VM // Ocean city girl

July update

Ugh, I really didn't mean to go another month without posting again, sorry! I was unexpectedly struck with a bad cold for a while, and then I had to register for school. But now I'm all set. I'll be taking English, Media Studies, some art classes, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Philosophy, Sociology... a little bit of everything. I don't know if it's really leading anywhere, degree-wise, but I'm going to take the first year to just explore what interests me and figure it out from there. I'm on the wait list for about half of my classes, though, so I'm a little worried about that. I hope I get in!

My mom left her job. She was working for a nursing home that wasn't giving her enough hours because they wanted to hire younger, inexperienced people so they could pay them less. Nevermind that they don't know what they're doing, don't care to learn how to do it properly, and the residents are refusing care from them because of it. When she told me about some of the stuff that was happening, I said it sounded like a sweatshop for seniors, and she said that was basically what it amounts to. Seriously, with the amount of drama that goes on in that place, Grey's Anatomy has nothing on it. It was her choice to leave though, and she has so much experience that she could go anywhere else, but I think right now she's just trying to decide if she should retire or keep working. So it's actually a good thing, because now she can evaluate what she really wants to do. But it was a bit upsetting when she told me, because she went on about how she's thinking of selling the house and making arrangements for when she goes. This morning she said she was going to buy some pills from Mexico and get euthanasia! I really didn't want to hear any of that, even though I know it's coming eventually. She can be so morbid sometimes. She actually reads the obituaries for fun every day to see if anyone she knows has died. I don't know, it must be the depression talking.

Other than that, I've been doing a lot of summer reading and hanging out with my dog Oscar. He's doing much better now, his coat has grown in and it's nice and soft. He's getting pretty plump too - 30lbs! I can barely lift him! He still has a few behaviour issues we need to work on, but he's getting better.

I'm making progress with the bike riding, but slowly. I decided the mountain bike wasn't working and got a used cruiser instead. It needs a little TLC, but it's a cute little bike: three speeds, probably from the 70s, made in England, with an old school bell and a rack on the back, plus it folds up for easy storage. It looks like this. I'm looking into some local cycling groups who might be able to help me with lessons. I'm determined to learn how to ride, if I do nothing else this summer.

I'm always amazed at what people will throw out. In the last few weeks, I've seen my neighbours dump a barbecue, rolling cart, multiple TVs, a desk chair, lamp, hamper, printer and one of those vintage airline bags that I've been looking for (which I think I might have wrecked when I tried to clean it. Oh well.). And when I was walking Oscar around the schoolyard, I saw the janitor fill a dumpster with desks and chairs. That really made me mad, because our taxes pay for those, and they're just getting tossed. There was nothing wrong with them that I could see. I'm sure they could have been donated to some organization, or shipped to kids in Africa or something. I'm sure they'd love to have desks. My point is, this is such a wasteful society and I don't know where it ends. It gets to me.

One thing I've realized about using a service like Freecycle is, someone always has a use for something. Things you'd think no one would ever want, there's usually someone out there looking for that very thing. It's a great system and more people should know about it. There are chapters in several countries and it's free, so if you like giving and getting free stuff (and who doesn't?), check it out. As for me, thanks to my careless neighbours, I have a TV that isn't 20 years old for the first time in my life, and a virtually new printer, so yay for that!

I've started watching Mad Men, and I'm only a few episodes into the first season, but so far I'm really liking it. Everyone seems to love Don Draper the most, but I have to say, I find his wife Betty more intriguing somehow. She's so pretty and so fragile. I guess that's why he calls her Birdie. She worries a lot (and has good reason to, if she suspects Don is cheating on her) and she's a little naive, but that's part of her charm. I wonder how she and Don ended up together, because they don't seem well-matched. He seems to want to spend time with anyone but her. Then there's her neighbour, Helen, who's the total opposite of Betty – divorced, politically active, wears pants, and probably what a feminist resembles on this show. I think the other women in the neighbourhood feel threatened by her and that's why she's a bit of an outsider. Glen is a creepy kid though. Why did he want a lock of Betty's hair? Gross. And Sal, I'm pretty sure, is gay. Should be interesting to see what happens there, since homosexuality was considered a mental illness at the time.

If there is one character who irks me, it's Pete. That guy is such a sycophant. He tries way to hard to be liked and doesn't take a hint that he's going too far. He's so obnoxious that it's hard to feel any sympathy for him.

Beyond the social experiment that is Sterling-Cooper, it's the times and the style that are also interesting. What I notice most is how much people smoke. They do it constantly. One lady was even smoking and drinking while pregnant. Did people really do it that much? They must have known it was bad for them. In a later episode I saw, Don is pitching disposable diapers, and how they're so convenient because you can throw them away. Someone wonders why you would do that if you could just reuse what you have. Later on, Don takes the family on a picnic in the park and leaves all his trash behind. Apparently, recycling did not exist in the 60s. So there you have it: Don Draper, singlehandedly poisoning the planet for future generations. It does make you wonder, though, how advertisers could have ever sold people on some of the ideas that they did. I guess people were a lot more gullible then. Really, the show is fascinating on so many levels. I don't know if I can finish all three seasons before the fourth one starts on the 25th, but I'm going to try!

I joined We ♥ It. I don't know how many people are familiar with it, but it's cool. It's like delicious for pictures. If you come across one you like, you bookmark it, and it's a sort of virtual scrapbook. So if anyone else is over there, I'm oldsoul. Come and say hi! It's an addictive place.

I found some cheap vidding software on Ebay. I'm just waiting for it to arrive and then I can upgrade my ancient copy of Video Studio to a more recent version and start cranking out vids. I have so many ideas, I can't wait to get started!

And saving the best for last...Zachary Levi has Facebook! I don't know how I didn't think of this; probably because I don't spend much time there. It seems vaguely stalkerish to even mention, but he clearly wants to talk to people and let them know what he's up to. That is the purpose of the site, after all. He even made a video answering fans' questions, which he really didn't have to do. Anyway, he just got back from a trip to Europe, partly to promote Chuck but also for fun, and he's posted lots of pictures. The friend who accompanied him is a photographer, which means there are lots of great shots, not just of him, but of the sights and the people. They took a bunch of photos of the monkeys in Gibraltar, which are particularly funny. I think this one is my favourite. The main impression I got from looking at these is that he's so...normal. You don't expect that. Could he possibly be more charming? It would be really hard. He's got Twitter too (which is updated more often), if you'd prefer.

Happy 4th of July to my American friends!
  • Feeling: awake awake
Hey you! I've missed you!

I'm glad you're going to take your time and find out what you want to do in school rather than just pick something blindly.

I love Mad Men, but I hate Don Draper. We taught a class this year about sexuality in the 1960s and one thing that the instructor and I talked about constantly was Mad Men! Joan, Betty, and Peggy are the most compelling people in the show for me.
Hey you! I've missed you!
Aww, thanks. :)

I don't hate Don Draper, I just don't know where he's coming from. He's an enigma, and apparently it's meant to be that way. It's like he has this whole secret life and you don't really get to see that side of him. It's too bad, because there's so much potential there. I mean, a damaged war hero who changed his name and totally reinvented himself ? That's a great story, and normally the sort of thing I would be drawn to in a character. So I don't know if that changes over the course of the series, but so far, it isn't working for me. I do find it ironic though, that someone who is so clearly unhappy is in charge of selling happiness to other people.

That sounds like it would be a very interesting class! But you know, I was reading this article in Bust magazine about the real women of advertising in the 60s, and it wasn't quite as sexist as Mad Men portrays it. And today, the industry is made up of mainly women. So I think the show is taking some artistic liberties with what actually happened. But I guess that doesn't matter, because it's still compelling regardless.