In which Black Friday came early

I am officially twenty percent more of a capitalist than I was two days ago, apparently. Wal-Mart is clearly the way to go lately if you want to land a PS5, if only because they’re advertising when each batch of systems is going to go live so that you can be in front of your computer to hit reload and hope you get lucky.

And, well, I got lucky, and I hit reload at the right time, and I don’t actually physically have my PS5 yet but I can pick it up at the store (by which I mean “have them bring it to my car”) sometime between two and six days from now, and honestly I suspect it’ll be on the earlier range of that.

That’s not what increased my capitalist rating, though. What increased my capitalist rating is that I went and fucked around and now I’m picking up (by which I mean “have them bring it to my car”) a new fucking TV tomorrow to go with my new PS5. We didn’t need a new TV by any reasonable definition of that term, but the PS5 can output 4K graphics and our current, several-years-old TV cannot receive them. So.

Now, before ordering this TV, I tried to dig into TV reviews for a while to figure out what sort of TV I was interested in and what price ranges were like (and, honestly, 43″ 4K TVs are so much cheaper than I thought they would be that this is not really a major financial hit) and after a bit of reading and a bit of comparing I realized that TV reviews and car reviews are the exact same thing and I needed to stop reading them.

What do I mean by that?

I drive a Kia Soul. Two cars before my current Kia Soul was a two-door Toyota Yaris, and I need you to understand that I loved my Yaris (I traded it in when I moved out of Chicago and had a child, at which point a two-door car was not nearly as practical an idea as it had been) and I love my Kia. I plan to keep my current car until my son is old enough to drive, give it to him, and whatever car I purchase to replace it very well might be another Kia.

If you read car-people reviews of the Kia Soul, you will come away thinking that it is a garbage car, barely fit to convey one to work, because car people review cars for a living and they have standards that simply push them out of the realm of relevance to the regular car owner, who may well go decades in between cars and for whom anything that is new and up-to-date is going to feel like an enormous improvement.

And TVs are the same thing. Most people do not replace their television sets all that often, and there is simply no way that a 43″ TV at a price range that I’m willing to consider (I ended up spending $279; I could have been convinced to go as high as $500 if I’d felt the advantages warranted it, and I’m not convinced) can compare with the type of wall-dominating, four-figure monstrosities that these guys are used to. I got all worried about viewing angles before I realized that my wife and I sit maybe fifteen degrees separated from each other when watching TV and if it’s an issue we can literally pivot the screen, and it’s not going to be an issue. 43″ is the biggest screen I can get without radically reconfiguring our living room, and it’s plenty big enough. I didn’t even consider a larger size.

(Why a Vizio? The other two TVs in the house are Vizios. I’ve been perfectly happy with both, the price was right, and good user reviews. Good enough.)

Because no matter what TV I get, my standards are going to be “make my PS5 graphics look as good as they can, and don’t feel like a downgrade in any way,” and it’s gonna, and it won’t, and even if it ends up being crappy compared to other 4K TVs I don’t have any others lying around to compare it to.

User reviews appear to be pretty damn solid, especially figuring in the “people are fucking idiots” factor– that guy who literally reviewed this TV at 3/5 stars because it didn’t fit on his console (I’m not joking) is not, in fact, entitled to his own opinion, because his opinion is dumb. Good user reviews are really all I need here. So long as I can avoid the soap opera effect, which drives me batshit insane, we’re all good.

So, yeah. I spent money at Wal-Mart, and they’re the devil, and I spent money on Black Friday sales, which makes me an asshole, particularly this year, and I’m actually going to go to Best Buy tomorrow, even if I don’t plan on getting out of my car and I’m going to go in the afternoon when crowds should be minimal, so obviously I’m a failure as a person on a number of levels. But, man, is the remake of that game I’ve already played and beaten going to look great!


Finally, and in accordance with our most ancient traditions, Happy Thanksgiving.

In which this isn’t fair

It is an unbelievably perfect demonstration of how fucking perverse all of existence is right now that, literally less than ten minutes after telling my wife that I was getting (hah!) stir-crazy and wanted to go out and impulse-buy something, I went outside and checked the mail and found a brand-new Goddamned Best Buy card waiting for me. The card currently carries no balance at all; I typically use it only for large purchases (really, the only reason I ever enter a Best Buy nowadays) and the last thing I bought was my desktop, which is a 2017 model. I could use a new laptop, as the battery on the old one is starting to go, or I could make the smarter choice and just replace the damn battery. Similarly, for the first time since my initial upgrade I’ve cast an eye at the new Apple Watch, but there’s just no good reason to do that either. In either case it would be spending money just to spend money, and I’m trying to be smarter about that crap nowadays.

(I do expect to have to shell out the money for the laptop battery pretty soon, which will be a couple hundred bucks. But the thing is … six? seven? years old and there’s no speed issues at all, and if I bought a new one it would be north of two grand. The only problem is the battery, and since I don’t go anywhere I can keep it plugged in most of the time. I even still have my work laptop at home in case of emergencies.)

(Checks to see if BB has PS5s available)

(They do not)


In general, the election has failed to improve my mood. Other than the presidency, which is all over but the shouting at this point, I went from “it looks like I’ve lost every other race I care about” the other day to “I have lost every other race I care about” today. The School Board race was especially heinous; not only did the plagiarizer not lose her seat to the crank, but the other district seat up for reelection, another person who voted to return, also won, and the teachers lost their best advocate on the Board in favor of an imperious ass who I am not at all looking forward to having to deal with, ever. My personal interactions with her when she was with the district were never good, plenty of people have much worse stories than I do, and her husband was fired for incompetence.

And yet, because this is South Bend and we hate education here, she actually got the most votes of any of the At-Large candidates. So. Dandy.

But yeah: I’ve been waiting for that moment when it feels like the weight falls off my shoulders, and apparently Biden at least theoretically clinching the Presidency hasn’t done it yet. In theory the rest of the networks (particularly the AP) getting the fuck in line and making the call might help, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to relax until the fucker is hauled out of the White House by his hairpiece, preferably to be tossed directly into jail to die alone in a deep pit. Apparently the AP is waiting for Biden’s margin to exceed half a point before they call Pennsylvania; I’m not sure what the holdup is otherwise. Either way, I thought I was going to feel better about all this by now.

In which today just goes away

Totally had plans to do all sorts of stuff tonight but it all got derailed by having to spend over two hours trying to put together a five minute video for class tomorrow, a project that should have taken no more than fifteen minutes but kept running into truly stupid tech-related delays. And now it’s 9:30 and I haven’t done shit since I got home and all I want to do is go to bed.

One plus side of today, though: got asked, by a pair of the kids, to sponsor a LGBTQ club at school. THAT was unexpected and interesting. I agreed, of course.

On the new newness

After several years where I was reliably getting a new phone every single year and basically coming to terms with the fact that I’d become That Guy, I waited three full cellphone generations– from the iPhone 7+ I’ve been carrying around forever to today– to upgrade my phone, and finally caved and came home with an iPhone 11 Pro Max in the Midnight Green color. I told myself I was going to wait until I could walk into the store and walk out with a phone, and that happened today. What ended up getting me to jump was the massive improvement in the cameras– I’m super psyched about getting to play with the new triple-camera setup, and the damn phone is gorgeous, to the point where for the first time I’m getting a clear case. It’s currently in my bedroom transferring all of my settings and apps and photos from the original phone, a process that was originally projected to take two hours, then 24 minutes, so I figured I had time to come out into the living room and write a blog post before going back and checking on it.

This was a long and interesting week; I was out of my classroom for two days at that rarest of beasts, a really interesting professional development opportunity, and I had parent-teacher conferences Wednesday night, which was the busiest I’ve ever been at PTCs– I had a line out my door for two hours and fifteen minutes– and then I had a parent-teacher conference for my own son on Thursday. Today most the kids actually had a recess as a little reward for surviving the first quarter, and a dozen or so of them organized an honest-to-God, flag-waving-and-chanting impromptu gay pride parade (!!!) on the soccer field. This is the first year of my career where I’ve had more than one or two kids who were conspicuously and un-selfconsciously out of the closet– there are a lot of 8th graders in my building who are somewhere on the QUILTBAG spectrum and don’t seem to give a damn who knows it.

A genuine oddity: they exist alongside the rather large contingent of more typical 8th-grade straight boys who enjoy nothing more than ceaselessly calling each other gay, and yet I have never once— and I’m watching, God damn it– seen any anti-gay bullying of any of the actual gay kids, and there are at least two boys in the 8th grade who are gay at twenty feet, if you know what I mean. I’ve never seen anyone call either of them names, even the kids who are quickest to toss “gay” at any of their straight friends.

So there may be several posts this weekend, is what I’m getting at, depending on whether I decide I want to talk about these things more. The training, at least, will probably get a post tomorrow or Sunday.

OH YEAH SURE UNIVERSE

It is Saturday. I need to emphasize this– Saturday. And I am, in midafternoon, getting grading done. This is bloody unprecedented. It is Staying On Task to an unreal degree.

So naturally the God damn entire grading system has just gone down midway through me grading an assignment that a hundred students turned in, and it doesn’t appear to be interested in coming back up.

For fuck’s sake, universe.