Is the Umbrella a Failed Invention?

I believe after, say, 25 years of operating an umbrella on my own – that I’ve mastered the concept. If this is in fact the case – well then I need to marginalize it’s value to society…

The belief that an umbrella will keep one dry when it rains is good in theory – but is wrong. An umbrella will merely assist you from getting completely soaked – but it will not keep you dry.

Maybe I’m mis-holding the instrument, but I never seem to truly avoid getting myself and my belongings wet. If I choose to keep my front shirt and face dry, well then my entire back and backpack (my version of a business briefcase) gets soaked. If I chose to try and protect this bag that often holds various consumer electronic devices, well then I will look like I peed in my pants and sweat through my shirt within about 14 seconds.

Who decided that the innovation for umbrellas needed to stop? I’ve seen the “wind-proof” umbrellas (that sell for over $75) and the enormous “golf umbrellas” (which should be illegal in Manhattan – just like turning on a red light is). But - this isn’t what I’m thinking of… I’m thinking of an umbrella which casts a pseudo force-field around you … kind of like a plastic telephone booth. You know – like the Halloween custom of a guy in a shower – just without all the shower stuff….

I’m sure that there are issues with this – like how you would compact it into a woman’s purse – but smart innovators should be able to figure this out…. Am I the only one who thinks we need something else (well before we're all wearing clothes that self dry themselves like in Back-to-the-Future 2)?


Kid in a Candy Store

The phrase "Kid in a candy Store" is used to describe a sense of overwhelming happiness in response to one's surroundings. Last week ... I was an entire 2nd grade class in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory...

After the core priorities in my life (Amy, Family, Health, well being, career, etc), it'’s fair to say that Fantasy Football comes next. I know that sounds pathetic when you read it (and believe me, it feels pathetic writing it), but I really am THAT passionate about Fantasy Football. It'’s certainly my favorite hobby (and what I chose to spend countless hours on in my free time).

Last week, I had my most important and 2nd most important drafts, followed by one of the best days of the year -- NFL Kick-off Sunday…..

My most important draft is of the league I have been running for 9 years now, called The Bigtime. It’s very competitive – with limited trash-talking, mostly done between teams rathmassan en mass. I've won the league once, back in 2003, and I'm hungry for that championship trophy again.

My 2nd most important draft was for the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF) in Atlantic (Sh)city. I entered last year, but went to Vegas for the draft. This was the first year it was also offered in AC, so I was able to be joined by more of my friends -– which I found to be very cool. The entry fee isn't cheap ($1600+), but the winner can win $200,000 plus Superbowl tickets...

I'm also in 2 other leagues, which I primarily enter for social reasons. I love keeping in contact with groups of friends I don't see on the regular, so fantasy football is actually a great way to stay in touch. Of course I want to win leagues like the one with my camp friends (The Funk Air Memorial), but I try not to follow who I'm playing every week so that rooting doesn't get over-complicated.

Anyway, back to Sunday... It's hard to describe with words - but I just have this sense of excitement every Sunday morning. As the season goes on, the excitement becomes a bit more intense (and competitive) -- but it's so much fun.

So in conclusion -- if you ever want to talk to me about Fantasy Football -- I'm game... If you call me on Sunday in the next 17 weeks to talk about something other than football, wait till Monday...And if you haven't yet gotten onto the Fantasy Football bandwagon -- GET ON IT.


Trader Woe's

On Sunday night, Amy and I motivated to do an evening grocery run after dinner… We are for the most part, loyal Fresh Direct customers, but we thought we’d try out Trader Joe’s.

At around 8:00 at night, the place was fairly hopping. (and by hopping I mean “a very stressful place to try and leisurely grocery shop) Trader Joe’s is known (in my mind) for it’s customer-friendly pricing and it’s nature-friendly foods… I didn’t price-compare all that much, but as a generic theme – I found the prices to be more than fair. Amy agreed. Other than that, though, that’s all of the positive things I have to say about my experience.

Here are the top 3 more annoying things that stand out duing my Trader Joe's experience:
  1. The aisles are big enough to MAYBE fit two shopping carts. If one person is looking at a product, it's tough to pass them. If multiple people are going down an aisle at once - get ready to tango...
  2. Speaking of over-crowded drama -- the lines are so long, that the rap into grocery aisles one through three. So, there you are, FINISHED with the process of stressful grocery shopping - and now you have to wait on an ultra-long line and battle on-coming traffic of other shoppers.
  3. Everything is Organic - there is nothing "standard" in their entire product mix. If I am health conscious, but enjoy Diet Coke every once in a while -- I've got to go to another store for that. This isn't what I would call a "convenience"

To sum up -- I had high expectations of Trader Joe's which were certainly not met. The drama of shopping in that atmosphere for select products was not worth the potential savings to me...

On the flip side, you'll hear no complaints from me about Trader Joe's Wine Shop. Where else can you buy 4 bottles of wine for less than $15 (yes I said bottles and not "boxes") ?? The wine isn't half bad either... Just be sure - that all people with you while you are buying wine have ID with them. Amy forgot hers one time, which prompted them to say they couldn't sell to us... Amy ran out of the store (which made it wierd), but they ended up giving in...