Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Frogurt...Is Also Cursed

Utahns have always been known for their love for gimmicky desserts. Whether it's jell-o with creatively placed fruit chunks in the middle, or variations of ice cream, Provo might as well be the capital of dessert indulgence, most likely as a way of over-compensating for the lack of the regular vices found in most American college towns.

With that said, 2008 saw the rise of the Provo frozen yogurt spot. The foundation for this craze was laid in the 90's, as the "Yogi" in Utah fast food chain Hogi-Yogi. Frozen yogurt is a natural drug of choice for health-consicious yuppie college students and their older married friends.

It was no surprise to see startups like Fro-Yo or Yoasis (or as I call it, Broasis) catch on quickly in Provo. I did not, however, foresee the extent to which this fad would spread through Utah County in the face of a "recession". The day is not far off where there will be (apparently) recession-proof frozen yogurt restaurants on literally every street corner in the BYU bubble.

Tomorrow night may very well be the apex of the Frozen Yogurt wars: Competing over-the-top bro-fest events at competing frozen yogurt businesses.

According to my Facebook Events page, on Friday, April 10th, Spoon Me is having a "Spring Fever" party, while less than a block away, Yoasis is holding their much-anticipated One Year Anniversary Party. Both events boast the usual suspects: free admission, local bands as opening acts to the headlining local DJ/Dance Party, and of course, overpriced frozen yogurt.

Events like this teach the average Provo college student two valuable lessons:

1) You should never have to pay for any event ever in Provo. Places that charge for live music are ripping you off and offer no difference in quality to frozen yogurt parties. After attending said parties you are officially qualified to write home and tell your parents that you are fully intergrated to the underground culture of Provo...


2) Live music is never reason enough to leave your apartment/dorm. It MUST be accompanied by the presence of food (preferrably frozen yogurt) and another form of entertainment, including, but not limited to: Live DJs, Guitar Hero contests, or Giveaways.

So who will win the frozen yogurt wars tomorrow night? This is a difficult question to answer; one of demographics, location, and marketing strategies. I, however, will be far from the pandemonium, watching The New Nervous play at a house in Orem, where I can nearly guarantee there will be no frozen yogurt.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meyd in Tsina

I loved going shopping while I was in the Philippines this past January. While I typically avoid malls and big-box stores here in the states (because of the anxiety they cause me, and the temptation to spend money I don't have), I went to a mall nearly every day I spent in the Philippines.

SM City Iloilo is the branch of a ginormous nationwide chain-megamall located about 5 minutes from my girlfriend, Alchi Mae's, house. I loved going there with her and buying awesome clothes for dirt cheap, (that actually fit me!) I literally have the exact same measurements as the mannequins in their department stores! We got used hardcover books for $1.50, and a Big Mac meal for the price of a U.S. Double Cheeseburger (err, excuse me...McDOUBLE).

You have to have a sixth sense for shopping at certain spots in the Philippines, however. This is especially true in the marketplaces of the small towns, where imitation off-brands run rampant. While on a day trip in the quiet town of Altavas, in Aklan province, Alchi Mae tried to contain her laughter while pointing out this Made-in-China perfume list on display in a local shop:

Now, to the untrained shopper, this store would appear to be selling upscale American perfumes, and for dirt cheap. After a careful inspection of the list, however, you will notice the subtle differences between these imitations and their authentic counterparts (...and a big name in U.S. politics?!?)

The moral of the story is, in a culture where all spelling is purely phonetic...


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dude, Where's My Subaru?

A funny thing happened while I walked back to my car Saturday after an evening at Velour. The walk was farther than normal, because parking at Velour has taken a turn for the worse ever since EVERY adjacent business somehow needs their vacant lots to be completely empty at 10 pm.

I knew I parked somewhere on 200 north, which is really the closest place to park on the block anymore. I spotted the ol' red Subaru Legacy, and opened the door to get in. The first thing I noticed was that the squeak in the front door was oddly gone. Hmm...weird...maybe Pyfer fixed it while I was in the Philippines and I had just barely noticed.

Then I got that weird sinking feeling in my stomach. My car was completely empty! I had stopped locking my car, as I stopped keeping anything of value in there. This led me from worry to confusion:

"Why would someone steal a yard-sale sleeping bag?"

"How much will you get on Ebay for a box of 200 Chance Lewis CDs?"

Then my inner dialogue got more analytical, and I started observing more things in the car:

"Is this a prank?"

"The car is not only empty; it's literally been CLEANED!"

"Why does it smell like bad-jock-cologne in here? (a cross between Polo Sport & Testosterone)"

"Is that a Guster sticker on the window?"

Then I looked about 3 spaces down the street, and saw my nearly-identical car, cracked windshield and all. Squeak? Check. Wendy's bag doubling as a trash can? Check. Paper cup in the holder filled with "We Are Chance Lewis" buttons? Check. I headed home.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Of This Much I Am Sure

Next week, my co-worker at Muse Music, Becca is leaving to go on a mission. As I contemplated all of the things that can change (or not change) in 18 months, I told her what I thought the world might be like when she gets home.

I told her that with the current economic crisis, she's leaving the "real world" at a perfect time. For a year and a half, she won't have to worry about a job. With any luck, by the time she gets home, everything will be back to normal and she can pick up where she left off as if nothing happened.

I told her some things will never change, especially in Provo: In 2011 we will STILL call it Beto's (even though they changed their name to Rancherito's like 2 years ago) and BYU students will ALWAYS call it "The Muse".