Going high-tech to defeat the Grinch

Arden Fair
Creative Commons License photo credit: rezlab

This Sac Bee article about the annual increase in retail theft around the holidays includes some interesting details about the work that goes into pulling off a good retail thieving. Another way to describe it might be “detailed instructions for carrying out a retail theft,” including tidbits like lining a shopping bag with foil to block security devices. It also mentions the use of strollers to hide stolen merchandise. Which brings up a question: How long until Arden Fair bans strollers?

I absolutely kid Arden Fair security. People are horrible, and security folks everywhere are doing what they can to stay one step ahead of the horribleness. Things like video monitoring of every inch of the mall and monitoring the parking lot for cars that are reported as stolen. How easy is it to report somebody else’s car as stolen? Could be a fun way to “prank” your friend the next time he is planning to visit Arden Mall.**

**Do not do this.

Christmas at the Farmers’ Market

FoodNov09 717When farmers start decorating their wares for the holidays, you know Christmas has arrived! At the downtown Sacramento Sunday farmers’ market, Tadlock Landscapes wins the prize for most festive. Donned merrily in bright bulbs and shiny beads, they’re selling this fully-decorated living tree for $60. That’s a bargain price for a tree you can keep around year after year.

Looking for something cheaper? They’ve got lots of sizes and prices from which to choose. If you love the scent of pine, but can’t bear to cut down a real tree, a living tree is a delightful way to celebrate the holiday. And buying it from a local farmer?—Double brownie points for you. Your name is sure to land on Santa’s “nice” list this year!

Holiday-themed employee meal: Sam’s Hof Brau

cc, by flickr user Willscrlt

My work colleagues and I had our annual holiday outing on Friday afternoon (we’re past the point where I have to make cutesy jokes about how I work at “Sac Rag World Headquarters,” right?). A few weeks ago I had been able to exert my considerable influence over the group to steer the selection process away from the standard trendy and/or awkward fare and as a result, I took my work mates to Sam’s Hof Brau.

I know our fans are familiar with sac-eats’s love of the Hof, and I second everything he says. If they’d let me purchase a dedicated booth I would scrape up the cash to do so. On this particular day the hofmeisters had cooked up some mac ‘n’ cheese, so I had a roast beef sandwich with a side of mac and a green salad. The place was packed with retirees so there was quite a queue and the joint was jumping. The banquet hall in the back was even full.

Afterward, we went bowling with the retirees. The only thing not awesome about the whole thing was how depressing it is walking past the carcasses of the Tower stores (with “Thanks for the memories” still displayed on the marquee at Tower Books). Although a pretty great Goodwill store has opened in the former location of Tower video.

Weekend Thoughts: Holiday Road

The other night I fell asleep with the TV on. I had this odd dream about National Lampoon’s Vacation and the John Candy Wally World scene. Very strange. I woke up around 3 a.m. and turned the TV off. I got to thinking about it in the morning and discovered why I was having that dream (or least partly why) …

Man, that’s catchy.

For additional entertainment be sure to check out Rashida Jones singing the “I Love Stuffing” song. Or at hulu.com. She is great. You may remember her in the “Prop 8: The Musical” video featuring Sacramento Community College.

A random post about a dream I had to a Sacramento connection in 8.6 seconds. A new record!

A Christmas Tale: DVD Review

Looking for a good holiday movie? Stick to the classics. Whatever you do, skip A Christmas Tale by Arnaud Desplechin. This newly released DVD can be found tucked alongside The Grinch that Stole Christmas, Elf, Home Alone, and dozens of other feel-good standards. But don’t be duped. This film doesn’t deserve such good company. The DVD jacket is dressed with quality quotes of positive film reviews, one going so far as to name it “#1 film of the year.” Let’s be honest. This is the #1 yawn of the year.

The movie takes place in France, so you’ll need to read subtitles. It’s about a dysfunctional family: the sister banishes a brother from her life; the mother is diagnosed with a terminal illness; and the grandson is sent to a mental institution. Then the whole family comes together for the holiday, and the viewer must endure their puffy speeches and trying interactions. The only likeable moments are those shared between the outcast son and his mother, whose constant banter about hating one another is clearly their distant manner of sharing affection.

Despite the jacket’s description of the film as a “black comedy,” Continue reading “A Christmas Tale: DVD Review”

Boo at the Zoo

We took the family to “Boo at the Zoo” for some Halloween revelry Saturday night. It was a great costume party for the whole town, and it seemed like the whole town was there — they might want to open up a little bit more of the zoo next year. Since they had the train going down the main avenue I take it that area is not off limits at night: they should probably open that up to take some of the strain off the narrow walkways around the pond. The dance party tent was a great addition.

The best costume I saw on a grownup was a guy in a Halo soldier costume wearing an apron and carrying a spatula: “Master Chef.” Nice work, whoever you are. I also saw a totally scary Ray Trethaway costume. 🙂