Thursday, June 01, 2006


Sorry it's been a week since my last substantive post. I wish I could say that I'm so busy I haven't had time to give the blog a second thought, but the truth is, I think about it every day and just haven't been able to come up with something compelling to write about. I was reading my favorite, James Lileks, yesterday, and he was talking about sprinkles.
If I die next week, put sprinkles on my coffin; it’ll soften the blow. Sprinkles make anything better. They’re tasteless, waxy, nothing but pointless sugar, but they’re SPRINKLES! I look for sprinkles in my own daily life, actually. That leather gear-shift knob option at the dealership: sprinkles. A new icon set to replace system defaults: sprinkles.
So I was thinking, what are some of my sprinkles? Well, I love electronics, for one. I got myself a new toy from Amazon: the Garmin StreetPilot i5. It's one of those handy GPS navigators for the car. With all this impending travel, I figured it would come in pretty handy. I researched the options, and you can spend over $1000 on these things. My main requirement was that maps for the entire U.S. come preloaded. I didn't want to mess with USB cords and CD's--and running the risk of being somewhere I haven't loaded the maps for. (Total coincidence: I just read about David Pogue's recent nightmarish experience with an ill-equipped device.)

When it comes to electronics I usually spring for all the bells and whistles, because, well, they're my sprinkles. But I read lots of reviews and there were so many problems with the fancier units locking up and not functioning. The i5, on the other hand, got solid reviews, and I liked its small size and the fact that you can run it on batteries (no unwieldy cords to grapple with). It also happened to be one of the least expensive units--especially considering it has preloaded maps. Both and Amazon had it for the same price. I decided to go with Amazon, which turned out well, because when I selected two-day shipping I was offered it for free (the shipping!) if I signed up for a three-month trial of Amazon Prime (a program that gives you free two-day shipping on all orders for $79/year). I figured I would just cancel after the three months, and in the meantime enjoy free fast shipping.

So far I've used the i5 around town and am pretty happy with it. It took a while to acquire the satellites the first time, and it still can take up to a minute, but once it's locked in there haven't been problems losing the reception. I haven't driven anywhere unfamiliar yet, but I've had it on to see what it can do. It wants to put me on the most obvious main routes, and sometimes I know quicker and easier back ways. But if I were unfamiliar with the area, sticking to the main streets would probably be better anyway. I can tell that the maps are a little out of date (I would guess about a year old) because one of the newer shopping centers here does not exist in its database. But I simply input a nearby intersection and it got me there fine. The screen is plenty bright, the volume is plenty loud, and I even got to choose a British accent for the voice directions! The only issue has been figuring out where to put it. It comes with a windshield-mount suction cup, which works great en route, but when left sitting in a hot car for a few hours, it falls off. Not to mention that if it's stuck to the windshield, the little gadget is in full view of any envious passers-by who might see fit to break my window and treat themselves to a "sprinkle" of their own.

Let's see, what else is a sprinkle? Mmm, the new KFC bowl. I tried it for lunch today, even though I was a little wary of the gravy-cheese combo (they looked at me funny when I asked to put those on the side, and said, "It's the bowl," as if it's some sacred combination not to be toyed with, so I buckled). It was dee-lish! I looked on their website to check out the nutrition info, but I guess it's too new of an item to be listed there. I'm sure it's sky-high in terms of fat, calories, cholesterol, and carbs. But at least the portion wasn't outlandishly large. In fact, it seemed kind of small, but afterwards I was quite full.

Any more sprinkles? Have you seen the new progress bars over on the right? And my new Relocating to NC graphic? Those are definitely sprinkles! How about getting change and finding state quarters or the new nickels--ridiculously thrilling sprinkles! Oh, and guilty pleasure TV, that's a big sprinkle--shows like Gameshow Marathon. I watched it last night since American Idol and Lost are over. It's a fun concept. Their first game was Price is Right, and it's a hoot to see celebrities trying to figure out how much things cost. Of course, they also had rather odd items up for bid, things that no one would know the price of, like a ceiling-suspended "bubble chair." And in the Showcase Showdown, there was a vintage Mustang. Something like that is really not fair to put up for bids, because who knows what kind of condition it's in?

One touch that I liked was that the games and set were exactly like the real Price is Right, down to the old-school digital readouts of bids, and the giant wheel. Of course, the celebrities don't get to keep what they win; lucky home viewers win all the stuff. (You can enter via text message, or online.) The winning celeb each night advances into the final round (Family Feud with the celebrities' own friends and family!), and the winner of that will win $100,000 for their charity of choice. The next episode is tonight, and they're playing Let's Make a Deal. From the previews, it looks like it's the same celebrities, which is odd. They showed a whole bunch more in the audience, who were never called up... Some of the other games they'll be playing are Card Sharks and Press Your Luck. I loved those shows as a child!! (I told you I was a couch potato in my youth.)

At the same time on ABC are the finals of the National Spelling Bee. That could be interesting too. I came across this blog, written in real-time by an on-location observer. Did you ever see Spellbound? Good movie!

So what are your "sprinkles"?


  1. Everything this great nation has to offer is a "SPRINKLE" compared to numerous other countries. SEMPER FIDELIS!!

  2. Glad to see that you are back blogging:) You have great insight to living in North Carolina!

  3. To Anonymous #1 (come on, we know it's you, Matthew!): Yes, I'm sure compared to some of the places you've seen, we are living in a land paved with sprinkles.

    To Anonymous #2: Thanks! I try. :P