Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pizza Hut's Latest Ad Is A Crime Against Humanity

Despite my best efforts with Tivo, sometimes I end up watching TV as it airs and catch a commercial or two. The experience is only made worse when I catch one of Pizza Hut's commercials for its line of, most assuredly, craptacular pasta meals. I take issue with its premise, legality, and ability to insult viewers.

Count your blessings if you haven't noticed this ad. Here's the plot: Pizza Hut takes a blindfolded family out to an Italian restaurant only to instead have them return home and eat Pizza Hut pasta meals at at their dining room table. It's so clever! After removing their blindfolds the family members are amazed they're eating Pizza Hut pasta and proceed to feign happiness for the taste.

Come to Pizza Huts in India for Bhangra dancing, not good food.

The entire premise is a hoax. No matter how dumb Americans are, no matter how desperate they are for money (appearance fees), and no matter how hungry they are for fame, nobody would agree to be in a Pizza Hut commercial after being fooled. Actually, those are all reasons why they'd agree to be in the commercial. That is, if they aren't the actors we know they are.

Anyway. Let's say they're ordinary people. Why would you agree to be blindfolded and taken out of your house to a restaurant? How would you know to trust the people to take you as promised? Hello! You're agreeing to be kidnapped out of your home for a free meal! WTF? Oh sure, just make sure you lock up when we leave into your unmarked van at night and don't forget to walk the dog.

This is how a real taste test of Pizza Hut's awful pasta would go.

Let's say the blindfoldees locked their house and then had their blindfolds placed over their eyes. The van they're taken in drives around the block only to return them to their home. In the ad they're taken back to their dining room table with blindfolds still on. Does this mean they let themselves back inside? That destroys the premise of any natural surprise of eating at home instead of the restaurant because they'd, well, know their at home. If they went to a restaurant, wouldn't they hear lots of people talking and noise from plates and silverware clanging?

Don't tell me they trusted their kidnappers with their keys. If you agree to be kidnapped to a restaurant you'd have no need to give them the keys because you're just taking the blindfold off before you leave the restaurant. Call me crazy (or pathetic for overthinking this commercial), but whenever I agree to be kidnapped for a restaurant taste test, I'm holding onto my keys and wallet, but I'm losing plenty of dignity. Pizza Hut crime #1: Kidnapping an entire group of actors middle class family.

Almost 65 years after this "pudding and gelatin dessert" taste test by Consumer Reports, Pizza Hut destroys the blindfold industry's reputation.

It's better if you suppose the "family" held onto its keys. This means the only way for Pizza Hut to get the family back inside with blindfolds on was to break into the house. It doesn't take being married to a second-year law student to know that this is breaking and entering (crime #2). I suppose Pizza Hut broke into the house while they family was in the van. Plausible? Not really, but let's go with it.

The family is then directed back up its walkway, something they'd recognize for sure. What restaurant has a generic suburbia stone path from a driveway? The family is now back at home at their dining room table. You'd think they'd recognize the chairs they're sitting on, maybe the table they're leaning on. How about the smell of the house and familiar floor creaks? Of course not, that would make too much sense.

Why order a meatlovers pizza when you can't identify the meat?

They sit down and try the processed pasta and what do you know, but they manage not to instantly regurgitate it back on their plates. It's a miracle! They say things like it tastes better than manure, has less flies in it than roadkill, and smells like milk left in the sun for a week. I can't wait to order.

Of course there's the big reveal when the blindfolds are raised and they're all shocked it's from Pizza Hut yet they're at home. I'd be pissed off that Pizza Hut kidnapped my family only to break and enter into my house and serve me "pasta" from a company whose pizza tastes like cardboard. How about instead of being "wowed" by the taste, you get angry that these strangers are you in your house and have placed several hidden cameras everywhere. Have you checked your bathrooms for video outputs?

Just perfect.

The commercial's entire premise is awful. Who are the advertising wizards who thought of this one? Who would even buy their pasta from Pizza Hut? A company competing in the pizza-tastes-like-cardboard category against the likes of Dominoes, Papa Johns, and Cici's (the best of the lame choices). Making your own pasta is cheaper, healthier, and an easy way to decrease criminal activity in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Use An F-16 Figher Jet For My Alarm Clock

I'd like to thank the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NAADC) for waking me up this morning at 4:30. Sure, my alarm wasn't supposed to go off for another hour and 15 minutes, but it was soooooo cool to be awoken by the thunder of F-16s flying 5,000 feet above my bed!

The NAADC's newest lineup of alarm clocks come in one shape, one color, and plenty of bone rattling afterburners to wake you up out of fear.

Anybody can use a dinky little alarm or radio to get themselves out of bed, but I got two F-16s! And best of all, I had no idea it was going to happen...what a great surprise! I planned to rise at 4:30, but somehow the NAADC just knew I was better off without the extra sleep to start my day. The government sure knows me better than I know myself.

I'm gonna guess that the two Cessna Civil Air Patrol planes and single Coast Guard helicopter were a little overmatched flying with the F-16.

When I awoke I heard this great rumbling, but in my stupor I remembered it wasn't supposed to rain for a few more days so it wasn't thunder. Yet it kept getting louder. I thought it could have been practice F-16 flights, but didn't think they'd do them early enough to wake everyone along I-270. Alas, I was right and wrong. Best of all they're doing it again during the same midnight to 6 AM window tomorrow morning!

Living close to DC means the occasional 700 MPH F-16 flyby wakeup thunder.

I missed a lot of things about MoCo, but this was not one of them. So a big thank you goes out to the NAADC for giving me an involuntary wakeup call with fighter jets. It's so much awseomer than sleeping the entire night and waking up when I want to with my dinky alarm clock. I can't wait for it to happen again tomorrow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why Did I Do This To Myself?

Five weeks ago I did something stupid. Then one week later I did something stupider.

Five weeks ago, ever not a formal runner, I signed up for the Army 10-Miler. A week later, figuring that I'll be training anyway for the Army 10-Miler, I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon. Sure, I've had moments of enthusiasm to run regularly, be it to finish a 5K. But this is something different. This has a purpose.

I can't let down my sister because she's gonna fly in to run the marathon too.

I must now hold myself to a training schedule with increasing weekly and long-run mileage counts. I'll have to make sure my body's not ingesting too much sugar and make it a point to hydrate until it comes out clear (too much information?). My post-work and weekend availability is determined by off-days. I've started to become that guy and it'll only get worse.

Discipline lesson #1, courtesy Karate Kid.

My sister has run 4 marathons (soon to be 5) and 3 half marathons with ease, smiling and giving a thumbs up in every picture when you're supposed to be hitting the wall. I don't know how she can handle herself so well despite the discomfort that marathons are supposed to provide. So yes, some of my marathon running desire stems from sibling rivalry that if she can do it, so can I! Not better, but still finish. Her running prowess eliminates any excuse I have to blame my struggle on bad genes.

And no, I won't be running shirtless...not even Santa Clauses in speedos should be.

To complete both races I must do that thing that I've battled with for far too long. That thing that I lacked, resulting in an easy B+ student when just a little more time, energy, and concentration would have made me an A- student. That thing that drives people to do things they didn't think they could do.

That thing is discipline.

Discipline to stick to a schedule, run when I don't want to, ignore drizzling rain because I may have to run in the rain on race day anyway, and waking up for an early morning run to beat the summer heat. Discipline to make up for the times I couldn't hold myself to cleaning up my room, mowing the lawn on schedule, and quitting karate in 3rd grade after 3 weeks because it interfered with the Cosby show.

Damn you for being funny enough to stop my karate career.

I am not phased (yet) by the seemingly insurmountable distance that a marathon requires. I'm not looking at that distance now, just each week's demands. I'm taking this in baby steps, adding a mile each week. While the double-digit weekend runs around the corner seem immense, the training's discipline will get me there. Eventually. Slowly but surely. I think. I hope.

Time for cheapo depot to invest in legit running shorts...every ounce less counts.

I'm three weeks into my training and so far it has been going well. I made my beginner marathon schedule by combining the many offered to me and I guess it has worked; offering enough freedom should I need to delay a run or the weekend weather doesn't comply. The schedule is not for speed, but distance. My goal is to finish what I started, not qualify for the Boston Marathon.

I'm not competing with this guy (or my sister), I just want to finish.

As I delve deeper into this world of running beyond 5K charity weekend runners, I've learned about the importance of materials that wick away sweat, properly fitted shoes, and Body Glide. I've come to realize it's not the best to go on long runs in heavy basketball shorts, even if the Maryland terrapin is emblazoned all over. Fitted shoes and arch insoles from a running store have been a godsend.
Out with the embarrassingly amateur stuff...

By far, the best advice received has been from my sister when she said I'd never chafe again if I used Body Glide, a roll-on stick that makes sure places that rub during long runs don't leave you waddling like a penguin. It works fantastically, even for my measly athletic level. It sure beats my old combination of baby powder and Monistat chafing relief powder gel (it was the only anti-chafing option I saw in Target, I swear!). with what the pros use.

Both races are in October, leaving 5 months to get ready, 5 months for moments of lower body pain, and 5 months to see how far discipline gets me. It doesn't sound so stupid after all.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 Customer Reviews Are Funny

You have to take online reviews with some skepticism. Some reviews are written by manufacturers or their competitors, or just people who ignorantly rate something with 1 star when there was only one minor thing wrong. Other reviews are hilarious, like these for a screen printed three wolf t-shirt at For those unwilling to click the link, here are three highlights of 22+ reviews:
#1: Recently, my girlfriend asked me to meet her parents. I was hesitant at first, and declined the offer for a couple of months. Finally, she wore me down and got me to agree. Her parents are rich enough to own Bill Gates, and they insisted that we go to some nice steak restaurant. Despite her objections, I wore this shirt.

The first thing her father noticed on me was this shirt and, upon shaking my hand, he started to call me son. As soon as we sat down, he wrote me a check for 100,000 dollars and told me to call him if I ever needed anything, and her beautiful mother began rubbing my leg in a not unpleasant way.
Available in sizes small to XXL and at a reduced cost of $9-16, down from $35(!)
#2: This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called meth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.
"Customers who viewed this item also viewed" includes this pair of royal blue Zubaz pants. Anytime that's a suggestion from amazon, you're socially inept.
#3: This shirt should be illegal. Its just not fair to the other players. When I wear this bad boy to a D&D tournament, my elf transforms into a wolf-god, making mince-meat of his enemies and basking in the glory of battle! Last week, I was able to pick up the "Gilded Arrows" which gave +20 damage, and no one even noticed because they were too distracted checking out these beautiful wolves!!!!! The other guys have wolf shirts too, sure, but their's don't have a moon, and they sure don't have THREE wolves on one shirt!! I haven't taken off this shirt in 19 months.