27 February 2010

The Rosa Parks of Reusable To-go Containers

I lived a sheltered life back home.

In Multnomah County they keep the styrofoam beast at bay. Down here in the OC? Not so much. Every time I bring my leftovers home with me they're packaged in a styrofoam box that will last for eternity.

When I first moved here I didn't know what to do. I collected the styrofoam containers in the garage and scoured the internet for a place where I could recycle them - no such luck. In the end, the lady we were living with threw them all away when I was away for a work trip.

I've thought about bringing my own to-go container with me. Tupperware makes some colorful, collapsible containers (bonus: sold by a drag queen). Unfortunately, I always forget to bring it.

One of the great things about going out to dinner is that it's spontaneous. "Babe, I don't feel like cooking tonight."

Hooray! I don't feel like scraping cheese off a plate with a ratty sponge when we're done. Unfortunately, packing a tupperware kinda kills the spontaneity factor.

Also, full disclosure - I'm not sure if I can get over the nerdy-ness factor of whipping out a plastic tub at a restaurant. In Portland I wouldn't think twice about it, but down here it would be the first time in history anyone had done such a thing.

Not sure if I'm ready to be the Rosa Parks of reusable to-go containers.

Grist.org has a short n' sweet video about going green when getting take out.

That one seems easy enough - so long as

a) you tell the place in advance and
b) they understand WTF you're talking about

Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans

On the eve of the gold medal game against Canada I wanted to share this very touching tribute about the relationship between the US and our friends to the north.

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11 February 2010

What English Sounds Like to People from Other Countries

I work for an international company and behind the orange curtain this dose of culture is much needed. It's a real hodge podge of language in my department sometimes.
  • First there's the MexiCal slang that's part of the local culture
  • A co-worker from Italy has taught us how to swear in Italian
  • and we throw in some Japanese and Hawaiian for good measure
I know some "working" Spanish (thanks for holding, you're speaking to Sebastian, what's your store number?), but there's one language that alludes us - French. Usually I can get someone from our Canadian office to assist, or one of the really nice Swiss guys. Today I got skunked so here's what I came up with:

S'il vous plaît excusez-moi. J'ai utilisé Google Translate.

I never studied French, I have no idea how to form the words. What can you do? It got me thinking though how French has that lilt to it - so charming in all those Godard films but not-so-charming when you have an angry Quebecois on the line.

I also came across this: What English Sounds Like to People from Other Countries

The first video is a must-see. The American Idol from Bulgaria is pretty good too.
The Japanese kid and the short German bit aren't that interesting.


06 February 2010

A Change of Fashion

So, as you all know I've been wearing black for some time - almost ten years.

What most people don't understand is that I wear black - not because its my favorite color or its how I feel on the inside.

I wear black all the time because:

#1 I hate shopping
#2 I hate picking out what to wear in the morning
#3 Sometimes I spill coffee on myself and with black clothes no one can tell.
#4 I would rather spend money on travel

To be quite honest, if I woke up tomorrow and my closet was full of purple clothes - that's what I'd wear. I shit you not.

So, at Ladies Rock Camp last year there was this grad student from Canada. The whole weekend she rocked different cardigan / scarf combos. I was intrigued....

Since then I've invested in one black cardigan and one dark purple. Someone gave me a camel-colored one and I bought a matching scarf. So altogether I have three cardigans and three scarves. A few more and, Man, I'm set!

Not sure how this will work out in the long term. There are some 100+ degree Southern California days coming up this summer, but let's not worry about that just for a moment.

Is this cardigan-scarf thing really a lasting trend? Am I going to be, like, so 2009 in a few weeks?

What if I go old-school. I'm thinkin' Merchant-Ivory old school. Emma Thompson really worked those cardigans... but then again she has that lovely British accent - the perfect accessory, really.

I really wish someone would make a Queer Eye for the Straight Girl or for Tim Gunn's show to come back on. All I really want is a free trip to New York, $5000 and a gay man to show me what's up. Is that too much to ask!?!?

05 February 2010

Selling CDs on Glyde Versus Secondspin

This is a follow up to my post from last week: One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure.

selling CDs and DVDs on Glyde.com
Of the items I've posted to Glyde, I sold three in the first week.

results of selling CDs to SecondSpin
Of the 59 items I sent to SecondSpin they accepted all but one CD because it was a promo copy.
They're sending me a check for $172.81 and some additional reimbursement for shipping (media mail rate).

Here's where things stand:

Glyde: three items sold, average price: $1.04/item, total revenue: $3.13
SecondSpin: 58 items sold, average price: $2.91/item, total revenue $172.81
eBay: $0 (auction still in progress)

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04 February 2010

Solving Problems and Staying Safe - Using 90's Gangster Rap

I was up in LA on Sunday and I ran into a problem... which I solved by listening to 90s gangster rap.

I found myself in Hollywood and wanted to take the 405 freeway home.

There was an accident on the connector freeways - which meant I had to either take I-5 home (which takes forever and is always backed up) or drive through South Central.

Since I visit LA only two or three times a year: I'm not very familiar with the area and where it's safe or not safe. Here's what I know:

California...knows how to party
California...knows how to party
In the citaaay of L.A.
In the citaaay of Watts
In the citaaay, the city of Compton
We keep it rockin! We keep it rockin!

Okay, that's a good start. What else do I know?

Only in Cali where we riot not rally to live and die
In L.A. we wearin' Chucks not Ballies (that's right)
Let'em recognize from Long Beach to Rosecrans
Bumpin and grindin like a slow jam.

I know Inglewood is "always up to no good" and I've heard Snoop et al mention Crenshaw a few times. I don't remember them mentioning an shit going down on La Brea Ave, so that's the route I chose.

At first I spend about twenty minutes driving through Koreatown. I feel totally safe rollin' in my '95 Mitsubishi.

From there I drove through Baldwin Hills (which seems really nice actually) and then into Inglewood. I put on TLC's Greatest Hits so everyone will know I'm just a cute girl who doesn't want any trouble (or Scrubs).

As it turns out, the part of Inglewood I drove through didn't look that different from the rest of LA. Apparently my idiotic sterotyping made everything work out just fine.

02 February 2010

My Car Qualifies for Wellfare - Woohoo!

I got a letter from the state of California today. They will give me up to $500 for (emissions-related) repairs to Little Red!

Poor thing, this is the second time she's failed her emissions test. The standards are more strict here than anywhere else and hey - if someone stuck something up your tailpipe and made you go at maximum exertion, you'd be grumpy too.

It's a pretty nice thing that the state offers some assistance toward the repair. Last time she had to get a new catalytic converter. That was a few hundred bucks..

The way it works is almost like health insurance: I pay $100 and then they pick up the rest (up to $500). The state will even cover the cost of the smog re-test. I'm not sure where the $500 limit comes from. Maybe the max value is determined by the blue book value of the car!

The car welfare thing is called the Consumer Assistance Program. It's been around for a few years but the smog station I'd been going to before never told me about it. I went to a different one that offered a coupon (thanks, Yelp) and they told me about it. Not sure if Oregon has something similar, but it's worth checking!

Turn Frequent Flyer Miles Into Gift Cards

I have 45,000 Delta SkyMiles and about 6,000 American Airlines miles I'm never going to use. It's kind of ridiculous because the miles are just going to sit there until they expire. I don't have enough to "afford" a free ticket and both airlines have really limited selection of award tickets anyway.

So I was very pleased to discover points.com

Points.com lets you swap frequent flyer miles between airlines, exchange miles with other people or redeem for gift certificates to Home Depot, Best Buy, iTunes, etc. Right now they work with Alaska, Continental, American, Hawaiian, Iceland Air and some other regional airlines.

For example, you can exchange

8,971 Alaska Airlines miles for a $25 iTunes gift certificate. It’s not that smokin’ of a deal, but if you’ve got miles on an airline you’re never going to use, then it’s better than just letting them expire.

There's also this stock market exchange kinda thing where you can post an exchange deal for other users. For example, for $30 I can swap 3,000 Delta Miles for 1,000 Continental miles. The $30 fee is charged by Delta. I think points.com charges a $7 transaction fee.

I haven't found any mind-blowing deals out there, but, for example I've got 45,000 Delta miles I'm never going to use. Delta has the nerve to route OC flights to Portland through Salt Lake, and I'll never make that mistake again.

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