Well, Kurt and I have given in and bought smart phones. The pay-by-the-month cost was $35 for unlimited texting and data, with 300 minutes. The plan with unlimited minutes and texting was $40 per month. The dumb phone was cheaper than the smart phone, but the plan was more expensive. That's what ultimately made me decide to get the smart phone. I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. It's kind of convenient, because I can check Facebook on it (I never check it on my work computer). I like using Pandora on my phone to connect to the auxiliary-out cord in my car. I like being able to use the Gmail chat on my phone. I like some of the other little, useful apps. I can't bring myself to download games yet. I don't want to be an obnoxious smart phone user.
This weekend has had a lot of sitting around and chatting. Friday night we had a few friends over (Tyne, Matt, and Pat). We sat from 7:30pm til 1:30am, just talking and having a few drinks. It was a good time. I did that all the time with my Michigan friends, and miss it. In Nebraska, we tend to do lots of "stuff", like games and other planned activities...which is a lot of fun! But I enjoyed kicking back and shooting the shit. We also did this Saturday night for about 2 hours at Matt's house. It was also enjoyable. However, Kurt and I were pretty tired and left around 10:30. Kurt had run 9 miles earlier in the day, and I had walked 5 miles. We came home, watched a movie on Netflix, and both of us dozed off during it. It's odd for me to fall asleep during a movie...
Today we went to church, then went to Kurt's parents' house to celebrate Jim's birthday (Jim is a disabled guy that Kurt's mom has guardianship over, because both of his parents passed away, and Kurt's mom was friends with his mom). We had pizza and cupcakes. We came home and did the crossword puzzle successfully, and now we're probably going to relax for the rest of the night. Yesterday's weather was sunny and in the 50s. Today it's cloudy, drizzling and in the upper 30s/lower 40s. Our energy level is quite low and it feels like the kind of day to stay indoors with a blanket.
I finished reading a book today called Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. It went into detail explaining specific campaigns that were used to promote products, or particular tactics used in the marketing industry to persuade us to spend our money. I found that I was already aware of most of these tactics, and that I am pretty good at insulating myself from ads, or making myself immune to some of their tactics. I hate advertising, and as a rule, try to avoid it as much as I can. Thus we cancelled cable, I listen to a lot of community and public radio, buy mostly store-brand items, turn off the radio during commercials, and have an ad-blocker in my browser. It helps. The guy in the book went out of his way to make companies sound like deceptive, manipulative, careless, greedy businesses. And many of them are, I have no doubt, but the whole tone of the book was over-the-top and alarmist. He even had an alarmist chapter on how powerful our friends are in influencing our brand choices. Oh no! Watch out for those scary, manipulative friends who are going to try to get you hooked on a brand! I'm not a fan of advertising, or over consumption or needless consumption, but people need stuff and companies provide that stuff. I appreciate ethical businesses and try to support local ones whenever I can. It was an interesting book, but not anything new or ground-breaking for me. It contained a chapter on data-mining that was a good reminder to value privacy and do what I can to keep as much of my personal information out of the wrong hands.