The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Blackhawks Stanely Cup Tee

A few months ago, I posted how I wanted this t-shirt to commemorate the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory. Well, I did end up buying it and think it’s a very cool shirt. But because of what happened over the summer due to the salary cap situation, I’ve decided not to wear this shirt at all. I’m just going to keep it as a memento of one of the best Hawk teams I’ve ever cheered for. Gone are Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Adam Burish, Colin Fraser, Antti Niemi, Brent Sopel, John Madden, and Cristobal Huet. The Blackhawks will have a very different look this year, that’s for sure.

Anyway, you might think it’s kind of silly to pay $20 (or whatever; I forgot the exact price) for something that’s just going to sit in a dark drawer somewhere. But believe me, that shirt represents an entire hockey season’s worth of awesome memories!

Shopping for Insurance

If you’re anything like me, then you probably don’t know very much about life insurance. In fact, all I know at this point is that I don’t have any — but that I better get some to protect my family in case the unthinkable happens.

So I’ve been looking around a bit, and now have the following question: Is term life insurance better than permanent life? I have heard pros and cons for both types, but am still not sure which would be better for my situation. I think I’m going to have to have a consultation with an agent before I actually purchase any insurance because the last thing I want to do is get locked into a policy that doesn’t suit me.

Add this to my ever-growing “To Do” list!

Casio Calculator Watch

Boy, does this watch bring back memories! No, I never had a calculator watch, but back when I was in elementary school, I wanted one with all my heart! One of my friends had one, and since this was like 1982, the whole concept of having a tiny calculator on your wrist was still pretty new. When viewed through a kid’s eyes, the “wow” factor was of course multiplied by 100.

I begged my parents for one, but never got it. I don’t remember their rationalizations, probably something along the lines of “it’s too expensive” or “you’ll cheat in math class”. I eventually got over wanting a calculator watch (probably around the time Swatch became the next big thing with kids), but to this day I never forgot how much I wanted one and how disappointed I was when I didn’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, my parents would always buy me things they considered “necessary”, such as shoes or the best multivitamin for kids, but I hardly ever got anything extra.

So, the question now becomes: do I spend $50 on this thing to satisfy my inner child? We’ll see!

Mizzou Alumni Tee

OK, I admit that I’m jumping the gun a bit here since I’m not scheduled to graduate until next year, but whatever. I’m totally on track and only a major disaster can derail me at this point (knock on wood). Anyway, it had been a while since I bought any black or gold Mizzou gear, so last week I decided to treat myself to this Alumni tee. I’m using it as inspiration to get me through this final year because I’ll definitely look like a fool if I wear this without graduating!

Anyway, the shirt is what you might expect. Very comfy, good graphics that won’t come out in the wash, etc. Plus, it was very affordable. I got it on sale for $11 and am happy with it. If you’re an MU grad, you need something like this for lounging around the house on weekends!

Garbage Disposal

I think we need a new garbage disposal. The one we have now is about 10 years old and isn’t working properly. It makes a horrible grinding sound (I mean even worse than its usual operating noise) as though some parts are loose or something is in there. I stuck my hand down there (after disconnecting the power, of course!) but couldn’t detect any wayward silverware or any other object that could be causing the noise, so who knows.

Anyway, I’ve been looking around in case we do need to buy a new one and think Insinkerator disposals sound pretty good. This brand is highly recommended by plumbers and contractors, and has a solid reputation for performance and durability. Plus, Insinkerator has some highly affordable models — especially the Badger, which is pictured here.

I need to do some more checking, but if we do end up having to buy a new disposal, this seems like a good one!

GoSkyWatch Planetarium App

One of the best things about owning an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch is the ability to install cool apps on the device. I mean, let’s be real here: the iPhone is nothing to write home about as a phone. But its web-browsing capabilities and the apps are what make it the most popular smartphone around. I love mine because of the apps, and I love looking around for new apps to test out. Recently, I discovered GoSkyWatch Planetarium for the iPhone and iPad.

The app is free for the iPad, but costs $5.99 for the iPhone — which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. In fact, those of you who are familiar with how the App Store works know that you can usually transfer purchases from device to device without penalty. For example, if I buy Angry Birds for my iPad, I can download the same app on my iPhone without having to pay again. Not so with the GoSkyWatch Planetarium app, however. This threw me for a loop because I initially got it on my iPad, and then liked it so much I decided I wanted it on my phone, too — and ended up having to pay $5.99 for it. Oh, well. No do-overs at the App Store.

Anyway, GoSkyWatch Planetarium is a pretty nifty app, so I don’t feel too bad about having to pay for it. What it does is help you identify stars, planets, and other celestial bodies simply by pointing your device at the object in question. The app contains a lot of information about each celestial body, including its name, distance from the Earth (in light years or Astronomical Units), magnitude, etc., and doesn’t even need Wifi or 3G to work. I’m not going to pretend to understand how it operates, so if you want a technical explanation, keep looking.

I’ve always been interested in astronomy, but found hand-held star charts to be practically indecipherable. Now with GoSkyWatch Planetarium, I can be absolutely sure of what I’m looking at. It’s truly amazing to be able to do all this thanks to an app.

Personally, I like the iPhone version of the app better. The iPad is just to big and heavy to hold above my head for very long, and I’m constantly worried that I’ll drop it or something. The iPhone version is much more convenient and easy to maneuver with. I recommend them both, though.

Overall, the GoSkyWatch Planetarium is one of the best apps I’ve ever purchased. It’s definitely worth the six bucks, so grab it now!

Shopping for antiques

A friend of mine loves antiques, and asked me to go shopping with her today. She’s looking for a particular style of desk, and went to several different stores to check out the ones they had. She didn’t end up buying anything, though, because the ones in good condition were too expensive, while the affordable ones looked pretty bad.

Personally, I have never understood the attraction of antique furniture. If I’m in a museum, then sure, I’d enjoy looking at old stuff. But I would much rather have modern furniture in my own house than stuff that has been used for a hundred years or more. And why people pay top dollar for old furniture — stuff that isn’t even particularly rare — is also beyond me.

I don’t know… antiques? Pass.

Drew Carey’s Weight Loss

Wow, have you seen Drew Carey recently? I don’t watch The Price is Right, so I didn’t realize how slim he is now until I saw photos of him on the CBS News website. According to the article I read, he has lost almost 80 pounds since he first started hosting the game show. 80 pounds!!! He says it was just from avoiding simple carbs and adding cardio exercises to his routine, but I don’t know about that. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for two years and I can’t lose a measly five pounds. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he was on conjugated linoleic acid or some other type of supplement to help get those results.

Anyway, congrats to him for taking control of his health like that. I’m sure Drew feels a lot better about himself now!