Friday, February 26, 2010

Gadgets and Gizmos

I love gadgets. Really, really love them. I once bought a broom that had an air freshener in it.

Freshen the air while you happily sweep. What could be better? The air freshener's power lasted about 14 minutes after I brought it home and, much to my chagrin, the broom still required my efforts to sweep the floor.

Product Image Libman Angle Broom

I also watch info-mercials. I feel like I need to say that to a support group. Don't judge me. Doesn't everyone succumb to a Saturday afternoon info-mercial every now and then? I love how whatever gadget is being advertised is displayed so magnificently. Forget the old way of doing sit-ups. Actually, don't even attempt the old way. Buy the _____ and you will look like a body builder in 3 minutes a day. No more PAINFUL exercise.

When we moved into this house, there was an Ab Roller PLUS in the basement, discarded by the previous renters. I was so excited. I had seen the info-mercial and was mesmerized. After discovering my new/used Ab Roller PLUS, I immediately got down on the floor to magically turn my abs into rippling, tanned, visions of toned perfection. I did one crunch with my hands strategically placed on the bar. I rolled up, felt the familiar discomfort of stomach exercise and said, "Well, this is stupid." The Ab Roller PLUS went into the trash.

I come by my addiction via the gene pool. My dad can't resist a good infomercial either. He bought the Magic Bullet. True to its promise, it acts like a blender and looks like a blender, but it is smaller and you can put the top part it in the microwave. Plus, it comes with those nifty rings so you can use the bullet top as a cup to serve mixed drinks to your friends at parties. I'm still waiting on the mixed drink, Pops.

I actually bought something from an infomercial too. It was Mari Winsor's pilates video. BUT WAIT, because I ordered within the alloted time period on the info-mercial, I also got a tension band to accelerate my workouts. Plus, the generous info-mercial people threw in a recipe guide to help me shed 10 inches in 10 days (or something like that). The little booklet should have been called, "You'll Be So Hungry, Your Stomach Will Actually Eat Itself."

Mari Winsor: Pilates

The workouts on the DVD are pretty fun, if you are into torturing your muscles. I do the exercises every now and again to assure myself that I still cannot lift my upper body and my lower body off the floor at the same time. That just seems unnatural. 

After that purchase, Mr. Practicle, who I am married to, asked kindly that I clear all gadget and gizmo purchases with him first. He has talked me down from quite a few highs. "But this is the BEST product EVER." You know those highs. At the time, I am truly convinced that I NEED the product. My life will never be the same if I don't HAVE that product. I will not be able to open a jar, organize my closet, do a sit-up, pack a suitcase, straighten my hair, or wash my car. Those info-mercial people are good. After the high wears off and my husband has talked some sense into me, I realize that I can function just fine without the gizmo/gadget. Usually.

But every now and then, I convince him that we need a new gadget. My newest was not "As seen on TV." To my knowledge, no infomercials have been made about remote controls for camera. If there was one, it would be very entertaining. I wanted one of these for years. A remote control that snaps a picture.... you guessed it... remotely. 
Canon RC 5 Camera remote control - Infrared
Sure the timer works. For decades, people have been setting the timer on their cameras, running to make the shot, fighting to look relaxed as they hyperventilate. But a remote is so much cooler. Like James Bond. Plus, it was pretty cheap. Stay tuned for plenty of pictures taken by remote.

There is another gadget that I think I need want. It is a fitness watch. It tracks speed, distance, calories, heart rate, shares info with other cool watch-wearing people, uploads data to the computer... and so much more.

Garmin 010-00658-12 Forerunner 405 with ANT+ Sport Wireless Technology (Green)

But it is $300. Three hundred. That would buy 7.14 boxes of diapers.

It is such a super cool watch. *Sigh*. I shared my gadget envy with my husband. He once again tried to talk me down from my high. I don't like his solution: a $2 stopwatch. His argument is that since I walk the same route every day, it would be easy to map out the course, determine the distance, and set time goals for myself... with a $2 stopwatch. 

Imagine the info-mercial, if you will:

*Watch inept woman walking along, tripping and gasping for breath as she flails and fumbles with a huge, bulky stopwatch. *

Announcer says, "Tired of that big, bulky stopwatch that is so hard to manage while exercising? You need the Garmin Wireless Sport Watch. Loaded with training features, you can easily monitor your time, distance, pace, calories and heart rate on an easy to read, water resistant screen."

*Now watch a slim, sleek woman beautifully walking along. She delicately glances at her super cool fitness watch (perfectly sized for a woman's unique wrist) and smiles in blissful satisfaction. All the information she needs is indeed right at her fingertips... er... wrist.*

By the end of the scene, I would be convinced that the watch would do the work for me. In the meantime, I guess I will grudgingly admit that a $2 stopwatch WILL work. But if I look like I am tripping, gasping for breath, and fumbling while I walk, you'll know why.

What is your favorite gadget/gizmo? Please, please, please tell me I am not alone.


Dan & Hillary said...

Now you can sympathize with the kiddos when they say, "but I NEED this ___ " when they are in Target with you;-)

I love my Omron pedometer so much that I plan on using it someday:-) $27, I think!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness...I just drooled when I saw the Garmin 405! I totally get Jeff's point but that is the THE BEST watch out there! I currently have the 205 (which is probably the bulky one the announcer would make fun of) but it's totally addicting! The downside is this: when we finish a run it's never good enough to be at .85 or .97 or whatever. We always have to go until we reach an even matter how many times we run around the parking lot to get there. I'm sure we all look crazy but it's a great watch. Okay...enough dreaming about the 405!(Btw, you can go to and map your run/walk to get the actual mileage)

Sherri said...

The bullet really is great- unlike you our blender wasn't powerful enough to crush ice. So we do actually use it. It grinds coffee beans too.
Best thing I first saw on an info mercial though has to be oxy- clean- waited till it came to stores though.

Kellie said...

I for one, think the camera remote is totally a useful tool. In fact I want one. I think it would make self portraits soooooooo much easier. As much as I love using my children's stuffed horse toy as my stand in while doing self portraits I could really do without.

I hope we'll be seeing a self portrait soon!

Linds and Manda said...

I love my Pampered Chef chopper that I recently broke while heatedly trying to chop up Pepperoni for pizza bun mix. This is why they should have really angry mothers on these infomercials. If the product still works while in the hands of a tired mother of two then it must be work the price. :) We don't get many infomercials on farmer/peasant vision so I don't have a lot of temptation but it does increase when I am invited and go to home parties. Some things are very handy while others are just silly. I've actually had to sit back from looking at the catalogue and say, "God gave me two hands right? I should be able to drain a can of tomatoes with my hands and the lid of the can. As cool as it looks I don't need a gadget to that."

This post reminded me of Oprah's favourite things show. If only we had the funds to invite all our friends over and give them all our favourite things. My mother in law could definitely use a remote for their camera. Picture about 14 people (including 5 restless kids) sitting in a smallish living room trying to smile for the camera. Actually it's pretty entertaining watching her run from the camera and fly across several of us to get to her spot.

I think while some of us could join a support group, Jeff and Lindsay could start one too...for practical guys that have wives that can talk themselves into things they don't really need. They could come up with ideas and way to get us down from our highs as you call them. I bet though that if there such things as tool parties the tables would be turned. :)

Kari said...

I enjoyed the curly hair diva info mercial while on vacation. Came home and googled it, then amazoned for real people's opinions and met Curly Girl book...checked out at library...key ingredient to great curls??? no more shampoo...only conditioner..and the routine outlined in the book...WAY less than what curl confidence wanted for their special offers! I think Jeff would be proud...I haven't told Kevin how much money I saved him with google, amazon, and the library!

I say let the girls use the stopwatch and just be glad if it ever gets past a minute!

Shawna said...

I did an "As Seen On TV" for Christmas as a joke for Rick and he LOVED his new Ove Glove so much he bought another. He also got some Aqua Globes that he really likes.

Two that always crack me up I saw on Ellen but they are really available are the Hawaii Chair and the Shake Weight.

I share your illness. Doesn't everyone need to slice tomatoes after cutting their aluminum cans in half?

Melanie said...

This post was hilarious, Alysun! I too love watching those infomercials and thinking about how great my life could be; but I must have a practical gene, because I always talk myself down from those highs.

A tool party for men - what a great idea! Someone needs to get on that.

Grace said...

Oooh! The watch looks nice!!! (I fell for the Mari Winsor pilates too!)

Anonymous said...

lemon zester from Pampered Chef. It is the best gadget. Jenni B

Anonymous said...

This was too funny! I do have a bullet. I've made my own powdered sugar in a pinch. Great for baby food, grinding up flax seed, making the flour/cream cheese/milk liquid not be lumpy when you put it in soup. Doesn't work like on TV--mostly purees everything. Too funny! Kelsey