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!


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!


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!


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!


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, 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!


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.


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 here in Canada but since it involves bidding, expect inflated pricing.



I believe that if you’re mentally prepared to face anything and expect all the pros and cons that will come with it,then nothing should surprise anyone.

Case in point is  about how the aura of Christmas is settling in much earlier now these past few years. My 10/25/12 blog(Christmas Stuff and Mindset is Around Earlier These Days….) says it all.

Well,here in Canada, usually it’s socially permissible for the stores to start sprucing up their retail spaces with a lot of holly and cheer so to speak right after Remembrance Day(November 11). Sometimes, Christmas songs will be played by this time as well. Reason is that the folks here thought that it would be disrespectful to the war vets if we start taking Christmas so seriously just because their special day.

With the way our economy is going though, the appearance of Christmas stuff in stores even right after Labor Day for profit’s sake is our new reality now. We shouldn’t be shocked anymore with this, IMO.

At least the line was drawn in terms of when to  play Christmas songs. Anytime after Remembrance Day for sure or else, it’ll be a very serious social faux pas, mon ami.

I was in a store right after Remembrance Day and could feel the Christmas aura already. This will go on definitely until New Year’s Day.

Overall, I think it’s still a cultural norm. In the Philippines for example, they observe the longest Christmas season in the world starting September 1st and ending Three King’s Day(Within the 1st week of January of the following new year). They even play Christmas songs right at Day One and they’re a predominantly Roman Catholic country. I doubt the Catholic churches have already cried sacrilege at all these past years! Again, it’s a cultural norm as I still see it.

Anyhow, happy shopping and hopefully you’ll get your Christmas shopping list all completed early so as to have more  time to enjoy the rest of the holiday season with your family and friends. That’s what the spirit of Christmas is really all about.,mon ami.



It has been a little over 2 weeks since Hurricane Sandy had hit the eastern part of the United States  particularly the northeastern  region—known as the tri-state area(New York,New Jersey and Connecticut with the former 2 the hardest hit). Not to mention a recent Nor’easter that hit the area too and covered much of the debri around.

The victims of Hurricane Sandy are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives which was profoundly altered by the superstorm amidst dealing with frustrating delays and slow resumption of basic services particularly in the suburban and far-reaching areas. The urban areas fared much better in this regard. Thank goodness for the press who still keep tabs with these suffering folks and highlight any significant delays/problems so that all concerned politicians and authorities will be put on notice and compelled to act right away for these folks.

It was heartwarming though to see people from all walks of life and some from out of state coming in to help out. Examples would be some of the NYC marathoners who went to Staten Island to help out the victims when informed that the annual NYC marathin was cancelled this year; a group of folks from New Orleans coming in to help since they empathize having gone through Hurricane Katrina themselves as well as the Occupy Wall Street folks who call this current mission as Occupy Sandy. These are just a few of concerned helpful folks since the others are too many to be mentioned by name but appreciated nevertheless.

Of course ,FEMA, the American Red Cross and other government agencies–state and federal are involved as well.

For us ordinary folks who can’t travel there to help out, we can donate to reputable organizations like the Red Cross for example. Cash donations I think would be more appropriate since the Red Cross would know what are the specific items  that a hard-hit region would need and purchasing them would be easier to do than dealing with a lot of donated stuff which may be problematic in terms of storage space to put them in.

Beware of scam artists whether in person or online who would sadly take advantage of getting your money at the expense of the Hurricane Sandy victims.  Recent news reports have said so. Some folks really have NO SHAME at all! Sacre bleu!

In line of this, it’s very important that there be a lot of transparency as to how all cash donations to Hurricane Sandy  victims are allocated considering the very  sizable amount being received all these past 2 weeks. With victims’ advocate groups and the media involved, all concerned authorities please take note!

Just my 2 cents on this matter.


Nowadays, picking what type of laundry detergent to use is very interesting. It used to be that you just pick either a box in powder form or a jug in liquid form.

Here in my neck in the woods, we also have  laundry sheets(actually is  waxy laundry detergent in sheet form) which dissolves in the water inside  the washer during the laundering process without leaving any residue. Brand name is Dizolve. Purex used to have one in sheet form and was multifunctional. Part of the sheet is with waxy liquid detergent and another part with a  strip used as a fabric softener/dryer sheet. Too bad it’s now gone. That sheet was handy since I can just use 1 or 2 sheets together with the laundry in the washer and then transfer it to the dryer together with the laundry.

Now the newest one springing out everywhere is in pod form (like a cube or ball shape) either in hard block  or in liquid form encased in water-soluble plastic cube form. Manufacturers warn that these be kept out of the reach of small kids because it can be mistaken for candy due to its physical appearance and also that they’re inside either a plastiz zip bag or candy jar shaped plastic container.

Whichever type of laundry detergent you get in whatever form still has the same function–to clean your laundry very well.

You may like it with a nice fragrance or unscented . Going unscented is either you don’t want any scent on your clothes/linen or if you have an allergy to fragrance/perfume.

You feel comfortable wearing clean clothes and using clean linen. it’s very important that you are also comfortable in the laundry detergent that you’re using whether in liquid,powder,sheet or pod form.