The weather has been sun-tastic this week, and i thoroughly love it. Sometimes i think i may need to try living in southern Cali for a time, if only to experience the free, instant mood-altering effects of a sunny day on a more regular basis. Plus the skiing was better there this year than anywhere i could get to in a day’s drive from Seattle. Everybody whines about the housing market down there, but i’m not a home-buyer – i’m a throw-money-down-a-hole renter – so whoop-dee-do to that. Anyway, don’t anyone get all panicky that i’m jumping ship on Seattle; the proliferation of Starbucks in any other urban area still isn’t up to my standards.

Just a quick shout-out to my peeps at, what an excellent crew they are! My ever-stylish music machine arrived via overnight formatted and working perfectly. They even cleaned it up a bit! For $29 bucks they covered two-way DHL and the fix, and i opted for an extra $30 upgrade to a new, 15-hr battery; with it’s newly-breathed life i thought a little extra juice was worth the investment. I very much appreciate their extra effort to do a backup/restore of all my music and whatnot; when asking for a drive format i assumed a blank slate would return to me, but was pleasantly surprised to see all my playlists and song ratings smiling back at me on first power-up. All-around a sweet deal, and they were excellent to both me and my little white plastic friend. I recommend them wholly.

In other gadgets-that-fit-in-my-pockets news, i swung by one of the numerous T-Mobile kiosks in northgate mall yesterday for some GPRS fiddling. My wireless data service has been all crabby lately, preventing me from googling things or checking my paypal balance from completely inappropriate places, and – as i predicted – a simple SMS from the mothership put all the settings right again in short order. It took me some wandering to find the “official corporate” T-Mobile kiosk that could perform this service, though, as i casually counted 4 T-Mobile branded phone kiosks and at least 8 total wireless gadget-islands in the relatively short stretch of the mall’s main hall. That is in addition to the numerous stores incorporating often-unrelated cellphone vendors (i’m looking at you, Kitt Camera). A bit of an overdose, i say. It is no wonder there are 3rd graders running around with cameraphones, nor that it’s the fastest growing industry in america right now. And does anyone else find it amusing that people will pay $2.49 for a 30-second ringtone but won’t pay more than 99 cents for a downloaded track (ala iTunes)? It’s obviously all due to marketing, as the carrier technology and handsets offered here in the states are a paltry embarassement by both european and pacific rim standards. It’s certainly not because the carriers really want you to have a good experience. With all the choices and the endless, proliferating blitz from the big names, it’s not an easy call to make (ha ha, i am a clever punster). It’s a lesser-of-four-evils decision between the Big Pink, Orange dancing guy, call-dropping-R-us, and Can You Hear Me Now?. I won’t hate you for making a wrong decision… but CDMA is not the future.

As long as we’re talking about crap marketing that belies an even crappier product, let’s talk about the arches that are not really so much golden as they are weather-stained and painted with cheap yellow lacquer. Yes, i’m referring to the home of Grimace and the Secret Sauce (which, incidentally, sounds like a good band name. Or an inane children’s book). Although you won’t find a free finger in your chili (which would at least guarantee there’s some actual meat in the food) you might still find yourself “Lovin’ It”, or so the marketing machine says. Even the menthol-cool stylings of J. Timberlake can’t make that slogan sound like anything other than the same industrial-strength brainwashing agent used to make people believe there’s a slice of something cow-related under that rubber pickle. Personally, i find Steve’s interpretations of the aforementioned abomination to slogan-writing much less stomach-turning than the original. Now if only there was a way to make the food less stomach-turning… but alas, in america, we are gluttons for punishment… in every sense of the word.