Saturday, October 31, 2009

Newspaper Ad

Psychic Readings

"Full Life Reading - $25 off with this ad"

So.... how much for a Get A Life reading???

Tick Tickety Tock

No, it's not the Mayan Doom Calendar, it's the countdown to shop!!

I've done a much better job than imagined with my 'giving up shopping' experiment. Oh, sure, we've got enough groceries to last us to February 16th, but hey, there were no clothes or shoes bought. Or makeup. (there was the facial cleanser, with the $5 off coupon, a minor purchase to be sure). A few visits to the dollar store, but those were strictly food item purchases. Cashew pieces, anyone?

Thank God for the Internet. The online shopping can begin at 12:01. Hmmmm.... does the time change count? I recall hearing something about 2 a.m. being the official change over time or something. Oooh! An extra hour to shop. Hold on, United States economy, I'm coming to your rescue!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's up With Gas Prices??

I mean, way up! Like twenty cents since last week. Some undeclared war I haven't caught whiff of yet? Some punishment for my lack of shopping? Which is going quite well, by the way, thanks for asking. I still haven't bought anything other than groceries and a pair of glasses. That was totally tied to the eye doctor appointment date, I'll have you know.

Still planning on using the $5 Ulta coupon, but there's a whole pile of others slowly expiring over to my right. Let's see... Kohl's 15% off. Yawn. No biggie. Express $20 off a $60 purchase. Naw. Not interested. DSW 30% off a single full priced item. Is anything in there full price? Nothing I've ever purchased, that's for sure. Looks like a trick. No thanks. More alarming, however, is the fact that I have earned 0 bonus points this quarter. Wow. They'll be in Chapter 9 West soon.

Happy Reptile Awareness Day, Everyone!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Symbol All is Not Lost?

Seems ol' Dan Brown can take a deep breath now - his publisher may not be asking for that obscene advance back after all. The Lost Symbol posted sales of about two million print copies in the first few weeks, and may have boosted other books along with it.

Personally, I was surprised that the reviews on the book were not as horrible as I expected. I felt Da Vinci Code was a page-turner, but not great literature. Awaiting scathing reviews, I was a bit disappointed. Then I cracked the code!

Publishing has been in such a downslide that really bad reviews could have meant several forests had died in vain - the book had a supposed five million press run; which frequently is an inflated figure designed to convey the importance of a title, but still!

Obviously it might be a bit much to expect reviews to kill a title; sometimes public opinion runs counter to any expert assessment, but I truly think the industry didn't want to take any chances. Journals assigned 'softball' reviewers to the title, ones that would give it a positive spin, thereby helping sales in whatever way they could. I don't mean to imply these places were paid off by the publishers, but rather did it to help the industry overall. (One reviewer went so far as to list some faults, then quickly dismiss them as the 'book's guilty pleasures'.)

Most reviews I read seemed to stress the adventure aspect as worth any literary shortcomings and were anxious to acknowledge their opinion wouldn't mean anything, the book would sell anyway, no matter what.

I love books, and I hope publishing rebounds from the recession renewed and ready to reach new heights. I wish they'd stop throwing money at illiterates with soapboxes and publish some of my incisive work, but that's another story.

I certainly do plan on reading Lost Symbol so I can reach my own conclusions. It's just that there's a lot of drug-addled celebrities competing for my attention.

Bean Better

U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean was supposed to make an appearance in Hoffman Estates yesterday morning to stress the prevention of H1N1 swine flu -- but had to cancel* because her daughter got sick with...

wait for it...

swine flu.

(Which leads me to wonder why male lawmakers never cancel their pro-life speeches on days their mistresses are getting abortions. You know it happens.)


Global Warming and the Dinosaurs: Fossil Discoveries at the Poles

Dinosaurs are usually pictured in warm, tropical environments, but fossils found at the poles are filling in the gap of knowledge about how and where these creatures lived. Evidence from bones and teeth to trackways and skin impressions raises important questions: How did dinosaurs cope with three months of total darkness in winter? What plants grew in the polar regions? How cold was it? What are the implications for today, as glaciers retreat, ice shelves melt, and permafrost thaws? The polar regions are a unique "library" of the past, and Caroline Arnold introduces readers to the gigantic prehistoric creatures that inhabited them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For Whom the Mall Tolls

Still haven't shopped. Few groceries here and there, but even that category has lessened. Not getting much support from Al. Seems he is not impressed by the time frame. Only a month? Like what, he thought I was going to swear off shopping FOREVER???? Does he not think total economic ruin is on the horizon by November 15th if I don't break the streak? Let's see now, I'm a little over a third through the challenge and doing better than expected. Turned down a few 'free shipping' offers online today. Still sitting on the $5 off Ulta coupon. Will definitely make an exception for that, just need to do so judiciously. Hope to get that credit card bill down this month, that's for sure.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Shopping Exception #943

Worth being shopertunistic.

Does it count as shopping if you return it in 59 days??

Frustrated that many shoppers won't even consider its cars, General Motors says starting Monday, buyers of new GM models can bring them back within 60 days, no questions asked, and get back the price of the car.*

*Something tells me there's a hefty "restocking fee". I can't be the only one thinking about driving a Grand Sport for two months free.

But Who's Playing the Horse????

A movie about Secretariat, the thoroughbred who won the Triple Crown in 1973, has begun filming in Kentucky. Diane Lane is portraying Secretariat owner Penny Chenery, and John Malkovich is trainer Lucien Laurin. Randall Wallace, who directed "We Were Soldiers," is directing. A fall 2010 release is expected.


Day Ten

Numbness in extremities from not toting heavy packages, glassy eyes unaccustomed to not being asked to read the fine print on coupons, feet that haven’t tried on new footwear in over a fortnight… still, I soldier on.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Edgar Allen Post

Check out Answer Girl's post about the 160th anniversary of the death of Edgar Allen Poe.
Nevermore shall I be so ignorant.

Reasons Why

October 7, 2009 -- It is well known that driving a cab is a dangerous thing to do. But a new study says it ranks in the top 10 hazardous occupations in the country, and in Chicago, more than a fifth of all drivers have been physically attacked.

Day Seven

No ill effects to report at this time. The month is young.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Successful (Anti) Shopping Soirée

Popped in to the local Evil Mart after work and did a wonderful job of staying on task and almost exclusively on list. I only went down the food aisles and didn’t even buy and junk food. In fact, the only impulse buy was a pound of frozen salmon. I resisted the urge to purchase a celebrity mag on the way out and was able to pay cash for my paltry purchases.

My next mission is to visit the health club should the urge arise to shop again this week.

Of course, I’ve thought of another category of allowable purchases. I like to call it the Law of Scarcity.

Emergency Shopping Scenario #4

Me: Um, how much is that?

Leprechaun: Why, it’s your lucky day! Crystal here is only seven magic beans.

Me: Well, I’m really not in the market this month…

Leprechaun: She’s a wonderfully tame Unicorn, broke for riding. Make a nice conversation piece out grazing on your lawn.

Me: I’m pretty sure I could wait…

Leprechaun: Today only I’ll throw in a Pegasus free!

Me: Sold!!

Happens all the time. In fairy tales.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I Still Have a Chance!!

At bargain basement prices, too!

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) – A 66-million-old Tyrannosaurus Rex named Samson failed to sell at a Las Vegas auction after the top bid of 3.6 million dollars fell way below the minimum price.

... Samson, which is a little less well preserved, was one of 17 dinosaur and fossil items which failed to sell Saturday, in a sign of the depressed economy.

Day Four

No problem today. Too busy with other mundane matters to even consider shopping. I will need to grocery shop tomorrow, and that could potentially be a minefield, as I enjoy the mega-mart stores that offer clothes, tires, cosmetics, etc. in addition to food. Am I even allowed to enjoy food shopping? Perhaps I should just buy stuff I hate. Like vegetables.

I’ve thought up another ‘exception’ to the shopping rule. A shopping trip instigated by a girlfriend I haven’t seen in a while. Or maybe, never even met…

Emergency Shopping Situation #3

Telephone: Ring! Ring!

Me: Hello?

Voice: Please hold for the First Lady of the United States.

Me: Wha?

Michelle: Good Morning, this is Michelle Obama calling. I just wanted to invite you to a shopping trip down the Magnificent Mile with me this weekend. The girls and I are going to be in town visiting some relatives and we thought you would be just the person to accompany us to look for some holiday outfits to wear for the annual White House Christmas special. Oh, I do hope you’ll be free.

Me: Um, well, see…

Michelle: Did I mention Carla Bruni is flying in too? She’d love to meet you. You’re one of her fashion idols, you know.

Like I should pass that up.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Just a Teeny Bit Challenging

Day two passed without notice, but Day Three has been a little harder. Besieged by coupons and distracted by a Lucky magazine, I struggle slightly to stay the course. Most offers can be deleted without a second thought, or tossed right into the trash with other junk mail. But wait, Ulta decides to play dirty. No less than four days after redeeming a “$3.50 off any purchase $10 or more” coupon there (a transaction in which I did a spectacular job of barely meeting the minimum in order to maximize the discount as close to the allowable 35% as possible, I might add) here comes an even better offer! This one promises $5 off a ten dollar purchase. Hmmm. NO WAY can I pass that up. I look at the expiration date: October 24. Hmmm. I tuck it away. That’s late in the challenge. And facial cleanser is a necessity. Can’t walk around with a dirty face. I decide to delay a decision until another day. I tuck it in my coupon folder. I should clean it out, but that just might lead to some forgotten little gem about to expire. As aforementioned, you never know when a Defcon 4 ESS could arise…

Emergency Shopping Scenario #2

Robber with Gun: Hands in the air! This is a hold-up!

Me: I’ll say.

Robber: Quick! Open that register and give me all your

Clerk: I-I-I-I can’t! It’s locked. You have to have a
transaction to open the till.

Me: Do I have to do everything here?
(heavy sigh) Ok, here’s my $10 off any shoe purchase.

I’d like to see those, those, and those in a size six. And I fully expect double points for averting a disaster.

Entirely possible.

I’ve decided to start a list of the things I would like to buy. Perhaps that will allow some time for introspection and allow for a cooler head to prevail. Plus, I really like making lists. At the top of my list is a military jacket. I see Banana Republic is advertising one for $170. This is at least four times what I would normally spend, but I may find at the end of the month I have surplus cash equaling the GNP of Chad, so I’m not ruling anything out. Or, perhaps I won’t even feel the urge to buy any more clothes. I can save up for meaningful, lasting things like a new Corvette, or a dinosaur.

So what do you think? Will I emerge having taken the Master Card off my back? Or will it be one huge Coupon Carnival when it’s all over?

Feathers! Half-off.

I Don't Get No Respect

Actual Conversation

Me: I’ve decided to give up gratuitous shopping for one month.

Mom: Why only one month? There are people going to bed hungry every night.

Me: That’s my problem?

Mom: You were always like that. You always thought ‘share’ was a singer.

Me: Very funny. I know darn well it’s a Ukrainian word meaning ‘less for me’.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The NOtober Challenge

My name is Getalife and I am a shopaholic. I am powerless over the sway of a sale or the temptation of designer knock-offs sold out of a van. Consumerism is my religion, and I worship the Goddess BOGO at the altar of Clearance. I never met a coupon I didn’t like. I have had to leave many a mall by running at the dropping metal gate and rolling under burdened with bulging bags before being separated from my vehicle until the next morning. Shoes are a sacrament. Semi-Annual sales are spiritual. I have been to the Mall of America because it is a haj. I face Woodfield three times a day and give thanks that I live within easy commute of the largest square footage of retail on the planet.

Like most belief systems, my Consumerism needs a time of atonement. Reflection. Sacrifice of the self for the betterment of the soul.* Many religions require fasting, prayer, or the ‘giving up’ of some little worldly delight to strengthen one’s resolve and deepen one’s faith. I, my friends, intend to give up recreational shopping.

Swear off shopping?! Can I do it? If so, for how long? Minutes? Hours? What qualifies? What doesn’t? These questions and more need to be explored over the next month as I attempt to curb the consumerism.

First off, why a month with 31 days? Wouldn’t February be the natural choice? Short, crappy weather… Several reasons. Obviously, I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time, so procrastinating more months is really a lame excuse. Secondly, I have no idea how long I could realistically go with out blowing it anyways, so if I’m only going to make it two days, it might as well be the next two vs. February first and second. Thirdly, let’s not go all crazy and miss birthday coupons, now shall we?? (Although the resulting “March Madness” would suddenly have a meaning I could embrace.)

I’ve attempted this exercise in various permutations before, usually by just limiting certain categories. Example: no clothes purchases. Accessories and shoes are fine, just no outerwear or lingerie. This method has worked, and I have made it for one month. This time I’ll try to limit all categories, and see where I fail. This could help me do break out months; i.e. no jewelry July, no make-up May… oh, we’d be looking at a sad Shoeless-tember.

Right now, I see the biggest obstacle as Coupon Cold Turkey. In my world, letting a coupon expire is a misdemeanor. Not something to be taken lightly. Can common sense triumph over cents off? Do I not secretly harbor a dark desire to flush a killer coupon out with this method? One that was so incredibly fantastic that it would be a sin not to redeem it??

A.A. advises their adherents to remove all alcohol from their houses. Destroy temptation. Make a clean start. This would most likely be the best course of action. I should throw away every offer and coupon I receive (and, oh, do I get them. Retailers are not dumb.) immediately. Don’t even read them. That way, I won’t know what I’m missing out on. Or not . What if I really, really needed one? It wouldn’t hurt to have them with me, as I always do. I just wouldn’t act on them. But what if?

I mean a true ESS – Emergency Shopping Situation could arise…

Terrified Woman: Is there a doctor in the house? My husband is bleeding to death!

GAL: I just happen to have a coupon for a free tourniquet with lip gloss purchase…

Terrified Woman: Please! Yes, please, for the love of God, I need the tourniquet.

GAL: Well, I guess it’s an emergency. I really should break my vow.

Terrified Woman: Now! Now!

GAL: Hang on. Hang on. Now which is better against my skin, the Pucker Up Peach or Shiny Strawberry?

It could happen.

* Ok, in my case, that’s spelled sole