Archive | April 2013

Stay Cute Mondays – Ten Crack Commandments

commandmentsSo I got waylaid a bit by the awesomeness that is Dallas and the mundane activity known as work. However, it’s time to return to the 10 Crack Commandments. As I mentioned earlier getting a good deal is my crack but sometimes my retailers fail me. Something happened recently. I realized that I am a relic. I really detest buying things online. I am a tactile shopper. I like seeing and feeling an item before purchasing. I cannot tell you the number of gorgeous items that I purchased online that turned out to be ugly or just wrong in person.

This includes:

  • A futon cover  — Apparently, physical stores only carry black, navy and tan ones
  • A comforter — The quality was off and this was confirmed after washing
  • A dress – It was too thin and lightweight. I actually had a Marilyn Monroe moment in front of Wegmans
  • A bookcase – It sways!!

This leads to the next few crack commandments.

3.      Thou Shall Carry Items in Store

I read that Nordstrom moved to a new policy where they keep a few items in store to test and then you have to possibly purchase your size, color or other variance online. I guess this is better than nothing. I needed a new iPod. Not a Touch, not a Nano. An iPod Classic. This turned out to be difficult. I wanted iPod immediately as I was going on vacation. No one had any, well any for a good deal. The snarky dude youngster at Apple told me that no one buys iPods and therefore they never have deals. That is precisely why you should have deals.  I have been collecting music since Columbia House gave you 14 CDs for a penny. I cannot cram my extensive music collection into an overpriced non-iPhone. Okay, I still don’t understand why Touches exist. Two big boxes had deals. One had 10% off and another gave out a free accessory kit. Neither of them carried it in store. I sucked it up and ordered online. I wasn’t happy about it. But it did arrive in time.

4.      Thou Shall Properly Execute Ship to Store

Apparently, stores claim to have the availability to ship items to the store. Do you know how often this program actually works properly? Yea, me neither. I heard a person mention success once. When I purchased my previous computer, I was told I could ship to store. That seemed simple. I would order online and pick it up from a special desk in two days. I could pick it up during store hours which is traditionally longer than evil delivery people hours, yet not have to wait in line or track down an annoyed salesperson. This is wonderful. Do you know what happened? Well, I purchased the item from the shelf. Apparently the staff didn’t want to go all the way back to the loading dock to “find” my item. They suggested that they just grab one from the shelf while I wait behind other people waiting to purchase. What happened to my drive up, grab and go? Phooey. My coworker told me a hilarious story where they gave her the wrong item. They realized it after she left and asked if she could bring it right back. She couldn’t and the real purchaser ultimately had to wait. Imagine being that customer. Plus, most of the time Ship to Store is “unavailable” when I select it. My guess: see commandment  #3.

5.      Thou Shall Take Ugly Items Back at Minimal Expense to Me

When I purchased the ugly futon cover, I discovered to return ugly futon cover would cost me $15. Shipping to me, of course, was free. This is why I stick to online retailers with a physical store. I love running crappy items to the store with my little packing slip to get my money back. This gets tricky with an online only retailer. The worst is a certain superstore that shall remain nameless. It’s not the actual retailer but the third party suppliers that it partners with that often provide insufficient information, such as the address, to return easily. With rickety book case, it was heavy and I honestly didn’t want to lift it. So I still have it and frown at it when I walk buy it. I finally got rid of the comforter, only to buy another online that I was lukewarm about it. I need to do better.

I really only buy items online that are proven acceptable: cosmetics, skincare, or things too heavy to lift. That’s what evil deliverymen are for, despite their grousing. Now I just remember to kick the tires first. If there is no ability to test, it doesn’t get purchased. Unless of course, you would like a gently used bookcase… Then, I think that would be swell.

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The Music Filled Edition

First of all, I have decided I hate taking a cab in the D.C. area. Taking cabs in other parts of the country usually only involve disinterested drivers that chat on their cell phones the entire ride, or crazy drivers taking the long way to make more money, or stinky cabs. But in D.C., they won’t even pick you up. I think that is of course, the worst. Okay now that I got that off of my chest, back to our regularly schedule blogging.

Last week, I missed an opportunity to see the Lianne La Havas show, because Smokey (my car, which is named after Smokey Robinson or possibly its color) decided to act up. I was okay with this because I couldn’t decide if I liked her CD or not. However, some tweets I saw claimed the concert was a success. Maybe next time.

new orleans bingoOn Saturday, I was back on schedule with a filthy loaner, complete with a cigarette butt and abandoned M&M. I will admit I prefer a clean inside of car rather than outside of car. I wonder what that says about me. I prefer the part of the car I see the most, the interior, to be clean rather than have shiny rims and a spotless finish. Last weekend, my month of things procured from a discount service continues. I picked up a discount deal to the New Orleans Bingo! Show at the Kennedy Center. I haven’t been to the Kennedy Center since I saw Stevie Wonder like three years ago. I used to go all the time for their free events and something weird happened. Oh now I remember, I am stuck working in the Northern Virginia suburbs which to me is like working in a Playskool village. Look at the Whole Foods on every corner!

Anyway, I decided to go because the Kennedy Center posted a video of Big Freedia and I was in love. I will admit I was a little worried that the regular KenCen crowd would attend this event and be flabbergasted by twerking and booty clapping. Turns out, I was right and it was awesome. The entire event is hard to describe. There is music, bingo, burlesque, skits, traditional New Orleans jazz by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (I think this tricked the old people into attending) and Big Freedia. The bingo winner received a giant spoon, which had to be won by a robot dancing contest after a tie. One of the KenCen dames made an executive decision to go for the gusto and another gave it a nice college try.

Big Freedia came out in a God-awful weave along with two additionally terribly weaved female dancers and two male dancers. Bounce music is my shizznit as I am from Detroit and our main dance output is shaking our rumps rhythmically (see Beyonce’s Uh Oh, which is actually a Detroit dance called the Booty Hop) and jitting (which I don’t even know how to spell). The dancers did lots of wonderful gyrating and booty popping that some of the KenCen folks weren’t ready for. Hilariously, the couples behind me (my section was mostly young) joked that they would pay a million dollars to see the looks of the more seasoned attendees’ faces during that segment. I got a firsthand download en route to the ladies room, when a woman said to her husband, “That last act was weird, huh?” To which the still mesmerized hubby replied, “Sure.”

I think the event really needed New Orleans food to cap it off. Man, is New Orleans food delicious. Wait…what happened? Oh, yea. The evening was awesome, three hours of pure fun.

Row of Bar StoolsNext, I attended the bi-annual Old School Hip Hop Bar Crawl. I arrived in time for the second set, which was this awful mix of popular hip hop songs over reggae beats. Despite the hair, I hate reggae except for watered down pop reggae, so I hate reggae. I gave that a whopping 24 minutes. See, how much more patient I am becoming. We moved on the 80’s and 90’s New York set, which was filled with wondrous songs I had never heard of. I get that the DJ wanted to stand out and not lean on popular songs, but I had to Sound Hound a lot. The event ended with Mobb Deep’s Shook Ones and that helped. Unfortunately, my favorite DJ from the last event helmed the only spot to get decent food. I was hungry as cereal only lasts so long. I could only hear the Native Tongues vs. Wu Tang set faintly. But it was probably great based on past experience.

Next was the Rock-A-Fella, Ruff Ryders and Flip Mode set. What happened to Rah Digga? I loved her. I never purchased any of her stuff but she was nice. Oh, I think I recognized the problem. Last, we went to the final set at Tabaq. We choose to go upstairs and I don’t remember why.  I do love the rooftop view but was forced to listen to Feist as the music from the bar crawl didn’t reach that far. This was redeemed by the fact that the bartender gave me a free shot that I shouldn’t have taken in hindsight. And he performed the sexy straw trick. I am a sucker for the sexy straw trick. All in all, it was a great weekend. For outings. It wasn’t perfect as I was without Smokey. I ended the weekend by giving Mad Men deep concentration. (darn shot!).

The Shake Off the Blues Edition

Last week was not a banner week. In fact, it was a terrible week. It was the kind of week that reminded me of why I started this blog in the first place. Somehow along the way, my job became not fun. There is no shame or anger in that; it is a grown-up job in a cubicle-land with pleasant coworkers. However, I needed outside interests that inspired me, gave me something to look forward to. Outings, friends, music always soothed me. That would need to continue in order to survive everyday life. So what did I do last week? Lots. Some fun, some necessary.

alice_smithFirst, I went to see Alice Smith on Thursday. People love her and I was oblivious, but the tickets were $25, so why not. I loved her too. I heard her new album “She” free on OkayPlayer. I will admit I am so glad that album previews are back. This is wonderful as I can hear and judge without payment. Yay! I liked the album (it will always be that to me) and was ready for the show. Boy, was that show late. On a weekday. Luckily, I was off on the following Friday. I dread opening acts now and another great thing: there wasn’t one. I had to google Ms. Smith, sorry for not being a devoted fan, to be prepared for banter or whatnot. There was no banter. I liked that the audience was very multi-cultural. It’s a weird statement. But I have a strong preference for soul music and the occasional hip hop. Therefore, my concert experiences are pretty homogeneous. 9:30 usually brings the multi-cultural and I found good parking. Viva la weekday shows! It was great. I adore Alice’s voice. It’s really a bluesy-rock voice that actually reminds me of Ann Wilson (Heart). I admire distinctive voices that are easy to recognize. She’s definitively on my list of those I plan to follow closely.

8-GO-GO-PosterFriday was spent getting one of two of my broken computers fixed (therefore, no post). After beautiful weather all week, Saturday had a bit of a chill, still sunny. I decided wrong-headedly to drive into the city for the free Corcoran day. This was terrible because everyone decided to drive into the city. It took more than an hour to get to the National Mall area. This may or may not be due to something called cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms were a little anemic on Saturday. I understand full bloom was Tuesday. I admit that I am one of those cheesy people that loves cherry blossoms, but there weren’t many to see. Then onto the Corcoran to see the Pump Me Up exhibit. I have another confession. I don’t believe that D.C. is a great indigenous music town. There are some good local acts but would I call the music subculture vibrant, no. My friend who has lived in DC since the 1980’s didn’t like that viewpoint, but oh well. It was interesting seeing what DC was like then, as DC in the 80’s, except for 227, seemed like a scary place. Of course I grew up in the metro Detroit area, so I can say this without judgment. The exhibit felt cold and detached as if the curator thought of DC as some faraway thing and not a place s/he loved. I really thought the exhibit could benefit from some multi-media. It was the 1980’s, not the 1880’s. How about some music, videos, documentaries? I didn’t feel that DC was too different from the movies I saw about the East Coast in the 80’s save Go-Go. Punk is punk, hip hop is hip hop.

drink the distictFinally, after a lot of walking, I decided to walk around some more gathering wine samples. I went to Drink the District. I wish it was warmer. I purchased the evening ticket from Living Social because I knew there were things I wanted to accomplish that afternoon, but the sun went down and the wind by the water kicked up. So it was cold. As an aside, in the early 2000’s I worked at the Navy Yard. The changes that have been made to that area are remarkable. When I worked in the area, there was a working crack house on the corner and now there is a Gordon Biersch. If only a sushi restaurant, a Potbelly, a trapeze school and other cool amenities were there when I was saddled into that spot. Back to the wine tasting, I didn’t like many of the wines, which is really rare. I decided that I really like Naked Grape products and some Moscato wines, because Moscato wines are tasty, which is why it is a dessert wine. I loved the concept and hope they do another one when it’s warmer.

My Sunday was spent running errands, being locked out of yoga and getting computer #2 fixed before settling into the return of Mad Men. Then back to the weekday grind.