Black Friday- I don’t get it!

Come on people. Let me hear it. Let me hear from you if you seriously got a deal worth all of the trampling, fighting, hair pulling, swearing, and camping in line when you should have been having turkey. Somebody has to justify this madness to me. I like a discount like anybody but do you seriously come away with a 48″ Sony tv for forty dollars? If so, did you have to kill somebody to get it? Please, inquiring minds want to know.

Earlier tonight, in the middle of a second piece of pie, the news came on and showed two guys who had camped out in front of Best Buy for HOURS waiting to get in on a great deal on electric toothbrushes. That’s right, TOOTHBRUSHES!  I remember the days when my cousins and I would get up early the next morning and run off to the mall just to get a start on Christmas shopping but this is a whole different animal all together. Now, you have people barreling through the front doors of anything from Walmart to Macys, but I’m not really sure of why. My friends went to Walmart last year at midnight, knowing that the Black Friday sale didn’t start until 6:00a.m. but the store was still open for business. They saw people in the camping section…..well………camping. In Walmart. Waiting for the sale to start.

I was getting out of bed when my friends came home with a nice amount of wares from their shopping excursion. When asked if it was worth it, they responded that they were happy with what they got but they saved about twenty dollars per item on average. Hey, twenty dollars is twenty dollars but that is not enough for me to go into Jackie Chan mode in order to survive a shopping spree. So please. Enlighten me. What have you been able to show for your Black Friday shopping experience? Anything worth boxing over?!

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New Year’s Non-Resolutions

It’s that time again. Another year gone and time for new beginnings. This is about the time of year that people start contemplating on what changes they need to make in their life and where there is room for improvement. In looking back, I think I’ve had a pretty good year considering the state of the world today so with that said, I’m not changing a damn thing! I have become a firm believer that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This realization sort of hit me this year after realizing that I spent so many years trying to reinvent the wheel for no reason. I am lucky that most of my friends and family have been relatively happy and healthy and the ones who have had extreme challenges this past year reminded me about what’s really important in life and that we have to embrace it the best we can for however long we’re here.

With that in mind, instead of creating the New Year’s anxiety that I seem to foolishly drum up annually for myself, why not try something different and let myself off the hook for once? I have never tried to start the New Year off with the intention of changing nothing or not wanting to shed anything. Those are the buzz words, right? CHANGE. SHED. START OVER. GAIN THIS, LOSE THAT. Bleh. I’m looking forward to a new year hopefully filled with travels, and good health but I decided to create specific non-resolutions for 2011 such as:

*  I’m not going on a diet. I have yo-yo’ed about 5-15 lbs for almost 20 years now. I’m at peace with that. My friends can tell you that I’ve gone vegan, organic, holistic, sugar free, gluten free, and fat free only to throw it all out the window on a whim and order a plate of pesto tortellini with a basket of garlic bread and a bottle of wine. FOR MYSELF. Considering that I do give all of the health fads an honest chance if only for a little while, I see this as my version of finding balance in my diet.

*  I will not be on the hunt for the perfect mate. I just got rid of my not so perfect…or perfect for somebody else, mate, and I would like to continue to focus on pastimes and interesting people instead of finding a replacement. I decided earlier in the year to go back to what I know which is allowing all types of fabulous people to come into my life with no agenda. It’s a formula that has worked, giving me life-long soul mates so if it ain’t broke………

*  I’m not going to try to save money. I know that sounds totally stupid to make it an actual goal  but I have finally burned out on the concept. I’m no richer or poorer than I was a year ago and as my little blog will tell you, I did o.k. Can I buy that charming cottage in the South of France right now? No, but I can afford the occasional plane ticket and cat food. What more do I need? (Although if this economy doesn’t pick up I may be buying cat food for two.)

*  I’m not going to exercise more. I exercise enough. I go to the gym when I feel that I am about to morph into a full-blown sloth, I take the occasional yoga class, walk at the beach when it’s warm enough, and we just acquired a Wii fit in the house which I may or may not use. I like to exercise, in fact need to exercise on some level, but I’ve never been one of those people who looks at a mountain and feels a need to conquer it. Great for those who do. I’ll just sit back and marvel at your brilliance!

*  I’m not going to drink less. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting drinking, nor do I grab rubbing alcohol from the linen closet if I run out of Pinot Noir. But I enjoy one glass of good wine with a nice meal. I also love the 200 different types of Martinis created by a good Vodka, not to mention that my dad’s killer hot chocolate recipe calls for a splash of Brandy. Alcoholic drinks can be enjoyable when you want to compliment a really great dish. Food and a good drink go hand in hand as far as I’m concerned, calories or not. Like everything else, everything in moderation.

BUT DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE PEOPLE! YOU WANT TO BE AROUND FOR FUTURE NEW YEARS!!

*  I’m not going to “get organized” the way all of the magazines say I should. I do the spring cleaning routine in the spring, summer, fall, pre-Christmas, and after Christmas but if you have a borderline hoarding issue with books, photos, and magazines, then “getting organized” doesn’t really help anything. It’s only a band aid. I have what I call, organized chaos. It works for me, I’m sticking to it.

So there you have it. My Napolean stance on New Year’s Eve resolutions. A lot of thought went into my revolt against resolutions and I may decide to make this a part of my belief system. Or, maybe I’m just burned out from the holidays and am too damn lazy and tired at this point to make any!

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I want to thank everyone who has taken the time this year to read my little ramblings. I didn’t know how to put a blog together a year ago and have learned so much just from reading other creative and talented bloggers. I look forward to learning more from those who have this blogging thing down to a science while hopefully delivering happy, fun, and sometimes snarky tidbits to those who have the slightest bit of interest.

Have a safe, happy and healthy New Year everybody! Cheers!

It Figures. The Almighty Junk Sets Off The Rallying Cry.

Applause, applause. Somebody is putting their foot down on the violations to our 4th Amendment rights. I’m really glad that passenger John Tyner said, NO to this violation of privacy that travelers have had to endure for years now. I have to admit that I’m a little peeved over the fact that it took a threatened pee pee to sound the alarm on what a violation the security checks can be at the airport. It has been a Hooter buffet for almost 10 years where we’ve had to allow some random security person to get to second base for security purposes. Now, because we have evolved so much, you get a choice. Be physically groped and molested or give yourself up to a scanner which provides a full-on peep show for the screener. If disabled passengers are not able to stand up out of their wheelchairs or scooters, they get the groping session in their wheelchairs and scooters for their convenience.

The argument is that this is keeping America safe. By the time we collect our dignity and get on the plane, we should arrive to our destinations as the most combed-through traveling citizens of the world, right? This is a fool-proof system so nobody should have slipped through, right? What about that wannabe underwear bomber last year who boarded the plane in Amsterdam? Have we figured out how to prevent idiots and terrorists from boarding overseas and landing here?

Before I am accused of siding with the terrorists, let me just remind everybody about the 4th Amendment. We are protected against unreasonable search and seizure and there needs to be probable cause for having to go through a search. What we are experiencing at the airports are “pat-downs searches” which, according to the Constitution, is to be carried out by an officer. Mr. Tyner was absolutely correct in stating his boundaries. Furthermore, the alternative to pat-down searches which are scanner machines, are as much a violation to our rights as the invasive pat-downs. Have you seen what they can actually see on these scanners? If I’m going to be subjected to such a thorough and revealing scan, than I expect to have the results to my bone density, colonoscopy, and body fat count by the time I get my shoes back on. Even Captain Sullenberger (Sully) has spoken out against the invasive nature of the current practices of the TSA, having watched his wife be subjected to getting searched “in sensitive places.”

No matter where the spark came from, I’m glad this matter is finally getting the proper attention needed to sound the alarm on how wrong it is to put the traveling public through this. We’ve been obediently handing over our rights to our person and having to live with that weird feeling afterward in the name of national security. BS. Thanks for the innovative practices but find another way to protect me without violating me. I have spent so many years promoting the need for travel in our lives and now I hear more and more people wanting to stay home or drive long distances because of hassles like this.  Please TSA, do your job but stay away from our junk and our hooters.

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Now that I’ve stood up on my soapbox, I found a clip from some Aussies who just happen to share my feelings on this subject and summed it all up so well. Warning: They’re a little more laid back about this then we are!

iphone vs. the Techie-Dinosaurs

Ride the wave? Don’t ride the wave. Ride the wave? Don’t ride the wave. Look. I get it. Change is difficult. I have had to weigh the arguments for and against progress and technology more times than I care to admit. For God’s sakes, I was in the travel industry. Tell me I shouldn’t be bitter about technology! I adamantly believed that it was better to wait and receive a beautifully printed brochure from the Hotel de Crillon in Paris instead of looking at it on a screen instantly. (Although their website is fabulous.) But…… whatever.  I’ve experienced my growing pains, realized that change is inevitable, and progress happens whether we want it to or not. You have to make a choice. Either ride the wave or get slammed by it. And getting slammed by it in the technological sense means constantly saying, “Huh? What the hell are they talking about?!” And there you have it. The species known as The Techi-saurus rex. Also known as the Techi Dinosaur.

This is a flipping joke coming from me considering I held off on getting a cell phone until everybody complained about me not having a cell phone.  That’s right, I was experiencing peer pressure in my adulthood over not keeping up with the latest and greatest but I am quickly becoming the geek I was always meant to be. My own dad has always kept up with what’s new but somehow, I ended up being more cautious about jumping into the technological pool until I know for sure that it’s going to change my life for the better. I realize that to hang on to the way we used to do things can be seen as rebellious, nostalgic, and uniquely individual in an ever changing world. Do you know what else it is? A pain in the ass to those around you. And there’s the rub. Is there is a happy medium? Can you be cool-vintage and anti-establishment with an iphone?

Photo of vintage phone taken with lousy camera phone.

 

Here is an my example of the techie-dinosaur. I have someone in my family who still has a rotary pay phone in his kitchen. It is a phone that I played with as a kid and loved and admired because it was so vintage and cool looking. But it’s a rotary phone and I have been dialing……yes, I said DIALING that phone since I was five. And now I’m forty. He also owned the same cassette tape player until the rest of us got sick of hearing the static and the endless attempts at pushing down buttons that were no longer working. Lest I not forget to mention the black and white television in his kitchen. The same one that produced the most irritating loud static sound as it tried endlessly to find a signal from it’s rabbit ears. What killed that piece of crap? It certainly wasn’t by choice. It was the death of analog.

On the other end of the spectrum are the tech junkies who have ipods, ipads, mp3’s, The Kindle, the Droid, you name it. This would include almost everyone else I know other than the techie-saurus  rex. I have always considered myself to be somewhere in the middle, somewhat interested in what’s new but not always finding a need for some of these changes in my life, only to jump on the bandwagon late every time. These are my current personal battles with the burning question, do I need this or do I not?:

Do I really need to have a GPS? I know how to read a map for God’s sakes which I still find to be a useful skill though some might find that to be as challenging as reading hyroglifics these days. I have to admit that my friend’s GPS has come in handy a few times but this is one of those areas where I don’t feel like the gates of heaven would open up for me if I had one. Maybe I’m wrong.

Do I really have to get an iphone, Droid, or a smart phone of some sort? I have a cell phone that does what I need it to do considering that I don’t need my phone to do too much for me. Some people do, but I need my phone to turn on and play fancy ring tones when my friends call and that’s it. Having said that, my friend decided to show me how her phone has eliminated her need for her computer altogether and now……you guessed it…..I’m looking into buying a damn iphone. She watches Netflix on the stupid thing, has GPS, well you all know. Everyone but myself has one so I don’t have to tell you.

And then there’s the Kindle. I REALLY want this thing but I have spent so many years collecting my beautiful travel books and I love my book cases. I am torn because though I don’t jump on a plane that often anymore, I think that the Kindle is the smartest piece of travel equipment to come along in a long time. (That and the suitcases with the roller blade wheels.) The amount of bulk eliminated from one little piece of equipment is fantastic. But then, if I didn’t keep buying books what would I have to dust every week?

The dinosaurs are the ones who roll their eyes to the rest of us who have shamelessly given into expensive fads and ongoing technology. I admittedly used to be a dinosaur until about the last 5-7 years. I was in Italy one time when an Italian woman in the airport bathroom was sobbing because she dropped her cell phone and it broke into 100 pieces. I thought she was nuts and needed to get a life. Today, I totally understand. I have since dropped my own phone and turned into the Exorcist when it broke into 100 pieces so I now get it. I’m still in a state of limbo with some of this stuff but I guess all I can do is just keep riding the wave and go with whatever floats my boat at the moment. For now, I can’t imagine that I need to clutter my desk with any more stuff!

I Love You, Oz but…..

I consider Australia to be my second home. Though it has been a while, I have made many trips to Australia, the last of which I almost did not return from because I became so attached to the people, surroundings, the natural beauty, and the general feel of Melbourne and Victoria. The pristine beaches, the kangaroos running around in the wild, the cute little magpies and kookaburras found in abundance in The Grampians National Park are all more than enough reason for me to want to go to Australia as often as I possibly can. But there is just one thing I will never understand. What the hell is it with that Vegemite crap? Seriously!!!! I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. I pride myself on being an adventurous foodie but try as I might, I can’t choke that crap down for anything. I tried on numerous occasions to talk myself into liking it out of just wanting to be a good sport but God help me, I can’t do it. I realize that it might be one of those things you have to grow up with which might explain why I travel with a jar of Skippy peanut butter in my luggage when going on extensive trips. But I have been staring at this jar of Vegemite in my cupboard for so long that at this point, it’s just a souvenir. I treat it as a friendly reminder of how much I love Australia even though they mass produce something that tastes worse than sardines left outside on a hot day. Thankfully, Australia has enough great restaurants and food diversity to save it from being defined by this food atrocity. In fact, some of the best meals I’ve ever had have been in Australia. Don’t forget that they have an incredible wine region where the fabulous Shiraz is produced. So for that, all is forgiven. Not to mention that my friend’s mother is Italian and makes the best Italian food in all of Australia and Italy put together. But that’s another post. Never the less, where the packaged foods are concerned, as long as Tim Tams (www.about-australia-shop.com) exist,  I will have an Aussie treat I can enjoy without having to choke down Vegemite.  Sorry Oz, love the country, hate the spread!   😦