affair with cake? Seems like every couple of weeks a new television show about cake decorating appears, or a new cake blog or book comes out. And have you checked out the cake decorating section of your grocery store lately? (okay, me neither) In any case, cake is riding the fad tide, hanging out with the popular crowd and loving every minute of it.

However, there are still those of us living our lives largely without the involvement or assistance of cake; our face time with this dessert is usually and purposefully limited to one or two occurrences per year. I’m firmly in the “who’s eating all this cake?” camp, unable to comprehend the hoopla and frenzy. On the rare occasions that I make a cake at home, if both circles line up properly that’s a big deal. If there ends up being enough icing to cover all the cake without any show-through I’ve hit the heights. Didn’t your mom tell you not to play with your food? I just can’t get into this as an activity, but I don’t want to seem cake-uncool.

My way of coming to terms with this development: cake kits! They give me what my cakes lack: dimension, color, motion, and the appearance of being inedible. Then everyone’s happy. Meanwhile, I’m participating in a fad, and therefore vicariously acquire a sense of validation that often lasts for hours.

Best of all, now there are masculine-themed cake kits, because this craze isn’t just for the ladies.

Here’s a perfect example. This Indiana Jones cake topper kit really makes my mouth water. And if I hit a lever, that big round boulder will roll across the cake! How cake-tastic can you get? Men love this.

They also like the deer hunter cake kit, largely because they get to keep the plastic dolls. Er, action figures.

For that very special someone, we offer the Spiderman Classic Spin and Kick. You get a button to push (remotely!), which makes Spiderman whirl around the building, often with enough speed to blow out birthday candles. The manufacturer has even thrown in some “sugar srinkles,” which really set off any cake. It’s great to be alive during times like this!