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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Going out to the malls to avail of the greatest deals especially with this hyped-up start of the Christmas shopping season needs a great deal of preparation. Not only do you have to be up to date of incoming deals through flyers, online messages and even deal apps on your phone, you also have to be physically and mentally prepared for it as if you’re going to war.

I’m not exaggerating when I mean that one has to prepare as if going to war when planning a shopping trip of this magnitude. You got to be physically strong,perhaps know a little judo or karate to fend off rude shopping competitors lest you get trampled on and mentally prepared to spring into action when someone else tries to outwit you on the latest sales and be prepared for any unusual surprises along the way which would lessen your shock. Believe me,mon ami, sometimes a good sale can bring out the worst in people almost to the fringe of insanity IMO.

This type of shopping experience is  definitely not for the fainthearted.

As they say,forewarned is forearmed. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Keep this in mind and happy shopping!

Josie

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For the faint-hearted ,crowd phobic and what-not who think that shopping inside a store isn’t their cup of tea, there’s always online shopping with free shipping to boot if possible. Let your fingers do the clicking on the keyboard at the comfort of your home or workspace if applicable.

Shopping through paper catalogues is still around but because big sales from these aren’t frequent unless it’s a big sales catalogue, online shopping is the way to go since sales are always present to a certain degree.

Cyber Monday has already been kept up here in Canada as well especially these past 3 years. It’s no longer an American shopping pasttime. Getting more bang for your buck is the main priority. As soon as you see something you want at a great price online, do not dither because if you do, it’ll be gone,sold out to the next buyer or the sale price brought back to its original retail price. Remember, you’re competing with other buyers for the same thing. The cyberworld is really small if you think about it,mon ami.

Just make sure that you go only to reputable websites because the last thing you’d want is to surrender sensitive credit card info to unscrupulous dealers. Check your computer screen for the yellow padlock, https and other security icons which tell you that a website is safe to be surfed.

Happy shopping!

Josie

Larry Hagman had died in a Dallas hospital on Black Friday,the day after Thanksgiving this month from complications of throat cancer. He was able to spend this past Thanksgiving with his family. For all his family’s grief, this final sharing of his time with them will be a big consolation for them. He died quietly as he had always wished with family and friends around. He was 81 y/o.

Much has been said about his long career as an actor on both the big screen and TV for which I will not exhaustively expound anymore. What I would say about him  would be my impressions of him as a viewer.

I first saw him as I was growing up on TV reruns of the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie” as Capt. Tony Nelson, a former astronaut who encountered and  brought home  a genie played by Barbara Eden and life was never the same again for the bachelor captain.

Later on, I saw the TV  drama series “Dallas”where he played his well-known and signature acting role of his  time as the scheming,ruthless,immoral yet charming  J.R. Ewing which ran for about 12-13 seasons and only recently returned this Sept. as a rebooted version of Dallas of a new generation with him and 2 other original cast members aside from a new set of younger actors. It played well as expected to great reviews and ratings and the 2nd season is scheduled to be played on January 2013 with Mr. Hagman on  6 of the 15 taped episodes. At this time, the studio will prepare a proper send-off episode for him.

The Dallas episode titled “Who Shot J.R.?” has the most famous cliffhanger scene of all time in my opinion and which generated great TV ratings. J.R. being shot by an initially unknown assailant kept viewers talking about it during the off-TV season until its return the ff. fall. I felt that cliffhanger is the gold standard for all other cliffhangers to come but has yet to be surpassed.

In real life, Larry Hagman had lived a full life. He worked and played hard sometimes to excesses and which extracted a toll on his health.

He was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in 1992 . He was known before as a heavy drinker and he totally stopped drinking when he was diagnosed to have a malignant liver tumor which led eventually to him getting a liver  transplant which was deemed successful. He eventually became an organ donation advocate.

He also became an anti-smoking activist for the American Cancer Society as well especially after quitting his smoking habit of several years’ duration.

His  2001  memoir “Hello Darlin’: Tall (and Absolutely True)Tales About My Life” gave us a glimpse of the real gentleman that he is in real life.

He was well-loved by all who knew him personally as well as his legions of  fans.

To Mr. Hagman, thanks so much for entertaining us all through the years.

You,Sir, had made a bad character look so good yet  also someone we love to hate and that’s a paradox but definitely, a testament to great acting.

Rest in peace!

Josie

The Canadian shopping scene is becoming more Americanized especially these past 2 years in my opinion. Proof is their coinciding with Black Friday sales in the United States. In my previous blogs, I had discussed about early Christmas mindset and shopping, even about the US Black Friday and now Black Thursday deals. Well, here in Canada, we don’t yet see the stampeding crowds grabbing the last sale item or the long overnight queues outside the stores. Black Friday in Canada is mainly about a barrage of sales not only on Black Friday but for the rest of the 3 day weekend in sync with the US Thanksgiving weekend. Some even make it a 4 day weekend to coincide with Black Thursday in the US.

With the recent increase of exemption limits of duty-free products that a Canuck can bring back from abroad,Canadian retailers are forced to compete with their American counterparts to try to keep the price-conscious Canucks from going down south of the border to spend their money to bolster the US economy instead of the Canadian economy.

But some experts think that all this Black Friday hype in Canada will eventually fizzle down. With the influx of some American retail stores already setting up shop here in Canada,bringing with them the same promotions and strategies that they show in the U.S., the need to go down south will die down to a degree.

Seriously, I doubt it and it remains to be seen how price regulation in Canada will continue. Even if an American store sets up shop here, if they’re going to be bound by  Canadian tax regulation similar to the Canadian stores, then it’ll still be expensive to shop at that American store which opened on Canadian soil.

Therefore,Canadian retail and taxation need to be evaluated further for any possible reform if they want to be at par with their American counterparts.

Today’s reality is that the Canuck will always look for the best deal whether here or outside Canada. Saving a few extra dollars will always take top priority as much as possible.

By the way, since today’s Saturday, it’s also known as Small Business Saturday wherein during this start of the Christmas shopping season, we’re being encouraged to support small and independently-owned stores(known as “mom and pop’ stores) by patronizing their business so as to boost the local economy. It emphasizes the need for small business owners to survive in this crucial time and not only the big box stores.

Happy shopping!

Josie

It all started last year by Walmart on US Thanksgiving Night. It opened its doors to the public at 10 pm to start the annual X’mas shopping season than on the usual Black Friday. It started as  a trial run to see how the public responded at the risk of stoking the ire of folks who treasure the sanctity of observing Thanksgiving Day.

Many Walmart employees had to modify their Thanksgiving  plans with family and friends so as to report to work while the rest of the populace had to decide whether to linger over their festive meal and personal time with family and friends or to leave their homes early so as to be among the first to get the greatest Thanksgiving bargains that they can on that auspicious night.

Well, it was a huge success for Walmart and it’s back again, together this time with other stores like Kmart,Sears,Target,the Gap and Toys-R-Us. In fact, days earlier, there were already long lines of people around these stores before today and even had plans to cook and eat their Thanksgiving meals right on the lineup. All for a great deal! My, oh, my! Such tenacity but I guess if one can and wants to do it, then so be it. To each his own. It’s a free country.

This is part of the new normal now–Black Thursday and is probably here to stay. Reason for its existence was for the retailer to grab early  the clientele from online retailers like Amazon,etc. but for sure, Amazon,et.al will find a way to outwit Walmart et al altogether. Talk about Ebenezer Scrooge not wanting to waste a day to make a profit!

It’s still a win-win for   the consumers since they’ll be bombarded with great sales prices considering the current worldwide economy right now.

Here in Canada,there’ll be Black Friday sales too but only because Canadian retailers don’t want us Canucks to go south for early X’mas shopping. Hmmm…there’s always online shopping with free shipping to boot. With the price of gas nowadays, it’s very important to take note of this.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends as well as happy shopping too!

Josie

I will not go into great discussion all the mindboggling and sordid details of what had happened to Gen. David Petreaus, his former mistress and other collateral characters involved. It has already been exhaustively discussed and dissected by the press and even spoofed by the comedians. You practically have to live under a rock to  not know what’s going on with that soap-like drama.

The saying “Truth is stranger than fiction” holds true here. There are even talks of a Hollywood picture being made from this because the plot lines are just too good to be true as if it came out of the pages of a riveting spy novel. Sex,power,betrayal,cover-up are some of the main key points here.

The lessons to be learned here are the ff:

One, once you break a person’s trust in you, it’ll take a hell lot out of you to rectify and restore it. Even if restored, there’ll always be a scar and cloud around to remind both of you of that difficult situation. When that happens, charge it to experience and try to move on without looking back. Easier said than done of course but try anyway as much as you can. It can’t get any worse from this point on.

On a side note here, it shows that there’s  obvious strains on any marriage when one of the spouses is deployed overseas whether as a soldier or even an overseas contract worker. This would naturally lead to exposure to a lot of temptations which could jeopardize the marriage. Always bear in mind that any relationship needs to be worked on constantly so as to survive.

Two, think ten to a hundred times before taking big risks if it’s worth it at the expense of your peace of mind and well-being and others as well. What’s the use of a few minutes of pleasure if it’ll bring you a whole lifetime of regret?

Third,  in this high-tech age, privacy isn’t a solid guarantee especially with sending online messages/e-mails. Once online, it stays forever to the realms of cyberspace. You’ll be a prime target of overexposure and potential blackmail to say the least. You can’t totally control it. Really.

Fourth, it takes several years to build a good reputation and only a few seconds to destroy it.

Just my 2 cents’ worth on this matter.

Josie

Twinkies, known as the”Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling” was invented in 1930  by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. This iconic American snack cake got its name from a St. Louis billboard–“Twinkle Toe Shoes”.

I wonder what Mr. Dewar would think if he knew that years later, his baking invention would cause an uproar these past few days as well as panic buying,hoarding and even scalping at eBay .

Twinkie’s manufacturer Hostess Foods,Inc. which is also the maker of Wonder Bread,Ho-Hos,etc, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in  January 2012, claiming that majority of their clientele have switched to healthy snacks. On Nov. 2012, it announced ceasing production of all Hostess Foods products especially after a current bakers’ strike at their plant had occurred due to grievances over pay and job benefit cuts.

In my opinion, I hope that another company would buy out Hostess Foods,Inc. so that the production of Twinkies and its counterparts would enjoy production longevity as well as continuing happiness for its American consumer fans. We can sometimes be emotionally attached to certain foods , you know, mon  ami especially if it evokes great memories.

To the  American Twinkies fan base, please take note….

Here in Canada, Twinkies are still being produced by  Vachon,Inc.,a subsidiary of Saputo Incorporated(a Montreal based company known for dairy especially cheese products). Vachon,Inc. owns the Canadian rights from Hostess Foods,therefore it isn’t affected by the impending closure of the U.S. plant.

So if you or any of your friends get a chance to drop by Canada, aside from getting a bottle of maple syrup, you might just also buy a box of Twinkies too.

I don’t know if there’s an actual Canadian online shopping website particularly for Twinkies purchases but I wouldn’t doubt if something would eventually come up by an enterprising soul in light of what has been happening with Hostess Foods–USA. The only other shopping website that I know is eBay.ca here in Canada but since it involves bidding, expect inflated pricing.

Bonjour!

Josie