A March Mélange: Googly Eyes, Passing Grades, and Snazzy Socks

I bugged out of blogging last week.

I didn’t mean to neglect you, my gentle readers, but it was a spontaneous decision on Monday morning. I wanted to finish my online self-directed college class and decided to just do it, get all the reading, research, and writing over with. It took me a few hours every day causing my eyes to blur and spin in my head, but I finished the class a few weeks early, earning a passing grade of 93%.

And that, as they say, is that.

It was fascinating to see lectures, read assignments, do homework, and write a research paper again. It took me outside of my usual thinking patterns, so the mental challenge was a good one. For winter. During a pandemic.

Was it worth it? Will I do it again? That is, take another online university class with homework?

Welp, I’m going to say probably NO.

I didn’t hate being a student, but I didn’t love it either. Fortunately I understood the subject matter [history learned through the interconnections among antique objects and academic disciplines in a museum] but I vehemently disliked the computer user interface for this online course. It was clunky and awkward, visually cluttered– and there were typos and inconsistencies that bothered me, a writer.

The mediocre system made every assignment a struggle and as such sucked the fun out of this whole adventure in higher education. No matter really. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In fact, continuing on with the idea of something gained, much to my delight while in the process of researching my final paper I stumbled on the word SNAZZY used in an advertisement in the current Vermont Country Store catalogue. Don’t ask how I ended up there, but I did and it was worth it.

Yes siree kids, it’s my all-time favorite word spotted in the wild.

In this case the best word ever is used to describe mild-compression support socks. Granted the topic of socks had nothing to do with the project I was working on and I don’t think I need these particular ones, but I am getting older so maybe I do and just don’t know it yet.

Anyhoo, that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. And you? Whatcha been doing?

Spill the beans in the comments below. Missed ‘ya. Mean it.

Vinegar: One Person’s Magic Is Another Person’s Salad Dressing Ingredient

IN THESE TIMES OF MONOTONY courtesy of the coronavirus & political blowhards & summer heat I continue my quest to provide thrilling blog content here.  Thus I’m going to show you, my gentle readers, something so exciting I can barely contain myself.

YESTERDAY I RECEIVED THE ABOVE piece of snail mail that tells me I may enjoy life in the fast lane if I order Vinegar: The King of All Cures! by Jerry Baker, America’s No. 1 do-it-yourself expert.  This book of vinegar magic costs $31.96, payable in 4 installments of only $7.99 each. According to Jerry if I buy this book I will: “Never be stuck, stumped, or stymied again!”

BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF the kind of magical advice featured in Jerry’s book.  This glimpse into his book is quite the teaser, isn’t it?  As Jerry, author and exclamation point freak, says: “No job’s too big, no job’s too small… Vinegar solves ’em all!”

JERRY ALSO INCLUDED A TESTIMONIAL in the form of a short story about how Peter and Katie, a lovely married couple, made their home smell fresh prior to Peter’s parents coming over for dinner.  [Spoiler alert: It was a close call, but vinegar saved the day.]

AND WITH THAT I SHALL end this informative blog post in which I have confirmed we are still here, virus-free and healthy, while taking the opportunity to ask you the following important questions.

~ ~ ✅ ~ ~

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What magic is keeping you going these days? 🤔

Are you a liberal, moderate, or conservative user of exclamation points? And why? 🤓

Have any good salad dressing recipes? 😋

~ ~ ✅ ~ ~

Don’t Let The Smile Fool You, It’s A Sad Ad

WHO YOU CALLING OLD?

The above advertisement has been following me around the internet like a bored toddler.  It showed up on my email sidebar a few days ago and has stayed with me as I research and read all over the intertubes.

I can’t decide if I’m insulted by the advert’s implication that I’m mature [old?] OR if I’m charmed by its desire to help me look better. Presumably.

Of course if you look closely you’ll notice that there’s no indication of the name of the company that makes this allegedly fabulous lipstick nor where I might buy said lippy.

IT’S A SAD AD IF YOU ASK ME.

But here’s the thing, no one has asked me.  It’s as if no one cares about my need for or opinion about the product featured in this unsolicited advertisement that will not go away.

And no matter how much I keep smiling about this advert, and all the other unsolicited ones that clutter my computer screen, I cannot help but feel irritated by the impudence of these wet-behind-the-ears companies assuming I’d want to buy anything from them because they’ve decided I’m mature.

PIFFLE, I SAY.

photo by Alexas_Fotos via pixabay

Bad Marketing Is Worse Than No Marketing, But Maybe Not Everyone Believes This?

“I’m going to let this go because I really don’t want to get into an argument with these people.”

I said that out loud to myself the other day after finding a webpage that had the most forked-up mismatched inconsistent product marketing I’ve seen in a long time.

It stunned me with its ugly.

To wit, there were words written arbitrarily starting with either upper or lower case letters, for no discernible reason.  There were at least 5 different uncoordinated fonts used in garish multi-colored logos that looked like a D+ 7th grade student had made them.  And the information I needed was buried in wordy, pointless copy.

As a woman with a background in communication + marketing who worked at one time as a paralegal who did oodles of proofreading, the mess this organization was trying to get away with appalled me.  As if clarity in written and graphic design communication meant nothing.

There was a time when I’d have taken this as a personal insult, feeling a need to correct the situation by calling/writing about this failed attempt to create a professional image in the world. And while I could have helped this organization up their game to the next level, you know what– I did nothing.

Because this is not my problem per se.

I only share this here today because it irritated me.  Something like this is disheartening for anyone like me who believes in the illuminating power of words and the clarifying potential of images.

And makes me wonder how it is that any organization in today’s connected world can exist with bad marketing.  ‘Cause I’m not the only one who is going to see this and think poorly of them.

Or am I?

The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.