So, thanks to Sabriand’s help/truck, Nick’s truck & trailer, a co-worker and craigslist, I finally got some furniture today. After stopping in and painting walls at Fresh Life’s upstairs this morning, we picked up a queen size mattress down near Smith Lake to start off the furniture-y goodness. Back to Columbia Falls to drop it off, and then to Nick’s in Whitefish to pick up his F-350 with a flatbed trailer. From there we drove back to Kalispell and got a couch, loveseat, two end tables and a coffee table, and a set of three bar stools. Once again we trekked back to C. Falls and unloaded the merchandise. I took a quick snapshot of the couches and tables (only one end table is fully in the frame).
Considering I got everything sans the barstools for just over 300 bucks, I’m pretty happy with my investment.
Friday night was one of the more interesting nights in recent memory. After work I stopped by Flathead Industries to see what kind of furniture they had and left feeling ambivalent about the selection. From there I shot over to Verizon to get a firmware update and new battery for my 2006-era Motorola V325, an oldie but a goodie. (I had been using a Samsung SCH-i760 smartphone but didn’t need the PDA functionality anymore. Plus, that thing took forever to answer calls. I’d hear an incoming call ring in, press the green button to receive it, and wait 3-4 seconds before it would actually pick up.) ANYway…tangent alert.
While waiting for the clueless Verizon technicians to update the phone’s firmware, I paid a visit to Target to see what their prices on furniture are like, and to potentially pick up some household items I need. Well, I walked out empty-handed. $40 for a trash can. A trash can! Ridiculous. I’ll stick to the tried and true leaving-piles-of-rotting-food-and-sticky-paper-towels-all-over-the-floor method, thanks. Returning to Verizon, I spent another 20 minutes in line before getting the phone back. At least the battery life is good now
Feeling less than productive by this point, I decided to get a haircut. Easy as pie. Feeling pounds lighter, I headed home to shower out the millions of tiny pieces of hair sitting all over my head, ears, forehead, eyebrows, down the back of my shirt, etc. Once things were cleaned up I drove back to Kalispell to meet Cailey at CityBrew for some coffee and good ol’ fashioned computer fixing. Accomplishing that, we thought it would be fun to see a movie. One small problem: It was not 9:20, like her laptop suggested. It was 10:20 which means the theater had no more showings for the night. Time for plan B.
We drove over to Cailey’s old roommate’s place where I met a few interesting folks. Now, I say interesting, when what I really mean is crazy. The good kind. For the next 6 hours, we all playfully harassed each other, ruthlessly at times, until one by one we all succumbed to the insidious force known as being too f’ing tired. Driving back along highway 2 at 4:something in the morning was an uneventful yet predictably harrowing experience. I wasn’t exactly sleepy, but tired enough to the point where I had tunnel vision and zoned out for miles at a time. Upon arriving home I was forced to make an executive decision based on the fact that I knew I had to be back in Kalispell at 7AM to help someone move. If I went to bed now, at around 4:45, I’d be hitting the deep sleep cycle right around the time I needed to wake up. No good. So instead, I chowed down on some just-now-thawed shrimp cocktail, checked my email, and forced myself to stay awake just a bit longer. At 6AM I gave in and fell asleep just long enough to call it a cat nap.
Feeling surprisingly refreshed, I hopped in the car and sped to IHOP to meet Nick for breakfast. Talk about a letdown. Unaware of the cruel joke the chef was about to play on me, I gleefully ordered the Big Steak Omelette. What arrived at my table was more like the Big Fake Omelette. Four little pieces of steak sitting on top of the omelette, another two or three tucked inside. Lame. Too hungry to make a big deal out of it, I wolfed it down and accompanied Nick to Starbucks to pick up coffee for himself and our third member of the moving party, Sabriand. Sabriand arrived with a cup of coffee in hand, but no matter. The more caffeine for these two, the better. Abstaining from the chemical concoction, I spent the next 6 hours helping move Tim Goff into his new house. He has no relation to me that I’m aware of, and just moved up here from Texas. He also works at Semitool as I do. Weird. A 26′ U-Haul truck load and a half later, we finished up and I drove home in a total daze. At one point I caught my eyes crossing and forced myself to snap out of it. An attempt at a nap and a little food later, I caught up with Cailey again at the theater to finish Plan A from the night before. We chose to see Ghost Town which was a really great movie, and a breath of fresh air in terms of its message. Go see it. Realizing afterward that I’d basically only eaten some shrimp cocktail, an omelette and a slice of rice bread in the last whole day, I gave in to storming Finnegan’s with cohort Cailey and put away some seriously greasy food. Sometimes grease is good. By this point it was around 1AM and I couldn’t fight off the need for sleep any longer, and drove back home for the third time in 24 hours. This time I went straight to bed. Waking up feeling somehow more tired than before, I kicked myself in the rear end and went to church, knowing I was on the schedule for the 2nd service’s video ministry team. (I would’ve gone anyway, but extra motivation doesn’t hurt :-P .)
After the service, which shamefully was mostly a blur due to my semi-concious state, a large group of us began preparing to go to Mackenzie River Pizza Company for Sabriand’s birthday. A quick rendezvous at Rosauer’s netted us a nice birthday cake with some personalized frosty-writing on it, plus enough candles to make him feel old. Oh wait, that’s his real age. Mission accomplished. Sabriand had predicted a likely attendance of 12 or more at his birthday gathering, but the final tally by my count was 28. One can imagine the possible pitfalls of such a large party at a moderately sized restaurant, and we were no exception. For the first hour, nothing came. No drinks, no appetizers, no setups or even napkins. Sensing the mood beginning to sour, Sabriand came to the rescue and had some polite but evidently effective choice words with the wait staff. Within minutes, appetizers and drinks were streaming out of the kitchen and onto our tables. Soon enough all the orders had been filled and the only sounds to be heard were mmm’s and remarks of the food’s quality which, I have to admit, was very good. At the 3 hour mark, the last of us got into our cars and scattered.
Erroneously thinking that the current downpour of rain would discourage outings, I went to Costo to do my bulk grocery shopping for the month. Costco was, for Montana standards, totally packed. I didn’t let that get in my way, however. Weaving in and out of aisles and around slowpokes with their infernal carts is something of a hobby of mine. In fact, it’s one of the shortest Costco trips I’ve ever had, so I guess at some level the rain logic was sound. On the way home I had a conversation with an old friend from California and caught up for awhile. Turns out that her computer was acting up and I’m just the person to fix it, right? Right. The evening was spent with me remotely connected to the computer removing trojans/spyware, doing general cleanup, and conversing further with its owner.
All told, it was a great weekend. Next time, though, I’ll try to pay a little more attention to sleep.
After a somewhat lackadaisical day on the job, the evening turned out to be quite the opposite. Immediately after work, I popped in to Dollar Tree and scored some sweet tumblers, cleaning supplies, and a couple other knick-knacks that I needed. Following that was a catch-up conversation with an old friend, which is always nice. Church came next, which happened to be a really great service along with some amazing worship that lifted my spirits and filled me with immense joy. Hallelujah!
Receiving notice from my stomach that dinner hadn’t been consumed yet, we rounded up a few folks to head to Applebee’s afterward for refreshment. Side note: iced tea is apparently very popular amongst young Montanans.
Boneless buffalo wings for life.
A second ago I crumpled up a piece of waste paper in my left hand. Immediately I began moving my mouse over to the Recycle Bin icon on my desktop to empty it. It took a moment before I realized my folly and instead threw out the paper into the trash can. Sigh.
There’s a lot of hub-bub going on about an Acai product called Mona Vie right now and I felt the need to address it and give my two cents on the topic. I’ll try to focus on the product itself and why I wouldn’t sell it myself, rather than all-out attack the MLM/Pyramid Scheme model. I don’t need to explain something that someone else has already done quite well.
Basically Mona Vie is a juice supplement heralded as a “cures what ails you” product. Containing acai berry juice, other assorted juices, and some vitamins and minerals, it’s full of healthy stuff the body needs. What’s so wrong with that? The issue I take with the product is that for the price, one could do just as well or better with a superfood supplement, multivitamin, or simply spending the extra money on healthier, organic foods. $40/bottle is quite a steep price for something that, at the recommended dosage of 3oz. or so per day, lasts around a week.
I was given a bottle by a friend to try out and see if it helps my autoimmune conditions. Having dealt with these conditions for over 10 years now, trying just about everything under the sun both natural and medical, I feel I have nothing to lose. Just recently I spent two months taking a similar product donated by a family member called Zrii. However, what I will NOT do is pursue any sort of participation in selling, distributing, or recruiting others to sell the product. I believe the business model as referenced in the link above is one that is exploitative and takes advantage of the passionate and naive.
For example, Joe Schmoe hears about this new wonder product, gets all this professional literature about said product, and is sucked into the frenzy and hype. Soon enough he’s enrolled in the program, trying to spread it to his friends to make more money. Therein lies the ethical problem for me: I just don’t see how it’s right to bring others in with the knowledge that you’ll be making money off of them. I don’t feel that “loving your neighbor”, as we are commanded to do, includes encouraging them to buy something from us and then sell it, with a portion of their profit becoming ours. I could write pages and pages about my disdain for this model, but I’ll keep it concise and end it with the following.
Bottom line: if I want to buy a health product, I want it sold in the conventional way, with no one profiting but the person or company that created it, not a force of distributors and recruiters who are desperately trying to increase their referrals so they can make a few bucks. To me, that lowers the product’s attractiveness because it’s no longer about how great the product is, it’s about perception and how many people you convince to believe in its greatness.
The other day I was perusing my favorite health food store, Mountain Valley Foods, in Kalispell when I happened upon a new item in the freezer: Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. What’s special about this particular brand? It’s dairy-free, and uses coconut milk as a base instead of cow’s milk or cream.
Seeing as I’ve tried my fair share of alternative ice cream products such as Rice Dream, So Delicious, its arch-nemesis Soy Delicious, and other wannabes with mostly negative results, I figured I’d snatch their “Mint Galactica” flavor (essentially Mint Chocolate Chip which is basically my favorite ice cream flavor, after all) and give it a whirl. Onward to the review:
The packaging on the pint-sized Mint Galactica flavor was proudly showing off a green minty-cool theme, reminiscent of the colors you might see on St. Patrick’s Day. More on that later. Peering at the nutrition info on the label I noted its ingredients (parenthetical items removed): Organic Coconut Milk, Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, Organic Peppermint Extract, Organic Fair Trade Vanilla Extract.
Looks good. This is the first alternative ice cream I’ve ever tried that contains agave syrup, which leads to a fun fact: Agave is the plant that (real) tequila is made from. Hmmm. My imagination began to run wild with visions of a party filled with college co-eds eagerly downing frozen shots of mint galactica, entering into a Coconut Bliss-induced bender. Then the thought of what it would look like once the puking started put a quick stop to my fantasy. Walking up to the counter, I realized I hadn’t even looked at the other flavors. Oh well, next time.
After arriving home and depositing it in the freezer, I got on the computer and curiously commenced googling for more information. A quick check of “coconut bliss” results in the number one hit being the manufacturer’s website, www.coconutbliss.com. I clicked. At this point, my confusion deepened. Right at the top of the site, the viewer is met with this logo:
Being horribly uncultured, I didn’t realize that the happy looking four-armed elephant man thing is Ganesha, the Hindu god of placing and removing obstacles. Ahhh, now we’re getting somewhere. I have the obstacle of not being able to eat dairy products, Ganesha wants me enjoy life to the fullest regardless! He’s even holding a spoon and an ice cream cone (which makes no sense if you think about it). Thanks, pal! Wait, it says that you’re the god of placing obstacles too. You rat bastard… I guess those folks at the paralympics got a double dose of your divine influence then, huh? But I digress…
Finally, it was time to eat. Note to self: do not attempt to use a plastic spoon on ice cream just taken out of the freezer. Tossing the pieces into the trash, I glanced at the label again. There’s a warning saying I should leave it out for 5-10 minutes before consuming for best taste. NOW they tell me. A nail-biting 5-10 minutes of suspense passed before I dove in again. The first bite: wow, that’s good! The texture was very close to that of real ice cream, perhaps a bit thinner but it left a very clean taste on the palate. Hardly any aftertaste, and didn’t leave a film on the roof of my mouth. I kept eating. The little chips of chocolate were plentiful and spread evenly throughout the ice cream, something that can’t always be said of its competitor’s counterparts. Before I knew it that whole gosh-dang pint had been consumed. No biggie, I thought. Then I inspected the nutrition facts. Uh oh. According to the label, I had just consumed a whopping 824 calories. Crap.
Let’s break down where all those little units of heat came from:
Serving: 1 pint (2 cups)
Holy mackerel! Suddenly this organic, healthy ice cream alternative became an artery-busting abomination.
But wait! After a little research, it turns out that fat from coconut milk is extremely good for you. At least that’s what Coconut Bliss’s own website states. How’s that for objectivity?
Wrap-Up: Coconut Bliss Mint Galactica Ice Cream
Pros: All organic. Made from coconut milk instead of milk, rice, or soy. St. Patrick’s Day. Clean, refreshing taste. College age co-eds. Overcoming obstacles. Lots of chocolate chips. Being half-elephant. The paralympics.
Cons: Consuming 824 calories of mostly fat at once. Non-alcoholic. Broken plastic spoons. Being a Hindu god’s plaything. Busted arteries. The paralympics.
Final Verdict: 9.5 out of 10
This product is highly recommended to anyone who likes ice cream, not just we cursed few who can’t eat dairy products. The only thing that might make it better is being sold in half-gallon containers.
Been pondering many things lately and felt like producing another quick poem.
Drops scatter in the sunlight
no rainbow for its trouble.
My gaze settles on
all it can.
Prayers escape cognizance or
Persistent turmoil merely a whisper now
slow yet overwhelming, surreal.
The waft of battle invades the sanctuary,
mercifully reserving judgment passing
until next time
To put my last post in perspective, just imagine getting a couple prescriptions from your doctor that you really, really need. Then when you go to pick them up, the price is near $1,000. Two regular prescriptions. One month’s supply. Needless to say, the majority of yesterday was a mini-Stress Fest 2008. I had the MD write me a different Rx for something that, while inferior and laden with many more side effects, will get the job done short-term. Total price? $5.31 at Costco’s pharmacy. God bless Costco.
Medical insurance companies are scams. That is all.