tabular_rasa: (Windflowers)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Yesssss Writer's Block is back!

Honestly, the only reboots I've really liked have been things I wasn't super familiar with the first iteration of, lol. (Or things which have been rebooted so many times I just accept there's like 800 different versions, like superhero universes). When I liked the original, I generally take any direct reboot as an attack that cannot live up to the genius of the original. The irrational emotion of nostalgia and all . . .

That being said, I'm kind of surprised no one has made a Redwall movie for theatrical release yet. Given the state of CGI/motion capture and how much people loved Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems like they could even do a "live action" one at this point if they wanted. (Not that that would necessarily be the best way to do it, but at this point you know that's how they WOULD do it). THE TIME IS RIPE HOLLYWOOD.

Outside of media, though, I'm in favor of bringing back things like toys and snack foods from when I was a kid. Drink some Ecto Cooler HI-C while being disappointed about how Crossfire is definitely not as cool as the ads made it look.
tabular_rasa: (College)
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My bedtime routine has gotten much shorter since I started showering in the morning. However, it still consists of:

1) Do daily calisthenic routine (200 crunches, 100 leg-lifts, some squats and lunges), usually while watching YouTube videos or the tail end of a movie or TV show or something Robert and I are watching.

2) Put on pajamas.

3) Brush teeth and put in retainer.

4) Wash face and apply acne spot treatment if necessary.

5) Take hair down if it was up or somehow bound.

6) Set alarm for the next day if it's a worknight.

7) Turn on the fan (air circulation for Robert and ambient noise for me), turn out the lights, kiss Robert if he's available, and get in bed.

Not always in this exact order, but generally the exercises come first and the bed part comes last :-P

I am a slave to routine to the point of near compulsion, meaning if I don't get all of these things done I will fixate on what I missed, possibly to the point of insanity. (Frankly I'm still surprised how I manage to fall asleep without having showered, after that having been a requirement for a good decade or so. I try not to think too hard about it). For example, I don't know if the bigger motivator to brush my teeth and wear my retainer every night is the oral health or just not being able to fall asleep obsessing about how I haven't. And I have some pretty nice abs to show for getting myself to the point of being compelled to exercise each night before bed. Pretty genius move on my part, if I do say so myself :-P

And now speaking of my bedtime routine . . .
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Definitely save up for longer vacations. I live across the country (and used to live on the other side of the world) from my family and most of my friends, so if I ever want to see any of them I have to budget enough time to get there and make the trip worthwhile. Plus I like to travel to foreign countries, and living in the US it's really hard to go abroad for a three-day weekend-- at least if you actually want to do something before you have to leave again.

Of course, ideally I wouldn't have a mere 14 vacation days to budget per year. I really miss having a summer vacation and built-in winter and spring breaks ):

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By giving them opportunities to be self-sufficient and independent as a child, duh. As a child grows up, s/he should be given more and more freedoms and responsibility, from more unsupervised play, more access to "adult" privileges (computer and phone access, use of a car, etc) and more free choice in their life (pick their own extracurriculars and course of study rather than doing what the parent wants) to more responsibility for personal care (bathing themselves, dressing themselves, remembering to brush their own teeth, etc) and chores to learn how to run a household (cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc). With each transition to more choice and responsibility the parent has a role to teach and supervise at first to ensure the child is capable of handling the new choice or responsibility, and coach them accordingly, but eventually the kid should be left alone with nothing but the assumption they can handle it and a readiness to address it if they don't.*

*Sometimes there's a natural consequence to failing to fulfill a responsibility (eg: You didn't wash the dishes when you were supposed to and now the dishes are unwashed when we need them, so you need to wash them now when the food is even more caked-on and gross) and the parent need only ensure the connection is made between the cause and effect. But sometimes it's necessary to set up additional consequences like grounding, removal of privileges, etc.

In the US right now I think the far bigger problem is children/teens/young adults who are too dependent rather than neglected; a lot of parents could do with less helicopter-ing and more leaving their kids to explore and make mistakes on their own. Kids are really not as fragile as we like to make them out to be.

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Not really. I can't say I've ever made any major decisions solely to avoid "being judged." Now, I've made a lot of decisions based on whether I felt they would help or hinder me in life regarding education and employment, which often has to do with the overall judgement of society (eg: not employing people with certain "unsavory" histories or who don't dress a certain way at an interview, etc), but I think "not getting a job" or "not having enough money to live off of" or "not getting incarcerated" is a bit more severe than "being judged."

Maybe this question actually means to ask whether I've made certain choices in life because of the pressures and potential sanctions by society-- in which case of course yes, and anyone who said otherwise would be lying (or considered a pariah, mentally ill, criminal, etc)-- but I wish they'd frame it that way rather than the rather petty-sounding "fear of judgement." The pressures that make us align to social norms are much bigger than a conscious middle-school style fear of fitting in; they have very real consequences that affect our quality of life. The mantra of "Just do what you want and haters to the left" is a lovely sentiment that applies just fine to superficial questions like whether to wear something "unfashionable" or ride a bike instead of drive a car, but it's not practical on a universal level given that humans are social creatures and advantages disappear if we don't behave according to some mandates of the group. It's often unfair, but it's also unavoidable.

But what would I do if for some reason all human social laws and consequences no longer existed (and yet I still were somehow living in the context I am now)? Well, for starters I'd have wiped my ladytime on my ex-neighbor's face the last time I had to knock on her door to tell her to shut up . . .
tabular_rasa: (Into the Dark)
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My level of functioning goes down under 7 hours of sleep. I can still "function" between 6-7 hours of sleep, but I'm kind zombie-ish, extra prone to zoning out, and need to have extra doses of caffeine during the day (rather than just my single cup of tea in the morning), which is a pain since it makes me pee even more than I already do, but I can still do what I need to do. But if I get less than 6 hours, I'm pretty miserable. I don't trust myself to drive or do anything that involves concentration and accuracy, and until I can nap I just feel like crap. Lack of sleep always makes me feel weirdly dirty and sick, sometimes outright nauseous.

7-8 hours is my sweet spot and that's what I usually get-- though sometimes I take 9 or 10 on weekends when I have the opportunity to indulge. (Especially if I'm "making up" for less sleep-rich nights during the week, or I went to bed later and it seems to take longer for the sleep to make me feel refreshed). To me, sleep is a necessity, the same as eating. It is a non-negotiable in my daily schedule and I've voluntarily gone without it only a handful of times.

I do get less sleep than I'd like on nights when I just can't fall asleep for whatever reason (thankfully I don't struggle too much with insomnia, but every once and a while there's just some random restless night), or when I have bitchtastic neighbors who don't realize the world doesn't revolve around them and their whims about using their stereo system against our bedroom wall at 2:45 am. I also get barely any sleep if I have to be on a plane overnight. But I generally avoid putting myself in the position of having to lose sleep, like leaving studying or a paper until the night before it's due so I have to cut into my sleep hours, or scheduling something that could run late if I have to be somewhere early the next day.

And I will get kind of bitchy insisting upon my right to sleep, too; if I can see there is going to be a problem with my sleep schedule (has happened when my entire schedule was subject to employer), I will address it to request something be changed (change times, get permission to leave early/arrive late, etc) and I will fight for it. Don't try to tell me I don't need it or that I should go without it just because you do; that's your choice, not mine, and our bodies do not work the same. And I simply do not buy into the unhealthy idea that subsisting on less sleep makes you "strong" or a superior person in some way.

. . . It's going to be interesting when I have kids, lol. I have many reasons I'd like to stay home with my kids when they're young, if I can, but this is one of the big ones when it comes to infants. I simply can't imagine trying to function at work the day after a baby has kept me up all night, when I don't have the chance to catch a nap when the baby is sleeping during the day. Hell, it's not even so much work that would be the problem-- it's crashing my car and killing somebody and/or myself on the commute!
tabular_rasa: (Duck/Cover)
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IHOP should serve their pumpkin pancakes (fall seasonal item) and gingerbread hot chocolate (holiday seasonal item) year-round! Though I'll admit maybe they wouldn't be as tasty on, say, a hot day in July.

Also, McDonalds needs to bring back their Hot Mustard sauce. (Assuming it's actually gone. They no longer mention it on their displayed lists of sauces, but I keep hearing from people who say that if you ask for it, they still have it-- and I haven't been in a McDonalds to ask for it in a while. But maybe that's just residual, leftover sauce they're trying to get rid of?). Honey Mustard is fine and all, but Hot Mustard is the shit; it has been my official McDonalds sauce since I was a preschooler. I pretty much can't eat McNuggets without it.

Additionally, Necco needs to bring back the original Sweethearts conversation hearts and ditch the new inferior recipe!
tabular_rasa: (Duck/Cover)
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Considering most movie adaptations butcher their source material, I think I'd rather spare the few of my favorites that haven't had the Hollywood treatment. But I suppose it's just a matter of time. I'm actually kind of surprised they haven't begun some CGI-tastic Redwall franchise yet. And while as a kid we had some animated VHS versions of Beatrix Potter stories (which were basically just moving versions of her actual illustrations, with the narration and dialogue exactly the same-- the way a book-to-movie adaptation should work, IMO) I'm still waiting for the hypermarketed Peter Rabbit with a big name voice actor and Happy Meal toys.

Or perhaps Michael Bay directs Pat the Bunny. The bunny will be an alien robot and Judy will have double-D breasts and be perpetually soaked or greasy and leaning against a car.

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I'm not sure the absolute longest, but it was certainly multiple hours. The one time I flew from the San Francisco airport I had to wait over two hours in the security line alone. They always recommend you arrive two hours before your flight, and I guess the San Francisco airport is why; I checked in more than two hours before my flight, but at the end of that line I had to run to catch my plane!

For a Harry Potter book release I waited 6 hours, but I wasn't in line the entire time, just captive in the bookstore.

Though any time I've had to wait more than two hours, you can be sure I was waiting with friends who could hold my place in line for me to duck out and use the bathroom, otherwise that shit was not happening.

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If we're talking literally timeless, as in it has actually been around forever, I'm going with a skirt or dress/tunic. Or whatever you would call it the first time someone thought to wrap a skin or some grasses around themselves to hide their private bits. "A good pair of jeans"? Several millennia of human civilization laughs at the hubris of a garment not yet 200 years old.
tabular_rasa: (Wherefore?)
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"Is life an experience we can *win* by doing the right things?-- or are we just here, and it is what we make of it?"

Though maybe I would start first with, "Are you actually there?"

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I still haven't broken it completely, but I've gotten a lot better about biting my nails. I made it a New Year's resolution at one point and while it didn't stop cold from there, since then it's only something I do when I'm really nervous, or get an intolerable hangnail or rough edge somewhere I don't have access to nail clippers. I've been impressed with myself that my nails actually get long enough now that I need to explicitly sit down and cut them down again. That never used to happen when I used to bite them all the time.

I'm also getting better about not touching or picking at my face as much as I used to, but still not perfect with that, either. I am still a chronic scab-picker.

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(As copied from a comment I left to [ profile] _toni)

I'm a little disappointed this question only asked about the solar system, because most of the astronomical things I'm especially fascinated by (thankfully) aren't local, like black holes. If I could visit a black hole without being stretched into an eternal moment of death? (Or at least come back from it afterward?). Um, awesome.

Visiting the edge of the universe, if it exists, would also be awesome. Is it like a wall or a floor? A glass window into another universe? Does it taper away eternally like some sort of weird hyperbola thing? Does it just become the other side of our own universe again? I dunno, but if I went there maybe I could find out.

Within the solar system, I might go for the sun, because 1) I did a report on it in third grade during our solar system unit so I feel the most special connection with it and 2) the sun is probably the last place in the universe anyone could ever visit, so if I could pop over there with no consequences, ie death? All over that shit.

Or Jupiter's Great Red Spot or Neptune's Great Dark Spot, because, uh, biggest baddest-ass storms EVER.
tabular_rasa: (Duck/Cover)
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Honestly? Right now, it's the song in Spanish about the mammoth that gets cancer and AIDs and throws himself off a building:

No clue why it's there right now. But I'm kind of glad it is, because what a wacky thing to answer this question with.

At least it's not the theme from Duck Tales, which is what plays by default when there's nothing else in my head.

In other news:

What's My Tarot Card? )
tabular_rasa: (Fuck!)
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Attraction at first sight? Of course. But love? No.

Being mutually attracted to another person is a good first step towards love, but it does not guarantee it. Love is much deeper than simply being drawn to each other from across a crowded room; you have to do a lot more than just look at someone to love them.

I was very attracted to Robert the first time I met him-- at first physically, and after talking to him, it was clear there was a lot of chemistry between our personalities, too. It's probably the closest to love-at-first-sight I'd ever experienced, in that the interest and desire to pursue was very dramatic straight out of the gate. But I didn't love him after one look, or after one night of talking. That took weeks and months of getting to know each other and sharing bonding experiences. If we'd never seen each other again, I would hardly be justified in saying I loved him; I wouldn't even know him!

At least most people I know don't believe in love at first sight; it seems mostly to be the myth of teens who haven't been in a functional relationship long enough to feel the difference between a crush and real love, or the occasional adult who wants to believe the moment of initial attraction they felt for their current partner was somehow different, special, and fated for whatever reason. (Which I don't exactly understand, because I think the fact you chose to pursue the other person and invest the time to create a history together is a much more romantic gesture than just having been fated). But I guess who can blame them, the way the media makes love out to be all in *one look* or whatever? I think instead of saying, "I knew I loved him/her at first sight," it would be healthier if people said, "I was so attracted to him/her the moment we met, I just had to see where it would go-- and it led to love."

(Too verbose? Well, get used to it. Another favorite myth about love is that you can say little or nothing at all and your partner will automatically understand you. FALSE, TRY AGAIN).
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Default programmed electronic voice: "Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system."
My recorded voice: "Amy ___."
Default programmed electronic voice: " . . . is not available. At the tone, please record your message."
Or something like that.

Yeah, when I got my new phone, I realized after about a week that I had given my number to several people I was waiting to hear from but had forgotten to set up my voicemail, so I set it up in a hurry with one of the default messages. (I did extend the effort to leave my name, though, because I had changed my number, and any time I call a number I've never called before I like to hear the person's name in the message so I can verify I called the right place). And I just haven't bothered to change it. I wouldn't use anything clever, though, because my cell phone is the only phone I have and I don't want to turn off potential employers and things like that. Being a grown-up is no fun.
tabular_rasa: (Into the Dark)
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Rabbit.* And this is the second or third time we've had this question, isn't it?

Unless you're in Vietnam, in which case, Cat.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Depends on what you mean by optimist and pessimist. On the one hand, I'm a pessimist in the sense that I always expect the worst of unknown situations. Frankly I think it's stupid to always believe the best is going to happen, because you're just asking to be disappointed! If you expect the worst, you either get exactly what you expected or you're happily surprised. I tend to worry a lot about things before they happen but they almost never end up as bad as I imagine. I'd rather do this than get all excited in anticipation only to be let down.

On the other, my ability to have faith in people makes me an optimist by some definitions. While I certainly don't expect people to do the right thing or behave positively towards each other all the time and am very well aware how selfish, ignorant, and downright cruel they can be, I also know that much of this is circumstantial and doesn't indicate people aren't capable of positive behavior given a different set of conditions. I have faith that most people are capable of change and positive behavior under the right conditions.

I'm also pretty good about making the best of a bad situation once it has occurred. There's usually a period of moping and despair in there proportionate to the level of disappointment, but once it's out of my system I move on pretty cleanly. I have a grieving period and then I work with what I have left. At a certain point it stops being the circumstances holding you back, but you yourself.

Also as a side note, I hate the expression "half-empty" and "half-full" to describe pessimism and optimism. Who the fuck looks at a glass of liquid and describes it in relation to the lack of liquid? Even the most depressive, fatalistic people I know refer to a glass as "half full of [whatever]" rather than "half not full." Maybe if this were rephrased as "If half your drink is left, do you say you're 'halfway done' or 'still have half to go'" it would make more sense, but I could write a short book on how many cliche expressions misrepresent themselves in their wording. ("Have your cake and eat it too"-- DOESN'T EATING IMPLY HAVING??). Personally I'm more partial to variations on the story of optimist and pessimist kids presented with a room full of shit.
tabular_rasa: (Life is Hard!)
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I've made no secret of the fact that for the most part I don't like winter. However, its few redeeming features are:
-The magic and beauty of a fresh snowfall. (Provided one lives in a place where it snows).
-The possibility of snow days.
-The way hot, hearty food and drinks taste better in cold weather.
-Cold weather fashion, in which layers can be used creatively. (In summer, things like scarves and tights layered with socks and boots are uncomfortable and just look plain ridiculous).
-The fact that after the first day of winter,* the days only get longer.
-That winter doesn't have to feel all that wintry in some parts of the world, nor does it take place everywhere at the same time. There's always the opportunity for escape!

*Though I've never felt the solstice makes much sense as the *first* day of winter, as it feels like winter long before. But it doesn't make sense as midwinter (as it's sometimes referred to), either, as it's much closer to the beginning than the end. I feel like depending on where you live, the winter season begins anywhere between early November to early December (or early June or July :-P), and finishes between mid-February and late March (or mid-August and late September). Midwinter would be in mid-January (or mid-July), when the weather is coldest and snow most likely. It's kind of like how the hottest point of the day and coldest point of the night are not at 12:00, but around 2:00. It takes a while for the temperature to catch up with the movement of the earth.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Haha no. There are places in the world even less likely to see snow at this moment (or ever!), but movies have been made about the improbability of it snowing where I live now.

It did rain a little bit earlier today and it's been getting as low as the high 30sF (2-3C) at night recently-- and there is snow visible on some of the mountains in the distance-- but I'll be traveling across the country to get my potential white Christmas; it's nearly 70% more likely.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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No such thing as a cure for a cold, but I have some methods for coping with the symptoms.

As soon as I feel the cold coming on, I:
-Get a lot of extra sleep. I'll go to bed a couple hours early, let myself take a nap if I feel the urge . . . I figure it actually saves me time in the long run.
-Make a special effort to eat healthily. My meals are usually quite healthy anyway, but I'll often avoid junk food on top of that when I can tell I'm getting sick. Plus when I'm sick the powdery flavoring on things like Doritos, etc, just gets stuck in my throat unpleasantly anyway.

I've also tried Zicam (zinc), echinacea tablets, and swallowing raw garlic as a way of warding off a cold, but considering all colds are a little different it's hard to say what kind of a difference they actually made. If I have them around and remember I'll use them, since I figure they certainly can't hurt.

When I'm in the thick of it, I:
-Drink lots of tea (especially lemon tea) with honey. While it's hot I breathe in the steam and that helps soothe my nasal passages, too.
-Eat hot soups. Classic chicken soup is great, but I prefer spicy soups because I can actually taste them with a cold. I need to find me a good spicy chicken soup that's easy to make on low, sick energy; that would be perfect!
-Take Nyquil to help me sleep at night. I don't take any meds during the day, though, because they generally just make me feel worse. I've never found a daytime cold medicine that relieved my symptoms enough to justify the side effects, which often make me feel loopy or wired.
-Avoid dairy, mostly just because it tastes/feels gross on my throat.
-Avoid going out, because I just don't want to and it keeps other people from getting my germs.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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"Must-see" is pretty loose for me, since I'm capable of going the holiday season watching no Christmas-themed movies and not even noticing, but my favorite holiday movies are:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated one)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the stop-motion one)
Muppet Christmas Carol
A Christmas Story

Growing up we also had a compilation of Disney Christmas-themed shorts on VHS called A Walt Disney Christmas, which I probably watched more than any of the above simply because we owned it and could watch it whenever instead of waiting for it to be on TV. (Though we did have Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer recorded off the TV to a tape, too; it just wasn't very good quality).
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Unsurprisingly, I love Christmas carols in (or partially in) a minor key, most notably:

Carol of the Bells
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Christmas Eve Sarajevo (12/24) by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is a rock combination of the two above
O Holy Night
Fum, Fum, Fum
Stille Nacht arrangement of Silent Night by Mannheim Steamroller

Also, the entirety of the Bing Crosby White Christmas album. (Even though not all of it is in a minor key). That is what I listen to on Christmas Eve, no exceptions. It's a nostalgia thing.

And it seems like every year there's one song I hear more than the others, which then becomes my Christmas song of the year, even if it's not one of my perennial favorites. I really should keep a list, since it's kind of interesting. Some years this was one of the songs we sang in our school holiday program or one I discovered for the first time that year, like I remember learning The First Noel in first grade and then Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Angels We Have Heard on High in second. Last year was All I Want For Christmas Is You for the number of times I heard it (and performed it at that random Christmas party with Amy) and how it fit in with flying across the globe (to a place with no snow!) to see Robert. I'm not sure what this year is yet, so far Jingle Bell Rock seems to be in the lead for how many times I've randomly heard it this year, though there's really no other significance besides that.
tabular_rasa: (Fuck!)
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I think "whoever asked the other person out" is a pretty good rule of thumb, since it not only accounts for changing gender roles but covers same-sex couples as well. If you suggested the outing and made the arrangements, it makes sense you foot the bill. It also conveniently prevents a lot of awkwardness in the form of disappointed expectations; for example, there are some women who are offended by the very suggestion that the man should ever not pay for the date, but these women probably would never make the first move and ask the man out first, either, so they'll never be in that position.

I'm not opposed to splitting the bill, either, but I think in date situations it's more romantic if one person treats the other person entirely, regardless of that person's gender or income.* However, even when being treated I do make a point of offering to pay my part for the evening-- and I'm fully prepared to do so, and won't be offended if he takes me up on it-- but if he turns me down once, I don't insist again and just offer my gracious thanks for the outing. And that's the gesture I would expect if I were paying for a man on a first date, too-- offering to pay as a sign of respect for what went into the date, but ultimately deferring to the fact I invited you and am fully capable of footing the bill.

*I've seen a lot of people responding to this question with: "whoever has the largest income," but that seems golddiggery to me-- like, you could just go around asking random rich people out on ostentatious dates and then they're supposed to pay for both of you? Plus why should a person be denied the opportunity to treat someone just because their partner has a higher income? Paying for someone's outing-- even if the only costs accrued are an ice cream at the park-- is a symbolic gesture, and honestly I think I'd be more offended than relieved if I planned a date in my budget and was ready to pay but was refused because of the disparity in our incomes!

Of course, there are all kinds of complications and exceptions, and you really have to read it on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes a date involves multiple events (like dinner + movie) and it works out nicely that each person pays for a different part. Sometimes a first date is ambiguous, and splitting the check is the best way to address the ambiguity. Sometimes there's just practical factors like the two meet up for coffee and since the guy got there first, already ordered, and is trying to hold the table, the girl is on her own to get her drink. (That was my first date with Robert!). I think most of all, both parties should be flexible and polite, and not read too much into whatever happens. Presumably you've learned more about the person on the date than just how they handle the check!
tabular_rasa: (Life is Hard!)
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I sort of already answered this two years ago. (But I guess that's fitting, for a question about repetition). Basically, I desire diversity and hate repetition in my music so much that even my most beloved song would become repugnant to me after a while, so this question just sounds like choosing a method of torture. Even if I spaced the song out over hours, days, or weeks, I think I would start to hate it for being the one piece of music I could listen to the exclusion of all others.

But if I absolutely I had to pick a song, I would choose:

John Cage's "4'33" is 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.*

*From the performers. There is ambient noise that varies based on the audience-- which is another reason why I would choose this piece: By nature it can't be the same thing every single time!

In other words, I hate repeating songs so much I would rather forgo listening to music and just play songs in my head for the rest of my life instead!
tabular_rasa: (Fuck!)
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I have all sorts of problems with the way this question is phrased (damn the multiple meanings of "love"! and fuck the word "destined") but I think I can address the essence of the question.

I don't think we can help who we are attracted to. It's some sum of biology and life experience (associations with certain physical features and personality traits based on others we know with those traits, etc) that give us almost innate preferences for certain people. Timing also plays a factor, like what we're looking for when we meet the person, the context we meet them in (some places are just sexier cues than others) and, if we're a heterosexual female, whether we're at a certain point in our monthly cycles that gives her a preference for a masculine vs. androgynous man. Attraction is instinctual; you feel it almost instantaneously. I don't think there is time for free will.

I don't think we can even help *falling in love,* either. Once all the right cues are in place, the proper hormones kick in and our brain goes into crush mode. Some people are better at resisting (or logicking themselves out of) the pull of this, but for most of us feelings are pretty instinctual as well.

HOWEVER, no matter how we feel, we have free will regarding how to act on it. Just because you find a person beautiful doesn't mean the angels arranged your fated union in heaven. (Yes, I'm talking to you, James Blunt). Finding a person beautiful doesn't even mean you have to even talk to them; you can choose to just walk away. Attraction is not obligation. A crush is not a mandate to pursue. And even if you have already fallen hook line and sinker in love, you can choose to surround yourself with supportive friends, nurse yourself with a few sad movies, and start to forget them.

And, surprisingly often, this is the best idea. Sometimes we can see from the get-go that a person we are attracted to is unaccessible or just straight-up bad news. (James, you said it yourself: "She was with another man"!). Sometimes we find out they aren't into us, or as into us as they ought to be. Sometimes we discover they self-destruct or abuse others, or other dealbreakers. Sometimes we just discover they're going somewhere or doing something that doesn't fit in our life plan. I don't think our feelings for them "fate" us to suffer in unpleasant circumstances. Our free will is our gift to walk away.

Walk away, and perhaps find someone new. There are plenty of other options for love out there. I think the concept of soulmates, one single true love in the entire universe which you must find or die lonely and incomplete (even if they live in Mongolia and you'll never meet? even if they live in a parallel universe? even if they're already dead??), is one of the most illogical (and depressingly pessimistic) things I've ever heard of. Why on earth would only one person possibly be fated to be with you? We may have a very specific set of preferences, but there are more than 6 billion people on the planet, for crying out loud. What's more, we are biologically wired to mate (and probably to mate with more than one person); our species would be gone if we had to hike over seven continents to find our One True Partner. However so much you love the one you're with, there's another (probably hundreds of anothers) you could love just as well. You might love them *differently,* as they're a different person; you would connect in different ways and your relationship might have a different energy or dynamic; but it would still be love, just as valid as any other love. (Take it away, Tim Minchin!).

Finding someone to develop loving feelings for involves an element of chance, certainly. But choosing to enter and maintain a relationship-- true, lasting love-- is all up to you.
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