Christmas time is near…

The Christmas season is easily my favorite time of the year; the cooler weather, listening to Christmas music, making cookies for friends and family, singing Christmas hymns in church…well, when I go to church, anyway…heck, I even like Christmas shopping, and yes, I did go out on Black Friday.

Granted, I didn’t get up at the wee hours to catch the Big Sales, but then again, I’ve been on the other side of the register on Black Friday, and it ain’t pretty! I was a little disheartened to see so many stressed-out people running around, though. I found a good deal on an MP3 player for my brother and a 4GB flash drive for backing up my data, so I got something out of the trip.

As I hustle and bustle about, I try to remind myself that the season is not about the gifts or decorations or even cookies. Its about spending time with family and friends and doing things that make them and yourself happy. I think its something we should all remember.

Well, back to shopping, cookies, music, Christmas parties and all that good stuff!

Have a Happy Turkey Day!!

Sure it’s early, but hopefully it’ll be a slow work week for everyone. Well, almost everyone: if you work in a grocery store or retail or are a New Jersey state employee it may be a long week.

I’m looking forward to spending some time with the familia myself, not too much, mind you, I’ll be back in town Saturday. 😉 I may brave the crowds on “Black Friday” to see what deals are out there. I won’t be one of the hardcore freaks showing up at some ungodly hour of the morning, though, I’ve been on the other side of the register, and it ain’t pretty. I usually head out around 1-2 in the afternoon to see what’s out there. Starting my Christmas shopping would probably be a good idea, though.

At any rate: Praise the Lord, go Cowboys, and pass the gravy!

Un-Achievement

I figure I’d finish up Monday night’s Guitar Hero III session with “Welcome To The Jungle” but I mis-click and select the Slash Boss Battle instead. No biggie, I’ll just press the red fret and back out…

I cancel out of the battle and see the “Achievement” ping appear. At first I’m thinking “All-right, achievement points!” though I’m not sure why. NO points?! WTF??

Apparently canceling out of a boss battle earns the “Tail Between Your Legs” achievement for a whopping zero points. Now that’s rock n’ roll, baby!

Time Zoned

I hate Daylight Savings Time, or rather, when it ends. Granted, I’m not the “outdoorsy” type, but I hate that its completely dark when I get home from work. It makes me want to crawl back into bed, as if all I did all day was work. Granted, that may have BEEN all I did, but the darkness makes it feel different somehow.

I feel great waking up the next day after the change. I usually wake up early and the day just feels longer, but it all comes to a screeching halt on Monday. I guess its all perspective.

Coin-Scarred

I usually keep a spare change container of some kind at home, the receptacle of choice right now is an old-style glass milk bottle like the ones you see in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons. For no good reason, I took a picture of it and made it into a desktop, you can see it here.

The downside to this is taking those coins to the bank. If you’re lucky, your bank has a coin counting machine. The teller takes your change, runs it through the machine, gives you cash (or deposits it if you’re smart) and everyone’s happy. If you’re unlucky, your bank will only take rolled-up coins, and if you’re REALLY unlucky they ask you to write your account number or some other such nonsense on the rolls. There’s a Coinstar machine at the grocery store, but they charge 8.9 percent, and I want it ALL, baby!

I place the change into a plastic container and drive to my bank (IBC Bank) to see if I can get lucky. Well, how about that! They have a machine, and I don’t even need my account number! I hand my bounty to the teller, she goes into The Secret Room With The Magic Coin Machine and I wait…and wait…and wait. After about 15 minutes, they tell me the machine’s busted and they’re going to return my change. The teller goes back into The Secret Room With The Magic Coin Machine, and soon pops her head out and exclaims the machine is fixed! Woo-hoo! Or not. woo. After another five minutes I leave change-full and cash-less. I give them a silver star for trying, though.

But hey, no biggie, there’s another branch just down the road…I get there to find it closed. Fark. Okay, there’s another one not TOO far away, I’ll have to drive through some crappy traffic, but it’s a nice day.

“We don’t have a coin-counting machine…” After hearing that, I’m left wondering “What kind of craphole bank doesn’t have a coin-counting machine?” It was in a nicer part of town, though, so maybe its beneath them or something. Jerks.

As Fate would have it, I had planned to go to another part of town to do some apartment-hunting. There’s a bank branch in the area so I figure its worth a shot, and I can browse around the nearby mall for a bit afterwards and spend my loot. I can’t find the damn bank, though (there should be a special place in hell reserved for the moron who designed the layout of the roads in that area) and the parking lot at the mall is PACKED SOLID. Mental note: stay the hell away from La Cantera until after Christmas.

I figure I’ll try one last time, surely my luck can’t be so bad I strike out for the 5th time. Unfortunately, my Spidey-sense starts tingling as I drive up, so I don’t even bother to take the change with me inside the bank. Come to discover my luck IS that bad; they only take rolled coins. For bonus points, the cashier is an blithering idiot who starts babbling about coin wrappers. I make a smartass comment about ‘no wonder Coinstar is in business’ to the mouth-breather and walk out.

I tell you, this kind of crap only happens to me…IBC has 31 locations in San Antonio, I visit 4 of them and can’t get satisfaction. Now, I can either pay the Coinstar tax, or get a bigger bottle and play this game again in a few months. Then again, I wonder if EB Games would take $58.22 in change, its not like its all pennies!