Remind me not to rent that again.

December 2, 2008

It’s the test of any relationship. The ups and downs. The endless waiting. The struggle to get through it. The search for meaning after it’s over, and the decisions that could affect you far into your “rental” future.

“Rental” future?

Oh, of course I’m talking about the Netflix account. Well, it’s really “our” account. We split it 50/50. Well, that’s what’s supposed to happen. I just shutter with fear when I think what a family of 4 must go through to get movies on the rental queue. Each family member must have to sit through 2.75 movies before he or she gets to see one that they actually ordered. And that’s on a good week. I guess I have it pretty easy.

Some people seem to rent movies on the “You will like this movie because you have already rented this movie” approach. And since the Netflix website is for people who take the time to rate the movies they saw, that approach could be meaningful. But we really don’t have time to do that.

I’m not sure how I decide on movies, but I think it involves:

1) Rating - I’m generally leery of anything PG-13 and under.

2) Movie Title – If I have the choice between “History of Delta Blues and Rare Archival Field Recordings Vol. 3 (1928-31)” and “The Return of Garfield’s Holiday Christmas Parade,” I would definitely choose the former.

3) Personal Knowledge Base – This can mean several things. If I have never heard of the movie, I am less inclined to add a movie to the queue. If the movie is about a topic that I have at least heard of or know something about, there’s more a chance I’ll watch it.

So that means the only way to get me to watch a movie that I don’t know about is to have someone else rent it and make me watch it. Hmmm.

4) Length of movie – With 2 or 3 movies hanging around the house, I seem to choosing which one to watch based on time. The 1.5 hour or less usually gets priority over the 3 DVD boxed set with added bonus endings and extra stagehand interviews.

So, in an obvious lapse of using my own movie selection guide, I thought it would be fun to put the latest/greatest Pixar cartoon on the queue. After a great turkey feast blow-out last week, we headed home early and popped in “Wall-e” for a spin through the ol’-still-analog-non-HD-non-Flat panel-non-dolby-un-surround-sound-god-knows-what-resolution-Feb. 17, 2009 non-compliant-TV TV.

After 45 minutes we had both fallen asleep. I’m not sure if the Earth was saved, or if the machines lived happily ever after. But that’s ok. I’m sure the next one is in the mail.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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