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Since the winter holiday shopping season has officially started three days ago, I’d thought I’d post pictures of stuff I’ve seen lately on the store shelves. I took these photos mainly to show some of my friends on social media who would be especially interested in these products.

First, here are some photos I shot at Target over the past month or so. Target is selling the 3Doodler along with the DoodleBlock Kit.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target has a LEGO aisle filled with all kinds of LEGO kits for all ages.

Target, October-November, 2017

Last year American Girl came out with a line of multiracial 14 inch dolls known as Wellie Wishers, which cost $60 each. Target is now selling a line of multiracial 14 inch dolls known as Glitter Girls for $20 each.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target also sells a line of 3-foot tall dolls based on various Disney characters.

Target, October-November, 2017

You know Christmas is coming soon when you start seeing special gingerbread spice cereal like this.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target has been selling a line of STEM toys, kits, and games for makers of all ages. You can now make a variety of things including LEGO stop-motion animation, piñatas, video games, drones, Raspberry Pi computers, and more. Below are just a few of them.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

This is probably the most unique and off-beat product I found at Target: A Funko Pop! vinyl toy based on the late painter and television show host Bob Ross.

Target, October-November, 2017

I also found some Hot Wheels toy cars that seemed to be made with Baby Boomers in mind. How else can you explain cars based on The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night and Mad magazine.

What I Found at Target Today

What I Found at Target Today

What I Found at Target Today

What I Found at Target Today

Recently a new Guitar Center store opened up in Laurel, Maryland so I decided to check it out.

Coco Guitars

I saw these special edition Cordoba acoustic guitars for adults and children that are tie-in products to the Disney/Pixar movie Coco, which was recently released. (I haven’t seen it yet. All I know that it’s based on the Mexican El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead holiday, which happened earlier this month, and which also explains the skull motif on these guitars.)

Coco Guitars

Coco Guitars

Coco Guitars

Last, but not least, are a few of the photos I took when I made my last trip to a local Five Below store.

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

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Confessions of a former Neo-Confederate.

Target to hire 100,000 temporary holiday workers.

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Here is everything wrong with “Bodega,” the startup that destroys bodegas.

How Bullwinkle taught kids sophisticated political satire.

The financial crisis created a precariat army of RV-nomad seniors who serve as Amazon’s seasonal workers.

On white identity politics and American terrorism.

One woman intentionally dressed like a self-described “idiot” at London Fashion Week to see how easy it is to get noticed by the style bloggers.

Survivalist soldering: Mend wires without using electricity.

Polaroid returns to its instant-film roots.

The long list of who Hillary Clinton blames for her defeat in last year’s elections.

We see you, fake service dog owners. You’re running it for people who actually need them.

Union power is putting pressure on Silicon Valley’s tech giants.

Why you should never do work for “exposure” instead of pay.

How to use LEGOs to hold your cables.

How corporate capitalism looted democracy.

Amazon’s new headquarters should be in hell.

Raw picture portraits of the transient kids who travel on American’s trains.

The day that destroyed the working class and sowed the seeds of Trump.

Online gaming must confront its pathetic, disturbing racism.

Trump tweets bizarre narcissistic painting of him saving America by pulling US companies across an ocean on a barge.

40 years later, Talking Heads’ most valuable member is still its most under-recognized.

Maybe recruiters are keeping people out of work.

If you want to be a Nazi in America, pay the price.

Christian Siriano’s diverse new Barbie collection features nods to Solange, Leslie Jones, and more.

Here are some miscellaneous random photos I recently took, starting with a couple of shots I took at Target.

What do you get when you mix LEGO with the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park? This DVD.

DVD I Saw at Target

And here’s Barbiezilla next to her normal-sized counterpart.

Two Barbie Dolls

This next one was taken at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, Maryland. Here are some DC superheroes as sex symbols.

Vinyl Figures at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, Maryland

And last, but not least, here is a dragon head wall decoration hanging inside Third Eye Games, also in Annapolis, Maryland.

Cool Wall Decoration

Last Saturday I went to this event at Tanglewood Works in Hyattsville, Maryland, which was hosting a vintage pop-up event featuring clothes, jewelry, and other items made from vintage items by local artisans. When I arrived at the store, I noticed that it has recently gotten a new colorful paint job.

Tanglewood Works, Hyattsville, Maryland, August 13, 2017

The next few photos show just a few of the vintage items that were available for sale last weekend.

Tanglewood Works, Hyattsville, Maryland, August 13, 2017

Tanglewood Works, Hyattsville, Maryland, August 13, 2017

Tanglewood Works, Hyattsville, Maryland, August 13, 2017

After I went to Tanglewood Works, I walked across Route 1 where Franklin’s General Store is located. The only photo I took while I was there was for this line of wine known as Mommy’s Time Out. I have plenty of friends who are moms who could use this, especially when their children become challenging at times.

Mommy's Time Out wine

Shortly after I visited the dinosaur-themed Laurel Public Library, I happened to be shopping at a local Target when I saw these really cute dinosaur greeting cards.

Dinosaur Greeting Cards

Last week I had to take my car to a dealer in Silver Spring because there was a recall on the steering wheel. After I had that fixed and picked up that car, I decided to chill out at a nearby Target store in Silver Spring. I normally don’t go to this particular store, mainly because there’s another Target that’s located closer to my home but I decided to go there since it was on the way back from the car dealership.

This particular Target has giant red cement dots outside its doors (which is a feature that the Target that is closer to my home doesn’t have). Normally I don’t pay attention to those dots but I saw that two of those cement dots have been converted to resemble the heads of Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. and other numerous Nintendo video games.

The heads were there to promote the recently released Nintendo Switch console system.

I stepped inside the store where I noticed that this store is larger compared to the one I usually go to. It also had items on sale that I’ve never seen at the other Target, such as American Girl’s Wellie Wishers dolls.

Those dolls were released last year but it was the first time I had ever seen them in person. That’s because it’s been a year since I last set foot inside an American Girl Place. The next photo shows the clothes and other accessories that one can buy for a Wellie Wishers doll, which are priced somewhere between $20-25.

The Wellie Wishers are smaller than the other American Girl dolls. From what I’ve read, these dolls were created for kids who are younger than the larger dolls’ target audience of girls between the ages 8-12. These dolls have vinyl bodies (compared to the larger dolls’ cloth torsos) and they are depicted as being somewhere between the ages of 4-7 (while the larger dolls are supposed to be around 9 or 10 years old). At $60 per doll, they are definitely cheaper than the larger dolls’ $115 price. But these dolls are more expensive than the 18-inch Our Generation dolls that Target sells as its alternative to American Girl. (The Our Generation dolls are generally priced between $20-35 depending on how many accessories are included with a certain doll.) I still find them to be pretty cute and their clothes are very lovely and colorful.

I was at a local Target store when I encountered the world’s most confusing door. Is it an entrance or not? MAKE UP YOUR OWN DAMNED MIND!!!

The world's most confusing door.

Here’s a less-confusing door, this one leading to the Three Little Birds Sewing Company in Hyattsville, Maryland. The top of the door has a quote by Maya Angelou while the bottom has a sign indicating how this store welcomes everyone no matter what race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender.

Three Little Birds Sewing Company Door, Hyattsville, Maryland

Here are some daffodils that I saw by a white wall while I was walking through Hyattsville, Maryland recently.

Flowers Along a White Wall

Pretty daffodils in Hyattsville.

Last, but not least, I learned that Triple Chocolate Peeps are a thing this year. Basically a chocolate peep is filled with a chocolate filling on the inside then its bottom gets dipped in even more chocolate. I found this pack at Target.

Triple Chocolate Peeps

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or both today, I hope you’re enjoying yourself. Today is the perfect day for me to share this link that I came across last month.

Ever wonder what a Nativity set would look like if Jesus had been born this year? Well, thanks to ModernNativity.com, you don’t have to wonder anymore. For only US$129.99 you’ll get a set that includes a stable with solar panels on the rooftop. Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger while wearing a knitted white beanie. Joseph wears a man bun with a denim shirt and khaki pants while taking a selfie with Jesus and his wife. Mary, who’s all decked out in skinny jeans and a loose sweater, poses for the photo by showing off her duck face as she’s clutching a Starbucks coffee cup in one hand while flashing a peace sign with the other. A shepherd dressed in jeans is using his mobile device to snap pictures and post them on social media. A white lamb wears a red sweater, which is a nod to this trend of people posting photos of sheep wearing sweaters on Tumblr. A cow, who has been branded as “100% organic,” feeds from a manger that is marked “gluten-free feed.” Rounding out this Nativity set are three modern-day wise men dressed in hipster outfits who arrive to the scene on Segways while bearing gifts that they ordered from Amazon.com.

Here’s a video showing this Nativity set.

The first time I saw this I laughed out loud. If I didn’t have money issues, I definitely would’ve bought this. You can check out photos and another video of this Nativity set right here.

Here are a couple of Christmas sweaters I saw on sale at Target. This one was obviously aimed at men.

Christmas Sweater

This sweater is the saying “He thinks he’s God’s gift to women” come to life.

Christmas Sweater

Then there’s a sweater with Darth Vader’s image on it. The perfect way to wish people a Merry Christmas. (LOL!)
Now THAT'S a Christmas sweater. #StarWars

I’ll end this post with this video featuring Stephen Colbert singing “Another Christmas Song.”

I was in Baltimore not too long ago because I needed a copy of my birth certificate for reasons that I don’t want to go into at the moment. The one big advantage of living 30 miles south of my birthplace is that I can drive to my birthplace and get my birth certificate in person with same day service.

After I got my birth certificate I realized that I needed to use the restroom but the Division of Vital Records’ one bathroom was occupied. Luckily the office was located in a shopping center so it was no big deal for me to use the restrooms at the nearby Home Depot. After I finished with the bathroom, I was walking on my way out the door when I saw something unusual in the Christmas decorations section.

It's the Christmas dragon!

It’s a giant inflatable Christmas dragon complete with a Santa hat and a candy cane.

It's the Christmas dragon!

But Home Depot isn’t the only store with unusual Christmas decorations for the front lawn. Target is currently selling a Christmas llama, hippo, and fox. All the hallmarks of a traditional Christmas in the United States of America. (LOL!)

A Christmas llama, hippo, and fox. All the hallmarks of a traditional Christmas in the United States of America.

Here are a few things I found in the stores this holiday season, starting with the dinosaur-themed items I found in Target.

Dinosaur Stuff

Dinosaur Stuff

Dinosaur Stuff

Then there are the games that you can literally play while you’re on the toilet, which I found on sale at Five Below.

Games You Can Play on the Toilet

Meanwhile Safeway was selling these specially marked foods, such as the special Baltimore Ravens edition of Utz potato chips.

Specially Marked Package

Then there is this special version of Cheerios where one can easily make pumpkin spice part of a regular meal. (LOL!)

Specially Marked Package

You can now purchase Cthulhu, Chucky, Regan from The Exorcist, and Freddy Kruger as cute and cuddly vinyl figurines.

Pop! Vinyl Figures

Sometimes, when shopping gets overwhelming (especially this time of the year where I have to deal with more crowds than usual), I like to simply step outside. One day, while I was in a mall parking lot, I happened to catch this nice looking sky.

Nice Sky

Once again it’s Black Friday, that time of the year where people will literally kill themselves over a sale. In fact, there’s even a website called Black Friday Death Count that tracks people whose lives were cut short in pursuit of that bargain. Yeah, I would write a periodic rant against the insanity of waking up super early in the morning, getting in a line outside of a big box retailer an hour or more before the store opens, then fighting your way through the crowds so you can get your hands on a super-cheap TV set, computer, electronic toy, linens, or even kitchen items. I wrote similar anti-Black Friday rants in 2010, 2012 (not once but twice), and 2013. Sometimes I would even embed videos of riots that broke out in the stores from crazed consumers. (I’m currently reading Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy—which I bought for a total of $5 at a used book sale—and I wouldn’t be surprised if Collins had gotten one of the inspirations for her books from the annual Black Friday ritual of trampling each other to death over a cheap DVD player.)

But this year I’m going to write about my own experience with getting that bargain electronic item on Black Friday. In 2014 I decided to get a convection oven for myself since my big oven stopped working and I couldn’t afford to get it repaired. Additionally I’m only cooking for myself these days so I really don’t need to use a large oven as often as I used to. A friend of mine said that Target was having a Black Friday sale on convection ovens. I decided to wait until two days later (Sunday) before I went to Target. I found an Oster convection oven on sale for $30. I bought it and even blogged about it (while including photos of various Christmas items I found on sale at that same store). I felt smug that I still got a Black Friday bargain without waking up early in the morning and fighting hordes of shoppers.

I used my convection oven on a regular basis for the next 11 months until October, 2015, when my oven stopped working altogether. I was miffed that the oven didn’t even make it to the first anniversary of the day that I bought it for $30. It was then that I discovered this fact: that many big name manufacturers like Oster will make derivative products especially for Black Friday where they cut corners while making the item just so these products can be sold under the same brand for a cheaper price. So I got suckered into buying that convection oven based on the Oster name and the cheap $30 price only to find out that it wasn’t such a bargain in the long run since that oven stopped working.

That incident prompted me to write last year’s rant on Why Black Friday Sucks.

Just a few days before Halloween, 2015, I purchased a Black and Decker convection oven from Best Buy for $80. It was the regular price and there were no sales the day I purchased it. It was priced more than the previous oven but I’m happy to report that I have had that oven for a little over a year now and it still works. I’m very happy with it and I hope that it’ll continue to work for me for a long time.

I’ve learned my lesson on buying anything electronic on Black Friday. I will never again buy anything electronic on Black Friday or soon afterwards. If I need to purchase anything electronic in the future, I will purchase it either before Thanksgiving or I will wait until late January before I make such a purchase. That way I can ensure that I’m buying something that’s high quality and will last me a long time.

So before you consider going out to a store that opened yesterday on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. (which is what Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys R Us, and Bon Ton did) in pursuit of a bargain, please re-read what I’ve just wrote and ponder the strong chance that whatever you buy cheaply today will probably stop working or literally fall apart in less than a year. Ask yourself if you would be willing to go through the hassle of buying this item only to have to replace it in less than a year. Then stay home and wait until late January at the earliest to buy that item because you’re far more likely to get something that will literally last longer than one year.

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