Random Shopping Tales

The post wherein I write about the pre-Christmas shopping period in a random stream of consciousness way.

The fortunate part of the story mish-mash of random semi-related events is that there are only three people for which I have to do any serious gift-shopping for. The unfortunate part is that two — my parents — are irritatingly hard to buy for.

What that meant is that the majority of the after-work time during the last week before Christmas — a hectic enough time as it was, for a multitude of reasons that I won’t get into — were spent walking around various street side stores and, *gasp*, the inevitable mall visit. At least they’re indoors.

To make things even more fun, the weather decided that this was the most opportune time for the first blizzard of the season. It wasn’t too bad to walk through, just annoying to walk on. The mass of slush and ice on the sidewalks made getting anywhere slow and inconvenient. The layer of ice covering the street-car power wires (not to mention the track ice on the Spadina up-ramp) shutting down half the street-cars in the city futher added to that. Indeed, walking on Queen Street on Thursday, I was amazed by how empty the roads were.

Temptations. When shopping for yourself, you know ahead of time what you want. It’s a surgical strike. You hit the store, find the target, rendezvous at the register, and proceed to the extraction point. In. Out. But when you’re aimlessly looking for random gifts, you come across a lot of other random gift ideas. Ones that might be of interest to you. Various movies you want to see, books you want to read, albums to hear, and gadgets to, um, place… somewhere. Tempatations.

This leads to “before Christmas Shopping Rule #1”: do not fall for this tempation. Do not buy anything for yourself before Christmas, because if it’s something you want you might get it in gift form. Lucky for me, I discovered the error in my ways a day in advance while shopping with my sister, so I managed to make the return (exchange) before Christmas and before the stupid no-returns Boxing Day period.

Speaking of gadgets, I think I have a gadget fetish — but in a look but never own manner. A sort of gadget-voyeurism, if you will. It’s impractical for me to own five radios and eight clocks, no matter how cool or well-designed or sleek they are, but that doesn’t stop me from coveting them.

Anyway, I was store-hopping with my sister and while this helps ease the shopping pains associated with going solo, there is one new problem that it creates. Instead of quickly browsing, you are required by law to make sarcastic and/or witty remarks about every stupid piece of junk you encounter. This takes time as there is a lot of garbage out there.

After surviving the crap-loaded calendar stores and mind-game stores, we hit the big downtown HMV and Sam’s superstores. My dislike of DVD assholery manifested itself again. There, to my surprise, I saw the black complete set of “The Office”… I had already bought both series and the special seperately! At nearly double the total price! Fuck. And then… “Director’s Label Complete Set with Bonus DVD”. I had already purchased the Gondry and Jonze discs. FUCK. This is exactly why I restrain myself from buying more DVDs — because I know that a more complete, more extended, more director’s cut, more bundled version is going to come out.

Fuckers. Pulling crap like that is exactly why I haven’t purchased either Kill Bill, despite my desires to do so.

One weather note. Two weeks ago, we were hit by a sudden and harsh cold snap. Very sudden. The lake and the air above it couldn’t catch up quickly enough, so condensation started to form. On a quiet Sunday morning, I woke to see the rising sun shining on a lake completely covered by this slow-moving wispy cloudiness. It wasn’t fog, it was a large number of small and delicate streams of vapour dancing to the light breeze. It was as though the lake was slowly burning with a white flame. The coolest thing I have ever seen on the lake. Ever.

The condensation continued Monday morning, but by then it was a lot harsher. There was no more wispiness. Whole clouds were emerging from the lake. Still cool, but not as cool. Here is how it looked on Monday morning: one, two. The photos don’t do it justice, and the sad part is that I didn’t even think to photograph the effect on Sunday, when it was really worth capturing. Oh well. One more photo.

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