Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ranting Again About Starbucks: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My hatred for Starbucks is well-documented. I don't like the place. Every time my wife Ramona forces me to go there, I find another reason to complain.

After Ramona and I went to the movies last week, she made me come with her to Starbucks so she can get a coffee for the morning. Which, in turn, made me rant about Starbucks for the millionth time. Which, in turn, made her ask the following question:

Honestly, Nev, what's your real beef against Starbucks? I really don't get it.

And a blog topic was born. :-)

My "real beef" stems from two things:

1) Starbucks changed the name of a long-existing item, sells it for inflated prices, and makes you think you're buying something different when you're actually buying the same damn thing.

Let me tell you something about coffee: It's been around for hundreds of years. You know what it was called way back when? Coffee. You know what it was called hundreds of years later right before Starbucks came about? Coffee. You know why the name coffee was never changed? Because it didn't need to be changed!! It was called coffee!! It didn't need to be called anything else for the world to keep spinning. And then Starbucks comes in and somehow convinces the world that they're providing you something different by using words like "latte", "venti", "skinny", "no foam" and "frappuccino".

Ever hear of something called bread? Bread has been around since the dawn of time. And what was bread called at the dawn of time? Bread. What is it called today? Bread. Know why? Because there ain't no reason to call it anything else. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's why bread is called bread, and not "omega grain sandwich slices."

And 2) Starbucks sells you things that don't exist.

Starbucks regulars routinely buy the following non-existent items:



And sugar-free vanilla syrup.

Question for you: What is chai? Can you honestly answer the question? Can you? No. Why? Because there's no such thing. A "skinny chai latte with no foam" is a small black coffee. There's nothing "chai" about it or in it. It's just a word Starbucks made up to make a longer coffee title to make you think you're buying something really cool and fancy when in fact you're just spending $2 extra for a made-up word.

And then there's makiato. You know what makiato is? Caramel. Makiato is just another made-up word by Starbucks for caramel. Only you people are so stupid that Starbucks will call their drink "caramel makiato" and you're too stupid to realize that the makiato is not making their caramel coffee any more caramel.

And another thing: Why the hell do you need to put caramel in your coffee in the first place? WTF? Since when is cream and sugar not enough? You want caramel? Have a sundae. Or a Twix.

And finally, there's sugar free vanilla syrup.

Two things to point out here:

A) When did people start choosing how many pumps of sugar-free syrup they wanted in their coffee? When we made chocolate milk as a kid, we didn't say "two pumps please, Mom." We just pumped until our instincts told us when. This is a natural skill humans have.

But nowadays, people insist on putting a number on their syrup pumps. Ramona, for example, asked for three pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup in her coffee. No more, no less. A number other than three wouldn't work for her. It's three pumps that defines who she is as an individual.

And B) Does anyone ever actually see the Starbucks worker pump the sugar-free vanilla syrup into their coffee?

The answer is no.

And why is the answer no?

Because there's no such thing as sugar-free vanilla syrup.

Because you can't have vanilla without sugar.

Which means sugar-free vanilla doesn't exist.

You know what's being pumped into your coffee?


Three pumps of air.

Which is free.

Except at Starbucks.


And now for this week's:


OK, this will officially be the greatest movie of all time:

The Expendables. An action firm scheduled to be released this August about an assembly of hired guns are sent on a mission to a South American country, with the objective to overturn the cold-blooded despot in charge. As the mission begins, the mercenaries discover that the situation is not as it appears. The men find themselves trapped in a deadly game of deception with a traitor among their ranks.

Why this will be the greatest movie of all time?

It stars Sylvester Stallone. Dolph Lundgren. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jet Li. Bruce Willis. Mickey Rourke. Jason Stratham. Terry Crews. Randy Couture. And Stone Cold Steve Austin.

OK, you can put these guys around a table, doing nothing but playing Crazy 8s for two hours, and it would still be the greatest movie of all time with this cast.

By the way: You gotta hand it to Stallone. The dude is doing a masterful job of resurrecting his career. First he did Rocky VI, a surefire hit. Then he did Rambo 4, a surefire hit. Now he's going to do a movie surrounded by a bunch of big-name action stars and UFC and wrestling legends.

Sly is back, people. Deal with it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Texting Using A Number Pad: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I came to the following realization the other day:

I am the only person on Earth whose cell phone does not have a keyboard.

My cell phone is not a mini computer.

I cannot write a letter or a novel on my cell phone.

I type on my cell phone using the number pad.

Let's focus on that last sentence.

I type on my cell phone using the number pad.

Remember the dark ages? You know, the time when we could only send text messages using numbers? You may find it hard to believe, but I still live during this archaic time. While the rest of you suddenly came to the conclusion that having a cell phone that didn't contain letter keys was beneath you, I remained perfectly content with the ability to send my friends a message using numbers.

Sending a text message in general was enough to keep me happy.

Here's my issue with these cell phone keyboards: They're horizontal. It's just...odd. I like my cell phones vertical. I'm used to it being up and down. I'm not into this "left to right" cell phone concept. When I type on my current cell phone, a lot of my fingers are getting fresh air, not touching any part of the phone. They're free to roam, to explore, to be.

But when I type on these cell phone keyboards, the palms of my hand have to act as a brace for the phone. It's like I have to give it a support system just to use the damn thing.

Plus, I can't get used to going back and forth between numbers and letters on a keyboard. It's just not natural. It's borderline unholy. I honestly believe that this will ultimately lead to the destruction of the world. I really do. It's just another example of "I want I want I want" and "more more more" and "now now now."

Everyone in the world but me is greedy: That's what I've determined.

You know what everyone should do for one day? Go back to your roots. Get your hands on a regular cell phone. Type a text message using numbers. Go back and remember what it was like. Appreciate how things used to be. Think to yourself: "What would happen if I murdered someone, was found guilty in court, and sent to prison? What if they didn't let me bring my cell phone keyboard with me? How would I survive? Can I survive?

Think about it.


And now for this week's:


Broadcaster Larry King is seeking his eighth divorce.

King has been married to seven different women, but this is his eighth divorce, because he remarried one of his former spouses and then divorced her again.

Now let me ask you a question:

If you're this latest divorcee of Larry's, what's her mindset going into the marriage? I mean, she's gotta be marrying him for the money, right? She couldn't really assume that the marriage was going to last. The dude had been divorced seven previous times!! Don't tell me she deluded herself into thinking she was going to be the one who changed him.

You know what would solve the divorce problem in this country?

Pass a law that states the following:

If you divorce someone, you get caned.

Works in Singapore.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Buying A House: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Earlier this week, my wife Ramona and I bought a house.

We are now homeowners.

We are now going to have a mortgage.

We are now going to have to handle all home repairs ourselves.

(As I write that last line, I realize two things: 1) I don't own a hammer. And 2) I'm going to eventually have to decide on a plumber.)

In a way, we just had a kid. Only it's made out of wood.

Buying a home. Admittedly, I never thought it would happen this quickly. I mean, yeah, Ramona and I talked about it before we married last August. And this past January, we decided that we would start looking, But I thought it would take a lot longer than it did. I mean, you should've heard the horror stories we heard from some of our friends. "This takes forever." "You're going to be rejected 100 times." "Your Realtor is going to do everything he/she can to screw you...but use mine because he/she screwed us the least."

And then...boom!! We see a house on a Saturday, we put an offer in on a Sunday, and they accept our offer on a Monday.

And just like that, I'm responsible for eventual roof repairs.

As we begin the final stages of this process, I've come across the following realizations:

1) I am utterly useless when it comes to this process. Seriously. When it comes to home buying, it has been all Ramona. She looked at the listings, she asked the questions, she explained things to me using simple words and hand puppets. She's working with our Realtor, overseeing the home inspections, and is already picturing in her mind how our future backyard is going to look.

For the first time over the course of our nearly nine-year relationship, I find myself saying "Yes, dear" multiple times throughout the day. All of this is over my head. What Ramona wants, I want. What she says, I say. I simply nod, give money when told, and hand her my tax forms.

The woman is in charge. When it comes to the home buying process, I'm told this is common.

And 2) I drove to my future home the other night, parked across the street, stared at my front yard for a while, and it hit me:

I own trees.

I mean: I own this. This is all mine. See that grass? Mine. That window panel? Mine. Mailbox? Mine. Door handles? Mine. I am now officially the ruler of my own kingdom. I can have a real barbecue, paint things, take a piss in my backyard late at night when the mood strikes me, and no one can say anything because this -- all of this -- is totally, unequivocally 100% mine!!!

(at least, it will be in 30 years).

I'm going to name my trees.

One of them will be called:



And now for this week's:


The Syfy channel is coming out with a TV movie called "Mega Piranha."

It's about giant piranhas with the ability to bite helicopters out of the air.

It stars former rockstar Tiffany.

And the dude who played Greg Brady.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lugging 50-Pound Bags Of Fertilizer Up A Hill: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My father-in-law Jim is a total handyman and outdoorsman. He can fish, he can build shelves, he knows how to stack things on the roof of your car and make sure it doesn't fall. You ever watch Survivor? Jim would be the guy who builds the shelter and everyone loves, but ultimately gets voted out because he's considered too strong and too likable.

I'm not handy in the slightest. I think I've used a hammer in my life exactly twice, don't own a wrench, and do nothing of the sort in my home outside of screwing in light bulbs.

It's one of my flaws as a man. Let's face it: Handyman-ness is sexy. You can be the fattest, dumbest slob alive, but if you can fix a car yourself, you're going to find some woman who will sleep with you. It's simple human psychology.

I cannot fix cars, nor do anything handy. So I've been forced to focus on other aspects of myself to exude sexiness. I should've made it easier on myself and either figured out how to build a birdhouse or learn how to play electric guitar.

As the son-in-law of a handyman and outdoorsman, it was only a matter of time before Jim asked me to help him out on some of these tasks and try to teach me a few things involving tools and sod. So it didn't surprise me when Jim recently asked me to assist him in his garden by helping him lift 50-pound bags of fertilizer up a hill that he would later use for planting.

Jim's garden really is a thing of beauty. His backyard goes up a hill about 20 feet, and over the years he's turned it from a dirt field into a wondrous sea of green grass, blooming flowers and fruit trees. But when I met up with him on an early Saturday morning to pick up the fertilizer at the school where he teaches, I soon realized that I was going to be doing more than lifting cow poo up a hill.

One of the things Jim teaches is wood shop. I never took a wood shop class. Actually, I don't even think my high school offered one. So when Jim took out his wood shop blades and drills, I was staring at things I had never used.

Unbeknownst to me, I was about to be given a lesson in cutting wood.

"I have a little project for you," Jim said.

The project was to make a little wood carving of the word "Mom" and give it to my mom for Mother's Day. This conjured up two thoughts in my head:

1) "What am I, 7?"

And 2) Jesus Christ, I'm gonna cut my fingers off using this blade."

Luckily, Jim has known me long enough to realize that blood loss was inevitable if I got near a blade for too long. So instead, he simply had me cut the wood for 3.5 seconds, during which he shouted "STOP AND LOOK WHAT YOU'RE DOING!!" (I was cutting the wood in the wrong spot), had me plug in an electric drill -- which I inadvertently turned on and almost killed us both -- and almost dropped a heavy buzz saw on my foot.

Like I said: I ain't handy.

Thankfully, the fertilizer lugging went much more smoothly. I was able to slug those things over my shoulder, I didn't fall down the hill, and save for squashing a bed of flowers when I dropped one of the bags of fertilizer in the wrong spot, I did well.

"Maybe soon, I'll have you come back and use the weeder," Jim said.

Then he looked at those squashed flowers.

And he sighed.

"Maybe not," he said.


And now for this week's:


I'm a little boy at heart. So when my 3-year old cousin Quinten came to town earlier this week, we had a little too much fun playing with his toys. Check out our YouTube videos here and here. :-)