Monday, March 6, 2017

Top 5, Bottom 5: 1985

Here, let's have a quick, simple blog post to talk about my favorite and least-favorite movies of 1985 according to my Flickchart. I've only seen 23, so there are a lot more I've yet to get to, but here are the standouts so far. All rankings are out of 2588 movies.

Top 5:
1. The Purple Rose of Cairo (#10). My second-favorite Woody Allen movie is this charming story of a woman whose favorite movie character steps off the screen to spend some time with her. It takes an unexpected turn at the end that I used to like, but I have since fully embraced it.
2. Back to the Future (#20). Two 1985 movies in my top 20? Wow. This is a classic favorite for a reason. It's such a creative, smart, funny script, and all the actors do an amazing job bringing it to life.
3. Ladyhawke (#69). Granted this is a nostalgic pick for me, but I have always liked tragic love stories, and this has such a great one at the heart of it.
4. The Breakfast Club (#134). I need to rewatch this one, but I remember being really impressed with how the script brought these characters to life. This kind of one-room drama has often been attempted but this is one of the few true successes.
5. Better Off Dead (#285). A delightful surprise when I first watched it. It's a morbidly quirky rom com starring John Cusack as an emotional teenager, and it's fantastic.

Bottom 5:
5. Silverado (#2080). This one, to be fair, probably isn't nearly deserving of its spot here. I mostly remember thinking it was just okay, not bad.
4. After Hour (#1882). This Martin Scorsese comedy is so over-the-top that it doesn't sit right with me at all and ends up reminding me of Lynchian horror more than anything else.
3. The Goonies (#1818). From my experience, it seems like most people who watch this as an adult are as unimpressed with it as I am. The tone of it is super weird to me, and I don't like any of the characters.
2. Legend (#1639). Tim Curry aside, this weird little movie is pretty forgettable. I had to think for a minute to remember which one it even was.
1. The Man With One Red Shoe (#1515). Like Legend, this movie just isn't terribly memorable. I think Tom Hanks was okay in it.

Top 5 I Haven't Seen:
1. Come and See (globally #337)
2. Re-Animator (#502)
3. Pale Ride (#792)
4. Day of the Dead (#803)
5. Witness (#848)

What's your favorite movie of 1985? And which of my unseen ones should I watch first?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 Resolutions: March Check-In

I do not have high hopes for this one. February was a rough month, and I guess we're about to see just how rough.

My diet goal for February was to eat only one fast food meal a week. Yeah, I suuuuuuuuucked at that. I spent way too much money on food that's not good for me because it was easier. But I did okay like... the first week, so let's go with 2/10. So I'm trying this one again. I want to restrict myself to one fast food meal a week. Let's make this happen.

February's exercise goal was to go to the gym after work on Thursdays and Fridays. HA. 0/10. Not even once. On the plus side, I did a LOT of Pokemon walks now that the app's got new Pokemon, so I'm going to try to capitalize on that this month. Let's go with take a Pokemon walk every day it's not raining. Long, short, doesn't matter, the goal is just to make me move.

February's God goal was to keep my nightstand clear so I could stash Bible stuff on it and then spend time with God. Well, I did the hard part of clearing it off in the first place, digging out Bible stuff, and cleaning it back off at least twice, so I'm going to give myself a 5/10 for that. Now to make the second half happen. My goal this month is twofold: clear the nightstand every night (so nothing piles up and gives me an excuse) and then back to the good ol' spend time with God. I'll make each half of this worth 5 points, so we'll see where I end up next month.

February's financial goal was to caption a little bit every day I'm home before 4. I did all right on this, particularly at the beginning of the month. Toward the end it got wonky because Rev didn't have as much work as they have lately, so I kept getting out of the captioning rhythm, but I'm still pretty happy. Let's go with 7/10. This month's finance goal is to take care of the thing that's been hanging over my head for about a month now, and that's to get taxes filed. We're doing it ourselves online this year, and while it's not difficult with the program we use, it is time-consuming and I need to just sit down and get it done so we're not scrambling like we were last year to finish in time.

February's tidiness goal was to do two loads of laundry every week. Nope. Nope, not anywhere near. Not even on my week-long break where I vowed to myself I was going to catch up on all the laundry. I did a load one week and then Jacob did two loads one week, so Jacob gets a 2.5 for my goal and I get a 1. I'm going to keep plugging away at laundry, but I'd also like to assign myself a one-time-only task because maybe I'll get that accomplished even if I can't do a repeated one. So I'd like to clean up the bathroom. In our low-space bedroom area it's somehow ended up as the dumping ground for dirty laundry and stuff I never unpacked from Christmas, and that's ridiculous. I want to put away Christmas stuff, put laundry where it belongs and do a good sweep of the whole area since there's been stuff sitting on that floor for two months now.

February's relationship goal was to do some board gaming two weekends. We did this once, so 5/10. And, actually, I'd like to go for this again. Let's do some board gaming two weekends this month. And I'd like at least one of those to be with our local board game buddies which we have a terrible time scheduling meetups with lately.

February's art input goal was to watch all the romance movies in my movie suggestion challenge. This was a lofty goal, but I probably could have accomplished it if I wasn't also scrambling to catch up on Oscar nominees. Whoops. I made it through about a third of the ones I needed to, so let's give me a 4/10, rounding up because at least the reason I didn't make it was because I was watching other movies, not just goofing around online. Seeing a bunch of movies this past month felt great, and I'd like to keep that going, so let's try to see two movies in theaters every week. Let's use my MoviePass!

February's art output goal was to write one other blog post this month. GUYS I TOTALLY DID THAT. 10/10. OK, I have a very specific one for March. I contribute blurbs about movies to the Flickchart blog's monthly "Top 10 of [some past year ending in 7]." Last week was 1967. I'm always scrambling to get these pulled together at the last minute. What I want to do now is look ahead to the months coming up and get my movie blurbs for the year written ahead of time. That would be a solid chunk of output from me, and it would save me a lot of scattered work in the future.

In January, I scored 28.5/80 (35%). This month I got 34 out of 80, or 42%. That's still not, ya know, a passing grade, but at least I'm approaching the halfway mark, and that feels good. Here's to March!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Top 10 Songs From Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 1)

So for those who haven't been paying attention, my latest TV obsession is the musical show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which stars Rachel Bloom as a woman unsuccessfully looking everywhere for happiness. I love the show for many reasons. I love the way it deals with the main character's mental health problems, I love how flawed the characters are, I love that it has so many strong and unique female characters, and, of course, I love the music. The show typically has about two original songs a week, in a variety of musical styles, and they're almost all fantastic.

Here are the 10 songs I love the very most from the first season, with the season two favorites coming soon. I initially had them all in one mega list of favorites, but I found it was almost exclusively season one. Season two songs aren't bad, but I just finished the season and haven't had as much time to fall in love with their songs. So they'll get their own section later.

(Note that my #1 choice has a curse word in the title that I have not censored in this post.)

10. Cold Showers

One of the things I love most about this show is its foray into parodies of not just big general song styles, but very specific showtunes. In season one, we get amazing revamps of "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy, "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables, and, here at #10, the show's answer to "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man. Central character Rebecca Bunch is a real estate lawyer trying to convince an entire apartment complex that they should hire her to sue the landlord over their lack of hot water, and, in the vein of Harold Hill, has to make some pretty huge leaps of logic to get them down the road she wants them to.

Best line: "And they think to themselves, 'That shower felt great. Maybe I'll try cocaine!'"



9. I'm So Good at Yoga

This was the song that convinced me I should keep watching the show, back in episode two. In this song, Rebecca goes to a yoga class taught by her crush's gorgeous girlfriend Valencia, and she imagines a Bollywood dance sequence in which Valencia taunts her with everything she's ever been insecure about in herself. It's such a great portrayal of the way a very insecure person sees the world and those around them. Warning, though, this song is insanely catchy, so if you watch this, you'll probably be singing it forever.

Best line: "I'm not afraid of clowns and trains."




8. Feeling Kinda Naughty

And this song, also from the second episode, convinced me I needed to watch the show forever for all time, primarily because it took me so much by surprise. It starts out looking like it's going for a cutesy sexy love song vibe and then takes an abrupt dark turn exploring how we can become utterly fascinated by (and perhaps obsessed with) the people who we most want to be.

Best line: "I want to lock you in a basement, but in that basement you would also be my personal trainer."



7. I'm a Good Person

In the style of an 80s pop ballad, Rebecca sings a self-congratulatory anthem about what a good person she is. If there's one song that sums up what gets Rebecca in the most trouble on the show, it's this one. She's so desperate to convince others that she is a good person that she doesn't want to waste her time doing, ya know, actually good things that won't get her as much attention. Since she can't actually prove through her selfish actions that she is a good person, the next best thing she can do is sing loudly about it (and threaten bar patrons with a knife until they agree).

Best line: "My nickname is Mother Theresa Luther King."



6. What'll It Be?

The musical numbers in this show are impressive in that even when they're doing comedic style parodies, they keep the emotional thread running throughout. This number amps up the melancholy in "Piano Man" to become a song about someone completely stuck in his depressing job as a bartender in the town he grew up in. The initial song's tone of fond nostalgia turns into defeated melancholy, because Greg knows he's never going to get to leave.

Best line: "Thanks for this town, three short hours from the beach, where all of your dreams can stay just out of reach."



5. Heavy Boobs

I keep finding myself starting my blurbs with the sentence "Once of the things I love about this show is" but there really are so many different things I love about how they do their musical numbers. In this case, it's that it takes something that is a familiar experience to a lot of women and then tackles it from their point of view. This is a song about women's bodies by and for women, taking something that is so often completely sexualized and reinterpreting it as just a fact of someone's life, and it becomes so, so relatable... and all of you out there who identify with this song may also have difficulty watching the music video because it looks like it would have been really painful to film.

Best line: "Here is a list of all of the objects that I can hold under my boobs."



4. Face Your Fears

Paula hasn't been represented much in this list so far, which is a shame, because she's got some good songs. This is by far my favorite of hers, though, and it was the first time on the show she really got to shine. It's an inspirational song about, well, facing your fears, but it escalates quickly and becomes maybe a less helpful anthem than it should have been. It still sounds inspirational though!

Best line: Not a line, but the chorus of children with scissors is amazing.



3. A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes

I was a boy band fan as a teen . . . OK, I'll be honest. I'm still a boy band fan now. And I think this song absolutely nails the "sensitive boy can heal damaged girl" theme of so many songs in the genre. It's just turned up to 11. Again, though, besides the comedy, I find this sort of a moving song. Rebecca really does depend on Josh, in a sad way, to restore her. Of course, he can't ever do that, but this is what love songs and romance movies have promised her. The moment where she reunites with her younger self at this imaginary Josh Boy Band concert is both sweet and sad, that she thinks she's found the thing that will take away her childhood pain.

Best line: "We'll get you through those developmental stages that you've been stuck in for ages."



2. I Could If I Wanted To

Now that I've finished season two, I seriously miss Greg being on the show. He was one of my favorite characters. This particular song is an I-don't-care 90s grunge song about how, well, he could get A's and make money and have people he cared about if he wanted to, but he doesn't care. (But he could. But he doesn't.) As always, the style of the parody is spot-on, and Santino Fontana's sarcastic and cynical delivery is hilarious.

Best line: "Like it's sooooo important to know how to throw a ball."



1. You Stupid Bitch

OK, that may seem like a strange choice for a song that was my favorite from an entire season of songs I adored. But stay with me for a second here. This song made me cry the first time I heard it. And not my-eyes-are-a-little-misty crying, like full on tears-streaming-down-my-face-I'm-trying-hard-to-breathe-and-not-sob crying. This song catches Rebecca during one of her rare moments of self-awareness, when she realized that she's hurt the people around her and crushed her own chance of happiness, that her misery comes largely from her own mistakes. And I cried because I recognized my own inner monologue in this song. I recognized the furious, hateful way I talk to myself when I've spoken carelessly and hurt someone or made a poor decision. So I sat there as Rebecca hated herself and I cried a little for her and a little for me, and then I took a deep breath and, even though I knew Rebecca would likely stay caught in this cycle for awhile of stupid mistake --> self-loathing --> stupid mistake --> self-loathing (which, uh, yeah, she does), I could start figuring out how to get out of that.

 

Honorable Mentions: California Christmastime, After Everything I've Done for You (That You Didn't Ask For), I Have Friends, Flooded With Justice

This show is great. It constantly surprises me and moves me and makes me care about people who seem to be stuck as the worst versions of themselves and makes me cry and makes me laugh and makes me want to watch more musicals.

Anyone else watching this? What are your favorite songs from season one?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017 Resolutions: February Check-In

This month felt...more productive than I thought it would but I still have a ways to go. We'll see how I actually measure up when I look back over my goals.

January's health (diet) goal was to not drink any soda. This started out good and then went downhill, but I continued to at least be aware of how much soda I was drinking. Let's give it a 4/10. New goal for February is a finance goal as well as a diet one. I need to cut way down on my fast food. I want specifically to restrict myself to one fast food meal a week. I've been eating too many burgers and fries, and I need to get out of that habit.

January's exercise goal was to reach my pedometer app step goal at least once every week. I did run into some arthritis related problems this month, so I'm cutting myself some slack there, but out of 4 possible "hit your goal" days, I only reached one. So let's go with a 2.5/10. My February goal is going to sound like a silly one, but it will help me. My goal is twofold. First of all, I need to keep workout gear in the car. Second, I want to try to go to the gym after work on Thursdays and Fridays. I still have a gym membership and I want to use it. I'm hoping to start this week, and I'll give myself all 10 points if I go at least ONE other day besides Thurs/Fri.

January's God goal was to spend time with God. Yeah, I sucked at that. 0/10. I'm going to make, again, what seems like a tangential goal but what will be helpful. So I'm going to try to keep my nightstand clear. I have a tendency to just pile stuff on it, and then it's a pain to get to my Bible and prayer journal. If I keep it clear for only Bible stuff, I'll be more apt to actually use that Bible stuff even if that isn't my stated goal this month.

January's financial goal was to do more captioning work on a regular basis. I definitely made some headway, and I think I'd give myself 6/10. For February, I'd like to keep that up but focus on where I lost it, so my goal is to caption a little bit EVERY day that I'm home before 4. Even on days when Jacob's off work, I need to still get something done. And it can be a short file as long as I get working on something.

January's tidiness goal was to do two loads of laundry every week. I did NOT do that this week. I did one load every other week, so that's like...a 2/10 or so. This is really one of the ongoing cleaning battles I fight, so I'm going to try it again. I thought about lowering it to one a week but, really, doing two isn't much more work than doing one, and eight loads in February would be so much more awesome than four.

January's relationship goal was to message at least 5 friends I haven't talked to in awhile. I know I did a few of these, though I'm not sure if I hit 5. I'll give myself an 8/10 for now. My new one is to do some board gaming two out of my three remaining weekends, whether with Jacob or with our local board game buddies or both.

January's art input goal was to see one movie a week in theaters. I half did that! I saw one every other week, so that's an obvious 5/10. This month, I want to see all the romance movies in my movie suggestion challenge. I like watching romance-specific movies in February, and knocking these 13 movies off the list would be fantastic.

January's art output goal was to post my best-of-the-year blog lists. Well, uh, I wrote half of one, so that's like... 1/10. Not so great. I'm going to loosen things up a bit and say I want to write one other blog post this month. Let me get that done.

All right. So for January, I scored 28.5 out of 80, or roughly 35%. So that's not great. But my goal is to do better this upcoming month, and I'm starting right now by cleaning off my nightstand. FEBRUARY GOALS, HERE WE COME!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Board Game 10x5 Challenge

In the board game community, there's a common yearly challenge called the "10x10." The idea is to choose 10 games that you think you don't play enough and commit to playing them each 10 times throughout the year. Well, we have plenty of games on our shelves that don't get enough love, but I don't know that I can commit to playing them 10 times. That's almost once a month, and I really enjoy variety. But 5 times? Yeah, that sounds more reasonable. So yesterday morning Jacob and I chose 10 games we don't play enough and we're going to attempt to play each of them five times throughout the year. That means we'll be playing, on average, one of these games every week. Here's what we've chosen.

1. Star Wars: Rebellion. This was Jacob's immediate first pick, which is fair. He got it for his birthday last summer and we've only played it twice since then. It's a serious time commitment, but I always mean to play it with him because I know how much he enjoys it. Maybe this will get me to play it more often.

2. Arkham Horror. It's a little ridiculous how long we've owned this without playing it even once. This is another big commitment one, but given how much I loved Eldritch Horror when we played it last year, I feel like I'll enjoy this as well. We just need to put the work into getting it up and running.

3. Zombie Fluxx. After two heavy hitters, I figured we should add something a little lighter, so we opted for this, our favorite of the Fluxxes, but we might fudge and allow any of the Fluxxes to fill the play slots here.

4. Pandemic. This was one of the first games we ever got, and we used to play it fairly frequently. Then we accidentally left it in Indiana when we moved and only got it back last spring, at which point we put it on our shelf and never touched it. Let's fix that this year.

5. Hanabi. This was a birthday gift for me last year, and we've definitely meant to play it, but somehow never got around to it. It's another light one that should be fairly easy to toss into the mix.

6. Castle of Mad King Ludwig. When searching for a game to play Sunday night, Jacob exclaimed, "I forgot we had Castles!" That keeps happening. Let's remember we have it and we like it!

7. Elysium. We bought this last fall and it always comes up as an option when we're trying to figure out what we want, but it somehow never makes the final cut. Hopefully this will inspire us to actually choose it a few times!

8. Legendary Encounters: Alien. We just got the expansion for this game, so I'm excited to try it out at least five times!

9. Colt Express. We played this at our local board game cafe so many times but never finished putting the train together to play it at home. We can fix that!

10. Sentinels of the Multiverse. A blind buy based on a friend's recommendation, and it just looks exhausting to learn. But I'm determined to learn it and (hopefully) enjoy it -- either way, I'll play it at least five times.

We'll see how the year goes, but hopefully we'll make it to all five plays on at least a few of these.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year's Resolutions 2017

For anyone who followed my new year's resolution attempts last year, I was not good about taking care of myself. To the point where I just gave up on blogging entirely because I didn't want to admit how much I'd been failing. This year, one of my biggest goals is to do better. So my goals for the year are going to be, on the whole, very small and fall into mostly self-care categories (or categories where self-improvement would result in a genuinely happier me) because I got so, so bad at that. So here are the categories I'm thinking of focusing on over the next 12 months, with the hopes of building some positive habits in 2017. I'll state the overall purpose of the category along with my planned goals for January.

HEALTH

2 goals a month, typically one to do with diet and one to do with exercise. One of them can be swapped out for a specific medical need goal if necessary, such as something to do with RA or depression.

This month, my diet goal is to not drink any soda, starting now. I drank wayyyyyyyyyy too much soda over my break, and I need to cut back on that, and the best way to do that is by cutting it out entirely. I did this a while back and it was good for me, and I'd like to do it again to reset myself a bit. It's starting now because I already had a Dr. Pepper yesterday.

For exercise, I'd like to reach my pedometer app step goal at least once every week. That may not seem like very much, but it's a lot for me and means I'll actually have to get out and move around when I've gotten very used to being sedentary. I'm not very far from my step goal on most teaching days, so all I really need to do is walk to like the grocery store and back and I'd be set. It's not difficult, I just need to make it happen.

GOD

1 goal a month, almost certainly "spend quiet time with God" or the occasional "attend a church meeting because I feel very isolated from other Christians here in the Bay."

This month... Well, I need to do both, I think, but let's go for spend time with God this time around. It's something I can start now and not wait for Sunday.

FINANCIAL

Not a category I included last year, but it's something I want to put into place. This could include a lot of things -- restructuring the way I pay bills, foregoing unnecessary spending, upping freelance work, making sure I get gas at the cheap gas station instead of waiting until the last minute and then having to pay an extra $5-10 a month, that kind of thing.

For January, I want to do more captioning work on a regular basis, especially as my work schedule gets busier. I want to establish a pattern that lets me accomplish at least some work almost every day, so that I'm never left with a paycheck of zero for the week.

TIDINESS

Anyone who's lived with me knows that I have more than a few slob tendencies. I want to get better about organizing my life, whether it's reordering how I sort things at work, catching up on laundry, cleaning out the fridge/cabinet more often, or reorganizing a messy part of our room.

This month, I want to do two loads of laundry every week. That's enough to clean the week's worn laundry and then make a dent in our horrifically huge laundry pile. As I do that, I'm also going to set aside anything I don't wear anymore and can give/throw away. But that's a side project. Mostly I just want that laundry pile to shrink, even if it is Puppy's favorite place to nap.

RELATIONSHIPS

As an introvert, relationshipping takes a little extra work. My relationship goals may involve reconnecting with far-away friends, making it a priority to socialize with people I know in the area, or set aside time to spend in quality time with Jacob.

This month, I want to message at least 5 friends I haven't talked to in awhile. I was able to reconnect, even if briefly, with a few long-ago friends over the holidays, and it was amazing and I should do it more often.

ART

This one also has two goals -- input and output. My input goals could be silly goals about watching certain movies, attending plays, reading classic books. My output goals involve what I'm creating: making headway in a novel or play I'm writing, blogging more, or compiling teaching stories that could be used creatively someday.

My input goal this month is to see at least one movie a week in theaters. Let's keep using this MoviePass! I'm feeling confident about that, although we'll see how it actually pans out. My output goal this month is to post my best-of-the-year blog lists. I don't have a lot since I didn't really consume a lot this year, but my goal is to get some of those up and published.

So this is my year of self-care, in terms of health, spirituality, finances, tidiness, relationships, and art. That's six categories with eight total monthly goals. That's more individual goals than last year, but I'm hoping I can consistently keep these goals achievable. I'm also setting notes in Google Calendar to remind myself to do them. I'm hopeful that I'll have a better report on this in February than I did for almost anything I tried to do last year... but if not, my backup goal for February is don't just give up and think you can't fix anything, admit you goofed up and try again next month.

So. What are your goals for the year? What new things are you trying to do in your life? It doesn't have to be a new year's thing, either -- what projects are you working toward?

Friday, September 23, 2016

How Introverts Make Friends

(OK, more specifically, this should be "How I, as an introvert, make friends," because obviously introverts make friends different ways... disclaimer over.)

I had an interesting conversation with someone a few months ago about friendship and different culture across the U.S. We'd both moved to the West Coast from other states -- me from the Midwest and her from the South -- and we both found the culture here to be very different from the ones where we grew up: she found it less friendly and I found it more so. The more we talked, though, the more I realized I didn't think this difference in perception was a matter of northern vs. southern U.S. reacting differently to California so much as it was a matter of introverted vs. extroverted reactions.

I explained that for me, the socially obligated friendliness in the middle and southern parts of the country always seemed forced and cold (it certainly always was for me), and since nobody here seems to feel obligated to chat with strangers, when they do, it feels much more genuine. She felt that the lack of socially obligated niceties made everyday interactions feel colder to her. This led further into the introvert/extrovert discussion, where I explained that I prefer to go about my business not interacting with strangers I'll never see again, that I'd rather spend my social energy on people with whom I do or may have a connection. She asked, "But how do you know if that connection is there unless you talk to them?" And, after two paragraphs of preamble, that's where I want to go next.

I began thinking through my friendships, the ones that have lasted, the ones where I still want to keep in touch with them and go out of my way to spend time with them -- the people I choose, joyfully, to spend my social energy on. Absolutely none of them were chance encounters. They all arose naturally out of people who I was already around.

There are the New Lifers, who traveled with me 24/7 for up 10 weeks at a time (or 30, in the case of my friend Jessica).

There are the Rinkies, with whom I sat silently in a chatroom with for years, occasionally interjecting comments and playing bot games, before I considered them my friends.

There are my college friends, who did theater with me and studied for finals with me and carpooled to practicums with me.

There are friends I met on various special interest sites, such as penpal sites for preteen girls, sites for young writers, Christian teen chatrooms, sites for playing trivia games. But all of them came out of a common interest, and we were both there looking for a writing buddy or someone to talk to. This is important, because I have to be emotionally and mentally ready to socialize, and if you try to be friendly with me when I'm not prepared, I'm going to come off as weird at best or rude at worst -- not because I'm trying to be, but because I have to shift that entire section of my brain over.

I can not think of a single friendship I've formed that sprang up out of nowhere, where I just happened to meet somebody and we happened to become friends. There was always an initial jumping-off point, a reason in common that we both were where we were, and, inevitably, a slow burn of acquaintanceship before we ever got to the level of friendship.

I make friends slowly, and I can't possibly know after a single chance encounter with someone if I'd like to be friends with them. To me that concept is as implausible as the idea of love at first sight. Some people, I believe, do forge connections that quickly, but I do not, and I cannot. Until I've known someone for a long time, they are still basically a stranger to me. (This became a joke with one of my friends at college, when I brought this up and pointed out that despite doing shows with her and being in several classes with her, I probably wouldn't actually consider her my friend until our third year of knowing each other. She thought this was hilarious and proclaimed us "kind of friends" our first year, "almost friends" our second year, and "finally friends" our third year.)

So to address the title of this blog specifically, how do I make friends? Well, if I'm looking to make friends, I seek out activities where other people might be. I meet up with people for board games, I chat with locals online, I go to church (sort of... sometimes... that'll be a blog for another day). If I go around trying to struck up a friendly conversation with everyone I meet, I'll just use up all my social spoons very quickly and not be any closer to making friends than I was at the beginning of the day. It's just the way I'm wired.

For an introvert like me, this area of the country is immensely freeing. Nobody cares if I talk to them or don't while I'm checking out groceries. The only people who try to strike up conversation with me seem like they for real want to talk to me. There are plenty of activities and meet-ups where, if I want, I can try to meet people who share my interests and could maybe eventually become my friends. I am more socially comfortable here than I have been in any other town I've lived in. It may not be for everyone, but for someone who makes friends slowly and has very little use for obligatory socializing... this is pretty perfect.