Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This Weekend's Weird Bargains

Some therapeutic shopping went down this weekend. For most people, that means splurging. Not for the frugal one. No, I get all twisted with my purchases in order to blog blow off steam. It all started at Ross Dress for Less in Willow Lawn. Yeah, I know. The place totally sucks. It's not half the discount store that Marshalls or TJ Maxx are, and it doesn't even compare to it's Northern Virignia counterparts. I don't know why Willow Lawn seems to require suckiness (also evidenced by my latest Hair Cuttery do - the one next to Ross). It's just a fact of life in Richmond.

First off, I found a Penguin brand sweatshirt for $13. It's not really my style, but since it probably retailed for $135, I think I can adapt in order to increase my NYC fashion cred (goes great with Chacos and socks, right?). One isle over, I happened upon some really obnoxious MMA fight-gear brand clothing from "One More Round" (round of beer?). The t-shirt I bought for $5 looks about like this one. the tiger-headed dude in the lotus position is probably supposed to be the fighting spirit of the MMA guy whom the shirt was designed for. This shirt was designed for a guy nicknamed "gumby." Two days after buying it, my new joke shirt gets nominated as an example of "worst MMA clothing company of 2008." Well, you can forget about seeing me out in this thing anytime soon. Someone might think that I'm the baddest man on the planet and therefore I'd be up for a barroom scrap... at which time, I'd have to buy everyone "one more round " of beer to get out of fighting. All this for a $5 t-shirt. But, I'm wearing it now. It fits good and it's comfy. Perfect for watching Fedor/Arlovski on Saturday. That's all I wanted it for: to look silly while enjoying my silly hobby.

On Sunday, Karen went to Trader Joes while I walked Jasper to Stakolee's house after stopping at the "Guns and Amoco." Predictably, the BP at Cary and Meadow serves crappy coffee (my only reason for going). But, there's no other options closer to Byrd Park (we usually walk 10 minutes to Carytown). Maybe one day a locally owned coffeehouse will decide to rent one of the empty Cary/Meadow storefronts that haven't attracted any businesses in the year or two since they were built (brilliant development planning, Richmond).

Karen brought surprises back from her Trader Joes trip. The one I want to share with you is this four pack sampler of Spanish cheeses for $5. There's a manchego (flavorful, but relatively mild and kinda dense,), a curado (creamy and salty, almost ocean-like, exciting to nibble), a semicurado (a lesser version of the full on curado, still good tho), and a tenero (had a delayed effect, plain and then strong, like swiss). The pieces aren't big, but we went through each of them five or six times without eating more than half of the stuff. Okay, they were little slivers for each bite, but we're not schooled in cheese tasting. We're cheapskates and this is how we do it - satisfying, nonetheless. After that fun bit of cheese comparing, Karen and I agreed that we'd had our $5 worth already and plenty more cheese to nibble. Jasper liked each of them as well, by the way (even tinier bites). Anything dairy is okay by him.

Hey, you see those pizza crusts up there in the cheese picture? I don't know why Karen doesn't eat her crusts when I make the pizza from scratch. Well, no longer do I have to give them to the dogs or eat them myself. I've got a little helper now (your surprise is the picture at the end).

The other surprise that Karen brought me was from Marshalls in the far West End. We never get to go to that one. It's not so hot, because the people out there grab the best brands before they go on clearance (the only section I shop). Southpark Mall's Marshalls in Colonial Heights, on the other hand, is overflowing with high end stuff that hangs out untouched for weeks before being reduced a couple more times for quick sale. I guess the folks down there don't have the same tastes as I do.

Wait, where was I? Karen brought me a thoughtful and totally selfless surprise (she won't watch this stuff and I don't blame her). Never before have I seen a UFC dvd at a discount department store (it was $3 on clearance). This one is UFC 56 from 2005, featuring the fighting math teacher (and holder of a Masters of Education), Rich "Ace" Franklin. In the headlining fight, the devout creationist, Frankin ,punches his reformed Jehova's Witness opponent, Nate Quarry, in the face so hard that Quarry goes stiff and falls over like a piece of lumber. In an earlier bout, two guys who may have 1% body fat between them both (GSP/Sherk) wrestle to the ground to make an especially homoerotic muscle sandwich. Well, in all the excitement, one thing leads to another and the smaller guy's nose gets broken (you can hear him go "aaaaaaahhyee!" as it happens and similar sounds are heard with each successive shot). As blood starts running the way broken noses tend to do, the ref jumps in and stops the fight.

Jasper wants you to know that he likes to wrestle big stuffed animals (and his daddy) and he's ready to bust some moves if you send the people from Social Services over.


  1. tincupchalice12:14 AM

    Manchego cheese is soooo good. And Cous Cous has some yummy manchego cheese balls. Go.

  2. Cous Cous does seem to have put manchego on Richmond's radar. A friend of mine had a big group dinner there the other day and raved about it. My problem is that I want a $7 smorgasbord. This isn't necessarily a critique of Cous Cous; it's my inability to commit to a restaurant and order several platters of whatever the server says is good. Maybe that will be a resolution for 2009, de-stress my inner control freak.

    In retrospect, I didn't really deliver the bizarro bargains that I promised (except for that t-shirt). Well, Karen did bring me another treat: Bliss brand body scrub and self-tanning lotion. Bliss is one of my favorite boutique brands to look for in the clearance section. Of course, I'll use the body scrub, but the tanning stuff came with it. Karen figured I'd throw it out, but I've never fake-baked before. Maybe it's time to turn myself traffic cone orange for a change.

  3. They have UFC DVDs for $3 at the Dollar General at Turner & Hull.

    Also the BP at Meadow and Cary may be referred to by its full name, Bullet Place.

  4. Oh -- and FYI, the Halal market next door to the Dollar General serves a mean falafel. Aladdin is still the best, though.

  5. Yeah. Jerusalem Halal. You can get sheep and goats heads there to roast. Our Egyptians at work think of this as comfort food.. rub with zataar first. Not the wimpy Penzeys zataar, either.

  6. Cous Cous? Put manchego on the radar? Hardly. J Emerson has been selling manchego for years.

  7. I should be more precise. Cous Cous turned "manchego" in to a buzz word among hipsters. Whatever with my flimsy declarations. Trader Joe's made the price right and included other cheeses, For me, that's the tipping point.

    Anne, I am locating Turner and Hull on Google maps and will be waiting there when they open on Saturday. Be sure to watch Donald "The Cowboy" Cerone two stepping his way to a cagefighting title shot on Versus on Sunday night. Should be good.


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