Author Archives: shootthesea


I have a cough, so I got some cough drops. About halfway through the bag, I have discovered that I have been throwing away DOZENS of phrases meant to help me, without even knowing it! It turns out that Halls cough drops have encouraging words on the wrappers! This fact is not indicated anywhere on the bag these came in. I have never heard of it before. Was it always this way??

Either way, they miss the mark for me. Even the few I have seen since my discovery fill me with annoyance. Also, they fill me with sad mental vignettes featuring the saddest sickest sadsters smiling weakly at the wrappers crinkling in their flu-addled hands. I will attempt to categorize the phrases from a random handfull of wrappers on and around my desk (the trash is wayyyyy over there, okay?)

Things a mom (not my mom!) might say:

“Don’t waste a precious minute”
“Don’t wait to get started.”
“Keep your chin up”
“Seize the day.”

Things some kind of jerk who identifies as a cool-guy might say:

“Flex your ‘can do’ muscle”
“Fire up those engines!”
“Hi five yourself” (Picture a person with a sore throat following this instruction)
“Put a little strut in it”
“Let’s hear your battle cry!” (This one seems especially cruel to put on a lozenge)

Things a miserable person might mutterwhisper to themselves:

“Nothing you can’t handle”
“You’ve survived tougher”
“Don’t give up on yourself”
“Get through it”
“Power Through!”

Things a coach might say:

“You can do it and you know it.”
“Put your game face on”
“Get back in the game”
“Get back in there champ!”

Things a scrappy depression-era kid might say:

“Bet on yourself”
“You got it in you”
“Tough is your middle name.”

Weird things nobody would say:

“Buckle down and push forth!”
“Turn ‘can do’ into ‘can did!'”
“March forward!”
“Impress yourself today.”
“Elicit a few ‘wows’ today”
“Go get it!” (Not strange if directed at a dog)
“The show must go on. Or work”
“Inspire Envy”
“Don’t try harder. Do Harder!”

Most common phrase:


You know, the pep talk isn’t technically in the drop. It’s around it. Also there are several per drop-wrapper. Also why is this only advertized on the wrappers and not on the bags or in ads? Relying on word-of-mouth? Or the cough-drop honeypot of promotion: giving an annoying sick person a handful of your weathered coat-pocket-drops?

Anyway, 2 out of 5. Irritating enough to amuse me.



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This is Why You’re Fat

This review originally appeared on my blog “Shoot the Sea” when Alison and I still had “We’ve Seen Better” in the works! It belongs here on WSB, really!

I love a good hypothetical situation. I can’t stop myself from forcing absurd questions and circumstances into the minds of those I love. From the ever-excellent game of Whataboutafellow to hypothetical eating contests (sticks of butter, go! Heads of lettuce, go! Lollipops, go! Slushies, go!) to “what would you do if [___]?” and “Imagine if there were a place that [___]” and so on ad nauseam, this has been my favorite game since I could speak.  This amusing comic is me to a T, I freely admit, and I am fortunately blessed with moderately patient friends.


I am sorely disappointed by a popular image blog, because it does not present itself as an honest gross-out contest amongst its fans.

I want the site to be a place that legitimately showcases crazy unhealthy foods that people eat. That is mildly interesting to me (though in practice it winds up being pretty classist, I think!), and it is the way the site seems to present itself. A deep fried mars bar or the KFC DoubleDown are examples of foods that I accept on the site, because they are foods that are bought and sold and eaten.

90% of the content, however, is CLEARLY just fans of the site throwing some bacon and hostess snacks into a hamburger and taking a picture, or deep frying a pile of stuff. And then the readers are supposed to go “Eww, I can’t believe that really exists!!” which is a silly thing to think, because to all effects and purposes, it doesn’t exist. It wouldn’t exist if not for the sake of taking the picture. It’s an entirely different issue than learning there’s a restaurant actually sells a deep-fried pulled pork sandwich or something.

I really don’t care what food you wasted on a rainy Saturday night after a giggling bacon run to the Big Y with your friends, because I know you then either threw it away, split it between your 10 pals, or gamely choked down a few bites before your friends said that was enough to prove you were a man (or woman!). Or maybe you made it alone. 😦 At any rate, unless it is a REAL feature of your regular diet or an item on a menu, I see no reason to go beyond the perfectly entertaining hypothetical attack (“imagine eating GRAVY Popsicles!!! Ewwww!”) and actually waste the cash to make a teetering meter-tall cheeseburger mit pommes frites. The waste is much more sickening to me than the food itself, maybe because I was raised with a “eat every single morsel or you don’t leave the table” mindset. Here are some alternate names for the site:

“This is Why You Need a Hobby”

“Bacon is Hilarious, I am Told!”

“This Would Make You Fat (if you actually ate it)”

“Haha, Gross.”



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Being Born on Christmas

My co-blogger Anthemyst has suggested to me that I write a review of having a Christmas birthday. Now, normally I would have done this lickety-split, on the day itself, even, but I have been fighting a cold lately. So! A quick review:

Having a cold worsens my day-to-day experiences overall. Drowsiness is combined with difficulty sleeping, for instance. The near-constant snot production is unpleasant, at BEST! Tissues waste valuable trees, and handkerchiefs have limited real estate. Having a cold makes me lose my voice, my favorite personal attribute next to my incredible intelligence, my rapier wit, and my amazing good looks. Having a cold also clouds both my incredible intelligence and rapier wit, and robs me of all but the barest traces of my amazing good looks!

Having a cold: D

However, lots of rest, water, Dayquil, and a constant influx of zinc-filled “Cold-Eez” lozenges has reduced the duration and severity of this particular cold.

This particular cold: C.

I have gotten sidetracked!


I was born on Christmas day, twenty-something years ago. This has given me about twenty years worth of Christmas birthdays to judge. I have also had many years to observe other people’s non-Christmas birthdays. In order to produce a fair and balanced review of a Christmas birthday, I must first ignore the qualities it shares with non-Christmas birthdays.

-I get gifts

-I get cake

-People are nice to me.

-I get older (officially)

Three positive attributes and one meaningless attribute.  It is also important for me to discard the qualities my birthday Christmas shares with other people’s non-birthday Christmases:

-I get gifts

-I don’t have to go to work/school

-Great food

-Everyone is all festive

Okay. So with all of that out of the way, I can grade my birthday with a clear conscience.

Here I go!

-My birthday falls on one of a few dates that cause people (DMV workers, doctors, new acquaintances, etc) to go “Oh!” Most birthdays elicit no response unless someone learns they SHARE a birthday. So: It has that going for it.

-While I am ignoring the simple fact that gifts are received, there is actually still room for COMPARISON between my birthday and yours, gift-wise. Studies have shown that “Christmas babies” get fewer gifts annually than other kinds of children, because parents take the normal portion of Christmas gifts and label some of them “Happy Birthday!” (this of course only applies to families that actually celebrate the holiday!) I guess I can believe that? I haven’t made a point of counting my presents or counting my siblings’ annual gift influx, much less that of friends and strangers. And I forget what study said this, so I have no idea if it’s just gift quantity they were looking at, or also gift quality!

-I don’t get birthday PARTIES.

-No one forgets my birthday.

-The day is not 100% about me!

-As a child, I felt like my Christmas birthday made me very important. Childhood is when birthdays matter the most to people, I think.

Tough call! Seems like a Christmas birthday is arguably slightly worse than non-Christmas birthdays: there are fewer gifts, no parties, and the day is not about the birthday boy or girl. On the plus side, the Christmas-born individual is granted occasional small-talk fodder and can imagine their birthday has some significance (when they are very young).

I guess I have to give BEING BORN ON CHRISTMAS a…


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My Hat-Rack

About 9 or 10 months ago, I was stopping by my local CVS for some reason, and on my way to the register, I passed by the clearance table–that is to say, I did not pass by the clearance table; I stopped. A bargain had caught my eye.

A $4 hat-rack. Could it be true? I picked up the box and inspected it. Yes, it seemed to be true. $4 for a fine, 5’6″ wooden hat-rack, little assembly required. I smirked to myself,  thinking of my classed-up dorm!

At that moment, a woman passed by the table and gave me measured look.

“You be careful with that hatstand,” she said, “I got one of these last week, and it broke as soon as I tried to put it together. They just crack apart. And the pegs fall right out.”

What sort of cryptic portent was this? I bought the hat-rack, but with less boasting triumph in my heart.

Now it is time to assess my hat-rack.

  • It cracked when I tried to put it together, so I used a lot of wood-glue on it.
  • Also, the pegs fell right out, can you believe it! I glued some of them back in, but a couple of them cracked enough that I threw them away in a rage.
  • My hat-rack falls over if I bump it or hang a coat on it.
  • My hat-rack does not serve my needs, as I have like 50 hats and it has like 5 hat pegs.
  • For this reason, my hat-rack does not look classy at all–it looks like a wad of hats and scarves about a foot-and-a-half in diameter, jammed on a stick.
  • It sheds hats on the floor, so I have to rake those hats up and set them on top of the big hat-wad sometimes. What a chore!
  • But it really was a bargain.



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