And Now, A Lipton Tea and Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea Contest Sweepstakes Thingy

Yesterday I wrote an article about my magical influence over Drinks. Today I’ve decided to follow the Mommy Bloggers and run a CONTEST! Ooohhh… get ready ya’ll, you can win some free stuff!

Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Packet
Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Packet

Here’s the prize:

  • At least 2 Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea packets!
  • Other packets of some sort (perhaps Splenda? who knows!)
  • Some sort of freebie item from Karey’s & My “Goodwill” pile! (We don’t even know what you’ll get yet!)

Sound good? Of course it does. It’s FREE. How could it be any better? It can’t be any better. I assure you.

Here’s How to Enter:

  1. Follow me on Twitter, because even though I have 200 followers, I suspect not all of them are real people. Plus I’m pretty sure all contests now require you to follow something on Twitter.
  2. Tweet something like this (Required parts in Bold)
    “I just entered to win some Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea from @jonwestfall”
  3. Pray no one else enters!
Here’s The Requirements
  • You must have a shipping address in the U.S. No way I’m doing a customs form for tasty Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea.
  • It must be legal for you to enter contests and if you’re under age (or still living with the ‘rents), you must have permission. No way I’m going to jail over stupid old Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea.
  • You must agree not to be disappointed (I mean, how can you – you’ll get at least 2 packets of… ah you know…)
The contest runs from now to Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM EDT. At that time, likely, no one will have entered and I’ll just drink some tasty Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea that I don’t have to give away. Or perhaps 1 person will enter, and I’ll contact them via DM on Twitter (since they’re following me!). Or perhaps more than 1 person will enter and I’ll find some way to randomly choose someone.
Good Luck!

An Influential Drinker Reviews Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea

Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Packet
Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Packet

This is a story that begins with a very odd little service / company named Klout. In their own words…

Our friendships and professional connections have moved online, making influence measurable for the first time in history. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others. Your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100.

So being the glutton for punishment I am when it comes to services I can sign up for, I connected Klout up to my Twitter account and got a score. The score was interesting in that it rarely changed, so I hardly checked it, until recently when Klout introduced Perks. To save you the time of reading their page, this is exactly what it sounds like: I’m ‘influential’ so I get some free stuff because brands want to know what I think.

Recently I noticed my first ‘perk’ was available from Lipton. You see, apparently I’m influential about certain topics (As of this writing, 8 things specifically, including for some reason, Amtrak). One of those topics is “Drinks”, which I can only imagine I’m influential about because…

  1. I require hydration
  2. I drink things to fulfill this need
  3. I apparently talk about it in some way.

So Lipton sent me a bunch of these little packets (pictured above) so they could enjoy and bask in my measurable (thanks to Klout) influence. But before I tell you what I think of them, I gotta say this (because the little card included with the packets says so)

[notice]I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.[/notice]

So that’s what I have to say, but ya know, I feel like going the extra mile.

[notice]By getting something for free, I feel no obligation to post about it in a serious or mocking tone at all. My parents raised me to believe that reciprocity was an evil concept that had no value in the world. Further, social interactions have never subtly hinted a quid pro quo norm to me, probably because I live under a rock. [/notice]

So anyway, what did I think of the product? Well let’s see.

First I got myself some regular tap water and put it in a large cup I recently acquired on a trip to an indian casino. I opened the flavor packet using the pre-cut notch (which initially I thought my evil cat had bit into the packet. While I applaud Lipton for providing this easy open interface, my cat does not appreciate the near scolding I almost administered). I then proceeded to dump the contents into the large cup, and stirred the sh*t out of the liquid with a knife (because that’s how I role). Eventually said packet contents integrated with water, producing a honey brown liquid which smelled vaguely tropical.


[notice]I was not asked by Apple, Sony, Twelve South, or Jimmy Buffett to include their products in the photo above. Neither was I asked by HTC to take said photo with my MyTouch 4G Slide, although I did it anyway.[/notice]

So once I had my libation ready to sample, I sat down and carefully picked up the glass. I took a sip, and came to the conclusion that…

This stuff ain’t bad

That’s my exact reaction. I’m an influencer, and I’m influencing that the Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea is pretty tasty. Although if it weren’t I’d be seriously surprised. Do you have any idea how much money gets put into developing a product at subsidiary of Unilever? If this thing had tasted like crap, it never would have made it out of QA (probably…). Anyway, I’m fairly happy with my free tea. I even paired it with a tasty food item

Bananas & Peanut Butter on Toasted Bread

[notice]I was given a free banana & peanut butter bread treat by my wife because I’m awesome. I am under no obligation to talk about this. I get no additional benefits for talking about it, although even if I did, I might not tell you since it’s none of your business.[/notice]

Seal of Approval


The 8 Types of People You Meet On The NYC Subway

I’ve ridden the NYC Subway (Specifically the #1 train) fairly frequently over my 3 years working here. In that time I’ve identified a number of subway ‘types’ – certain prototypical New Yorkers that comprise your average subway train. Here’s a brief list of them.

The Apathetic

Notice the absolute vacant look on this poor pregnant lady’s face? It’s normal. The Apathetic New Yorker rides the subway with a look that screams “My God, why am I doing this…” They don’t seem angry – in fact, they don’t seem to show any emotion whatsoever. They’re just existing, and they’re trying to just get where they’re going in no worse mood than they were when they got on the train. About 90% of the average subway car is made up of the Apathetic. Continue reading “The 8 Types of People You Meet On The NYC Subway”

Glad This Wasn’t My Bill

Saw this at the gas station today, as I pulled up.

Boy, am I glad I have a smaller tank than 22 gallons! Still, at $4.19 for regular, I bet whoever put this in wishes they didn’t have to drop a Benjamin at the Exxon!

Solving a jQuery Headache in WordPress

So around here I like to put photos in my posts. One of my favorite plugins to do this is Flickr Photo Post which lets me grab Creative Commons licensed photos like this:

hot doggie © by istolethetv

By simply clicking the Insert Media button in WordPress and searching on a ‘flickr’ tab. Recently, I noticed that the browser uploader for my own files wasn’t working, and by deactivating plugins, I found that good ole Flickr Photo Post was the problem. Upon further discovery, it appeared that when it loaded it’s own version of jQuery (which wasn’t modified, just a newer version than WP), it was killing the multi-uploader’s code. I’m not quite sure the order of events, but somehow one jQuery version was trumping the other and causing the multi-uploader to not be able to find jQuery when it tried to load.

The solution? I installed a script named “Use Google Libraries” which replaces the plethora of jQuery versions on my server with links to Google’s versions. In addition to fixing my problem, there apparently are also other good reasons to be using Google’s versions over your own.

So now I can use Flickr Photo Post and insert my own photos easily, like the one below!

Cookie Monster Winnfield

A Childless Adult Visits Toys R Us

Recently Karey & I went to Toys R Us to get a few baby shower gifts for our soon-to-be-born first cousin once removed. While Karey was looking, I decided to snap a few photos of some oddities I notice. Note: None of these were purchased for said soon-to-arrive cousin.

So first, if your child wants this:

Then do the sane thing and just take them camping. No kid will form fond memories of the fake fish fry or hatchet. Give them the real thing (note: supervise while they use the hatchet…)

Second, what kid in the world wouldn’t be scarred for life after having Elmo spit on them?

I mean, seriously, Elmo is going to spit on your child in the tub, and you’re cool with that?

And finally, Toys R Us has some interesting movies listed under Family Favorites…


Take a closer look…

So Easy A is one of those awesome family films about pseudo-selling of your virginity! And any movie named The Bounty Hunter can’t be bad for kids, right? And don’t listen to those critics that insinuate Jack and Jill is a form of torture – it’s just fine for kiddies.

There you have it folks. Anyone else notice some Toys R Us insanity? Let me know in the comments!


#100 The Meeting

Jim the Bunny looked at the table of nametags and was surprised at all the “Robs” he saw. Rob from the coffee shop, Rob from the other coffee shop, Reset Button Rob, it seemed to go on forever. He found his name, on a special name tag with a lanyard instead of adhesive (A good thing for someone who didn’t wear a shirt) where it should be, between Jenna and Joe. Jabberpaw’s had already been taken.

As he put his lanyard on, he looked around the room. A few people had arrived already, including Jabber, who was in the corner talking with chick who was showing off her smartphone. Jabber looked impressed. At the other end of the room were two extremely overdressed people talking almost exclusively about how to spend money, jewelry flowing, like they had just won the lottery. A strange crowd, to say the least.

Jim hopped away and found a peculiar little man and his peculiar little girlfriend. The man introduced himself as Gene.

“So do you know what this is all about?”, Jim asked Gene.

“Not a clue! I just got an invitation two days ago that said to show up here”, Gene replied.

“That seems to be what everyone got”.

The room they were in was quite large, with a bar of multiple heights (to support the strange array of sized people and animals in attendance), and a stage with a podium. That was where the normal elements of the room ended. There were quite a large number of doors around the outside edges of the rooms, and periodically one would open and the person or animal emerge. They’d stare around the room for a few moments, and then wander to the table with the nametags.

Jim supposed they all had a similar experience as he had. They’d received an invitation, and then found a strange door somewhere they’d never seen it before. The one Jim, Jabberpaw, Sylvester, Bob, and the knitting sheep had come through was near Jabber’s cave. It was attached to a tree which Jim swore hadn’t had a door before. But the door was at the end of the map that accompanied the invitation, so Jim and his group entered.

Now he saw the sheep talking with a little girl holding a teddy bear, no doubt asking about the fiber makeup of her inanimate friend. In the corner, a smallish man wearing extremely ‘lifted’ shoes marched up to a smallish T-rex who wore a chef’s hat. This was, to say the least, a weird meeting.

About 30 minutes past the ‘start’ of the party, as listed on the invite, the lights dimmed and the group, as if compelled by some strange force, began to assemble in the chairs laid out before the stage and podium. After they had all sat, a screen lowered from the ceiling of the stage and a short film began to play. It showed a variety of events that had happened to the crowd, as if some disembodied camera had followed them on various days over the past few months. They all sat amazed as they recalled the events.

Finally when the film was done, a spotlight shown on the podium. The camera trained on the podium, projected on the screen, was really the only way to notice the two birds that had landed on the podium’s edge, by the microphone.

“Good evening, My name is Pete, and this is my friend Zak”, one little bird said.

“We’re here tonight to welcome you to a speech by a person that, up until today, none of us knew existed”, the other chimed in.

“He’s just spoken with us, and now we’d like to introduce you to our friend, The Author!”

The birds flew away, and a man walked out from the right of the stage, confidently smiling and moving toward the center.

“Who is this guy?”, Jim said to the person sitting next to him, a guy who smelled of alcohol and wore a flower in his lapel. The man did not answer.

“Do you know who this guys is?”, Jim said to the person on the other side, a pale faced man named Edmund according to his name tag.

“You moron – those birds just said none of us know who he is!”, Edmund replied. Jim sat their quietly, annoyed.

“100 days ago”, the man began, “All of you didn’t exist. Well, except for Jim & Bob – they existed but were tucked away in nearly forgotten folder”.

Jim sat there, confused. He knew he had existed for some time, and so had Sylvester, Jabber, the sheep, and everyone else in the Woods.

“You see, I wrote about all of you, thus taking you out of an imaginary ether of thought and placing you into words on a page, or a screen”.

“This guy is high”, Jim said to Edmund. Edmund just looked annoyed, a bit constipated, and somehow stunningly attractive. It was this last element that freaked Jim out the most.

The man continued.

“Now, after 100 days, I’m calling you all together to meet. Because honestly, I need your help. You see, while I wrote all of your stories, I have no idea what any of it means. Sure, I may have put some lofty thoughts in a few of your stories, or even a preachy message or two in some cases. In others I simply wrote a story or poem that reflected abstract feelings or thoughts. But now as I look out there and see all of you, I realize something – I feel as though we’re all related in some way, but I’ll be damned if I know what that is”.

Jim couldn’t take it anymore. He hopped up to the stage, as quickly as he could, and jumped on the podium.

“Dude – I don’t know what you’re smoking, but all I can see in this room is a mess of odd people and talking animals. I mean – there’s a dinosaur that is asking anyone if they want to come over and grill out later, another dinosaur looking for his socks, and a guy who says some group of super spies are after him. If you created all of us, then it’s your responsibility to put all of this together into something that makes sense!”

The man looked down at Jim, who had knocked the prepared address of the podium as he hopped up, and paused. Then after a slow moment a smile crept to his face.

“Jim, I agree we’re a mess, and I just realized something”.

“What’s that, weirdo?”, Jim said in reply.

“That this whole project, and all of you, only need to exist. You don’t need to do, say, act, or interact in any way. You’ve all served your purpose beautifully over the past 3 months, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Thank you”, the man said as he began to walk away. The lights in the room came up to show that the doors were removed, with just empty archways back to respective worlds. The animals and people, from that day on, were free to come and go to each other’s worlds, hindered only by their mind.

“I have no idea what that guy was talking about”, Jim said, to no one in particular. The group was mingling once more, people coming and going through the doors, exploring.

As Jim hopped down, he realized he had something in his pocket. He pulled out a crumpled €5 note.

“Damn, gotta hit the bank before Bunnymart on the way home…”, he muttered as he made his way back toward The Woods.

A Short Story a Day was a daily feature and creative writing project. Shortly a book will be available containing all of these stories, and exclusive behind-the-story entries for each!

#99 Finality

Everything ends, despite our wishes
despite our hopes
despite our dreams
despite how hard we wish it wouldn’t.

Everything finishes, despite our inability
to see an alternative reality
to perceive ourselves advancing
to relive the past.

Everything builds upon us, even though
it feels trivial
it seems larger than it is
it ends.


#98 Invitation

Jim the Bunny looked at piece of paper skeptically. It simply read:

You are invited to a gathering on May 10. Many exciting and interesting people and animals will be there.

Jim had never received an invitation to anything before, much less a ‘gathering’ with ‘interesting people and animals’. He checked his FB account and saw that animals all around The Woods had received similar notices. Jabberpaw was especially excited, as not only had he never received an invitation to anything before, he had specifically received orders not to attend various parties and social events, on account of his large stature and scary nature.

Jim, being a snarky bunny, weighed his options, but in the end concluded that it was better to attend such an event to alleviate his curiosity, than to avoid it just to be a jerk.

Bunny © by ahmadridhwan