A Pizza Bowl Of Toppings

Over the years, pizza chains have exhausted the list of possibilities of gimmicks to create a new form of pizza. Every few months a restaurant invents some slight modification to lure customers to order your next pizza from them. Pizza Hut is probably the most active player in this practice.

Do you remember the stuffed crust pizza? When it came out, they advertised it as “the pizza that you eat backwards.” I doubt that anyone actually ate it that way. Now that concept has been expanded to cheesy bites pizza, bacon stuffed pizza, and now hot dog crust pizza. I must say, the hot dog infused pizza crust both looks and sounds pretty nasty. I’ve never tried it.

A long time ago, my brother came up with a great new idea. It’s brilliant in its simplicity!

The idea: A bowl of toppings. Yes, a pizza bowl! It could rival the burrito bowl. It would be just a bowl full of toppings! Everything but the bread. I’d order one in a heartbeat.

Imagine sitting down to a bowl filled with a hint of tomato sauce, a hefty wad of cheese, and any toppings that you like on your pizza. Personally, I’d go for pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms. It sounds delicious!

Sure, such a pizza bowl is going to cost more than your average pizza. After all, it’s everything but the bread. The crust is easily the cheapest and most filling ingredient in making a pizza. If a pizza bowl can be priced reasonably, I say go for it. Why not? They’ve already stretched every other gimmick to the limit.

Somebody bring on the pizza bowl!

Beep Goes the Microwave

I despise the beeping sound of a microwave. My microwave at home beeps at least three times when the time runs out to announce that it has finished cooking. The units in my office cafeteria beep four or more times. I don’t know the precise count offhand, but trust me, when there are a row of microwaves, it can become highly obnoxious at lunchtime.

There needs to be an option to disable the beeps entirely, much like most dryers allow you to disable the buzzer that signals when the clothes are dry. (For the record, I hate that buzzer too.)

Most of the time, I simply use my microwave to reheat a cup of coffee or something small like that. Reheating coffee takes less than 20 seconds. Does the microwave really need to beep three times to let me know that 20 seconds have passed? How far away could I possibly have gone that I need to be reminded that I just heated a cup of coffee? Seriously. The majority of the time, I open the door before the time expires so that I don’t have to endure the sound of the beeps.

I have an idea for a better, smarter microwave. The number beeps should correspond with the amount of time the microwave was running. If a frozen dinner has been in there for 7 minutes, then by all means, go ahead and beep three times. Chances are that I will have left the room by the end of those 7 minutes. However, if the total cook time was less than a minute, it should beep only one time, if at all. I still would like to have the option of disabling it entirely.

While I’m on the topic, why does it have to be a beep at all? Why not add a voice announcement that says it’s done? Perhaps they could program different options in there, or perhaps, let me record my own.

Does this obnoxious beeping bother anyone other than me? I’d think there would be more of a movement to do something about it, but the general population seems to be pretty content to simply put up with it. Oh well!

The Unsettling Silent Public Bathroom

Public bathrooms are far too quiet. I find this to be the case at most places. It bothers me.

The bathrooms in my office building are completely silent. It’s disturbing. I don’t mind it as much when I am in there alone. It’s when I’m in there with other people that it becomes unsettling. When you’re standing next to someone at a urinal, it is common knowledge that you do not speak to each other. The dead silence in the room can create some very awkward moments.

For example, when someone is pooping in a stall, I do not want to hear it. I don’t want any knowledge of what is going on in there whatsoever. The bathroom desperately needs some background noise. It shouldn’t be totally silent. It creates an awkward situation for all parties involved.

Public bathrooms should have some type of ambient sound that is constantly playing. Think of it as some white noise to mask the yellow noise, if you get my drift. Ha! I had to work that line in somewhere.

In all seriousness, an end to the complete silence is sorely needed. Some restaurants pump music into the bathroom, and that’s a fine solution. It gets the job done. I would suggest that the sound could also be that of an exhaust fan, a waterfall, a mechanical hum, or practically anything. Anything would be better than nothing!

I prefer the idea of some basic white noise rather than using music. It doesn’t have to be a mechanical object. A simple speaker embedded in the ceiling would work just fine. Then any noise come out of it that one prefers. Let’s implement this, for everyone’s sake.

Hotel Master Bedroom

I have a grand idea for the ultimate master bedroom in my future house. I think that the master bedroom should be completely self-sustaining without regard to the rest of the house.

I want the bedroom to be an exact replica of a fancy hotel room, complete with all of the features of one. A king size bed would be the centerpiece of the room, but that’s only the beginning. The room should be fitted with a bathroom, shower, and walk-in closet, naturally.

Beyond that, it should have a desk, table and chairs, a small refrigerator, microwave, and a coffee pot. It should have everything a hotel room has. I want it to look exactly like a hotel room. In fact, I even want one of those large air conditioner/heater window units that I love listening to when I’m staying in a hotel. Crank it up.

The door to the room should be thick and heavy, complete with a peephole, and all of the appropriate locks. Perhaps toss in a mock card reader, for effect.

I love staying in hotels. This bedroom would be like a home away from home, except it is at home. It would be even better than a hotel, because in my room, the TV remote wouldn’t be nailed to the nightstand.

I should be able to live in this one room without needing to use the rest of the house at all. Imagine how convenient it would be when houseguests are staying over.

If I could direct a house to be built to my specifications, I would make this a reality. Wouldn’t it be awesome? Yes. Yes, it would.

Hurl In The Sink

I want to discuss an unpleasant topic – vomiting. I suppose that the subject is a bit nasty compared to the things that I generally write about, but rest assured, it happens to us all from time to time.

People traditionally do the dirty deed crouched on their hands and knees over a toilet. Why is that the standard way of handling this? When you think about it, it’s pretty gross. The thought of having my mouth anywhere near the toilet makes me want to barf, even when I don’t feel sick. I’d rather go outside and do it in the yard before going to the bathroom and getting face-to-face with the commode.

It’s very rare that I feel sick to the point of throwing up. However, one day last month I felt sick after eating at home. The thought of going to the bathroom and staring into the toilet bowl seemed so foul that I decided I wasn’t going to do it.

I took a rational approach and stood over the kitchen sink to deal with the matter. Since the outcome was surely not going to be pure liquid, I used the side with the garbage disposal. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll tell you that it was a complete success. It was a brilliant plan! I don’t want to be crouched over a toilet bowl ever again.

I understand, however, that if you are in the company of other people, you may want to go to the bathroom for privacy. If that isn’t an issue, then the kitchen sink is the way to go. Using the sink, you are able to get through the unpleasant act on your feet, with a sense of dignity. I urge that you consider it the next time you are feeling ill.

A Four Seasons Store

Recently, I was groaning about the fact that area malls already have Christmas decorations up when Halloween hadn’t even come yet. I bring this up every year, so this is nothing new.

The discussion spawned a brilliant idea. My brother gets full credit for this, as was completely his idea. He proposed that someone should open a store that sells seasonal goods year-round.

The store could be named “Four Seasons.” Imagine the inventory! Valentines hearts, Cadbury Eggs, peeps, fireworks, pilgrim hats, Christmas decorations, pumpkin-flavored foods, Halloween decorations, you name it. He said, “I should be able to buy eggnog in July.” Right on.

I think this could work. After all, some towns already have those terrible year-round Christmas stores that somehow are able to stay in business. I despise them. I could, however, see myself stopping in at a Four Seasons store from time to time. Wouldn’t it be great? Discuss.

Seven Ways to Improve the Deli Department

One area of the grocery shopping experience that is in need of an overhaul is at the deli counter. It seems that all grocery stores I have been to provide roughly the same frustrating experience. If I were in charge of store operations, I would run things differently. I have identified seven changes that I think should be put into effect in the deli department. See if you agree.

1. Add barriers to force a single-file line at the deli counter. I’ve always found it very frustrating that there is no sense of order at the counter. Customers are left to crowd around and jockey for position. It’s nerve-wracking. There needs to be one simple line that brings order to this chaos.

2. Increase the deli staff during the evening rush hour. I propose doubling the deli staff between the hours of 5pm and 6pm. All too often, I walk toward the deli, see a large crowd of people, then turn around and go buy prepackaged meat at the back of the store. I refuse to stand in a mob and wait 10 minutes to order some lunch meat.

3. Allow customers to fill out an order form and place it on the counter so that they can continue shopping and return to pick up the completed order. This seems like a no-brainer. If this were an option, I wouldn’t have to worry about waiting 10 minutes to place my order, as I complained about above in item #2.

4. Go faster. This is a simple idea, but worth adding. In my experience, the deli employees could move a lot faster. They generally don’t show any sign of urgency. I suggest hiring a staff of former bartenders that know a thing or two about how to hustle.

5. When there are a lot of people waiting to order, don’t ask each customer if they want a sample of the meat they are already buying. It takes too much time. Customers waiting behind them shouldn’t be forced to wait even longer while you stop working to offer up a sample to each person who orders. Skip this practice entirely.

6. Maximize efficiency. Here is something that drives me crazy. After each customer orders, the deli worker stops to wrap the meat they were using to put it away. This is inefficient. If the meat they are working on is one of the current specials, they should ask aloud if anyone else is going to want some before putting it away, instead of having to repeat the repacking process over and over again. The meat can sit out for a minute if the next person is going to want some.

7. Slice the meat thinner! This is of utmost importance. If I don’t specifically tell them that I want the meat sliced thin, they hand me a stack of thick slices of meat. I don’t understand why this is always the case. I suppose it is faster and takes less work. I’ll bet that if the deli employees had it their way, they would saw off a pound of ham and throw the entire mass in a bag and hand it to me. I want the meat to be as thin as possible. It should be the default.

Earbud Labeling Should Be Made Clear

These days, the use of traditional headphones has given way to little earbuds that we stick in our ears. Of course, old school headphones sound better, but even I have succumb to use the basic earbuds that came with my iPod.

I have a complaint to make; one that I imagine would be universal. That is that every company makes it too difficult to determine which of the two earbuds you are sticking in your ear. The little L and R stamped on the sides are unnecessarily hard to read, regardless of the brand. I find this to be needlessly frustrating. I have complained about this many times over the past few years.

I would like to propose a new standard in which the left earbud is a completely different color than the right one. Earbuds should be made with one side black and the other side white, for instance. Whether I am holding the left or right earbud needs to be made blatantly obvious. It is important to the sound quality that the correct half is in the correct corresponding ear. I beg the manufacturers of these things to make it clear which is which. This desperately needs to be done. Somebody make it so.