Thursday, April 11, 2013

wasting one's time wisely

I am something of an expert in my own list of Ideas I Thought Would Be Great But Turned Out to Be Very-Very Bad. One of these ideas was screaming bloody murder at the Grand Canyon - just for the echo. Here's a tip: Anyone who hears that scream doesn't realize you're doing it just for the echo. They think you've fallen in. Obviously a backlash of anger and hatred is spewed when they find out you were only screaming out of curiosity. Another one of these ideas was when I tried to take a handcart of expensive recording equipment down an escalator because no elevator was nearby. I'll let your imagination wreak havoc with that one. Let's just say it was a mess. My most recent of these ideas was while I was pregnant with Half-Pint and it involved saving money on waffles. More on that later. 

Because of my personal experience in this field, I feel I can pretty quickly discern the quality of an idea presented by someone else. I recently had the good fortune of finding, at a friend's recommendation, a list of Life Altering Tips. It's funny how people define things, isn't it? Personally, I would have billed them as Worthless Ideas right from the start.

Anyway, about once every 3 months my accrued Time to Waste adds up to a whole five minutes or so, and I think this last quarter had either a blue moon or a glitch in the time-space continuum, or my minutes rolled over or something, because I had about a half-hour just sitting there ready to be sucked up and I was able to take a shot at field testing these Worthless Ideas. Part of it was just for kicks. Part of it was to prove how Very Worthless they actually are. In other words, I wasted my time in order to save yours.

I invited one of my sisters to help with my experiments and she eagerly agreed. I will affectionately refer to her as Hyberbole henceforth and anytime I ever use her as a prop on this blog. She has a few sides to her. Here are three of them:
surely you jest.

what, you don't leave YOUR long underwear on to take a bath?

walking through a parking lot in a dress & heels without tripping? yep, I'd feel that excited, too.
Next time she's featured, she might likely be dressed as a jockey or as a paintball warrior. But I feel these three are a good starting point.

On with the show.

Worthless Idea #1: The Bagel Tote.

Now, I don't know about you, but for the life of me I cannot remember the last time I thought to myself, "Man! I wish I had a handy bagel tote with me! What I would give for something to tote this bagel!" I've never thought this, in part, because just the words "Bagel Tote" sound freaking ridiculous. Also, bagels are nearly indestructible. At a density equivalent to approximately 5 pieces of bread, if I were going to tote a bagel with me, it would look like this:
it's called a sandwich baggie. how Useful is that?!

But then I got to thinking: if not motivated by the inexplicable desire to keep pieces of junk around - that is, a CD spindle in your kitchen cabinet instead of your recycling bin - why would someone want to tote their bagel in a CD spindle, anyway? Clearly they don't know how indestructible they are. Clearly they think their bagel will be smashed if they throw it in their lunchbag or purse. Allow me to lay this idea to rest once and for all: it's almost impossible to squash a bagel. We tried.

Our first experiment was to stack several hefty reference & textbooks atop this bagel. The bagel sat unfazed.
a new Useful reason to keep around old textbooks.

unfazed bagel.

I then asked Hyperbole to sit on the bagel, and for good measure I gave her the textbooks to hold, just for added weight. This is approximately 150 pounds on top of a bagel.

We squashed the bagel - at least, one side of it.

flat bagel.
Using Newton's third law of motion to aid my calculations, I submit that it is the rare person who has 300 pounds of pressure in their lunchbag to flatten a bagel. Lastly, it occurred to me that CD spindles are likely not BPA-free anyway. You don't want BPA smeared all over your preciously-preserved bagel. Yuck.

Worthless Idea #2: Doritos Kindling.

I didn't test this. All I can say is that if you're outside anywhere on the planet and need to start a fire and have access to Doritos, I'd bet a million bucks you also have access to kindling of some kind. Just pull your face out of the chip bag and look around. Also, what a waste of Doritos. If you're that hard up for a fire, you might want to conserve what food you have. Places that don't have kindling at the ready: hot and cold deserts. If you're in the Sahara, it's much too hot for a fire anyway. If you're in the Arctic Tundra, you only have about 5 seconds before you freeze to death, and Doritos would make a pretty nice Last Supper.

Worthless Idea #3: The Pants Hanger Turned Cookbook Holder.

 I should clarify: This totally works if your cookbooks are the thickness and weight of a magazine. See?

But my cookbooks don't really look like that. They look like this:

And if yours do too, then using a pants hanger to prop them open is one fantastic disaster.
Here's what you get:
totally Worthless.
And frankly, I don't really feel like reading my recipes at an awkward angle.

Worthless Idea #4: Chilled Grapes Instead of Wine.

 The caption for this here really read: "This is a great tip that actually works if you're in too much of a hurry to chill your wine."  And that's a great tip if you already have frozen grapes handy. I'm pretty sure I thought "Oh darn, I don't have enough time to chill this wine...I'll just go freeze grapes instead because that will be SO MUCH FASTER!!!!!" at the same time I wished for something to tote my bagel. No picture on this one, because I'm not going to sit in my freezer taking pictures of a freezing race between grapes and wine. I'd rather watch paint dry.

Worthless Idea #5: Forking Oreos.

This experiment was an absolute disaster. I had martyred Oreos all over my countertop and floor. Hyperbole had a lapful of crumbs. Maybe she is just a slob. Maybe this idea is terrible. You be the judge:

NOT HELPFUL that half the cookie broke off right away.

taking the plunge.

what's this? the milk destroyed what was left?

a second try, this time the milk proving even more destructive. but where's the rest of the Oreo?

oh, there it is. gross.

an inherent flaw: the fork splits apart the cookie before even touching the milk.

check out those pieces of cookie tragically drowning due to fork failure.

"maybe I'm stabbing them the wrong way. maybe if I go THROUGH the cookie..."

nope, that doesn't work, either.

finally speared the Oreo sideways.

and it was lost entirely.

you'd feel this sad, too, if your fork was conspiring against you to ruin your cookies.

Worthless Idea #6: The Condiments Caddy.

There are some glaring problems with this one. First, I don't want my mayo tasting like onions. Secondly, this doesn't help cut down on dish washing. It creates it. This was one idea I couldn't bring myself to field test, because I hate cleaning muffin tins like I hate running, and I'd rather go to prison than take up running. I really hate cleaning muffin tins.
The bottled/jarred condiments are self-containing, so there's no clean-up at the end of the BBQ anyway. Just cap them and put them back in the fridge. I don't want to be the person stuck scooping leftover condiments back into their jars and still have a muffin tin to wash. And the only sliced sandwich veggies I've ever seen are on a paper plate. Don't be deceived. This idea creates more work. Plus, it's like a big IHATEYOU message from the universe if you happen to not prefer all of those condiments on your burger, because some idiot is going to use one spoon to spread all three of them. Condiment cross contamination is a big no-no in my book. Of course, I also don't like my food touching. Unless it's a casserole and the chicken is supposed to touch the rice.

Worthless Idea #7: Pancakes from a Ketchup Bottle.

 The crux of this Worthless Idea is really in the promise of a no-mess experience. I feel as if I shouldn't have to point this out, but how in the world am I supposed to get pancake mix in a bottle without CREATING A MONUMENTAL MESS?! And don't you dare suggest using a funnel. Fact is, I own exactly ONE funnel, and it sits in my minivan and it last touched transmission fluid. Am I going to use it to pour pancake batter? Heck no.

Anyway, we discovered to no great surprise that it is quite the opposite of a no-mess experience. It was more like an extra-mess experience. Check it out:
I didn't have an empty ketchup bottle, so I substituted. I don't think it affected the outcome.

this is for real.
not quite no-mess.

I would suggest that if convenience is of utmost importance (and budget is not), sometimes the storebought version might be just what you need. In this case, the Bottled Bisquick version.

On that note, remember the Very-Very Bad Idea I alluded to involving waffles? This was another idea I started out thinking was just going to be so great. I was pregnant with Half-Pint and filling our chest freezer with foods we could easily heat up in the weeks following her arrival. My girls love waffles for breakfast, and I thought I could produce more homemade waffles at a better cost efficiency than buying 10 boxes of toaster waffles.

I quickly found out I was a horrible waffler. I exploded my waffle iron twice and I had waffle carnage all over my countertop.

clean-up in aisle 9!

 I should've just bought 10 boxes of toaster waffles. Plus, mine taste gross and they kind of smell like fish. I don't know why.

Sally forth, citizens, and use your time wisely. Don't spend it on Worthless Ideas when I can do that for you.