a productive break

it's all about me!!, ramblings No Comments »

you should all be proud of me. normally during thanksgiving break, I simply “do nothing” and just “veg out” in front of the TV or make a huge glutton of myself. But this time around, I was actually pretty productive! I actually did some stuff off of my “honey-do” list. impressive stuff, huh? I replaced three outside light fixtures that are on the front side of the house. The existing fixtures were old and worn out so we got some nicer looking fixtures with a “classier” antique finish. The wife and I also primed and painted our oldest son’s bedroom. We never did get around to painting the room when we first moved into this house so getting his room painted was long overdue. We chose a nice bright looking “Coastal Surf” color since his room doesn’t get a lot of sun. I hope he appreciates it! and like most weekends during the fall, I tackled the leaves out on the lawn. man, our new backpack blower really rocks. it’s SO much better than that old craftsman blower I had all these years. so, how was your thanksgiving break?

do something positive this holiday season!

miscellaneous No Comments »

It’s absolutely disheartening to read about the tragic incident that occurred at the Wal-Mart in Nassau County, New York this past friday. Apparently in all the black friday frenzy, deal hungry shoppers trampled over a Wal-Mart employee when he opened the doors at 5 a.m. I understand the excitement of the hunt for low-priced deals but it’s scary to see how people can lose control of themselves over some cheap electronics. We as a people need to find better perspective on the holiday season and try to do something more positive than simply trying to purchase more things for ourselves. Take for example a new donation program called the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry. Sears has set up a special website where you can donate money to help fulfill holiday wishes for 30,583 military families. The site also features special stories on a number of participating military families along with their personal wish lists. Another nice touch is the opportunity to post your own messages of support for the military service members and their families to read. Please note that the donations made to the Wish Registry will not be tax deductible and all contributions will be equally distributed among participating families as Sears Gift Cards. Let’s do something positive this holiday season and honor those that serve and protect our country by contributing to the Sears Heroes at Home donation program today!!

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I’ve been to the danger zone!

ramblings 2 Comments »

I’m back from the battlefields and I can safely say that I do not have an ounce of desire to ever go back. Where, you ask? Whole Foods on the day before thanksgiving, of course. The place was pack full of frowning grey haired grandmothers, pissed off middle aged moms and angry dads all vying for supplies for their respective thanksgiving feasts. Believe me, you do not want to come between a stressed out granny and her turkey stuffing! They ain’t playing around, especially on the day before thanksgiving. We were there to pick up some stuffing and dessert and now we know better not to go anywhere near there during this time ever again. It was pretty brutal. If they don’t ram your car for a parking spot, they’ll run you over with their shopping carts to get past you in those narrow aisles. yikes!

Happy Thanksgiving! :P

Kmart deals

miscellaneous No Comments »

To accommodate shoppers like me who hate crowded malls and shopping centers during the holiday rush, most retailers are posting special offers on their websites. Take Kmart for example. They’re currently offering an extra 5% discount on all electronics ordered through their website. They’re also offering a 10% discount on all other items with the exception of toys. While browsing through the site, I’ve also found that they’ve got the Abbey Hill bedding Medallion Dream bedding collection for 30% off (search ID# 96096112). And for those searching for jewelry for their loved ones, how about an extra 10% off a 1/4ct tw Diamond 5-Stone Journey Pendant and Earrings Set in 10K Yellow Gold (search ID# 89270115). There’s also huge savings to be had with men’s shirts and bottoms, big men’s shirts and bottoms, all juniors, girls tops, boys tops, women’s plus sleepwear, women’s attention brand, infant and toddler bedding.

Another shopping tip is to look out for hidden ornaments that randomly appear on various pages throughout the Kmart.com site. The ornaments contain a special coupon code to provides even more savings for shoppers. It’s just another great reason to do your holiday shopping online this year!

Oh and just so you know, the discounts aren’t displayed until the items are in your shopping cart so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the sale prices right away.
These online discounts are only offered through November 26th so be sure to check out their website today!
Click Here
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black friday deals

miscellaneous 3 Comments »

This is more of a reminder for my own personal use but I’m posting it just in case anyone else is interested.
crowded aisles
I’ve braved the early morning mayhem on black friday in years past but I’m thinking of simply staying home and just do most of my shopping online this time around. I’m hoping to score a nice deal on a new laptop and maybe a new HDTV. so, we’ll see. here are a couple of notables I’ve stumbled across..

black friday prices for Virgin mobile phones. (I might get one for my middle schooler who is in need of a phone of his own…)
WildCard $40 at Target
TNT $10 at Kmart
Flare $9 at Best Buy
Arc $20 at Radio Shack

various electronics…
Aiptek ISDV 2.4 MPEG4 Video Camcorder $69 at Target
Apple 8GB iPod Nano $145 at Target
SanDisk Sansa Fuze 4 GB MP3 player $50 at BestBuy
iPod Touch 8GB $228 at Walmart

Laptops
Toshiba AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Laptop (3GB RAM / 160GB HDD) $380 at BestBuy
HP Pavilion Laptop - 15.4″ LCD, Pentium Dual-Core (3GB RAM, 250GB HDD) $500 at Circuit City
HP Pavilion Laptop w/ AMD Sempron (2GB RAM, 120GB HDD) $430 at OfficeMax

HDTVs
Samsung 52″ LN52A580 1080p LCD HDTV $1,499.99 at BestBuy
Sony 46″ 1080p LCD HDTV and Sony Blu-Ray Player Bundle $1,499.98 at Circuit City
Sony Bravia S-Series KDL-46S4100 46″ 1080p LCD HDTV $1299 at Sears
Toshiba 32″ 32AV500U 720p LCD HDTV $449 at Circuit City

what deals are you looking for this year?

Asian Stories on DVD

movies and TV, reviews No Comments »

You know, I’m all for asians in cinema. Especially when there’s such a dearth of opportunities for asian actors, writers and directors in hollywood. So I was pretty excited to see an independent film turn up on Netflix featuring an all asian cast. The movie titled Asian Stories features “Heroes” cast member James Kyson Lee as a depressed Chinese-American who recently got left at the altar and now wants his best friend to kill him just to end his misery. OK, the hokey premise should have tipped me off but I gave the movie a chance. Unfortunately, the movie is just plain awful. The whole time viewing the film, I kept telling myself that it’d get better but it never did. Everything about the film including the writing, editing and acting was amateurish and awkward. Practically every joke uttered by the cast, landed with a resounding thud. and those over-the-top redneck characters that appear midway through the movie weren’t funny at all and completely unnecessary. And what’s with all the needless foul language? To me, it was a bit excessive and this is coming from a huge Quentin Tarantino fan!!! Surprisingly, this film won the audience award at the 2006 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival but my guess is that the audience took pity on the hard working actors who had to appear in such a crappy movie.

Movie title: Asian Stories
Cast: James Kyson Lee, Lauren Kim
Director: Ron Oda
Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Studio: Cinema Epoch
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
Run Time: 98 minutes

web hosting reviews

internet buzz No Comments »

Having a blog or running a website is pretty run-of-the-mill nowadays. Everyone and their grandmother seems to have their own website now. I mean, just think about it - with your own hosted site, you can post family photo albums, share large files with friends and family and of course you can blog, blog and blog some more until the cows come home. There’s a lot of versatility in what one can do when you’ve got your own site. And now that there are countless web hosts out there vying for customers, the rates have become pretty affordable. But along the same lines, since there are so many providers, how do you know who to trust? That’s why I always recommend taking the time upfront to do the research and read through all the web hosting reviews on sites like Web Hosting Geeks. It isn’t as simple as just signing up for the cheapest host. The lowest rates don’t usually translate into the highest reliability. And with sites like Web Hosting Geeks, comparing features, options and rates can be done with a click of a button. also be sure to check out their webhosting blog that is chock full of informative articles as well as tips and tricks for a whole range of users, from newbie to seasoned professional. And even for those who are already using an existing webhost, it’s always good to know what’s out there because in this day and age, reliable services can leave you stranded without warning. So get informed by checking out Web Hosting Geeks today!

a good day for barbeque

ramblings 6 Comments »

cameraphone - a good day for barbeque
On a raining friday afternoon, some colleagues and I made a special long trek to a favorite barbeque joint located near the outskirts of town. We normally eat at restaurants near work but the three of us felt the need for something a bit more special on this gloomy looking day so we thought some old fashioned hickory-smoked chopped pork would do the trick. And I have to say that it was well worth the extra time and effort because their genuine pit-cooked barbeque is just out of this world. They slow cook the meat over wood coals which is a labor-intensive method that not a lot of places do anymore. anyway, their chopped pork plate with hush puppies, fries and cole slaw definitely hit the spot. We’ll definitely be making another trip back sometime soon. maybe next week, even.

save with Mr. Bluelight

miscellaneous No Comments »

save with Mr. BluelightIt’s unfortunate that Kmart often times gets overlooked as a “go-to” retailer during the holiday shopping season because they seem to be offering a lot of great deals lately. I guess consumers have been conditioned over the years to simply head to Walmart or Target when shopping for bargains but savvy shoppers are now realizing that Kmart is fast becoming a top contender when it comes to smart buys. The retailer is currently hard at work trying to spread the word to consumers about their great sales with a series of Mr. Bluelight commercials. You know, seeing Mr. Bluelight reminds me of a time back in the dial-up days when Kmart offered free internet access called “BlueLight”. I actually used their service back then since I was tired of what AOL was charging for dial up service in those days. The service was supported by viewing banner ads from Kmart but it wasn’t that bad considering that AOL was charging $22 for similar access. It just goes to show you that Kmart has always been about saving consumers money. As a matter of fact, they’re the only national discount retailer that offers consumers a layaway option. With the Kmart Layaway program, folks can simply make payments over eight weeks to purchase an item. During this time of economic strain, it’s a smart alternative to use rather than increasing credit card debt. And be sure to check them out for exclusive products ranging from the Christopher Radko┬« handmade glass ornament collection to the highly popular Joe Boxer series of apparel.
Click Here
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man versus leaves

ramblings No Comments »

man-vs-leaves-nov08

Well, it’s time for another round of battling with the leaves this year. The difference this time around is that I’m better equipped. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve got a ton of hardwoods on our lot so it’s a huge chore clearing off the yard of fallen leaves. So, I chucked my ol’ problematic craftsman blower and bought a new Echo PB-265L. It’s a backpack gas blower that received high marks from Consumer Reports. After years of using a handheld model, I knew I needed a backpack version especially for the amount of time spent rounding up leaves each fall. I tried out the blower for the first time this past weekend and it’s definitely a step up compared to my previous blower both in terms of power and comfort. But since it’s a seasonal power tool, the real test will be to see if it will continue to be easy to start up after long periods of non-use.

BestBuy Coupon

internet buzz 3 Comments »

It’s sad to say but it’s true - a weak economy and a happy holiday season just don’t mix. Folks are losing their jobs left and right, stocks continue to plummet and consumers won’t be spending as much this Christmas season. and it’s tough being all merry and cheerful when we are constantly reminded of an unstable economy on the evening news. But as a dad of young kids, I’m still going to try my best this season to get all those items on the kids’ wish lists. As you probably already know, now more than ever, consumers are relying on the internet to find bargains. Saving money is on everyone’s mind right now and searching out the lowest prices and online coupons is a whole lot easier with websites like savings.com. Great deals are out there, it’s just a matter of finding them at the right time. Coupons, special sales and exclusive deals are constantly appearing so it’s prudent to monitor websites like these on a regular basis for the latest updates. And when you know what you need to get, you can zero in on specific coupons or online deals. I’m planning on using an online BestBuy coupon to save on some game purchases for the Wii. The kids absolutely love playing on the Wii and are always looking for different and challenging games to play. I’m personally more “old school” so I tend to gravitate toward puzzle games like “Brain Age” or Tetris. When I watch the kids play something like “Super Smash Bros. Brawl”, my eyes go cross-eyed with all the rapid-fire activity on-screen. I know what you’re thinking and don’t worry, I limit their playing time to a few hours on weekends. and by doing so, the kids end up appreciating their Wii time. And thanks to the internet, I’ll be saving a bundle purchasing these gifts online.

Buzz, Vader and a masked intruder

Family Talk, kidbits 3 Comments »

I was meaning to post this photo over the weekend but I never got around to it.

halloween2008

so how was your halloween? Since we live in a large subdivision, the night was just hopping with activity. Kids of all ages roamed the darkened streets like zombies in search of sweets and treats. We normally have to split the duties in order to man the house for all the lil’ visitors that make their way to our ol’ spot in the cul de sac. So usually the wife gives out the candy and I take the younger two for an hour long loop around the neighborhood. And our oldest runs off with his friends to see who can end up with the biggest load in their bag.

And as always, I now have to find a way to get all this candy out of the house or I’m done for!

Christmas Photo Cards

miscellaneous 3 Comments »

It never fails. It’s almost like clockwork. Now that we’re through with halloween, the retail stores are all gearing up for Christmas. Man, I’m just trying to get my head around the elections and now you’re telling me I gotta think about Christmas already? I must be getting old because what used to be a holiday that I’d look forward to is now simply a pain in my wallet. Instead of the glory and wonder surrounding the holiday season, all I see are bills, expensive gifts and more bills. yeah, bah humbug to you too. But in the state of the economy we’re in, it’ll be wise to be thrifty and shop more conscientiously this holiday season. I can tell you right now that our Christmas shopping list will be a heck of a lot shorter than years past. And I’ll be sending out more Christmas Photo Cards to family and friends in lieu of gifts and such. Since everyone has been affected by the fragile state of the economy, I’m pretty sure folks totally understand the “it’s the thought that counts” mentality this holiday season. Why spend money on gifts that may wind up in a donation box next year when heartfelt words on a customized Christmas Card can mean so much more. Thankfully the folks over at VistaPrint make it easy to design your own Christmas card on their website which they can then print up on high quality cardstock. I recently took a great photo of the kids which I’ll be using for our greeting card this year. Got a great photo of your own? Check out VistaPrint to get your very own custom photo cards printed up.

Change for the Better

music, ramblings No Comments »

Well, today’s the day! If you haven’t already, stand up and be counted. Don’t sit back and let others decide for you. Get up, be proactive and let your voice be heard. I had an easier time getting to work this morning so I’m guessing a lot of folks are standing in line at the polls right now. I’m definitely glad I had the opportunity to vote early because with the rain coming down today, it won’t be all that pleasant waiting in line. but don’t let the long lines or bad weather stop you! Take along your iPod and let this song inspire you -

Down the lowest I can go with no one left to turn
On the edge, I lose control before I crash and burn
Can I turn around, slow it down, oh

Hold on, we’ve still got living to do
So far gone, see life for someone like you
In your eyes you showed me reasons to live
Take time, the time it takes to forgive

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, make it change for the better

I was dying, a drowning man and I wish you well
Pull me from the darkness and save me from myself

Wake up, shake it off, let go
What I’m pretending to be
I know, I’m still the man I could be, yeah

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, make it change for the better

I’m waking up to find a different state of mind
There was a new place, I’m okay
I’ve changed for the better

I’ve opened up my eyes, I’m glad to be alive
It’s never too late to cheat fate
Changed for the better

And now then there is no hope
Until we are faced without
We can never fall in love
Until we learn to live without
In our love we can’t find peace
Without conflict in our lives
And the healing will begin, oh, ’til we open up our eyes

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, It all comes together

Made my mind up, there’s still time enough
I’m all right, made a change for the better!

- Change for the Better by Journey
[note: download available for a limited time. enjoy!]


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