Thursday, June 24, 2010

The New iPhone...And Those Who Waited Hours In Line For It: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My work day starts early. Every day, I drive to the Westfield building in Century City, Calif., where my company's office is located, around 5:45 a.m., before the sun even rises, and begin saving my own little way.

Today as I drove in, though, I noticed there was this huge line outside my building (which is near a mall). The line seemed to stretch a half-mile wide, complete with people full of eagerness, anticipation and lawn chairs. It was clear that many had been there for several hours, braving the bitter Westside cold.

And why were they in line? Concert tickets? An autograph of a major Hollywood star? Some guy handing out free money?


It was for the new iPhone.

The new freakin' iPhone.

I wrote about the iPhone back in July 2008. And back then, I had some scathing things to say, the main one being that it was hard know...make an actual phone call with it. At that time, my friend, co-worker, and Apple and Steve Jobs worshipper Rachit and I had the following conversation about iPhones that I wrote about in my last blog on the subject. Here's the excerpt:

"How do I call someone with it?" I asked him.

And he looked at me. Just looked at me. Like a puppy pondering why there wasn't any food in his bowl at the pre-arranged feeding time. He was confused, a vacant glaze coming over his eyes.

"You don't need to call someone," he said.

Come again?

"You don't have to call with the iPhone," he continued. "It's easy to text or e-mail."

"But what if I want to talk to the person?" I asked.

"But you don't have to," he replied.

"But what if I want to?"

"Why would you want to?"

"Why? What you do mean why? Because I'm used to talking to people on the phone, that's why."

"But you don't have to talk with the iPhone."

"But what if I want to talk with the iPhone?"

"You don't have to."

"But I want to!!"

"You can text or e-mail them."

"I don't want to text or e-mail them."

"But it's faster."

"It's impersonal."

"No one talks anymore."

"We're talking now."

"But not over the phone."

"Dude...I want a phone to talk."

"Talking isn't necessary."



"You know what, Nev? I don't think the iPhone is right for you."

Fast forward two years. Rachit is one of the lunatics waiting in line before sunrise for the new iPhone. To his credit, however, he did not have a lawn chair.

When he came into the office after several hours, new iPhone in tow, I asked him what made this new iPhone different from the other iPhones.

"It's got a camera," he said.

Didn't the last one had a camera?

"This one has two cameras," he replied.

And, uh, why do you need two cameras?

"For video chat."

Apparently, with the new iPhone you can now video chat with people. Just one more reason that Apple founder Steve Jobs is a genius. He's capitalizing on the fact that people no longer communicate face-to-face and feel guilty about it, by giving them the ability to video chat on their phones, thus making it so that a) they still don't communicate face-to-face but b) no longer have to feel guilty about it.

No matter that you're talking to someone on a 1-inch screen. Or that if you're walking and talking at the same time, you won't be able to actually see the person. Steve Jobs has capitalized on the current American mindset, is making another major fortune on an idiotic idea, and getting people to wait in half-mile long lines for it.

And you know what the crazy part is? In order to actually access this video chat feature, two things must happen:

1) Both people have to have the new iPhone.

And 2) Both people have to be in a place where there's WiFi.

"So wait a minute," I asked Rachit. "Both people need to be somewhere with WiFi in order for it to work? What if one of them doesn't have WiFi?"

And you know what he replied?

"You can jailbreak it because of the 3G."


"But I don't jailbreak, Nev. Jailbreaking is illegal."


"Don't jailbreak, Nev. Jailbreaking is not good."


The iPhone language:

When English is spoken...

...and not a word is understood.

Steve Jobs would've been proud.


Before I go into this week's Sign Of The Apocalypse, I wanted to share this story:

In the middle of writing this blog, Rachit and I had the following conversation over Instant Messenger:

Me: I'm writing a blog about you.

Rachit: Nev...noooooo!! Don't mention me!!

Me: Sorry Rachit, some things just can't not be shared to the world.

Rachit: Nooooooo!!

Me: You're gonna be a star!!

Rachit: Nooooooo!!

Me: Don't worry: You're being painted in a positive light.

Rachit: I am?

Me: Yeah. I'm mentioning that you didn't have a lawn chair.


Rachit: All right.

And a blog topic was approved.


And now for this week's:


Amanda Bynes is retiring from acting.

And a piece of the world slowly begins to die...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Buying Toys For A 2-Year-Old Boy: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Earlier tonight, my friends Elly and Jeremy threw a birthday party for their son Max, who turned 2 years old. As such, I had to buy Max a birthday present.

Over the years, I've learned that there are two rules adults must follow when buying birthday presents for kids:

1) Adult males must buy the gifts for boys.

This is a vital, vital rule. Simply put, adult females can be horrible at buying gifts for little boys. They buy clothes, puzzles, books and educational items, and truth be told, they're all boring. Little boys want toys, pure and simple. They like what they want, not what they need.

And 2) You have to buy something that you would like yourself.

If you wouldn't play with it, the little boy isn't going to play with it. Toys for little boys are, and should be, uncomplicated. When it comes to toys for little boys, it's pretty black and white. They're either really cool and fun and are things that make noises and are cool to bang together...

...or they're puzzles.

There's no middle ground. :-)

So it was filled with this knowledge that I visited my good friends at Toys R Us to buy toys for 2-year-old Max. And oh, was I a kid in a candy store!! If you're a guy and you're an adult, you want to feel young again? Go to Toys R Us. It's filled with the coolest things!! Action figures, cars, trucks, Legos, soccer balls, things you can bounce on. It seriously is Disneyland without the lines.

Now, shopping for a 2-year-old boy can admittedly be a tad tricky. See, 2 is an awkward age for kids' toys. The toys for kids ages 4 and up are too big for him, and the toys for kids ages 1 and up are lame and made of foam. But here's the secret: Go for the toys for kids ages 3 and up. Kids today are advanced, beyond what you and I were at that age. So the way I see it, what's good for 3-year-olds are good for 2-year-olds as well.

Makes sense, right?

So I found a Toys R Us saleswoman, got her attention, and said the following:

Cars. Trucks. Star Wars action figures. Point the way.

First were the cars. This was pretty simple. You can't go wrong with Hot Wheels or Matchbox. They're small, they come 3 or 5 to a pack, they look cool, and you can bang them together multiple times before they break. Toy cars are timeless. I liked them when I was 2 and I liked them now. How could Max not like these?

Then we went to the Star Wars section. And boy, have Star Wars toys come a long way!! In my day, you could buy Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Chewie, Han Solo, and one of the random bad guys in the white outfit whose name escapes me now. Now? You have 76,829 items to choose from. And among them are little tiny Yodas and Jedis made for little tots like Max!! How could these not be a hit?

But the biggest thrill was the trucks. Did you know these things talk now? It's the coolest thing ever!! You press a button and the truck stands up and says 9 different things!! It's the greatest toy on Earth. I'm not ashamed to say it: I played with the talking truck I bought for Max before I gave it to him. That's right, I said it. I played with a toy truck, and I'm 30.

Hell, I'm kind of bummed I didn't buy one myself. :-(

As I loaded up my arms with all these goodies, I saw a couple -- a man and a woman, both in their mid 30s -- walk through the truck aisle. The man was looking at some of the trucks I was looking at earlier when the woman screamed at him from behind:

We're buying him clothes, Hector!! My friend's son is only 3!! He needs clothes!!

I looked at the woman. She had a look of insistence, uncaring and non-understanding.

I looked at the man. He had a look of sadness, looking at the trucks, looking at me with my arms full of the toys that both he and the other little boy would love. And I'm telling you: The light went out from his eyes.

This is what war must feel like, when you see a brother-in-arms die.

One last story about this:

At the birthday party, little Max opened my gifts early on. He loved my gifts, especially the talking truck, which was a huge hit.

The next gift he opened were clothes.

He tossed the orange shirt and matching shorts aside.

And went back to the talking truck.

The next gift he opened was one of those musical toys that sang the alphabet.

He handed the gift to a friend of mine.

And went back to the talking truck.

The next gift he opened was a puzzle and storage unit.

He looked at it as if to say:

What the %$#@&%$*@ is this?

And went back to the talking truck.

The talking truck was cool.

It says nine things.

I want one.


And now for this week's:


Think it's bad when people go a bit nuts after their team wins the NBA championship? Read this:

Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.

David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show.

"He said, 'No, I want to watch soccer,'" police spokesman Mothemane Malefo said Thursday. "That is when the argument came about.

"In that argument, they started assaulting him."

Malefo said Makoeya got up to change the channel by hand after being refused the remote control and was attacked by his 68-year-old wife Francina and two children, 36-year-old son Collin and 23-year-old daughter Lebogang.

When it comes to the "psychotic fans" department, Lakers fans have nothing on soccer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Exposing The Farce Known As Hand Sanitizer: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Remember the good old days when you could open a door without fear of dying?

Back when I was growing up, whenever I needed to open a door, I would do the following:

Put my hand on the door knob.

Move the door knob to the right.

Open the door.

Walk out the door.

Close the door.

Sounds simple enough, right?

But lately, when I go to reach for the door knob, I'm liable to hear the following:

Don't touch that!! Who knows what kind of germs are on it.

Did you wipe the knob down first?

Use hand sanitizer!!

Hand sanitizer. Like organic food, reusable bags, and eco-friendly laundry detergent, hand sanitizer has become the latest in a long line of products designed to play on people's fears to get them to pay more, even though the previous years without these products has not brought these people horrible, horrible doom.

I have grabbed door knobs for nearly 31 years without the use of hand sanitizer, and I've gotta tell you: I'm OK. I don't have any deadly diseases, I have no rashes, and my skin has not turned any weird colors. I live a hand sanitizer-less life and I'm healthy as a horse.

You can be, too. Don't listen to the lies.

For those of you reading this blog who are germaphobes and sanitize their hands before touching any foreign surface, I ask you to do this: Remember the person you used to be. Remember when you were young. You were wild, free, grabbing one door knob after another without a care in the world. And then somewhere down the line, you lost your way. Someone, probably an adult, wagged their fat adult finger in your face, told you "No!!" like you were a bad dog who knocked a flower vase off the table, and forced a bunch of hand sanitizer onto your hands.

And from then on in, you used hand sanitizer. Because someone made you feel bad about yourself when you didn't.

Well, allow me to right this wrong in your life and put you back on track.

You are not a bad person. There is good in you, and lots of it. You are not a bad dog. Knocking the vase off the table was not your fault. Your are special. You are unique. And you can touch door knobs without putting a foreign substance on your hands!!

You don't need hand sanitizer!! It will not protect you, because there's nothing to protect you from. It's a marketing creation, meant to do nothing but take your hard-earned money. It's a lie, a myth, like global warming.

The ozone layer has no holes, and the ice glaciers will never melt.

So put away your hand sanitizer.

And bust out your aerosol spray cans.


And now for this week's:


The industry of psychic readings has apparently become more sophisticated.

I was driving to work earlier this week when I heard a radio ad about a company called California Psychics. I went online to their Web site and not only do they offer psychic readings, but you can book a psychic tailored to your specific psychic needs.

Need visions loaded with information? Cherilyn's your psychic. Need the ultimate truth? Ask for Fiona. Want to channel messages from a higher realm? Joy's your girl.

I personally need to heal past karma to manifest my dreams.

So I'm asking for Avery.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Finding Organic Ketchup In My Fridge: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

This morning, I opened up my refrigerator and saw something I thought I would never see in a fridge occupied in my home.

Organic ketchup.

A staple, an icon, of preservative food, now in organic form.

My wife Ramona wants us to start eating more organic food. So currently, my home contains organic pasta, organic vegetables, organic stir fry, organic meatballs, and soda that has cane sugar.

But organic ketchup?

That's where I draw the line.

I'm an American. And as an American, I like foods that have become American staples. Hamburgers. Hot dogs. French fries. Bacon. Eggs. Sausage. All of these things are best when they're layered in preservatives -- everyone knows this -- and all of these things can have ketchup as a condiment of choice. So it naturally should be assumed that the ketchup used for these foods should also be layered in preservatives.

So when you bring organic ketchup into the fold, it disrupts the natural order of things. It brings about change when no change is needed. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Ketchup ain't broke. It should be immune to this organic nonsense. Putting organic ketchup on processed fries is not only wrong, it's un-American.

And it has no business being in my fridge!!

I mean, what's next? Organic salt? Organic chili? Organic baked beans? Are you one of those people who just have to have mustard and relish on a hot dog? Do you really want mustard and relish -- the things you love -- to fall prey to the organic nut jobs of the world? It can happen.

I don't like organic food. It scares me and I fear change. But it's one thing when things like beets and squash and kumquats become organic; I don't eat those things anyway!!

But organic ketchup?

That hits too close to home.


And now for this week's:


Four peaceful protesters, some dressed in full-length black and yellow bee costumes, represented the American Literacy Council and the London-based Spelling Society and stood outside the Grand Hyatt earlier this week, where the Scripps National Spelling Bee is being held. Their message was short: Simplify the way we spell words.

According to literature distributed by the group, it makes more sense for "fruit" to be spelled as "froot," "slow" should be "slo," and "heifer" — a word spelled correctly during the first oral round of the bee by Texas competitor Ramesh Ghanta — should be "hefer."

Now I'm all for the right to protest, but...

...ya know?


Black and yellow bee costumes?

A touch much.