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Archive for the ‘Commonplace Items’ Category

Most folks sing in the shower. That’s a bit mainstream for me, though. You know what I do?

<best Japanese accent> Special attack! <dramatic martial arts moves> Ice shine!

If you’re wondering what that looks like, well, it’s a mixture of Grey (from Fairy Tail) and Armstrong (from Fullmetal Alchemist). Let’s see. The first part is serious, mimicking Grey’s fist-in-open-palm motion; then both hands slick back the hair and a sparkling pose is struck, mimicking Armstrong. Simplified here, but it’s pretty amazing.

Have I always done this? No. Truth be told, I did not discover this shampoo/conditioner until recently. My hair’s kept short, so it takes me a while to go through shampoo. It was finally time to buy more, so I went to the store.

Pause. I rhymed! Done.

The hair products aisle is always daunting for me. I just want shampoo. I don’t care if it’s for curly hair, dyed hair, red hair, frizzy hair–I just want my hair clean. However, I saw this clear bottle on the shelf: Ice Shine.

Apparently there’s no silicone in it. I have no idea what that means for my hair, but I’m guessing I am safer now than I was.

There I am, standing in front of the shelves like a drowning cat, staring at this bottle. You know what was going through my head? See the second sentence of this post. Yes, I developed a special move while standing in the aisle. Quickest shopping trip ever. I don’t tend to buy things based on name, but I did this time.

My hair doesn’t feel any different. Who knows? Maybe it’s healthier at a structural level. All I care about is that my Ice Shine move can blind enemies as far away as 30 yards. it’s all in the control. Stronger motions mean a wider radius. I can direct my attack into a beam for further effectiveness, though this is best kept within 10 yards.

Moral of the story: Anime and martial arts movies can change your life.

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I recently sat down to write an e-mail, a lengthy one. It occurred to me while I was doing this that e-mails are really not that exciting. Not nearly as exciting as a regularly posted letter is. Naturally, that got me thinking. It took me two hours to write that e-mail (It was only a few paragraphs, by the way.).

By now, I’m sure that you’ve noticed my penchant for older things, antiques. I am, at times, surprisingly old-fashioned. I am still refusing to purchase a “smart” phone and whenever I’m asked to utilize one I dissolve into a puddle of goo just trying to unlock the cursed thing. I am mocked for this, you should know. Letters fall into that category of things that I wish weren’t digital. I still have letters from a friend in England, from my parents, and even some from another friend who was an amateur artist decorating his envelopes with various cartoons and pencil drawings. I love receiving mail. When I see that I have messages in my inbox, I am not nearly as giddy as when I open up my mailbox to find a hand-addressed envelope waiting for me. Is there a reason? Not one that I can determine as yet. E-mails are just letters put into a digital universe. Somehow, though, I feel like they lack something.

It’s a lot like my dislike for e-readers. I want a book, real pages to turn. A couple of folks in my family have moved on to these devices and we tease one another about the pros and cons of each. None of us have been convinced to change our minds. No surprise there, really.

What does that make me? I like to touch, to feel. While an e-book or an e-mail are still written by whoever it is I am wanting to hear from, I feel so much more separated from them. It’s ironic because I thoroughly enjoy reading the blogs of authors I follow; they make me feel closer to them. Go figure.

Maybe it’s because I feel that the digital world lacks a kind of personalization that we used to have. I suppose I just need to sit down and accept the fact that things are different now. Personalizing e-mails and e-books and e-cards still happens; it’s just different.

Change. So many things come down to that, don’t they?

Z.

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There is no reward for two posts in five days, is there? Drat.

I am a miser by trade. Shopping is my mortal enemy. However, there are a few things that I will most readily obtain. This is called collecting, not shopping. Books are my primary focus, followed by music (I have dramatically improved in this area over the course of the last year.), and this brief list ends with hats. Top hats, fedoras, baseball caps, newsboy hats, knit caps, fezzes – so many hats, so little coin!

The other day, as I was “cleaning,” I realized that the top of my wardrobe, my kitchen counters, my dining-room table, my living-room end tables and coffee table, and a few chair backs were an insufficient sorting system for my many hats. Thusly, on a bit of a whim, I struck out to find an adequate hat rack. I ended up in an antique market where I found a perfect candidate (and a book – an excellent one) and, after some slight hesitation, procured it. That evening I sat down to enjoy a bit of solitude, a cool breeze, and the glory of my own space (This is different from solitude. Very much so.). One’s own space somehow manages to hide little wonders. Or perhaps the little wonders are simply introduced into said space along the course of one’s life.

The point being that I found myself contemplating my new/old hat rack. What I love about antiques is the stories of which they have been a part. What I love about those “antiques” that I possess is the stories of which they will be a part. So I sat there thinking about whose hat my hat rack had held and how they had come to be there. Yes, you read correctly. I spent an evening making up stories about a hat rack, hats, and strangers. It was good fun. Everyone used to wear hats. Men, women, children…pet mice? There are fancy hats and casual hats, expensive and cheap. Pretty ones, ugly ones, hideous ones, glorious ones – I did not have a story for every hat, but some day I might.

Then there were my own hats to consider. However, as I do my utmost to avoid imagining my own future, this lasted for only a few minutes. Instead, the conjoining of past, present, and future occupied that tiny space in my cranium devoted to musing. Here is this “relic” from days gone by, standing in my living room, and (at least for the foreseeable future) will hold many hats in the days to come.

When you think about it, everything has this property. A tree was once a seed; a book was once a part of a tree. As humans, we are the amalgamation of everything that has happened before us – things that our ancestors did, choices that our grandparents made, places that our parents went. Total strangers, for the most part, shaped our world. Just think. That means that we are shaping the world for those who will come after us. They will be the product of our actions. At some point, we will be just like this hat rack. We will be an object from the past, standing in the middle of a “new” world, and still contributing to it in days to come.

Not bad for an antique…

Z.

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A radio station here recently ran an informal survey to determine whether or not pencils were still in daily use, outside of job requirements that is. The hosts seemed surprised when quite a few folks called in to say that they consistently used pencils instead of pens.

As this was a question that plumbed the depths of modern philosophy, it got me thinking: Which do I use and what does it say of me? Rarely is there a simple to answer to a simple question. If I use a pencil, am I too old-fashioned? If I use a pen, am I too modern? Does the term “vintage” apply to pencil-use? How about “cutting-edge” to pen-use? Do I use pencils because my self esteem is so low that I must edit and re-edit a Post-it note for fear of scribbling the wrong thing? Or is it because I am a perfectionist and pencils allow me to erase over and over again until it is just right? Do I use pens because I am arrogant (or merely confident) in my abilities? Am I reckless, plowing through line after line regardless of proper grammar or spelling? Perhaps I seek permanence or wish to leave a legacy? Ink lasts longer than a bit of ground lead. Maybe I am sentimental or eccentric, the sound of a pencil-tip scratching across the surface of coarse paper reminding me of days gone by and spurring my thoughts to greater creativity?

“And what if you are merely insane?” you ask.

Well, that’s a topic for another day. Pencils. I came to the decision that there are criteria for my use of one over the other. I adore pencils (Focus, padawan.) for their aged qualities. The scent of a freshly-sharpened pencil is pure heaven and there is nothing akin to the feeling of utter joy when facing a single, blank sheet of paper with only a #2 pencil in hand. You sighed just now, didn’t you? I know I did.

Pens are completely different. They are silent, smooth. Use them with three or more sheets of paper. Always. If I want something to last, I use pen. Even those pesky “erasable” pens never completely remove the ink. For some, pens even add an air of professionalism. They can be bold or fine, crisp or bleed-y (It’s a fairly new term. You’ll get used to it.). And don’t forget the color options! Just when you think you’ve seen every shade of red known to mankind, another one crops up that is precisely the color you’ve been looking for your entire life.

Needless to say, I use both of them. I could launch into further questioning as to what that little tidbit says about me, but I’ll not do so. For your sakes. My mind automatically commenced the query when I first began this post, so there’s really nothing I can do about it for my sake.

How interesting is it that we can analyze something so trivial and “determine” an individual’s personality based on our observations? I find it very interesting. Our world today decries stereotyping or generalizing; yet we seek out personality quizzes and psychologists who do just that. We love it. Crave it, even. Is it because we feel that we know so little about our own selves that we hope that someone else can shed some light into the shadowy space we call a soul?

Distractions, distractions…

Z.

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