2010/11/26

Buy nothing vs. buy everything

So I guess people in the States have been shopping since midnight. At least some people. I'm glad it's not the day after anything here in Canada. That means I can go downtown in relative peace. Most people are working. I took the day off because no one is in the American office that I telecommute to. They're probably out shopping.

Black Friday. I was surprised when I first heard that term. It sounded ominous, like the way Black Monday refers to a stock market crash. But apparently it's about stores being "in the black." Supposedly if they have a good Black Friday, they'll do OK through Christmas.

It's also Buy Nothing Day in North America. Buy Nothing Day was started by the people who publish Adbusters magazine. It's pretty obvious what you're supposed to do, or not do, on Buy Nothing Day.

So it's either load up on gate-crashers or eschew buying altogether.

I'll be skirting in between, I guess. I already have plenty of buy-nothing days. I go on occasional shopping sprees, but I'm not a big spender, and neither is my sweetie. If the economy depended on us, I think it would have to move away from its addiction to rampant consumerism. But today, I'm still in pursuit of that elusive pair of medium-heel black pumps. And I need a few things at the beauty supply store. It's also time to order a little makeup. And it's not just about me. I'm also looking for a baby gift and possibly for a wedding present.

In the not-as-geeky-as-she-thinks department, I almost killed my WinAmp MP3 player yesterday. That's the one I use on my computer. I got it when I was DJing, since I could use it for streaming to the web, at least with the right plugins. Can't do that with Windows MediaPlayer. WinAmp also allows you to rip from CDs to MP3 files. At least it used to. It had been a long time since I'd done any ripping, and yesterday the buttons for doing it weren't showing up.

WinAmp gets upgraded from time to time, and I've probably upgraded several times since the last time I did any ripping. Usually, it just keeps the current configuration, but somewhere along the line something must have got lost. I wasn't sure what to do. I downloaded and installed a WinAmp plugin for outputting MP3s. Big mistake! It seemed to take over my WinAmp and turn it into a ripping machine. I couldn't play any music. I uninstalled the plugin, but kept having output problems. I reinstalled the most recent WinAmp several times. I finally realized that somewhere in all of that, an output DLL had got whacked. Fortunately, I had backup. With file restoration, I was back on the air.

Except for one thing I discovered today: no easy enqueuing. I run Windows XP Pro SP3. Previously, I could right click on a song, and the second menu option was to Enqueue in WinAmp. That meant I could put the song in queue on the playlist. It's possible to do that from WinAmp itself, but it's cumbersome and slow. Fast enqueuing was more important when I was DJing, but I still like to do it. And I might get to DJ online again. So I did some searching for advice. I actually added some keys to the registry. Now that's a geeky thing to do! I'm not sure if the addition of keys itself did the trick, because I found an option setting as well. At any rate, everything is now back to normal.

I learned all my geeky stuff on large computer systems. When it comes to PCs, I don't know much more than anyone else and a lot less than some. Thankfully, my unsystematic persistence finally paid off.

I'd better get out the door before I break something else!

Oh, and The Beekeeper's Apprentice arrived today from Amazon.ca. Yay! Something to do on buses and SkyTrain. Only 11 reading days until the meeting!

4 comments:

Caitlin said...

Black Friday shopping sounds like abject misery to me. I've never wanted anything to do with it, so I participate in Buy Nothing Day by default. Although last year I had a craving for ice cream and ran out to Ben & Jerry's at the end of the night. Food doesn't count, right?

Véronique said...

I hope food doesn't count! Especially Ben & Jerry's. :)

Up here, there are people who go through that abject misery on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, complete with camping out in front of stores.

MgS said...

I'm afraid I don't contribute much to retailers on that front either ... I try to save as much of my paychecks as possible - and I despise shopping malls/plazas most of the time

Véronique said...

MgS: Sometimes I need clothes. Sometimes I just want them. As long as I can afford a little indulgence, I'll contribute to the economy that way. :)

I like boutiques more than malls, but sometimes I can get in the mood even for a huge place like Metrotown, or Metropolis as it's officially known (no one calls it that).

I did find myself a pair of pumps yesterday. Not the ones I wanted. "Those sold themselves," said the salesclerk. I can imagine. I wish I'd found them sooner! So instead of almond toe, I have some pointed toe pumps that feel pretty good (so far). And they were quite the bargain.

@Caroline: The only cure I know for having too little money is a job. I've been working since I was old enough to do so. It's hard to imagine not doing so, although I think retirement might be nice.

Well, actually, if I were an entrepreneurial sort, I could be my own boss. But I was never very good at that. Winning the lottery would be great, but so far that hasn't worked out.