Friday, April 24, 2009

Trying To Find Q-Tips In A Supermarket: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I can never find Q-Tips in a supermarket.

Seriously, trying to find Q-Tips at my local Ralphs is a skill that escapes me. I just can't do it. The skin care aisle? Not there. The bathroom products aisle? Not there. The aisle with all the maple syrups? I never expect to find it there, but when you've gone down 15 aisles and you can't find it, you'll try anything.

And here's the weird thing: Most of the staff don't know where the Q-Tips are either. Ask Sam the box boy guy where Q-Tips can be located and you're met with a bunch of ""s and a finger pointing you toward the light fixture on the ceiling.

Am I supposed to pray for guidance in finding out where the Q-Tips might be?

I can never find Q-Tips. I can find lean pockets, shredded cheese, Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, sliced turkey, Propel Fitness Water, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, and generic brand dishwashing liquid -- all in 46 seconds -- but I spend another 45 minutes searching for the swabs necessary to clean my ears.

And here's another weird thing: Do you know who always ends up knowing where to find Q-Tips? The butcher. Don't ask me why. Perhaps it's in their DNA. Perhaps it's because so many people began asking them out of desperation that knowing where the Q-Tips are located became part of the unofficial Butchers' Code of Conduct. Whatever the reason, butchers will always lead you right.

Now, allow me to address the following questions you no doubt have:

1) If Q-Tips are so hard to find and the butcher always knows where they are, why don't you just save yourself time and ask the butcher in the first place?

Because I stubbornly refuse to believe that I can't find the Q-Tips on my own. I mean, it's common sense. I'm college-educated, resourceful...I should be able to find the damn things on my own!! And God willing, one day -- with much determination -- I will.

And that victory will be sweet.

2) Why don't you just write down where the butcher tells you to go to find the Q-Tips and remember for next time?

Because by the time I come across the Q-Tips, I'm so elated that my supermarket experience has come to an end that I just grab a box, race to the checkout stand, and get the hell out of there. It's only when I'm in my car halfway home that I realize:

I have no idea where I've just been.

And 3) Since it always takes you so long to find the Q-Tips, when you finally do so, do you splurge and buy the name brand?

Hell no!! The cheapy store brand is fine with me!!

After all people, we're in a recession. And times are tough.

Besides: I don't want my friends who may be struggling financially to come to my home and see my fancy, more expensive Q-Tips.

It would be like rubbing my success in their face.

And that would be rude.


And now for this week's:


According to a new study, denial can bring about marital bliss.

Well that's nice to know.

The key to a successful marriage:

Avoiding reality.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Doing Laundry...The Guy Way: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

There's a societal practice I've never been able to understand, and that is the whole "separate the whites from the colors when doing the laundry" concept. I mean honestly, what's the point? Your colors are going to fade regardless, and as long as you turn the washer knob to "cold", your whites won't become pinks if you've accidentally thrown in a pair of your red Christmas socks.

(Note: I don't actually own a pair of red Christmas socks. But if I did, there'd be no shame in it).

I do my laundry in the time-honored tradition of men: I cram everything into one machine, whites and colors combined, my own little melting pot in my apartment complex's laundry room. Then I pour some laundry detergent, never bothering with the measuring cup (I'm a man, and men have a sixth sense when it comes to right measurements), and wash everything in cold water.

Three simple steps.

And I've never seen a man do his laundry any other way. Separating the whites from the colors? That's insane!! First, it requires more than one load. Second, how the hell do you determine whether your mainly white shirt with some print on it is either a "white" or a "color?" Third, if you live in an apartment complex, that costs more quarters!!

Times are tough enough.

And then there's the whole "choice of water temperature" thing that's honestly a waste. It's bad enough that you've separated by color, but now you got to make separate "cold", "warm" and "hot" piles as well? And you wonder why little kids run away screaming when their moms tell them it's time they did their own laundry?

And then there's detergent. The following...are my thoughts:

A) Just pour the damn stuff in. Measuring cups are for wussies. It displays a lack of confidence in one's self.

And B) Forget all this environmentally friendly nonsense. I'm sick and tired of someone spewing off how I'm solely to blame for killing Mother Nature because I'm using Earth-harming ingredients found in Tide. Never mind that these same people drive gas-guzzling cars and frequently use aerosol cans. Because I don't use "Nature Knows Best" laundry liquid, I'm the bad guy. Get off your high horse. Jesus.

All I'm saying is, the guy way to doing laundry captures the true spirit of a man:

His desire to do things simply.

His desire to do things quickly.

And his complete and utter obliviousness to the world around him.

The guy way of doing laundry.

Hear us roar.


And now for this week's:


A woman recently spent tens of thousands of dollars in plastic surgery to look like her daughter.

Here's guessing the daughter will need to spend thousands of dollars in therapy.

Like my old high school math teacher once told me:

Son, one day you're gonna realize: People...are idiots.

Believe me Mr. Kawamoto, I realize.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Making S'mores For The Very First Time: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Last weekend, my fiancee Ramona had a friend who celebrated her 30th birthday by camping at Malibu State Park. Ramona and I were two of several friends to be invited to join in the celebration and hike, barbecue, play games, share ghost stories around the campfire...

...and make s'mores.

For those international readers of mine who don't know what s'mores are, I've invited my good friends from Wikipedia to explain that s'mores "are a traditional campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada, consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker."

And it's here that I have a confession:

Until last weekend, I had never made a s'more around the campfire.

Never. Not once.

And here's the weird thing: I've been camping a fair number of times as a kid; to Yosemite, Bishop, state parks and so forth. And at many of these outings, a roaring campfire could be found. But for whatever reason -- a worry about safety, a severe marshmallow shortage in the area I happened to be in at the time -- I had never once had the opportunity to make a campfire s'more.

So there was I last weekend, at age 29, about to make my first chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker concoction.

And at first, I wasn't too concerned. After all, I've seen this done on TV plenty of times. You roast the marshmallow on the campfire, blow out the flame, stick a piece of chocolate on the graham cracker, place the roasted marshmallow on the chocolate, add another graham cracker, and boom, you're done.

Oh, if only it were that simple. :-)

Ramona, an expert campfire s'more maker, explained to me that there was more to making s'mores than just adding the proper ingredients. There was finding the right stick, proper technique on roasting the marshmallow, cooking the chocolate and graham cracker, adding everything together at just the right time.

The simplicity of s'mores had just become a calculus equation.

First, there was the choosing of your marshmallow stick. Now in today's marshallow stick-evolved society, you can actually buy sharpened wooden sticks with the sole purpose of roasting marshmallows. These sticks, which looked and sounded pretty good to me, were available last weekend.

But to old school s'more maker Ramona, to use anything other than some type of wooden branch was a sin. So instead of the friendly wooden sticks, we went off to a nearby plant and started breaking off branches for our marshmallows.

Now, here's my question when it comes to marshmallow branches: What constitutes a proper branch to roast a marshmallow? Length? Thickness? An indominatble will to succeed? Ramona found her perfect branch in 1.4 seconds. It took me 17 tries before I found a branch that made her say:

Well, I guess that's good enough.

And then there's the cooking of the s'more stuff. Ramona explained that the key to a perfect s'more was to use the campfire grill to cook the chocolate and graham cracker while simultaneously roasting your marshmallow. It was vital, she said, to keep your marshmallow over the flame but not in it, all the while watching your chocolate and graham cracker constantly to make sure it didn't melt and fall into the fire.

Ramona made herself a s'more worthy of reverance on "Iron Chef." It was that good.

My s'more making experience went something like this:

Nev, you're cooking your marshmallow too close to the flame!!

Nev, you need to move your chocolate and graham cracker to the center of the grill!!

Nev, your marshmallow branch can't hold that many marshmallows!!

(note: I had one marshmallow on the branch!!)

Nev, your marshmallow is on fire!!

Nev, blow out the fire!!

Nev, your marshmallow is ruined!!

Nev, your chocolate and graham cracker is on fire!!

You get the idea.

Eventually, Ramona took pity on me and made me one of her perfect s'mores.

But not before I ate my own s'more.

That's right: My s'more was charred, unrecognizable and, quite frankly, inedible. But I ate it anyway. Why? Because it was mine. My first campfire s'more, that I made all by myself. And I wanted the experience of tasting my first s'more creation.

And that experience -- of eating something that tasted like burnt logs -- will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Next time: Friendly wooden sticks!!


And now for this week's:


This week, I was asked the following two questions in regards to my upcoming wedding:

What kind of caligraphy do you want for the invitation addresses?


What kind of stamps do you want on the envelopes?


I voted for having the addresses written by a 3-year-old in crayon and lobbied for the Muhammad Ali commemorative stamp.

I lost on both fronts.

So much for the whole "It's Your Wedding" concept.


Friday, April 3, 2009

People Who Make Left-Hand Turns Out Of Parking Lots Onto Busy Intersections: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Tell me if this has happened to you:

You're driving out of a parking lot, most likely of the shopping center variety, and are wanting to make a right turn onto a busy street. Before you can do this, however, there's a car in front of you who is insistent on cutting across two or more lanes of heavy traffic to make that left turn, and is willing to wait 15 minutes in order to do so, even though he or she can save himself 90% of the time if he or she just made a right and flipped a U.

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but this particular scenario drives me nuts.

Let me speak directly to the people who insist upon making left-hand turns out of parking lots onto busy intersections at peak traffic hours.

Why can't you just %$#&^%$#@ turn right?

I mean seriously, is it imperative that you make that left-hand turn? Is it really worth the wait? Would it kill you to make a right, make a U-turn, and save both you and I some time? Are you just not hearing my incessant honking of the horn because you utterly refuse to swallow your pride and go the opposite way for four seconds?

What the hell is wrong with you?!?!

And let me talk about another "making a turn" pet peeve.

I'm not sure if this is prevalent in other states, but in California, there are some signs right before a freeway on-ramp indicating that you can't make a right turn onto the freeway when the stoplight is red. However, most of these signs also usually say "From 3-7 p.m." and/or "Except Sat. and Sun."

Now here's the problem:

No one %$#&^%$#@ reads!!

Do you know how many times I've been stuck waiting to get on a freeway on-ramp on a Saturday morning because a guy has stopped at the red light and won't make the right turn because he doesn't have the time to scroll below the "arrow with the red slash across it" and read the text indicating that this particular rule is not enforced on weekends?

I mean, I'm not asking for much. I'm just asking you to go one step further and look to see why there's words at the bottom of the pretty little arrow, so that you can find out whether it holds any relevance for you.

And here's what's great about honking the horn at these people in this situation.

Every time you do so, they roll down their window and point at the sign, as if to say: "Can't you understand the arrow? Sure there's text underneath it, but I have no time to put sounds together and see if they make any sense? I'm a person who relies solely on visual aids. So because of that, we're going to sit here for an indeterminable amount of time because I'm a DUMB %$#&^%$#@!!!!!!"

These same people also insist on making left-hand turns out of parking lots.

Or marry people who do.

And those people have children.

Who become the next generation of "left-hand turn out of parking lots onto busy intersections, and refusing to read the words underneath the arrow sign when you're getting onto the freeway" ers.

Makes you wish a license was required to breed.


And now for this week's:


Recently, Miley Cyrus came clean and admitted that her boyfriend is indeed a 20-year-old underwear model.

Is anyone else out there worried that a 16-year-old -- someone who is a role model to young girls everywhere, someone who know, not LEGAL -- is dating a 20-year old? Shouldn't some sort of parental figure (paging Billy Ray. Hello Billy Ray?) come out of the woodwork and say "No, this ain't all right."

I'm guessing the relationship won't last.

Going out on a limb, I know.