Monthly Archives: January 2011

My Quest for a DVD Rack

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Author: Kara Mae Adamo.

So I went on a mission today in Waterford Lakes.

Well, actually, let me back track. My mission started last night. Robby and I have entirely too many DVD’s (Damn those Walmart $5 bins–they suck you in. It’s like the black hole of bargain shopping.) Since we just recently moved to a new apartment, we decided that we should get a DVD rack in which to organize and display this sick obsession.

So after I got off work last night, I pried my boyfriend from his organic chemistry books to take him to Walmart so that we could check this simple little goal off of our list. To give you a visual for what kind of an endeavor this is (getting him to go to Walmart), please visualize the Looney Toons episodes where one character is dragging another character, whose claws are digging into the ground, creating rake-like marks across the carpet, grass, what-have-you. I assure you, it is not far from the truth. Robby hates Walmart. I’m using the word HATE here. He can’t enter the doors without twitching compulsively. I’ve actually heard the man hiss at some of the freak shows that lurk around that place. But it was almost twelve at night–and Walmart has everything, so we figured we’d bite the bullet so we could get rid of some boxes.

Walmart has everything, right? Yeah. We scowered that place for an hour. We even went into the little kid’s toys area just in case some half-retarded person misplaced the DVD racks. Nothing. We asked the employees AND NONE OF THEM KNEW WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT. We tried rephrasing. Robby asked “Excuse me, where are your DVD racks?” No comprende. “DVD cases?” “DVD !@#$% SHELF???” At that point, I pulled him away before he sprang on them. Yes, them. There were multiple people there who didn’t know what we were talking about. So we went home, disgusted with the dismal results of our attempt. I’d also like to note that, while we didn’t get a DVD rack, we did manage to get four more DVD’s from that suck-you-in-and-take-your-money bin.

So, since Robby’s birthday is coming up, I figured I’d just go and buy him one. Not only does he get a manner in which to store his DVD’s, but I am also saving him potential jail time at this point. Happy Birthday, honey, I love you. I decided to go to Super Target (also known as “Walmart for people who look in the mirror before leaving the house”) Again, I searched every department–every shelf. No DVD racks. At this point, given my recent realization that I’m no longer a “kid,” it comes to my conclusion that I may just be outdated as all get-out. I mean, I have a bunch of movies on my laptop. Maybe DVD’s and Bluerays are just a thing of the past. CD’s are less in vogue, right?  OR, maybe everybody else on the planet already owns these elusive racks (including infants as they exit the womb), and so there is simply no demand for such a thing any longer. Still–they sell an awful lot of DVD’s and Blueray Disks, so there has to be SOMETHING.

Nope. Nothing.

At this point, I call my mother. I freak out on the phone, figuring that I’ve faded into the 8-track level of electronic prowess. She calms me down, as is her tendency, and patiently tells me to go to Bed Bath and Beyond.

OF COURSE!!! Bed Bath and Beyond!! They have everything–from Bedroom stuff, to Bathroom stuff–and BEYOND!!! They have three different types of egg poachers in there!! I’M SAVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so I go there, to that wonderous place where they house everything you need (and don’t need…like three different gift sets for that dreadful Snuggie thing). I’m wandering around, looking at that hilarious shake-weight and the thousands of different coffee makers and cupcake decorating sets, when a salesman approaches me and politely asks me if he can help me find anything (suck it, Walmart). The conversation went as such:

Non-Walmart (and thus helpful) Sales Associate: “Can I help you find something, miss?”

Kara: “Yes, do you guys have DVD racks here?”

 

Non-Walmart (and thus helpful) Sales Associate: “Umm, actually no, we don’t.”

 

Kara: *blinks a few times* “You don’t?”

Non-Walmart (and thus…helpful…) Sales Associate: “Not this time of year, no. We only stock them when the college students move up.”

Kara: *twitching* “…when the college students move up…”

Sales Associate (at this point he loses his status): “Yeah, sorry.”

It’s not the %$#@! SEASON for DVD racks. Not the season. Evidently, my quest for Digital Video Disk storage is the electronic equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day.

Orlando, you have smote me again!! Your college-town mentality has truly permeated every possible venue throughout the city.

I finally went to Best Buy where, thank god, they are as fashionably out of sinc as I am. I found a massive DVD rack that will house all of the DVD’s we’ve collected thus far, as well as some of the ones I’m sure we’ll collect in the future.

I am now at Starbucks, drowning my sorrows in a chai latte.

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The Restaurant Story

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Author: Kara Mae Adamo.

Yanno, I just…I try to be cheerful and positive. I’ve even attempted a more passive outlook since my recently scribed “Dead Things” outburst. But then I went out to eat, and it all went to hell. I used to scuff at the concept of a robot apocalypse (as I scoff at any apocalyptic nonsense, from the zombie apocalypse to the more far-fetched rapture). Now, however, I’m starting to have second thoughts.

The other day, in a hungry frenzy, Robby and I took off down Colonial Boulevard to find something to eat. It was late at night and most of our usual haunts were closed (aside from Ale House, but my figure can’t take many more loaded cheese fries). We didn’t want fast food and we all know what happens if either one of us steps foot into a Walmart after ten, so our options were limited.

In the much-blurred recesses of my brain, a few memories of the laudably dubbed “Club Apple” of Port Charlotte and North Port are filed away under “my drinking days.” For those of you who are sadly unfamiliar with the area or the term “Club Apple,” allow me to clarify. This is something you northerners are going to have to struggle with. When I say “Club Apple,” you’re probably thinking of some strobe-lit club with artsy, rhetro apples painted on the walls and a crazy dance floor and unique drinks with apple pucker and vodka.

That is because you are not from Port Charlotte.

Club Apple–and I’m being serious when I say this–is what Applebee’s turns into after nine o’clock on Tuesday nights. Applebee’s. As in the place your grandparents take you for dinner at five in the afternoon. A DJ or somebody with a 1990’s boom box strolls in and sets up a microphone and they play music until about 10ish. That’s when they turn on the karaoke machine. Partying it up in PC! Woot!

Anyway, now that I’ve sidetracked long enough to give you an adequately horrific visual of women in their eighties singing Poker Face, back to the Orlando Applebee’s by UCF…

I don’t remember if it was a Tuesday or not, but Club Apple wasn’t going on when we went there. My guess is that, since the average age in Orlando isn’t 75, there just isn’t much of a market for such a thing in Central Florida. Then again, maybe it was just a Monday or something. Either way, we went to Applebee’s and sat at one of many empty tables. Soon after we sit down, this college-aged waiter comes over. He looks normal enough, but he’s wearing this bizarre watch that looks like something Marty might have worn in Back to the Future. It’s essentially a thick black box on a wrist strap. Strange accessory choice, but whatever–to each their own. He smiles and asks us what we want to drink. We ordered and started looking at the menu.

Another ten to fifteen minutes went by (I knew because a weird digital clock thing was blinking up at me from the table). The waiter finally came back and presented us with watered down versions of what we’d ordered. He asked us what we wanted. We ordered and started chatting about this and that.

So then another twenty minutes goes by (again, I’m not assuming; the table told me so), and we realize that our drinks are empty and we still have no food. I ordered a salad (no meat…just veggies and dressing). Rob ordered his steak medium…so it shouldn’t have taken twenty minutes to cook. We shrugged and figured maybe something happened and they had to remake it.

Another ten minutes goes by. The waiter passes us on his way to do nothing (we’re two of perhaps five people in the whole place), and Rob calls him over. He said our food should be out soon and we asked for more drinks. Eight minutes later, we received said drinks. The food came out within a few seconds of that and we started to chow down.

The food was awful. Rob’s steak was dry and tasteless and my supposed vinaigrette salad dressing looked suspiciously whitish and translucent. I ended up pushing it aside and not eating any of it. The drinks were good, though, and happy hour lasts forever there, so we kept our spirits up and continued to laugh about random things.

The waitor didn’t show up again for another half an hour. I would have sent my food back and asked for something else (something I never do), but I didn’t even have the option. He flat disappeared. Meanwhile, Robby has discovered a new toy. He keeps playing with the box thing on our table that is telling us the time. Upon further inspection, we realize that it’s not only blinking the time at us–it’s advertising beers and actually kinda looks like a gps.

Eventually, the manager shows up and asks us if everything is to our liking. The waiter resurfaces and skirts around, giving us more alcohol while we talk to his boss. Aside from the strangely timed service, everyone has been pleasant enough. While we’re talking to this manager, I look down and realize that he seems to have shopped in the Back to the Future gift shop at Universal, too! He and the waiter had the same goofy watches that looked like they came straight out of a sci-fi comic book from the eighties.

As I start zoning out in a tipsy stupor and begin to imagine the manager in that weird life vest thing Michael J. Fox wore, I hear Robby ask the manager what the strange magickal box is for.

“Oh,” he says, messing with his super-secret-agent watch, “it’s a paging system.”

My little ears perked up. “I’m sorry, a what?”

“It’s a paging system. When you need your server you just call for them by pushing this button.” He took the box from Robby’s hand and pressed on the touch screen. In like two seconds, the server shows up, messing with his own super-secret-agent watch. The watch is now vibrating on his wrist.

It’s a shock collar for servers.

I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing.

As it turns out, the waiter wasn’t showing up because he assumed he wasn’t needed. Their new system requires you to send for them. Otherwise, they are told to leave you alone because you don’t want to be bothered. And do you know what they pay for this system? $3000.00 a month. Three grand so you can press a button to let your server know they’re needed. I wanted to tell the manager that if he just paid me $2000.00, I’d serve tables for him with more efficiency without the damn watch. I also wanted to ask him if he owned a delorian.

So that’s what it’s come to. Don’t get me wrong. I’m outraged. First of all, for old fashioned types like Rob and I, the system doesn’t work because we don’t even know it’s there. Secondly, as I said, it’s training your serving staff the way dogs are trained not to poop in the house.

But still. Every time you press the button, the guy has to show up. Every time. Oh, the fun you could have!! I wonder what happens when his phone vibrates after a shift. Is it like Pavlov’s dog? Does he recite the daily specials or take a drink order in the middle of class? I may never know.

Wine Health

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Author Kara Mae Adamo. While Ponce de Leon never did find his coveted Agua de Vive, the echoes of his fervent battle against mortality still affect our daily lives. From using anti-aging creams to undergoing more extreme methods like invasive plastic surgery, society is laden with tireless efforts to prolong our youth.
So how do we do it? How do we live longer, healthier, happier lives?

It appears that the answer to this unremitting question is simpler than we think. Studies show that people who enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner live an average of up to 34% longer than people who predominantly drink other alcoholic beverages and even longer than those who abstain from alcohol  altogether.[1] This is partially because resveratol, an antioxidant found in wines—especially in reds—extends the life span of cells by up to 80%[2].

Resveratol also inhibits tumor development and boosts your immune system.[3] Indeed, wine was used for medicinal purposes in 450 BCE when Hippocrates recommended certain wines for the purging of fevers. It was also used to disinfect and dress wounds and as a diuretic. In fact, around the 18th century, wine was considered safer to drink than most of the available water.

Wine calms your nerves, relieves tension and lowers your blood pressure. In fact, moderate wine drinkers that do have high blood pressure are still 30% less likely to have a heart attack than people who do not drink wine.[4] This is partially because the tannins in wine contain procyanidins and flavonoids, which protect the heart against heart disease.[5] Wine is also anti-coagulant and dilates the small blood vessels, preventing angina and clotting.[6]

The flavonoids found in wines also prevent cellular damage and reduce the production of LDL Cholesterol (the “bad” kind) while boosting the HDL Cholesterol (the “good” kind).[7]Flavonoids also favorably influence your lipid profiles following meals and prevent arteries from hardening.[8]

People who drink wine in moderate amounts every day also have 30% less risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes.[9] They also reduce their chances of liver disease by nearly half.[10] It reduces your possibility of stroke and even lowers your chance of developing cataracts by 32%.[11]

Going back to the fountain-of-youth motif, wine also appears to preserve cognitive function in older people. Regular-to-moderate wine consumption may help prevent many forms of dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.[12]

Do different wines have different medicinal properties?
In a sense, yes. Darker reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noirs have the highest flavonoid concentrations, while white wines are better for improving lung function,[13]reducing ulcers, decreasing ovarian cancer, and even strengthening your bones by up to 20%.[14]

So how much wine should I drink?
Like anything else, it’s about moderation. Women should drink about 4-ounces (about 1 glass) of wine a day. Men can have up to 8-ounces (2 glasses) daily. Anything past that, however, increases your risk for fat-build up in the blood stream. Long-term excessive alcohol damages the liver, the pancreas, nerve cells and can also contribute to malnutrition. It’s also important to consult your doctor before you start drinking wine if you already suffer from uncontrollable hypertension, congestive heart failure, liver disease, or pancreatitis.

There are a variety of delicious wines to choose from at your local grocer, restaurant or wine bar. There are some, however, that are turning towards making their own wine with products like The Artful Winemaker. By making your own wines, you can explore the varying complexities of different varietals and tweak and blend your creations to fit your palate.

Auguri e buona salute!

[1] According to a study published in the 2007 Journal of Gerontology
[2] According to a Harvard study of factors that influence aging conducted May of 2003
[3] Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53792, USA.
[4] According to a study published by the 2007 Harvard School of Public Health
[5] According to Dr. William Davis in his Nov. 13, 2009 “Heart Scan Blog Redux: Cheers to Flavonoids
[6] O’Reilly R. Lack of effect of mealtime wine on the hypoprothrombinemia of oral anticoagulants. Am J Med Sci 1979;277:189-94.
[7] American Chemical Society (2003, September 9). New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine.ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 19, 2011,
[8] Phytother Res. 2001 Aug;15(5):395-400. Impact of certain flavonoids on lipid profiles—potential action of Garcinia cambogia flavonoids.Koshy ASVijayalakshmi NR. Department of Biochemistry, University of Kerala, Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram-695581, India.
[9] According to a 12-year study at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center in 2005
[10] According to researchers from the University of California in San Diego.
[11] According to a Stony Brook University study in 2005
[12] According to a 2006 study at Columbia University
[13] University of Buffalo (2002, May 21). Drinking Wine, Particularly White Wine, May Help Keep Lungs Healthy, University At Buffalo Study
[14] According to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia, 2004;

Dead Things.

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I can’t believe we even have to go over this.

I know I complain about things a lot. It’s actually kind of part of who I am: someone who has an innate knack for finding absurd illogical oddities in day-to-day life. But these days, it’s not so much a “knack” as it is simply being even remotely observant.

This one has to do with death.

I’ve lost people in my life. My grandma Lillie died when I was 18. My great-grandparents passed away before her. I’ve had friends pass away and pets, of course. I miss these people. I think of them often, and I do have a small part of me wishing I had some sort of firm afterlife-oriented belief system so that I can imagine they’re partying it up somewhere else, just waiting for me to join. That’d be great. And if my skeptical side is incorrect and they actually are chilling on a cloud somewhere, I hope they have a nice cold one waiting for me.  This is not a rant about illogical religious practices. I’m giving up on that one for now.

This is a blog about illogical PHYSICAL practices. Get your heads out of the gutter; I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to the obsessive compulsive fascination people have with keeping their loved ones’ ashes. I understand keeping a watch or photographs. They meant something to you. I wear the opal necklace Lillie gave me and there is a turquoise ring great-grandma Thelma left me that I particularly favor. I get it. But their charred remains? Really? I pray to whatever the hell is out there that my future children find it in them to let go instead of keeping me in a jar somewhere. Sprinkle me wherever you’d like. It all turns into plant food anyway. Make it a nice little non-religious ceremony and get rid of me. A Viking funeral would be awesome…or put me up on pilings and roast me like the Greeks. Then, party it up with lots of booze in front of a camp fire at the beach and talk shit about my quirks until you pass out laughing. It’s good for the soul.

Do. Not. Keep. My. Corpse.

Not embalmed. Not cremated. Nada.

There is actually even a website that specializes in turning cremated pets into keepsakes. I love my cat, but like my last one, when he goes, he goes. I’m not turning him into a little knick-knack. That is his purpose while he is alive. When he’s dead, he’s off duty. I get that they turn them into glass “works of art,” but you can buy the same exact thing elsewhere for less money that is made from some other prehistoric “pet”. It’s the same damn thing. That glass paperweight isn’t going to have your pet’s personality, and so help me god if you carve its name into its own remains, I’m going to freak out.

I understand that it’s a sentimental thing to do. I do. My boyfriend keeps his old dog’s tag on his keychain. But it’s not actually Taz. It’s a keychain.

The real problem I have with the whole thing is that it screws with the entire coping process. Grief is healthy. Acceptance comes after it, along with healing and strengthening. You build yourself up from grief. It’s important. Closure, especially, is important. If you’re wearing Fido around your neck, how are you ever going to move past it?

Now, that’s the pet half of this debacle. It’s less serious and, let’s face it, crazy people have been stuffing their pets for years. This is the modern-day version of that…I get it. At least now, Spot’s not staring blankly out at you through glass beads where his eyes used to be. (Sorry, I know it’s candid, but it’s necessary to acknowledge the reality of the situation.) The other, far more worrisome part of this deals with people who are now paying to turn their loved ones into jewelry.  I can’t be kind about this. First of all, it’s hard enough to date a widower or widow (or so I’ve heard)…but can you imagine complimenting them on a diamond necklace only to find out that it’s actually what’s left of the dude in all the old photographs?

Secondly, I must ask simply because I cannot help myself, is it still considered stalkerish if they’re already dead to be absolutely everywhere they are without them knowing it? I mean, you’re wearing them. It’s like an after-death hostage situation. I know all diamonds are made of remains from plants, animals and probably humans, but at least I don’t personally know all of my jewelry. See how weird that sounds? I love Robby, but I don’t plan on turning him into a pair of tear-drop earrings so I can have him with me always. If I want sparkly conflict-free gems, I’ll just buy moissanites. They’re essentially shooting stars…or at least they share the same chemical makeup of them. And, they’re cheaper. Why spend almost four grand to make a quarter-carat diamond out of your loved one when you can sprinkle them around in cool places like the beach or out into the wind for free? When my mom goes, she wants to be planted in a Christmas Tree farm. She said that that way she’d be a part of Christmas forever. It’s bizarre, but at least she’s kept it to just Christmas. I’m not stowing her away in a jewelry box somewhere, matching her to outfits and high heals.

Here’s another concern. According to the spokesman for the cheerfully named “Ashes to Ashes” (the company that insists on pushing this bizarre though, I must hand it to them, apparently lucrative business), Each person has enough carbon in them to create between 50 and 100 diamonds. What happens when the crazy murderer types (it sounds far-fetched, but they are out there…what about the gold diggers that wind up killing their spouses for a fortune?) decide to off their “loved ones” for their carbon? It’s very conspiracy-theorist-esque (New term. Deal with it.), but it could happen. Plus, people have ransacked tombs for years. What’s to stop them from one day doing the same thing with freshly dug graves and ashes? Seems like a feasible possibility. There are those who have no respect for the dead. In my home town, they caught people sneaking into Rest Lawn Cemetery (which is for some reason located right smack dab in the middle of town). These crooks were actually stealing dead people’s jewelry. So there. It’s not so absurd of a concept now, is it? How do you regulate carbon that’s already been charred beyond recognition? This could be a whole new form of embezzlement.

But I digress. The most important part of this is that people are now finding a short-cut to dealing with death that, other than perhaps the pharaohs, I can’t imagine another culture even considering. Either you’re finding some way for that person to always be with you–kind of a sparkly security blanket–or you’re even more of a narcissist than I am and you yourself want to be around forever. Impermanence is beautiful. Accept it.

If for some ungodly reason you are interested in this strange practice, here are the two respective websites. Just keep in mind that, if Jonathan Demme directed a movie about this, it would be along the same lines of “Buffalo Bill” from Silence of the Lambs. Don’t kid yourself. It’s still live people wearing dead people. It just sparkles more and there’s less sewing involved.

http://www.petcremainsinglass.com/about.html

http://www.ashestodiamond.com/index.aspx?BType=atd&BAg=atdt&gclid=CPWzu_asnqQCFY5a7AodGQiiEw

Should have done this months ago…

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Kara Mae Adamo

I’m not 100% sure why this has taken so long…but after months of writing for otherompanies, I’ve finally decided to create my own personal wordpress account. I actually have a couple of websites I already blog on, including my wine blog (Kara’s Grapevine), facebook, twitter of course…and my own website, which is actually an online art portfolio (Kara’s Creations).

This will probably work as a personal sound board. I rant a lot and I’m thinking this will be yet another venue for me to talk people’s ears off. Feel free to comment on any of my rambling entries. =)

~Kara Mae Adamo~