the lower back pain from last night continued into this morning, but at least i was able to hobble around the house, something i could barely even do yesterday. freddy was already gone by the time i got out of bed at 10am (went shopping with catalina), so at least he wouldn't see me like this (although a part of me did secretly wish he had, given his medical training and his ability to troubleshoot my condition). instead of sitting in my usual chair (which i blame for my back problem, although my family said it was because of the heavy backpack i normally lug around), i sat on the couch, which seemed to have helped alleviate some of the pain.

the day after thanksgiving is a shopping day, so i fired up my browser and went in search of online deals: deals.kinja.com, dealnews.com, and amazon.com. the only thing i was waiting for was a good deal on an obihai 200 (voip phone adapter)), so i could make use of the spare google voice number i had lying around. i'm on the obihai e-mail list, which sent me notice on wednesday that there'd be a special friday amazon lightning deal on the obihai 200, with no time or price. so i spent the whole day checking amazon.com religiously, seeing if the price had changed from the $50 it normally sells at.

after a shower this morning, i got tired of the show bathtub drain. i first tried to free it up with a plunger, but when that didn't work, i poured down a bottle of foaming drain-o. when i rinsed the drain an hour later, i didn't really notice any improvements. i might have to borrow my father's drain snake after freddy leaves next week and see if i can clear up the bathtub.

my sister was obsessed with getting a black friday HDTV deal, and my mother called pushing me to find something suitable my sister could buy. prices on HDTV's have really gone down since i bought my 42" panasonic viera more than 3 years ago ($698). now for $200 you could score a 40" roku-enabled TCL, and i'm sure you could find cheaper and bigger deals if you searched a bit more and was willing to buy a lesser-brand. that was actually the HDTV i recommended to my sister, despite the fact that she originally just wanted a 24" HDTV you could get for around $100. but her problem was she didn't have a good place to put the TV. she had a shelf, but it wasn't wide enough to support the wide-stance legs of most modern HDTV; she needed a TV with a pedestal stand, and for some reason most HDTV's don't have those anymore. i finally decided the 32" TCL with roku tv would be ideal for her, priced at $130 (MSRP $228, amazon and bestbuysell it at $170). not too big, not too small, just the right size for her bedroom and her intended viewing distance and placement circumstances.

i asked her to come and pick me up so we could go HDTV shopping at target. the watertown store seemed to have one available (according to company website), but when i checked it again, it kept disappearing intermittently. the nearby somerville store still had one, so when my sister finally showed up (along with my mother), i told her to head for the somerville target, and if they didn't have it, we would try watertown (where there was a best buy next door as well). it was a cold and wet day, with that sort of fine misty rain that makes umbrellas useless.

i like the somerville target because it's never crowded and not many people know about it. even i didn't know there was a targeton somerville avenue until many years after living in the camberville neighborhood (2007 seems to be the earliest mention of it on my blog). but alas, it was crowded today, but still nothing like the crowds one would see at the watertown target. because of the pain in my tailbone, i walked around with a limp, making a bee-line to the electronics department, which was the most crowded area in the store. i went to the wall of HDTV's and checked out the smaller screen sets. they had 2 boxes of the 32" TCL. maybe in different year that would've been a hot item, but with prices of larger HDTV's selling so cheaply, i'd imagine many buyers would go bigger, get more bang for the buck. also, the buzz this year seems to be 4K HDTV's, and the 32" only has 720p.

after some discussion, i persuaded my sister in getting the 32" TCL. there was still a problem with the stand, but she said she could put a wooden plank over her shelf and that would solve the problem. roku TV sets are great because they have roku built-in, but they're terrible in that they use a typical minimalist roku remote, which don't have number keys (just arrows and a few other simple buttons). but honestly, when was the last time you punched the numbers on a TV remote? and when you get cable, you use the cable remote anyway. still, for a TV purist like myself, it's weird, and i don't know if i'd ever get a roku-enabled HDTV simply because of the remote. for big ticket electronic items, we pay at the department; this also lets them remove the theft-deterrent device strapped to the box.

since we were already there, we did some additional target shopping. my sister purchased additional shelves (hard to imagine that can fit in her already cluttered room). i browsed the small kitchen appliances. my parents could use a microwave and toaster oven upgrade. their current microwave is from my aunt lili, but it has a non-intuitive user interface (one too many button press just to heat something up) and a few buttons seem to be broken (like the clear button). the double-rack toaster oven was a gift from my godmother's son jack; my parents use it for practically everything instead of their full-size oven, so that little toaster oven gets a lot of beating. my mother said she'll check the toaster oven on sale at costco they next time they visit. she did however pick up a utilitarian small black & decker toaster oven for $17, to replace the one at the cafe.

after loading everything into my sister's SUV, we went next door to fallas, sort of like the poor man's version of marshalls. i'd been there before, buying socks and t-shirts, but neither my mother nor sister have ever been there. there was nothing there i wanted but i did see a pair of levi's for $20 until i noticed the irregular stamp on the inside pocket. my mother and sister bought a few bargain clothing items.

back at home, i was on the computer again, looking for deals. the first thing i bought was an anker 40w 4-port USB wall charger for $19.49. i'd bought one back in february (in black, for $22.59) and it worked great, coming particularly handy when i was in chongqing this past spring and needed to recharge a bunch of my electronics. i got this one for my parents; originally i wanted black because it's harder to see when it gets dirty, but the sale was only for the white version. that wasn't the only anker merchandise i bought today: i also got a 100ml essential oil diffuser for my sister ($16.79), who's birthday is next week. i really wanted one for myself, but figured she could test this one first, and if it's good, i'd get one later. she loves scents and used to light candles in her bedroom, which my father told her to stop doing given how much a fire hazard it was. i figured an essential oil diffuser would be a good replacement, with no flames to accidentally set the house on fire.

when it looked like freddy wasn't going to be home anytime soon, i of course turned the heat down to 60°F.

in the early evening i began watching the 4 new episodes of gilmore girls on netflix. i was an early fan, but stopped following the show in the later seasons, when rory went off to college and started dating that rich boy. everyone seemed to have held up remarkably well. lauren graham seems to have changed the most, but the woman is almost 50 years old, and not everyone can be like heather graham (46), whom i believe is a modern-day vampire. scott patterson - luke - is 58 years old - and looks a bit chunkier than the luke of old. and i don't believe lane - keiko agena - is 43 in real life. but enough fixation on their ages. how were the new episodes? i watched all 6 hours until well after midnight. they were satisfactory in a nostalgic sort of way, that i managed to watch everything in one sitting. the ending was a bit shocking, opening the doors of subsequent sequels, but i'd be fine if the show just ended here.

around 8:30pm i checked amazon.com and noticed that the price on the obi200 had dropped to $35.95. there was no indication that it was a lightning deal, but the price had definitely decreased by $14. the pricing was a bit glitchy however, sometimes i'd see the sale price, sometimes the normal price. when i added it to my shopping cart it was the sale price, so i quickly bought it before the price went up. when i checked the price again at 9pm, it'd increased to $49.78 again.

before i went to sleep i read that fidel castro had passed away at the age of 90. he joins a list of notable deaths this month, including florence henderson (yesterday), gwen ifill, robert vaughn, leonard cohen, and janet reno.