, Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2 comments

When I was in high school kids would walk from the swimming pool to the 7-eleven convenience store and come back with pop in huge cups called Big Gulp. They cost $0.25, or something. At the time the luxury of a pop (or soda, as we called it in St. Louis) so huge seemed extravagant and unreasonable. Looking back, though, it seemed to build a new expectation regarding food portions in people my age and younger. Now you can fit nearly a whole pot of coffee in some refillable convenience store mugs. When I get a pop at Kwik Trip I feel sheepish to only fill up a Little Buddy when they have Big Buddy, Best Buddy and Mega Buddy (52 oz!) sizes for increments of $.010 more each. That the US is serving larger portion sizes today is no surprise to anybody. Buyer beware.

I may not be tempted by the Mega Buddy, but I'm not totally immune to larger portions.  I do have my weaknesses, especially with cookies. When normal Oreos weren't enough for people, Nabisco started selling Double Stuf Oreos (or Dubs as I like to call them). I wouldn't even think of buying the normal Oreos anymore, they're just so bland. The trouble is, though, that Dubs sometimes need a little sprucing up too, now that I'm used to them.

They don't sell Oreos bigger than Double Stuf, no Best Stuf or Mega Stuf, but that doesn't stop me from customizing. When I really need a cookie fix, I disassemble 3 Double Stufs and splice them together into a Hex Stuf. Now that's what I call a cookie!

Tom's Big Day At The Mall

, Tuesday, October 21, 2008 1 comments

We were in La Crosse today to buy a new battery for the Mac notebook, but the store was out of them so we had some extra time. Margaret suggested that we go to The Gap because she thinks my jeans are looking worn out. The idea made me squirm and I started thinking up excuses like, "I doubt I'll find anything there."

"I know that most of your clothes are purchased online" she said, "but I think you can find something." She's right, I do buy most of my clothes online. It's not that easy to buy online because, obviously, you can't try anything on. But you do benefit from a nearly endless selection. Not that a large selection automatically make things easier; there's always the carrot-on-a-stick, that enticing promise of a deal that you just haven't found yet. So I'll look for weeks to find, say, a new winter hat. But then when it comes I obsess about how the color isn't exactly what I wanted. In this manner I can stretch a shopping trip into eternity. A simple trip to the mall should be much more straightforward, so I don't know what made me panic about going to the Gap. Maybe it's something about jeans in particular.

As we stood in front of the men's jeans selection I glanced down at the jeans I was wearing and honestly, I couldn't see the difference between mine and the ones on the shelf. How do the "distressed" jeans on the shelf look different than my "worn out" ones? "It's the knees," Margaret said as she pinched the fabric on my jeans. "Yours are kinda baggy." If it's the knees that make a pair of jeans worn out, I wondered why Elizabeth had deliberately ripped holes in the knees of one of her pair. I left the store without a new pair of jeans, but with 3 new t-shirts tucked under my arm in a manly fashion. Those weren't so hard to pick out, but I did worry about how much sweat shop labor had gone into my purchase. 

When I got home I wondered what else was out there. I had seen some nice street pants made by Mountain Khaki in a couple of outdoors shops. I like the burly canvas material and the rugged construction, so I checked to see if they sell jeans. They do, and they look pretty nice online. Plus they are made of organic cotton by a company located in Jackson, Wyoming. That meets my sensibilities about buying clothes. The only trouble is the $95 price tag.

I'll just have to think about it awhile.

Pictures without faces

Monday, October 13, 2008 0 comments

It's been one of those bad stretches lately, one of those bad times that come around only every few years. In times like these I can hardly grapple with my emotions. After a brief explosion of outward grief, I turn inward. I turn contemplative. Eventually words may come, but for now I have only pictures. Pictures without faces.