Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cents sense

I like a good deal and I like to save money where I can when it doesn't mean compromising on lifestyle. My latest way of saving money is using the library as my personal video store. I usually check out books or buy them at Half-Price Books if at all, but DVDs, I was kind of at the mercy of Blockbuster or another such place. And I don't watch enough movies during a month to go the Netflix route.

I'd always used the library to check out classic movies, but then I discovered our library here stocks the latest releases as well; if it's at Blockbuster, it's probably at our library. This weekend I watched "Bewitched" (cute, funny, and family-friendly) and "The Upside of Anger" (skip it) -- both from the library. I've got about half a dozen DVDs on request at the library currently, including "Crash", "Must Love Dogs", and "Under the Tuscan Sun."

The only drawback to this system is I never know which movie I'll get and how long I have to wait to get it. I've been waiting for "Crash" for a couple of months now, and it took a few weeks to get both "Bewitched" and "The Upside of Anger". But the plus side includes being able to search online from the comfort of my own PC for the new arrivals, having them delivered (when available) to the branch most convenient to me, and then having 10 days to pick up them up once they arrive and I can keep them for two whole weeks. The latter is the best part of the deal for me because I'm notoriously slow for watching anything and there have been times when I've checked out DVDs ("Ms. Congeniality 2", "Master and Commander", and "21 Grams") and returned them, unwatched.

Of course, this probably isn't a good system for people who watch a couple of movies every weekend, but if you're looking for a way to save a few bucks and get away from the agony of Blockbuster, this might be one solution for you. It also helps, btw, to have multiple items on reserve, that way you can increase the odds of having a DVD available for the weekend (and of course, also with the assumption that most city libraries are as up-to-date as Sweat Sock City's library system).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Two to tango

The hardest part of relationships -- platonic or romantic -- is when you realize the other person doesn't want to be around you as much as you want to be around them. Or that they don't hold you in the same regard as other people, and no matter how much you try, that will never change. And of course, the more you try, the more desperate the behavior becomes, and the harder it is to want to be around you.

Also, excuses rarely excuse bad behavior. We all do stupid things, but I think it's how a person reacts and owns up to it is very telling. You can forgive behavior on the basis of excuses only so many times before it gets old. There's a point of no return, as much as I wish there wasn't. I'm a big fan of second chances, I'm a proponent that people can reform, but how long do you wait? How many second chances do you give? Three? Four? Ten?

At some point, you have to look at a friendship/relationship and say, "This isn't working." It doesn't even have to be logical or emotional, it just is. If I don't want to invest the time and energy into a person because I get nothing out of the relationship, then it's time to move on. It's give and take, even though it sounds awfully selfish and mercernary to say so.

On the same token, if someone doesn't seem to want to spend time with you, doesn't make any effort to contact you, that's a pretty big hint to also move on. Life's too short to waste on people who may or may not have an attachment to you.

I've felt both sides of the coin in the last few weeks, and no matter which side you're on, it still pretty much sucks.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I didn't actually mean to ignore the blog these past few days. It just kind of happened. Also, the other day I came in to update and blogger was doing maintenance and I was too lazy to wait for them to finish.

Nothing much has happened that I can talk about. RL is finally settling down after being on a whirlwind for the last two weeks. I had a cold and laryngitis, which made me a most scintillating conversationalist. My office moved, and so last week was also a comedy in errors of where to park, where to sit, where to unpack everything -- y'know, kind of trauma you experience on the first day of school at a new building, but at least all your friends get to come with you.

I angsted about relationships of various kinds and made a decision to rip the band-aid off the bullet-hole (see previous post). The last one was really hard for me, because it's completely against my grain, but when you spend more energy trying to figure out how to deal with someone compared to what you get back -- well, maybe it's time to just say good-bye (and most of my friends were advising me to just skip the good-bye, but I couldn't help but get the last word in -- forgive me).

I'll surely angst about my decision to cut this person off cold turkey some more. RL friends, you may want to stay away from your phones, IMs and email for the weekend :-)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Guilty as charged

Really, my new year's resolution should be to stop believing automatically that everything that happens is my fault. I'm so easily suckered -- offer me a guilt trip, and I'll buy a first-class one way ticket on the Concorde. It's only after I landed (and only after apologizing profusely) that I realize that most of the time, 100 percent of what went wrong wasn't because of me and sometimes, even 50 percent of what went wrong isn't my fault. But by then, the apology is out there, the other person feels good, and I'm sitting here feeling like a) maybe they were right in the first place and ohmygodhowcanImakeitright or b) seething because I'm accepting the blame for everything.

My kneejerk reaction is always to apologize, regardless of the situation. I think about it later in obsessive-compulsive detail, discussing with anyone and everyone around me. I magnify my own behaviors to a point where suddenly I can do no right, and obviously, everything I've ever done has been hurtful. Because seriously, the last thing I want to do is treat someone badly and the moment it's insinuated that I have, I immediately believe that I have done so -- whether it's true or not. As a result, I apologize a lot. And I'm kind of getting tired of it, especially as I view a recent situation in retrospect and realize the only thing I truly failed at was living up to unrealistic expectations that I never knew I had to meet in the first place.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I'm not sure I'd describe myself as a loner, but I definitely don't seem to need to stay as in touch with people as some other people might. When I first moved to Red State, I did everything I could to keep in touch with people I left behind -- snail mail, emails, phone calls, IMs -- and after a while, despite my efforts, those interactions started to dwindle. It's just a fact of life -- when you don't see someone regularly, when you're working, starting a family, etc., you get busy and your priorities change. It's not that you don't care, it's just that there isn't time enough in the day to keep track of everything you want to do.

The people I talk to most on a weekly basis are my mother, Florida Girl and Rocky. My brother and V would round out the top five. Of those five, the only ones I talk to on the phone more than once a week are my mother and Florida Girl. I IM and email Rocky regularly, email my brother a few times a week, and the same goes for V (though I usually do talk to V on the phone at least once a week if we don't have a dinner or coffee planned). Other than that, I'm pretty fine with dealing with people on a semi-regular basis and it takes a while before I realize, "Oh, wait, I haven't talked to so-and-so in a while." Or I'll put off answering an email because I got home late, and I'm running around trying to get stuff done and before I know it, weeks have gone by and the email is still in my inbox unanswered.

I tend to be wary as well, and don't move quickly to incorporate people into my life.
And even once someone is in my life, my attachment to that person isn't as strong as it would be to say my mother and brother (for obvious reasons) and Florida Girl (my best friend since college) and Rocky -- my partner-in-crime. The strength of these relationships have developed over time, spanning many years (I think I've known Rocky for more than five years now, and V and I became friends in grad school -- which is an accelerating process).

I'm really leading up to a question, I guess, of some sort. How often is normal to talk to people if you're friends? In general, I don't talk to the vast majority of my friends more than a couple times a month (granted many live out of state, but then again, Florida Girl and I can speak as often as 5 or 6 times a day, depending on Stuff (tm)). I recently saw a friend of mine who lives here in town for the first time in six months; we'd probably exchanged maybe three phone calls in that entire period and that was fine. If I didn't hear from a friend for a while, and assuming I knew everything was okay, I probably wouldn't think too much of it. But I think that's where I diverge -- does friendship mean constant, prompt communications? I'm truly baffled, so if anyone has any insight into this, I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

TV girl

I don't think it's a secret to anyone who reads this blog that I like television. I don't have a show for every day of the week, and I only have a few that are Must See Compelling Obsessive watching; the rest, eh -- if I'm home, I'll watch it, otherwise I'll maybe think about taping it if I'm out. It's the obssessive shows that get me every time -- currently, it's "Grey's Anatomy". Last year, it was "Without a Trace" and before that it was "JAG". Thank God I only have time (and discipline) to obssess about one show a year.

I tend to take shows as they're given to me. I believe that the writers have a master plan, that they've created these characters with some goal in mind for their development, and that every plotline will be resolved. Some of you call me naiive, yes, but this is how I approach television. The show is a gift, and the writers can do with what they will. After all, the scenario and the characters belong to them and not to me; I cannot possibly even think to dictate to the writers what they should or should not do.

It's for that reason I'm often both awed and shocked when I visit fan sites and there are the fans of the show, who love the show, claiming they'll jump ship if their two favorite characters aren't going to be put together. I won't lie and say I'm happy with everything that happens on a show, but there's also the reality that television needs suspense and drama, and that unresolved romantic tension is the best way to keep viewers coming back.

I admit to watching because I like characters, but character only takes you so far. The premise, the acting, the writing, the continuity -- all of those are elements that I consider important in keeping a television show viable. Samantha and Martin may have pulled me into "Without a Trace", but I keep watching even now when they aren't together. Samantha and Martin might have been the catalyst, but they aren't the sole reason I watch.

So I always find it amusing when viewers threaten the writers/producers of a show (or heck, an author, like JK Rowling) with abandonment if the writers/producers don't do what the fan-person wants them to do. Because, y'know, the writer is never trying to please herself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baby boom

It seems like pretty much everyone I know is having a baby this month or had one very, very recently. I'm attending three baby showers this month, including one that I'm hosting, and I sent a gift for another baby who was born to a good friend who lives out of state (and it's completely adorable; check it out). Still, shopping for babies hasn't gotten easier; I still have the same "Ack!" feeling I described in this entry from four years ago.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How I spent my weekend

camping trip 004
camping trip 004,
originally uploaded by seemag.
I went camping and hiking this weekend and there were many adventures that happened, but in a nutshell, it was a lot of fun. I came home sick and without a voice, but it was all for a good cause! I spent the weekend taking lots of pictures -- 47 to be exact -- and here are some of the results.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Amen corner

I think I've mentioned before I don't really read liberal blogs, but I do read conservative blogs a lot. And it's not because I want to get my blood pressure high, but more because I like to be challenged. I already have opinions that are left of center and so I don't need to read someone's blog on why gay marriage is a good thing or why a woman's right to choose ought to be protected; I'm already there.

What I do appreciate is being challenged. I know why I have the opinions I have, and how they were formed. I like to think I'm being intelligent about my opinions/beliefs, that I have studied and read, and that I'm open to new information. This is what I like to think; it doesn't mean it's necessarily true. And that's why I read conservative blogs, because I know 9 times out of 10, it's going to be something I vehemently disagree with, but on the off chance that I get some new piece of information or something that makes me stop and consider an issue, I keep reading. This is why you're more likely to find me reading Michelle Malkin instead of Daily Kos (and incidentally, I draw the line at Ann Coulter; I have no time or use for crazy people -- no matter how funny people might think she is).

There's no point in reading something just because it will affirm what you already believe. Reading "the sky is green" over and over again doesn't make it so; it's taking the chance to read "the sky is blue" and then considering that statement carefully that's worthwhile. If you want to believe the sky is still green after that, by all means, but at least you gave it a shot.


Incidentally, I really hate the word 'you' when writing posts like this. It sounds accusatory, like I'm aiming this post at someone in particular, and I'm really not. I mean, it was sparked by a blog I read, but I don't think that person reads this blog (and if the owners of that blog did read this one, they'd probably run away in fear at the degenerative values espoused by this here piece of web real estate). My point is, it sounds lecture-y and condescending, which is not my intention at all. There just doesn't seem to be a way to espouse philosophy without the accusatory 'you'. Or at least, nothing my brain can come up with at 10:20, which is well past my bedtime.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


So sad about Dana Reeve. She was one of those people who deserved something really good to happen to her, who had done so much for others and especially for her husband, and to think when she was starting all over again, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Incredibly sad to lose two such wonderful and inspiration people in such a short timespan.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Pop culture

Reading: "Q is for Quarry" by Sue Grafton
Listening: A.R. Rahman
Watching: "The Amazing Race"
Traveling: The Rodeo*
Wondering: What kind of Oscars host will Jon Stewart be?
Cooking: Thai-style baked tofu, black bean chili

* Rodeo experience to come in tomorrow's blog