Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5 Tips to Giving More Creative Birthday Gifts

5. Write something.

Often, when you’re giving a very simple gift, the card becomes the most important part. Write something that will show them how well you know them. That means not just a little “happy birthday”. How about, “Hey man, happy birthday! Lucky fluke at that golf tournament last year, Tiger. I’ll beat you next time.” (Ok, I know that sounded cheesy, awkward, and stupid but that’s the best generic example I could come up with.)

4. Use an inside joke.

If you take a glance down this list, you’ll notice that I didn’t put the most basic tip of all: no cash. Why? Well, if you’re just going to give them a wad of bills, however fat and juicy, without any supporting acts, then no cash. However, last year, one of my friends gave me a card that said on the front: “Deep down in the bottom of your heart, you know there’s no money inside here.” This drew a bunch of laughs from everyone because we all knew him as extremely cheap. Then inside, the message was, “But you still had to look,” with a few bills attached. That gift stole the show.

3. Special delivery.

Give the gift to them in a funny and special way that again, symbolizes how well you know them. For instance, if you know they love hot dogs, maybe put the gift under that plate of wieners in the fridge. (Was that example any better?)

2. Hopefully something they’ll use, definitely something they’ll remember.

Your first goal when giving a gift should be to have the gift that the birthday boy/girl will think of first when they look back at all of their gifts. If everyone just wanted to give something useful, all people would ever get would be cash. Yuck.
Give something that will jump out at them like, “HAHAHAH!” or “Oh my gosh, this is so touching that it almost makes up for how she loves her Slap-Chop more than she loves me.”

1. Go to the extreme.

So a group of friends and I were planning a gift for one of our super-manly, super-awesome teachers. Logically, we went to our neighbourhood mall and began to shop. We thought that it’d be best if we could make it some sort of a joke.

But let’s just say that we got a bit carried away :)

We ended up wrapping a “The Keg” gift card in a “La Vie en Rose” lingerie gift card, a Barbie Princess Book, a Justin Bieber girls’ extra-small t-shirt, and plenty of pink ribbons and wrapping paper. Now that’s what I call going to the extreme.

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Essential Item for Any Camper: Instant Ice

Essential Camping Equipment
Where would humanity be without ice? Back in the day, people used ice for transportation and the first refrigerators were just ice put in an underground compartment. Now, ice cools our drinks, makes nice sculptures, and is fun to bite really hard.

However, in this day and age, ice PACKS have taken on a lot of the jobs that pure ice used to be responsible for. Now, if you’re keeping a few Cokes in a cooler, you might put a few ice packs instead of a lot of ice cubes. And nobody puts a bag of ice on bumps and bruises anymore. It’s always the ice pack.

Obviously, ice packs can be re-used, are much more manoeuvrable than those slippery cubes, and last quite a bit longer. Still, while ice packs ARE miracles (well maybe, not quite miracles), they don’t stay cold forever. And what if just when you need an ice pack, there isn’t a satisfactorily cold one anywhere around:

Say you’re camping and you find that the adventure-loving, uber-manly Old Spice dude is camping in the same place. He’s not pleased by the fact that you don’t smell like sweat, fish, and gorillas (because any real man can tame a gorilla), so he kicks you in the balls.

And it hurts.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to relieve the pain. You can’t use pain medication because that’s not what real men do and the ice in your cooler isn’t very cold anymore.

This is where instant ice can come in handy. If you have enough real-man muscles, you just pop the bag of air (well actually, it’s pretty easy) inside the ice pack and boom, you hear a cool sound! Well, the other, less rewarding benefit is that it suddenly becomes cold because of some chemical reaction between the air and the other stuff in the bag.

And there it is. Suddenly, you have ice, without even using a freezer.

But pain relief isn’t the only use of instant ice while camping. What if the ice packs in your cooler run out of iciness, meaning your steaks might spoil (steaks are the food for real men)? You can just pop one of these instant ice packs. What if it’s really hot and you need a pillow? Pop an instant ice pack. What if you find yourself surrounded by ferocious Siberian tigers? Pop an instant ice pack*. The awesome sound can be your last little pleasure.

Just saying, there’s a lot of uses for instant ice.

*Don’t actually do that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to Hide the Fact that You're Wearing Reversible Clothing

Reversible clothing is one sizzling hot banana pepper. If you're contemplating buying new shorts, here's the deal. You can probably drop $30 to get one nice pair OR you can get a 2 for 1 deal, without even using a coupon! No, it's not a miracle when you get two pairs of nice shorts for $30. It's just reversible clothing working its magic!

Reversible jackets, shirts, pants, and shorts. They're better value, they mean more outfits, and they save your closet space. Who could possibly resist?
The only problem is nobody wants to be caught wearing it because that just seems sort of cheap. However, you can still enjoy the incredible benefits of reversible clothing and avoid getting caught by following these three simple guidelines:

1. Never wear it on back-to-back days.

First of all, you may want to consider washing clothes before you wear them again, reversible or not. But whether or not you do this, just don’t wear reversible clothing on back-to-back days because if someone happens to see the side you wore before (RHYME!), it’s a lot easier to remember if you wore that side just yesterday.

2. Never leave it lying around in a position where people can see both sides.

This is a given. If people can see both sides, they’ll know it’s reversible. Cue the snickering and gossip: “Oooohh… Sharon’s wearing reversible jackets!”

3. Always have an excuse.

“Oh wow, I didn’t even notice that the other side has the same design as that other shirt I have. You have a good eye!”

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brilliant Business Ideas: Who Knew We'd Pay for "Collectible" Coins?

Yesterday, I caught myself submitting my blog to a blog directory. I was told that not doing so would lead to this page dwelling in relative obscurity for the rest of its life (sort of like Miley Cyrus’ brother). And obviously, I don’t want to be like Miley Cyrus’s brother.

So I put in the title of my blog, then the URL, then the directory prompted me for my “blog category”. So I was like, “OK, it’s ideas.” But scrolling through the dropdown menu, to my astonishment, such a category didn’t exist. So I thought of another one: innovation. Feeling proud of my ability to come up with such a great alternative, I went to select “innovation”.

But that wasn’t there either. Now slightly dejected, I thought I could get away with having “entrepreneurship” as my category, because I thought my blog might maybe encompass “business ideas”.

“Entrepreneurship” was one of the choices so I sat down and thought, “What are some good business ideas that no one gets any credit for, but are actually hugely successful?”

How about collectible coins?

Who knew that avid collectors everywhere would be willing to pay fifty, maybe a hundred, maybe thousands of dollars for coins with special designs imprinted on them? I mean, it’s understandable that ancient currency is quite valuable as a rare historical artefact, but whoever thought of simply manufacturing rare currency, just by changing up the emblems on their surfaces, is a true genius.

This means that we can mass produce different limited edition coins and expect people to pay big bucks for the privilege of owning any piece of junk, as long as it’s rare. Now that’s what I call a hot business banana pepper.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Advice for Transitions Lenses

There are two ways that a product can become cool. Either it has to seem so awesomely rebellious, that it convinces people to flock to some new revolution (like crocs). Or it can be moulded to current trends (like basketball shoes).
Unfortunately, to this point, Transitions Lenses has been neither.

Now, I would be the first to rave about how brilliant of a hot banana pepper Transitions are. They are the most practical and convenient eyeglasses in the world; I mean, they’re glasses AND sunglasses, all in one! That’s almost as incredible as getting a Slap-Chop AND a Graty for one low price of $19.95!

But then, why doesn’t everyone have a pair of Transitions? This is unthinkable! Well, the fact in the matter is that Transitions are so untrendy and unfashionable that people are willing to miss out on glasses AND sunglasses.
Why? Because in strong sunlight, they’re nice shades, and in the dark, they’re nice glasses. However, if you wear them in normal, fluorescent light, they sort of go into a halfway mode. People can still see your eyes, but the lenses are a bit darker then usual.

Believe it or not, this makes many situations extremely awkward. People think, “Wait, are you trying to conceal your eyes? Is there some sort of a facial expression you don’t want me to see?”

But I think there is a simple way that Transitions can avoid this unstylish tackiness, and cash in on their convenience. What if they just removed this “halfway mode” and stuck with either 100% sunglasses or 100% glasses. In strong sunlight, they can be sunglasses, and in any other light, they can just be glasses. Now, I’m sure that there are some scientific hurdles in creating a material that is able to react in this way, but if Transitions can create glasses like this, we might see a few more people wearing them.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Ankle Weights: One Creative Exercise Idea

I know that this is old news but fitness is a big deal these days. We're in a culture where body shape and physique is paramount, while advancement in medical research has brought health into the spotlight.

One of our favorite things to gloat about nowadays is how intense our last trip to the gym was. You know the line: "Oh goodness! What a workout! I just did a 10 mile run on the treadmill and bench-pressed 113. I'm SOO tired!"

And at the forefront of masculine workout routines, is weight training. Dumbells and bench presses, biceps and triceps; the arms have emerged as THE part that gets you the most girls (along with that trusty six-pack, of course).

But then comes along the protagonist of this story. Let's call him Sam. He's a guy who thinks that all of his fantasies will be fulfilled if he not only strengthens his arms and abs, but the rest of his body as well.

So he wonders to himself, "There's plenty of ways to work out my arms and abs, but how about my legs?" Sure, legs aren't the first place chicks look to, but Sam wants to get everything right.

People had been telling him that jogging would be good for his legs, but he didn't just want healthy legs, he wanted muscular superman legs that he knew would be awfully attractive.

Then, a brilliant hot banana pepper strikes him. What if he attached weights to his legs and then ran with them on?

Perfect! He'd finally be able to get those beautiful legs he'd been fantasizing about. Every night, he'd dream about having beautiful legs, and now, he finally had them.

What? What did you think he was fantasizing about?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Umbrella Hats: The Latest Eccentric Fashion Statement

Sunscreen is one of my least favourite things in the world. It’s ooey-gooey and comes with its own distinct odour. That wouldn’t sound so bad if you were describing Cinnabons or some other sticky treat, but as for sunscreen, you put that stuff on your skin.

On the other hand, it’s no fun getting cancer, or more importantly, being forced to avoid the sun all day.

And that’s where the umbrella hat (<--- that's the link to the official homepage of umbrella hats. Cool, eh?) comes into play. There are several reasons why umbrella hats are such a beloved hot banana pepper.

First of all, they bridge the gap between the indoors and the outdoors, without making you endure the horrors of sunscreen. And unlike a normal umbrella, you don’t have to constantly hold umbrella hats; they go on your head! Naturally, this fact has endeared these babies to all golfers.

However, not everyone allows themselves the privilege of enjoying these benefits. Instead, they complain about the wacky image that you take on when you don an umbrella hat. But I say that this is good news for us co-weirdos. If nobody else wants to participate in the umbrella hat trend, then we have it all to ourselves! Umbrella hats can now be fashion statements. When you wear an umbrella hat, you’re proudly screaming to the world, “I’m crazy and eccentric and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

Still not convinced? Well umbrella hats make great costumes on crazy hat day too!
Now there’s a real hot banana pepper.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One Creative Gift Idea: Glass Flowers

Glass flowers. Whoever came up with these babies must be a real thinker. I can see the inventor as a keen businessperson who loved to decorate her home, but had a lot of other things on her plate. Let’s call her Sally.

So Sally thinks to herself: “Real flowers are always ideal, but watering them and constantly making sure that they get proper sunlight can be a huge hassle. And then there are those hopelessly listless plastic flowers that just don’t look right, no matter how well you arrange them.”

It appears that she’ll have to make a choice: bear the hassle of those lovely real flowers or suffer the scorn of visitors who notice her plastic ones. Ugh. Decisions, decisions.

But then she suddenly has a brilliant idea. “Plastic flowers are only ugly because plastic looks really cheap. What if we use a better-looking material to make the flowers?”

Of course, the first thing that came to her mind was gold, but obviously, as an intelligent businessperson, she had her budget in mind too. After pondering this for a few days, she finally put her finger on the perfect material: painted glass!

It’s stunning, affordable, and low-maintenance. Next time, when you want to give the gift of flowers, glass is always appreciable. What a sizzling hot banana pepper!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coming Up With Creative Little Ideas: The Life of a Hot Banana Pepper

Believe it or not, you have great ideas everyday.

Some of these great ideas will be patties (refer to the definition on the left). Patties are your million-dollar aha moments, where something just clicks in your brain, and before you know it, you’re piecing together your brilliant new invention. How about the airplane, the email, or the television?

"Hot banana peppers" is the other category these great ideas can fall under. Hot banana peppers are those teensy-weensy ideas that we barely even realize are floating around our heads, despite how important they are to us. Coloring books may not be on quite the same level as automobiles, but shading in princesses sure does make little girls a bit happier.

The point is, hot banana peppers are awesome and you can come up with them with this acronym:


Remember when your grade 1 teacher continually asked you to listen to her? Well contrary to popular belief, there might have been some substance to what she was saying. To come up with a hot banana pepper, you gotta listen, but more broadly, you gotta observe everything around you.

Find a problem

This may seem a little bit pessimistic to you, but while you’re observing, your goal is to find a problem. Actually, it’s easier to find little problems in life; humans are naturally nit-picky creatures and generally have a hard to looking at the big picture. So just find a little problem— say you’re hiking and you find it annoying that you perpetually have to stop to take your water bottle out of your bag. You don’t want to hold it so you’re stuck with this unbearable situation.

Fix a problem

Hmm… What if I invented a water bottle helmet. It’ll have the water bottle mounted on it, then when I’m thirsty, I can just suck some water out of the tube. Perfect!

And that’s the life of a hot banana pepper, folks!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What is a Hot Banana Pepper?

If you are doing a fifth grade science project on the anatomy of hot banana peppers, this is not the site for you. But hey, I may as well be a little helpful— here’s the Wikipedia page on “Banana Peppers.”

On the other hand, if reading up on veggie facts isn’t your thing, you may have come to the right place. But you also may not have come to the right place. See, not being a fifth grader is only the first criteria for you to care about this post, or this blog in general. If you have a problem with made-up words, thinking outside the box, or life, then this blog is also not for you.

If you’re still here, you’re part of a small fraction of co-weirdos who may be interested to hear a revolutionary new definition for ‘hot banana peppers’.
Although a hot banana pepper is first and foremost, an awesome sandwich condiment, there is another fairly obscure meaning. It can also be an awesome idea.

In a hamburger, all the attention is hogged by the patty and all banana peppers do, is provide a little kick in the background. This is very similar to what a banana pepper idea does.

It doesn’t garner much of society’s attention because we’re mostly focused on ‘the big ideas’. However, what it does do is spice up our lives and make the world just that much better.

To illustrate, even though they’re great ideas, Google and electric cars are not hot banana peppers. Instead, they’re the patties or the centres of attention. But safety scissors and water-spraying fans are both hot banana peppers because you’d better believe they’re awesome, but still not cared about.
A hot banana pepper is creative, useful and often improves on the little things in life that make us that much happier.