Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quiz: Are You An iPhone or a Blackberry?

You Are an iPhone

You are one of those early adopter, super geek chic types.
You like a gadget that has a ton of features to fuel your tech obsessions.

You tend to know the inner workings of every toy, phone, and computer you own. You’re always exploring and learning.
You want the most leading edge phone you can find, at almost any cost. You’re usually the first one in line for the latest iPhone!

I must confess I sometimes, but not too heavily, wish for  a smartphone. What, you ask?   Of course, I have a cell phone, but it's just a small one for calling and texting.   But everywhere I look, everyone seems to have a smartphone, an iPhone or Blackberry.  Only one or two people have just a regular cell phone, I've noticed.   Sometimes I get a little envious of this and sometimes I suspect  others will think I'm behind the times without a phone with all those endless apps for this or that.  I don't mind not being able to update my Facebook or Twitter status while away from home, but it might be fun to do so once in a while.  Maybe just one day, though such devices are quite expensive.  And I'm aware that they keep coming out with new versions of the iPhone and the Blackberry, but what if those become the only cell phone options available?

And I still have a desktop computer, no laptop or tablet computer?  Am I the only one?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

I must confess to something I felt tempted to do on Thursday night.  Upon learning that some stores, including Target, would be open at midnight, I felt tempted just to drive by Target to see how full the parking lot would get as result of this.  I did not work on Friday morning so I could have stayed up to do such a thing.  Unfortunately, after getting home around 7PM after the movies and dinner, I watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,"  and took a nap shortly after that show as over.  I thought if I was going to even drive past the parking lot I would need to rest just a little.  But when I woke up, I was just too tired to even think of getting out so late.  I seriously don't think I missed anything.  I watched the news at 11PM that night  and saw coverage of Black Friday Eve (I guess we can call it that?)  The Outlets in Gilroy were open at 9PM. Kmart in my town was open all day on Thanksgiving.  My place of work, Home Goods (I was off Friday),  opened at 7AM.  Sadly our same store in San Carlos, CA, is in the same strip as Best Buy, meaning they had to open at midnight or whenever their Best Buy opened for Black Friday.  Speaking of Best Buy, there were tents outside the Gilroy, CA branch of the popular electronics store.  I spotted these while at lunch at work on Wednesday, having gone to eat at the Subway near Best Buy.

I just could not handle going to shop so late at night.  Having to be on morning mode for work (though I'm barely a morning person) I easily fall asleep (though not completely) around 7PM, except on nights when I don't work the following day.  Since Friday is normally a  workday for me, my body automatically went into early sleep mode on Thursday night, even though I woke up around 9PM and went back to bed, deciding not to try to see how crowded the Target parking lot would be.

On Friday, I did not get into town till around noon making trips to Safeway to get a cell phone card and to Ace Hardware to get a light bulb for the front porch light, then to lunch at McDonald's.  I then began my laundry which I finished today, then headed off to see "The Muppets."   I left the house about half an hour before the movie began, so  I stooped at Target before going to the cinema.  It was somewhat crowded, but I was able to get  a parking space, get into the bathroom and walk briefly through the store without literally bumping into anyone (no colloquially "bumping into anyone" either). No pushing or shoving occurred. After the movie was over,  I headed over to Kmart and saw only a small crowd of customers.  Again, no pushing or shoving and no bumping  into anyone(in either sense).  I did not buy anything yesterday other than the light bulb and the phone card.

Today I went to these stores again and still have not bought anything, except some food today at Safeway while finishing my laundry.   Tonight I got out my fiber-optic Christmas tree (that I got 10 years ago) and strung my Christmas lights over the kitchen window.  I wanted my decorations up before December 1 (next Thursday) so I decided tonight was the night to do it.  Monday I'll be back at work, so I have to be in bed early tomorrow night.  Today was extremely busy with finishing the  laundry, taking out the recyclables, and getting groceries, so I'm amazed I still had energy to get out the Christmas stuff, but I was determined.  Now I just have to endure four weeks at work dealing with the holiday rush and the all-day stream of Christmas music over the intercom (so far it's only been intermittent Christmas music).  But I will get my shopping done, since I have very little to do.  Just not on a day when everyone is rushing and staying outside overnight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm Doing for Thanksgiving

Tomorrow some family and I are going to see "Breaking Dawn, Part 1" then going out to dinner.  We did the same last year with the movie "Burlesque."  I also plan to see "The Muppets" before this weekend is over.

As I've said, I don't hate Thanksgiving but it's just not my favorite time of the year.  November has always seemed like that slow, dreary month between the Halloween madness of October and the Christmas frenzy that's supposed to begin in December but which actually begins as early as September.   I have to admit since the loud speaker at wrk has been playing Christmas songs intermittently since the beginning of last week, I pulled some of my Christmas music then as well.  I've already heard many songs  on our loud speaker as well as those at other stores.  And there is still a week left in November.  I'm not planning on decorating until this weekend so I can have my Christmas stuff by December 1.  I have the weekend off so I should be able to accomplish this as well as getting my laundry done.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How do you sell Thanksgiving?

I've been seeing this cartoon a lot in the last week or so.  It depicts how many seem to skip over the holiday of Thanksgiving which is next Thursday.  Many have noted how Thanksgiving seems overshadowed by Halloween and Christmas in stores.

Every year someone always complains that Thanksgiving gets forgotten by stores, that Christmas gets focused on once Halloween ends.  Actually, Christmas comes to stores even earlier than that, as early as September, before Halloween is even over, before the calendar even switches to October.  Halloween merchandise comes in as early as August, sometimes in July.  The Spirit Store in Gilroy, CA had its banner up the last Friday in July on the empty building it chose to occupy this year, and the store didn't even open till Labor Day weekend in September.  

I must admit I've don't hate Thanksgiving, but that last few times I went to a family gathering  on this holiday, everyone just sat around gabbing and watching football while waiting for the dinner to be ready.  And no one went around saying they're thankful for this or that.  Do very many people take that idea seriously?   Last year, my mom and a friends and I went to a movie and then to dinner at a restaurant and we may just do the same this year.  It's just not my favorite holiday. 

Why so many decorations for Halloween and Christmas but very few for Thanksgiving? It seems so few people decorate for Thanksgiving.  People will go to great lengths to create a fake graveyard on their lawn for Halloween and a Santa's Village on the lawn for Christmas, but how often do you see a re-creation of Plymouth Rock on someone's lawn?   My answer: never, as far as I can recall.  And I rarely see an inflatable turkey, unlike the inflatable pumpkins or Santa Clauses.  And sometimes it's just a few jack-o-lanterns and a Christmas tree, but Thanksgiving has no real comparable decorations.  The famous cornucopia decoration has seemed to disappeared from store shelves.  I'm not into Thanksgiving decor, but I don't bother with Christmas decorating until at least the weekend after Thanksgiving.   My Halloween decorations went up the night of September 30. I always put them up as close to October 1 as possible, and always get them down on November 1.   

When I arrived at work on Monday, the music system that plays over the intercom started playing Christmas music intermittently among the music it normally plays.  After Thanksgiving is over next week, we can expect to hear Christmas music all day long until Christmas is over.  Already it's getting overdone.  And some stores were already playing Christmas music before ours was.   I heard some on the intercom at Kmart about a week or so ago.  And I could not resist listening to samples of the Christmas music CDs at Target on the kiosk.  And some radio stations begin playing all Christmas music sometime in November like this one from San Francisco.  It's been years since I've listened to that station and  I probably never will listen again.  And since Christmas music has turned up at stores, I coud not help listening to my own Christmas music this week, including the "Twisted Christmas" music by Bob Rivers.   

Many have noted that Thanksgiving is not a "sellable" holiday.  Halloween is sellable in that people always buy costumes and candy and even decorations.  And of course Christmas is all about selling presents, trees, and decorations.   Halloween is mostly about the costumes, everyone wanting to be a witch, a clown or a celebrity-du-jour.  Websites selling costumes more than likely make their most sales at Halloween, but a few Santa suits might get bought by people wanting to play Santa for their kids or by those taking seasonal jobs as Santas in malls.  But how many people are going to buy Thanksgiving costumes, unless they're participating in a play at school or in a community theater group? It's like the only stores that really "sell" Thanksgiving are the food stores, since it's more of a food-centered holiday than a decoration-centered one and even less of a costume-centered one.  Thanksgiving-themed candy seems rare, although the Indian Corn variety of Candy Corn comes closest.  And just last week at Safeway, I saw some of those Holiday Shape cookies, for Thanksgiving, with turkey images.  So the holiday isn't totally ignored, but Thanksgiving seems to be mostly about food.

I'm still not certain about trying to make any Christmas decoration to try to sell on Etsy (I made no sells with my papier mache Halloween decorations) and I may not have a lot of time.  If I didn't put them up till December, would anyone buy them? Do I have to have them up before even November, like retail stores do with their Christmas merchandise?  I opened my Etsy shop at the end of August and began listing my Halloween decorations on  the first weekend of September.  Plenty of views, but no sales, and no shop "favoriters" as of yet.  Currently I have no items for sale, but am thinking I will put up some boxes I made last spring of rolled-up pieces of store circulars.  These might make good Christmas presents. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Safeway Gingerbread Cookie Ice Cream

It seems a lot of products come up with some seasonal variant, like holiday-themed M&Ms, Peeps, and even candy corn has ventured into other holidays besides Halloween.  Apparently even ice cream gets into this act as well.  Last night while making a run to Safeway, I felt like having some ice cream so I went into the frozen-foods aisle and looked at what brands and varieties were on hand. I was planning to get one of the standard flavors such as cookies and cream, rocky road or cookie dough (all favorites of mine). However upon seeing the Safeway store brand Gingerbread Cookie ice cream and that it was a limited edition, I decided to give this one a try.  Since it was a limited edition, it won't be around after Christmas season and who knows how many others will be  buying it as the Christmas holiday looms, even though it's still November.

I must say I loved the illustration on the carton, with the gingerbread houses and cookies in the snow.   And I'm sitting here laughing about how the package of Alka Seltzer showed up in the background of this photo, on the counter to the right of my stove top.

So after dinner last night, I spooned out a few scoops of the ice cream into a bowl.  Must say, not too bad.  Something definitely different, as I'd never tried this before and, to the best of my knowledge, had never noticed this variety of ice cream until now. I had some more of the stuff this afternoon as well.

For the record, chunks of gingerbread cookies are in the ice cream which looks rather brown-ish from the cookie chunks.   Sorry for for no illustrations, but didn't get around to taking any pictures of the ice cream in the bowl.

Overall, it's a pretty good flavor.  But it's a seasonal one, so if you're hankering for some of this stuff, get some soon before the Christmas season is over!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November begins

Yes, it's November now and stores are now concentrating on Christmas.  Actually have  been since September, my store included.  But I'm not yet ready to think about Christmas, are you?  I barely got my Halloween decorations down today and will not be decorating for Christmas until at least the first of December, or on the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Speaking of which, I have no idea what my family and I will be doing for that holiday. We haven't done much in the last few years.  Last year, my mom and I and a family friend (who had nothing to do that day) went out to the movies and then out to dinner.  If we do that again, that would be all right with me.

None of my papier mache Halloween decorations I put up in Etsy were sold, so I plan on unlisting them until next year, and re-listing them next year around July or August.  I now want to try making some Christmas stuff to try to sell.  Not sure what I'll make, but the idea of making a papier mache gingerbread house seems like a fun idea.  I could use Sculpey to make the "frosting" and "candies" to decorate the houses.  Or try making bread dough.   Again, not really ready to think about Christmas, but if I want to try to make Christmas stuff to sell, I will need to get on it soon.  I'm still not decided on this yet.

I went into the Spirit store today to see all the Halloween stuff that is now 50% off.  I saw people taking things off the racks and walls, including one girl who grabbed the Katy Perry dress I'd gotten from that store.  I did not buy anything, as I don't want to think about Halloween next year just yet.  Though I know that one year, I want to do a '20s costume (as two people I know from the local bar did this year) and another year I want to do a '50s one. Oddly enough the poodle skirt we had at my store is now discounted to $17, though I did not buy that one either.  None of the costumes seemed to sell before Halloween and all but two were left today.  Again, not yet sure about next year.  A lot can change in one year.  Though I'm certain I may just do one of those ideas next year.

To me, November has always been that dreary period that follows the Halloween madness of October and precedes the holiday madness of December.  Of course we have Thanksgiving, but many people over the years have called it "the forgotten holiday."  Not many people decorate for this holiday like they do for Halloween or Christmas.  I for one,  have seen many inflatable ghost and pumpkins on lawns during Halloween and inflatable Santas and snowmen during Christmas season. But how often do see an inflatable turkey?  I don't dislike Thanksgiving,  but have found it boring just sitting around  gabbing and watching football (I don't watch sports) while waiting to consume turkey and stuffing.  My family and I will likely see the next "Twilight" movie the weekend before Thanksgiving.

And even though it's fall season, the weather in my neck of the woods has been a bit warm.  Last month we had weather in the 70s and 80s, something we didn't seem to have over the summer.

And the next presidential election is a year away, meaning that the election will be a hot topic all next year.

What to do all this month.