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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Et tu, Buffy?

Except for a few missing DVDs, I’ve watched all 9 seasons of Seinfeld.  I don’t think I could have appreciated it when I was younger because I wouldn’t have understood half of the jokes, but now I can.  Truly, I find the show funny and will continue to watch the reruns on TV.  I even bought Seinfeld Monopoly (okay, so it was on clearance but I should still get some credit for it).  The money has quotes from the show on it and the “Community Chest” and “Guess” cards (actually “Hellloooo!” and “Yada, Yada, Yada” cards) each make reference to episodes.  Now I can laugh as I lose at Monopoly.

But now that venture is gone, so where do we go next?  Fred suggested that we watch one of my favorite shows.  We’ve already gone through Arrested Development and I’ve heard him say, “They stole that from Seinfeld!” too many times when I mention Friends to suggest that.  So I suggested one of my other all-time favorite shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Thankfully Hulu has the first season up right now and we watched the first episode the other day.  While it is by far not my favorite episode, I thought Fred really needed to see the characters develop through the seasons (assuming that we will continue to watch).  Also, later seasons refer back to earlier episodes, especially in the comedic aspect, so it’s vital for any new Buffy viewer to start at the beginning.  He seemed to like it okay.  He laughed at a few of the jokes and said, “Booth!” when David Boreanaz came on the screen (he will always be Angel to me).  I have yet to find out if we will continue on this quest.  Even if he doesn’t watch the series with me, I might just go ahead and watch it all again myself.

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Posted by on July 31, 2010 in About me

 

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Will the real Jackie Collins please stand up?

In college I participated in a program called Ambassadors of Change (AOC).  Freshman year I was an ambassador with about 30 other freshmen along with 10 upperclassmen to help lead groups.  Each group had a different topic and it was our goal in the program to come up with a way to teach others about that topic.  The program was only 4 days long but it was right before orientation so we pretty much had the campus to ourselves.  It was wonderful in many ways: we got to know a small group of people before being surrounded by thousands; we got to know the campus; we volunteered with different organizations; we learned about different causes.  I could go on and on but I won’t.  In short, it was through AOC that I met like-minded people and the leaders of tomorrow.

Sophomore year I came back as a group leader.  While I was still a bit in my shell, being a leader of a group helped me come out a bit more.  The upperclassmen had to come a few days before the ambassadors to get everything ready.  When we were given the list of freshmen that each group would have, I scanned the list.  One name jumped out at me: Jackie Collins.  Really?  Jackie Collins, like the author?  It made me laugh.  “I have got to meet this girl!” I said to myself.  She wasn’t in my group but I made it a point to talk to her.

This Jackie Collins loved to read but wasn’t a writer.  She was an opera singer.  She was high-energy, friendly, and funny.  She became one of my best friends and we still hang out when she’s not in rehearsal for a show.  Sometimes, when I’m at work, I like to tell people, “Yeah, I know Jackie Collins.”  When they give me a surprised look, I laugh and say, “Not the writer – the opera singer!”

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2010 in About me

 

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Readthisasfastasyoucan

Tailgating: we’ve all done it.  Some do it more than others. One of my friends does it to anyone in front of her, no matter the speed.  It scares the bejesus out of me.  (As far as safe drivers go, though, she’s never been in an accident the entire time I’ve known her.  So really, I should feel okay riding with her.)

I have a two-part policy.  If I’m going too slow and I was unaware until the car behind me rode my ass, then I will speed up.  If I’m going the speed limit or faster and the car behind me still is riding my ass, then I will slow down (and, if possible, I will block him from switching lanes and passing me).  I refuse to be intimidated to go faster when I’m already pushing the limits.  Let the other guy get the ticket.  I can’t afford it.

I applied this policy yesterday when driving in to work.  A guy in a red sports car started tailgating me.  When I noticed, I looked at my speedometer.  I was going 40 and the limit was 50.  So I sped up.  We were going along fine until I got behind a truck who was behind another car that was going slow.  The red sports car was still on me.  It was physically impossible for me to go any faster and this guy was riding dangerously close.  It wasn’t hard for me to determine that there was a slow-moving car in front of the guy in front of me.  The shadows on the pavement proved it so why couldn’t red sports car guy see it too and back off?  I threw my hands in the air and gave him my “What do you want me to do about it?” shrug.  He still didn’t get it.  When I saw my opening, I switched lanes.  “Tailgate someone else,” I said to him but I’m sure he didn’t hear.

When occurrences like this happen, it makes me think of a story Grandma K. used to tell me.  In the earlier part of the 20th century, Grandma K. was driving somewhere when another car started tailgating her.  She reached down and flipped on her headlights, which in turn made her red tail lights turn on.  The guy behind her slammed on his brakes, thinking she was stopping suddenly.  As he hit his brakes, she hit her gas pedal and sped away.  You go, Grandma K.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Rants

 

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Sexualized youth

Last year I went costume hunting with Judy the day after Halloween.  Everything was half off – literally.  The “children’s” costumes were about as tame as the adult costumes.  I was (and still am) disgusted.

Just two weeks after that Fred, his parents, and I were at our alma mater for a basketball game.  The half time show was a bunch of girls, ages 8 to 14, dancing.  I have no problem with girls getting exercise or finding their talent.  But I have an enormous problem with 8 year olds dancing gyrating.

We see this all the time but do we really stop to think how we’re messing with our children’s psyche?  Go to your local mall and look at the display windows for Gap Kids or Limited Too.  How many mannequin abs can you spot?  What about shorts that could substitute for underwear?  People are so up in arms because Miley Cyrus (who will be 18 in a few months) has started dressing sexier but where is the surge of anger for the everyday clothes even younger kids are wearing?  Do we just ignore it because it’s cute and on sale?

To top it off, today I was on one of my favorite time-wasting websites Fail Blog when I came across this epic fail photo:

Words cannot describe how disgusted I am.  Not only is this a HUGE parenting fail, but who makes tiny stripper clothes for tots? I wish I believed in a hell so I knew that there was some place where people like this (and whoever made those clothes) would go.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2010 in Rants

 

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How I met my boyfriend

Kids, back in the spring of 2009, I was having a pretty rough week.  Work was incredibly stressful and hard at the time.  I’d just gotten my review and I was disappointed in myself and my behavior.  I was carrying around a lot of guilt.  On top of that, my Zoloft prescription was running out and I hadn’t found a doctor yet who could fill it.  I was in a horrible mental state.

At the end of that awful week, I went to the roller derby.  Your aunt Judy was on the derby team back then.  Since I didn’t know how to skate, I helped with the tickets.  Uncle Tony was one of the announcers.  We always had a fun time at the rink.

As the crowd filed into the rink, I handed out tickets at the will-call table.  During a lull in the line, I looked up and saw a guy I thought I recognized.  I couldn’t quite place him though and before I could get the nerve to say anything, he was through the doors to see girls in fishnets hurt each other.  Later, when the bout was over, I said goodbye to Judy and Tony and headed for home.  They were disappointed that I wasn’t going to the after party but I am not one to go to bars and drink.  I was about a mile away from the rink when I thought, “Fuck it.  I’ve had a rough week.  I deserve a drink!”  I turned the car around and headed back to the rink where I found Judy and Tony.  They were thrilled.

Most of the crowd had dissipated at this point and the only people left were those cleaning up.  That familiar guy was still around so I pointed him out to Judy.  “I think I know that guy.”

“That’s Fredo!” she exclaimed.

“What?”

“That’s Fredo from The Godfather!”

Tony chimed in.  “You’re right, it is!”

Sheepishly I admitted, “I’ve never seen The Godfather.”

That could have been the end of my friendship with your aunt Judy and uncle Tony but thankfully they forgave me.*

A little while later I was texting my sister about this guy, still racking my brain as to where I’d seen him before.  He walked past me and despite my shyness, I blurted out, “Did you go to…” and then I named my college.

“I surely did,” he responded.

We introduced ourselves and chatted for just a little bit.  I prodded a little, trying to figure out if we had taken any classes together but we didn’t.  I figured that I must have just seen him around campus (it was a small school).

“I should probably get back to my friends,” he said.  “Will you be at the after party?”

“Yep.”

“I’ll see you there.”

At the bar, I started to get nervous.  I hadn’t been thinking about possibly picking up a boy because most of my energy was focused on figuring out how I knew him.  With that mystery solved, my brain was free to worry and think of all the possibly bad things that could happen.  I got a drink to try to shut it up.

I sat at one of the long tables with half of the team.  I was facing the door and I was trying to be as casual as possible as I watched it for Fred**.  When I finally spotted him, he wasn’t looking at me nor was he even looking around for me.  I started to steel myself for the possible disappointment that this was just another guy I would know and not anything more.

A little while later, the waitress came up to our table and said to the girl next to me, “Someone would like to buy you a drink.”

Thinking it was a fan (it’s not unusual for fans to buy girls on the team drinks), she told the waitress that it was okay.  The waitress then asked if she could bring him over.  The roller girl shrugged and replied, “I don’t mind but my husband might.”  I was halfway gone so I thought this was the funniest thing alive.  I started laughing really hard and loudly.  The waitress went off.

A few minutes later she returned, saying she made a mistake.  “I was supposed to ask you,” she said, looking at me.  I was dumbfounded.  Guys don’t buy me drinks.  Guys don’t try to pick me up.  “You’re wrong,” I told her.  “Guys don’t ask me out.”  I must have convinced her because she left again, but this time she seemed to be in a huff.

I watched as she walked over to Fred, grabbed his arm, and drug him to my side.  She sat him down in the empty seat next to me and left for the final time.  I think Fred was a little embarrassed but I didn’t care.  I thought it was incredibly sweet.

We talked for quite a long time.  We got along well (he had two cats; being an animal lover is a must for me).  Near the end of the evening the waitress walked by us, giving us a wink and Fred stopped her.  “I think I owe you a tip!” he said and slipped her some singles.  No doubt, she earned her tip that night.

And that, kids, is how I met my boyfriend.

*I have since remedied this problem.

**No, his real name is not Fred.  I changed it to protect the guilty, uh, innocent.  I picked Fred because it’s one letter away from Fredo.  Also, I used to have a huge crush on Fred Savage.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2010 in About me

 

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Spending is not saving

Hurry!  Act now!  This deal won’t last long!  Spend, spend, spend!

As the Today Show reported today, retailers are trying to get people to spend more money quicker.  They set up limited time only deals and use other tactics to get the consumer to buy impulsively.  The longer the consumer has to think about the purchase, the less likely she is to buy it.

As someone who works in retail (whose paycheck depends on the growing sales in the store) I want people to spend their money, too.  However, I don’t want them to spend to the point that their families go without food or heat.  The mentality that in order to save you must spend is a dangerous one and gets many people in trouble.

Say it with me: spending is not saving.

The Today Show interviewed a mother/daughter duo who are addicted to online discount sites.  They admitted that they are thrilled when they get a good deal.  The question that wasn’t asked was, “Are they actually getting a good deal?”  The daughter sees a $600 designer dress marked down to $200 and instantly she has to have it.  One click and it’s hers.  “I just saved $400!” she probably thought.  What she really should think is, “I just spent $200 on a dress.  Will I wear it enough to get that value out of it?”

This mentality is where problems arise.  The consumer thinks she is saving when really she is still spending.  Unless it is a necessity, like food or water, then everything else is a luxury and should be questioned before purchase.  This mother/daughter duo looked like they were well off but this thinking is dangerous for people of all stations.  The Today Show didn’t question the mother if there was any debt involved.  That is exactly where people are headed when they continually buy impulsively.  First the credit cards get maxed out and then there’s no money in the savings to pay it off.  Fees start piling up and the debt spirals out of control.  It could end in losing the house or having to declare bankruptcy.

There is a way to avoid all of this.  When getting a “deal” on a purchase, think “I spent…” rather than “I saved…” and see if you cringe.  If you don’t, try it again in a day or two.  If you’re still satisfied with the purchase, then keep it.  If you’re still cringing, get your money back.  Another way to save could be when passing up a “deal” like the $200 dress, take that $200 you would have spent and put it in your savings.

Let’s say it one more time: spending is not saving.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Rants

 

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Who needs books?

I love to read. I love holding a book in my hands and feeling the thickness of the pages. I get a sense of accomplishment when I feel the left side of the book get thicker. The sound of the pages turning and the smell of the book, whether it be new or old, add even more sensation than just sight or touch.

With the different versions of e-readers out there, though, the need for actual books is becoming more and more moot. And since I work in a bookstore that sells one of these types of e-readers, I’ve heard a lot of different opinions.  People can generally be lumped into one of these 3 categories:

Hardcore Book Fanatics
There are some people who flat-out refuse to read books on an electronic device. Books to them can never be replaced and a book is more sensational than any e-reader out there. (Perhaps the future versions of the nook or Kindle will have sounds of pages turning and even go so far as to extricate a smell of fresh ink on parchment. Older books can smell of mildew and simulate tears in pages.)  Still, the HBFs will always turn up their noses to such things. Paper is the way to go for them, no matter what.

The Minimalist
This group of people is the exact opposite of the HBFs. They, like my boyfriend Fred, want as little stuff around them as possible. The thought of having bookcases filled with books makes them shudder. If there is a way to have all the books they want on one small device, then they are for it. Of course, the more functions the device can do the better. These people are more likely to buy an iPad than just an e-reader.

The In-betweeners
This is the group of book lovers who believe that reading is a wonderful thing to which everyone should have access. They enjoy reading a book but they are not opposed to electronic reading. These people will have both an e-reader and a bookcase or two filled with books. Reading and literature are so important to them that it doesn’t matter the format as long as they’re reading something.

I’ve thought a lot about e-readers ever since I’ve had to start selling them. At first I thought of myself as an HBF but now I see myself as an In-betweener. I like the idea of having fewer books to lug around when I move and of being able to take just one item full of books on vacation rather than 3 or 4 heavy books. But I also enjoy the different sensations an actual book gives. I like going to author events and getting autographs – something you can’t do with an e-reader. However, the e-reader is a good idea for someone like me who is usually in the middle of 4 or 5 books at the same time. If I take my e-reader to work or on a vacation or even while going over to Fred’s, I have the option of which one I want to continue reading. Without the e-reader, I have to take just one (the fewer the books, the lighter the purse).   What if later on I’m not in the mood to read that but one of my other books instead?   In short, I believe that both books and e-readers are good. I may always favor books a little more, but e-readers have a good pull as well.

Now I just have to wait for some birthday money* before I can get my e-reader (from my store, of course).

*It’s in December.  Cash is preferred.

 

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