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October 2008

6 entries from September 2008

Seven years already?

On this date in 2001, I made my first DVD rental from Netflix. Picked three movies, received all three two days later.

In alphabetical order:

Antz. I can’t remember exactly why I rented this. Only thing I can figure is it was a fairly new DVD release at the time, and probably I wanted to be able to compare it to A Bug’s Life, which was due for release in November of that year.

The Big Kahuna. Hated this movie. Hated, hated, HATED it. Rented it because I generally like Kevin Spacey and the trailers somehow made it look good to me.

Enemy of the State. Will Smith’s latest (at the time) blockbuster, and it held my attention from beginning to end despite the occasionally laughably obvious plot.

I was struck, as I looked over the rest of my rental history, by how strongly I remember some of the movies, or at least the circumstances of their rental or viewing, and by how utterly forgettable other movies have proved to be. The Ice Storm, for example, I still clearly remember watching on a November evening in 2001. The film itself didn’t register on me much, neither particularly good nor hideously awful, though I quite like both Kevin Kline and Joan Allen; but the circumstances of when and where I watched it, I remember well. Not so for Spider-Man 3, which my calendar and my Netflix history both tell me I watched less than a year ago on Nov 15, 2007, but which I have no memory of seeing—neither the movie itself nor the when/where of it apart from my calendar record.

The seven years in my Netflix history since, by the numbers:

  • 435: Number of movies I’ve rented.
  • 165: Longest time (in days) I held a movie. I’d lost a Netflix envelope among a stack of papers and needed several months to find it. And then returned it UNWATCHED.
  • 50: Discs returned unwatched due to lost interest. Some of these I knew I wouldn’t watch and forgot to remove them from my queue.
  • 14: Times I changed my membership level, as high as 4-at-at-time/unlimited and as low as 1-out/2-monthly depending on how I was using the service at any given time.
  • 12: Number of movies I’ve rented twice.
  • 9: Discs returned for replacement due to unplayability. Scratches mostly, my DVD player is VERY sensitive to that; but in one case, the DVD arrived snapped into four pieces inside its mailer.
  • 2: Times I put my account on hold while I was moving from one state to another.
  • 1.2: Average number of movies per week over the entire 7-year run.
  • 1: Shortest time (in days) I held a movie (actually 30 different titles) and number of movies I rented 3 times.
  • 0: Discs I’ve lost and Times I’ve entered movie-rental stores.

Hell of a ride. I wonder how much my late fees would have been on those films I kept longer than the brick-and-mortar stores’ policies allowed back in 2001? I should figure that out sometime, but I think this is enough stats geekery for now.

So I was standing at the urinal just now

And I was thinking, hey dude in the stall by the sinks, you should turn your phone to its “silent” mode if you’re going to press a lot of buttons while you’re doing your natural business in there, because it sounds like you’re emitting an oddly staccato but low-pitched grunt otherwise.

Then I thought: Speaking of phones, I just put my phone in my pocket. Did I lock the keys?

Next thought: Wait. That sounds a lot like my phone.

Final thought, as somehow I managed to maintain my aim while I dug my phone out of my pocket and looked at the screen to see the short stack of random calendar events created by the keyboard presses the phone had endured in my pocket: Dammit, I really need to dig out my phone belt clip again. And stop, in the silences of my mind, giving other people shit about their weird bathroom habits.

Overheard in New York | Not to Mention Spidey-Sense

This one hurts my brain.

Woman #1: So, how are you holding up?
Woman #2: You know, doing the best I can, using the five senses.
Woman #1: There’s six senses.
Woman #2: No there’s five: walking, talking, breathing, reading and writing.
Woman #1: What about seeing?
Woman #2: Well yeah, there’s also fire, wood, air, and water; but I don’t know why they don’t count those.

—B68 bus

Link: Overheard in New York | Not to Mention Spidey-Sense


This morning I was horrified to discover I left my apartment front door unlocked all night, and I left my front passenger window rolled down when I got home yesterday afternoon.

Strictly from a personal– or property-safety perspective, neither of these is cause for huge concern. The part of town where I live isn’t a massively high-crime area, and I live in a secured building so the front-door thing was less a personal security risk and more a memory failing. And while there have been some vehicle break-ins in this neighborhood over the years, there have been none in my building’s parking lot in the year and a half I’ve lived here.

It’s much more the lapses of memory that wig me out.

While I was lying in bed last night, just before I drifted off, I did wonder to myself if I had locked the door after I got home from the day’s activities. But I dismissed the concern out of hand, so when I reached to disengage the deadbolt this morning on my way to work, I thought: Did I already unlock the door this morning? Why, if I did? And if not, why didn’t I listen to myself last night when I wondered if I had locked it?

Even though my building is secured and my neighbors are pretty low-key, I normally lock my door the moment I close it because my apartment door is at the end of a corridor with an exit stairway door immediately to its right. I would lock the door immediately more often than not, but I purposefully got into the habit after the time a few months ago when a man I’d never seen before (nor since) walked into my apartment thinking he was opening the stairwell door. He didn’t immediately realize his mistake and turn around even when he saw a coat tree and a litter box instead of a stairway, or perhaps he just figured someone was using the stairwell as a storage space of some kind. So he continued further into my apartment, I guess thinking maybe the stairway was around the corridor or maybe off the bedroom.

Shocked looks on both our faces when I came out of the kitchen to ask him just what the hell did he think he was doing? He mumbled something about looking for the stairwell and hastily backed out the door, and I started keeping the door locked all the time.

The car thing is a little more disconcerting. I had both front windows rolled down on my drive home yesterday afternoon, and I clearly remember closing the driver-side window when I got home. Passenger window didn’t even register on my mind at all, in fact I didn’t notice it was open until I started the car and thought, hmm, seems louder than usual.

And sound louder it does when the window’s open, idiot!

I did the quick once-over: Glove compartment, center console, visors, stereo intact. Nothing was missing or even appeared disturbed.

Signs of approaching middle age, I suppose. Urk.

Weekend in a minute

  1. Beautiful weather. This was all weekend, but it started Friday, so chronologically it goes first.
  2. Drinks and dinner with Katharine and our coworker friend Ian at Macaroni Grill Friday night. Second time I’d been there in a week, but only once for a meal. And while we were there . . . .
  3. Ran into my friend Matt and his roommate Liz, who were there to wait for their other friend Jason, who is one of the bartenders. So of course I had to hang out with them a bit once the dinner part of the evening was over, and somehow that meant a trip to the grocery store to buy a foot-long sub that was actually 14 inches (I called it “the baker’s foot”—I am such a card) and a 12-pack of Coca-Cola. For Jason, that is. I still had my lasagna leftovers.
  4. SLEPT. Ahh.
  5. Relaxing Saturday morning and early afternoon of household stuff. Never used to relax me, now I find it enormously satisfying. Damned adulthood.
  6. A complete reset of my TiVo, which had been doing Spanish-language and cooking shows again, but oddly, no Spanish-cooking shows. Also insisted it was out of program info as of yesterday even though the listings actually ran through the 18th. The little TiVo dude may be cute and cuddly, but damn if I don’t want to slap the shit out of him sometimes.
  7. Lovely happy hour and dinner with Julie Anne at Bell Street Diner on the Seattle waterfront. Watched some cruise ships pull away, watched some drama with a whole passel of Seattle Fire Department trucks and personnel including divers for a water rescue that wasn’t actually necessary. Also a lot of BYU fans who were just pleased as non-alcoholic punch by their football team’s one-point victory over the Washington Huskies, though the one set of blue-wearing jackasses on our left did spend a good part of their meal whining about how the Cougars beat the Huskies by “only” one point, woe are they, their team is better than that! The one guy ordered the salmon pot pie, which Julie Anne hates and would normally warn persons she likes against ordering it. This BYU-fan numbnuts she encouraged to order it.
  8. Home by 21:00 Saturday so I had a nice evening of warm weather, lovely Seattle city views, and my new rope lights on the balcony to add a bit of ambience, and to blind me to the views of the closer neighborhood. Hadn’t quite thought that all the way through, but it works well enough for the light I actually want out there sometimes.
  9. SLEPT more. Ahhhhh.
  10. Woke up absurdly early, silly body getting used to the work schedule and holding me to it on the weekends. Drank 12oz Diet Coke, which seems like way TMI but is important a point or two down the line.
  11. Met Matt for coffee at Borders in Alderwood Mall. Twelve ounces of non-fat white chocolate mocha there (again, not really TMI, just wait for it), ahead of
  12. The 11:30 showing of The Dark Knight in Lynnwood, accompanied by roughly half of a 32oz (they call that “small”) Diet Coke at the theater, so that when the (3-hour!) movie was over
  13. I could barely stand up, my bladder was so stretched. RESTROOM EMERGENCY, I walked out of the theater bent over like Igor from Young Frankenstein, but I made it with no lasting ill effect. Ahhhhhhh.
  14. Late lunch with Matt in Edmonds at Anthony’s Beach Cafe, or Bell Street Diner North as I’ve decided to call it. Similar menu, similar waterfront experience (though the sandbox and screaming children added a whole level of Family Fun! to the meal), absolutely GORGEOUS afternoon.
  15. Home to wind down the weekend with a few more householdy things while I get into the mindset for my first full five-day work week in what seems like months, but is really only a few weeks, after the last few work weeks were shortened by holidays and visiting family.

Seems like such a more happenin’ life when it’s listed in 15 items like this, go figure.