Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shoulda Got the Year's Supply of Popcorn

Costco is a dangerous place, especially for two people with weak wills and a love of movies. Along with garbage bags and cat litter, The Husband and I picked up a handful of DVDs -- all temptingly priced.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Extended Edition -- Morgan Freeman does one of the commentaries. This I gotta hear.

Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, & Porco Rosso -- all early Miyazaki films. We picked up Laputa, Castle in the Sky last week. Yeah, we have a thing for Miyazaki. I want to see Ponyo, but I may wait for the DVD. I have to watch Princess Mononoke again -- I didn't like it when I saw it the first time, but I love Spirited Away, Naussica of the Valley of the Winds, and Howl's Moving Castle so much, I should give it a second chance. Kiki's Delivery Service, on the other hand, is just not coming into the house.

The Bourne Trilogy -- ok, fine, I like stupid violent movies with impossible action sequences. It was cheaper than buying 1 of the DVDs at Wal*mart.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Because it's Tuesday and I Might as Well

My blouse is almost finished -- four buttons and two button loops to attack and it's done. Then I start on the pants for The Husband's outfit. It has the fewest pieces. His jacket is cut out and waiting, too, then my vest.

We have been playing the If game here -- if he gets an offer from the university (a thing hinted at) and we stay in SC, where would we want to live? And because we are like that, we started looking at houses. Of course, we found one. We went to drive by it and ended up calling the realtor to look through the place. The house was built in the 1910s or about then, Craftsman in style, very southern. It's been through a few variations -- for a while, it was a halfway house for recovering drug addicts, which we sort of like (the idea that it was a place of new beginnings and hope). It's HUGE. Wood floors all over. A half-wrap porch. A nice back yard. A portico over the drive. We are told the attic area is huge and just needs better access and maybe finishing.

It also needs much roof work, new electrical, probably new plumbing, a complete kitchen redo and bathroom remodels, not to mention exerior wood replacement and repair and possibly several new windows. After that, it just needs the usual TLC. The floors are beautiful. The layout is wonderful. The price is incredible! It is just blocks from a medium sized downtown, walking distance from cafes and shops and even an art museum. The area is at the edge of a gentrification effort and the owners want to sell to residential, not commercial.

Of course, we are dreaming about it. I'm watching home improvement shows again. We talk about it. I think about what I want to do with it, and what it would be like to live there.

I wish I wasn't dreaming, really. We are a good 8 months from any chance of buying a house, by which time it will certainly be sold to someone else. We don't know if we will be staying in SC. Even if we stay, we don't know how long it would be, and a house purchase would require at minimum 5 years. If, if, if -- the bunnies keep popping up. I've already had three 'dream houses' in my life -- houses we planned on, talked about, but which never materialized. Our timing is always off, or our situations change, or it just doesn't happen.

I'm reluctant to dream because the disappointment of failed dreams is heavy. I try not to day dream about anything. I try hard not to anticipate or look forward to things. I've been doing this for -- what? 5 years now? 6? I'm getting quite accomplished. Of course, it is having negative effects otherwise. How can I balance looking forward to things with being realistic and not building up my hopes?

Maybe the answer is to stop fearing the disappointment. Maybe the pain of that is not nearly so terrible as the vast and spreading heavy numbness that takes up the place of dreaming, that is the result of being realistic, not hoping, not daydreaming. I don't know. I'm thinking it over.

Monday, August 24, 2009

DragonCon 2009

Is coming up and we are going and I'm making costumes. We have EXTREMELY COOL HATS. So far, I've accomplished 1 vest for The Husband and a skirt for me. I have to finish a blouse and vest for me, a jacket and pants for him, and possibly a shirt (maybe, I hope not), and then I must decorate my hat.

I'm having a hard time being motivated, though. As usual.

More Caffeine.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wherefor Twitter?

I'm having a pretty good time with Twitter. It's not quite addictive -- no games or anything. It is fun. I will tell you about it in bullet points because I'm feeling bullet pointy today.

  • It's a nice way to get bits of news if you follow CNN, NPR, or any number of other news sites with Twitter feeds. I'm very fond of Mental Floss.
  • I can pretend I'm talking to celebrities like @BrentSpiner @Don'ttrythis (Adam Savage from Mythbusters) or @RedHourBen (Ben Stiller). Authors I admire, like @MargaretAtwood, @Scalzi (John Scalzi) and @lilithsaintcrow are there -- I've even had conversations with Lilith, which is absolutely thrilling to me. Brent Spiner retweeted something I'd said with an answer and I grinned all day. So, cheap thrills.
  • I've gotten into conversations with various other interesting but more or less mundane souls like myself. Conversation is good.
  • I've discovered nifty little tools like Tweetdeck and NestUnclutterer to make my experience better and spammers miserable.
  • I can turn it off, walk away, and not worry about it for as long as 24 hours, but am still interested in reading things when I turn it back on.
  • I can get to it from my cell phone when I'm sitting somewhere being bored.
  • I can post pictures and links on it.
Like anything on the Internet, it has its own little code language -- RT (to retweet aka to repeat someone else's message, with or without editing for length or adding your own comment), DM (to send a private message to someone in mutual follow) and hashtag (the little # with words, used to tag comments for searches.) There are also the consessions made to fit thoughts into 140 characters, although I prefer not to chew up full words like You and Too if I can avoid it. I find it is a good place to practice consision.

It has downsides, of course -- what doesn't? Spammers are annoying. Fake celebrities can be entertaining, and certainly some celebrity tweeters are really staff members, but the big bother there is 1) upsetting the actual celebrity and 2) the crazy stupid uproar when it happens. I'm more in the "If you don't like it, stop following" camp. Seriously, it's a couple of mouse clicks to clear the annoyance from your life forever. Stop working yourself up to a dramallama moment.

Also, some days there isn't much going on. Some days are very active. What else is new?

I keep in mind that, even if I have friends (or "friends") on Twitter, I'm still mostly talking to myself. If I hear an answer from the depths, that's just an extra, a cherry, a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Consistantly Talking To Myself

Feeling reflective this morning.

I started an online journal in 1998 (yes, I did!), first as a piece of The Husband's domain, then under my own domain name. When Blogger appeared (long ago, in the dark mists of time) I moved over there, taking down the original journal (I have it backed up somewhere. It might even still be online). I had that weblog for a while, then took it down, too, in 2003. By the end of that year, I was back at it, with this weblog.

Then I got a Live Journal, but it's sooper sekrit, so don't ask (trust me, you don't want to know, and if you already do, you know that.) After that, Facebook appeared and I got onto that, left, and returned. Did the same with Goodreads -- got on, left, returned. And now? Now I am being eaten by Twitter. Yes, Twitter. I didn't see a reason for Twitter for a long while, but the temptations kept appearing, and finally some innocent friend sent me an invitation. So, I now have Twittering. I don't think I have to leave it to get perspective on it.

You see, that's what all the leaving is about. I dive in, get over my head, get a little scared, back all the way out, take a good look, and go back in with more control. I didn't realize that, of course, until I'd done it a few times (it is called Learning By Experience), but now I see it for what it is.

And what is it all about? As best I can tell, it's one big bid for attention. I am here, waving my arms around, jumping up and down, pretending to tap dance -- you name it -- to get someone to look my direction and maybe come over to talk. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I'm talking to myself in public (always a worrying activity).

However, the more I go into this weird, virtual world and watch it form in waves and troughs, the more I find myself listening to others, and tossing out the occasional line that says "Yeah, I hear you." Other people are waving their arms, too, with greater or lesser success.

I think about it a lot, this need for attention. Is it a lack of self sufficiency or some other awful, nasty, self critical failure I can ascribe to myself? Should I be ashamed? That will prompt occasional withdrawel, too, the whole downward swirl of "why should anyone pay attention to me" and the crowding demons attacking my self worth. Need I see myself reflected in the eyes of others to know I exist? Heavy question for something as simple and lightweight as blogging, Facebook, and Twitter.

Or maybe it is enough to talk to myself until I can't do it anymore, listening to my own voice echo and answering back "Yeah, I hear you."

It's working so far.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Movie Connections Part 1

The Husband and I are playing a little game with our DVD collection. The goal is to get through our entire movie collection one connection at a time. Can you trace the links?

We started with

Singing in the Rain
Tammy and the Bachelor
Forbidden Planet
The Glass Slipper
Love in the Afternoon

We plan to continue with

My Man Godfrey
Another Thin Man
Philadelphia Story
The Women
Auntie Mame
Daddy Long Legs
Easter Parade
The Harvey Girls
Nanny McPhee
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Die Hard
Fifth Element
The Professional
Tomorrow Never Dies
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Anna and the King of Siam
Steel Magnolias
Earth Girls are Easy
Independence Day
Ruthless People
First Wives Club
Practical Magic

That's as far as we've planned, but we have more movies. We are trying not to repeat any particular link, and looking for chances to have more than one link to move us. There are a lot of branches we could have taken, and there are some dead ends we are trying to avoid, but this will keep us busy for the rest of the year.