Friday, November 28, 2014

Cyber Black Small Day!

Hi, kids!

Did you ever wonder what the hell this "Cyber Monday" thing some people still go on about is? You know, "Black Friday" is when everybody acts like animals in the lobbies of stores that didn't actually open on Thanksgiving because they're so stuck in 2012. "Small Business Saturday" is when you're supposed to buy a used CD at LUNA so you can feel all whatever the durable goods version of "locavore" is. And "Cyber Monday" is something something whatever.
If this computer doesn't look familiar to you, Cyber Monday likely doesn't make much sense.

Once upon a time, back in the Before Times when years started with "1" and jeggings were on their first go 'round, most people talked to the internet from home with their phone lines. They talked to the internet very slowly and, if their mom was on the phone with Aunt Bessie in Dubuque, they couldn't talk to the internet at all. This wasn't such a terrible hardship, because there wasn't much to do on the internet except look at horribly laid-out Geocities I-Love-Me pages full of blinking text and crude animated .gifs.

But then Amazon and other online retailers like came along and people could go shopping on their computers. The problem was that, at 28.8kbit/s, it took so long to download a picture of a book cover or a box of dog biscuits to your Packard Bell 486's 14" CRT that you could have just hopped in the car and bought one while you waited for the page to finish loading.


Unlike the antiquated machine at home running a bootleg copy of Windows 3.11, many people had access at work to a Pentium running Win 95 and talking to the internet over a fat pipe. Thus, after the four day weekend, people would use the office machine to surf those sites they couldn't from home. And so was born the idea of "Cyber Monday", which really only made sense until most people got faster home internet connections and is more or less completely inane in a world where the average telephone would crush the workgroup servers of 1999.

Anyhow, here are some gift suggestions from VFTP:

  • If you have an antique gun nerd in your house, one of the sort that owns screwdrivers and isn't afraid to use them, a copy of Antique Firearms Assembly/Disassembly would come in handy. It's a US-centric book, but pretty comprehensive on antique Smiths and Colts especially, including even pre- and interwar Hand Ejector Smiths.

  • I've got lots of knives and flashlights, but my LED Lenser P3 AFS and Spyderco Delica Emerson Opener fit in blue jeans pockets and have stood up to years of daily carry now. (I may switch out from the Spyderco for something else for a few days here or there, but I always come back to it. It's just such a Goldilocks knife...)

  • Range under two feet of snow in the winter? There's always the Crosman M4-177 Air Rifle for basement marksmanship practice. It may not have a compass in the stock or this thing which tells time, but it'll shoot your eye out, kid.

  • Someone wanting to get into DSLRs on the cheap could get a used camera body, like the Canon Digital Rebel XTi I got, and then, if they really enjoyed it, any lenses they bought would work with a brand new Canon. Same thing if they went with a used Nikon. KEH Camera Brokers out of Atlanta is a good reseller who lists their stock on Amazon and stands behind what they sell. (Pretty much all the Blogorado/State Fair/Zoo photography on the blog has been done with this lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS.)

  •  Crimson Trace, Brownells, and KEH are having Black Friday sales here and here and here. (Unlike the Amazon links above, I don't get any dough from purchases made at those three; they're just companies that have always done right by me and make or sell stuff that I like.)