Amazon debuts frustration-free packaging

Like I needed another reason to spend money I don’t have on shiny things from that Amazon “recommended for Brian” page, they’ve announced “frustration-free” packaging on select products, with a hopefully-growing list of items sold in simple (and recyclable) cardboard containers. No more tearing open those evil blister packs with my teeth, or risking death and/or amputation by wrestling them apart with a kitchen knife, can opener, or pair of dull scissors. Something I’ve been dreaming of for years has finally arrived – hooray!

Amazon issued a press release today announcing the beginning of this effort, and have created an alternate storefront (at ) to browse items available this way. The list looked pretty short today but I’ll definitely be revisiting it.

As you can expect, this is a popular effort, both with frustrated consumers and the environmentally-aware media. In fact, the only ones who aren’t embracing the change are consumers who had previously invested in their own solution:
jaws of life

Post-Christmas shopping time is here

Getting an email this morning from every company that’s every tried to sell me anything advertising their day-after-Christmas and last-few-days-of-the-year sales was a pretty good indicator that retailers are trying to push a few more dollars through the register in 2007. It must be working, too, because all-time-high online shopping volumes are apparently crippling even the stoutest of virtual brick houses:


I’ve been waiting for almost 30 minutes to get into virtual Macys and in internet time, that’s an eternity. Year-end sale or not, that’s poor technology management and a good way to lose customers to Nordstrom (whose site seems to be working fine).

Crossing things off my stress list

I want to say the weekend was really busy… but it wasn’t terribly. I want to say i got a lot done, but that’s not completely true, either. It was just a weekend. It’s over and i’m back at work, but only 5 days this week and then i’m off to MT for a snowy holiday. My next weekend will be in 2004… maybe that’s why i felt like more should have happened this past saturday and sunday. Huh… the passage of time is a strange animal. Huge thanx to Steph, tho, for all her generousity with the house, the garage, the breakfast bagel, the riding around and the dealing with me being a huge, annoying stressball of Christmas un-cheer. She’s a saint.

At least i’ve regained some sanity now that my shiny red baby is home – even if she’s at Steph’s home and not mine, she’s at least at someone’s home. I don’t get the impression that campbell-nelson nissan treated her with the love and concern she demands and deserves. The doors weren’t even locked when i found her on the back lot saturday morning. So far i think everything is intact… except, of course, the engine. Wouldn’t know it by looking, tho – even Jason said it all looks perfectly OK under there. I resisted the urge to close my eyes and turn the key, on the off chance it would magically work. After i unscrewed the oil pan drain plug and nothing came out… any lingering illogical hope was dried up, as well.

I started in on labeling tubes and wiring harnesses under the hood, took a few easy things off and starting draining fluids. I don’t have the right tools to get the tranny drain plug out, so that’s as far as i made it. My Z will spend Christmas on jackstands, and i’ll resume the project when i return from MT. Although i think the vacation will be nice, i really wish i wasn’t going, or wasn’t going for as long, as my instincts to put everything in order before leaving town are completely thrown off my the current state of my car. Leaving her in shambles while i fly elsewhere seems unnatural, and will most surely pick annoyingly at the back of my mind like ancient chinese water torture – drip… drip… you left a mess… drip… you should be doing something with this time… drip… you don’t deserve a vacation right now… drip… drip… slacker! … drip… you don’t deserve a collector’s car! … drip… drip… – until i’m back in the garage.

Despite stress, guilt, stress, exhaustion, lack-of-transportation-independence issues, frustration, and, oh, stress, i’ve still managed to almost complete my Christmas shopping. Hopefully a couple stops downtown tonight in between bus transfers will take care of the last few, and then an evening of wrapping and packaging, and i can cross that off my stress, er, to-do list. Sorry, no intended guilt trip – i have enjoyed shopping for all of you. It’s been a nice distraction. 😉

A Christmas season for the record books

So i started to unpack last night, mostly just the easy stuff. Spent enough time on the phone to take my battery from full to empty in one afternoon. 😉 Jason has assured me that we can rebuild my motor, so now we’re shopping for parts and doing our homework. It’s going to be a huge project and it pretty much freaks me out to think about tearing my car apart that much – and even more so that i’ve got it put it all back together! – but part of me also thinks it will be fun, and really cool to do. I’m going to know that engine bay inside out after this, and should be able to tackle any repair issue in the future – although hopefully there won’t be any for awhile!

Amidst all this madness, i’m supposed to be shopping for christmas gifts and planning to head home in less than two weeks for the holidays. This time of year is always a little crazy, but i think this year is my freakishly-insane-holiday-frenzy record. 🙂

Let’s go shopping already

Happy bday to Dave Smith today (not the wendy’s guy, my coworker Dave). On a totally unrelated note, check out Vindibudd, Superhero in Training, a new biweekly comic strip i found thanks to fark.

My last bits of paperwork on the Maxima should be arriving today, so i can finally put that whole stupid sale and registration process behind me. Hopefully by saturday i can start shopping, and you’re all free to help me look. Here’s our target:

  • Nissan 300zx (Z32)
  • 1991 to 1994
  • Preferably Black or Dark Blue. I’d also be interested in Cherry Red or Silver. Yellow or Dark Green would be third choices.
  • Black or charcoal interior
  • 5spd manual
  • Twin Turbo (spotted by the integrated rear spoiler)
  • Coupe, not 2+2 (no backseat, gas filler door is behind the rear tire)
  • Less than 70,000 miles
  • T-top – no hardtop or convertible

So if you see one, call me so i can go look at it. Or just buy it for me and give it to me for Christmas. Or really any holiday would be fine. 😉

Brace yourself for this one…

Roger that, squadron leader. We have a confirmed slacker at 9 o’clock. Repeat, slacker status confirmed.

Only five more days until Christmas, only one more day until i get on a plane home, and it’s been 12 whole days since i’ve said anything! Hmm, twelve days, it’s Christmastime… coincidence? Excuse me whilst i break into song:


  • Twelve days without news,
  • Eleven credit cards with balances,
  • Ten pounds of chocolate,
  • Nine late nights working,
  • Eight yards of gift wrap,
  • Seven bucks for parking,
  • Six-packs of ramen,
  • Five weeks of rain!
  • Four bald tires,
  • Three absent coworkers,
  • Two flights of rickety stairs,
  • And an extra shot at Starbucks every time!


Ahem. So it’s been a very busy week, traveling a lot for work, running last minute errands. I’ve delivered all the gifts that were under the tree to their recipients (save those that will fly with me to MT) and mailed all the cards (some as far away as europe!). I’ve gone through a gallon of eggnog since thanksgiving, although there’s still some ham left, if anybody wants a sandwich. Had a great steak dinner and threw some peanut shells on the floor with cuz Michelle, it was great talking with her. Jason, Julia, Patrick and i enjoyed Julia’s and my cooking and a couple bottles of wine, along with several hours of playing playstation. Chicken ragu with Libby. Christmas shopping downtown with Steph. More Christmas shopping with Libby. Still more Christmas shopping at home on the internet. Haven’t even started to pack – that’s what saturday morning’s for. Don’t have to worry about being distracted by watching cartoons, since the cable got shut off. Pretty efficient over there at at&t, i only cancelled it in august. People keep asking “have you seen that commercial where…?” or “did you see [show] last week?” and i of course say no. It’s difficult to be part of the mtv generation without mtv. And i think that might be a good thing, cause i’ve never really felt that connected to the mtv generation anyway, and if mindless drivel like survivor is what this generation’s about, i’ll happily opt-out.

I’m really excited to go home, and forget about my bills and deadlines and everything for a whole week. It’s going to be great. Mom and Danielle have already started baking holiday goodies, which i intend to completely pork out on. I may need two adjacent seats for the flight back to Seattle. I do wish i would have my car there, as there’s a bunch of things i want to show Dad and ask him about. But that’ll have to wait until the next time he comes to visit, at which point i can take him to the BBQ place Michelle introduced me to, and we can spend the evening throwing peanut shells on the floor.

Moonlighting’s small rewards

Only three more months until Christmas! Um, okay, yeah. It’s really foggy today – got to try out my new fog lights, they’re super neato. I’ve got tonite off, finally, and i’m heading downtown with my first thriftway paycheck to do some shopping and be downtown-y. I haven’t been anywhere near downtown (except for work) since Danielle was here (of course, that’s because i’ve been broke). Now, before you think i’m going to go blow a bunch of money, i’m not. Not that i don’t want to, mind you… I’d love to go lay down some plastic at kenneth cole. But not this time; i need some khakis for work, it’s totally a legit venture. Gap emailed me to say they’re on sale (isn’t direct marketing neat?) and i might check out the sale sweaters, too (hey, it’s fall, i’ve gotta keep warm – it’s an investment in my health!) Besides, i already spent my fun-money monday at home depot… 😀 You know, as much as i try to not let money run my life, it sure seems determined to do so. Maybe that’s just because i never seem to have enough of it… grrr. Guess it’s time to start “investing” in the lottery…