I am in love. I knew I would be. I waited patiently for over a year, spending money on the responsible things like bills, work clothes, and tires for Smurfette. And then I was tired of waiting. I needed to treat myself, just like Donna and Tom on Parks and Rec

So I did it. I finally bought myself an iPad! I don’t consider myself to be materialistic. This is the most excited I have been about buying something in a long time. Concert tickets are probably the next closest thing I have been excited about throwing cash at.

I was practical with my timing, as Target was running a fabulous sale when I purchased. Since I purchased my new toy only four days before Election Day and had lots of tasks on my list that didn’t include the iPad, it has taken me a little bit of time to fully come to realize how much I use this thing.

There’s something about not having to open a contraption or wait for the laptop to turn on that makes this machine so much more approachable. I used to come home at night and justify not doing work because I didn’t want to fire up the HP Mini. We are probably talking about a whole three minutes, yet that is a three minute window when I can lose my ambition.

I knew I would love the iPad. During the past year, I listened and watched while iPad users made the case for it. So many people who know me said I would love it.

Today I discovered Evernote. Wow. My quest to go paperless is easier than I ever thought it would be! To me, less clutter is less distraction. I am always busy with one project or another, and Evernote makes me feel like I really can do it all seamlessly.

Each day I gradually transition from my old way of completing tasks and storing information with the netbook, flash drives, battered up folders, and scraps of paper into a new world of cool apps and the cloud. This is a major technological step, my generation’s telephone.

The organizing fool in me loves it!



The Return to Vicki’s

At one time, I counted my undies and had 85 pairs.  I visited Victoria’s Secret and purchased a lot of items there.  I was not doing it to impress anyone.  I just like cute undies and PJs.  I don’t spend a lot of money on shoes or purses.  But put me in a store with cute undies and PJs, and I will spend every penny I can on them.

I have been a very good kid during the past year in regards to limiting my purchases in this area.  I rarely went into Victoria’s Secret and even cut up my credit card so I could work on paying other things off before I spent money on undies.  And I succeeded.

Then I received my $10 off birthday coupon in the mail.  I told myself I could buy something.  I was good for so long and I am in desperate need (OK, OK, want) of new PJs.  So one week ago, I entered Vicki’s again, willing to spend some money.

I was a pretty good kid and only spent $43.33.  One of the items I departed with was a black night shirt that reads “DANCE ALL NIGHT” in white lettering with silver studs.  Seriously, that one screamed at me.  I had to take it home.

Then I checked my mailbox the next day and found new coupons.  They are good!  I am sure they monitored my googly eyes when I passed by about 20 other things in the store I resisted buying.

I quite possibly could have purchased a few large items by now with all of the money I have spent on PJs and undies.  But I don’t smoke, I don’t buy really expensive clothes, and I don’t gamble.  So I have to have something.  And sometimes it’s good to have a little too much of a good thing.

Weirdos Welcome

It never ceases to amaze me how much I keep changing.  Deep down, I’m the same old Mel in some ways.  But lots of things have been evolving over time, especially of late.  (See The (R)Evolution of Mel.)

Lately I get claustrophobic around things that seem too traditional, status quo, or perfect.  I have a growing distaste for prim and proper, cookie cutter areas.  While I still have OCD that creeps into my own personal space, I allow for more character in decor than I used to like.

So, what is my problem?  Maybe it’s the uniformity of some suburban houses and lawns, the keeping up with the Joneses attitude, sameness of dress, blandness of viewpoints, or simple lack of excitement found in normalcy.

I like seeing weirdos on the street, admiring some good graffiti, never knowing who will say hi to me, or discovering unchartered nooks and crannies.  I chuckle because when I saw American Beauty for the first time in 1999, I did not understand the guy video taping the plastic bag blowing in the wind.  And now I’m becoming the off kilter semi-artsy being who enjoys that stuff.

I find myself cringing at Northface jackets, a constant stream of suits and ties, fancy possessions.  While conforming may be necessary in some workplace settings and formal events, must we always chase after the same things?

I have nightmares about a 1984-ish world where we all wear the same black and gray uniform, day in and day out.  I want color and excitement!  I crave a smidgen of chaos to keep me on my toes.

In Jonathan Franzen’s most recent novel “Freedom”, I was drawn to the following exerpt:

Although he’d played in D.C. often enough over the years, its horizontality and vexing diagonal avenues never ceased to freak him out.  He felt like a rat in a governmental maze here.  For all he could tell from the back seat of his taxi, the driver was taking him not to Georgetown but to the Israeli embassy for enhanced interrogation.  The pedestrians in every neighborhood all seemed to have taken the same dowdiness pills.  As if individual style were a volatile substance that evaporated in the vacuity of D.C.’s imperative directed at Katz in his beat-up biker jacket.  Saying:  die.

Powerful stuff for me.  No doubt someone reading this is rolling his or her eyes, because unconventionalism itself has become a trend.  As with many cultural issues, Southpark hit the nail on the head with their episode about the goth kids who complained about conformists, yet were all conforming to a new normal for their group.  I’m not being different to be cool here.

Maybe uniqueness, dirtiness, and unpredictability comfort me because of their authenticity.  Nothing is covered up by a white picket fence.  It’s wide open for everyone to see.

Zuckerberg and Materialism

Time Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year award was spot on.  Mark Zuckerberg has revolutionized worldwide communication and is an inspiration to anyone with an idea.

I was most impressed with Mr. Z’s lack of materialism.  He drives a used Acura and lives in a pretty normal apartment.  He’s also still with the chick whom he met before he struck it rich.

I have not seen “The Social Network” yet, but it seems that much of Z’s personality was tweaked for the big screen.  According to Time, he is a sociable person.  And no fault to Sorkin and gang.  I would have painted him as a more outwardly anti-social person too.  After all, most computer geeks I have met prefer to socialize online rather than in person.  However, Z likes using the online world to supplement the face to face world.

He seems to genuinely care about people as a whole, which is why I think he finds it so easy to shrug off the whole money thing.  He’s not settling a score or proving anything.  He simply loves what he does and feels his work is benefiting people.  Sure, it helps that he can make a lot of dough too.  But that’s not his driving force.

Z provides his employees three free meals a day, plus snacks!  That’s awesome.  He doesn’t stroke his ego with a big corner office.  They are all in the open together.  No walls.  No cubicles.

Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I’m no Mark Zuckerberg.  I never will be.  He has developed something huge.

One small commonality he and I currently share – besides a freckled face – is the lack of materialism.  I’ve had moments when material things meant a lot more to me, but lately that is not so.  I live in a very modest apartment, and I was happy with it until my landlord decided to tell me via certified mail earlier this week that he’s raising the rent.  Nothing is fancy, but it has character and is home to me.

I have gone from buying random crap to getting rid of random crap.  I am purging, organizing (yes…AGAIN), and feeling the weight of useless material objects lifting from my shoulders.

Now, this lack of materialism is pretty easy for me at the moment because I’m starting businesses and working part-time jobs to keep everything afloat.  Would I change if I struck it rich?  I sure hope not.

OK, I would buy my new Camaro and a beach house.  But that is it.  And the beach house would be a shack-like, authentic beach house.  No beach mansion.

I mainly seek money for security and the freedom to experience lots of things.  Zuckerberg seems to travel and enjoy life, so that is reassuring to me that he is pretty normal.

If you tell me about your brand new furniture or Coach bag, don’t be offended when I lose interest.  I’m just not into that stuff right now.  But if you share a great concert story, I’m all ears.  And if you have awesome life experiences, let’s block out an hour or two and discuss over coffee or wine.