11.03.2012

The mobile phone industry is a bunch of balls: How the iPhone is ruining it for the rest of us.

Ok so no joke, I was at this Halloween party livin' it up as Sherlock Holmes (old school with a trench coat, not that new age Robert Downey shit) when it came time to show off my giant magnifying glass to the crowd. I had about nine things in each pocket because lol trench coat, but when I whipped out the magnifying glass my phone came with it, meeting my friend's beer-soaked tile floor.

*CROWD GASP* (I swear even the music cut out but maybe that was in my head)

No it's cool guys, it's a Motorola Flipside!

After the surrounding sighs of relief, I showed off my 2-year-old cell with screen still intact and minor dings. The back fell off but the battery stayed put, letting me show off my resilient device after a what-would-be lethal fall for any iPhone owner.

The party convo switches to the iPhone and my friend holds up her cracked Apple cell with a sad face.

I mean, I get it. The iPhone is popular. People feel better about themselves when they get the latest whatever that costs half their rent. It's got the Facebook attitude (personalize this cool thing that everyone else has!) with the tech-savvy I'm so cool with my iTunes on hand popularity.

And let's just get this out in the open right now: I'm not against Apple. I have an iPod and a Macbook. But when I see ten people with an iPhone and eight of them have to manuever their fingers around shards of glass to send a text, that's enough evidence to know that I would rather eat a glass sandwich than ever purchase an iPhone.

The problem is, because people are stupid and fall for this shit, the smartphone market is jumping on the bandwagon to mimic this craptastic Apple baby that everyone must have.

Now it's time for me to upgrade from my beloved Motorola Flipside and I'm shocked to say that there is absolutely nothing that I want. I'm a Motorola girl, so my first instinct was to go for the Atrix. But what's the screen made out of?

 "Gorilla Glass 1," said the unhappy AT&T salesman who thought my question was too complicated because it required research.

So what's the iPhone made out of?

"Gorilla Glass 2! Well, the new iPhone. The older ones are made with Gorilla Glass 1. It's the most durable material for smartphones today."

Ok, I don't want this phone. What else you got?

"Well the iPhone is the — "

No. I don't want an iPhone or anything made out of Gorilla Glass. Or regular glass. What phones do you have that aren't made out of glass?

"Did you read any reviews before you came in today? Because I can't really stand here and research what every screen is made of."

Well, I can't pay your water bill this month.

Upon personal research (since talking to an AT&T representative who specializes in cell phones was way too complicated) it's come to light that almost every single smartphone is now made out of Gorilla Glass. Check it:

http://www.corninggorillaglass.com/products-with-gorilla

The Atrix. HTC One X. Samsung Galaxy SIII. LG Optimus. Nokia Lumia 900.

Every decent smartphone I've looked at is made of glass. Unless you want a fucking Jitterbug the mobile phone industry is pulling you in. THEN SHATTERING YOUR DREAMS.

Heh. Get it? Shattering? Nevermind.

I would just like to give a big thanks to Apple for fucking me in my next cell phone venture and props to AT&T and Best Buy Mobile for having uneducated pieces of shit that disregard my actual questions while pointing me to the nearest iPhone. I am sad to say that even avoiding the iPhone now will not help me. Phones are made of expensive material that is total shit, so companies can charge you a bunch for shiny new shit and then charge you again when your shitty shit breaks.

"Well, you can always buy a case or an Otterbox, Nicole."

Yeah, my friend bought one. The price of her iPhone Otterbox was more than my entire phone bill for the month, and maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but that's fucking bonkers.

Next time guys, instead of paying $100 for a cell phone case, how about you just pay my entire phone bill. Then take me to Outback Steakhouse. Then kill yourself.








9.14.2012

Munchies that won't make your face fatter in three months

No more giant sodas this week, New Yorkers. I think it's safe to say that nobody ever needs soda to begin with, let alone more than 16 ounces at a time, but go ahead and be pissy. As for those of us who still make an effort to sustain a nutritional diet, here are some kick ass munchies with real ingredients: 

1. Chips from Food Should Taste Good

This company has not only created a flavor of chip for every mood or occasion, but the ingredient lists don't sound like instructions from a Dr. Dreadful playset. Hatch Chili, Toasted Sesame and even Hemp for those of you feeling extra munchie. The Hemp is actually tasty — a very earthy flavor with rugged crunch. My boyfriend loves Ruffles and Lay's, so he describes my Hemps as "yuck," but if you're adventurous check them out. Food Should Taste Good wins 100 cool points from me because when they say "natural" they mean it. Check out the ingredients for the Sweet Potato chips: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Sweet Potato, Corn Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt. Yeah. That's it. And get this — Food Should Taste Good even rolls out Chocolate and Kettle Corn tortilla chips. Chocolate is the perfect flavor imitation of those mini chocolate donuts you could eat by the sleeve, with the perfect mix of salty sweet. Try dipping both kinds of dessert chips in some homemade vanilla ice cream (from your local mom-and-pop ice cream shop, because you're a lazy bastard like me) or even organic peanut butter. But let's face it, homemade ice cream is where it's at because that mass produced crap tastes like chocolate cancer. 


2. Primal Strips: Meatless Vegan Jerky

No, I'm not vegan, but I fear not the soybean. I find that some of my best healthy snack discoveries occur in the checkout lane where I'm impulse-buying like a mad man. Primal Strips were last week's find. I tend to shy away from "meatless" foods that parade around as meat because I don't like their attitude, but these looked just plain awesome: 


The guy in front of me was just about to evacuate the debit card machine area, so I went for it with the Mesquite Lime. The packaging is ridiculously hard to tear open, so use them teeth. Or get primal, if you will (had to). Luckily, the plastic force field is only a tool to lock in the juicy juices with what tastes, feels and looks like pulled pork. I've had Jack Links Beef Jerky, Slim Jims and even my own homemade jerky, but the fact that there is not a trace of meat in these things is amazing. You could rip it out of the plastic sleeve and slap it between bread because it's so moist, tender and flavorful, just like the pulled pork at Sonny's BBQ. I've since gone back to try the Thai Peanut which kicks an equal number of asses. It's got an Asian zing with a peanut sauce that I usually have with Pad Thai or lettuce wraps from Chili's. If you're not vegan, great! You'll like these anyway. If you are vegan, great! Just please don't tell me about it more than once. 


3. Organic Z Fruit Ropes: Clif Bar & Company

While most organic snack bars are still trying to live up to the legacy of the Clif Bar, this company has already pounced into the fruit realm. I call them my organic fruit twisties because I'm five years old, but these Clif Fruit Ropes totally flatten Fruit Roll-Ups. Well... you know what I mean. 

The chewy, gel-like consistency similar to Gushers and Fruit By The Foot proves that looks can be deceiving— the Clif Fruit Ropes are USDA Certified Organic. The grape ones actually taste like grape instead of an artificial grape flavor base and corn syrup. 

Get the fuck off my fruit twisties.
http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_clif_kid_twisted_fruit/


4. Newman's Own Organics: Family Recipe Cookies

I'm pretty sure these are not certified, but they're fucking delicious and contain... mostly legit ingredients. You can't really expect much when it comes to packaged cookies, but they are better than most of what's out there. I decided to try these one day on a whim (no, they weren't near the register) and the Orange Chocolate Chip totally melted my face off. The cookies are bite-sized which makes it easy to eat the entire bag is an assembly line fashion if you have no self-control, so beware of that. As for the ingredients, I'm a bit iffy: Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Organic Sugar, Chocolate Chips (Unsweetened Chocolate, Sugar, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Egg Whites, Oats, Organic Orange Oil, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate. I could do without a couple of these, but being that they are packaged cookies, it's not really surprising. But are they worse than mainstream cookies? Check out the ingredients for chocolate Teddy Grahams: 

"ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, GRAHAM FLOUR (WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR), SOYBEAN OIL, COCOA (NATURAL AND PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, MALTODEXTRIN, CALCIUM CARBONATE (SOURCE OF CALCIUM), SALT, BAKING SODA, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), CHOCOLATE, CORNSTARCH."

You be the judge.



5. PUFFINS, MO FUGGA

As a cereal connoisseur, Barbara's Puffins are where it's at. Peanut Butter, Cinnamon and even Peanut Butter & Chocolate are worth every cent. The pieces of Peanut Butter cereal look like yellow Cap'n Crunch after a shot of steroids and a protein shake, yet lighter and crispier.

The ingredient list is short and sweet, nothing too scary. As far as the nutrition facts go, most cereals only show minor discrepancies when you really get down to it, but I find that Barbara's Puffins pack more protein and less sugar than most mainstream brands. But don't stop at the cereal - try Barbara's cheese puffs, granola bars and animal crackers. Nom. 




9.08.2012

These Apples are Totally Cray: How America is exterminating human tastebuds

One lucky day I will be moving out of this country, but until then I have to live with the fact that America has started producing whole apples with flavor inside of them. 

Just because the FDA allows the existence of natural flavorings, does that mean we should pump them into everything we ingest? I'm not sure what Crazy Apples, Inc. could be thinking; I'm sure it's far too busy selling apples that are "naturally" flavored like bubblegum, anyway. 

I'm having a hard time figuring out why we need to disguise fruit as candy. Is plain fruit scary? Too boring? Do we want kids to view the essence of a plain, nutritious apple the same way they instill the reputation of Hubba Bubba? 

Crazy Apples Inc. is prepared with other apple flavors like Pomegranate Grape and Tropical Blast. Yeah. The apples taste like different fruits [shoot me], while injecting a wholesome apple with a manufactured fruit taste like Capri Sun and other processed, sugary drinks. 

I'm not sure if fruit — a food that we need 2-4 times daily — should taste like the fats, oils and sweets we are instructed to use sparingly. Yes, I understand that nobody ingests gum regularly, but it's safe to say that the general flavor of pink bubblegum tastes like candy. 

The Crazy Apples Inc. website claims the natural bubblegum flavor is made with dozens of "mixed natural flavor notes." A google search for "natural flavor notes" shows the Crazy Apples website as the third result. You so crazy, Crazy Apples.

According to the FDA:
"The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional." 

So they're natural, but not nutritional. Thank you. That was just as deceiving as the quotes on the Crazy Apples Inc. website that are attributed to absolutely no one. 




I'd prefer my future children to know the difference between candy and fruit and know when to avoid disgusting lab experiment crap like this. I don't want my kids to need a blue raspberry flavor added to their ice cubes in order to tolerate them; I never want them to throw an apple back at me because "it's just a regular one." I'll immediately regurgitate in the middle of Publix when I see carrots with pink and green polka dots. If a company wants to market Blue Super Sugar Pops with chemicals, go nuts, but do us a solid and stay the fuck away from the foods we need to live. 

Regardless of everything that's been said and done, the fact remains that we're still living in a world where bubblegum can be considered a "natural flavor." And that, my friends, is the utterly terrifying tip of the iceberg (with natural ice flavor). 



Other naturally unnatural apple products: http://www.grapplefruits.com/process.html (For when eating grapes and apples separately is just so unbearably boring).


Interesting insight about cancer and chemicals the United States wants us to eat: http://cancercompass.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/artificial-colors-flavors-additives-and-preservatives/







9.06.2012

The impending doom of Americans and why McDonald's treats us like idiots.

It was the billboard that did it for me. The double-sided billboard on the highway. Side one: the McDonald's logo with a fruit smoothie. The second side? McDonald's and apples. 

Come on. 

McDonald's can't sit here and tell me that people think apples when they think of McDonald's. I would interview the first person who said, "hey dude, let's hit up Micky D's because I'm stoned and craving apples," if I knew where to find people who never existed. Should you even consider McDonald's apples to be real fruit? Does real fruit contain more than one ingredient? I enjoy my apple when it contains apple, not apple with calcium ascorbate (a blend of calcium and vitamin C to maintain color).

Let's not forget about the silly page on the McDonald's website about the Ready Pac recall for those tasty apples. The apples were delivered to certain states and may have possibly been tainted with Listeria. But don't worry, McDonald's will do nothing to inform you about the Listeria part — you'll have to seek out that information beyond the online arches. 


And fruit smoothies? I'll come back to writing this in an hour so I have time to stop laughing. 

Dear McDonald's, your ingredient list mistakenly has "Strawberry Banana Fruit Base" in the spot where "Strawberries, Bananas" is supposed to go. Oh ok, it wasn't a mistake and you're just gross. Got it. 

All of the fruit smoothies start with some kind of "base" but no actual, wholesome fruit. Mango Pineapple Fruit Base. Wild Berry Fruit Base. Cherry Berry Flavored Juice Blend Base. A juice base blend? Sounds apocalyptic. Let's get into the ingredients of the ingredients. Here is the Wild Berry Fruit Base, beginning to death:

"Strawberry puree, water, blackberry puree, blueberry puree, grape juice concentrate, clarified demineralized pineapple juice..." Hold the phone. Let's Google "demineralized pineapple juice" so we can giggle together real quick. 












The second and third links post-search already pertain to McDonald's. Searching for "demineralized juice" brings you some great info about how your body can be demineralized and how it's a bad thing. Go America for letting companies eject nutrients right out of ingredients, giving the human body not even the slightest chance to absorb anything beneficial. Continue.

"Sugar, pineapple juice concentrate, contains less than 1% of the following: natural (botanical source - oh em gee, it grew once!) and artificial flavors, cellulose powder, peach juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, xanthan gum, pectin, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, citric acid."

Coolio. When I make a smoothie I use a banana, strawberries, almond milk and some organic honey. But that's just me and I'm all picky about not wanting cancer when I'm 40 and shit. 

For your first horrified laugh of the day, check out all of the ingredients used in everything McDonald's (Warning: not suitable for humans): 


Neat link about cancer and things the U.S. government lets people eat: http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/chemicals-linked-to-breast-cancer/food/




8.20.2012

Where to stuff your face in the District of Columbia

Don't let anyone fool you — tasting local cuisine is just as important as draining a memory card in some museum somewhere when you're traveling around the planet. But if you happen to land in Washington, DC, here are five places you have to check out:


1. Wok and Roll, Chinese and Japanese Restaurant

That's some monstrous crab!
Tiger Roll (left), Spider Roll (right). 
     This place is in Chinatown, so there's your first clue that the food is a step up from the plastic foam tray that usually drives itself to your front door. I mean, look at the Spider Roll. The four pieces are all you need, with almost a quarter crab stuffed into the two end pieces. The circumference of the Spider was significantly larger than the Tiger Roll (8 pieces), and called for unfortunate disassembly to fit in my face.
     But Wok and Roll's Spider also converted my favorite boy's taste buds to soft-shell crab for the first time. We split half a Peking Duck ($15.95) as well, which is matched with fresh onions, Hoising Sauce (slightly brackish tang) and "pancake."The pancake turned out to be little, weightless tortillas, like the wrap of a spring roll. If you've never had a duck burrito in Chinatown, please do it once.
Too tasty to quack. And crispy on top.
This place will wok your face off.



604 H Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001
202.347.4656





2. Potbelly Sandwich Shop

It's Subway and Cracker Barrel after a head-on collision. Sandwiches are automatically toasted, because they just know. Choose between the Originals size or the Bigs. IBC Cream Soda in a glass bottle and hand-spun milkshakes/malts. Live music on certain days. I've been scarred by sandwich chains in the past, finding that every sandwich ingredient usually tastes like plastic and/or Windex, requiring sauce to make it bearable. Potbelly's Grilled Chicken & Cheddar is totally bangin' and I added some bacon for less than a buck. Pair it with a bag of Zapp's Sour Cream & Creole Onion chips and you're set until dinner. More than 240 Potbelly Sandwich Shops are scattered across the United States, but that doesn't mean there's one near you. Cherish it if you find one.

http://www.potbelly.com/Food/OurMenu.aspx?subPage=Sandwiches



3. PhoWheels . . . "For Realz"

On my last day in DC, the fat kid in me was saddened for not finding one local food truck to try on this vacation. On our way to the National Museum of Crime & Punishment — I'm pretty sure I even squealed — I was lucky enough to spot this crazy black and white Pho truck parked by the stretch of sidewalk ahead of us. 



As much as I love Pho, it was way too hot for soup cravings that day. It was the perfect excuse for me to score Saigon Eggrolls (2/$4). End to end, both rolls together equalled about a foot of crispy pork and shrimp, not to mention a mini cup of fish sauce. Phock. Yeah.





Saigon Eggroll

4. RFD - Regional Food & Drink

Yes, that's a Jumbo Bavarian Pretzel. Uh huh. 
Hopes and Dreams.
Luckily, I have friends living in DC who could point us to local hangouts and restaurants instead of sand traps just waiting for a tourist's dollar. RFD is also in Chinatown, but it's more of a sports bar/beer garden gig. When I think sports bars with keg buffets, I think of Beef O' Brady's because every sports bar is essentially Beef O' Brady's with or without Irish flair, but RFD has some spark. We started out with the Crab Stuffed Pretzel smeared with homemade crab dip and melty cheddar jack — the added Old Bay is a nice touch. 
     I went with Schlafly Pumpkin Ale ($6.50/glass) while we waited for our meals, which is a glass of bubbly pumpkin pie with a little buzz. You can almost taste the cinnamon, too. For dinner I went with the Beef & Bleu sandwich, which was not at all what I'd expected. This was not salty lunch meat roast beef that had been soaked in extra salt with a side of salt, but rather perfectly cooked pot roast on straight-up ciabatta bread. With the added bleu cheese, caramelized onion, horseradish mayo and homemade potato chips it was food coma time. 
After a couple more Schlafly, that is. 

810 7th Street NW - 202.289.2030
www.lovethebeer.com


5. Co Co. Sala


Free frozen hot chocolate sip
before your salad
You've made it this far, so trust me when I say this place will easily be $100 with two people, but it's so worth it you'll relive the meal in your head for the rest of your life. The chocolate theme melts through the entire place, from the intimate setting to cacao-inspired ingredients in almost every dish. Our night started at the bar, and you know it's high scale when you see a jar of cucumber slivers instead of half-deydrated lime quarters next to the bartender. We tried the Fetish first, a smoothie-like cocktail with strawberry foam and a chocolate-infused vodka that would put Willy Wonka to bed. The foam creates a perfect froth-liquid ratio with a submerged chocolate covered strawberry too big for one bite. The Co Cojito is also worth a sip; the chocolate-infused vodka is so good it's silly — think vodka filtered through a Hershey's candy bar.


Homemade lil buns. So cute. 
We happened to dine during Restaurant Week with a fixed dinner price of $35.12 per person and special menu items. Your choice of salad, two "Co Co. Bites" and one of two dessert options. The Summer Peach Salad was devoured immediately, but how can you resist Chocolate Brioche Croutons? For the Bites I chose Garlic Shrimp Mac & Cheese (with jalapeƱo and mini penne) and beef sliders with co co. mole sauce. Steve used our special occasion to try crab cakes for the first time and Co Co. Sala got him hooked. I tried to convince him not to get crab cakes from Ruby Tuesday the next day because I knew he would be disappointed. He was. So put on your fancy pants, grab a taxi and go with someone you like lots.
Grand Finale: Chocolate Onyx. COMPLETELY. RIDICULOUS. And yum.

www.cocosala.com
929 F STREET NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20004
202.347.4265

7.16.2012

Why USA TODAY is a steaming pile of contradiction.

Welcome to America where freedom of speech is for everyone (if you have a Facebook account, a photo and four friends). - USA TODAY

Facebook has made a profound mark on the world, I get it. However, I choose not to be friends with malware that comes in a fun package to make people money. That is my choice. The perplexing part is, I've started seeing more scenarios lately — outside of Facebook — that require me to have a Facebook account.

For example, USA TODAY, an American newspaper, requires readers to have a Facebook account to comment on news articles and participate in open discussion of news. That's right. A newspaper that bleeds red, white and blue doesn't care about what you have to say unless there is emphasis on the white and blue. I noticed this a few months ago, but hang on to your idioms because it's gotten worse. Now, USA TODAY requires each reader to operate on Facebook, display a photo of themselves and be connected with four 'friends' in order to post a visible opinion about nationwide news.

I decided to ask USA TODAY Opinion a series of questions via my Twitter handle, @Evictthesewords:

1. Yeah, why do you exclude people from commenting on public interest news stories unless they have a Facebook?   


2. Do you think media lack integrity when the only way to express an opinion on a story requires a Facebook account?  


3. Does  get paid by Facebook to exclude members of society who don't have a Facebook account for commenting?

4. Why is it relevant to require a Facebook photo and least four friends to post a comment on an online news story?  

5. Do you think it's ethical for a news publication to work for Facebook?   


6. Facebook permeates almost every aspect of life now. Don't you think public interest news should remain unbiased?  

" Sorry you object to our commenting policy. We understand many users are not interested in using Facebook to comment. " -  

7. So you "understand" but don't care. Is that what you're saying?  

8. Since commenting online requires a Facebook account, do you only care about sponsored opinions? Biased much?  


" Our aim is to encourage high-quality and relevant contributions." -  

" By holding commenters accountable for their actions via Facebook, we hope to keep conversation interesting and stimulating." -  

9. "Holding users accountable..." So you want people to censor what they really think by fearing accountability? 

10. Can't you do the same thing by letting users log in through email or Twitter? It's FB or no way. Makes no sense.   

11. Does Facebook pay you or do you pay Facebook?  

 "We're not trying to exclude anybody, . We're aiming for civil discussion. Stay tuned for possible video answer." - @USATOpinion


12. Civil discussion that includes a specific group of people. Not everyone. Only people with a FB account, photo & four friends.  

13. What's the point in me "staying tuned" when I can't participate in discussion? That's what you're not understanding. Exclusion.  


Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but the last time I checked, a publication caters to its audience. In this case, the audience is the United States of America. That's 313,961,415 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, July 16 2012. Checkfacebook.com, a daily tracker that uses data from Facebook's advertising tool, claims 155,707,160 Americans currently use Facebook today. For the 158,254,255 U.S. citizens leftover, USA TODAY redirects their freedom of speech to the virtual dumpster.

It's kind of silly how a nationwide publication supports online social discrimination in the Land of the Free. It's also silly that USA TODAY claims its Facebook commenting policy aims to "hold commenters accountable for their actions," but completely disregards sources like Gmail, Twitter, blogs and other outlets for readers to present themselves and amplify their opinions about news.

So, is this a matter of money? Does Facebook slide a dollar into the USA TODAY wallet every time a user comments on a piece of news? Does USA TODAY pay Facebook for the commenting feature so articles will spread quicker on the largest social network in the world, so it doesn't have to waste time with other internet outlets? Do news media want to spy on us too?

We can never really know. But speaking as one of the 158,254,255 Americans who would like to live a Facebook-free life and still have a valued opinion, I kindly invite USA TODAY to go fuck itself.




https://twitter.com/EvictTheseWords (July 15, 2012)
http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html
http://www.checkfacebook.com//
http://www.facebook.com/pages/CheckFacebookcom/101117322782?sk=info
http://www.usatoday.com/news/story/2011-11-28/Facebook-comments-FAQ/51451552/1



4.20.2012

Local Munchtime: Dragon Phoenix in Tyrone and why you should call them.

Being that I have three jobs  one of which I don't even get paid for  it's no surprise that when Saturday seeps in, it's five-star Lazy Time. When my favorite boy arrives, Lazy Time morphs into Slugville, where the most strenuous activity obtained is screaming at Crash Bandicoot on my Playstation 2 while waiting for pork fried rice to drive itself to my door step.

Don't get me wrong — chinese take-out will always remain a total carb salad with a side of sodium. But sometimes Sweet-n-Sour meat and Krab Rangoon is the only cure for... anything. As most chinese restaurants and platters tend to overlap with similar taste and options, it can be hard to find that one establishment that steals your heart while putting you at risk for heart disease regularly (but you like it). 

The answer, my friends, is Dragon Phoenix on Bay Pines Boulevard.

Sweet-n-Sour is my jam all the way, but sometimes I have a hard time choosing between chicken or pork. I've asked places to make exceptions for me, offered to pay nonsense upcharges and have even been turned away from the dinner combo I so desire. Dragon Phoenix will give me both in one dinner, as well as a spring roll instead of an egg roll. I usually ask to switch my egg roll to a spring, but Dragon Phoenix just knows. 

Their side of Krab Rangoon comes with TEN pieces. Ten. Not four or six. But actually enough to split with someone and enjoy as the integrity of a side dish should be comprised. The dinner comes perfectly compacted in a microwavable tray, with pork fried rice that wasn't rushed in the kitchen; when I get pork fried rice as a pile of firm, separated tidbits inedible with the prongs of a fork, it makes my soul die a little. And the bites of pork are actual bites that you can stab and put in your mouth instead of bacon bits spray painted like pork. 

Not only are the standard dinner essentials present, but Dragon Phoenix dinners also include soup (the egg drop is killer) and those crunchy noodle-chip things that resemble Fritos but don't make me feel like a fat American after consumption. And for thirteen bucks? Sign me up. Forever.




Dragon Phoenix
9621 Bay Pines Boulevard
St. Petersburg, FL 33708
727.399.8646

4.18.2012

I'm not embarrassed to say I'm a Friends fiend.

I am embarrassed to say that I've seen so many reruns that Rachel and Ross have given conflicting birthdays in different episodes. For example, in The One With Joey's New Girlfriend, Rachel tells Gunther her birthday is May 5th, but in the episode where she's pulled over in Monica's Porsche by Sergeant Sagittarius, it's stated that she is in fact an Aquarius. 


When Ross starts to mention his birthday to Gunther, he only gets to "December..." before Gunther storms off, blatantly caring only about his creepy infatuation with Rachel. Episodes later, Ross claims his birthday as a specific date in October that would make him a Libra. I can't remember the exact date at this millisecond in time, but when I heard it, I cross-checked a Zodiac website to see if that would make him a Libra because I'm sick and need help.


I know I blame a galaxy full of problems on my mother, but I'm not going to dismiss this opportunity to blame this one on her as well. As my friend Brian would say, "Here's some deep-seated psychosis, ya'll! Pull up a chair." 


I remember clapping along (well, the four claps) to the Friends theme song with my mom before I was even old enough to understand the condom jokes. When Chandler regretted buying that 12-pack of condoms is when my mom explained, "it's a balloon thing that the man puts on his penis to have sex." I still laugh every time Chandler has his regrets about the dozen condoms. And now, I even understand why men need balloon things to have sex. I also know that thinner balloon things are for the better, but that's besides the point I'm making here people. 


The point is, not one person should know that Friends airs on CW, TBS and Nickelodeon every weekday, nor should they be able to recite the lineup. I won't recite the lineup per channel, but I will say that I am strangely proud of being one in a crowd that realizes when Nickelodeon stops airing Friends 11:00 pm - 1:00 am, so it can start airing That 70's Show 12:00 am - 1:00 am instead. That shit only lasted a week before the two-hour Friends mini-marathon returned every night. 


And that's why there should be sitcom psyche wards.

1.24.2012

Why the new Facebook Timeline is another shining example of privacy invasion that people will continue to put up with

Once again, a new Facebook feature is clogging the intellect of my Twitter newsfeed. I like Twitter because I can follow things that actually stimulate brain activity, versus mindlessly Liking things for a millisecond of satisfaction via clickery. I enjoy tracking news sources that can teach me things or people that have mastered the art of 140 character quips. Unfortunately, Facebook is of great public interest because the universe is tied into it, so whenever a new feature breaks through and stirs the ant farm, I still have to hear about it.

As I've said for over a year, Facebook is the ultimate invasion of privacy. Malware that looks like fun. Spyware that comes in a fun package. Like buttons, games, a vortex of photos that your friends and friends of friends of friends who you haven't spoken to since high school can see, unless you have your privacy settings tweaked perfectly (and sometimes even that doesn't matter).

And here comes the Facebook Timeline. The definitive archive of every move made by each Facebook user, in a neat package to sift through with ease, stapled to profile pages. Don't like the idea? Too bad, so sad. 

In a nutshell, the Timeline will organize everything that's ever touched your profile, in chronological order, starting the day you birthed that Facebook profile baby that you now wish you could smother to death with a squeaky giraffe pillow. 

Before the new Timeline feature "rolls out" or "goes live," users are given a seven day period to activate the feature themselves, allowing them to edit their personal information before others can see it. 

Isn't that sweet? Mark Zuckerberg is allowing users to be proactive with their own information before Facebook does whatever it wants with it. Cool.

Aside from the FTC investigations and gargantuan contradiction that Facebook is as a whole, I keep hearing the same arguments and reasoning from users alike.

"What's the difference? It's all out there anyway." - Everyone

              "Well, people should be more careful about what they post online." - Everyone

     "What? That's crap! I'm leaving Facebook. 
       Wait, who just liked my status about Pita Chips? Oh yeaaaah!" - Everyone

Minus the guy with the Pita Chips, both are valid points. However, the word we're looking for here is control. 

Control within a personal, social website that encourages you to have fun with it. Control of your online identity. Control of what people see and how they see it on your own page. To say people should be more careful about their posts is irrelevant. If I've posted nothing but photos of kittens and smiley faces since the day I subscribed to Facebook, then that is my information to control on Facebook. Until now.

Facebook has morphed into a monstrous online trigger for omnipresent cognitive dissonance. People find themselves hating it, threatening to leave it, dealing with it, learning to love it once more and moving along until the next uproar. To compare Facebook to a domestic violence case would be a little ridiculous; I'd prefer the term rape. Rape that starts in a back alley of Palo Alto that permeates through your veins, eyes, guts, ears and keyboard until they spill onto the screen of a friend of a friend of a friend's iPhone. You're Liked. Tagged. Notified. Poked. Messaged. Invited. Requested. Information sequestered. 

The Facebook Timeline is coming and it's here to stay. For those of you who give your profile no permission to be used in advertisements, wake the fuck up. You are one.

Learn to Like it.