Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hamburger Memorial Day

Place: B-Bop's
Lunch: 1/4 lb Single (no tomato), chili, Pepsi

I pull up to the drive-thru speaker.  A male voice says "mumble mumble B-Bops mumble mumble."

"I'll have a quarter pound Single, no toma..."


"No.  Also no tom..."


"No.  But I want..."


I pause, then shout in a tone completely mocking his "DO YOU THINK I COULD ALSO HAVE A SMALL CHILI AND A PEPSI WITH THAT."

He pauses, then says (not shouts) "I'll have your total at the window."

He didn't  Some girl did.  Coward.

It's National Hamburger Day, so I'm having a hamburger.

Not a cheeseburger, mind you.  A HAMburger.

Most will probably celebrate National Hamburger Day by having a cheeseburger.  And that's just wrong.  There's a whole different day for that.  But given the way the burger chains do their menus these days, it's a little understandable.

I ranted a little about this last year.  I'm ranting more now.

For years, fast food chains had hamburgers on the menu, and the counter help pushed you to add cheese.  A slice of crappy American processed cheese would cost you anywhere from 30 to 50 cents at most joints.

(For the record, I would probably say "yes" more if you offered Tillamook cheddar.  So Burgerville wins.)

Then somebody came up with the bright idea of making the upgrade mandatory by just listing cheeseburgers on the menu with the upgrade price built-in.

The national chains are mostly on board.  Wendy's does this.  Hardee's does this.  McDonald's does this.  Unless you want the very basic cheapo value hamburger, you're buying a cheeseburger.

(Kudos to Burger King, where cheese on your Whopper is still optional.)

I remember fondly the McDonald's Quarter Pounder of my 70's youth. The non-cheeseburger one came in a white Styrofoam clam shell with "QUARTER POUNDER" printed in an olive green color on the exterior.  Still probably my favorite sandwich wrapping ever.  I think the cheeseburger one came in a yellow clam shell with brown text.  Not nearly as nice looking.

You can order your burger without cheese, but in most if not all cases, you're still going to pay the cheeseburger price.

So on this National Hamburger Day, mourn the lowly hamburger.

It deserved better than this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bad Lunch

Place: KFC-Taco Bell
Lunch: Doritos Locos Nacho Cheese Taco Supreme (no tomato), Nachos Supreme (no tomato), extra crispy thigh, Mug Root Beer

I had no idea what to do for lunch today.  Nothing sounded good.

("So why didn't you just not eat?")


So I headed east on the Interstate, which keeps pretty much every option open, and ultimately decided to take a bit of a drive to the east side to the Kentacobell so I could have nachos and a piece of chicken.  Because obviously, I'm pregnant.

I pull into the parking lot, which involves a poorly designed left turn onto a narrow fenced path, then a quick narrow right turn.  Except I can't turn right, because a big Suburban is blocking the entrance.  No idea why, there's nothing in front of it.

So I go down the path to where the exit is and sneak into the parking lot.

Upon exiting the vehicle, I can see the woman driving the Suburban.  What's got her stopped?  She's TEXTING.  But why park and text when you can block the whole freaking entrance, right?

I go inside.  There's thirty (exactly, I counted) kids in front of the counter, along with camp counselors (according to their shirts).  Where'd these people come from?  There's no bus in the parking lot, and they couldn't have all fit in the Suburban.  Then I notice the two Trailways buses parked in the neighboring McDonald's parking lot.  Some went there, some came here.


But most of them appear to have ordered, so I get in line.  Shortly, I'm face-to-face with Frowning Counter Girl.

Me: "One Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme, no tomato..."

Frowning Counter Girl:  "We don't put tomato on that."

Me: "Uh, yes you do."

Frowning Counter Girl: "No we don't."

Co-worker behind her: "Actually, we do."

She doesn't really appear to acknowledge him other than to stare down at the register blankly.  He reaches over her shoulder to show her how to input no tomato.

Me: "Nachos Supreme, no tomato..."

She inputs the nachos, then stares at the register again.  She's already forgotten how to input no tomato.

Me: "Beef Enchrito..."

Frowning Counter Girl: "We don't have Enchritos anymore."

That makes perfect sense, since there's no unique ingredients to an Enchrito.  They have everything on hand to make them.

Me: "Extra crispy thigh, and a medium drink."

Frowning Counter Girl mumbles back the order in gibberish.  I have no idea what she's saying.  I've already conceded defeat and I'm just going to eat whatever I end up with.  And it's clear it won't be what I ordered.  Most of the kids and camp counselors are at the counter complaining that their food isn't right.  Everybody's missing something, or has the wrong thing, or whatever.  The bus driver shouts "CHECK YOUR FOOD BECAUSE THEY DID EVERYTHING WRONG!" at the dining room.

Eventually, my number is called.  The chicken piece is missing.  They fix that pretty quickly.  Everything else is actually correct.

The kids eventually clear the dining room as they head back to the bus.  Somebody has left behind a personal effect.  An employee notices, grabs another employee, and says "Hey, can you do me a favor?"

Other Employee: "No, I don't like you."

He actually appears serious.  But he ends up delivering the item to the bus anyway.

Some Guy in the Kitchen: "That was fun!  Let's do it again."

Other Employees: "NO!"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

HD Everything

Place: Taco Time
Lunch: Crispy Taco (no tomato), Crispy Chicken Burrito, Cheddar Fries, Coke

"Cheddar Fries" in Taco Time speak are Mexi Fries topped with melted cheddar.  "Mexi Fries" are tater tots.  Basic tater tots.  Nothing special, no special seasoning.  But I get them anyway.  Because tater tots.

I was watching my usual Saturday TV lineup last night.  Saturday is my all-MeTV night.  They start with two episodes of Batman, then Wonder Woman, then Star Trek, then Svengoolie.  During Svengoolie, a commercial for something called "HD Night Vision Glasses" ran.  They're apparently amazing because they reduce glare, and they're totally HD.

Being "HD" started becoming trendy thanks to HDTV, or High Definition Television.  HDTV is, of course, the modern broadcast standard, replacing the old 4:3 480 line standard with a picture that has five times the resolution.  Higher resolution equals higher definition.  Or...HD.

Most of us replaced our old TV's with HDTV's over the last 5-10 years, and most television programs have long since converted to HD production.  It really should just be "television" at this point.  Yet it's still cool to declare your show is in "HD".  So cool in fact that it's become trendy to declare products having nothing to do with televisions are HD, even in applications where it doesn't stand for "high definition", if it stands for anything at all.

Let's have a looksie at some of this silliness.

HD Night Vision Wraparound Glasses - The idea is that they reduce glare at night, thereby giving you clearer vision.  There's a number of yellow lens "night glasses" in the market, making similar claims to improve vision.  The more reputable web sources seem to think they're snake oil.  I love a good night drive, but have never tried them.  I do wear my polarized sunglasses in the rain to reduce glare though.

HD Radio - A digital radio broadcast technology (trademarked by iBiquity) used by several stations across the country.  The signal is piggybacked on the analog signal, though the industry could go all digital eventually.  Compatible radios automatically pop between the analog and HD signal as needed.  Some stations offer sub-channels, effectively allowing them to broadcast up to three channels of programming on a single frequency.  In this case, "HD" does NOT stand for "High Definition", or anything else, though in the early days iBiquity claimed it stood for "Hybrid Digital".  Given the relatively low bitrates being broadcast, especially on the AM dial and on sub channels, that's probably for the better.  Hasn't been adopted widely by receiver manufacturers, surprisingly, but I'm starting to see receivers in rental cars now.

Chevrolet Silverado HD - Just imagine washing your HD truck on a sunny day and giving the world a beautiful HD thing to look at.  Except "HD" in this case means "Heavy Duty".  But feel free to wash your truck anyway.  Your neighborhood association thanks you.

Silverback HD - They make truck parts like brakes and stuff.  Also using "HD" as an abbreviation for "Heavy Duty".

Timberline HD Roofing Shingles - Yes, shingles.  "Lifetime high definition shingles", according to Timberline.  Look closer, I guess.

The Home Depot - Guess what their stock symbol is?  That's right..."HD".

Make Up For Ever - They have an HD line of makeup and use the phrase "high definition" on their website.  So I guess if your face is looking a little standard...

PixelSkin HD Wrap for iPad - In case you need an HD cover for your iPad.  But don't iPads have Retina displays?

Cellucor Super HD - Diet pills.  Admittedly, there isn't a lot of definition to my stomach.  It's just round.

Maybe I should come up with a new HD product.  Maybe HD chili.

In that case, the "HD" would stand for "Heavy Density".