Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ask a stupid question

All my working life, I have been dealing with stupid questions. They mostly come from people who are too lazy to follow directions.

For example, when I worked for a recycling nonprofit, I fielded all the inquiries that came through the contact form. At the top of the form, we had posted a list of questions we could not answer. Of course, this did not stop people from asking those same questions on a regular basis. I started compiling a list of the dumbest questions so that I could eventually blog about them, but I always chickened out, afraid it would cost me my job...and sometime since I left the job, I lost the list.

I get a few eye-roller questions here at my current job (though I think I've intimidated most of our users into thinking twice before sending me a question). But by far the stupidest questions I get nowadays are from my potential guests on Airbnb. In my listing, I describe my living situation and the surrounding area in great detail. Almost any question that people could think to ask about my accommodations is answered. I post at the top of my listing a plea (in capital letters!) for people to read the whole listing before asking a question or making a booking request. But almost every day, I receive an inquiry from some lazy oaf who wants to know how close I am to the airport and DC and public transportation (see section "Getting Around") and how much the room costs (see first line of listing). I get complaints from guests who were not expecting me to have pets, even though I have dedicated a whole paragraph to explaining about the dog, the rabbit, and their respective shedding habits, and I include a picture of them both in the photos section.

I list my room at the lowest price in my metropolitan area (It costs approximately as much to stay in my house with a private room, an outfitted bed, a kitchen, free towels, and central heat as it does to rent a campsite and bring your own tent). But just yesterday, I got a singular inquiry from a potential guest from Viet Nam wanting to know "Can you give me more discount for Vietnamese?" This person also wanted to know whether I was close to DC. Well, with two stupidity strikes against them, I didn't even want their money. I declined their inquiry without another word.

The moral of this story is, if you were contemplating asking someone a question today, contemplate this first: When the answer is right under your nose but you refuse to look for it, you're only sending the message that you value your own time more than that of the person you're asking—hardly the right way to begin an interaction. If you can do just one thing to make this world a better place, it's to do your research before you ask a question. Oh, and if your question is about whether you can get a discount for being Vietnamese, better to not ask at all.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Starbucks Redux

Ages ago, early on in my cookie-reviewing career, I did a little piece on the Starbucks chocolate chunk cookie, in which I concluded that Starbucks cookies were good, but no longer worth their price.

Recently, having come into possession of a Starbucks gift card and not being a coffee drinker, I had no choice but to enter a Starbucks and acquire some cookies for a re-review.

I can confidently say now that they are still not worth their price. They have gone up to $2.15 per cookie (including tax, or 1.95$ without) and have actually decreased in size. Now they just barely meet the 10cm diameter threshold necessary to qualify as a "Giant" Cookie. This puts their mass at just 71 g each, and their price at 3¢ per gram—about as high as Giant Cookies go.

As for their eating experience, however, they are still pretty satisfying—definitely better than the last time I reviewed them, which was partly, I think, due to a bad batch. The flavor is delicious, the texture is still pretty close to perfect, and the chunks of chocolate are still huge and wonderful. I conclude this review by saying I still won't be dipping into my pockets for Starbucks cookies on the regular, but I definitely won't mind using up the rest of my gift card on them!

The Bottom Line

Taste:4 out of 5 stars
Texture:5 out of 5 stars
Price:1 out of 5 stars

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese from Nelly's

As one of my Facebook friends kindly pointed out in a mass post, I have been attending a lot of sporting events with my boyfriend lately. This is not because I enjoy them—I'll make that perfectly clear—but because everyone must make concessions in the name of a happy relationship. Speaking of concessions, have you ever bought food at a sporting event? You probably shouldn't. Whether at a stadium or at a bar, the choices are fried, fatty, or, well, that's about it. Now I love me some fried pickles, but after eating them every time I set foot into Hard Times Cafe to keep my boyfriend company while he indulged in football, I was ready for a break.

So we went to a different sports bar this Sunday: Nelly's in DC. Their menu was notably lacking in fried pickles, but featured my favorite alternative: macaroni and cheese! I ordered it. Here's a review.

When the plate first arrived in front of me, I was cautiously optimistic. A thick golden layer of what appears to be real cheddar is always a good start. Underneath the top coat, the sauce was suspiciously liquidy, arousing my worst fears of synthetic cheez, but the top coat was so perfect that I really didn't mind.

I loved it. It even had a little greenery to add aesthetic value. Nice, though non-nutritive, touch.

Flavor-wise, it was also pretty tasty. Everything a macaroni connoisseur could ask for.

My one complaint was that the noodles were a little softer than I like, but not inedible.

The really standout thing about this mac & cheese was that it tasted good even as a 4-day old leftover. I microwaved it on a styrofoam plate (hello, cancer!) and then gobbled it up shamelessly.

I rate it one happy noodle for best sports bar macaroni yet, and one happy noodle for cheese overload, and one sad noodle for being a little mushy.

1 happy noodle1 happy noodle 1 sad noodle

The Mood Noodle rating system is not based on a fixed scale, but is a much more subjective system based on what makes me happy and what makes me sad.
Any number of happy noodles and comparatively few sad noodles constitute a good rating.