Saturday, November 27, 2010

Buy Anxiety

Well I made it, but just barely.  It took copious amounts of chocolate and a drink or two to distract me, but I survived Black Friday without leaving the house.  It wasn't pretty though.  There are claw marks on the door-jamb...
I still have doubts.  I have to catch my breath if I let my mind ponder what I must have missed out on.
And I most certainly missed out.  Look at the extreme--if I had camped out at the local Best Buy a week ago I might have scored a free I-Pad or something from management--some bozos pulled it off elsewhere, I saw it on the news.  I could have bought a dvd-tv combo with 120 Hz refresh and backlighting for a song; practically stolen a TomTom GPS for $59, or a palm-held Video camera for $49.
What?  What's that you say, I didn't need those things?  Fool!  Of course I didn't need them, I WANTED them!  I mean, they were so cheap.  God help me, they were CHEAP.   And, and, there would have been countless impulse buys to be had!  It's the wonder, the awe, the... the OPTION, dammit!  Who knows what all I missed.
Besides the crowds, that is.  Oh, and the lack of items because of the minimum number kept on hand for the flyer ad.  Yes, that...and the traffic, too; and lack of parking.  And getting up early--ugh.  But especially the unruly crowds, yes there have been a few of those. Some disagreement over the last Cabbage Patch doll on the shelf, etched into my brain long years ago.... Ah, perhaps that lady has forgotten the, er, momentary ugliness that transpired as my wife clenched her fist and beamed certain doom toward all present. Or was that me doing the beaming?
It's no use, even the uncomfortable memories don't dim the knowledge of opportunity lost.  At some point, I will doubtless buy something for significantly more than I might have spent on that unctuous day.  I will somehow have to live with that certainty, and reconcile myself to the loss of some other important bauble I will now not be able to afford.  Curse this consumeristic universe!  I buy, therefore I am... but, if I don't buy?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ok Ok, I watched your damn commercial

We should pay for the things we enjoy as a result of the work of others.  I acknowledge there is no free lunch, it simply makes no sense to believe otherwise.

So consider the "free" homepage and e-mail offered by various internet services.  My homepage has been MSN forever; initially I paid $10 a month for MSN Premium with services I never used; but it felt right that I should pay something for the e-mail and the news feeds. Fast forward and, with times so tight, I dropped the paid service (I don't think they even offer it anymore).  Surprise, the free version didn't lose any of the functions I used.  In fact, there was no useful difference between before and after.  But now, some guilt creeps in as to how the good people who daily administer this service are recompensed. Wait, of course, it's the advertisements!

Parts of my homepage and e-mail are always streaming an ad. And when I surf, I might roll the mouse over a cleverly concealed popup activator that easily defeats my paid-for blocker.  OK, I can handle the distraction and occasionally, I even get the message--I really should check that pesky credit score.

I try to avoid video clips though.  Hey, what up with sitting through a 30 second pitch for 2 minutes of content?  But often the story I want isn't in print.  I'm just gonna have to get it from Matt Lauer.  So, after 32 seconds of a blue bear singing to his toilet paper roll whilst picking pieces of tissue off his ass (kudos there, Charmin), I'll get the Today Show version of a hot story.  God forbid it should refer me to another video; wherein I ponder "Can 15 minutes with GEICO can save me hundreds of $$?"  Oh silly me, "Does a bear s%#* in the woods?"   Not blue bears, according to Charmin.

Oh yeah, take that bitter, over-sized horse-pill. I owe SOMETHING to "pay" for this info; no free lunch, balance in the cosmos, Yin and Yang--and all that.  BUT...

Lately, I take more medicine than I "need." Worse, take medicine with no payoff.  Often the commercial plays and only AFTER do I get a message that the content is "temporarily unavailable."  Say what?  Why you dirty rotten...

And don't get me started on BING, the intelligent search engine.  Well, if you insist.  All these teasers in the corner of my home page are not stories, but searches, and hidden within their links are important messages, like that one thing that can give you washboard abs.

Yes, I could ignore BING but... Lady Gaga and Vladimir Putin did WHAT?  Oh man, click on that puppy, I gotta know...  Ummm, ah yes, BING has given me a short blurb, and I have only to CLICK ON 8 HI-LITED  #%&*@  KEY-WORDS TO GET THE WHOLE STORY, EACH OF WHICH DIRECTS ME TO NUMEROUS $%#&@ ABBREVIATED ARTICLES WHICH.... I knew I should've stayed off BING.

I have a choice, I know.  I could subscribe to a newspaper; dated as the info may be.  It is there at my leisure.  It will not deny me promised content.  It will not insult my intelligence with toilet tales.  Alas, I choose instead to add inertia to the decline of the printed word; such is my need for breaking news and pointless celebutante trivia.  I paid my dues, I watched your damn commercial, now give me my fix.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It really is A Perfect Day

I sit on a number of draft blog entries, waiting for the time I feel like posting them. Mostly it's because I start a thought, then can't find the right finish.  But I'm feeling a little melancholy today, so I'm finishing this one.
A couple months ago I came across an amazing music video, and wanted to find the right theme to put it in the blog.  Then something odd happened, and I didn't know if I'd ever use it--I'll explain.  It's Lou Reed's "A Perfect Day," performed by a startling array of artists.  And yes, it made western hemispheric news over a purported snub wherein Lou Reed supposedly prevented Susan Boyle from performing it, after she had made a trans-Atlantic and trans-continental flight for the express purpose of singing it on America's Got Talent.  That whole mess happened about a week after I found it on the web, and rather than let people think I posted because of that flap, I just dropped it.  But a happy ending demands attention; it turns out Lou Reed had nothing to do with refusing Boyle, and in fact, directed the video which now accompanies her version.  Its a good one, but I'll just include the link here, because I want to embed the BBC version:

A little background:  the BBC is funded by a TV tax in the UK, which is forever decried by a tax-weary public.  So from time to time BBC puts something together to demonstrate the superiority of non-commercial driven TV entertainment--freedom of artistry.  This video however was also the BBC's centerpiece in 1997 for the charity they sponsor, Children in Need.  Check out Bowie, Dr John, and my man, Tom Jones...

The charity sold this version, and versions featuring just the men, and just the women.  Don't know where to find them now, but wouldn't they be cool?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Pix

I did try the fancy design after all, and it was tedious work--I'll let the viewer decide if it was worth it.

 And here's a cool sunset from a couple weeks ago--don't know why but we get some spectacular skies here.