Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Opportunity Cost

Elizabeth Arden once said, "Nothing that costs only a dollar is not worth having."

And I agree with her. That's why I love the dollar menu at Wendy's.

Up until about two months ago, every time I went to Wendy's though, I had the following mental debate/experience:

Alright, I obviously need fries and a drink, now the question is How many Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers (Chee's) do I want? Two or three... two or three... two or... Oh what the hell, it's only a dollar.

Then I'd sit down and start plowing away at my food, proud that I'd ordered more than any of my friends. After scarfing down the fries and Chee #1, I'd confidently stroll over to the cashier and ask for a refill of my Coke Zero (keeping it healthy).

Note: Before college, I ordered regular Coke. Those were the Diet Coke days, the ones before Coke Zero. But there's something about Coke Zero that's just barely masculine enough to justify ordering. (After doing some research, it turns out that Coke Zero is marketed to adult males by using "Calorie Free" instead of "Diet" since guys associate diet drink with girls. Coke - 1, Pomer - 0)

After getting my refill, I'd head back to the table and begin Chee #2. About half-way through, I'd realize that I'd ordered way too much food and start sweating profusely. As my bites got smaller and smaller, I'd begin glancing up to check my friends' progress on their dinner. After recognizing that each was almost finished with his food, I'd look down despairingly at my still-wrapped Chee #3 and see my meal-finishing dreams slipping through my greasy fingers.

In the next 10 minutes, I'd painstakingly finish Chee #2, unwrap Chee #3, take one barely noticeable nibble, and throw the rest down in frustration. After announcing my resignation to my friends, they'd look down at my near-full Chee, smirk, and we'd make our way to the trash can and then out the door.

But that was two months ago; I've evolved since then.

In September, I stumbled onto an amazing opportunity for almost no cost.

I went to Wendy's and while trying to determine how many dollar-menu items to get, decided against ordering three Jr. Bacon Chee's...

Instead, I ordered four.

Now I know what you're thinking: You're an idiot. You just spent 5 four-sentence-or-less paragraphs explaining how you can't handle 3 JBCs. How can you even imagine finishing four?

And you're right. But that's the point.

By ordering far more than I can possibly fathom finishing, I eliminate any false hope of success and as a result, I don't feel bad taking my food home.

In fact, I look forward to it.

Do you know how comforting is it knowing that you always have a Chee waiting for you in your refrigerator? I doubt it, but you (sh/c)ould, for just $1.

If you're sold on my suggestion, you can stop reading. But if you're the hard-to-persuade type and need some real-world examples of how valuable an extra Chee is, read on.

Real World Examples (True Stories):

1. Setting: The Undergraduate Library at 1am.

Me: "Hey man, do you happen to have any extra notecards? I need to make flashcards for my Sports Marketing exam tomorrow."
Random Male Student: (dismissively) "I've got a few, but I sort of need them."
Me: (reaching into my backpack) "I'll trade you for a Jr. Bacon Chee..."
Random Male Student: "Are you serious?"
Me: "Oh yeah."
Random Male Student: (excitedly handing over a pack of notecards) "Okay!"

Note: One pack of 3x5 notecards costs $1.19. For you non-math people, that’s 19% more than a $1 JBC.

2. Setting: My Marketing Class

Cute Girl Next To Me: (To herself) "Gosh, I'm hungry, I haven't eaten all day."
Me: "Do you want a Jr. Bacon Chee?"
Cute Girl Next To Me: "Oh no, I couldn't take that from you."
Me: "Oh no, it's fine, I always order an extra."
Cute Girl Next To Me: (confused) "Are you serious?"
Me: (confidently) "Yeah, you never know when you're gonna need one..."
Cute Girl Next To Me: (hesitantly) "Well I'm sort of on a diet..."
Me: "That's okay, you can have some of my Coke Zero; It's healthy." (wink)
Cute Girl Next To Me: "Haha, okay, thanks, that's really sweet of you."
Me: "No problem."

Note: Coke - 1, Pomer - 1.

3. Setting: A Job Interview with New Media Campaigns

One Of The Interviewers: "What do you think you can do for us... (blah, blah, blah)"
Me: "Well I think I can... (blah, blah, blog)"
Other Interviewer: (uninterested) "I'm starving, I think I'm going to grab some food."
Me: "Do you want a Jr. Bacon Chee?"
Other Interviewer: (interested) "Really?"
Me: "Yeah, I always get an extra one..."
Other Interviewer: (mouth full) "Wow, that's pretty cool..."

Note: I got the job.

End Real World Examples.

Give it a try. It's $1. I promise you, it's worth (more than) it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unexpected Change

I just bought $25 worth of pudding and apple sauce at CVS.

Shall I explain?

Just kidding, dumb question.

It all started Saturday. I woke up and felt a little under the weather. Not really unusual for me. I'm not really a morning person.

Actually I'm not a morning person at all. In fact, the second I wake up is the worst second of my day.


So waking up and feeling crappy isn't really out of the ordinary. I started to get suspicious however, when a shower with Sexed-Up didn't rouse me out of my funk. I started to get really suspicious when I didn't feel better after a quesadilla and some chips and guac at a restaurant/bar in Athens while watching the Georgia-Auburn game.

As the day went on, the feeling got worse. Saturday night, I definitely had a fever. Chills, sweating, light-headed, sore throat. Not good.

By Sunday, the fever had gone down and by Monday, I felt like a new man...

...except my throat was still killing me.

Every time I swallowed food, it hurt. And each swallow was worse than the one before it.

Naturally, I did nothing and figured I'd be fine when I woke up Tuesday.

Naturally, I was wrong.

Tuesday morning I woke up and had a sip of water. As the water crawled down my throat, I eeked out a painful scream (a high-pitched, girly scream, not a masculine, shot in the arm in a bar fight scream).

I choked down 3 generic brand Tylenol and decided that a nice warm cup of coffee was the antidote to my ailment.

So on the way to class, I stopped by Alpine (a bagel joint on Chapel Hill's campus) and picked up a large coffee. Unfortunately I couldn't drink any of it on the way to class because it was too hot (I'm very sensitive). When I got to my class however, I took a gulp and had to punch myself in the (you know, down there) in order to distract myself from the pain. I then vowed that I would call my step-dad/doctor as soon as class let out and figure out what the hell was going on.

After class, I recounted the above story to my step-dad and he asked a couple questions before telling me what to do. The conversation is kind of fuzzy because most of it was doctor-talk (which I don't speak/understand but he pretends I do) but a few quotes stand out in my sitting memory:

"You ate Wendy's, Arby's and Qdoba with a sore throat? What were you thinking?"

"Wait, you ate Wendy's twice?"

"You thought to drink coffee? That's like pouring battery acid on your throat."

I think two things are clear here.
1. I don't know what to do when I'm sick.
2. Regardless of whether or not I'm sick, I need so change my diet. Soon.

The conversation ended with instructions to get some Prilosec OTC (which I later found out is 'frequent heartburn' medicine) and to only eat 'soft' food.

I then convinced a friend to go with me to CVS in exchange for accompanying him to Wendy's.

We went to Wendy's first and I decided to try my luck with a large Frosty and a large Dr. Pepper ($4). I immediately regretted the purchase after my first sip of Frosty hung on my throat like a girl on whatever guy is standing next to me on any given night.

At CVS, frustrated and starving (I'd eaten a burrito and four chicken nuggets in the last 36 hours), I picked up some Prilosec OTC ($10) and $25 worth of apple sauce and pudding ($25).

A lot of people wake up each morning with a full day planned. Sometimes though, unexpected things happen and you have to change accordingly; you have to make do with what you've got.

And right now, all my friends are downstairs eating chicken and broccoli on rice with breadsticks and drinking sweet tea...

But hey, I've got tons of apple sauce to eat...

...and a melted Frosty to drink.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Comfort Zones

This weekend, a friend of mine and I decided to take a road trip to Athens, GA to see a girl named Kelsey who I've known since kindergarten and have been promising to visit for three years now. She lives in a nice house with three other girls about ten minutes from campus.

When you live with 40 guys all year, you forget how girls live...

...especially how they get ready to go out.

I love road trips and I'm going to miss the impulsive five-hour drives next year even though about 30 minutes into the trip, I realized that I'd remembered to pack a book for pleasure reading (which I haven't opened), but I'd forgotten other essentials like socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a towel, shampoo, and my Propecia.

When we arrived at Kelsey's (after driving through bumper to bumper traffic most of the way as a result of four separate accidents), as is the norm, I desperately needed to shower.

After explaining to Kelsey my 'essentials-less' problem (though possibly forgetting to mention the last item, which had nothing to do with the fact that several of her more-than-cute roommates were well within earshot), she reassured me that she had plenty of soap that I could use.

Allow me to clarify something, when I'm at home, I use Old Spice's Hair and Body Wash (it should also be known that I identify most with the first gentleman in their commercial). It's quick, easy and gets the whole showering job done with one simple cleanser.

So when I got in Kelsey's shower, I was a little overwhelmed when I found no less than eleven different bottles/jars/tubs of soap-like products, none of which resembled a bar of soap.

My first impulse was one of panic. I thought, don't touch any of it, just rinse off and get the hell out of there. But after calming down and fumbling through five products I didn't know what to do with (What is Curl Sculpting Cream Gel?), I finally found the body wash (cleverly disguised as Olay Body).

Once I'd finished Olaying my body, I decided to gamble and experiment a little.

Foregoing a hotel-style shampoo bottle, I decided to try out Catwalk's Sexed-Up Body Building Shampoo. And let me tell you, any reservations I had about leaving my comfort zone and testing some new products were washed away with the filth that was on my body before my showering adventure.

I'd figured 'sexed-up' and 'body building' was just advertising puffery but I promise, that stuff is legit. I was immediately immersed in the scent of a prom queen and my biceps grew at least two inches (a 150% increase).

After my eye-opening shampoo experience, I ventured toward Garnier Fructis' Sleek and Shine, which is a conditioner for "Frizzy, Dry and Unmanageable Hair."

While I don't have much hair to work with and what little I do have is neither frizzy nor unmanageable, it is dry. Or should I say was dry...

...until Sleek and Shine.

Once I'd finished conditioning my hair, I was too overwhelmed with my newfangled cleanliness to do anymore experimenting and I decided to dry off. I left the shower, threw on some khakis and a collared shirt and walked into the common room with my head held high.

Kelsey asked how the shower was and I replied with an understating, "revolutionary."

We went to bars later that night and as I navigated through crowds of UGA students, I swear I heard girls whispering to each other, "Wow, that guy smells really confident" and "I'll bet the volume of his hair speaks to the volume of his character."

And maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but sometimes being exposed to something new can lead to a change that leaves you feeling better about yourself and more prepared for the challenges that the future holds.

I know one thing, when I get back to Chapel Hill, the first thing I'm going to do is pick up some sexed-up, bodybuilding shampoo...

...and maybe you should too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Missing the message

It's important when arguing for or against something that you get your points across. Not half the point, the whole point.

Let me start this post with some clarifications.

Clarification #1:
My vision of a fraternity or sorority cocktail is as follows:
A group of dates dress up, go to a nice restaurant for a classy meal and then head to a central location where they meet up with the other members of said (fratern/soror)ity and dates for an evening of socializing.

As a fraternity member, when hosting a cocktail, I do my best to ensure that my vision comes to fruition. And barring a few exceptions, it usually does.

Clarification #2:
I am a supporter of gender equality.

I believe in equal pay for men and women, I'm a supporter of women being the major breadwinner of her family (even openly suggesting a future profession of 'house-husband' for myself), and I believe that women should hold the door for men just as men should for women.

Clarification #3:
Because of Clarifications 1 and 2, I often argue that when attending a fraternity cocktail, the man should pay for the nice dinner and when attending a sorority cocktail, the woman should do the same.

UPDATE: Particularly in this economy.

Clarification #4:
I've been to 20-25 sorority cocktails in my college career and at all but one of them, the dinner prior to the evening of socializing has been ordering in pizza and drinking cheap beer.

Clarification #5:
A nice dinner and drinks for two usually costs around $60. Pizza and beer costs around $15.

I'm fine with pizza and beer every once in a while, but it'd be nice if occasionally, the woman decided to treat the man to the same quality meal that she'd expect at a fraternity cocktail.

End clarifications.

And now for two quick tales...

Last Friday was a big night for sorority cocktails. At least 20 of my friends attended one but for the sake of this blog post, I'm only going to talk about two of their experiences (and my own of course).

Let's start with me first (since I'm incredibly selfish and this is my blog after all).

Early last week, I got a phone call from a girl who I was to be eating with before the cocktail (not my date).

It went a little something like this...

Non-date Girl: "Hey, you're going to dinner with us on Friday."
Me: "Cool, where are we going?"
Non-date Girl: "I thought we'd just pick up some pizza and eat at X's house. It'll be nice and relaxing."
Me: (You've got to be kidding me) "Sounds great, I'll see you there."

Now my two friends...

(Note: I've lectured both of their girlfriends on the discrepancy in arguing for both equal pay for women and also insisting on pizza and beer.)

Because of the Note above, I was thrilled (and a bit jealous) when I heard that the girlfriends had decided to join three other couples and go to a nice restaurant before the cocktail.

When my two friends (who share my pizza/beer sentiment) got to the restaurant, they decided to treat their girlfriends to a nice drink as an unspoken thanks for the upcoming meal.

After their meal however, when the check arrived, both of my friends' girlfriends had conveniently forgotten their wallets.

End tales.

I was astounded when I heard the stories from my friends the next morning. I didn't know what to do. Obviously, my (what I thought was flawless) argument against pizza and beer wasn't getting the point across.

And when something isn't working, I believe in changing your approach...

A great man once said, actions speak louder than words.

So for our cocktail tomorrow night, for the sake of women's equality, I'll be hosting the first ever Pizza and Beer Pre-Fraternity Cocktail Dinner.

Anyone in the fraternity is invited and encouraged to come. The more people in attendance, the more we can maximize cost efficiency.

Email me ( if you're interested. When I get a tally of how many people are planning to come, I'll order the pizza and you can all chip in (you'll be on your own for beer though since I don't want to worry about underage drinking, which I do not condone).

Payback will be oh so sweet and oh so cheap...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Against the grain...

I posted a few days ago about going against the crowd instead of following it and how that can be useful. I'd like to touch on that a bit more.

At one point or another, we all have to use the public restroom...

...and most of us don't look forward to it.

You're out of your comfort zone. Instead of reading your favorite magazine, you find yourself staring at etchings of Jon was here and below that, maybe an ignorant Jon is gay.

At home, you know (or have an idea of) who was there before you. In a public restroom, it's a crapshoot (pun intended).

There's only one good thing about public restrooms...

The handicapped stall.

I mean, what is bad about the handicapped stall? It's exclusive, roomier, there always seems to be a fresh roll of toilet paper and sometimes, the seat is even higher, which makes you feel like a king.

Everyone loves it...

And that's why I never use it.

I hate the handicapped stall. It's everything bad about public restrooms multiplied.

Think about it. When you go to the bathroom, do you want to use the stall that everyone else and their mom has used or do you want to use the one that has been left vacant all day as if it's been saved just for you?

Yeah, I thought so.

I want a cleaner and less ignorant public restroom experience...

...and you simply aren't going to get that in the handicapped stall.

Yogi Berra once said about a restaurant, "Nobody eats there anymore because it's too crowded."

Well for me (and I hope you), the handicapped stall has gotten too crowded.

Efficient at Being Inefficient

I often spend countless hours writing emails about nothing or blog posts about less than nothing when I should be doing homework (inefficient).

I also refuse to use the mouse while doing work and instead, only use the keyboard (efficient).

Doing so requires an extensive knowledge of keyboard shortcuts.

A friend of mine, upon watching me seemlessly navigate around my computer, noted, "You're the most efficient person I've ever met at being inefficient."

So, in honour of a friend of mine starting a blog of his own, here's a way for you to be much more efficient.

I've heard from a lot of you that you check the blog everyday and that I often haven't written a new post. First off, I'm working on increasing post frequency.

But for when I can't post as often as you'd like and you're tired of trying to manage all the blogs you're reading, I HIGHLY suggest Google Reader.

It's a web-based reader for RSS feeds.

What that means for you is that once you quickly add the blogs you read (mine, Garrett's and Oltz's), you can simply check Google Reader and it will tell you which blogs have been updated and you can read them all on one site.

And if you're not in love with your homepage, I suggest iGoogle. Google Reader is even more convenient there.

If you're still hesitant or confused, here's a Newbie's Guide to Google Reader.

Trust me on this one. With all the time I waste writing this blog, I figure I might as well save you some...

Living in a fantasy world...

Sometimes I think of college as a fantasy world.

You're with your best friends, have relatively little work and minimal responsibility. That's why the entering the Real World next year and leaving the Fantasy one behind seems scary at times.

But sometimes the Fantasy world isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Take my Fantasy Football league for example...

I have 3 quarterbacks to choose from each week: Tony Romo, Jake Delhomme and Marc Bulger.

I thought I'd made the right decision after Marc Bulger put up a whopping -2 points Thursday night and was sitting on my bench.

Jake, standing in my starting lineup however, matched Bulger's subpar output this afternoon. That means the choice I should have made was starting Tony Romo...

...who's injured and is on a bye week.

Maybe the Real World won't be so bad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"I don't understand. Why do you sleep in a bush?"

Are you in the mood for a rant? I know I am...

How many of you go to the bar in hopes that every girl (guy) you meet forgets your interaction by the next day?

Is your hand raised?

I didn't think so.

I'm tired of going to the bar and having the same conversation over and over again.

At the beginning of the year, it's "what classes are you in?" or "how was your summer?" Last week it was "what are you going to be for Halloween?" and last night it was "who did you vote for?"

If nothing big is going on then you can always count on "(insert dialogue about alcohol here)."



We're all unique in our own way. So instead of talking about how much you drank, talk about what makes you who you are. Or better yet, talk about what makes her who she is.

If you can't think of anything interesting, then do something worth talking about.

I slept in a bush in front of my home for eight weeks. Yeah, it sucked when it was too hot or too cold, but it made one hell of a conversation.

And I'm not saying you need to go live in a bush...

...but maybe you do.

Advertisers call this concept 'clutter'. When there's too much of the same crap marketing everywhere, it all gets tuned out.

And when you're at a bar and you meet someone, aren't you really just trying to sell yourself.

So stop adding to the clutter.

I don't know about you, but I'll always take different or surprising over forgettable.

Even when different means a little weird.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Indecision 2008

I can't tell you how many times I've had the following conversation:

Me: "You want to grab some dinner on 'X'day?
Girl: "Sure."
Me: "Where do you want to go?"
Girl: "I don't care."

Well I obviously don't care either. I'm just thrilled to be going to dinner with a girl...

So here's the problem: I don't want to have to think of a good, atypical, decently-romantic restaurant every time this happens.

Yesterday, I spent 6-8 hours in isolation trying to figure out a solution to this problem and here's what I got...

(Stick with me here)

Imagine an upscale restaurant that serves one three course meal each night. Every customer that eats there gets the same meal but the meal changes every night.

No decisions necessary.

It's like coming home from work and your wife has just put dinner on the table except you haven't married your wife yet and instead, are desperately trying to win her over by wining and dining her to the tune of a 5-star chef.

But the most important part is that you don't have to make any decisions. The restaurant does all that for you.

Yes, you're gambling on your (and more importantly your date's) meal, but that's part of the appeal.

There are some obvious flaws like people who have tricky allergies, vegetarians, etc., but no restaurant can appeal to everyone. I think this restaurant, if the food is good enough, could really generate a strong core group of customers as well as providing a unique, one-time experience.

Do you think it could work? Or am I trying hopelessly to solve something unavoidable?