Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grown-Up Adventures

I was looking at my calendar, and noticed that I'd be putting in overtime over the next couple of weekends, so this was going to be me my last free weekend for a while.  I pondered what to do...go for and adventure, or do laundry.

An adventure it was!

Normally, my adventures culminate in going to see a movie.  But, there's not much out there I want to see right now.  Granted, I am a Tim Burton fan, but Dark Shadows just isn't grabbing me.  Same with Men in Black 3, not just capturing my attention.  So I knew seeing a film would not be my goal.

And then, it hit me.  I was going to go in search of a fabled treasure I hadn't been able to find for a while.  I was going to find...the new filter I needed for my vacuum cleaner!

Now, you're probably thinking, "Wait a minute, Mark.  I'm your Facebook friend.  A month or so ago, weren't you bragging that you broke down and bought the filters online and you were patting yourself on the back for your cleverness?"  Well, yes.  But there was a flaw in that plan.  See, with the big Canada Post strike last year, a lot of online retailers switched from using Canada Post to couriers.  One day, a few weeks ago, I came home from work to find a note on my door from the courier saying that I was never home when they tried to deliver the package, so my new vacuum filters were returned to sender.  Son of a....  Got a full refund, though.  But still, no filters.

So today I vowed that I would not be coming home until I had a new filter for my vacuum cleaner!  With various parts numbers in hand, I went off to the city.

And promptly found it at Wal-Mart.  Since I had such a tough time finding these filters, I was hoping to buy several and stock up, but Wal-Mart only had one left on the shelf.  One is better than none, so I promptly snatched it up and lamented that my quest was over so quickly and easily.  So I got to browsing through Wal-Mart, and getting upset at myself for spending so much money.

I have such a weird body shape - big round belly and short, stubby legs - that I have a tough time finding pants in my size.  So I tend to go a little overboard when I find pants that fit.  And because of that big round belly, it's even tougher to find shorts when summertime comes around.  But they had pants and shorts and I went nuts.  So those who hoping to see me bottomless this summer, prepare to be disappointed!

From there, it was down the road to Best Buy, a store that frequently makes me weep because I want so many nice, fancy, new gadgets like flatscreen TVs and such, but I just can't afford them.  However, it's still a pretty affordable place for DVDs, and I heard that The Secret World of Arrietty is out.  I saw it when it hit theatres back in February, and I wanted to pick it up.  If you never read my original review, it's from the famous Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli.  Ghibli's most-famous director, Hayao Miyazaki, didn't direct it, but he did write the screenplay and storyboard it.  It's an adaptation of the classic British children's book The Borrowers.  It's a somewhat melancholy film, very unusual for an animated film, but I really liked it.  So it's now a proud addition to my Blu-Ray collection.

I almost picked up Whispers of the Heart, too.  I blogged about this many years ago when I bought, watched and reviewed every Hayao Miyazaki film.  Much like The Secret World of Arrietty, it was written and storyboarded by Miyazaki, but he didn't direct it.  I've been very tempted to buy it and check it out, and it's been all remastered in hi-def and released on Blu-Ray, piggybacking on the The Secret World of Arrietty hype.  So close to picking it up, but for some reason, it was significantly more than The Secret World of Arrietty.  And after having bought the filter and all the clothes, I was starting to fret about spending too much money.  So Whispers of the Heart will have to wait for another day.

From here, my adventure took me to the most adventuresome place of all...West Edmonton Mall!  You should follow me on Twitter, because whenever I hit West Edmonton Mall, I love to tweet my observations about the mall.  I was walking around Professor Wem's Adventure Golf when I sent out this tweet:  "I've never played mini-golf in West Edmonton Mall.  Must add it to the bucket list."  It's true.  Out of all of West Edmonton Mall's attractions, I have yet to play a round of mini-golf.  But I know the history of the mini-golf course.  It used to be called Pebble Beach Mini-Golf, and was meant to be a mini-golf version of the legendary golf course of the same name.  But, in the early 1990s, after the whole Fantasyland lawsuit, they decided to switch the theme of the golf course to their Professor Wem character.

After that, I tweeted, "Also for the bucket list:  get better goals than play mini-golf at West Edmonton Mall."

I then wandered by Zeller's, and was shocked to see that Zeller's was having a huge closing-out sale.  I was wondering why Zeller's would be closing down, and then I remembered.  Zeller's - and it's parent company the Bay - were bought out by American super-chain Target a year or two ago.  And it was announced shortly after the buyout that all Zeller's stores would be re-branded as Targets.  I do know for a fact that the one in West Ed is scheduled to be re-branded as a Target.  So, it'll be closed for the rest of the year most likely, and re-open next year as a Target.

So I went bargain hunting in Zeller's.  It's weird.  I started reflecting on how we're losing all our iconic Canadian department stores.  The end began in the early-1990s, when Wal-Mart bought up all the Woolco's and turned them into Wal-Marts.  Then the Bay bought out Woodward's.  Then Eaton's went bankrupt.  The Bay is pretty much the only one left.  The Zeller's location in West Ed is reflective of that.  The Zeller's location used to be the Eaton's in West Edmonton Mall.  But then, after the bankruptcy, Zeller's moved into the location.  And now it's going to become a Target.

While browsing in the electronics section, I finally picked up The Muppets:  The Green Album.  I'd been tempted to pick this up for a while.  About a year ago, as part of the hype for The Muppets, Disney produced this album which consisted of modern rock acts covering classic Muppet songs.  I'm sure you heard of it, because the first single was OK Go covering The Muppet Show Theme, and like all OK Go videos, it briefly went viral.

And then I bought NERF darts.  There was a Cracked.com article not too long ago that pointed out the quirky things that "cool workplaces" are supposed to have and one of them was that everyone has NERF guns and NERF wars break out at any moment.  There was a guy at the station a few years ago who wanted to turn the station into the stereotypical "cool workplace" and bought everyone a NERF gun.  Despite his best efforts, NERF wars never broke out.  I'm the only one left who has a NERF gun, and all I use it for is occasionally pestering the news guy by firing it at the glass of the news booth while he's reading the news.  However, a few darts have disappeared over the years by falling down furnace vents and such, so it's nice to get fully loaded once again.  Thanks to Zeller's closing out sale, got a pack of 45 darts for $5. 

After that, I think I had enough adventure, so it was time to go home.  As I returned to my car, I opened up my copy of The Green Album, popped it into the CD player in my car, and reflected on how much technology has changed.  When I was a kid, I would by nothing but cassettes, but my parents' car didn't have a cassette player, so I couldn't listen to them on the drive home.  By the time my parents did get a vehicle with a cassette player, I had upgraded to CDs, so I still couldn't listen to them on the drive home.  And now I have a car with a CD player...and I primarily buy digital downloads. 

And that was my day in the city.  Tomorrow's going to be laundry day.  And now that I have a new filter for my vacuum, I can really give my carpets a good vacuuming.

*sigh*  If buying a new vacuum cleaner filter is an adventure, then I guess I must be a grown-up.

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