Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Swear Mini Cards

Inspired by swear words (and substitution swear words), I created mini cards that each convey a swear word moment. I was actually inspired by substitution swear words first; when I posted What the Fudge! I thought of various faux swear words and “blowhole” stood out in my mind. I envisioned a cute whale with “You blowhole!” on it, and I thought I could create a series of cards using swear words and drawings.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Let’s Fill the Silence

One of the most painfully long (or at least seemingly long) conversations to have with others is small talk. It could happen at any time or any place. It could be with acquaintances, or friends of friends, or relatives you hardly ever see or people you just happen to cross paths with, but somehow you’re in a situation where you’re forced to interact with that someone…and often it makes for some awkward conversation.

When two people don’t know each other very well, what is there to talk about? The weather is often one of the first conversation points brought up because everyone knows what’s happening with the weather. You’ve been experiencing it yourself so you know if it’s been hot or cold or sunny or rainy. (Of course if both parties already know what the weather’s been like, is it really necessary to talk about it—it probably wasn’t very exciting while you were actually experiencing it in the first place). [Sigh.]

Small talk tends to fall into the shallow end of the conversation spectrum. Topics that aren’t very personal and perhaps just based upon straightforward facts are often the focus because anything too personal may inadvertently offend the other person (and that would just make things even more awkward).

Yet while small talk isn’t the most riveting conversation, somehow it seems to be preferable to most people than silence (at least in the U.S.). Silence tends to make people uncomfortable; they’re not quite sure what to do if they’re not talking. It may be based upon being polite and not ignoring the other person, but sometimes it would be nice to skip any effort for small talk. Sometimes small talk just makes things even more abundantly clear that neither of us has anything in common nor is particularly interested in the other person. Sometimes silence is preferable.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

That’s Interesting…

Just one word can say a lot. Some words are very specific in meaning and are instantaneously telling when used. For example “stodgy” and “vapid” are synonyms of “boring”, yet they have very different nuances; “stodgy” brings to mind something old and dreary (and my mind jumps to that stereotypical professor with those round patches on his jacket), while “vapid” brings to mind something empty and lifeless (like a life-size doll of a person). These two words may share some similarities, but the difference between them is vast.

However, some words are so vague that they can have many meanings and therefore mean practically nothing, like the word “interesting”. “Interesting” is so open that it can mean practically anything. It could mean “good” and “fun”, but it could also mean “stupid” and “ugly” (given the right situation).

“Interesting” has to be one of the most overused words used (and I know I use it all the time). It’s just such an easy adjective to use and it often just pops right out of my mouth without any thought, even though there are better more descriptive adjectives for a given situation. Sometimes it’s used sincerely (and something or someone really is interesting and intriguing), while other times it’s used to soften the blow. Like when someone says, “That’s interesting…” and the real meaning is “That’s stupid” (which is all implied in the tone of voice). So when someone says the word “interesting” I often think in my head, “Is this a good interesting or a bad interesting?” Because “interesting” is a word that’s often up for interpretation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It’s Just a Little Bit of Rain

While some parts of the world have rainy seasons where the rain comes down hard and heavy and gets most of the annual rainfall done in a couple months, Oregon does the opposite; about two-thirds of the year is rainy (or at least overcast with the threat of rain). The rain could come down hard, but often times it’s fairly light. It drizzles. It sprinkles. It showers. [Pause.] It’s just there…constantly.

So you really have no choice but get used to the rain. Barring the summer, it probably rained yesterday and it will probably rain tomorrow. So you accept it and just shrug it off. Sure, you can always use an umbrella to shield yourself from the rain, but I admit that more often than not I don’t really even bother using one; it just seems like such a hassle to use and once you’re indoors (assuming you’re not at a location you’re spending the day at, like work), what do you do with your wet umbrella? Carry it around with you? Place it on the ground and inevitably forget it? It’s just annoying. [Sigh.] I will use my umbrella if it’s raining really hard or if I have to walk a long distance, but other than that I tend to just walk in the rain.

When I see someone using an umbrella when it’s drizzling and walking a short distance (e.g. from the parking lot to a department store) I usually think that they’re not from around here—they must be from a particularly sunny place and they haven’t built up their rain immunity yet to bear getting wet. Because walking a couple of minutes in the rain isn’t that far (and besides you’ll dry off soon enough)…it’s just a little rain.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Know it’s Stupid, but…

I think there are certain movies, TV shows, books and songs that we know are stupid but (for whatever reason) still like them. [And I don’t mean things that are so bad that they’re good (e.g. Plan 9 From Outer Space), I mean things are actually bad and there’s no filter that makes them good]. I suppose these are guilty pleasures because we should know better, and in fact we do know better and that’s why we feel so bad about liking them.

Ideally, I wouldn’t like anything stupid because it certainly doesn’t deserve to be liked. Recognizing stupidity is often instantaneous, and my brain screams: “Don’t read it! Don’t watch it! Don’t listen to it! It’s too stupid to like!” But every so often some dumb part of me refuses to listen. And I will enjoy that poorly written novel. And I will be entertained by that utterly absurd movie. And I will sing along to the lyrics of that song that should make me cringe at its insipidness. And I will feel bad about liking something that lacks quality.

Liking something stupid tends to take me by surprise. I think most of us want to believe that we have good taste and that we like things for good reason…but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes something stupid weasels itself into your good graces and you just can’t seem to shake it off. [Pause.] It’s stupid.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Don’t Suck Me In

Sometimes I make a conscious decision not to do something because I know I’ll just get sucked in and it’ll inevitably just suck my time away. For example, I avoid playing video games. I played them as a child (although not obsessively) and enjoyed them, but even then I think I realized that I didn’t really want to get too sucked into them. Video games take a lot of time and energy because you have to actively pay attention to them (you can’t half play them like you can half watch TV).

It’s not that many of the things I avoid wouldn’t be enjoyable, it’s just that it’s easy to become into something, and then you spend all of this time doing that something. Sewing is a good example of me suddenly getting into something, where I went from never sewing to buying a sewing machine, and then buying fabric (and more fabric and more fabric) and buying sewing patterns and notions. It was like a domino effect of getting more and more stuff, and then spending all this time sewing different garments. And while I like sewing, it certainly evaporates my time quickly [because it takes many hours just for me to sew a skirt. (Sigh.)]

Moderation is a good thing…if you can do it. But I think most people have at least something (if not a few things) that they do in excess because they love to do them. So I have to pick and choose which time consuming things I want to spend time on and which things aren’t worthwhile for me. Because there seems to be an infinite number of time suckage things you could do, but only a finite amount of time you have to do them in.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vintage Stamp Catalogue – Part 2

Most of the stamps I showed last week from United States Stamp Catalogue Specialized were more serious in nature, so this time I thought I’d show some of the more “fun” stamps from the same book. I mostly picked out stamps that were more light and celebratory (e.g. Christmas, sports, fairs, bazaars and anniversaries).