The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

“Shopaholic Test” Feedback

A couple days ago, I posted about a new test that can help determine whether or not someone is a shopaholic. I mentioned in my post something about not using shopping as a crutch to help get me through “emotionally tough times”, a phrase that apparently didn’t sit well with some readers. I got several e-mails telling me that this is a serious subject and that shopaholics need professional help just as much as heavy drinkers need alcohol rehab.

First of all, I apologize if I offended anyone, but I didn’t think I was making light of the subject at all. Friends and strangers alike really have made comments to me about possibly being a shopaholic. You have to remember that the products I write about on this blog represent just a small portion of what I actually buy, so that’s where the concern comes in.

Second, I do realize that shopping can become just as addictive for some people as controlled substances. I’ve read and seen many stories about shopaholics running up massive credit card debt, ruining their credit rating, and basically destroying their lives. But while those with substance abuse problems can go to a drug treatment center for help, shopaholics don’t have the same options.

I thought I was doing a good thing by pointing out the existence of that test and letting you know that now there’s a means of evaluating your level of shopping addiction. Again, I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That certainly was not my intent.

The X-Files: The Complete Collector’s Edition

As a huge fan of the FOX television series The X-Files, I had been looking for a complete DVD collection of all 9 seasons for some time. As expected, however, purchasing a complete set would be an expensive venture since so many DVDs were involved. I had my eye on two different collections: The Special Edition DVD Box Set that came in a nifty briefcase, and The Complete Collector’s Edition that came in a more standard cardboard box.

The first collection retailed for more than $500, which I’d never be able to justify spending on DVDs. The second was a more reasonable $329, and when the price for that one was slashed to $164.99 during a special sale, I jumped at my chance to own the entire series.

The X-Files: The Complete Collector’s Edition contains a whopping 61 discs that feature every single episode from the show’s incredible 9-year run on FOX. In addition, the full-length 1998 film, Fight the Future is included in the set. A pull-out drawer holds an X-Files graphic novel (comic book), trading cards, movie poster, and guidebook. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Each season’s DVDs are housed in their own boxes, and the helpful guide makes it a snap to find particular episodes. I’ve had no problems at all navigating through this massive collection — which isn’t always the case with huge box sets like this!

The main reason I wanted to buy this Collector’s Edition was for the bonus features that are included with every season. The features in this set consist mostly of interviews with Chris Carter and other producers, as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses of filming some of the episodes. For the record, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson hardly appear in the extras at all, and when they do, their interviews and comments are from 10 years ago when The X-Files was still in production. From what I’ve seen thus far (and I by no means have watched everything yet), there are no recent interviews with David and Gillian in this set.

Speaking of the bonus features, I have to say that I’ve actually been a bit disappointed with them. Most are very short, most consist of only Chris Carter talking about special production notes, and a lot of the stuff is repetitive, with the same commentary cropping up in two or more different special features segments. I’m not sure why they chose to go this way with the features, but it got kind of annoying after a while.

Nevertheless, that wasn’t enough to dampen my enjoyment of The X-Files: The Complete Collector’s Edition. It’s great to be able to see my favorite episodes anytime I want, and to relive the most memorable moments from The X-Files’ awesome run. I highly recommend this collection to any true X-Files fan out there — especially at the sale price of $164.99. You just can’t go wrong with that!

New Shopaholics Test

When people learn that I have a shopping blog, they often start making jokes about being a shopaholic. After all, they reason, I’d have to be somewhat addicted to shopping in order to have enough stuff to write about.

But that’s not really the case, as many of my purchases are either small-ticket items that cost less than $30. Moreover, a significant number of my posts just talk about products that I would like to buy sometime in the future. In reality, I don’t think I shop that much more than other people. It just seems that way because I publicize most of my purchases.

At any rate, shopaholics really do exist, and this kind of compulsive behavior can have significantly detrimental effects on their lives. I just read an article over at LiveScience about a new test that’s been developed that can show if someone is a shopaholic.

The test includes a list of the following statements:

  • My closet has unopened shopping bags in it.
  • Others might consider me a “shopaholic.”
  • Much of my life centers around buying things.
  • I buy things I don’t need.
  • I buy things I did not plan to buy.
  • I consider myself an impulse purchase

and asks respondents to rate the statements on a seven-point scale based on whether they strongly agree or strongly disagree with the statement. Respondents that score 25 points or more would be considered compulsive buyers or shopaholics.

I don’t come anywhere near 25 points, so I guess that means I’m safe for now! I certainly do enjoy shopping and buying new things, but it doesn’t define my life, nor do I use shopping as a crutch to get me through emotionally tough times.

T-Mobile G1 Google Cell Phone

I’m not one of those people who thinks everything Google touches must be gold just because they’re Google and they do no wrong (or evil). So forgive me for not being as excited about the T-Mobile G1 Google cell phone as most of the other fan boys and girls are. I mean, the first thing that crossed my mind is why on earth is Google getting into cell phones? Aren’t they big enough and omnipresent enough already?

Anyway, the G1 phone is supposed to be an “iPhone killer” — I guess because it has a touchscreen just like the iPhone, but also has a QWERTY keypad and can handle all the popular Google apps like Gmail, chat, Maps, and Street View. Moreover, it supports multiple browser windows (that does actually sound cool) and something called Compass mode that also sounds kinda cool.

The phone is slightly thicker and heavier than iPhone, and initial reviews indicate that it doesn’t handle or play music nearly as well as the Apple product. Well, duh.

The T-Mobile G1 Google cell phone will retail for $179, which is significantly less than iPhone, and has two data plans available ($25 and $35 per month).

I’m sure a bunch of people will snap these up, but I don’t think I’ll be buying this — especially not just for two cool features that I probably wouldn’t even use very often anyway!

Sarah Palin’s Glasses — Kawasaki MP 704

Sarah Palin has been making quite a splash in the upcoming presidential election — but more because of her family issues and fashion than for anything truly political. Indeed, women everywhere are going crazy over Sarah Palin’s glasses, the rimless pair that she wore during the Republican National Convention (and which she wears all the time, I would assume).

These rimless glasses are a Japanese design from Osaka University professor Kazuo Kawasaki and are simply called the Kawasaki MP 704 or MP 704. They’re made from titanium, and are rimless in order to increase the wearer’s field of vision.

I usually don’t get swept up in trends like this, but I have to admit that Palin’s glasses are pretty cool. I wouldn’t mind having a pair, except that the Kawasaki MP 704 model costs at least $350 — and that’s without lenses. Too steep for me! I’ll have to wait until the price comes down a bit….

Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar

I used to study Latin in high school and college, and at one point I really wanted to major in the subject in order to teach it one day. That dream didn’t exactly pan out, as I caved in and took a degree in something more practical, but I still love the language and want to get back into it if possible.

Towards that end, I want to buy Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar, a well known textbook by Basil L.Gildersleeve and Gonzalez Lodge. It’s a grammar guide for intermediate to advanced students, and is beloved by classical scholars for its copious notes and supplemental material. This book is so good that it’s required by the Pope’s Latinist, Fr. Reginald Foster, for his famous Latin summer study program in Rome. I don’t think you can get a better endorsement than that!

Anyway, I’m in the middle of a different online class right now, so I’m going to wait until I wrap up my current studies before diving back into Latin again. Maybe I’ll be ready for this Gildersleeve tome by December. Until then, it’s going on my Wish List so I don’t forget about it.

Bud Light Lime

I’m not much of a beer drinker, and when I do indulge, I rarely try anything new. It’s not that I have a particular brand that I’m loyal to or anything like that; it’s just that I can’t really distinguish between different brews. “Real” beer drinkers may be shocked to hear this, but I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Heineken and Old Milwaukee in a blind taste test. I’m not even exaggerating here!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I went to a barbecue at a friend’s house and had a chance to try Bud Light Lime. Of course, I’d been seeing commercials for this new beer all summer long, but like I said, I never go out of my way just to try a new beer.

At first, the lime flavor in Bud Light Lime seemed a bit overpowering. It was very noticeable, and tasted like more than just a “hint” or a “splash”. But the more I drank it, the less obvious the lime flavor became, until the beer was actually palatable and went very well with the burgers and brats I ate,

Overall, I’d say Bud Light Lime is a decent beer for cookouts or whenever you want to shake things up a bit. I can’t ever imagine myself drinking this stuff every time I want a beer, but its not bad every once in a while.

The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges

I can’t get enough of processed cheese snacks, so I’m surprised it took me so long to discover The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges. This brand, which originated in France, has been around since 1921 (according to Wikipedia), and has been available in my local supermarket ever since I can remember. I’ve always seen the red cow logo; I just never bothered buying the products.

Anyway, a couple months ago I was at my mom’s house for lunch and she convinced me to try the Light Swiss flavor. The cheese comes in convenient wedge-shaped individual servings, and is very easy to spread. I just put put mine on a couple slices of french bread, spreading the cheese much as I would butter or another topping. I know it sounds kind of plain, but it tasted great! From that point forward, I was hooked!

In addition to Creamy Swiss, Laughing Cow cheese also comes in Creamy Swiss, Light Garlic & Herb, Light Onion, and more. I have tried most of them, and prefer the Swiss flavors to the others, though all are rather tasty.

I usually have Laughing Cow cheese and bread whenever I’m in the mood for a light breakfast, lunch, or snack. Each wedge only has 35 calories, which is amazing because it tastes so rich, and is perfect on bread, crackers, or even by itself.

If you like processed cheese as much as I do, you just have to try The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges for yourself. These things are awesome!