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Monday, January 21, 2013

Cheap entertainment -- our little game

My family is easily amused. Since New Years, our family has been playing a little game of sorts.

Just before New Year's Eve, my daughters and I went to the library, and checked out a huge pile of dvds. The limit is 10 per person. We imposed our own limit of 6 (okay, an extra one snuck in there somehow), bringing home 19 dvds, almost all comedies (we love a good laugh).

Our "game" began on New Year's Eve. With so many movies to choose from, and the five of us doing the choosing, you can imagine the trouble that ensued. Have you ever tried to make decisions by committee? After about 5 minutes of "what do you want to watch?", followed by "what do YOU want to watch?", "no, you tell me what YOU want to watch", we decided (by committee, of course) that a secret ballot option would probably be better for this situation.

Paper and pencil in hand, and all the dvds laid out for us all to see, we each wrote down our top 5 picks. Grace and I were the election officials and tallied up the votes. With no clear winner, it became evident that we needed a run-off between the top 8 dvds.

With our makeshift ballots (the back of a piece of junk mail) in hand, once again, the five of us each chose our 3 faves. Grace and I did our election work, supervising each other to insure no hanky-panky in the voting booth. No hanging chads here -- it was clear that there were 3 favorites in the collection.

After about 10 minutes of these shenanigans, I found myself running out of both paper and patience. And so, the head election official (me) made an arbitrary decision that the final run-off would be by show of hands. In the end, there was one distinctly clear winner. And for the life of me I can't remember what we chose, but I'm sure we were all entertained.

The next night, we held the same game, eliminating the watched dvd from the selection. We continued with movie nights until school started up again the next Monday, then picked back up with movie nights every weekend.

We are now down to the last few dvds that we checked out. I'm sure we'll soon be receiving a phone call from the library telling us we have items overdue (fortunately our library does not charge a fine for late turn-ins). We may even have to turn some of these dvds in to the library without watching them. Heavens! We can't let that happen!

We all agree that the voting process, complete with lobbying and bribery (just like in Congress), is just as entertaining, if not more so, than actually watching these movies. Who would've thunk?

And that's been our cheap entertainment for the month. I told you that we were easily amused.


  1. Those kind of situations can go one of two ways--everyone is upset or everyone is amused. I'm glad that it turned out well for you. Have fun watching.

    As an aside--In our library, you get movies for a week and then it's a dollar a day fine (no renewals). I often wonder how people who check out large numbers have time to watch them all. The most we check out at once is two.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      If our kids were younger, then I could see how this might not end so happily. But we're a jovial bunch, and get along quite well.

      At our library, the checkout period is 3 weeks, with no fines collected. I should consider myself pretty lucky to have such a liberal policy.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun in trying to decide, Lili. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Sometimes it turns out that what you think will be the fun part, watching the dvd, winds up being secondary to something as mundane as choosing the dvd!
      Thanks for visiting!

  3. We'll have to try that here as we have very diverse tastes in DVD and can never agree! Our new year's resolution is NO DVDs from the library - a new release costs £3.70 per week and we are prone to go over the week; we have a backlog of borrowed from friends and family DVDs to watch, and charity shops are good sources too.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      good suggestions on where to obtain free or inexpensive dvds to watch. Last time we went up to visit my father-in-law we saw their enormous selection of dvds and they let us borrow a few. I noticed that they put an address sticker (the kind that you sometimes get free in the mail) on the front of all their dvd covers, to insure the dvds eventually come back to them.

  4. That sounds like much more fun than how we used to do it. We took turns, each person picking one they wanted to watch. If my youngest chose one night his brother chose the next, and I chose another night. This seemed to work for us. Our library policy is one week on DVD and magazines, 3 weeks on books.

    1. Hi Lois,
      When my kids were younger we did things by taking turns, as well. That seemed to work pretty well for us. Now that the kids (and us, the parents) are more mature, and can accept it when we don't get what we want, the voting is fun.

      I'm beginning to see that our library is indeed very liberal in its lending policies!

  5. Ha! I LOVE to be surprised by movies. Somehow it's more fun when you have absolutely no preconceived notions of what the film is gonna be about. So lately I've taken to playing "Netflix roulette." I have a ROKU player which allows me to stream Netflix directly to my TV so if I want to watch something I'll just close my eyes and click randomly around on Netflix and then I don't open them until the film has started.

    I've found some real gems that way. Of course there were some real bombs too, but overall I'd say my average is no worse than when I carefully read the reviews and try to choose something I'm "sure to like."

    1. Hi Cat,
      I know what you mean. Sometimes I get myself all psyched up for a particular movie, maybe I remember really funny bits in the trailer, or maybe the back of the cover makes the movie sound amazing. Then I actually watch it, and my expectations were so high, that the movie just seems to fall flat. This month has been great with movies for us. Many of the movies we didn't even remember them coming out. And several times our family chose a movie that wasn't my first pick, but I wound up really enjoying it.

      Of course, like you said, sometimes you can get a really awful movie, not knowing much about it. We did pretty well, in that regard this time around, although we were surprised a few times by some really raunchy humor, that I don't think a mom should be encouraging in her teen kids.


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