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Chasing The American Dream

November 24, 2006


I was online shopping and I happened to find a bargain. I was looking for a laptop for Andy and found two at Best Buy. One was listed for $249 and the other was for $379. The only problem was that it said “in store only.” That meant that if I wanted the laptop, I’d have to leave the comfort of my online home shopping for the madness of day-after-Thanksgiving shopping at 5 a.m. I decided to give it a shot.

What a hair-brained idea that turned out to be. I have a lot to learn about the busiest shopping day of the year. My friend tried to warn me. She told me people were actually camped out in order to get in the store first and that the likelihood of me procuring one of those bargains was slim to none. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. Camped out? Sold out?

I got to the Best Buy parking lot at around 5:30 a.m. and was shocked to discover even the most far away parking spots were taken. I did several laps around the building before parking illegally on the side of the building. It seemed I was walking down a one-way street the wrong way because while I was headed into the store, seasoned holiday shoppers were headed out armed full of packages, boxes, and bags. I walked into the store and I truly couldn’t believe it. It was a sea of people crammed in like sardines. I could hardly walk it was so packed. I managed to squeeze my way to the laptop section where luckily, I found a guy in a Best Buy blue shirt. I asked him about the two advertised specials and he sorta gave me a wry smile. He told me they both sold out long ago and that the cheapest laptop he had was $699. I laughed. Guess my friend was right. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

When I got home, I went to the Best Buy website and noticed something. There were shopping tips for the 7-hour sale. 1) Arrive early – I didn’t. 2) Get your tickets – I didn’t. 3) Buy before noon – I couldn’t. Wow, I got schooled today. The early bird catches the worm, I guess.

November 23, 2006


Has it really been two years since I posted this? To all my readers who have endured my drama, I'm grateful. Really. Happy Thanksgiving.

November 19, 2006


photos courtesy of peteyorn.com

Pete Yorn is a throwback. His music reminds us old-school rock and roll. Part Elvis, part Bob Dylan, part Bruce Springsteen, and part Pete Yorn. With sounds like that, he must be good right? Indeed. I’ve been wanting to see him for some time now and was thrilled to finally get the opportunity. He played at my favorite venue, The Revolution in Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a small cozy tri-leveled hall where I got to see Liz Phair a year ago.

Once again, I was surrounded by youth. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest guy in the place. I had a good vantage point from the second-level, mere paces from Pete. He came onstage dressed in jeans, a tee-shirt, a leather jacket and a good looking hat. With his scruffy beard, he looked eerily like Bob Dylan himself. He opened his set with two songs off his new Nightcrawler CD, Vampyre and the rocking For Us which brought the crowd to an early frenzy. Nightcrawler is sort of the third of the morning, noon, and night trilogy with musicforthemorningafter and Day I Forgot being the previously released Yorn CDs.

Yorn played a cool mix of songs from each of his three CDs alternating between acoustic and electric guitar and playing a mean Dylanesque harmonica. Songs like Life on a Chain and Strange Condition truly reminded me of Dylan in his 60s prime while Murray sounded more like The Boss. Yorn even covered Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark albeit in a slow acoustic fashion.

Pete talked sparingly to the crowd during his initial 16-song set. He was, however, very appreciative for the 10-minute ovation prior to the encore. During the encore, Pete played perhaps my favorite tune, Crystal Village, which was the song that introduced me to him. It’s been a great ride ever since. Fittingly, he closed the show with a spectacular cover of Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds. I’d venture to say I was the only person besides the band who knew the words. It’s good to know that old time rock’s not dead yet. Thanks Pete.

November 15, 2006


Here’s an airport riddle-of-the-Sphinx for you. Something is shrinking yet something’s growing at the same time. I know, not much to go on. OK, here’s the answer.

Rent-A-Cars are getting smaller and smaller, but the price tag is getting bigger and bigger.

I reserved an intermediate-sized car for only $207.95 for a week. Good deal, huh? Or was it? When I got to the car lot, my “intermediate” ride was waiting for me. I thought there was a mix-up. Surely my car wasn’t the little Hyundai Accent I was staring at. I had reserved an intermediate not a compact. Aaah, but in this day and age, the intermediate has shrunk to a compact, and the old compact has become the “economy.”

I guess I never got that shrinking rent-a-car memo. The car itself was fine. I had no issues with it. I even told the attendant the little car performed nicely. He thanked me and after checking the mileage, he handed me the bill. Sticker shock! My $208 deal just grew $100. How in the world did that happen, you ask? Taxes of some sort. Hmmm, let’s see. We started at $207.95 and then there was something called AP/Access for $23.10, CF CTX $31.50, Std $7.51, VLS $11.55, and finally Tax of $23.34 for a grand total of $304.95. Goodness knows what all those add-ons really are. All I know is that I paid 50% more for a smaller car. Now that’s what I call a great deal. For the rent-a-car company, that is.

November 02, 2006


Don't want to wake up with no one beside me
Don't want to take up with nobody new
Don't want nobody coming by without calling first
Don't want nothing to do with you

Lyrics by Warren Zevon from "Splendid Isolation"

I'm done dating for 2006. I've canceled all my online subscriptions. I need a break and some "me" time. I'm starting it off by going to see Pete Yorn in concert tomorrow. Have a listen. Review forthcoming.