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Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Don’t You Love Express Lanes?!


Since I'm not much of a shopper, my trips to stores often find me with only several items in my hands or cart. If there's no self-checkout, I usually try to go through the express lane. But that often presents at least a few frustrations, as depicted so well in the following pie chart.

Express Lane Realities

I could add several more wedges to that pie, such as wanting to pay by check or credit card when the sign clearly states "cash only," wanting to leave their cart to run and grab another item quickly, and many more. What wedges would you add to that pie chart?

Since I'm a bit of a grammar Nazi, I still bristle at the verbiage on most express lane signs, as shown in the chart above — using the word "less" with a plural noun instead of using "fewer." Here's how several people have tried to remedy that situation.

Fewer Added

10 Items Or Fewer Cartoon

Several stores actually get it right, as seen in the signs below:
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


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Recent Inventions


picture of handy tissue dispenser

Do you ever find yourself amazed at some new invention you read about or see? Do you ever comment, "I think I could have come up with that one myself!"? Creative ideas turn into gadgets we feel as if we just have to have to make our lives easier or more enjoyable. Nearly everyone with e-mail has probably seen pictures of some zany, yet at least semi-practical inventions that come out of Japan, like the handy roll of facial tissue in the picture on the right. As zany as it looks, though, there have often been times when I would have loved to have something like that to help manage a bad cold or allergies!

Today's i.v. is some cool inventions I've run across as I surf the web. At a time that the economy is so tight, it seems to me as if some of these items would be luxuries that many people would have a hard time justifying. I'm not supplying links, but you could Google any of these inventions that grab you.

Here are several food items that are interesting.

How about bacon dipped in melted chocolate?

picture of chocolate bacon

Some like dark toast ... how about a little Darth toast, from a Star Wars toaster?

picture of Darth toast

If you're a fan of Swiss Army knives, you might go for Swiss Army chocolate.

picture of Swiss Army chocolate

If you like Nutella, you might want to try finger cookies.

picture of finger cookies

If you have trouble with people stealing things from your lunch, anti-theft lunch bags might be the solution for you.

picture of anti-theft lunch bags

Disturbing, isn't it?! 😀 Now several inventions for the feet.

People who like bumper stickers might go for these shoes bumper stickers.

picture of shoe bumper stickers

Here's a close-up.

picture of shoe bumper stickers

Here are some shoes that allow you to make your mark on the world, as you walk — shoes made with colored pencils.

picture of colored pencil shoes

Now for some general inventions.

For those who don't have Internet access, someone has published a book that was outdated before it was printed — Offline Wikipedia.

picture of offline Wikipedia

A keyring key?

picture of keyring key

Do you hate leaving your pet fish at home? Take it along!

picture of carry your fish bowl

Do you have trouble keeping track of your flash drive? Try this USB clothespin.

picture of USB clothespin

Do you get tired of extension cords or a lack of outlets? How about a wall like this?

picture of outlet wall

Here's a close-up shot of the outlet wall.

picture of outlet wall close-up

Tired of buying expensive greeting cards that people look at, and eventually toss? Try this all-in-one stamp.

picture of all-in-one stamp

Those who collect salt and pepper shakers might not have this set yet. Salt and battery anyone?

picture of salt and pepper batteries

Wish you had room for a ping pong table? Well, now you do with this ping pong door.

picture of ping pong door

Now you can listen to your iPod almost anywhere!

picture of iPod TP dispenser

Have you seen any neat inventions lately? Is there anything in this post that you now feel you just have to have?

quotation...

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Atomic Bomb — an invention to end all inventions


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Men, Tools, and Gadgets


picture of inner workings

I think it's safe to make the generalization that we men are naturally drawn to tools and gadgets. We just find them hard to resist. It's something about our "nuts and bolts" kind of mind that has to know how things work and our desire to fix things that don't work or that don't work right.

With that in mind, my wife and I recently gave our son Mark and our son-in-law Jim the same gift for their birthdays (Mark January 17 and Jim January 19) - a Black & Decker Auto Adjusting Wrench (pictured below). It's a really cool tool because with the touch of a button you can adjust the opening. This would be great in some of those tight spots where it's hard to do manually.

picture of wrench

I received several great gifts at Christmas that tap into my male attraction to tools and gadgets. My daughter Nora gave me a gift card for tool purchases at Home Depot. I keep going through the store, trying to decide what to buy.

picture of gift card

And my daughter Megan and son-in-law Jim gave me an electric Sudoku game that has brought me literal hours of enjoyment. I kind of wondered if I would like it since I was so used to being able to jot things down on the paper version. But since I got this game, I have not done one single puzzle in my book! This just may be the great gift idea for that male Valentine of yours! 😀

picture of Sudoku

This past week I decided that a store I have gone to frequently has officially become one of my favorite stores in Greenville – Battery Specialists on Furman Hall Rd. near Cherrydale. Below is a picture of the store since their website lacks a picture.

picture of Battery Specialists

I have a digital watch that I bought at a large chain store whose name begins with a W. The battery was starting to go bad, so I went to W****** this past Saturday to get a new battery. I learned that they are not allowed to change batteries in digital watches any more. When I whined that I had bought the watch there and that they had always changed the battery before, the clerk told me the name of a shop I could go to and get the battery changed for $5.00. I went there, and it looked closed and many of the cases inside were empty. Hmm.... Then I thought of Battery Specialists and went there. The young man changed my battery and charged me a total of $2.64. I am happy to give this store a much-deserved plug. They carry about every battery made – it's amazing! Since many gadgets around our house run on batteries, I will give this shop lots of business!

Since this post is about tools and gadgets, here's a list of definitions for some common and some not-so-common tools.

Tool Definitions

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object you are trying to hit. Used for smashing one's thumbs, hands, thighs, knees, ankles, and even heads so the man using it can say, "I'm tough!"

NAIL GUN: Used for attaching one's own finger to ceiling joist while perched on top of a step ladder. This embarrassing event allows "the contractor" to take a LONG walk in the woods ALONE (and in pain).

NAIL PULLER: The opposite end of a short Pry Bar, used to extricate oneself from embarrassing situations such as mentioned above, even though it creates more pain.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part. Also pries into the character of people who have ego battles with hard-to-get-apart things.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing items easily cut by knives - clothing, upholstery, inflatable objects, etc.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling roll bar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car, just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel. Also useful for breaking the heads off the last five screws needed to finish the last board on the new deck at 8:59 on a Saturday evening.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand. Also used for breaking wife's wrists and fingers as she holds on to whatever he wants held stable.

PLIERS: Another tool used to round off bolt heads.

OXY-ACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Used for setting brand new master bedroom closet on fire because the back of the brand new AC unit is in its corner and July is around the corner. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.

DRILL PRESS: A tall, upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest or flings your beverage across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disk brake setup, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2 X 4: Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

CELLPHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.

TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40 watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105 mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading. Often used to indicate to women of the house that it is time to find something else to do (maybe in another county). Oh yes, don't forget to take young children in the rush out the door!

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Is ALWAYS the OTHER kind. Normally used to stab the lids of old-style, paper and tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 60 years ago by someone in Springfield, and rounds them off.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.

FIST: Used by overtired, thus easily frustrated man to make hole in drywall before installing.

divider

How about your household – do you have any favorite tools or gadgets?

By the way, I'm highly recommending an Internet tool that some of you need to try out - the Firefox web browser. There's a link in my sidebar for downloading it. (36% of my readers are already using it.) I've been a little frustrated that Internet Explorer reformats some of my blog posts, putting things where they aren't supposed to be. Firefox keeps everything just as I post it, every time.

Also, the very next comment made to my blog will be comment number 1,500! Who will it be?

quotation...

"Your plans cannot thwart God's plans." - Dr. Chris Barney

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Don't force it! Get a larger hammer!


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When Men Go to Walmart…


cartoon of age differences

Here at the beginning of September I'm thinking about some milestone birthdays in our family this month. On the 17th our firstborn will turn 30, and on the last day of the month, I will be 15 years younger than John McCain! (He's a lot younger than most people realize! You do the math….)

As I age gracefully, I'm noticing some of the subtle differences that come with each stage of life - the way you see things and do things. (Notice the cartoon on the right…) On a more personal level, when I was a 20-something, it was nothing to pull all-nighters or at least to stay up late into the night doing fun activities or doing grading and course preparations as a young teacher. Now I have a hard time staying up very late at all. Just this past Friday evening a bunch of us teachers got together for a game night. Most of us played games late into the early part of the evening! Sigh!

Today's "instant vacation" takes a look at some of the changes that aging makes in something as everyday as going to Walmart.

When men go to Walmart…

You are a man doing some kind of project around the house – mowing the lawn, putting a new fence in, painting the living room, or whatever. You are hot and sweaty, covered in dirt or paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit - shorts with a hole in them, old T-shirt with a stain from who knows what home repair, and an old pair of tennis shoes.

Right in the middle of this great home improvement project you realize you need to run to Walmart to get something to help complete the job.

Depending on your age you might do the following:

In your 20's:
Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush and floss your teeth, and put on clean clothes. Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Splash on a lot of your favorite cologne because you never know, you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout lane. And you went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30's:
Stop what you are doing, put on clean shorts and shirt. Change shoes. You married the hot chick so no worries in that department. Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a healthy shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell. The cute girl running the register is the kid sister of someone you went to school with.

In your 40's:
Stop what you are doing. Put a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the hole in your shorts. Put on different shoes and a hat to cover up your messed up, unwashed hair. Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brute cologne is almost empty, so you don't want to waste any of it on a trip to Walmart. Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing. The spicy young thing running the register is your daughter's age.

In your 50's:
Stop what you are doing. Put on a hat, wipe the grime off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dirt in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and you swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat. The cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember the hat you have on is from Buddy's Bait Shop and says, "I Got Worms."

In your 60's:
Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat anymore – nothing to cover up. Hose the dog dirt off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50s and no need to replace it. You hope no one will notice the hole in you pants. The girl running the register may be cute, but you don't have your glasses on so you are not sure.

In your 70's:
Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Walmart until they have your prescriptions ready too. Don't even notice the dog dirt on your shoes. The young thing at the register smiles at you because you remind her of her grandfather.

In your 80's:
Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Then you remember you needed to go to Walmart. You go to Walmart, then wander around for an hour trying to think what it is you are looking for. Then you burp out loud and turn, thinking someone behind you called out your name. You realise you went to school with the old lady who greeted you at the front door an hour ago

divider

I want to be perfectly fair, though, and remind my readers that it's not just we men who are conscious of their appearance when they go to shopping. Here's a picture of a newspaper article that proves that women think about what they're going to wear when they go to Walmart.

picture of a newspaper article

Have any of you been or seen a "fashion plate" at Walmart lately? Or how 'bout some of those conversations you can't help overhearing?

quotation...

"You never realize what a good memory you have until you try to forget something." - Franklin P. Jones

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes.


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(Non-)Olympic Moments?


You would have to have your head totally in the sand not to know that the Olympics are going on. We've followed the first week and a half far more than we thought we would, but the remaining events really aren't our faves.

Undoubtedly the dominant name has been Michael Phelps. The mainstream media has proclaimed him "the greatest athlete of all time" and the debate will rage on until the next "greatest athete of all time" comes along. Michael has definitely achieved wonderful feats in a very tough sport and seems himself to have a good attitude of humility, but there are still many who are asking, "Well, what about __ (fill in the name of their favorite sports figure)?! Is Michael really a greater athlete than __?!"

I found a terrific comic online this morning that I want to share:

Michael Phelps' dominance

For today's iv, I'm sharing two stories - one funny and one thought-provoking - about some runners, Olympic or not.

divider

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house an older woman was looking out her kitchen window, watching the two men as they checked her gas meter.

Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.

As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong.

Gasping for breath, she replied, "When I saw two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too!"

divider

In the late 1990s at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with determination to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry, slowed down, and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. More important than winning for ourselves in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

divider

A friend told me that, upon reading my last post about becoming empty-nesters, he thought it sounded like I was saying, "Well, life's all over ... now we can die." I laughed and told him, "Far from it! Let me tell you about Friday of last week...." My wife and I decided to take the day off and "head for the hills" for the day to do some of our favorite things - a last hurrah before my teacherly duties began this week. We headed to Flat Rock, NC, to a shop called The Wrinkled Egg. That day we weren't interested in the shop as much as in the new barbecue place right behind it. It's called Hubba Hubba, and let me tell you - HUBBA! HUBBA! We definitely found a new favorite - or as my wife Becka put it, "yet another reason to go to Flat Rock!" We picked up a cranberry-apricot scone at the bakery in the back of the Wrinkled Egg for dessert/mid-afternoon snack and headed for Carl Sandburg's house. We didn't want to tour the house on this trip - we just wanted to see how this year's baby goats were doing. We took the hike to where the goats are kept and enjoyed petting them. Here's a picture of Connemara (the Sandburg's house) and a picture of Becka with several of the kids.

pic of Connemara

Becka and three baby goats

After that we headed to a quilting shop Becka really likes in Hendersonville. What a nice place - they have an area with rocking chairs and magazines for husbands! I had actually brought along my own entertainment a Sudoku book to pass the time pleasantly, warding off dementia while Becka touched every bit of fabric in the place (of which there is a lot!) After that we went to Lyda farms to get some produce and some early apples. From there we headed off to the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC, to go to Sliding Rock. It was really crowded, and so I had to wait in line for about a half hour before I could slide down the rock into the 55 degree water in the pool at the bottom. Below is a 10 second video clip of Sliding Rock (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers).

Here's a picture of me ready to begin my trip down the rock...

Rob on Sliding Rock

The line was even longer by that time and we had some other things we wanted to do, so I changed into warm, dry clothes, and away we went!

On the way back to Brevard, we stopped at the ranger station across the road from the Davidson River Campground. They have done a lot of renovation on the ranger station, and there's a lot for children to enjoy inside. One thing we enjoyed outside the ranger station was watching hummingbirds visit their two feeders. After that, we went shopping at four different stores in Brevard (and bought something in each) before having dinner at the Pisgah Fish Camp. While eating dinner we decided to drive back to the ranger station to take some pictures of the hummingbirds - something we hadn't thought to do earlier.

There were even more hummingbirds when we went back than there had been earlier. And the hummingbirds actually flew right up close to us to check us out! Here's a little video footage of their activity (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers). Sorry for the talking in the background - Becka's on the phone with one of our daughters telling her all about it.

After that, we drove back to Greenville. Now does that sound like two people whose lives are all done and are now ready to die?! 😀

I can't figure out a way to work up a poll question to get at the following - have you decided to and actually gone ahead and tried out any of the activities and/or places that I've written about in the past several years on my blog? If so, which one/s? Since it's impossible to structure as a multiple choice poll question, please just tell about it in the comments to this post.

quotation...

"What you live for and base your decisions on has the greatest effect on your children." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have become really good friends.


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