TREADMILLS ARE MODERN DAY TORTURE DEVICES

It’s summertime, which means that it’s warm outside and the humidity devil is well upon us. And who wants to run in a literal sauna? Not me, that’s for freaking sure. I usually don’t want to run in general because there are so many other options today in the fitness industry that are not as boring. Yet I still do it from time to time so that I don’t feel as bad about eating entire pints of ice cream by myself or missing 100% of my stand hours during a work day.

Until recently I genuinely believed that no human looked forward to the humidity. Except for those who willingly choose to live in Florida, of course. You might as well put yourself in an oven and bake – that’s how it feels every time you step outside in the deep deep south. Regardless, I finally met someone who prefers 100% humidity over any other weather. And the kicker is that they live up north. Like north, north. So I’m not fully connecting the dots there, and I thought I was super weird, but now I realize that there are some even weirder than I.

But I digress. Running. Heat. Humidity. Bleh. For the sane of us, we tend to look inwards when faced with this challenge. Inwards to the gym where there are running devices that prevent us from having to lose every ounce of water weight we have in 30 seconds. I’m talking about the treadmill. I have to be honest, when you look through the cardio section and see treadmills stacked up next to stationary bikes, ellipticals, stair steppers, rowing machines, etc. they look very unassuming. Like an awkward shaped L with no pedals, or fancy buttons, or preferred form, or anything. That’s how they get you.

Treadmills are evil. They draw you in with their guise of quick and simple to use while failing to mention you will be on the most monotonous ride of your life. Literally, you go nowhere. Part of the appeal (strong word, I know, but it’s on the pro side) for running is getting to explore, be outdoors, and get to move about. The manufactured machine removes all of those options from the overall experience. There is no exploring. There is no outdoors. There is no moving about. It’s all simulated in screens that take you through foreign lands and beautiful trails, or towns, to trick you into thinking you’re having a good time.

While I appreciate the technological advancements, and drone footage hours, that lead to perceived exploration, it’s not the same as being on those trails. Staying on this topic a bit longer, why are so many of the covered areas uphill? Why would you trick me into thinking I have to exert more energy? I constantly find myself getting closer and closer to the screen because my incline is on 0, but in my mind I’m climbing a mountain. 

Also, why are all of the trails so narrow? Why do none of the people who accidentally get caught in the filming process never know the drone is there until it’s literally on their head and they get startled? That startles me! I like to give fellow people a good berth when running so they don’t think I’m trying to pickpocket them. Or scare them as the technology version likes to do. Share the road, SHARE THE SIDEWALK, share the airspace, just share. I have to believe that whoever is flying them can see the people ahead and have the ability to avoid them … but apparently that is also incorrect. 

If the fake nature isn’t your jam, you can always turn to the TVs in the gym for mindless entertainment. Although they always, always, are on either the news, some ridiculous drama, a cooking show, or a sports network. The news is as boring as running and is always so depressing – hard pass. Dramas are my least favorite option anyways – the world has enough drama, I don’t need fake drama. The cooking shows always make me hungry, which is not ideal in the middle of a workout. And the sports networks remind me that I’m a mere peasant in the fitness world compared to the professional athletes out there who get paid to run indoors. Basically, all of those options suck too.

I guess you could also watch people, but you have to be sneaky about it. Have you ever caught someone running on a treadmill hardcore staring at you? It’s terrifying. The intensity of the glare, mostly because they’re running and it’s hard to look like you don’t hate everything when you’re running, combined with the sweat and heavy breathing is honestly a bit creepy. In short, there are not good eye wandering options indoors on the treadmill. There’s really no good reason to get on a treadmill. If you must run, go outdoors. But know that it’s 2021 and there are lots, I mean LOTS, of better alternative cardio options.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT DO COUSCOUS, GLITTER, AND ARTIFICIAL TURF HAVE IN COMMON?

You know what’s super fun? When you live through a moment and then that moment just simply resides somewhere in your memory for the rest of time. Or until you lose your mind, whichever comes first. You experience it and then all traces of it leave your immediate surroundings for the rest of time. It’s the circle of life. The Lion King demonstrated this perfectly with Mufasa’s death. He lived on in spirit, but he wasn’t really there. And so should most things in life be. 

Certain things are good to have around after the fact. If you’re missing your significant other, for example, and they happened to have left some things at your place. If you eat the most amazing piece of cake and then the person who brought it leaves the leftovers for you. If you watch the best sports game ever and the after show just shows replay on replay of all the great plays. You get it? Occasionally it’s great to have some remnants leftover. Occasionally being the key word.

Regular things are ok to just dip out when their time in the spotlight has come to an end. Things such as food prep, outdoor materials, and craft supplies. And toilet paper … why does it always end up on the floor? Who is throwing it on the floor? Is it putting itself there? And why is it always in a shredded piece on the floor? Never like a full square. Just a wolverine on a rampage type shred. Also, why is it all of a sudden incredibly sticky when it’s on the floor? It will stick to anything, namely the rubber sole of your shoe. 

While we’re on this subject, why is the floor of every public restroom just constantly wet? My bathroom at home enjoys a dry floor 99.99% of the time. The only time it does not, is when I exit the shower. Is there a reason this doesn’t transfer to public places? Last time I checked, most public restrooms do not have public showers as well. And yet, puddles. All the time. It never dries. It’s stagnant. It is standing water and thinking about it gives me the chills. This is a crisis and I would like to know who is doing this to the restrooms of the world. It is not acceptable. It never was.

Wow, I could write an entire rant on that. I have so many more questions. But alas, that is not the journey we were destined for today. No, today we examine the crisis of cheap, tiny, circular objects found near humans all around the world. Don’t be fooled by how easy they are to acquire. It’s like a computer virus – shockingly simple to click on, but it will eff you up for a while. Days, weeks, months. It’s an all out commitment to seek out and exterminate it.

Enter the seemingly innocent physical viruses known as couscous, glitter, and artificial turf. If you’ve ever had the pleasure, nay the horror, of dealing with any of these things, you know what I’m talking about. If you have never dealt with them, well, have you never met a girl somewhere between the ages of 2-99 in your life? Because I blame the Disney princesses for the glitter issue. And the social stigma that girl and glitter must be soulmates since you can’t spell glitter without girl.

How does it not wash off? How can I clean it off all spaces, including myself, and still wake up and find it places? It’s made 50% of glue I have to believe. You barely touch it and all of a sudden it’s a part of you forever. It will show up in rooms that you never went into during your foray into the sparkly rainbow world. How? Magic? No. Demonic craft supply companies. Play with glitter, they say. It will make your life sparkly, they say. Yes, but then it won’t leave.

While glitter is probably the more well known craft curse, it is not lost on me that in recent years outdoor athletes have had to deal with an equally traumatizing experience known as artificial turf. It gets in your shoes. It gets in your bag. It somehow always ends up in your pants. It hides so nicely in a carpet. It will live under your insole for years. It’s everywhere. It is a disease. You can vacuum. You can sweep. You can shower. But it will never leave you.

And then, we have the edible portion of the post: couscous. If you’ve been keeping up to this point, you know the storyline here. It just appears. In the sink. On countertops. In the cabinets. Why? How? Make it stop. The kitchen has been scrubbed. It’s been deep cleaned. It has not seen a box of couscous in months and still … still! They pop up from time to time like the gremlins that they are. 

I don’t know who, or whom, is responsible for any of these creatures. I don’t believe they are inanimate objects. They must have some sort of advanced technology embedded deep into their tiny, miniscule little earthly bodies just to torture us. They were Siri, and Google, and Alexa before it was cool to spy on people. I bet they’ve been listening to us for years. But without a helpful counterpart which is the targeted ad.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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RANKING POPULAR HARD SELTZER BRANDS

Hard seltzers are a whole mood. Nothing says I’m here to have a good time for a long time like a hard seltzer. I mean it’s basically water after all. Just with some “natural” flavors and some sort of non-water added. Presumably alcohol, although who’s preventing someone from coming out with a hard LaCroix and scamming people. The Internet. That’s who. All the trolls and people looking to make a quick buck. Which in this case works out very well for all of us looking to get our buzz on.

Unlike beer, wine, or mixed drinks, you can drink hard seltzers all day. There’s a reason White Claw is the new unofficial Corona of the beach. Have one, have four, have a case – you can still go to dinner afterwards and feel great! In other words, it’s like drinking hard liquor without having to actually drink hard liquor. Because why do we do that to ourselves? It ends the same way every time and we never learn. Peer pressure is a true threat to the health of my liver, but still I can’t say no.

For everyone who thinks hard seltzers are for the weak, come talk to me after trying to keep up with your 7.5% IPA. Bubbles and carbs are not a good combination for efficiency in a timely manner. But this post is not about volume. It’s about quality and, like most things in life, not all hard seltzers are created equally. They are all created equally on the outside, however. I have yet to find a hard seltzer in a bottle. I have been given the option of a hard seltzer on tap, though, and I have to be real – that’s too far. A hard seltzer should come in a can, so I can take it anywhere, and be refreshing to the point where I’m not really sure if I’m drinking juice, regular seltzer, or something for adults only.

Alright, enough pregaming, let’s get to it! There are many, many, many … many options on the market right now, but some are better than others. Some are also better than most. 3, 2, 1 cheers! Here are the rankings of current hard seltzer brands. According to me. The Restless Professional. You may feel differently and I guess that’s fine. You do you. I’m doing me. There are definitely others, but for the sake of space, my sanity, and my health, sticking to more popular options:

  1. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Signature Flavors
  2. Press Premium Hard Seltzer
  3. Crook & Marker Spiked Seltzer
  4. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Classic Collection
  5. Truly Punch Hard Seltzer
  6. Bud Light Seltzer Retro Pack
  7. Bud Light Seltzer Remix Pack
  8. Bud Light Seltzer Holiday Pack
  9. Smirnoff Seltzer Rose Pack
  10. Natty Light Hard Seltzer
  11. Vizzy Hard Seltzer
  12. Bud Light Hard Seltzer
  13. White Claw Hard Seltzer
  14. Bud Light Lemonade Seltzer
  15. Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer
  16. Truly Hard Seltzer
  17. Jose Cuervo Tequila Seltzer
  18. Seagram’s Hard Seltzer
  19. Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer
  20. High Noon Hard Seltzer
  21. Truly Tea Hard Seltzer
  22. Truly Extra Hard Seltzer
  23. PBR Stronger Seltzer
  24. BON V!V Spiked Seltzer
  25. Wild Basin Hard Seltzer

Believe it or not, 25 only dents the currently way over-saturated seltzer market. This is my blog and I don’t feel pressure to justify, but I do think it would be fun to dive in deeper. And you can’t stop me, so here goes! Michelob and Press are clearly winners and everyone should buy them. I can, and will, drink them all day every day. Crook & Marker is a close third and very flavorful. Truly averages the bottom half of the list, but their Punch Pack is a gem. Not sure that tea is the same as water, so is it really a seltzer? Marketing says yes, but it still tastes like a Twisted Tea to me. Bud Light has found their true calling and has released several killer collections that spice up any time of year. Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo couldn’t be outdone by beer companies and make decent options as well. The rose collection is more for crisp seltzers / borderline cider fans, however.

Natty Light is the biggest surprise on this list. While I would never again subject myself to the watered down toast that is a regular Natty Light, their seltzers are surprisingly on point and their flavor combos are unique – which says a lot in the current market. Vizzy and White Claw are good, but forgettable among new competition. Seagram’s and Mike’s are known for disgustingly sweet drinks and their seltzers are no different. Still decent flavors, though, and who doesn’t love a good Mike’s Hard in the summer? Rounding it out, High Noon and BON V!V I can take a hard pass on. While their flavors sound good, the taste is nowhere near expectations. Finally, the new Truly Extra and PBR Stronger taste more like liquor than a refreshing seltzer. Though still both better than Wild Basin which tastes exactly like the name implies.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR TOILET PAPER COMPANIES: WIPE AWAY YOUR MARKETING GAMES

Marketing teams are like shopping ninjas. Out to murder your budget. Just when you think you’re going to stick to your list BAM! Sales! Bonus items! Mega rolls! Celebrity endorsements! Colorful packaging! Cute animals! Health buzzwords! Targeted ads! You name it, I can almost guarantee a marketing department has tried it. Why not, though? That is quite actually their job. To make you buy a certain product over its competitors. Or, in other words, to pay for the marketing people’s jobs. It’s a very survival of the fittest kind of career.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to their stealthy skills. I would actually classify myself as a marketer’s dream purchaser. Swayed easily by packaging, deals, and special ads that clearly are a result of the Internet listening to my private life. I don’t care. Listen, I’ve ended up with some amazing products that I didn’t know I needed in my life thanks to targeted ads. In fact, I now actively start vocalizing bigger purchases weeks in advance so I can get a nice coupon. Although, if we’re being honest, it doesn’t have to be big. If I need more food I throw that out into the universe as well. Google’s fuzzy privacy laws have yet to let me down is all I’m saying.

Where was I going with this? Oh, right! Gullibility! So the other day I was in the toilet paper aisle and it dawned on me that I don’t know what a regular sized roll is. Does anyone? Every single company, let me repeat, every single company has a mega roll as their baseline product. Which, supposedly, is 4 regular rolls. And I would kindly like to call bullshit. Literally since as early back as I can remember in life, the so-called mega roll is a regularly sized roll of toilet paper. If I cut that down by 4 I would have 25% of a normal roll left. That’s it. There are no extra sheets in there. 

It’s also most curious how a lovely 2-ply 1000 sheet roll is slightly bigger than a nice, plush mega roll (the size of FOUR regular rolls in case you’ve already forgotten). What is this nonsense? And where did the four multiplier come from? And that’s just one of the options. Then there’s the jumbo roll, which, apparently, is even bigger. The size of five regular rolls one could say. At what point did mega become the standard? It for sure wasn’t recently enough where we can still use it in marketing. Surely.

Did people in the past not wipe? How many rolls came in a regular, fits under the sink, pack? 48? Was it simply a commodity? Is that why the rolls were so tiny? I cannot comprehend how we would have survived the COVID TP crisis with mere regular sized rolls. And that’s only half of the puzzle when it comes to paper of the toilet. After you’ve blown your mind and stressed yourself out deciding if mega will even be enough for your family, then you have the soft versus strong issue. Why can it not simply be both?

I’m going to say it, I don’t understand this marketing scheme. It’s a lot like the left Twix, right Twix DEBACLE. Soft toilet paper is like a luscious paper towel and is too thick. Strong toilet paper is not as nice to the places you’re wiping. I don’t want one or the other, I want both. I need one that is both soft and strong so I can enjoy the go as my favorite modern day care bears keep wishing for me. To make matters worse, they now have ultra soft and ultra strong. Like, I either want to wipe with a blanket or an axe – there’s no in between. And what do each of those new distinctions get us? Higher prices! Because it’s shiny and new and “better”.

Can I just say that I’m over it. I feel like our marketing efforts started with good intentions, then became a competition, and have gone awry. How much softer can ultra soft possibly be than soft? At the end of the day, it’s just a piece of paper that will get used to wipe your unmentionables and then flushed into the sewer system. Think about that when a T-Rex roll comes out in a scented, plush style. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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I JUST REWATCHED THE PRINCESS DIARIES AND I HAVE QUESTIONS

Genovia, the land I call my home! Genovia, Genovia, forever will your banner wave! And all of your outdated rules about how a princess should behave. Despite some questionable requirements for royalty, who doesn’t love a good rags to riches story? With the glow-up of the century to boot. Mia embodies a true confused millennial spirit as she is presented with the throne of a country and as much as I love this story, there are moments that confuse even myself – a fellow confused millennial. Please enjoy all of my questions and observations presented by official TRP decree:

  • The opening credits have a very 90s animated movie type, but it was 20 years ago so I’ll let it slide (unlike Clarice)
  • Imagine living in a refurbished fire station … your alarm clock could be the siren
  • Their neighbor is Mr. Robitussin? Like the cough medicine?
  • I see electric scooters were cool even in the the early 2000s 
  • Lana, Anna, and Fontana give off pre Mean Girls Mean Girls vibes
  • Why does Lilly carry around a rubber band ball? Did they not have stress balls back then?
  • Imagine if debate was a required class in high school. The absolute trauma as if high school isn’t stressful enough
  • Is rock climbing an approved future princess exercise? I would have guessed yoga or pilates
  • I wish someone would tell me to meet them somewhere with zero context and give me the address to a consulate
  • Mia’s social skills are impeccable all throughout the movie
  • You’ve got pears in your flowers’ – yes, good eye detective Amelia
  • I admire Mia’s ability to be 100% herself even in the presence of royalty, part one
  • Kind of them to accept the challenge of turning Mia into a princess, like they had another option
  • Why open the gate if she’s running away? Why not keep her locked in?
  • The Thermopolis home looks like a modern art museum
  • Is Mia qualified to be a princess owning a cat, not a dog? Pretty sure that’s the main dealbreaker to lead people … someone should alert Clarice
  • Does San Francisco not have safe drinking water? Why open a water bottle to pour it in the cup?
  • Not sure I would put Spain and Portugal on hold until a teenage girl gets over their current mood swing. Could be years before they even out
  • Mia in a limo for the first time is me with every new piece of technology I get
  • Good thing Mia is a princess because she definitely isn’t going to be a professional athlete
  • Does Mia not know how saliva works? It definitely doesn’t work like glue
  • Cringe moment! The mom is dating a teacher? Come on mom! You might as well kill all of the (little) social potential Mia had
  • Who keeps putting Mia on sports teams? She clearly is not capable in that area of life
  • I’ve never put on pantyhose, but it sounds dangerous’ – Joe, and every man ever who has experienced a woman putting them on
  • Paolo, Gretchen, and Helga – the Charlie’s Angels of the fashion world #GenoviaStyle
  • Why does everyone wear sunglasses indoors in the early 2000s? Was that acceptable then? Because it still isn’t acceptable now
  • Eye for an eye. Glasses for a brush. Seems fair to me
  • Michael has an OG High School Musical Zac Efron vibe going on
  • Lilly doesn’t seem to be best friend level in tune with Mia’s emotions most of the first half of the movie
  • Mia’s sense of self never ceases to amaze me in this movie. Truly the best part of the whole thing, part two
  • Not the friendship charm! In the dirt?! That’s too far Lilly
  • Why has no one created a business from throwing darts at paint balloons? We have trampoline parks and DIY pottery, but no dart painting? Smh
  • Does Mia ever do homework?
  • Gupta’s phone conversations are the definition of efficiency
  • Is Paolo the equivalent of Judas? Hollywood version and #GenoviaStyle?
  • The school announcements are so great. Don’t submit assignments virtually, stop rearranging the lawn tables, etc.
  • There always has to be a villain trying to get their face on postage stamps
  • We’ve all accidentally set something on fire at a fancy dinner, haven’t we? Why must there always be candles? We have electricity
  • Were there no dinner etiquette courses during Mia’s training?
  • How did Mia find the creepiest arcade in the whole world to take Clarice too?
  • Look at Clarice, sneaking out of a ticket with that famous womanly charm and made up titles
  • And, just when you think Mia is growing up, her 15 year old brain kicks in and she falls for the popular boy’s ruse. Bailing on Lilly AND Michael – rude
  • Who would have guessed that Josh would double cross Mia? Literally everyone
  • Can Mia be any more naively trusting of the worst people in school? She did it to herself I don’t feel that bad about the sailor Josh and Banana triplets incidents
  • Wait … Grove high school has a soft serve ice cream machine in their courtyard. I really missed out in public school
  • Why do Mia and Lilly keep going back to sports? It’s been established that they’re more of the artistic type well before this rooftop apology scene
  • Not sure I agree with the choice to waste an entire ice cream cone to make a point. Could have used anything else and saved the ice cream
  • What is the purpose of taking the cat to Colorado? It can’t climb the rocks with you. It can’t hike with you. It can’t go anywhere with you. It would just be a mooch
  • Of course there is a pear juggler because why not
  • Pretty sure pizza and M&Ms do not go together in the same bite
  • At what point do you stop putting money into a car and count your losses?
  • Shocking tear jerker moment when Joe shows up to rescue Mia from the storm and save all of Genovia – my emotions were not ready
  • And with one speech we crush the uprising of the evil Baron and Baroness … and their postage stamps
  • The queen just awkwardly leaves Mia in the middle of the dance floor to find her own partner? What if Michael had not shown up? Would Jeremiah have been chosen? Joe? Some rando?
  • 20 years later – still a fantastic movie with an even better lesson, part three

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A KLONDIKE BAR?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Especially when it’s warm outside. And what is happening outside right now? You guessed it, the warm has arrived. Not just the warm, though. The humidity. That stagnant heat wave that follows you around. A never ending torture fee we all pay to enjoy a nice, natural tan, and swimmable water temps. It’s time to sweat like we’re melting. Drip like an ice cream cone. Heat up like Stephen Curry at the 3-point line. It’s summer. 

Summer is … one of the seasons. I’m not going to say where I would rank it in a list of the seasons since everyone feels differently, but it isn’t my first choice. It does have vacations going for it, at least. It also has higher electric bills, painful sunburns, and hair that don’t care. Despite some of it’s obvious flaws, nothing is perfect after all, we do get graced with frozen dessert treats. Which are like regular desserts just way better. They’re good all year long, if I’m honest, but something about eating something ice cold when it’s boiling hot is like dessert ASMR.

There are different levels to frozen dessert options. With the rise of food blogs, anything can be a frozen dessert now. Frozen dessert casseroles, frozen yogurt, frozen mousse, frozen parfait concoctions, frozen cakes, frozen fruit, etc. most of them are amazing. Sherbert on the other hand, is really only good for punches and I’m not sure why it’s marketed as a dessert … but for another time that adventure! 

Regardless, ice cream, in any form, far outweighs any of the other options, however. Put it in a cake, in between cookies, with donuts, with fruit, with more sugary things, cover it in chocolate, eat it plain, serve it soft, serve it melted – do what makes you happy. But think about this, what would you do for a Klondike bar? If you don’t know your answer right off the top of your head, are you even an American? That’s one of the best marketing campaigns from the millennial childhood. It’s one of the few that stuck with me all these years, anyways.

If we’re being honest, I wouldn’t do that much. Klondike bars are ok, but when I want ice cream I don’t want a nicely proportioned serving size where the chocolate to ice cream ratio is not ideal. Think about it – if you took all the ice cream in a single bar and put it together, it would be about a scoop. And I can’t tell you the last time I only ate one scoop of ice cream so, ergo, there’s a lot I would not do for a singular Klondike bar.

Some people feel differently. Some people would do a lot of things for one scoop of ice cream. One $2.50 scoop of ice cream. Steal a toy from a kid, throw a phone out the window, unfollow all of their friends online, kick your significant other in the shin, etc. and no judgement. Ice cream is the top of the dessert food chain. Switch the question from Klondike bar to a frozen custard concrete, though, and I too would be in the above actions. Shamelessly. I’m all about the soft serve ice cream with some extra mixins life.

So, I’m curious, what would YOU do for your favorite dessert? It can be anything within the legal realm. Well, anything is strong. But anything within the legal realm that you wouldn’t mind laughing with your grandmother about in a few months. That’s how I base most of my decisions as a full on adult. Would grandma think it’s funny? Go for it! Would grandma hate it? Maybe time to rethink. Would grandma not get it? Definitely go for it! Deal with potential regrets later.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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MY PARENTS WATCH SQUIRRELS, WHAT DO YOURS DO?

Remember the incredible GEICO commercial where some secret agent is trying to escape via helicopter and his ride is late … then his phone rings and he answers it, expecting to talk to his companion, only to hear his mom on the other end talking about how ‘the squirrels are back in the attic. Your father says it’s personal this time’. Are you familiar with this 30 seconds of commercial genius? Arguably one of the best commercials GEICO has put out. It makes the gecko look a little dull if we’re honest.

If for some reason you are not able to recall the commercial I’m referencing, no worries. I’m clearly fantastic at illustrating the most minute of details and you should have a good understanding of what it’s like visually. It’s also not overly critical to my point here. Well, I guess a little bit, but not in a major way. The real star of this post is the squirrels. As it should be. Who doesn’t want, nay, need, more squirrels in their life? The answer is nobody except my parents.

Squirrels are a curious creature. Aesthetically, they are not the ugliest fur covered animals that exist. Believe it or not, ugly fur covered animals is a predefined Google search and there are some horrifying creatures that are living among us. I fully regret my decision to click on the link that specified ‘with pictures’, but here we are. Besides their physical appearance, because true beauty is found on the inside (duh), squirrels are a simple creature. In my experience observing them, there’s only two things they want – nuts and whatever the birds are eating. 

Sound familiar? Squirrels kind of remind me of the animal version of us. Always wanting what someone else has. And sometimes going to extremes to be like those people. Including, but not limited to, scaling greased poles, making daring leaps from fences towards the greased pole, waiting on the ground to catch crumbs that fall down, using a buddy system to scale the greased pole, etc. Ok, sure, those examples are highly specific to the squirrels, but use your imagination to apply it to the greener pastures we often chase.

Besides being cuddly looking and spending the majority of their time thinking about food, what else do squirrels really do? Become an invasive species on college campuses everywhere? Practice their hide and seek skills? Go on tree branch jumping adventures? Adorably tackle other squirrels as they try to climb trees? Pause. Let’s talk about how much I love seeing a squirrel come out of nowhere and absolutely wreck another squirrel’s journey up a tree. To what I’m assuming is a hidden nut stash. No sexual pun intended. Do you think they do it maliciously or are they playing with each other? Hard to say.

Now feels like a good time to point out that prior to about a year ago, I never really paid attention to squirrels. Or thought that much about them. They were just living their lives and I was living mine. Then, my parents decided to put a bird feeder in their backyard and the morning quarantine ritual became drinking coffee and discussing the ridiculous attempts by the squirrels to eat the food they bought for the birds. Discussing might be a generous way to put it. Imagine eating a peaceful breakfast with your father, only to have him space out in the middle of your conversation and, without any indication, leave the room to go out on the back porch and yell at the squirrels.

COVID gave a lot of us more time at home, and a chance to re-center. My parents chose to re-center and become the people who get annoyed with the ‘damn squirrels!’ I chose to re-center and thoroughly just enjoy those moments. And also accept that my parents have entered that phase of their lives. Sipping coffee and grumbling about squirrels. Spending countless hours thinking of ways to deter them from the bird feeder. But I love them anyway!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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NO LEFT TURN LIGHT SHOULD ONLY HAVE THREE OPTIONS

I know you know how much I love traffic. Specifically, how much I love other drivers. If this is the first you’re hearing about this, well, surprise, I guess. Maybe hit pause and go check out my other traffic posts. They might be relatable, or they might not be and that’s concerning. Because then you may be the person I’m talking about so … this is awkward. And yet here we are. Maneuvering the intricacies of life in an almost successful way.

Mmkay, circling back: traffic. Specifically traffic, what’s the word, hardware? Enhancements? Not sure so let’s just call it what it is. Traffic trash. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the left turn light with only three lights. Just three. Like a normal traffic light. Except it’s not a normal traffic light at all. It’s a left turn light! Where you should have the option to turn if it’s safe, otherwise, you’ll be there indefinitely since we all know that a left turn green is not the same length as a straight green. At least if you take the average across all traffic lights ever. I think.

This is one of the most perplexing things to me, as a driver and overall human being. Specifically where there’s new road construction. It’s one thing to have it there from the before times when the only option was a heathen version of the left turn light. Although, back then it was new technology so it was probably pretty revolutionary at the time. Anyways, as we move forward with the age of tech and have other options, like a four light left turn light for example, why would we not implement those … everywhere?

For the first time ever on TRP, I actually asked a traffic engineer about this. Did some actual research. And their answer was mildly acceptable. Apparently, not every left turn is in a place where it’s safe to let people make their own decisions on if it’s safe or not to turn. On the one hand, ok. Yes, we, as a species, have not necessarily proven our decision making and focusing skills while on the road. On the other hand, though, how easy is our driving test where we aren’t confident that licensed drivers can make an appropriate decision about when it’s safe to turn, and when it isn’t? If there is a car coming, then you must wait. Basic physics and basic laws of traffic.

This is what I heard from that conversation: people can’t be trusted. I don’t know that I agree with that sentiment, though. Trust people until they give you a reason not to is my motto. I think a good solution here is to maybe have the penalty for poor left turn decision making being a suspension of your license. And / or a remedial class on how to use common sense to not turn in front of someone else. Because that would make life better for all. Imagine if at every left turn, it lasted the entire length of the straight arrow, plus the bonus turn only green? Left turns wouldn’t suck nearly as bad.

The amount of times that I’ve sat at a red left turn light while there were absolutely zero cars coming from either direction all because of a few bad apples … oh my goodness. It’s infuriating. Does it make you angry too? I’m not going to encourage breaking the laws of traffic, but I often wonder what would happen if I just decide to go on red anyways. Which, at that point, are we any worse off than just letting people make their own decisions at a flashing yellow? I have to believe no. People at least wouldn’t be thinking about running red lights that way so that, in and of itself, is a positive.

Long story short, I think we need to eliminate the three light left turn option. For everyone’s sanity. For the integrity of our traffic laws. To help reduce driver stress, even if only in that one area. To force people to think about their actions. To add more flashing yellow lights in the world and yellow is the color of happiness and who doesn’t want to be happier? It just makes sense.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DO YOU EVEN HAVE A SOUL?

Stopping to smell the roses is more than just a cute social media tag. It’s a way of life. An approach to any stressful, frustrating, annoying, irritating, angering, sad, disappointing, etc. situation. Because sometimes things happen, people say something they shouldn’t have, or you find out that it’s another workday, but that’s no excuse not to find a reason to smile. Unless, of course, you don’t have a soul. In which case, you may just be running to escape a downwind draft. Which is a crappy way to live, literally.

Clearly I’m no happiness expert. Or life expert for that matter. If you’ve read any of the previous posts you’re well aware of this fact. You may even be curious how I’ve survived this far as a professional without serious repercussions. If you haven’t, well, why the heck not? What else are you doing? Looking for a reason to smile? Let’s talk about it. Pretty much every situation has some plus sides, if you look hard enough. For example:

  • You don’t like grocery shopping, but it’s a necessary evil (and a great way to INTERVIEW PEOPLE) – are there new Oreo flavors out, though?
  • You don’t like shopping, but got dragged out by your significant other – go smell some of the new Yankee Candle scents!
  • You’re outdoors and it starts raining – does it smell like springtime, though?
  • You accidentally went on a nature walk and got lost – try to see a fun bird, or better yet, a butterfly!
  • You have to go to work – are you getting paid, though?
  • You recently got let go / fired – use all your new time to finally start that hobby!
  • You opened a box and the item you ordered was broken – haven’t you been trying to work on your patience, though?
  • You’re on hold with CUSTOMER SERVICE – dance around to that catchy hold music!
  • You’ve been in a car accident – do you get to meet a new person, though?
  • You have to deal with insurance – at least you have insurance!

I feel pretty confident that no one asks for any of the above scenarios. Yet, we probably have all hit the majority of this list at some point or other. And a lot of them suck! Car accidents just back up traffic in BOTH DIRECTIONS, nature isn’t always as pristine and cooperative as television makes it appear, shipping doesn’t always go as planned, and you may not be into shopping, but it happened. Can’t change the past so you might as well try to find one good thing. Otherwise, do you even have a soul?

Small things are usually the most exciting because they’re unexpected, or often unnoticed for a while. What a fun little surprise it is when you step into Target and they have a fully stocked cereal aisle. Or when you go to the mall and accidentally walk by a Bath and Body Works and smell love, relaxation, and sweet pea. Or when you’re outside and see some flowers in bloom. Or when you’re driving at night and see all the lights as festive. Or when you’re at work and your favorite song jumps into your playlist. Or when you’re at a restaurant and they accidentally make you a Medium milkshake instead of a Small so you get upgraded for free. Or when you’re at a restaurant and tell the wait staff it’s your friend’s birthday to embarrass them. Or when you’re watching TV and a hilarious ad comes on for once. So many reasons to smile. Life is weird. Life is funky. Life is unpredictable. Life is too short to not have a soul.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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THANKS FOR READING, PLEASE LEAVE A TIP

On this beautiful day, let’s participate in a quick thought exercise. It won’t be hard, I promise. And I don’t break promises, so from the almost nothing you know about me, and that statement, there’s zero reason for you not to trust me. Ok, let us wander down memory lane to a time when you could buy things, anything really, and simply pay for it. List price plus any sales tax. That’s it. You pay for it, and then you grab the bag and leave feeling satisfied. How far back in time did your mind travel? 

Actually, pause, I think we should address the question in your head. Was I supposed to go far back? Technically, I gave you no real instructions other than a time you spent money, so I guess not. My bad. But, if you think about the last time the custom additional payment line was added to a receipt, it may have been a while. That’s right, I’m talking about tipping! And America, I believe we have a tipping problem. Not the tipping you experience from consuming maybe one too many adult beverages. No, I’m talking about the tipping that comes from your wallet. The tipping that you have to do math to get to. The tipping that is optional, but mandatory. 

Are you picking up what I’m leaving on the table? When was the last time you weren’t asked to leave a tip for someone? It’s getting consistently more difficult to find examples of plain old pay and walk away. We tip for everything now. Not just when eating out, back when that was a more mainstream, and safe, adventure, but we’ve gotten to a place where almost every business feels it’s acceptable to ask you for a tip. You can count on it with any food adventure. It’s almost guaranteed for any type of experience you participate in. Don’t think that retail isn’t trying to hop on this bandwagon either. Where did we go wrong?

Since this is an opinion based blog, I would like to take some time and dive into my thoughts about being asked to make additional payments on things I spend money on. If this is your first time realizing there are zero factual backings to any of these posts, I apologize. But, also, we may need to discuss your ability to interpret sarcasm. Anyways … moving on … tipping! Or robbing, you decide. I think there are limits to the number of “services” that can acceptably ask me to spend more money than my receipt says.

If you give me a fantastic tour of a distillery, then of course I’m going to tip you – excellent service pays off. If you’re refilling my drink before I even know it’s getting empty, then of course I’m going to tip you – hard work pays off. If I order food and you drive it to me, then of course I’m going to tip you – not being lazy pays off. If I, however, pick out all of my own groceries and place them on the conveyor belt, then why would I leave the cashier a tip? You’re just doing your job. And I did all the hard work, so, what is that about?

For starters, why not just factor my tip into my bill? Then I wouldn’t care. Make me calculate it, though, and all of a sudden it’s an extra expense (and an annoyance). Use mind tricks with people – make us believe that was always going to be the total. Basic math equations aside, if I do all of the work and you simply are working at the register, what on earth is making it acceptable for you to ask for a tip?

Don’t get me wrong, tipping is not something that I see as an employee problem. In fact, I actually support adding extra money so they don’t have to make whatever absurdly low hourly rate their business has decided is appropriate. The main problem is that we still have places paying people less than half the minimum wage and banking on the fact that tips will push them, on average, to the federal minimum. How horrible would it be for you to start their pay at minimum wage and allow them to earn much more than that for their hard work? Why is that like asking for the moon?

Second imagination station train of the day. If you’re at your job, and have a meeting with your manager, what do you think their reaction would be if you asked for a tip / bonus for meeting the basic requirements you were hired (and are already paid) to do? You may be job hunting the next day. You may get laughed off as a joke. You may get the silent stare of terror. You may get a snarky comment. Small chance you get a tip, though. I feel like that should be no different in the consumer industry, but maybe that’s just me.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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