My nails are newly manicured, and I think I've found my new favourite pearlized pale pink - it's a Cover Girl shade called "rose quartz".
I think I wore the lipstick version of this colour all during the '80s.
(...and a bad perm, and clothes that looked like I'd mugged Stevie Nicks.)
Does anyone else remember the really pale lipstick craze? Girls running around in day-glo neon, sporting lips that looked like white-wall tires.
Speaking of scary stuff, it's starting to be the time of year where we get a mailbox full of catalogues for every gift known to man. Some companies send us a catalogue every other day, some are more persistent. Figi's and The Swiss Colony are apparently death matching it out for my money this year; I order from both (yummy red velvet petit fours on the one hand, amazing baby Swiss cheese on the other), but I tend to order more from The Swiss Colony catalogue (and that's only because I can't afford to buy all the food I want from the Norm Thompson catalogue).
It's not Christmas without fruitcake for some people; for us, it's not Christmas unless we're buried under fifty million catalogues of stuff I would really only buy if I was in need of new things to shoot at down at the farm.
Our post office sometimes makes the catalogue perusal even more interesting by putting completely random catalogues addressed to other people in our mailbox. Normally, it's not a big deal - it's fairly common for all of us to get mail that's for someone else in the complex, because the mailman is somewhat casual in his delivery methods. We all just stick misdirected mail above the mailboxes with "wrong address, you moron" written on it.
Last week, though, I got a catalogue addressed to a Super 8 Motel manager (no specific name, just "general manager") from the Super 8 Motel company. Call me dim if you will, but I'd never really realized that you could order so *many* things with the charming Super 8 Motel logo on them. There are so many treasures in this catalogue that I have all my Christmas presents completely taken care of for this year without even having to leave my house to go to the Dollar Store.
For instance, clothes. I'm sure many people on my list would be delighted with a full-zip fleece jacket, a v-neck hoodie, or any one of many, many unattractive styles (that I'm sure the actual employees of the hotel are forced to purchase out of their own money) available; even if they don't work at a Super 8, they'll be able to declare their brand loyalty wherever they go!
(...Actually, a lot of the clothes and accessories they offer are made of fleece. Personally, I think it's a bad idea to sell a product for inflated prices that has the name "fleece" built right in.)
Okay, so maybe clothes aren't the right thing for gifts, anyway. Honestly, they're kind of boring, and they always remind you of the time Great-Aunt Hoobie gave you what appeared to be a really cool Lego pirate set, but it turned out that she'd used the Lego box (that she found in a dumpster) to hold ten pairs of tighty-whiteys and a pair of Batman Underoos "just for fun". For your 30th birthday.
On the other hand, a set of Super 8 room key cards could be just the thing for hours of fun - walk in, hand the key to the desk clerk and say "room 118. My key doesn't work" and see if they fix it for you without asking for ID or checking that you're actually a guest. You can also order the little paper key card holders, for more authenticity - at only 7 cents each per 1,000, it's good cheap fun.
Now here's a gift for the rabid anti-smoker in your life - little stand-up "no smoking" signs. You can get 100 for less than $25, so they can have a ball putting up signs everywhere. Hours of fun for you and some heavily sedated friends.
They have all sorts of signs for other needs, too - perfect for annoying houseguests who treat your home like a hotel even though there is no maid to pick up after them. You can decorate your entire guest room with custom-made signs that say "no maid service on weekends", and "breakfast available in the lobby - of the nearest McDonalds".
The classic "clean up after yourself - your mother doesn't live here" takes on special ironic significance when your parents come to stay!
Extend the illusion to the guest bathroom, where you can furnish your guests with the cheapest Super 8 soap they sell. They even sell toilet seat bands - see if you can put enough bands on at once to prevent anyone from using the toilet so that the facilities stay pristine forever!
(They also sell a bunch of other nicer toiletries, but every Super 8 I've ever stayed at was run by cheap bastards who didn't even put shampoo in the rooms.)
Even if you can't think of anyone for whom you'd actually consider buying a Christmas gift, there's no law that says you can't treat yourself to the many delights the Super 8 catalogue has to offer - they have an entire page of cheesy photo prints perfect for decorating your home. You can either pick a print of the State you live in, or a print of a much nicer, more fun State that your guests probably wish they were visiting instead!
(They have customizable stress balls, too. I imagine they're more useful to the host than the guests.)
Finally, the people who always hate whatever you give them - why not just go with the flow and save many agonizing hours of shopping time by buying them a gift you know they're going to hate? There are Super 8 golf balls and tees, pens, pencils, plastic bags (in bulk, for that aunt of yours whom you're pretty sure will end up a bag lady), lapel pins, balloons, Super 8 stickers...
...ice scrapers, letter openers, pens, key chains, coffee mugs, baseball caps, squeeze bottles, car decals, can coolers, ties, robes, blankets, match books, and best of all, a Super 8 logo leather bomber jacket.
In fact, the only thing they don't seem to have is Gideon Bibles, but you can just steal one of those.
Trust me, your friends will be amazed.
(I'm sure those are tears of joy.)
You can even get a logo gift bag.
As Seen on Cable (1/25/06)
One of the great things about watching the higher end cable channels is the commercials for "As Seen on TV!" products.
You know the ones - no matter what it is, it sells for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.
(Except for the Ionic Breeze air filter thingy, and the Oreck vacuum, but we don't move in the rarified circles that can afford such luxuries. It's strictly twenty bucks at a time around here.)
(Except when we can find it for cheaper at the Dollar store.)
I was watching "History Traveller" on the History International channel on the off chance that my father would be one of the experts interviewed for the show (not as remote a chance as it might sound; he's written an awful lot of books on an awful lot of things, and pops up unexpectedly every now and then), and while the show itself was quite interesting (British guns and how the British used them to become evil conquering bastards), the ads in between exercised their own special allure. There are huge numbers of people out there who have had a great idea and want very badly to sell it to you - for only $20 (+s&h).
Since the cable channels that nobody except me (and the guy at the retirement home who was in Korea and always gets to the remote first) ever watches have oodles of cheap advertising time, you tend to see a lot of ads for the same product, too.
(Back to the show for a second; did you know that the cartridges for the Martin-Henry rifle were made by the orphans of British soldiers? Neither did I. We really were just amazingly good at the heartless conquering bastard thing in the 19th century; I wonder what the hell went wrong.)
But the ads. I love the wide range of things for sale, though I have to watch for several hours to see them; while the sellers have learned to buy large chunks of advertising time, they haven't worked out that they should spread out the ads so you don't see three of them in a row (this has happened on more than one occasion), but I think some of the advertising technique could be polished a bit.
For instance - the battery-less flashlight. The makers of this handy little item (we keep ours in the truck) seem to have decided that the best way to push their product onto the viewing public (all three of us that watch the History International channel) is to show how useful it would be to a family so stupid they cannot manage to keep a single working flashlight in the house.
- Not to mention that it's the kind of house where scented candles are used liberally as decorating accents - but they probably don't know where the matches are, either.
AND WHO KEEPS DEAD BATTERIES? HUH? WHO IS SO FREAKIN' BRAIN-DEAD THAT INSTEAD OF THROWING THE DAMN THINGS AWAY (or recycling them - think green, people!), THEY ACTUALLY PUT THEM BACK IN THE DRAWER???
*cough* Sorry. Maybe they think the battery fairy will come in the night and replace them with shiny new ones that work.
Anyway, Dorky McBraindead and his family are out of flashlights and batteries, so the flashlight that doesn't need batteries should be perfect for them, right?
Well, that's what the ad suggests, but I'm fairly certain that the McBraindeads are not technically smart enough to know how to shake the damn thing to get it working. They'd probably smack it against a table, or something.
Seriously, even if they managed to make the mental connection between all the decorator candles and the possibility of light, these people look like they would have serious problems working out how to strike the match.
In fact, I forsee cannibalism in their future, probably by day two of no power - assuming that they can work out which drawer holds the steak knives.
Me? I didn't order it. I found it for $10 cheaper, with free shipping and handling.
I know how to light a match, too.
Text and images copyright L. Mellin, 2000-2008, except where noted. All rights reserved.