Monday, January 23, 2012

Time value of... everything?

"Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the next best alternative foregone (that is not chosen). It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices."  (wikipedia)

Opportunity cost is such a strange concept.  It's the driving factor behind every choice ever made.  However mundane or extravagant the choice, before you decide anything you (often subconsciously) ask yourself is it worth it?  Will the end result of my decision be enough to offset the time/effort/money/energy/emotion/risk it costs to achieve?  Interestingly enough, monetary cost is not often the dealbreaker in my decisions (not that I'm a big spender, I just don't consider expensive things as choices in the first place!).  I don't know about everyone else, but I catch myself having internal arguments over the silliest things:
  • I'm starving.  But the food is waaaaay over there, and I'm so comfortable.  Is it worth it to lose the warm spot on the couch to go satisfy my growling stomach?  Nope, I'll just turn up the music and ignore it so I can stay warm.  Why haven't I mastered the power of "the force" yet to will things to come to me?
  • My potential hobbies/talents are staring me in the face.  Sewing, watercolor painting, reading, my independent study course, running, guitar, writing in the blog, crocheting, cooking... basically I want my life to be a real-life pinterest stream.  But which do I pick?  What is the cost of what I'll miss out on if I choose one thing over another?
  • Is the risk of people being able to smell me from a distance worth the time I save in not showering tonight?  I just won't get close to people tomorrow, and I'm soooo tired... (kidding on that one.  sort of.)
  • (pretending I am Wikipedia)  Is the cost of shutting down my money-making website for an entire 24-hour span worth creating buzz to let Congress know I'm meaner and have much more influence than they'd like to admit?)
  • This or that boy is cute and can speak in full sentences.  Is the potential risk (is that a doubly-repetitive phrase?  Because "doubly-repetitive" sure is) of time wasted/money spent/girlish confusion/bridge burning/devastating heartbreak offset by the butterflies and rainbows and puppies and babies that could result from going on a date with him?  Obviously no babies the first date.  Just had to clarify that point.  
Point is, opportunity cost isn't a new concept, or even a particularly outlandish one.  Just a fascinating one, once you start thinking about it.  Every person is constantly calculating and re-evaluating the cost vs. benefit of every decision they'll ever make, and perpetually renewing and adjusting a priority-driven individualized scale on which they judge the worth of one "thing" compared to the sacrified benefit of every other "thing"... as if you could literally assign a dollar value to a minute, or to a "unit" of experience.  Holy cow.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I don't know who said this.  I don't care who said this.

I needed it, though.

Merry Christmas :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nightowl without a purpose.

I've let myself fall (back) into the terrible habit of not sleeping.  Like, college-style.  The hey-it's-1-am-and-there's-nothing-I-need-to-be-doing-but-it's-not-2-yet-so-I'm-going-to-stay-up-because-I-can style.  The problem is, unlike college-style, I still have to get up for work at the same time every day.  I'd blame it on my friends that I stay out late with some nights, but even then I come home and bum around for an hour or two before I decide it's time to be unconscious.  It has nothing to do with wanting to stay awake or being productive.  I just can't make myself go to bed.  I was reeeeally good about sleeping over the summer, but in the recent months have lost all sense of regularity with my schedule.  Goober doesn't help by chomping on his cage in the middle of the night wanting a snack, either!

As a side note, it bothers me a little when my work supervisor tells me I look sleepy... every day.  I may be tired, but didn't I just spend 20 minutes putting my face on so I wouldn't look that way?  Fail.

And since I have this problem to fight against, if I'm not careful this could become a vicious cycle. 

Moral of the story:  someone needs to yell at me to go to bed at a reasonable time.  And then show me how to do my makeup so I don't look like a zombie.

Monday, November 28, 2011

No Money November

This has been an expensive month for me.  I've spent my budget... twice over.   What in the world happened?

-Four new tires... when the tire guy openly laughs at my tires, it's time for new ones.
-One round-trip plane ticket home for Christmas
-Car insurance. 
-Rent for my new apartment... while still paying for my old one
-Necessary items for new apartment... Walmart owns my soul.
-Goober food... he is a bottomless PIT of a guinea pig!
-People food
-A year's supply of contacts
-Gas to drive to work/temple/airport

Holy cow.  On that note, I am THANKFUL for:

-Hopefully once again having traction on the road and not being forced to ask others to help push my car out of an inch of snow.
-Being able to travel across the country in a mere four hours to see my family.  Doesn't that blow your mind??
-My car in general.  It has been my most faithful little diesel companion these past three years of my incredibly transient life.  Where would I be without it (literally and figuratively speaking)?
-An amazing new apartment with a wonderful roommate.  She is crazy like me, which makes every day that much better :)  AND.  I live next to the Walmart.  Really.  You can't get any closer.  I love being able to walk there if I just need one or two things! 
-My little best friend Goobie-doobie-doo.  He only lets me sleep until my alarm every once in a while, but cute little squeaks aren't the worst way to wake up.  All he wants is a little carrot, can you blame him? 
-Having food in the first place.  Cooking/eating is a necessary evil in life.  I used to love cooking.  Hopefully I will again one day.  But until then, I'm thankful for cheese quesadillas, PB&J, cereal, and pudding cups. 
-Sight.  The correct perscription.  I'm going to be a nearly blind old lady with coke-bottle-thick glasses at the rate my eyes are going, but at least I can see now :)  And my health.  I'm not missing any limbs, or teeth... just a few of my marbles but that's it.
-MY JOB.  Without it, I wouldn't have money to spend.  Or a car to drive.  Or money for Goober and people food.  THE TEMPLE (see my previous post) for the peace and direction it affords.  FRIENDS to drive to the airport in the first place. 

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I don't really do "favorites."  I don't have a "top 5" movie list (excluding my inexplicable obsession with the Pirates of the Caribbean series).  I don't have a desert island list of books, or an if-you-could-only-save-five-things-in-a-house-fire-what-would-you-take contingency plan (Goober is a given, don't worry).  I guess I'm not really a "stuff" person.  I have a few favorite people... it's more of a rotating list.  BUT.  I can say with unwavering certainty that I have a favorite place.

It is the temple. 

LDS temples are places of beauty and peace.  They offer opportunities for members of my church to perform sacred ordinances for themselves and those that have passed on.  It is not a stretch to say that you can be closer to Heavenly Father in this place than any other on earth.

A recent blessing has been the announcement of the Fort Collins Colorado temple.  I didn't appreciate having a temple nearby (growing up it 6-7 hours to Washington D.C. and then about two hours to Manhattan when that one was built) until I lived in Provo.  The Provo temple was at most a five-minute drive (although once inside the wait was usually over an hour), and it was fantastic to have that sacred place so accessible to me.  Now, it's again a two-hour drive to the Denver temple.  It's entirely worth the time and gas money to have the experience of attending... but I'm not going to say no to a ten-minute drive :)  Two years til it's finished!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Winter Wonderland

It snowed on Wednesday.  It wasn't the two feet that is still causing blackouts throughout most of Connecticut and the northeast, but it was a solid six inches, in mid-October.  Awkward.  I grew up with tons of snow every year.  In the forth grade in Connecticut, our plow man/neighbor once dug a path from the front door to the driveway after a major storm, so we could get to school.  The snow on either side was taller than I was!  So, normally six inches wouldn't have been an issue, but since it is still so early in the season for snow, none of the trees had decided to drop their leaves yet (which obviously is a conscious decision they make).  The problem was that the snow was heavy and wet, and the poor little leaves were holding onto the branches for dear life... when I walked outside the next morning, it looked like a serial tree murderer had run rampant through the town.  Hardly a tree stood without some branches cracked or snapped right off.  The tree in front of my apartment staircase was bent so far over I actually had to climb through the branches (still attached) to get to my car.  It was... an adventure.

(photo stolen from Sarah B)

Historically, I've always allowed the snow and cold and my body's inability to control my internal temperature get to me.  I mope and whine and shake my fist at nature because of frizzy hair, numb toes, and wierd entire-body chills I endure perpetually throughout the winter months.

(This is usually what I look like six months out of the year.  Freshman year anyone?)

I was on the road to that last week when I first heard about the ridiculously-it's-too-early-for-this-garbage-foot-stomping-but-then-you-get-snow-in-your-shoes-unfair storm on its way.  I watched in horror and misery as the monsterous angry clouds came over the mountains and subsequently ate them.  I even felt the first few snowflakes on my ill-prepared bare arms as I ran hunched to my car.  I pretended it wasn't happening, thinking if I refused to acknowledge it, it just wouldn't happen.  Then I went to Zumba.  When I came out, a good inch or two had already fallen.  I almost cried.  True story.  On my way home after a few more errands, I was stuck behind a coordinated staggered three-plow caravan and spent the extra time contemplating the next six months of bundled-up misery.

The next morning, I woke up.  It had all been a dream!  Horray!  It was bright and sunny and warm outside.  FALSE.  It was still snowing.  And the trees were sad because their limbs were all broken off and they were naked stalks sticking out of the piles of white death. 

(photo stolen from Mark)

But somehow, overnight, my entire mindset had changed.  My unconscious mind had decided this winter would be different.  Sure, I will have those awkward chills that make me look like I'm having a seizure and allow others to openly mock me.  No, I will not be able to feel my toes until June.  Those things are unavoidable.  BUT.  I have boots that keep the snow out and sweaters that keep some heat in.  And hot showers.  And a car with seat warmers, even though it's already gotten stuck (tender mercy: friends that will help dig it out!).  And an electric blanket.  And an apartment with heat (even though I've already ruined several items of clothing by letting them get too close to the heater).  And hot chocolate.  And thick socks, and fleece pajamas, and...

Yep.  Bring it on, Colorado.  I'm ready for you this year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"I make bad look... so good!"

Once upon a time... and by that, I mean Thursday night, Nathan called.  He needed help with his costume, the one he had previously refused to tell me about.  I met him at Walmart at 9:30.  He was in the fabric aisle (not a good sign).  He gave me one guess as to what he wanted to be:  Megamind.  Of course!  It's been his favorite movie for months.  An animated movie, about a big-headed (literally and metaphorically) blue alien.  He looks something like this:

I left Nate's house around one in the morning, after having created what we thought was a pretty good replica... for a last-minute no-sewing project.  Fabric, liquid stitch, cardboard and aluminum foil.  And face paint.  THIS is the masterpiece:

Nate's roommate Josh was brainwashed after being forced to watch the movie several times.  So, he turned into Metro Man.  

It's Metro Man!

The two of them together were hilarious.  They really do make great roommates.  My favorite part is Josh's tape-wrapped shoes :)

We went to a party.  We saw my future roommate/fellow newsie (what I dressed up as, with her and Madi).

Spencer and Cheryl are Harry Potter addicts.  Can you tell?  :)

The genie and I!  "Can you see the glitter on my eyes?  CAN YOU?"  I love Sariah!

(photo stolen from Saundra)
 Oh look, the other two newsies (minus my suspenders, which did not really stand up to an entire night of dancing)!  And Megamind with his new facepaint.  All in all, it was a pretty fun Halloween weekend!