The Blue Friday haul

I said to a friend of mine that one of the grueling challenges that I would have to endure this holiday weekend was trying to get out of it without making one major electronic purchase.  Because I am a compulsive consumer, somewhat easily swayed by the pressure and the hype of Black Friday electronic sales and advertising.

Furthermore, my primary television has an entire line of dead pixels on it.  Granted, it’s maybe ten pixels from the top of the screen, and it’s just one pixel on a 51” screen, so it’s really not that offensive and hardly affects any viewing, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a permanent blemish, and the first sign that the television is going, and that I should consider a new one, immediately, on Black Friday.  Even if it meant dropping anywhere from $500-1,000.

Thanksgiving Day, I found myself mentally wrestling with myself, flip flopping on whether or not I should just do it and buy a new television.  It would be nice to have a brand new nice television with no blemishes, but it would likely have cost $500-1,000.  But then when was I going to do with my otherwise still functional and practical HDTV?   Not to mention that I have a major trip coming in January, and I can see potential for future, actual necessity spending, when I likely have to replace at least two tires on my car.  Furthermore, there was no guarantee that I would have been able to give gotten a television without having to brave the AM hours and fighting for it, because it was looking like a lot of online deals were being snatched up immediately.  But to have a bigger television than what I currently had!

Ultimately, the dilemma solved itself, because as I alluded to a few days ago, I really felt a need to do some clothes shopping.  And pretty much every retailer that I would have bought things from decided that they were going to essentially put their entire inventories up online, at their Black Friday discounts, as early as the day before Thanksgiving.

And… I went a little nuts.  Easily, I spent over $300, maybe possibly $400, on a massive variety of new clothing from several retailers.  Most of it was done online, and as has been somewhat of a tradition over the last few years, Jen and I scavenged at the mall well after the crazy hours, and I managed to pick up some more things.

Also, I spent a couple hundred on, of all things, camera accessories.  My nifty fifty 50mm lens, and since I actually do aspire to take better pictures in the future, I bought an external flash, that actually came available in a sweet bundle that has a bounce and diffuser.  This excites me for future use.

But by doing such, I basically overloaded on the budget where I might have considered dipping into for crazy extravagant electronics, like a new television.  So in a way, I succeeded in having my Blue Steel Friday, and avoided getting a gigantic television that I simply really would not have needed.

I may not have a brand new television and still have a slightly blemished television, but at least I can think I feel more fashionable than I did prior to the holiday season.

Photos: Thanksgiving

I can’t really say that I’m thankful for a whole lot outside of the typical generic ones, like the people around me, but one thing that I am genuinely thankful for is that my life is, although often times erring on the side of boring, but somewhat stable.

My family drives me nuts from time to time, but that’s what family does.  My job might be kind of mundane and boring, but it affords me the ability to pay the bills and sustain my fairly simple life.

The benefit to stability is the fact that when things aren’t going so well for others, I can be at my peak condition of being able to offer help and support, because things aren’t necessarily that complicated in my own life.  And it’s cyclical; it goes without saying that stability isn’t achieved without a decent support system in place for me, if and when I ever need it.

Anyway, enough of the sappy bullshit.  I got a new lens for my camera that I’ve decided to try out, a 50mm “nifty fifty.”  Obviously, I’m somewhere below a beginner when it comes to taking pictures, but so far, I like the potential what this little new lens has to offer.  So prior to the obligatory group pictures I make everyone “suffer” through, I was playing around with it, noting its aperture settings, even on automatic shooting.

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Maybe a Blue Friday this year

Blue Steel Friday, that is.

I know it’s pretty much the Armageddon of capitalism every year, but I don’t really mind Black Fridays.  Sure, they’re stressful, exhausting and I’ve had my massive share of failures in the past, but I’ve also experienced triumphs and successes in acquiring big ticket items for substantial discounts and/or rewards.  Whereas there are lots of people who see Black Fridays as miserable commercial holidays of chaos, greed and materialism, I often see them as opportunities to make some smart purchasing.

Especially now that most merchants have actually moved into the twenty-first century and actually do as much peddling online as they do in-stores, it makes things a hundred times more efficient and less stressful, since I don’t have to wake up at 3 AM in order to wait in a line to get something I really want.

Last year was actually perfect, since I was able to make a lot of my substantial purchases online on Thanksgiving Day itself, and then Black Friday was spent leisurely sleeping in, and scavenging for leftover deals at the mall and Target, and whatever other retailers were on the route.

As we near closer to Thanksgiving in present time, I’ve already been keeping my eyes peeled for things I might want, things I might want to get for others, and things that I didn’t know I wanted until I see that they’re going to be on sale come Black Friday.  Nothing is really a secret or going to be a surprise what with all the fake confidentiality and planned leaks of item lists, and the existence of sites like BFAds.

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Purex can eat a bag of dicks

I don’t remember what exactly Tide did, but whatever it was, it was enough for Jen to decide to not support using Tide detergent moving forward.  Personally, I don’t really care, because, it’s detergent, so I had no qualms with switching things up.  It’s soapy liquid that helps get my clothes clean, nothing more than that, so I don’t really care what brand it is, so long as is does its job.

Apparently, it’s naïve of me to have that kind of mindset, because it clearly does matter what brand of detergent you’re using.  Without getting too detailed, I’ll just say that for the last week or so, I’ve been having some instances of rashes and skin abnormalities of the itching variety that have been puzzling me to why this is the case.  Some spots look like straight up poison ivy rashes, and itch like them too.  I haven’t really been out in nature any time recently, and if it were truly poison ivy, then it probably would be in way more places and in far worse severity.

And then it dawned on me that one of the very few things that had recently changed, was the fact that we started washing our clothing with Purex detergent, which was our first attempt at using something other than Tide.  The stuff claims to be all-natural, or at least boasts a lack of impurities and chemicals that their competitors use.  I’m guessing part of their “all-natural” ingredients must include some derivative of poison ivy or sumac, because I’m 99% positive that it’s the detergent that’s causing me these abnormal itchy skin irregularities.

Googling “purex detergent rash” results in all varieties and types of forums, inquiries and mommy blogs talking about numerous people who apparently are having the same afflictions that I’m having right now.  I’m actually relieved to know that I’m nothing unique, and that there are many many other people out there having the same issues with Purex-washed clothing that I am.

That being said, Purex can go eat a back of dicks.  Fuck Purex, and their shitty product that causes people like me, and others to break out in rashes.  This is public damnation of a commercially available product, and I hope all of my six readers will think twice about buying Purex the next time they’re looking for detergent.

Happy trails, Brian McCann

It seems like it was just yesterday, when Brian McCann hit a three-run home run off of Roger Clemens in the playoffs.  And in the metaphorical tomorrow when we refer to next year, the 2014 season, Brian McCann will no longer be a member of the Atlanta Braves, but the New York Yankees, who have historically been known to gobble up players of the highest talents simply because they can afford to.

Contrary to the popular notion that “everyone hates the Yankees,” I actually don’t.  Sure, it’s sometimes frustrating to hear how the rich keep getting richer, whenever the Yankees secure the services of yet another highly talented free agent, but the fact of the matter is that in spite of their organization’s propensity to believe that championships are acquired by amassing the most talent, regardless of how much it may cost, the Yankees are just as subject to the crap shoot of winning baseball championships as would be teams with far lesser payrolls, like the Oakland A’s, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Atlanta Braves.  They’ve won just one championship since the start of the millennium.

It’s easier for me to say this, given my gradual detachment from rampant Braves/baseball fandom, but I’m happy for Brian McCann.  He would have been absolutely stupid and out of his mind if he turned down the contract that the Yankees offered him (five years, $80 million).  As a man now in his 30s, with a toddler of his own, the opportunity to essentially secure his entire family’s financial well-being in such a fell swoop is a total no-brainer for McCann.  Even though I’m southern born-and-bred and a Braves fan, I can’t be mad at McCann for taking this deal and going up to big bad evil New York; like I said, he would be completely mental if he didn’t.

Regardless of the quick acceptance of the departure of one of the best Braves players in the last decade, it really is a melancholy time for Braves fans.  For the better part of the last eight years, McCann was a force on the roster; at first being the chubby-cheeked, baby-face rookie who hit so well upon his call-up, and we in Atlanta watched him mature into a man who grew up before our very eyes as he hit home runs, made All-Star games perennially, and accepted and took on responsibility as one of the team’s core leaders.

But when the day is over, it’s still more important to lead his personal team – his family.  And as unfortunate as it sounds, the Atlanta Braves aren’t the same team from back when Ted Turner personally owned the organization and wasn’t the least bit shy about opening up the wallet to spend the kind of dollars that probably could have ensured he stayed on the team.  Fortunately for McCann, someone was, and unfortunately for all the Yankee-haters, it was the Yankees.

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