Neighborhood Cosmetics Invasion? (or Have I Become the Average Angry Male Neighborhood Shopper?)

Is it just me or has there been a quiet invasion in my NY neighborhood?  Cosmetics.  Expensive cosmetics.  High-end, women’s cosmetics stores have taken over my Lincoln Square neighborhood. Within a 5 minute walk from my apartment, there is now a: Fresh, Mac, Kiehl’s, Therapie, Lancome, L’Occitane, Space NK, Clarin’s, Lush, Get Glow, Sabon, The Body Shop, and of course the mother ship itself… Sephora.

I’m not even counting the places that do the “permanent makeup” – where they apparently pull out your entire eyebrows and then give you makeup “tattoos” in their place and around your lips.  These places remind me of a line from Jerry Seinfeld that seems as appropriate as ever, “I don’t understand how a woman can take boiling hot wax, pour it on their upper thighs, rip the hair out by the roots!… and still be afraid of a spider.” – but I digress.

Yes, I do miss the dive bars, bodegas, diners, electronics stores, news/candy/cigars, and hardware stores that used to be all around my place but what has replaced them all is what makes me scratch my head and makes me a bit angry.

Were we “under-cosmetized” or “cosmetics deficient” before?  I don’t think so – we already had 6 drug stores, a “Love’s” and a “Ricky’s” and other places that sold a range of cosmetics before so I don’t think women were having to ration their Urban Decay lipstick due to supply shortages.  And our Columbus Ave. Duane Reade drug store was already reinventing itself as a chic, cosmetics-focused shop as it was, so what gives???

As I take the long, angry walk to buy things that used be so close by I ponder, “Why, why has this happened here?”  Brainwashing of our women perhaps?  No, the ladies shoe companies already did that and “own their hearts and minds.”  So I try to “follow the money” but the numbers don’t add up.  Even that rich local neighborhood woman who has been surgically altered to look like a cat can’t support all these new places so I have to wonder how are they all staying afloat?  Money laundering is the only thing I can think of at this point.  Perhaps this is just the replacement for the clusters of wig stores that were surely fronts for money laundering back in the day.

So I try to be glass half full on the subject and think about the women for a moment.   Convenience of beauty is good for all, right?  Are the women pretty in my neighborhood?  Yes, they look great.  But… (here comes the glass half empty part),… they looked pretty great before the extra 15 high-end cosmetics stores opened up too.  And who’s ultimately paying for all these ridiculously priced creams, lotions and serums?  Men like me, that’s who!  We’re not happy about it and we may need to organize and occupy to take back our streets!  [We’ll run the idea past the beautiful ladies in our lives first of course].

BTW – Two other long-time local storefronts have the construction permits up and I’m betting one of them ends up as a Molten Brown.   Average Angry Shopper is getting upset!

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The Average Angry New York City Walker

One of the most amazing things about the most amazing city in the world is the ability to walk for hours and see every type of person out and about doing things that seem to only happen in New York City.

But there are a number of incredibly annoying things that make these walks harder than then should be.

My pet peeve these days is the walking dead, they seem to have become more prevalent over the last few months, and I believe I understand why. There are four classes or these zombies out there on the streets, and they can be differentiated by the make of brain they are carrying, Apple, Android, Blackberry and Microsoft. What they all have in common is that they all walk slowly, stopping in the middle of sidewalks, crossings and particularly right on the corner of streets looking down at the lump of glass in between their thumbs. Like all zombies these are entirely brain-dead, and uncommunicative and have a distinct slow shuffle with their feet hardly rising above the level of the stone.

There has been a lot of activity my action groups to stop these zombies from driving, but I think we need a campaign to stop them from walking while smart phoning. A friend of mine has suggested on numerous occasions making use of electrified cattle prods to fix the issue. I can see a lot of merit in this idea, and while the police may not agree recent SCOTUS decisions suggest that if a case of prodding a phone zombie were ever to get before them it may elicit a surprising result.

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Am I the Average Angry consumer of electronics?

Am I the Average Angry consumer of electronics?

Why is it that every single tech company seems to have at least one annoying trait?

I’m a huge fan of the digital age, and love to see, hear, touch and own pretty much every new innovation. And over the years I’ve come to realize that every single one of the coolest (or should be coolest) companies out there has there own personal annoyance factor. I have yet to find an exception.

There are so many consumer tech companies, but I want to pick on what I consider the top three. I’ll have to start with Apple. These guys are awesome, and they have taken a huge amount of time and effort to convince me of their awesomeness. But there is a hitch.

I love the ipod, ipad, imac, iphone, apple tv and even their networking hubs, but I have this feeling that I’m actually living inside of their distortion field. Sure the tech is great, but it’s not perfect, but somewhere deep inside it just feels wrong to complain, because they are generally so much better than everyone else. My mac’s don’t crash and everything just works together really well. But the pain to me is that they have taken away my ability to choose. I liked iweb, .mac was working for my photos, and in a million small ways they have guided my use of technology. They may be right more than they are wrong, but it’s still really annoying. If anyone did what Apple do better, or even nearly as well, like many I’d consider trying that green field, but as of today, by sucking least they are winning.

Next I’d like to vent on Microsoft. I grew up with DOS, it was not my first operating system, but I knew it inside and out. And then I saw windows, and from the very first version I hated it.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I think visual interfaces are great, but the whole point of them is to hide the mess that is the underlying infrastructure. So why, oh why does Microsoft insist on exposing that crap to me. When I plug a device in, just deal with it, stop asking me really annoying and pointless questions. I don’t care what the installer is doing, I really don’t care that you have found a new network device.

And don’t get me started on the office suite. I (pretty much) like everyone use excel, word and powerpoint. And like everyone I hate that you keep changing basic working elements with each version.

I know what you are doing, I’ve seen it from the inside. You have thousands of developers; they are highly intelligent people whose entire social existence happens inside a computer, so their ego’s are massaged every time their work is seen by the users. Inside we are all nerds (if we believe it or not) but we know that it’s embarrassing to snort when we do something cool. You (Microsoft execs) need to teach your developers the same skill. If you thought about the end user instead of comparing and wiggling your nerd accolades through pointless messages, the world would instantly be better.

I can forgive you for crap software that crashes, leaks or exposes personal information, that’s just the nature of technology. But being stupid is not in the nature of technologists and so please, please, stop it instantly.

Now I need to rant at Sony. This is a company with amazing intellectual property. These guys do everything from hi-fi to TV’s , to great games consoles to a wide range of computers to headphones and pro AV tech. And what should be awesome technology is in every single case ruined by at least one amazingly avoidable mistake. I pass their flagship store in New York a least once a week, and the window displays are the best anywhere in the city, but once you go inside you are struck by the pure lack of enthusiasm their staff have for their products. That is if you can find a member of staff that can serve you, as it seems nearly all of the staff are actually security guards. I fully understand why the staff is so detached from their tech, it’s just short of perfect, but that gap in every case drives you crazy.

I’ve owned enough Sony (close to) goodness to be able to say this. I’ve fallen for their cameras only to find that they use weird memory cards that no one else uses, and use a different method of encoding images with an extra bit of encoding that just makes them non-standard. And I know that as they own movie companies and music studios they are extra sensitive to copyright issues, but that doesn’t excuse them to create so many onerous digital rights management schemes that stop me using anything I buy from anyone else on their devices and anything I buy from them on any other devices. And how comes their hifi components only allows the remotes to control other Sony devices, really!

And I truly get annoyed every time I turn on the PS3 and it needs to do a software update before it allows me to do exactly the same thing I could do the day before. And the way their portable tech insists on telling me in great detail how it’s connecting to the internet (WTFC). With Sony there is always ONE thing with every device that creates a gap between their reality and perfection. And the gap can be too big for my imagination to bridge. I like Sony equipment, I like it a lot, but I just don’t love it.

Ah my spleen feels so much better now.

The Average Angry Tech Consumer

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