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This post could also be called: How A Book Saved My Life.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t just the cat. It was also ArtPunk, and through him, Chris Hardwick.

During my lowest times of depression, ArtPunk kept telling me to listen to an audiobook by Chris Hardwick, and I kept blowing him off with things like “I’ve never heard of him, so how can he help me?” (which was the STUPIDEST thought ever) and “I can’t listen to audiobooks and get anything out of them” (which was wrong).

Then I started my new job. And I needed something to listen to while working besides pandora. Music was beginning to bore me. That’s when I thought about the audiobook he mentioned and thought “Meh, what the heck? It’s worth a listen.” And the next few days were amazing.

As I listened to this book, called The Nerdist Way, it really sank into my head and hit me deep inside. It was probably one of  the best decisions I’ve ever made about a book. It literally changed my outlook on life. I was laughing along with it and really analyzing myself and my thoughts. It really made me think about the way I’ve handled things in my life. And the day I finished it was absolutely amazing.

I left work that day feeling like I could take on the world. And maybe win. I was so incredibly happy and felt like things were finally going my way. For the first time in a long time, I felt like everything was going to be ok and I was going to make it. I realized that things would eventually get better. I learned to enjoy the good things while they last, but without stressing about when they’re going to end. I learned to enjoy my burrito. I resolved to not take the easy way out. All because of this book.

The Nerdist Way is a phenomenal book that saved my life and all nerds and geeks should read it. Chris Hardwick and his humor really hit home for me and I think it will for many others who grew up awkward and socially inept, and even those who didn’t. He talks about making a character tome to keep track of your achievements and goals. It serves as a motivator and is kind of like D&D. ArtPunk and I are starting ours together.

Also, you should listen to his podcast, The Nerdist, free on iTunes. It’s full of humor and it’s “amaze-balls”. I listen to it at work and I’m on episode 50 already. He even does live versions of the podcast for audiences around the country, one of which I am attending THIS VERY NIGHT in DC. With ArtPunk. Cuz he’s awesome. I’m hoping to get our books signed by Hardwick tonight. Funny story about that too: I bought him the hardback copy of The Nerdist Way for Christmas and he bought me one too. Best present exchange ever. Then I gave him a graph paper moleskine notebook for his birthday for his character tome. I have a matching one that’s lined. The biggest geeks.

So yes the cat saved my life while I was deep in depression, but it was also ArtPunk and Chris Hardwick. I realize that I may have glossed over ArtPunk’s involvement in my recent life in my last post, but I was in a very bad place right then. Hating the holidays and all. But he really was there for me and tried to help me through all of it. I just wasn’t too receptive of his help. Which I regret. He’s been through a lot of crap with me ever since we met in freshman year of college, and I am unabashedly grateful for it. I just don’t know how to show him that all the time. Which makes me seem like a jerk occasionally. But he understands, because we’re both not the best socially and he knows I don’t say everything I should. And sometimes I say a lot of things I shouldn’t.

But anyway, I’m really excited to see Chris Hardwick in person tonight. I doubt I’ll get a hug like I did from Schaffer when I saw him in DC, but it’ll still be awesome. And I will enjoy that burrito. So much.

Chris Hardwick. ArtPunk. I heart you.

When a girl mentions in passing that she’s not into all that cliche Valentine’s Day stuff… ignoring it is usually a safe bet.

Case in point:
While talking to Irish a few weeks ago, I had mentioned my Valentine’s Day experience from last year, including how Jay had gotten me everything – teddy bear, balloon, flowers, card, chocolates, etc. – because I had never gotten any of that stuff before. But in that case, it was too little, too late. Damage had been done to the relationship that just couldn’t be undone with cute or tasty gifts.

Well even after hearing that, I received an edible arrangement, teddy bear, and balloon at work yesterday. It was awesome and I was squeeing like a fool. Unfortunately it was after 5 so most people had gone home, but I still texted some friends and ran to my girl upstairs to have a girly squealing fit together. And to share a chocolate covered piece of fruit.

I had already received a box of chocolates from Irish that he had AngryGinger grab for him, and I figured that was all I’d be getting. I was wrong. And I’m glad I was.

Also, when he was making the steaks for dinner (so very delicious), I checked my email and saw he had sent me a gift certificate for Squishable.com so that I can get myself a fox when it comes back in stock. I started squeeing again and ran over and hugged him for ages. It was awesome.

So the safest bet when it comes to Valentine’s, or really any holiday, is to get your girl something small at least, just to show you care. Even if it’s just a card. But if you think she’s more receptive, then go bigger, because it will be appreciated, and you will get hella brownie points.

Even is she says she doesn’t want to exchange gifts, you should still get her something. Saying that you’re not going to get each other gifts on a holiday for financial reasons or something is a TRAP. Better safe than sorry, and in this case it’s better to err on the side of giving too much, to an extent of course. Keep it sweet and simple.

We went gun shopping with AngryGinger a few weeks ago and it has been cemented: if I buy a gun, I want a Sig Sauer Mosquito. Probably not the pink one anymore, but just the basic black. And I totally want a thigh holster for it like Jill Valentine from Resident Evil 5. Like this. Cuz next time I do that costume, I want it to be more authentic. And I’ve got a better blue shirt now since AngryGinger gave me this for Xmas. Even though it’s a men’s style, it still fits pretty well. So it’s cool.

And IrishBro gave Irish a tactical belt that I might be able to steal from him to use as well. A few weeks ago I looted a grenade holster pack from a friend as well as a bunch of Army BDUs and such. He was moving and just wanted to get rid of extra stuff. And I’m a geek for anything military so…. it worked. If Irish ever wears that stuff, so help me…. he’s gonna get jumped so hard. I really wish he still had his Marines stuff, cuz the Marines are the sexiest armed forces, in my opinion.

I’m gonna go fantasize about that for awhile now…. sigh…

After that whole fandango went down, we were talking about our previous Valentine experiences. I told him how until last year, I hadn’t had the stereotypical gifts on V-Day (candy, card, balloon, bear, etc.), but Jay changed that. And it was stupid and terrible. Also, it was made worse by the fact that I didn’t love him anymore, but that’s beside the point.

I mentioned that other than the gifts, I couldn’t remember V-Day being all that good with Jay. Then he said, “I think WE were together on Valentine’s Day.” This was a huge memory shock. I had almost forgotten about that. We went to Don Pablos for dinner and had the Fajitas for Two Valentine’s Special (which I found amusing, and now ironic) and then we saw Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief. I remember using AngryGinger as my cover story since Jay hated the mere idea of Irish, let alone me being alone with him. And for good reason I guess.

So here we are, and we’ve come full circle. I’m a college grad now, I’m no longer on psych meds, I’m employed at a good company that is actually 9-5, we’re living together, and he’s finally learning to be a boyfriend, kinda.

Life isn’t perfect. It’s an adventure.

I already had my big plan for Valentine’s Day all worked out. I was going to drive Irish to the Verizon Store, and he could pick out his new phone, in all likelyhood the Droid X, and I would buy it for him. And an Otterbox case for it if he wanted one. This weekend ruined that.

I paid the $200 electric bill this month. I paid $400 toward the rent. So he had some extra money and decided it was a perfect time to buy his new phone. I told him he should wait, say, a month, just to be sure it’s what he wanted. And since I had to drive him there, I said I was okay with shopping for it, but not buying just yet. I didn’t want to tell him why he should wait, ruining the surprise, but figured he’d wait anyway.

I was wrong. Shocking.

Within 5 minutes of talking to an employee he said “alright, I’ll take it” and my jaw dropped. I was speechless, confused, and frustrated. I barely said a word after that until we got into the car and he asked if I was upset about it. Well, duh.

I explained to him that I was gonna buy him one for Valentine’s Day, if he would’ve just waited. And that yes, of course I’m upset about it. He didn’t listen to me. He didn’t trust my opinion on it. And he didn’t get the hint to just wait when I said it over and over and I’ve done this kind of thing before with him (I told him not to buy something because Santa might be getting for him, he understood then). He just thought I was trying to tell him how to spend his money, which I wasn’t. Admittedly, there’s part of me that is bitching inside about how he wanted me to help with rent and BGE and then he goes and spends that money on other stuff, but whatever.

He also apparently wasn’t expecting me to get him anything for Valentine’s, cuz no girl’s ever given him something before. So we decided that we were just going to call it his Valentine’s present anyway. And I told him I might still give him a card and a blowjob as a placeholder. Maybe 2. To this, he had the perfect response: “What am I gonna do with 2 cards?” Brilliant! I haven’t decided how I meant it yet. I just hope to get laid that day/weekend. Maybe twice if I’m lucky.

Just one more hour to go. And I’ve finished everything I have to get done at work this year. Here’s hoping nothing plops onto my desk at the last minute this time. And as long as I have the appearance of being busy, the girls shouldn’t be shunting anything off onto me. *fingers crossed*

So in the interest of enjoying my new iPad, using the iTunes card my supervisor gave me for Christmas, and also getting back into drawing stuffs, I bought Sketchbook Pro for $3 (normally $8ish) on the App Store, and after seeing reviews for Inspire Pro, bought that too, for $1 (also normally $8ish). And since I know I’m hopeless at drawing with a fingertip, I went ahead and bought a Pogo Stylus on Amazon.com for about $8 (normally $15). I have just received confirmation that it has been delivered and I can pick it up from my doorstep when I get home. So excited to play around with it! I need some drawing ideas though. That was always my biggest problem: inspiration. I can draw from life just fine, but when it comes to drawing randomness from my head… well I suck.  In fact, there’s really not anything random in my head as far as visuals go. Not anymore, if there ever was.

And now I’ve killed enough time that there’s only 45 minutes left til my 3-day weekend starts. Yay.

So I realize that I said I would try to do at least one post every week, but have not held myself to that. Well I blame the holidays and general schedule craziness. And I got a job. So that’s very whoo-hoo!

I started a Web/Graphic Designer job on the 6th and haven’t had much time to do anything besides work and sleep since then. The first week of the job, we had a Christmas party and the company-wide gift was an iPad. And I got one. I had just been thinking about the possibilities of owning one and how I could blog so much easier on an iPad. Then I get one, but never used it to post. Granted I’m still not using it for that. It’s been an e-reader and video game system so far. Even this post is being done at work cuz I’m on lunch and work is light – for now. The rush was last week.

I’m loving the job so far and it’s actually in my field. They also are wanting me to do some animation/video work at some point since I’ve got experience with that. The most animation involved thing I’ve done so far was a photoshop animated gif with text, but they were impressed. The other designers hate web/animation work so that works fine for me.

I’ve also been sick these past few weeks…err… month. General flu-like stuff and then lots of coughing/hacking. I’m finally getting better again though, so hopefully that holds out. I’ve been sick my whole time at work so far too, which sucks, so no one has gotten to see the true/regular me. Hoping for a clean bill of health in the new year. Fingers crossed.

So yeah, I got an iPad after a week of working here. The next week was the building party, where I got a red cashmere scarf. The next week I got a Christmas bonus. Best timing ever. Win. Then a 4 day weekend for Christmas and a 3 day weekend coming up for New Years (which I still have to find plans for) and that makes this week a 3 day work week. So much win.

Christmas was pretty cool this year and I didn’t have to drive 7 hours this time. Spent some of Christmas Eve at Irish’s parents’ place, opening presents with the kids and having dinner. I got Assassin’s Creed for 360 and a gift card. Then we went to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve snacks and hangouts. I brought my iPad to show my parents and use as pretense for a present. I had just gotten paid that day and wanted to give them some moneys toward what I owe them from being unemployed all that time, and gave them a check for $600, saying: I thought you might like the iPad, and I was gonna buy you one, but figured I’d just give you the money for one instead. It was intended as a joke, knowing it’d go towards what I owe them. It went right over my dad’s head though. Ugh. Ridiculous. At least my mother knew what I meant by it. So after that awkwardness was over, we kept chatting and snacking until finally heading home after midnight.

Christmas morning was cool too, since Irish and I got to open presents just the two of us. He seemed to like everything I got him, so that’s cool. I bought Fable 3 and Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition on Black Friday, but couldn’t wait so those were early gifts to us. But I did give him Fallout: New Vegas and Bioshock on Christmas. I also gave him a shiny new Casio Solar Waveceptor watch, a leather left gauntlet for his rennfest costume, slippers, and assorted football clothings. Good haul for him, I’d say. He gave me Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii (wanted for years since it came out), a bottle of Davidoff Cool Water perfume (always loved but never owned), and some pretty swooshy design diamond earrings (which I just found online here).

Then it was time for Christmas dinner/lunch at my parents’ house. It was surprisingly good and we stuffed ourselves. Then presents happened and I got the obligatory Best Buy gift card from my brother (we always get each other the same thing) and a Dragon 2011 planner from his new wife. We all got cards with $30 from the parents, even Irish, so he was surprised with that. Brother gave the parents a present that I nudged Irish about, saying jokingly: Hey it looks like an iPad with a screen protector attached to it. Then it was. I was laughing my ass off, and so was Dad. It was even better that I had brought my iPad over the night before, so he knew he liked it. It’s really for Mom, cuz Dad’s always on the computer and she never gets to learn or do anything. But since all they use it for is email, internet, and games, it works perfectly.

It also made sense of Brother’s silence/awkwardness during my check presenting the night before.

We hung out a bit there, had some cake, then headed over to Irish’s parents’ house to watch Inception, since I’d given it to IrishDad for Christmas. It was just as good as I’d remembered it to be, especially cuz I couldn’t remember the ending at all. So that was cool.

The rest of the weekend was after-Christmas shopping, video games, and such. I had off yesterday so I played some Fable 3 then hit up Borderlands with Guardian for awhile til Irish got home. Then had some dinner and went to exchange gifts with TinyFists. I got her some earrings and she gave Irish and me a $100 gift card to Duclaw. I was shocked and surprised. I hadn’t expected such a pricey thing from her, but that’s awesome.

Brought the first batch of peppermint bark I made for Christmas into work today and left it in the kitchen. I think it’s been slaughtered by now. I was going to take it to karaoke, but I don’t think that’ll happen. Oh well. I’m still gonna hit the bar tonight and ArmyGuy is gonna be there too, whom I haven’t seen in ages.

I think that pretty much takes care of the catchup from this past month. If I’ve missed something and you’re wondering about it, just leave me a comment and I’ll post about it soon.

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