Friday, August 24, 2012

"I Can't Go Wrong Living This Way!" "Oh, Yes, You Can!"

Most of my friends know that, throughout my high school years, I was a big fan of ApologetiX, aka "That Christian Parody Band".  The members of that group were right up there with Hilary Duff and Christy (Carlson) Romano--or Anne Hathaway and Ashley Tisdale after the "big switch" in March 2005--as well as former dc Talk members TobyMac and Kevin "K-Max" Max among my favorite famous people.  I literally couldn't get enough of their spoofs, and their covers of pre-existing hits by secular artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to Eminem to the Beatles to Nine Days dominated my playlists, my CD mixes, and almost everything else music-related in my life.  One of my favorite remakes of theirs was "Life Restored," their take on Papa Roach's "Last Resort." I knew the whole thing by heart, and my favorite parts were the loud whispering and later screaming of this phrase: "I can't go wrong living this way!"  In some ways, that phrase could be my motto for my recent life; I've argued out the wazoo with people who told me my way of life was wrong, and usually won just because no one could get me to budge, so everyone eventually gave up.  As one friend put it, "You are very rigid about your opinions, and it seems that if one does not agree with you, they are persecuting you, or just wrong.  Being so dogmatic can lead people to just agree without sharing their own ideas and opinions, because they don’t want to argue anymore."  The point of "Life Restored" wasn't that any way of living is okay, though; it was saying that living for Jesus was the only way to live.  I first heard that song over a decade ago, and am just now realizing its meaning.
So, now, I have to think: During those arguments, did those folks--usually friends or family members--actually give me some good advice?  To be frank, I've been through traumatic experiences that could have been avoided if only I'd listened to others' guidance or warnings.  I don't want to be the "doormat" who gets pushed around by everyone else; still, I think I would have done well to heed their advice, even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear.  Even the Biblical book of Proverbs says:
  • "The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin" (10:8)
  • "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice" (12:15)
  • "A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke" (13:1)
  • "A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise" (15:12)
  • "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise" (19:20)
  • "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." (26:5)
  • "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (26:12)
  • "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." (27:6)
Most of you reading this have seen first-hand what I'm talking about; one look through the "archives" of this blog or my Facebook timeline, and you'll see tons of this kind of talk:
  • "Someone suggested I _____.  Here's why I'm not going to do it."
  • "I know everyone thinks I should _____, but here's why I don't think it's a good idea."
  • "I didn't ____, and I'm PROUD OF IT!"
 I just have to ask myself: Why? Why am I fighting the people who care about me? Why am I refusing to heed the advice that very well could enrich my life? I think the main reason is an unwillingness to change, to take a risk, and/or to step outside of my comfort zone.  One friend had this to say:
The theme I have noticed in recent posts of yours is you questioning why you are where you are in life or is there more to life, and by the end of your blog entry you've talked yourself back to everything's fine, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, or where you are, or what you're doing with your life, and I do believe that God can and will use you, if you let him, wherever you are and whatever choices you make in life. BUT... if you truly want to know if God has more in mind for you, pray about it, ask for direction, and be open to God's leading.
 Looking back, that friend is absolutely right; people have been telling me the same thing for quite a while, and I just haven't listened.  Maybe it's time I did.
Now, I don't want you blog readers thinking that I'm expecting my life to be completely different tomorrow, or next week, or even next month.  These changes take time, and, first, I have to figure out: What changes should I make, and how should I go about making them? (Suggestions are welcome.) Even then, knowing what to do and actually doing it are totally different.  If you have the original Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64, I can tell you how to unlock the game's four secret characters...but don't expect me to actually do it for you, since I'm terrible at even appropriately handling the N64's controller.  I don't want these real-life issues to be like that, and I know it's a "one step at a time" thing.  However, the question is: What is the first step, and where do I go after that?
Any comments?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Can't Even See What's Right in Front of Me!

From summer of 1999 until February 2001, my mom had a daycare in our house, and I have countless stories of what those kids did, including this one: During the summer of 2000, my mom was taking care of two five-year-old girls, Ruthie and Lauren.  Since they were the only school-age children in the daycare, they stuck together as much as possible, although their time at our house was fraught with arguments and one or both of them standing in the corner.  Anyway, at one point during that summer, the kids were eating lunch, and Ruthie wanted to sit next to Lauren, but the two seats beside Lauren were full, which made Ruthie upset.  However, what that distressed child didn't realize was that the remaining spot was right across from that other five-year-old.  My mom explained that to her, but I don't really remember whether that calmed her down or not.
What's my point in bringing that up? Well, in the above story, Ruthie was so plagued by what she couldn't have--a seat next to Lauren--that she couldn't see what was right in front of her face: a seat across from Lauren.  Truth is, that's the way I have been many times: I'm so focused on what I can't or won't have--crushing on celebrities or married female friends, getting upset when circumstances prevent me from doing what I want to do, feeling enmity towards those who have what I don't--that I completely lose sight of what's right there in front of me: friends and family who love me, a job doing what I love, my own personal stash of entertainment, and the like.
It's especially true when it comes to the first thing on that latter list; seriously, I haven't been valuing my family and true friends.  Not only have I made unkind remarks about them, which I currently regret, but I've also blatantly ignored their advice, even when I ask them for it.  Most people, especially my family and true friends, suggest or inform me of something as a kind gesture, but I've usually chosen not to believe them or accept what they say.  Most often, my response is something akin to, "Well, he isn't me, so he doesn't know what he is talking about!", or "She isn't in my situation, so she doesn't realize that isn't going to work for me."  When I've actually stopped and thought about it, the friend(s)/family member(s) who said all that actually was/were trying to help me out, but, there usually wasn't anything I can do to rectify matters by that point.
Other times, it was just because I found what they were saying offensive, simply because I was being asked to change my ways.  Of course, it is very immature to call someone names and jeer at him/her just because of what his/her favorite show, band, or video game is, but I haven't seen such behavior since I graduated from college in 2008.  Still, others have told me, "Take a chance! Do something different! Try something new!", and I was just resistant, because I've always been disdainful towards change.  Even when I was a kid, and something would change--it could have been anything from the time and day of my Cub Scout meetings to how my family and I unloaded the car after a trip to the grocery store--I would always ask: Why are we doing it this way? Why can't we do this the way we did it previously?  I was much like the stereotypical "old man": stuck in my ways.  Regardless, I should have been more open to what my friends were saying...but I wasn't.
Even advice or suggestions from friends that didn't require much change to follow still hurt sometimes, just because it wasn't what I wanted to hear.  A true friend would tell it like it is, even to the point of being blunt, in order to help another friend out.  Still, I would sometimes get seriously offended, and even turn my friend(s) against me, because he/she/they told me something I didn't like hearing.  Just like I said before, whoever was/were trying to be my friend(s), but I just didn't get that.  As Proverbs 27:6 (NIV 1984) says, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."
So, here's what I want to say to anyone who has been the recipient of such actions from me: I'm deeply sorry.  I shouldn't have let my paranoia and pride get in the way of someone trying to be my friend.  Even if you told me to do something that I feel isn't exactly my bag, I should have at least given it a chance instead of refusing to try it out and continuing to do what I've always done.  If you're truly my friend, you no doubt would have my best intentions in mind, and I should have realized that.  I hope you can forgive me for treating you in such a way; after years of paying the price for being like that, I should have learned my lesson well before now.  If you want to be friends again, though, I'm reaching out my hand.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Avoiding a Calendar Fiasco

In late December of last year, I was searching frantically for one specific item.  I called and/or went on the websites of various stores, both in my area and online only, and had to go through a bunch of rigamarole to get it.  What was it? It was a 2012 Teen Nick wall calendar, as pictured to the right.  Since none of the brick-and-mortar stores in my area had it, I used, and my long-sought purchase is now hanging on my wall, right above the Mac on which I'm typing this post.
That actually wasn't the first time such an incident happened; about a year prior, I searched far and wide to find a 2011 Harry Potter "mini" wall calendar.  I called various places; I had tried to reserve it at my local Barnes and Noble, but the only copy they had was defaced--that is, scribbled on--by some kid, and their policy prevented them from selling an item in that condition.  A Books-A-Million location the next city over had it; thankfully, my mom was willing to drive me over there.  Even as far back as December 2006, I looked all over for a 2007 Star Wars calendar that included a DVD-ROM--or was it a CD-ROM?--with desktop images for your computer.  Surprisingly, I ended up finding it by complete accident at Kohl's, though the version they had--which was the only one I could find anywhere--lacked the bonus disc.
I'll admit: I'm a calendar enthusiast.  I currently have five wall calendars in my bedroom and three in my bathroom, and I've had no less than two or three almost every year for at least the past decade.  Their subject matter has ranged from astronomy to The Berenstain Bears to Digimon to Hilary Duff to Harry Potter to iCarly to Jeopardy! to Scooby-Doo to Star Trek to Trivial Pursuit to Wallace and Gromit...and that's not even all of them!  It's an annual tradition in my family: after Christmas, we head to the calendar shop in our local mall and buy the ones we want for half price.  Although that's "smart shopping" price-wise, as the stories mentioned above prove, sometimes finding the one I really, really want ends up being a bit of a chore, even if I've seen that same exact one somewhere before December 25 rolls around.
So, after thinking about it a bit, I've decided that I will buy the calendars I want before Christmas, if only to ensure that I do get them.  I placed an order via eBay for the 2013 VICTORiOUS calendar, and it is en route to my house as I write this.  If I happen to see any others I want--and, as much as I love calendars, I probably will--I'll do the same for them. currently claims to have a Victoria Justice 2013 calendar available for pre-order; as its late September release date gets closer, I'll keep checking to see if it really does come out, and buy it if it does.  (Why am I a bit doubtful that it's real? Simply because I can't find it listed anywhere else.) It may sound strange for anyone to have or even want multiple calendars for the same year, but, to me, there's nothing like a wall calendar.
Any comments?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Goodbye, "VICTORiOUS"

On VICTORiOUS' creator Dan Schneider's blog, he finally admitted what other sites have been saying for a while: The plug has been pulled on Tori Vega's show.  Though there are still fifteen episodes that have yet to air, no more will be made after that thanks to the Nickelodeon executives.  Mr. Schneider clearly stated that neither he nor any members of the cast are responsible; his exact words were, "I ask that you please not be angry with Victoria, or Leon, Liz, Ariana, Avan... or ANY of the Victorious cast members or staff. They all wanted Victorious to continue – so did I."  I don't even think the Nickelodeon staff knows when each of the episodes will air, but I seriously hope they don't drag out the periodic airing of the "never before seen" ones for over a year like Disney Channel did with Lizzie McGuire.
I've said before that VICTORiOUS is my favorite show, but it holds a personal distinction for me for other reasons as well.  I've adored numerous television programs over the years--they range from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers to Weakest Link to Scooby-Doo to Growing Pains to Bill Nye the Science Guy to American Idol--but, almost always, I was late to the game; that is, I hadn't followed them from day one.  Many of them were in reruns for years before I even knew about them, but others were well into their continuing stories by the time I was "hip" to them.  As much as I talked about Lizzie McGuire, I couldn't have cared less about it until around November 2002, and the show had wrapped filming months prior.  In fact, the last series I at least somewhat followed throughout its entire run was That's So Raven, which debuted almost a decade ago.  I did watch the series premiere of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, but my interest in that largely waned after a mere year or two.  Yet, I can still remember watching the pilot of VICTORiOUS the first time it aired, in between an airing and re-airing of the Kids' Choice Awards.
Does the impending end of VICTORiOUS mean that I have to stop watching or even liking it? No way! Even if Nickelodeon suddenly stops airing the reruns, I've got all the DVDs that have been released so far, and I'll find a way to purchase the future release(s) whenever they come out.  I can tell you that Victoria Justice and her show might very well stop being the dominating topic of my online posts and conversations, but that doesn't mean I've stopped being a fan, though people might assume that's the case.  I can still remember in mid-2000 when my mom told me to take down a collage of Mork & Mindy and Scooby-Doo pictures I had made myself a year prior because, as she said, "You're not into Mork & Mindy anymore."  It's true that I'd largely stopped talking about several months before, but that was just because, after Fox Family had removed it from their line-up, I had no way to watch it anymore.  I still liked the show, and got right back into it in 2002 when a newly added independent channel began showing reruns; the same thing happened again when I obtained the first season on DVD three years later.  It was just quite difficult to be a die-hard fan of a show that I couldn't watch, though I can see why my mom would have thought I no longer cared for it.
Two points I want to make before closing this.  One: Don't be quick to assume that no one will remember VICTORiOUS in the years to come.  I remember reading an article online titled, "Voice of Velma Amazed at Lasting Impact of 'Scooby-Doo,'" where a voice-actress-turned-college-professor was surprised how many of her students were fans of "those meddling kids"; one of her students reportedly based his dissertation around the show.  My point in bringing that up is simply this: VICTORiOUS may be largely forgotten five, ten, or fifteen years from now...but it could just as easily be largely remembered.  There's a number of factors it depends on, many of which are out of most people's hands.  It surprises me how many people still are fond of Lizzie McGuire, even years after it ceased production.
Here's my final point: Don't be quick to assume that Victoria, or any young Disney or Nickelodeon star, will end up like Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake.  When I was a die-hard fan of Hilary Duff, I heard again and again that her devolving into a sex symbol was imminent, and that I would be ashamed of ever being her fan at some point.  However, that child star never did such a thing.  Yes, she did star in a film or two that I'd rather not watch, but those received very little fanfare.  Instead of going out and getting drunk regularly, or appearing on the cover of countless tabloids, Hilary got married, and now has a legitimate son.  That's a far cry from Britney, Justin, Lindsay, and even Miley.  Assuming that Victoria Justice, Nathalia Ramos, Debby Ryan, Miranda Cosgrove, David Henrie, Cody Linley, or any of the rest of them will suffer the same fate is, frankly, judgmental, and that makes it wrong; see Matthew 7:1-5 and Romans 2:1 for proof.  You don't even know them, so, how can you know what their future holds?
Any comments?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

God Speaks...About Entertainment?

The Bible is God's message to His people; a manual for life.  I've been a Christian since 2003, but I'm still a sinner; Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."  You may wonder what the Bible has to do with entertainment, but they have more in common than you might think; one translation even says that Jesus "entertained" people when he was preaching.  However, there are also some verses that talk about media discernment.  Instead of interspersing my own commentary between them, I will just let the Scriptures speak for themselves, and I'll simply bold the parts I want to emphasize.  Here we go:
  • "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." -- Ephesians 5:3-5
  • "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." -- Romans 12:9b
  • "In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults." -- 1 Corinthians 14:20b
  • "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming." -- Colossians 3:5-6
  • "Avoid every kind of evil." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:22
  • "The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men." -- Psalm 12:8
  • "I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me." -- Psalm 101:3
  • "Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will withdraw my favor; I will not look on you with pity or spare you." -- Ezekiel 5:11
  • "But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." -- Ezekiel 11:21
  • "And I said to them, 'Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'  But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt." -- Ezekiel 20:7
  • "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." -- Matthew 5:28 
  • "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." -- Galatians 5:19-21
  • "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Godhaving a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." -- 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  • "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" -- 1 Peter 1:15 
 God said it multiple times in various ways; who are we, as mere humans, to argue?

NOTE: All Scriptures are taken from the 1984 edition of the New International Version.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Am I Destroying Myself?

A few months ago, in the weekly Plugged In e-newsletter, I came across a quotation from Jimmy Fallon's late-night monologue that read:
"North Korea has officially agreed to suspend its nuclear program. Apparently they watched one episode of Toddlers and Tiaras and realized we're destroying our own society."
Yes, the whole thing was a joke, but a pointed one at that; it's sad that such behavior is to what our society has come.  It's no surprise that many people, no matter what their beliefs are, think the end of our world is coming soon, though Matthew 24:42-44 says that the end will come when we don't expect it.  Still, my understanding of global matters isn't all that great, but I do know one thing: It's a mad world out there.
I didn't bring that up to discuss the affairs of our planet or even the United States, though; instead, I've been wondering for several weeks now if I am destroying myself.  Before you get all up in arms, I'm not talking about "cutting," looking at pornography, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or anything of that nature; anyone who knows me knows that those issues are just not my style.  Instead, I just wonder if my own habits are causing me to run myself into the ground.  I'd like to think not, but maybe I should get an outside perspective.
First off: My interactions and feelings about certain people.  Let's be honest, folks: We all have certain people we love to be with...and others whom with we'd rather not deal.  I have plenty of friends; not only do I get along with almost everyone at my church, but there have been zero social problems between my co-workers and I since I started my current job last October.  Nonetheless, there are some people who I just don't really care for; something about them just rubs me the wrong way.  I used to consider anyone I didn't like my enemy, but, recently, I've been wondering: Are the ones who I've previously thought to be among my enemies really on my side, and I've just focused too much on their negative actions?
Consider the following: Most of you know that my sister (that is, the one who is still alive) and I just don't get along.  We're equally strong-willed, but that's about all we have in common; I think we've agreed with each other about two times during my lifetime.  Such disagreement has led me to believe that she isn't and never has been on my side...but, now, I'm seriously rethinking that.  Has she said and/or done the wrong thing from time to time? Of course; who hasn't? James 3:7-8 and Romans 3:23 say that there's no one other than Jesus who has never been guilty of that.  One incident that would prove that my sister really is on my side happened several years ago, when the high school group at my church was taking a mission trip to Mexico.  The adults involved with the group, and even many of the teens, felt that it would be a great thing for me to go...but my mom absolutely refused to let me do it.  The most I got to see or hear about it were some pictures and personal testimony from those who did go.  I'll admit I was hot and bothered about it, but my sister said to me, "If you go on that trip, you have to work with little kids." She knew very well that I just don't get along with young children; in fact, I never really have.  I won't go into detail, but, if some of you saw or heard what I used to say about young children when I was younger, you would be shocked.  Despite that, I accused my sister of "twisting around the truth" and intentionally opposing me, and still wanted to go on that mission trip just because well-meaning individuals who lacked a complete grasp of my situation felt that I should go.  Looking back, I realize that my sister was absolutely right; me working with little kids always ends up badly, and my mom's "unfair" (my past, not current, feelings) restriction on it may actually have been divine intervention.  Was my sister trying to help me out, and I completely refused to accept it? In a word: YES!
It isn't just my sister, though; countless others, whom I know or have known, have done or said things with the best of intentions, yet I automatically assumed the worst.  True, some people have overstepped their boundaries; I mentioned before that a well-intentioned teacher at my high school tried to convince me that I should take a trip to a theme park, but it bordered on harassment when she refused to let it go.  Even so, I've always hated it when someone refuses an offer of help from someone else...yet, I've been doing the same thing for years, and didn't even realize it.
The second and third problems kind of tie in with each other: My memories of the past and my realization of my true age.  If you go through the post on this blog or even my Facebook notes, you'll find years-old stories recounted with such detail, it's as if they took place last week instead of around a decade ago.  Many adults, no matter their age, have select childhood memories--whether wonderful or traumatic--about which they can say, "I remember that like it was yesterday!"  With me, it's almost every memory, and I'm constantly reliving them, even in my dreams.  I've always been a bit of a "historian"; my mom has repeatedly told people about me asking her questions such as, "Why did you say, 'Go feed your sister's dogs,' at 10:05 AM on November 5, 1993?" By the time I asked, she didn't even remember saying it, let alone why she said it.  Now that I'm twenty-four years old, I have many more memories under my belt, and it's nearly impossible for me to do anything or go anywhere without being reminded of one or more of them.  Are some of them from entertainment? Yes; in fact, it's harder for me to forget that than real-life experience.  Still, no matter where they come from, they just won't leave my mind; in fact, immersing myself in music, books, movies, and/or television is really the only thing I can do to get my mind off of such memories.
As bad as that is, it gets even worse: The vast majority of those memories come from when I was in school; specifically, from the time I started kindergarten in 1993 to my high school graduation in 2006.  There's one big difference between now and then, though: I was still a kid at that time, and I'm a "young adult" now.  That wouldn't be a problem if those old memories weren't so fresh in my mind that they make me still feel like a kid.
Years ago, we had a family dog who was a basset hound/boxer mix, if you can imagine that.  We also had a cat, who we still do have, and they liked to play with each other.  I used to put the feline in with the canine to watch them play, but my mom said not to do that, because the dog thought he was still a little puppy, instead of the bigger, stockier dog he really was, and could hurt our cat.  I have a similar feeling; I have trouble understanding that I'm not a kid anymore.  People have been bothered by my behaviors that would have been perfectly acceptable...if only I'd been younger.  Of course, my disorder makes me behind in some ways for my age, but I still should be able to understand what's acceptable for someone my age and what isn't...yet, I can't, which completely stinks.
Another problem with the stories is that they just remain stories.  When I started my United States History class during my junior year of high school, it began by us learning about Christopher Columbus.  While the teacher was trying to teach us, the kids kept repeating the old third grade rhyme, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." Eventually, the teacher got so frustrated that he said, "Yeah, but some white guy sailing the ocean doesn't matter if you don't know what it means!"  It's true; knowledge without application is useless.  However, many times, I think about what happened years ago without realizing the implications of what was said and/or done.  Once in a while, I'll think of an old story and realize something I didn't the first 999 times I thought of it.  It's said that our experiences make us who we are; it's true with me as well, but only to a degree.
In conclusion, let me say this: In years past, I would see some item--usually at a yard sale--and just have to have it.  My mom would try and tell me that I should wait for something better, but I would still be insistent; it was sort of a "gimme, gimme" attitude.  I didn't realize what that looked like until I saw a coeval church member (who had some mental issues, mind you) loudly argue with his father over a probably unexciting vinyl record, which Daddy-O didn't want his son to have just because their record player wasn't working at the time.  It was hard for me to comprehend why he wanted it, until I realized I had done the same thing.  A similar incident happened at my local Borders store in late December 2006; my mom and I saw a young lady talking to herself loudly enough for everyone to hear.  (Before you ask, there was no cell phone or Bluetooth headset put to her ear; I checked.)  I had previously done that in public, and didn't realize how it looked to others; seeing it from an outsider's perspective made me resolve to at least whisper in public, and only talk to myself out loud in the privacy of my own home.  My point? Seeing others do the things that I do sometimes makes me realize that I shouldn't be doing them; it can feel completely different when you're doing it versus when you're seeing someone else do it.  Though I don't usually worry about what others think of me--after all, this blog is called "Siobhan Thinks Differently" for a reason--I sometimes wonder if my "different" behaviors are bothering others.  If they are, I should put a stop to them; however, who is seriously going to tell me, "You're annoying the heck out of me!", straight to my face?  That's why I need friends; someone has to instruct me on the way things really are.  Will you step up to the plate and be among them?