October 2005


Secretary of State Bruce McPherson visited ourĀ  local high schools today to emphasize to students the importance of voting. I wasn’t surprised to hear him say that of 18-24 year olds in California who are eligible to vote, only half of them are registered and half of those registered don’t even bother to show up to the polls. Pretty sad that our generation is so apathetic about the democratic process. We take it for granted and it’s not. We could lose it all if we aren’t careful…not any time soon but still.

Well, while there I went to interview a kid who had been having a pretty deep conversation with McPherson about the teacher initiative on the ballot. I wanted to ask him if he was registered yada yada yada, but he’s not even 18! He just turned 17 this month! What?!?! And you’re interested in politics? Not possible! But it was true. So, this gives me hope. Perhaps there are still some people our age (and younger) who are paying attention. We definitely need someone to pay attention.

On a side note: I’m super sad because I haven’t been paying attention to anything going on around me lately. I really need to take a week off just to catch up on national events. I will have a news update coming soon so that should help…

PS If you aren’t registered to vote you have until the 24th so you have no excuses! Educate yourself on the issues and get out there to vote. Nothing is worse than not exercising the rights given us by the constitution.

“Only one of four people in the 18 to 24 age group is voting. Democracy deserves better than that.” – Bruce McPherson, today.

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I’ve had this vision of a hat rack for my room for the past couple of weeks. I searched everywhere. I looked at all the usual places (target, wal-mart, pier 1 imports and cost plus) but didn’t find anything. Today, on a whim I went to this little furniture shop across the street from the paper and there it was! The perfect hat rack that has now been dubbed my scarf rack. See, if I have my scarves out where I can see them then I figure they will get a lot more use. Plus they make a nice decoration for my room. Plus they take up way too much room in my dresser (yeah, I knitted a lot last winter). I’d put a picture up so you could all share in the joy of my scarf rack, but I left my camera at work because I always forget to take it when there is something important to shoot. Maybe tomorrow….

My most favorite book series of all time is the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella, I loved the books because I connected so well with the main character, coincidently named Rebecca. As I read the books I could see myself going through the EXACT same embarassing and difficult events she faced.

Shopping addiction is something that is joked about often in our society, especially when it comes to women and their “need” to shop.

I was driving to work this morning and heard a commercial that went something like this:

Woman 1: “Why is there only one word for shopping when it’s such a complex activity.”
Woman 2: “Yeah, there’s window shopping, then there’s I-need-a-new-pair-of-shoes shopping.”
Etc. Etc.
The commercial ends with “And don’t forget the I-just-need-to-buy-something shopping.”

What the makers of this commercial didn’t realize, or maybe they did, is that there are some people out there who really think like this. Many Americans have a problem with shopping, with 60 million Americans feeling compelled to shop and 23 million suffering from shopping addictions according to a Stanford University study released in 2002. Whether it’s constant shopping for small items, impulse buying or purchasing the big-ticket items as soon as the funds are available, shopping can become a huge problem.

Shopping addiction is not a new concept. The first reported case was in the early 19th century, but it has become much worse as a result of over-exposure to advertisements and a decreased sense of financial responsibility pervades our society. It is suffered by many Americans, as can be seen in the fact that the Federal Reserves reported $2.11 trillion in consumer credit in 2004. Credit cards have become a way of life for many Americans, and are the enablers for people faced with this addiction. Granted the average American only has about $6,000 in credit card debt, but shopaholics can have anywhere from $20,000 on up in just credit card debt.

Shopping is one of the few addictions that is still okay to laugh at in our society. It’s not taken seriously at all, but if you’ve ever known someone with this addiction you understand how destructive it can be.

Any of you who have known me for a long time know that I used to have all of the signs of this addiction. Before I left for France in 2003 I had more than 15 open credit cards and nearly $35,000 in debt, $4,000 of that just on my Express credit card. I had cards for nearly every store in the mall and I tried everything to quit shopping.

If I liked a sweater I couldn’t just buy the sweater in pink. I had to buy it in EVERY color it came in. I own 45 bathing suits, that should tell you something.

My family and friends began worrying about my shopping habits, which I thought was really weird at the time, and I began hiding my purchases from them. I didn’t ever seek help for it because I didn’t think it was a real problem, but what I DID do was close ALL of my credit cards after A LOT of prodding from Donald.

I began ripping all of the ad pages out of magazines before I could read them. I started recording TV shows so I could fast forward through the commercials. And I VERY slowly began to dig myself out of debt, with the help of Donald of course. I still have a lot to pay off, but at least I almost never go shopping anymore and I’m happier not having tons of stuff around that I wasted money on and don’t even use. I’ve even gotten to the point that every time I go shopping I dread it because it’s just not fun anymore.

Shopping is a REAL addiction, just like gambling or alcoholism.

Green Day, the flavor of the week, the band of the year, winner of seven MTV Music Awards, was in Sacramento last night rocking the socks off thousands of adoring fans. Billie Joe is an amazing performer and kept the crowd entertained for the entire three hours (yes, THREE HOURS) he was on stage.

I was never a huge Green Day fan. I mean, I like their music well enough, especially their latest album, but they were never my favorites until last night. Not only do a lot of their songs carry a deeper meaning, but the music is incredible and even playing live the band was amazing.

Billie Joe was running all over stage, interacting with fans, changing costumes and sounding exactly like he does on cd. The band even played some old-school songs like “Shout!” and “We are the champions” as well as a good portion of their older music. Billie managed to bring politics into his performance without seeming overzealous or preachy. He even brought some fans on stage to play some of the instruments and got one fan to do a stage dive, which I’ve never seen in real life, nor do I think I could ever do. Green Day is a band that has managed to impress me and my jaded, cynical mind even when I wasn’t planning on being impressed.

Not only was I impressed by the fact that Billie Joe has known the bass player, Mike Dirst, since he was ten years old, I was impressed by Billie Joe’s willingness to speak out against the supposed majority in this country right now. Several of his new songs carry a political message and he made a point last night of telling the audience that it is our RIGHT to speak out against a government we don’t support. Political activism seems to have been lost on our generation. I know a lot of teenagers who aren’t interested in politics. Hell, I know a lot of college graduates who aren’t interested in politics, but having their idol or someone in the spotlight tell them that politics and world affairs are important will definitely make an impression. And, although he could just be anti-establishment because it’s cool I believe that it will spark the interest of some of these kids. I suppose it helped that he was anti-Bush. Maybe if he was out there slinging right-wing rhetoric I wouldn’t have been so impressed by him.

Sorry this review has begun to turn into a political soap box. Just know you missed out on a fabulous concert. You could have been the guy Billie Joe pulled up on stage to play his guitar and then gave it to you afterward, but you weren’t because you missed out on the best concert of the year for sure. If the opportunity to see this band presents itself again you should take advantage of it because they are amazing.

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