Archive for the ‘shopping’ Tag

06-05-2015 Journal–A Day in Portsmouth!   Leave a comment

Last Wednesday was a day we don’t often have.  My better-half and I were able to combine some semi-decent weather with one of her rare days off. We decided to start our day in Portsmouth, NH where we could shop a little, enjoy people watching, and take a few updated photographs of the waterfront and harbor.

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Even though the weather wasn’t perfect (cloudy and chilly) we still enjoyed roaming around Old Town.  The shops there are as diverse as they can possibly be making the visits much more interesting.  Jewelry, clothing, trinkets, and of course food.  We did our best to sample and purchase a little of everything.

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The older part of town is filled with many interesting buildings that have been repurposed many times over the years. Lots of college and high school students filling the streets to make things even more interesting.  I have to say that the new fad of coloring one’s hair a vibrant blue doesn’t do much for me but I’m acquiring a real appreciation for the women’s new obsession with tights. OMFG!

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‘What’s a day without music?

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‘Lady Blue’

After walking around town for a few hours I found something interesting. It was a building decoration which captured completely the message my feet were sending to me.

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We ended the day with a stop at the Red Hook Brewery for a light lunch and then a tour of the facility.  It never hurts to learn a little more about beer making and those free beer samples didn’t hurt either. While I’m not much of a beer drinker it’s nice to have an occasional beer buzz that early in the day. We departed the Portsmouth area for a leisurely ride up the coast to one of out favorite places, Kennebunkport.  I’ll save that part of the trip for my next posting.

All in all we had a very nice day.

2-03-2014 Journal–Have a Capitalistic Christmas!   Leave a comment

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Finally Black November, Black Friday Week, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are over. Cyber Week will continue for three more days but OMFG.  This has been the worst year I’ve ever experienced with the constant drumbeat of commercials, sales, bait and switch schemes, and alleged price drops.  I’m beginning to believe that the majority of people in this country are just as stupid as I once suspected.

Working with and for retailers for years gives me an excellent perspective on things and it’s depressing as hell.  Not only did retailers start earlier than ever with their push, the sales and price reductions were ridiculous. Did it ever occur to people that if they can sell most of their goods at these Black Friday prices, just how much their actual markup really is.  They reduce prices by thirty percent and still seem to be making money.  All that tells me is that for 51 weeks every year we are being criminally overcharged for just about everything.  Does that stop the crowds from becoming near riots so they can purchase a certain doll or a certain electronic gadget? Hell no!  It’s a form of insanity that brings out the absolute worst in some people as well as  the constant and unrelenting pandering by the retailers.  It’s maddening.

The retailers seem desperate to one-up all of their competitors to grab a little more market share.  One of the commercials I can mention is the one that got me thinking along these lines.  How bad does it have to be for the Kleenex company to start a competition where consumers are asked to relate an uplifting story of a personal interaction with a Kleenex tissue.  Who in their right mind is going to invest their time to write a heart rendering nose-wiping story.  Just unbelievable.

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I harken back to the Y2K fiasco.  That was the tipping point for me.  I saw retailers and businesses panic millions of citizens and other businesses into spending billions of dollars for a trumped up emergency that never happened.  It appears that we haven’t gotten any smarter in the intervening years.

I needed to rant a little today because this kind of idiocy makes me even crazier than usual. I see no end to it and there seems to be no concern by the buying public about how much they’re being manipulated.  What more can I say? Not much that will be listened to for sure. Here’s my last word on the subject for this year so listen closely.

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(Sarcasm on)

Merry Christmas – HO! HO! HO! 

Santa has requested that I help him out this year by collecting funds needed for the ever increasing costs for reindeer feed, new uniforms, and elf shoes. Just have all of your friends immediately send $10.00 to me and I’ll make sure you’re all moved directly to the top of his gift giving list. The sooner you act the better because the funds are badly needed to help Santa deal with the many holiday stresses for him and his helpers, of which I am one.  I’ll be able to spend a week in Tahiti for Christmas with my family so I can be ready for next years duties. All of this holiday stress has become a dangerous health issue for us and it doesn’t seem to be covered by Obamacare. Help us out, who can’t afford a $10.00 donation for such a good cause. Santa will love you forever and you just might get that special gift you’ve always wanted next year.  I should also mention that we have a payment plan in effect where your ten dollar donation can be deducted monthly from your account and delivered DIRECTLY to Santa for his expenses during the off season.  Get your kids involved, they love Santa too.  Santa stickers are also available for just $7.00 and can be shipped directly to your home.  Just add $8.00 for shipping and handling.

HAVE A HAPPY AND GENEROUS HOLIDAY SEASON

(Sarcasm off)

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P.S. I only marked the last paragraph as Sarcasm due to MY fear that certain people would read it, react, and immediately rush to send me their $10.00. I’m just cynical enough to believe that could happen so please,  DON’T SEND ANY MONEY.

11-29-2014 Journal–The Day After BF!   Leave a comment

Well, it’s the day after Black Friday which in fact started almost a week ago and I assume by next year will almost certainly become Black November.  That way they can begin their annoying Christmas push the day after Halloween.  I chose this year to not leave the house on Black Friday.  I try to miss it as often as I possibly can.  After more than twenty-five years of working for retail corporations and being forced to work Black Friday every year, I refuse to ever do it again.

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This morning my better-half hit the ground running when she arrived in the bedroom to wake me up well before I was ready.  If it isn’t the cat it’s her. She was on her third cup of coffee and talking ninety miles an hour and rattling off the list of stores we’d be visiting on our planned shopping trip.  There just wasn’t enough coffee in the house to get me out of that bed quickly but eventually I stumbled to the kitchen and tried to wake up.

An hour or so later we were on our way.  I really wasn’t into the shopping but I made sure I drove us through areas where good photographs might be found. It was a bright and clear sunny day and I didn’t want to waste any of it.  Here are a few photo’s to help you appreciate Maine a little.

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We had a great day together where my better-half wandered around looking and touching everything she saw and was able to fill the car rather easily with all sorts of treasures.  We’ve just arrived home and hopefully I can settle in and relax for a few hours before the nonsense starts again tomorrow.  I can expect another early wakeup call and I need a little time to come up with a reason or two why I can’t be dragged shopping once again. It’s never worked before but I can only keep trying.

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‘Say hello to the horses.’

11-15-2014 Journal – The Birthday Celebration!   Leave a comment

The big day has finally arrived and now my better-half is one year older.  I’ve never been one to celebrate my own birthdays but for her I can make an exception. We started the day off perfectly when we looked out the window of our bedroom to see the first snow fall of the year.  We’d had a flurry or two a week ago but this snow covered everything just like it should and as you can see.

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She was on a day-off which allowed us to be bed buddies for an hour or so.  I brought her some excellent coffee and we relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the moment. Much to her surprise I’d hidden a birthday gift or two in the closet and brought them out.  Our normal routine has always been to open gifts at the end of the day but I wanted to change things up a little.  She opened her gifts and read her cards (one funny and one mushy) and we planned the remainder of our day.

It wasn’t long before we were in the car and on our way to Lowe’s.  What better way to start her birthday than with a snow storm and a flu shot.  That little chore took five minutes and we were headed out to Portland for a day of walking around, people watching, and shopping. 

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You’ve got to love shopping in Portland. Let’s see if you can guess what state your in by the merchandise they have available for sale.

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We made a few purchases and hallelujah, a birthday miracle, the sun came out and the skies cleared.  It was still cold as hell but it was turning into a perfect Maine winter day. We were thoroughly enjoying the day and decided to stop at a little out of the way tavern for a quick drink and some French fries.  They also have this great fish tank.

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It was while we were there that she contacted some friends who we socialize with occasionally and agreed to meet later for drinks.  We left Portland and made our way to my favorite coffee spot located inside the Maine Mall.  I ordered us both some excellent Ethiopian coffee and we split one of their triple berry yogurt muffins,  It was incredible.

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We had our dinner at the nearby Sebago Brewery which while being a small brewery is also a restaurant and bar and usually packed with people.  A Friday nite at this place is a freaking zoo and we were dropped right in the middle of it.  We finished our meal and a short time later our friends arrived  and the birthday celebration continued.  Her day was filled with emails, messages, and the dozen or so tweets she posted on Twitter. She also received calls from her children, siblings, and other friends.  She  was in heaven.

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We returned home at a reasonable hour, fell into bed and relaxed.  That’s when I brought out her quad-chocolate layer cake. She blew out her candles, made her magical wish, cut us two slices, and we pigged out a little.  What better way to finish our day right where it all started. More laughing and enjoying each other’s company and then to sleep. Isn’t that what it’s all about after all.

Happy Birthday Lovey!

11-09-2014 Journal-Have a Hully Gully Amazon Christmas!   Leave a comment

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‘Amazon Warehouse – My Favorite Shopping Place’

I’ve been rather busy over the last couple of months since I made a commitment to myself to have my Christmas shopping completed, wrapped, and ready for delivery or mailing by Thanksgiving.  This also included shopping for my better-half’s upcoming birthday which is entirely too close to the holidays for my liking. As soon as I made it known that this was my plan the criticism began.  Fortunately I’ve been called "anal" so may times by so many people that it no longer bothers me.  I’m at the point now where it’s actually become quite the compliment.

Call me anal if you’d like but you won’t be seeing me on Black Friday or any other day being elbowed, pushed out of the way, and worse by the crowds of people waiting until the last minute to Christmas shop.  The rationalizations thought up by those late shoppers sometimes makes me wonder about their sanity.  You get up at 4:30 am on Black Friday, wait in line for a hour for the store to open, and TA DA, save a whole two dollars.  It’s some form of X-mas insanity that I just don’t understand. A thousand people show up for free stuff that only the first one hundred actually get.  I’d call that the ultimate bait and switch scheme regardless of which retailer is doing it.

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You have to understand that I’m more than a little claustrophobic when it comes to large crowds of people or small crowds of people stuffed into even smaller buildings. The retailers today led by my all time non-favorite, Walmart, insist on clogging the aisles and for that matter any open space with a never ending supply of merchandise and stack-outs.  You barely have enough room to get through the store with a shopping cart let along enjoy the shopping experience.  After ten minutes of that I’m ready to get the hell out of there just as fast as I can.  I may be a member of the so called "great unwashed" but that doesn’t mean I have to like rubbing elbows with each and every one of them.

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‘IPad Fever’

I made my first Christmas purchase on-line in June.  It was earlier than I’ve ever started before and thank God for Amazon and gift cards. This is going to be my first Amazon Christmas and I guarantee it won’t be my last.  I’ll still manage a few short trips to some of the smaller local retailers on those days that they’re not too busy.  I can’t show up on Christmas morning without all of those stocking stuffers everyone seems to love so much but that’s the extent of my Christmas shopping fun for this year.

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The better-half’s birthday will come and go and you can be sure I’ll really be enjoying that Thanksgiving turkey when it finally gets here.  I can kick back and relax just knowing my holiday preparations are complete for another year.  

Merry Christmas . . . . and thanks Amazon!

11-02-2014 Journal Entry – My Perfect Woman!   Leave a comment

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“It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature’

Have you ever had something good you were trying to do for someone come back and bite you in the ass?  If you haven’t, you don’t know what your missing.  I’ve never been known as a “relationship guy”and I’ve failed in so many I should be somewhere in the Guinness Book of Records.  As I’ve gotten older I really and truly tried to change my ways with only moderate success.

I was always a good listener but the other skills necessary for maintaining a long term relationship were severely lacking.  After trying and failing and then trying again I began to make some progress and was really proud of myself. My better-half constantly assures me that I’m a good partner and we have a healthy and happy relationship.  Little did I know that she was lulling me into a false sense of security and it all came to a head yesterday.

It all started with a casual conversation about how stressed she was with Christmas approaching.  She was stressing about buying gifts, what gifts to buy, where to buy them, and on and on and on.  I fell for it completely and was actually starting to feel sorry for her.  After being told what a great relationship we had I felt the need to step up and help her out as much as I could. I casually mentioned that I might consider spending some time with her and using my superior shopping skills to help get her back on track.  It might have been one of the dumbest things I’ve ever suggested.

It wasn’t much later when she arrived with a handful of coupons from a bunch of retailers, laid them on the table, and then gave me our tentative travel plans for our full day of shopping.  I’m not saying she set the whole thing up but I’m highly suspicious of how quickly those plans came together.

Yesterday was “THE” day.  I was rousted out of my warm bed, given some coffee, and a “hurry up, we’re burning daylight” comment.  Eight hours, seven stores, two snacks, and three coffees later my ass was dragging.  Thank God for Mother Nature.  It began raining soon after we left the house and the more it rained the more her shopping enthusiasm waned.  As we were leaving the over crowded mall in the late afternoon we made a mad dash for the car and got a little wet.  She decided right then and there we should just call it a day and go home.  Halleluiah and thank God . . . .

It’s now the next morning and I slept in until 8:30 am.  She came running into the bedroom all pumped up with another handful of coupons, ready for another round of shopping.  Get this, she even served me bacon, eggs, toast and coffee in bed.  I think she needs a bit more training on how to be subtle. Once again Mother Nature arrived to save the day.  As we were looking out the window at the already crappy day it began to lightly snow.  The first snow fall this year and I made the most of it.  I was moving kind of slow (intentionally) and told her I really wasn’t up to driving and shopping in this weather. All of my Christmas shopping was already done and I really just wanted to stay at home and relax for an hour or so.  I laid it on pretty thick and before I knew it she left in a cloud of coupons to go shop, shop, shop.

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‘Thank You Once Again Mother Nature’

This experience has shown me who my perfect women really is, it’s Mother Nature. She’s a little older than me but she’s still got it going on.  I’m a good listener and I clean up pretty well so we should be able to easily make our relationship work over the long term.  I also understand she’s not much of a shopaholic which is just another plus. My better-half had better slide a little further over in the bed to make room for our new friend.

52 SHOPPING DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

10-24-2014 Journal Entry – Rain, Rain, Go Away!   Leave a comment

It’s just another rainy, crappy, and gray October day here in Maine.  It’s a great day to stay in the warm house and to catch up on a million things I’ve been putting off.  With that in mind the cat and I retired to the man-cave to relax, watch a little TV, and work on the computer.  My better-half has the day off and is  enjoying herself in the kitchen.  She’s baking cookies, talking on the phone with family members, and preparing Halloween treats for mailing to her kids.  It looked like a great day was in the making for both of us.

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Just as I was finally beginning to relax  my better-half popped into my inner sanctum for a visit.  She gave me a kiss and an even bigger hug which while appreciated also told me something was up.  She intended to take a short shopping trip and was hinting around for a traveling companion.  Before I knew it I was changing my clothes and preparing to face the outside world.

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The traffic was heavier than anticipated and people were driving badly as always seems to be the case  when the rains come.  After traveling for a few minutes she decided the trip would be shortened from three stops to just one.  I assumed it was because of the rain but it may have been due to all of my swearing and cursing at passing motorists.  We arrived at the store, parked, and began walking towards the entrance.  Almost immediately the sky opened up and the rains came.  I didn’t realize I could still run that fast but I did.  As we entered the store I was told in no uncertain terms that this was to be a short power shopping visit for just a  few essential items  . . .  Yeah right!  Forty-five minutes and a full shopping cart later we were on our way towards the door. We could see through the front windows that  the rain was coming down even harder than before.  I was convinced to bring the car around to the front door where I could pick up her majesty.  I reached the car, drove it to the entrance of the store, and we loaded the groceries into the trunk.  We were wet and uncomfortable and  I could’t wait to get home.

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It was more of the same during the drive home.  I wish I had a dollar for every horn I heard honking and every finger I saw  thrown in anger.  It’s amazing to me how people from Maine can drive normally in two feet of snow and  a blizzard but can’t deal with a moderate amount of rainfall.  I found myself wishing for snow for just a moment but then good sense prevailed.

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We arrived home and quickly pulled into the garage to get out of the rain.  Within seconds of unloading the first bag of groceries I looked outside and the rain had stopped completely.  It never fails . . .

 

 

10-03-2014 Journal Entry-Fryeburg Fair #3   Leave a comment

This third installment of Fair day will be my last lame attempt to take you there.  I  wish I had some sort of smell-a-vision to really help tell the whole story but since I don’t,  I’ll do the best I can with pictures.

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We’ve visited the animal barns in the last installment but there was so much more to see than just that.  I was extremely interested in the foods being offered since I’ve spent the last year on a rather strict eating regime.  This was a day for me to misbehave a little and the choices were numerous.  Here’s a brief collection of those possibilities.

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Here are two of my sins for the day . . . .

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“Deep fried veggies.’

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‘Funnel Cake’

I was also dragged kicking and screaming by my better-half to an endless number of exhibits of things that held no interest for me.  Just being a cooperative partner can be trying at times.  There was no end of the shopping possibilities and she wasn’t about to miss any.  Thank God we only have one grandson to buy for.  If I hear or see anything with Mickey Mouse on it any time soon I may run screaming into the night.

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“This was the only place that convinced me to spend my money.’

Now here’s a montage of photo’s of a host of other things that piqued my interest as we roamed around.

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This one last photo will further explain just how I felt after ten hours of walking, sweating, and rubbing elbows with those huge crowds of other hot, sweaty and smelly human beings.  I was totally exhausted and was just about done with Fair Day for this year.

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‘Suicide by hippo.’

But there’s always next year to do it all over again . . . . . .

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09-25-2014 Journal Entry-Shopping Day!   Leave a comment

I’m not entirely sure how to handle all this beautiful weather. I suppose this is what used to be called an “Indian Summer”.  I don’t know why it’s so damn nice but I certainly intend to enjoy it.

The better-half and I decided to make a day of it after her early morning doctors appointment.  She received loads of good news about her health which put us both in a great mood.  As we were leaving the doctors office I had a brainstorm that was totally not something I would ever do. I spontaneously headed north from Portland to take her shopping in Freeport, Maine, known for it’s endless supply of outlet stores and L.L.Bean.

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Freeport is a place I’ve always tried to avoid but I figured what the hell.  I gave her control of our day and followed along like the good little boy that I am.  We visited a thrift shop and a number of ridiculous tourist traps looking at all things Moose.  Not only are the gifts a little lame the prices are ridiculous.  I remember a time when visiting outlets meant cheaper than normal prices and  it’s too bad that tradition has slowly faded away.

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‘One of My Favorites’

We made the obligatory stop at L.L. Bean’s to look around a bit.  It’s quite the place to visit but if you intend to shop there bring lots of credit cards.  It’ll be a cold day in hell when I spend $90.00 for a pair of jeans or $350.00 for a plain brown leather bomber jacket.  Insanity from the front door all the way through the huge building. I decided not to spend any money there and just cruised around the buildings and grounds snapping a few pictures.

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As lunch time rolled around I was starving.  We stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that specializes in seafood and chowder.  The better-half settled for clam chowder while I dug into a plate of fish & chips.  It was incredibly good and that lunch stop became the best part of our day.  We left feeling good and ready for a quick walk through town and then a long and leisurely ride home.

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The remainder of the day was kind of blah. The weather was sunny but the day was what could be called "in between".  The trees have started to change color but aren’t quite there yet for those vivid colors everyone loves.  While it’s sunny it’s also very chilly verging on uncomfortable. We’ll have to try this trip again in a few weeks when the foliage is worth photographing.  Her are a few blah photos from that ride home.

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Just another day here in paradise.  Hanging around waiting for the leaves to change and the snow to fly.

09-13-2014 Journal Entry–Mall Safari!   Leave a comment

I’m sitting up in my bed and the electric blanket has been resurrected once again.  The nights are chilling down dramatically as reflected by my new morning wardrobe.  A heavy robe, wool socks, sweat pants, and an extra cup of steaming hot coffee.  Things like that can only be properly appreciated while sitting up in bed at a minimum of level 4 on the electric blanket.  Just saying.

Last night no one really wanted to cook the evening meal so we made a trek to the Maine Mall to window shop, eat some almost nutritious food at the food court, and possibly spend a little money.  Forgetting that it was a Saturday night was mistake number one.  The place was packed with large numbers of rude people all rushing around, pushing, shoving, and generally being ridiculous.  I also realized something else as we walked around observing many groups of teenagers huddled here and there looking for things to do. I’m truly glad I’m not married and don’t have any young daughters to worry about. 

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Any parent that permits their daughter to loiter around any mall just boggles my mind.  If any daughter of mine insisted on hanging out at a mall with her friends I’m afraid of what my reaction might be.  I can see myself in a tacky disguise scurrying around the mall, hiding behind plants, just to keep an eye on the activities of her and her friends. There are way too many unthinkable possibilities just waiting to happen in this kind of atmosphere.

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I was in dire need of a few new T-shirts and was intent on finding some.  We visited a store called ‘The Hot Topic’ where we seemed to be a little out of place.  It’s very much like a ‘Spencer’s’ without all of the sexual paraphernalia. My better-half and I were the only people in that crowded store over the age of 25.  I made my way to the back wall because I’d  been told they have offer quite the collection of T-Shirts made with images of vintage rock groups. 

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I decided some time ago to make a few changes to my boring wardrobe.  I concocted a few new rules to help make my life a little easier when it comes to making a personal fashion statement. 

  • No more white T-shirts of any kind. Being as clumsy as I am makes white t-shirts a nightmare.  Everything I eat eventually leaves it’s mark somewhere on the front of the shirt..
  • No more stupid or cute sayings on my shirts.  It make me either look stupid or uncute.
  • Buy only T-shirts about classic musical groups. There aren’t any current groups I’d allowed to be displayed on this body.
  • No more extra-large shirts.  I’m now just a large and proud of it.

I found a few shirts (see the photo’s) I absolutely loved, made my purchases and we headed to the food court.

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It’s a place with long lines, plastic sporks, and borderline delicious foods. There were representative kiosks from most Asians cultures as well as many of the standard American calorie and fat factories.  We pigged out on a  selection or two from Arby’s because the lines for Chinese food were too damn long. 

I think it’s quite possible the decline of this county was part of a well planned attack initiated  many decades ago by the Chinese.  I’ll bet years ago they decided as a first step towards invasion to build as many Chinese restaurants as they could in the US and get a large majority of the population addicted to their food.  If by chance over the next decade we begin to see Islamic restaurants springing up everywhere it could mean only one thing. Eventually this country will be the prize that goes to the winner of the Chinese/Muslim food wars.

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With indigestion in our near future we left the confines of the mall and headed home.  That Arby’s feast was so good it keep coming back up all night reminding us just how good it really wasn’t. 

Lesson learned, no more fast food from the food court.