#905 Using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else’s shower

Shampoo doesn’t travel well.

First of all, you can barely get it on the plane. Nope, no liquids in your carry-on, so unless you’ve got a little travel bottle or you’re checking in a big suitcase, you can’t really take it. And even if you do check it in, you’ve got the packing problem. I know my terrible method of putting a big bottle of shampoo in a couple plastic bags isn’t the answer. But what is? Travel bottles are more trouble than they’re worth — you have to play sloppy scientist to refill them and they’re small and easy to forget everywhere.

No, shampoo just doesn’t travel well. Like fireworks, katana blades, or colicky babies, it just wasn’t meant to fly. So if you’re like me, you just don’t pack it. You swallow hard, zip that suitcase, and trust that your hair will make it home.

When you hit the road without shampoo a few things could happen:

  1. You might have to slum it, oily style. Just work that comb and pray for no dandruff.
  2. You might have to use one of the little hotel bottles of shampoo or tear into one of their tiny little shampoo samples with your teeth in the shower. If you’re like me, you’ll probably use the lotion in your hair too, thinking it’s conditioner.
  3. Best case scenario: you’re crashing with friends and you get to take a shower in their shower and go wild using all the different shampoos and soaps they’ve got in there.

Now, we all know the last option is clearly the best. However, it only works if you actually are staying with friends and if you shower in their real shower — not their guest shower, not their basement shower, but their actual shower, the one they use every day. That’s where you peel back their crinkly, mildewed curtain and open up a fantasy world full of half-used bizarro-products filling all the corners of the bathtub, piled high in bright pinks and neon greens, just like a candy store.

So go ahead: lock that door, strip right down, and get right in there. Just make sure you follow the unspoken showering in other people’s shower rules:

  1. Bar Ban. The bar of soap is completely off limits, no questions asked. You don’t know where it’s been, they don’t know where you’re putting it, so you just have to stay away. The last thing they want for a thank you gift is nest of your coarse n’ curlies stuck to the Ivory bar.
  2. Watch the clock. Definitely enjoy the moment, but don’t take too long. You don’t know their hot water situation or if they need the bathroom, so get out before you get the place too steamy. And leave the fan on.
  3. Sampling is encouraged. If you’re staying with a couple, chances are good they’ve got a his and hers sections. Try both! What’s this? New scent of AXE body-wash? Squirt! Weird kiwi-grapefruit face wash? Squirt! Forty-dollar a bottle salon conditioner that looks like it came from a science lab? Squirt squirt squirt!
  4. Don’t finish anything. Squirt away, yeah. Just don’t drain the last of anything. You never know. They might have been counting on just one more use of their favorite conditioner, and you don’t want to rob them of that.

 So that’s it. That’s the perfect traveling shampoo situation and them’s the rules for living by it.

Now, is it just me, or does using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else’s shower makes you feel like you’re in some kind of focus group? You can just see the end of it, too: a few folks in white smocks hold clipboards waiting for you outside the bathroom door. It flies open and steam shoots out in all directions. You emerge in a towel, your skin still damp, your feet still wet. And quickly, there are questions: “What did you think of the blue bottle? Did it give you the lather you were looking for? What about the scent” They keep going, too, writing furiously as you spit out your first impressions. Then they ask the big one: “What was the shower experience like overall?” They wait expectantly, heads bowed, pencils hovering just above the sheet, eyes peering up at you over their glasses.

And you smile and you nod and you know what to tell them.


Photo from: here

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#906 Drinking a glass of cold water right after eating ice cream

Get the tap running

Drinking a glass of cold water right after eating ice cream is like pure freezing cold mouth bliss. Your inside cheeks are frozen raw, your throat is cold and stiff, and your molars are wedged tightly with bits of nuts and chocolate.

So when you chug down that cold glass of water, it’s like an Arctic dam spilling into a sugary mineshaft. That water just feels so refreshing — like jumping into a bathtub of ice cubes, injecting Gatorade into your heart, or showering after a really, really long time.

And is it just me, or does the water seem to take away a bit of the guilt, too? Like you’re somehow balancing out the cold, fat lump of Cherry Garcia in the pit of your stomach with something healthy and calling it even. 

Hey, works for me.  


Photos from: here and here

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#907 When your favorite sports team is in the big nationally televised game

Maybe you’re the San Diego Chargers fan who watches every game wearing a football helmet and a big foam thumb on your couch. Maybe you’re a diehard freak for the Boston Red Sox, Montreal Canadiens, or Manchester United. Or maybe you can’t stop watching Chinese Taipei’s majestic Cinderella climb into the Little League World Series.

Whatever your bag, one thing’s for sure: there’s nothing finer than watching your favorite team on national television. For so many reasons:

  • Pressure. The audience for your team shoots up exponentially and your favorite players are broadcast into strange living rooms around the world. This is the big moment where everybody will judge you, so you better be ready to perform. Don’t let it get to your head.
  • Better announcers. Okay, you may lose some of the local favorites who cheer for your club all the time. But you gain the veterans who’ve been broadcasting for years. I mean, how sweet is it when Joe Morgan chimes in with a stat on Sunday Night Baseball? It’s like gravelly, statistically-accurate music.
  • Feel like you’re home. Hey, if you don’t live in your home town anymore the big show might be the only chance you get to see your team play. How great is it to watch The World Cup in big city bars around the world? That’s what I’m talking about.
  • It means you’re at least somewhat decent. Because they probably wouldn’t broadcast you nationally if your team was the Baltimore Orioles or something.

When your local club makes the Monday game, the World Cup, or the Final Four, there’s just something special about sitting down at home and watching them compete on that big stage. So take the phone off the hook, make some popcorn, and settle in for a great night with a million friends.


Photos from: here and here

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#908 Peeling an orange in one shot

It ain’t easy, but when you finally succeed in peeling an orange into only one big, swirly peel, it can be one of the greatest fruit-eating experiences of your life. Here’s how to make the magic happen:

1. Pick a winner. No two oranges are created equal so it’s important to inspect your fruit before you pick it. Smart money says eye a juicy one that’s been ripe for a day or two and has plenty of loose, saggy peel hanging around, just begging for a big thumb-puncture right in the gut. If you have trouble, just remember this handy line: to get that peel off, pick one that’s soft. Word to your sister.

2. Roll it out (optional). Some people like to roll their orange around on the counter a bit, just to make doubly sure that the peel is primed and ready to go. This is the equivalent of sending the orange out to the bullpen to warm up. A side benefit is that your orange becomes extra juicy.

3. The thumb-puncture. This is the most critical move so let’s break it down. First, make sure you do actually use your thumb to perform the puncture, not the questionable four-fingers-in-a- scratch-the-blackboard-pose tactic. People who go the four-finger route are doomed to get all kinds of peel scraps flying everywhere. So just don’t do it. Now, when you have your game face ready, aim for one of the flabby peel-rolls right near the top or bottom of the orange. No matter what, do not stab right in the middle of the fruit, because that’s the thinnest part of the peel and you’ll walk away a humiliated, wet, pulpy mess.

4. Long, slow burn. Once you’re in, it’s time to slowly, majestically carve out a big peel-strip around and around and around the orange. Be careful not to create any peel islands, those little chunks of peel just hanging out in the middle of a freshly peeled area. Also, don’t peel too thick a strip (inaccurate and unpredictable) and don’t peel too thin a strip (could snap off). Just relax and it will come with practice. If you seem to be losing your momentum or getting stressed out, just put the orange down, shake your hands out, take some deep breaths, and regroup.

5. Show and tell. Did you nail it? Did you finish it off good? If so, congratulations, you’re now holding a freshly shorn orange in one hand and a limp n’ long, snake-like strip of peel in the other. You have to finish by showing this to at least one person and saying “Hey, check it out!” Maybe hang it right in their face if they don’t seem impressed at first. They should come around and at least flash you a terse thumbs up or a sarcastic eyebrow-raise.

Yes, peeling an orange in one shot is a terrific accomplishment. It’s one of the best fruit-openings out there, easily trumping the big watermelon split, the pineapple top lop, the pomegranate pry, the coconut crack, or the apple bite.


Photos from: here, here, and here

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#909 Bakery air

Bakery air is that steaming hot front of thick, buttery fumes waiting for you just inside the door of a bakery. And girl, I’m just going to tell you straight up. That is some fine air.

Bakery air immediately fills you up with the sickly sweet smell of cooking cupcakes, crisping croissants, and the distinct aroma of globby breakfast paste turning into a delicious tray of hot oatmeal cookies.

It’s a powerful and intoxicating smell that rivals some of the best smells out there: late night summer barbecue, new car smell, gasoline, fresh baby, or even, dare I say it, campfire in the woods. Yes, I went there.

Now, is it just me, or do you ever feel sorry for the people working in the bakery? You know, because they might just get used to the smell and stop enjoying those hot bakery whiffs all the time? I really hope it’s not like that. I really hope working in a bakery never turns into a regular job full of early mornings, oven-scorched eyebrows, varicose veins, and floury underwear. No, bakery air is just too good for that. It can’t become another day at the office, it just can’t. So let’s just make sure we all enjoy it.

Catch some of those sugary vapors next time you’re running past a Cinnabon at the train station. Suck back a noseful of hot fumes next time you walk by an open bakery door on Saturday morning. And just make sure that when you stop to smell the roses, you stop to smell the croissants and date squares, too.


Get a whiff of this beaut

Photos from: here and here

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#910 When you arrive at your destination just as a great song ends on the radio

There’s really nothing like pulling up in the driveway and shutting off the engine just as that final cymbal crashes or that wailing guitar solo slowly fades into perfect silence. If you time it just right, you’ll miss the start of the commercials, and you’ll be dutifully rewarded with the song replaying itself in your head all day.


Photo from: here

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#911 Getting served breakfast in bed

Notice the chocolate. Dessert at breakfast is a winner.

Maybe it’s Mother’s Day at 7:30am and your kids wake you up with a plate of cold toast, runny eggs, and a short glass of lukewarm OJ. Sure, it may not be the best-tasting meal in the world, and yeah, you might fill your sheets with crumbs, but don’t tell me getting served breakfast isn’t the greatest.

I mean, there you were just sleeping there. And someone else said “Let’s go downstairs and cook up our best possible meal, toss it on a tray, and bring it upstairs and serve it to you.” Yes, serve it to you! Cook it up and set it up and serve it to you. I have to say you’re pretty lucky if this happens to you.

Plus, breakfast in bed can also help accomplish the exotic get up and eat up and get back down move, a brilliant Saturday or Sunday feat that involves filling your belly with breakfast and then immediately crashing back into a post fiesta siesta. Yes, it’s a great feeling to go back to bed with that full stomach. And who knows? Maybe there’s a lunch in bed just waiting for you on the other side of those sleepy dreams. But really, it’s a good question — has anyone ever actually scored lunch in bed? If so, I’m pretty sure they win the World’s Greatest Day Ever contest.

Now, the Trump Card for turning a good breakfast in bed into a great one is when it includes one or more of the following:

  • One of those tiny, miniature glass bottles of ketchup or jam
  • A homemade greeting card wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day or Happy Birthday
  • A breakfast dessert of any kind
  • Butter painstakingly carved into a perfect sphere
  • Cute, restaurant-style folded up napkins

Because let’s be honest, people. We sure do love eating. We sure do love sleeping. And breakfast in bed is the closest we get to combining both at the same time. And around here, you know what we think of that.

Say it with me now.


It's not wasteful. You can recycle it!

Photos from: here and here

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#912 Hanging your hand out the window of a car

On a warm, sunny day, driving in a car with the window open and your hair whipping around everywhere, what’s better than letting your hand slip safely out that window and letting it wildly roller-coaster against the wind?

You know how it is: that speeding car creates a strong and forceful wind pocket that’s fun to ride, and as you let it slip and slide across your fingers, you can kind of close your eyes and pretend you’re just flying along.


Photo from: here

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#913 Having a whole row by yourself on the plane

It was like a mirage.

There I was, a few years ago, sitting in the middle seat of a plane set for take off, and there sat an empty aisle seat to my right. I was belted in and cramped and it just sat there vacant, while overhead bins were slamming shut, flight attendents were bringing out blankets, and people started thumbing mindlessly through inflight magazine articles about exotic hotel lobbies.

The plane looked full, the plane looked settled, so I quickly made my stealth, ninja-like swap into the empty seat like a champion. I moved and sat there with a big smile, lots of elbow room, and my legs comfortably extended into the aisle. Truly, it was heaven.

Then suddenly a big guy in a tight business suit lumbered down the aisle just heaving, sweat dripping down his forehead, tongue wagging out his mouth like a dog, eying my row from a distance. I knew the jig was up, so I moved back to the middle seat as he settled in. Turns out he slept through his alarm and had to race to the airport. Nope, no time for a shower, just a full day’s worth of grease on his glistening neck. I voluntarily sacrificed the arm rest when his forehead began dripping on me, and then tried to enter a cocoon-like state of flying hibernation, covering myself in a blanket, crossing my arms and legs, and trying to go to sleep.

And that’s sort of how most plane rides go for me.

But every so often, every once in a while, I’ll end up on a pretty empty plane and score an entire row to myself. And that’s when the perks start piling up. You know how it is:

  • Pee Freely. Yup, get up and go whenever you like, because you won’t need to awkwardly limbo past anyone’s drink tray. Bonus: No awkward crotch-in-the-face moments.
  • Window and aisle. It’s great looking out the window, but unfortunately the person sitting closest to the window gets all window-shade rights. They may close the window completely or block the view when you want a peek. When you get your own row though, you get both.
  • Rest your arms. All arms rests become yours for the taking. Left arm, right arm, it doesn’t matter. There’s no need to worry about getting the bump-off.
  • Go sideways. This isn’t always easy, but you might be able to pull off the ‘row nap’, where you flip up all the armrests up and turn three seats into a bed. Forget those pricey lay-down seats in first class — this here’s the econo-bed and it works just as well.

Yes, having a whole row by yourself on the plane is a pretty sweet deal. You can almost pretend that you’re magnificently rich and you paid for the other seats just to buy yourself some breathing room. Because seriously, flying ain’t always a lot of fun, and so that extra elbow room can make the difference between three hours of misery and three hours of bliss. And that’s something worth celebrating.


The dream

Photos from: here and here

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#914 Surprise two-ply

Danger may lie withinAnyone else hate those big toilet paper wheels in the public restroom? You know the ones. They’re big, they’re plastic, and they hold massive rolls of thin, transluscent one-ply toilet paper. And they’re pretty stingy with their papery plunder, too. Yes, you have to stick your hand up there and fish around a bit to find a loose end, and then give it an even, gentle tug just so to prevent it from ripping into bits.

And hey, how about those light, hospital boxes of one-ply Kleenex? Same deal, right? Blow your nose into that stuff and you’ll find your hands turn into a slippery, sticky mess. You might even have a few tiny bits of Kleenex lingering around your nose or upper lip afterwards, too. It’s not pretty.

So that’s why it’s great when you discover some surprise, two-ply toilet paper in a public restroom or some surprise two-ply Kleenex on the counter at the doctor’s office. Yes, when it’s two-ply, you’re flying high, baby, because it comes out easy, goes down smooth, and just feels like home.


Photos from: here and here

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