Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shopping Season

Currently Reading: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima

CC and I have both been doing a little more shopping on eBay lately. It's sort of a phase we go through every few months. We'll go browsing through all the really cool items and pick up something or we'll get an idea off of TV or a movie or book and go through eBay seeing if we can find items tied to that.

If you've read CC's blog, you already know about her recent artwork purchases. She's always liked that particular painter but what ignited the current interest? What made her decide to buy so many prints? Who knows.

Naturally I'm hardly immune to this sort of thing myself. Usually I go looking for toys or posters or maybe even software. This time I went looking for a keyboard. No, not a computer keyboard. I wanted to see what they had available for my PDA. Yes you can get a keyboard for your PDA, at least I can anyway. It plugs into the same port everything else does and, well it's a keyboard. It folds up for storage, which is nice, but it allows me to do stuff like type a blog entry without having to use the slower interface built into the PDA itself.

I've also ordered a few other things. I was doing a search for Kabuki dolls (don't ask my why I was suddenly interested in that) when I came across carvings done by the Ainu. For those who don't know, the Ainu are the people who originally lived in Japan. They're the Japanese version of our American Indians. Turns out they were REALLY into bears. Their mythology states that bears are the spirits of the dead. Pretty cool I thought. So I ordered an Ainu bear carving from Japan. Should get here sometime in December. Shipping takes forever.

I also have an on-going search for decent, affordable kimono. I really do like those robes. They look nice worn or displayed on the wa.ll. The problem is, they're also very expensive, especially the really nice ones. Well you can imagine my surprise when I came across an eBay store with all sorts of vintage kimono. Ok that wasn't a surprise. What WAS a surprise was the link to the guy's internet store. I went over and checked that out and what do I find in the bargain bin? A set of 3 robes worn under your kimono. The prints on them are really nice and they have the traditional kimono shape so there's a good chance that one of these might end up on the wall and the others used as robes. I'll have to see them when they show up.

CC and I are doing all this shopping and it's not even Christmas. Worse, people keep asking what we want for Christmas and we have no idea. But then, you know, it's not like I can just add Ainu bear carving to my list right? You can't just run down to the mall and pick up one of those :-)

Black Friday Night

Just Finished Reading: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe

Managed to survive Black Friday but it was one hell of a busy day for me. In all, I worked almost 11 hours and pulled in my higest commission total this week by 40 cents. Fortunately the nine dogs I washed were spread out over the whole day or I'd have been much worse.

Of those nine dogs, 4 of them were large. I had 3 golden retrievers and a lab. Most of them were well-behaved but they tended to be a little TOO submissive. I would tell them what to do and usually they'd do it but when they got spooked or if I appeared to be a little too aggressive, they'd drop to the floor and roll over to show they weren't a threat. Ok, that's fine and dandy if we were fighting or something but getting a 75 pound dog into a kennel when it's flopped down as dead weight is NOT easy. I'm pretty sure I pulled something in my knee because after the second dog it was getting sore.

Unfortunately it wasn't as good of a day for my boss. She only had three dogs all day. All of her people were in before the holidays.

As far as business in the rest of the store goes, they didn't seem too over-worked. They had about the same number of people they'd get on a Saturday. In fact, apart from the free food in the break room, it seemed like a Saturday.

So now we can all relax a bit. Things will slow down for a week or so before we start the big push leading to Christmas and New Years. That'll be a SUPER busy period. People like to get their dogs cleaned up for special occasions and a LOT of people in the area have parties this time of year. The regulars will be in probably at least twice in December Then after that, when we hit January, it'll slow down a bit and drop into a normal pattern again and we'll all be able to relax until the big spring thaw and mass dog shave :-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Black Friday

Just Finished Reading: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe

Well, I managed to get through Gray Monday, Darker Gray Tuesday and Charcoal Gray Wednesday so I guess that just leaves Black Friday. Talk about a busy week. It's actually no longer in my financial interest to work any later than I have to. Seriously, I've earned over a week's pay in just 3 days. Got two more days left to work too I might add so the current total can go much higher depending on business.

And how will business be on Black Friday at the store? I have no idea :-) In fact, no one in the salon actually knows what business will be like tomorrow. It'll likely go one of two ways. Either we'll be SUPER busy tomorrow with people dropping off their pets while they go shopping or we'll be totally dead because everyone already got their dog done before Thanksgiving and they just don't need anything done right now. But again, which way it goes will entirely depend on how people are feeling tomorrow.

I had a look at the ads this morning and to be honest, there really isn't all that much out there for sale this year. I remember when we first started this madness several years ago. Best Buy would offer these totally insane deals from 6 am to noon. You'd be able to get a DVD player for 50 bucks (this back in the days when DVD players ran at least 100). All sorts of cool little special buys that they'd have JUST during the weekend. Lots of custom packs like, for example, a set of toys for your laptop: wireless mouse, numeric keypad, retractable cable for your network card. This year, nothing really jumps out at me.

You know, now that I think about it, it's been a few years since any store had any deals that I thought were so good I was willing to go check them out that early. There was the time Best Buy had the cheap laptops, but of course they were sold out by the time we got there and we ended up getting a better one at Dell anyway. What's worse, even the computers that they do put on sale these days never list the speed they run at. I see processor, I see model number but nothing on the speed. So maybe it's a good deal, maybe it's not. You won't know until you get there at 4 am to get your ticket for the 5 am opening.

Naturally you can forget picking up a Playstation 3 or a Nintendo Wii. Those were all sold out the day they first came out. I suppose if you wanted to you could probably find some games for them so that when you DO get your game console you can play them, but what's the point?

Honestly, these businesses better start offering better deals or people will just sleep in on Black Friday. No sense in fighting with the crowds over stuff that's only on sale for 2 bucks cheaper.

My holiday was pretty good. More of the usual I suppose. We went over to my parents' house for lunch. I took my Sony Playstation (note, not PS2 or PS3, this is one of the FIRST Playstations) over along with my Nintendo DS and some games. Yeah, the graphics might not be as cool as the new stuff and I don't have those fancy and fun-looking wireless controllers but we still had fun beating the snot out of each other in the fighting games.

I also watched a little bit of football and I do mean a LITTLE bit. I think I saw maybe 2 minutes of the first game, about that much of the second game. Played a few games of pool with CC and really that was about it. Oh, well ate of course.

Speaking of football, that's another thing that was annoying this year. What was probably the best game of the day wasn't even running on network TV. Wasn't running on the big cable networks either. No, it was running over on the NFL network. What does that mean? Well, it means if you have cable, you probably didn't get the game since Time-Warner doesn't have the NFL network. If you have Dish Network or Direct TV you may have it but it probably costs extra. What a pain. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Instead we got yet another year of sub-par football. Miami and Detroit? What a snoozer. Ok, I DID enjoy watching Dallas beat up on Tampa Bay for a little while but that got old too.

Still, all things considered, a good Thanksgiving for me :-)

Oh, hey, did you catch CC's blog entry about the new GPS we got for the truck? Yeah, we got a portable GPS for the truck because CC tends to get a little lost sometimes while driving. When she was on a business trip, the car they rented had a GPS system in it and she really liked it. It does give you a pretty strong sense of security knowing you can just punch in the address of where you're going and this little box will tell you how to get there. It'll even help you get back on course if you make a wrong turn. In fact, because of that handy little feature, CC has been TRYING to confuse the GPS by telling it where we want to go, then PURPOSELY not following the directions. This happens most often when she takes me to work. There are several different ways you can go depending on which back roads you want to take. Oh, and today we found an alternative route to my parents' house, one that takes us through a very rich neighborhood. She's really having fun with it and ranks it right up there with our Dyson vacuum cleaner on our list of good investments :-)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Results Are In

Currently Reading: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe

The results from this season's Dancing With The Stars are in. Took me by surprise, that's for sure but then again, I haven't actually been watching it either.

Let me just say, as a long-time Dallas Cowboys and Emmit Smith fan, way to go Emmit!

You can see highlights from Emmit and Mario Lopez here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

After The First Death Star

Currently Reading: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe

Another clip from Robot Chicken. This one takes place right after the first Death Star is blown up.

That is some FUNNY stuff!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Empire Strikes Back

Currently Reading: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe

Cinemax is running all 6 of the Star Wars movies today . . . in order according to number so the newer series comes first, then the old ones. We saw part of it this morning and it reminded me of this really funny clip from Robot Chicken. Here, check it out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day! Finally!

Currently Reading: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe

Today is election day! Finally! That means in just another week or so we won't have to listen to anymore election news! WOO HOO! I'm not sure right now which is worse, all the Christmas stuff already being crammed down my throat or all this election nonsense. I can honestly say I understand why some people don't vote.

What's really bad is the army of lawyers now deployed around the country to make sure this is a FAIR election. Yeah right, like I'm buying THAT one. Oh there may be a small percentage out there trying to be ready in case the other side mounts a challenge but I'm guessing that most of them are out there trying to be ready in case their candidate loses. They'll want to find a reason for a recount or to throw out certain votes. The whole thing has gotten out of hand. Hell you can't even require someone to show a photo ID anymore. Talk about inviting fraud.

The only really good thing I can note is that the coverage on the networks has quietly slipped away. Used to be they'd run election coverage the whole night. It'd start during the evening news and it'd keep going until they had results from the west coast. Now they don't even really bother with anything other than a little scroll at the bottom of the screen until 9 or so.

Folks at work wonder what'll happen after the election. I keep telling them nothing will happen. Yeah, maybe some new faces pop up but most of the old ones will still be there. Things will still run as slow as ever and nothing will really get done. Worst that will happen is that some of congress will change sides in which case we'll have even MORE creative bitching going on. That'll probably end up being entertaining :-)