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Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Shopping - Akit Style!

Today is Black Friday, and I can tell you, I found some good bargains, especially on a tight budget.

For the last two or three years, I've been driving down to Daly City and Colma to visit the major big box stores to get my hands on some great holiday bargains, but mostly for myself. Yeah... I'm a tad selfish, but when you really need something very badly to fix or upgrade, you'd just have to get up by 4AM and suffer some cold weather.

Today, all I did was that I visited my neighborhood Radioshack, which is about twenty blocks away by car, but only a short 10 minute drive on the non-busy streets. The only two things that I was really attracted to at the store was:

  • Emergency Hand Crank radio (my old one is broken) for just $20.00 versus $40.00
  • 2 Gig XD camera memory card for $40.00 versus other places that sells it for nearly $80.00.

Luckily, that Radioshack was not too busy, there was only about 5 people ahead of me.

Several hours of sleep later, I went to Costco to buy another case of Mexican Coca Cola, a bottle of juice, and a box of gum. Still, a good bargain for 80 cents a bottle of Coca Cola, and gum that is only about 60 cents a pack (versus $1.25 at the grocery store).

After some years of experience of this massive bargain hunting, here's my quick tips to a not so pissed off holiday:
  • Shop at night, you might not get those super hot bargains, but you'll experience smaller crowds and still find some decent deals, especially on DVDs.
  • If you go for openings at 4 or 5AM, stick to the smaller chain stores like Radioshack, Kohls, and any Mervyn's location not attached to a mall.
  • AVOID BEST BUY AT ALL COSTS! Last year, the line was so long, it wrapped around the entire building.
  • Go for online purchases, "Cyber Monday" is just a few days away, and some places will offer FREE shipping.
  • Go bid on stuff on eBay, they are significantly cheaper than going to your favorite store.
    • This is also a good time to sell stuff on eBay, I've sold an xbox system for over $70.00.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Funeral of the Plastic Grocery Bag in San Francisco - Say Hello to Paper

I guess I can rip-off Dave Chappelle: "Paper Bag Bitch!"

Scarface too: "Say hello to my brown bag friend!"

Say goodbye to your favorite plastic grocery bag folks. That's the way nutty San Francisco goes folks, I guess I can't use those bags to bag-up stinky trash that I thrown down my kitchen garbage anymore. I'll just have it leak through the paper bag, and I'll be smelling rotting things all week long until pick-up day.

Sure, it makes sense to eliminate plastic bags: They don't decompose, it comes from petroleum products, kill animals, and creates a choking hazard for kids and just the outright stupid adults trying to get a rush.

But on the opposite side, paper bags aint so pretty too. We may now have the reputation for killing more trees to make our paper bags, regardless if they are partially recycled or not. Ever watched "Penn and Teller: Bullshit?" They say that recycling sucks anyway. Paper only has a limited recycling life, and you have to blend it with some virgin tree pulp to create a suitable bag.

Ever tried those bag handles? Um... they suck!

So how do we get around this problem? You could...
  • Go to another city, such as the Safeway at Daly City. Get a plastic shopping bag and also a .25% tax discount (Daly City is 8.25% tax vs. SF at 8.5%)
  • Buy those grocery plastic bags at an inexpensive price at your favorite wholesale store (aint that just ironic?).
  • Buy a longer lasting plastic bag or a reusable bag.
    • Costco sells three huge bags for $3
    • Safeway gives three cents for each bag you reuse at the store (just 3 cents?). They also sell reusable cloth like bags, but they are small and of cheap quality.
    • Andronico's gives a bag discount
    • Lucky's (a.k.a Albertsons) sells a 99 cent bag and gives a 25 cent discount every time you use that specific bag at their stores.
    • IKEA sells those huge blue tarp like bags for 79 cents.
  • It's just another sign to go shop at your favorite mom and pop store, because at least you can still get plastic bags. The grocery stores got the fuck you heave ho by our city government.
Let's summarize my rants:
I want my plastic bag!
Damn, now I have to haul those reusable sacks around in my car.
No more Styrofoam, now no more plastic. Let's kill more trees!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mexican Coca Cola in Costco - Real Cane Sugar!

That's right boys and girls, Costco "El Camino" in South San Francisco (not the SFO airport location) is selling cases of Mexican Coca Cola.

It's the real stuff! No corn syrup, but real cane sugar.

What does this taste like? I haven't opened one of the bottles yet, but I've heard that it takes much better and cleaner than the corn syrup product. I have tried Jarrito's several times, and they use real cane sugar and juice, and it takes better than your classic American sodas.

Costco sells these right now for $17.99 for a 24 bottle case. CRV is $1.20 per case. When adding the CRV, it makes it just $0.80 per bottle. Sure, it's not a 20 ounce bottle for $1.35 these days, but it's definitely worth the bargain.

I was at Costco today because I needed gasoline and my folks wanted me to also purchase a chicken to eat for tonight. So I'm roaming up and the down the aisles to look for anything else to take home (other than a hot dog). I was shocked that I ran over these cases of Mexican coke because you can't find it in this size of bulk anywhere else. You might be able to score a couple of bottles at a Mission District Mexican restaurant, but I can't find it at my grocery store.

I BOUGHT TWO CASES! I've got so much soda in my fridge now, I can't fit the second case in there. Maybe I'll drag it to work on Tuesday and stuff it in my office fridge.

The only pure cane sugar product that the American Coca Cola company produces is the Kosher version for Passover, but you may need to go to a specialty store to find that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The ten days of San Francisco Politics Christmas

Since today is election day in San Francisco, I thought it would be fun to celebrate the upcoming holidays with the classic 10 days of [San Francisco] Christmas.

On the (number) day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
10 red light runners
9 dead pigeons on the street
8 Ed Jew criminal charges
7 disgusting Muni buses
6 anti war protests
5 homeless people!
4 Mean Muni drivers
3 Supervisor Duffy Porta Toilets
2 Chicken John purple vans
And a Newsom voodoo doll.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween in the Castro 2007 - Financial Bust & Stupid Campaign

I'm not sure to say if the "stay at home" campaign really was successful, but there is one thing that I can be clear about this:
  • There were far fewer people, but there were still hundreds of people on the sidewalks.
    • Now sure, it kept people off the street, but at least nobody not stabbed, shot, or went on live TV to say "Fox news is bullshit!"

In one way, it could be a success, but just at what financial cost?

Critics (including myself) say that this was a financial nightmare.
  1. 600 police officers in the area alone, at an estimated $50/hr for six hours (6PM to midnight) = an estimated $180,000 in taxpayer money. $210,000 if it was seven hours.
  2. Additional parking/meter maids to enforce parking policies: Definitely thousands of dollars.
  3. City paid portable toilets: Thousands of dollars, and neighbors smelling blue chemical toilet scents.
  4. Steel fencing on the sidewalks: Gotta pay the city workers to put those up.
  5. Tow trucks: $250 towing fine
  6. Closing down BART at 16th street & Mission station: Paying for transit employees to transport riders and ADA passengers by van from 24th st. & Mission.
  7. Providing a bus bridge due to closure of Muni Metro stations: Plenty of dollars to pay for diesel gasoline.
  8. Hiring Muni drivers to transport 600 cops: Bus driver salary + gasoline cost.
  9. And of course, my favorite: Hiring David Perry & Associates to make a lame poster campaign and cheap youtube quality videos: $40,000.

Talking about party poopers, here's a list of people who had to ruin the event for everyone:

  1. Mayor Gavin Newsom
  2. Chief Heather Fong
  3. The FBI (what the hell? Was Osama going to pee on the sidewalk?)
  4. Supervisor Duffy (hmmm... hiding the fact to the press that porta toilets were coming? Fuck! They were going to find out anyway!)
  5. David Perry & Associates
  6. The SFPD's SWAT Team for putting sharpshooters on the roof (as stated by KTVU).
  7. Restaurant and Bar Operators who shut down (if you have two dozen people waiting in line at an open bar, sure as hell, you should have opened-up!)
  8. Muni (a.k.a. SFMTA)
  9. BART
  10. The SFPD for arresting a person for j-walking (damn, they usually just give a ticket)
The city is promising for the 2008 Castro Halloween party. Supervisor Duffy said on the news that since 2008's Halloween will be on a Friday, they will organize an appropriate Halloween party. THE ORGANIZING OF NEXT YEAR'S SHOULD START TODAY.

Ok... then why didn't you organize this year's? Since there was "9" shootings, you had since November 1, 2006 to organize something safe, sure seems that they pulled this one off in their butthole at the last minute.