Saturday, December 18, 2010

In which life kind of is boring, actually...

Ages and ages ago, way back in October of 2009, Havi at The Fluent Self wrote about how a person doesn't necessarily have to be all that interesting -- all that kooky -- to be successful.

She had four points to this effect, which I have paraphrased slightly so as not to copy-paste her entire post:
Point One: You don't have to be kooky and weird.
Point Two: The important thing is being yourself, and doing so out loud.
Point Three: You can't be boring, because there's no such thing as a boring person.
Point Four: That means even if you are boring, your boringness makes you interesting!  You can work with that!

Cool, right?  Great advice, at least in theory.

So, um... what about in practice?

Well, to start off, I think we can all agree that I'm not really kooky.  Weird, sure, maybe, but certainly not kooky.  And even my weird is pretty run-of-the-mill weird.

So, being myself, out loud.  I guess that's what this blog is about.  But like any other persona, this one covers things up.  Not necessarily anything I'm ashamed of, mind you, but things that might make the blog not safe for work, or that might embarrass the people I care about, or that might make job hunting difficult even though they have nothing to do with the jobs I'm looking for.  And the kooky, interesting people online tend to not really care about those boundaries, that much, or at least they appear to be willing to throw caution to the wind.  If your blog is your living, then sure, you probably should do that; it'll get you readers, right?  But if it's not?  If it's more of a hobby? Well, maybe watching your back isn't the worst idea in the world.  It just might not be the best marketing for your hobby.

No one's boring?  Sure, I guess.  I sort of want to counter that everyone is probably boring to someone. And that's a duck, right? If people find you boring, they're not your people.

That doesn't make it any easier to find people who find you interesting, though, does it?

So, then, how can I make this boringness interesting? I guess, at heart, that's what the whole point of this blog has always been.  And those of you reading this are probably well aware that there's not that many of you, and that most of you probably know me in real life.  To be honest, I would not be at all shocked if a substantial percentage of you know each other in real life (although, given the numbers we're working with, if any two of you know each other, that would be a not-insubstantial percentage).

All of which would be a great draw if I was a teeny-tiny social networking site, but while I encourage you all to come out of the woodwork and say hello to each other in the comments, that's not really the point of this blog.

The point is to figure out what's interesting about my life, and tell you some stories.  Plenty of people do it.

Hey, maybe when you're coming out of the woodwork, you can tell me what makes you a little kooky?  I'm all up in my trees, here, and I could use a nice view of the forest.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

In which I check in with the list for December

OK, I can't imagine there's been much progress this month on my list of things to do before I'm 28 -- it doesn't feel like there has -- but let's check in anyway:

12. Actually win NaNoWriMo

Officially a failure.  I was making really good progress early in the month, but did quite a bit of traveling and lost my momentum.  Maybe next year. Right now the biggest question is: should I bother to keep picking at my project, without the pressure, support system, or permission for it to be an utter piece of garbage?

18. Read a sixth book off my reading list

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

24. Buy an outfit that makes me look amazing, and not freak out about the price

Possible progress; we'll see how it all comes together.

So April will be here before I'm ready for it, I'm sure, so I'm opening this up for suggestions of more reasonable things I can do next year, since I'm going to fail on a few of these this year.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

In which it's bell-ringing time again

Once again, the folks are standing outside the department stores with their red kettles and jingly little bells.

Once again, I feel uncomfortable dropping cash into these kettles, and determine to donate to the Salvation Army directly.

Once again, I am setting up a Virtual Kettle so you can do the same if you wish.

Dynamic fundraising meter for your Red Kettle campaign.
Personal fundraising widget for 2010 Red Kettle campaign

Thanks in advance.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

In which I wonder what you'd like to read

So what kind of posts do you enjoy most?

Lengthy descriptions of this thing or that?

Personal rants about what's going on?

Cute little surveys?

Links and my opnions on what they have to do with anything?

Something else entirely?

Lists and stories of accomplishing things?

Seriously.  Let me know in the comments.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

In which I need momentum (a Personal Ad)

What I'm looking for:

Momentum! I'm fighting inertia right now, and I need a push so that the object at rest (me) will be an object in motion.

How this might work:

My 15-minute and 30-minute playlists will help me do things in musical chunks.
External deadlines could be imposed.
External incentives could be offered.
Internal deadlines and incentives could magically start being effective.
Something will make me really excited.

My commitment: 

I will do things I don't like in 15- or 30-minute chunks interspersed with things I kind of like doing.
I will figure out some sort of reward system for myself that does not involve eating or spending money (this is tough).
I will follow up on ideas that excite me.


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Saturday, November 6, 2010

In which I get back to the list

Cover of "Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile...Cover of Fables Vol. 1: Legends in ExileIt's been a while since I revisited it, but I have this list of 28 things I want to do before I turn 28.
So since it's been a while, let me revisit the items I had not yet completed as of last time, one by one.

1. Learn to ride a bike.

Hasn't happened yet.  I found an organization that gives adults lessons for free, but I'd have to rent one of their bikes, and the form to do so was messed up.  Hopefully by March or really early April, I'll be able to try again.  Otherwise, I may need an item to replace this one (feel free to suggest).

2. Get my driver's license

Well, I got my permit, and I've been practicing.  I need to look into local driver's ed programs, since it's been so long (and in a different state) since I took one.  That's going on my short-term to-do list.

3. Get my own domain and move my blogs there.

No progress.

4. Obtain at least one new pen-pal

Possible progress.  I need to be better about my correspondence.  Another thing going on my short-term to-do list.

5. See one of the American sites on my list of Things to Do Before I Die

No progress.  Not likely to be much, although I might be able to swing Baltimore at some point.  Another item for which I might need a replacement.

6. Go somewhere I've never been before (the above does not count)


7. Read one of the books on the same list.

 As it turns out, all are series.  All are in progress.  Making more progress than I had when I started counts, right?

11. Come up with an idea for an ebook.  Not necessarily write the thing, but come up with the idea.

No progress.  Anything you might want to read from me?

12. Actually win NaNoWriMo

Ready to go!  I have my idea in mind, I'm re-reading No Plot No Problem, and I'm not going to discuss it otherwise because the less I say about these things, the more likely I am to finish them.

14. Read a second book off my reading list

 This one's a little tough, since I don't have a record of exactly when I read each book.  Still, if the last book I read off the list last update was Alas, Babylon!, then I can make a reasonable assumption (based largely off some library receipts I've scrounged up) that I have read Volume One of Fables...

15. Read a third book off my reading list

Volume Two of Fables...

16. Read a fourth book off my reading list

 Volume One of Sandman...  (What?  I can put graphic novels on my reading list if I want!)

17. Read a fifth book off my reading list

And Against Depression.  I know there have been more, but since I can't pinpoint the dates, that's all I can confirm for now.  So we'll skip the other "Reading list" items and more on to...

23. Submit a piece of writing for publication

No progress.

24. Buy an outfit that makes me look amazing, and not freak out about the price

Some progress.  I just need things to which I can wear my new clothes.  Why can't practical ever be sexy?!  Or vice versa?!

25. Attend a Flyers home game.

No progress. I should look at their schedule again...

26. See the Pacific

No progress.  Not looking likely.  Another item I may need to replace on this list.

27. Join something: a club, organization, or team

Tentatively accomplished.   I've only been to two meetings of the book club so far.  i'm crossing it off but reserving the right to add it back on should this not work out.

28. Attend a cherry blossom festival

No progress, but this one is easy enough -- I'll just get myself to Central Park in early spring.

So as you can see, I'm definitely up for tips and encouragement, as well as ideas o replace some items I may have to give up.  Leave a comment if you've got any thoughts!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

In which I keep forgetting about guest-posting I do...

Adam WarlockImage via Wikipedia
So a couple months ago, the Platinum Warlock (his blog is linked down in my blogroll, if you're interested) went on vacation and asked me to cover for him. He wanted me to write something geeky.  I geeked out -- though perhaps not in any expected way.

Check it out here.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

In which it gets better

Sex advice columnist, journalist, and newspape...Image via WikipediaBilly Lucas committed suicide after unbearable homophobic bullying.

There is no evidence that Billy actually was gay, but LGBT kids are far more likely than straight kids to commit suicide -- and frankly, straight kids who are mercilessly bullied often don't feel like there's hope, either.

Columnist Dan Savage read Billy's story, looked back at his ow adolescence, and wished he could have told Billy, and kids like him, that life gets better.

So now he is.

Go to his new YouTube channel, , and see the message Dan and his husband, Terry, recorded for kids, specifically LGBT kids, who might be afraid that their current hell really is the "best years of their lives."

And if you fit the bill, consider recording your own messages to help save kids like Billy.

And even if not, spread the word.

The video:

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

In which I wonder how you found me

I was looking at some statistics on my blog, and while many people find me by Googling either the title or the address of this blog,and quite a few more found me while doing searches for wedding songs, thanks to my polls, a decent number of people have found me using the phrase "Ill-gotten profit."
I have no idea.
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

In which I ponder a new project

Lost DVD, finally came!Image by charmingman via Flickr
So with the Series Finale of Lost fast approaching, I'm planning on going back and re-watching my DVDs of Season 1 and seeing if it all worked out -- does this season answer the Big Questions of Season 1?  Or did it completely pee on the original mythology?

But the big question is, should I blog my progress?  And that's where you come in:

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

In which I consider the library

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...Image via Wikipedia
I'm not sure what I think of this.

Typically, the Free Library of Philadelphia has a benefit to help support the library and its programs.  Last year, they had what they called the Borrowers' (un)Ball.

The premise is, instead of spending money to dress up, supporters stay home, read a book, and donate to the library.

On the one hand, I kind of like this.  Instead of paying, say, $200 to buy a dress and go to the salon, and then another $150 for the benefit ticket, you can send $300 to the library, see more of your money go to the cause, and still save $50.  At the same time, the library is saving on food, music, decoration, and PR, so none of those will have to be paid for from the proceeds.  I've always preferred this route when I've been invited to alumni benefits and the like.  Then again, I'm not a society princess. 

Heh.  Can you imagine?

On the other hand, why call it a Ball... or rather, an (un)Ball?  Why can't it -- why shouldn't it -- be a general call to action?  If you utilize the library, appreciate the library, think the library does good work, donate.  Maybe today, maybe on the night of the event, maybe in a few months when things settle down. 

Just like you don't need to wait until Thanksgiving to donate to a food bank, and you don't need to wait until a disaster to give blood, you don't need to wait until a benefit event to give to an organization that you believe deserves your support.

Well.  That's my rant.
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

In which I work on the list.

Screenshot taken by me (Icea) from the trailer...Image via Wikipedia
This month, I knocked #8, 9, and 10 off my list of 28 things to do before I'm 28.

As a reminder, the items were "Watch one movie (or "a second movie") from the AFI 100," and this month I finished Sunset Boulevard, which the AFI listed as the #12 movie of all time, as well as The Philadelphia Story, #44, and Saving Private Ryan, #71.  You can expect reviews in the near future, although I'm having some computer issues and can't promise when.

I also completed #13: "Read a book off my reading list."  A review of Alas, Babylon will also be forthcoming.

I also  may have made progress on #24: "Buy an outfit that makes me look amazing, and not freak out about the price."  I bought a cute dress for more than I normally would pay for something that was trendy enough I might not be able to wear it next year, when I have no set plans on when to wear it.  But it was really cute and I liked how it looked.  I'm not crossing this off until I get a chance to wear it and gauge opinions, though.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In which I contemplate the ideal life.

I'm not going to lie.  This feels like an assignment from Freshmen Philosophy class, where we have to read Plato's Republic and ponder how it applies today.

But why not?

So I guess I'm going to start by wishing for more wishes.  That is, to have the ideal life, one needs sufficient money.  How much money that is will obviously vary, but for me, a good rule of thumb is: can we take that amazing trip this summer, and still be in good shape if we're suddenly both unemployed when we get back?

So, let's take what I just said, and break it down: I want sufficient money, and I want to travel.

How do I make this money?

I'd love to be a writer.  I know the first step is to own it and say, "I am a writer," but I haven't felt to urge to write poetry in ages, I never finish my fiction (I'm a repeat-loser in NaNoWriMo), and my essays?  All right, let's be honest: how many of you are actually reading this?  It's a standard confidence issue, and it's one I try to work on.

Question for my fellow bloggers: what do you do when you hit the "publish" button and the question hits: What was the point of that?  Who cares?

Needed for ideal life: confidence.  How to get?

On this point, I am open to suggestions.

What do I hope to get from my travels?

I never got to study abroad in school, and of course all one ever hears about study-abroad is that it "changes your life" and "expands your horizons."  I'm an adult now, and as such, my personality and whatnot are pretty much carved in stone.  But I wouldn't object to some life-changing horizon expansion.

That's tough, though.  For our honeymoon, we spent two weeks in Italy.  It was amazing, but we spent the bulk of the trip running ragged, trying to fit a lifetime's worth of tourism in.  And that was totally worth it, but it doesn't tell me a whole lot about what it's like to be a part of that culture.  Oh, sure, there were bits and pieces -- if you want to eat dinner at 5:00, for example, your best bet is to find a place that serves lunch late -- but I picked up maybe three words of the language, and I'll never develop a taste for tripe.  I didn't even pick up very much inspiration to write (see above), and when you're surrounded by some of the greatest examples of art, culture, religion, and mythology in the world and have nothing to say...

So, in the broadest sense, I want to come away from my travels a better person, and I want to have more, and more important things, to say when I put pen to paper or fingers to keys.

Needed for ideal life: self-improvement

That's a goal unto itself, isn't it?  I want to be a better person, which means I have to figure out exactly what that means.  And I think that is a blog post for another day.

Needed for ideal life: inspiration

But one can't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, can one?  After all, this whole post was based on a prompt I found somewhere (I couldn't tell you where) and set for myself.

On the other hand, this whole post is so much navel-gazing, which is far less interesting than the history and patronage of the Borgias and Medicis.  So there's that.


 Well, there's certainly more I can think of that would contribute to an ideal life, but this is a good start, especially since both elements come down to the same two goals:

Write more and improve yourself

And I suspect that, given who I am, each of those will encourage the other.

I am open to advice or stories.
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

In which I get ready for another year

N.Y. Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Madison ...Image via WikipediaJolie at Jolie Guillebeau: Paintings and Musings apparently mentioned to Havi at The Fluent Self a ritual in which one makes a list on one's birthday of x items one wants to do in the next year, with x equaling one's age on the birthday.
On Monday, I turn 27.  Here are some things I'd like to do by the time I'm 28.
  1. Learn to ride a bike.
  2. Get my driver's license 
  3. Get my own domain and move my blogs there.
  4. Obtain at least one new pen-pal
  5. See one of the American sites on my list of Things to Do Before I Die
  6. Go somewhere I've never been before (the above does not count)
  7. Read one of the books on the same list.
  8. Watch one movie from the AFI 100
  9. Watch a second movie from the AFI 100
  10. Watch a third movie from the AFI 100
  11. Come up with an idea for an ebook.  Not necessarily write the thing, but come up with the idea.
  12. Actually win NaNoWriMo
  13. Read a book off my reading list (Not counting #7)
  14. Read a second book off my reading list
  15. Read a third book off my reading list
  16. Read a fourth book off my reading list
  17. Read a fifth book off my reading list
  18. Read a sixth book off my reading list
  19. Read a seventh book off my reading list
  20. Read an eighth book off my reading list
  21. Read a ninth book off my reading list
  22. Read a tenth book off my reading list
  23. Submit a piece of writing for publication
  24. Buy an outfit that makes me look amazing, and not freak out about the price
  25. Attend a Flyers home game.
  26. See the Pacific
  27. Join something: a club, organization, or team
  28. Attend a cherry blossom festival
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

In which I consider the year ahead: a personal ad.

Yes, we're well into 2010.  That doesn't mean I shouldn't think about what I still want from the year.


What I want:

Meaningful work.  It doesn't have to be a full-time job (multiple part-time jobs or plentiful one-shot work is just fine with me).  But it has to effect people who don't live in the same apartment as me, and it has to be in at least in a neutral way, preferably in an ideal way.

It ought to involve writing, at least tangentially.  Editing is fine, too. If I can make some money off my blog, that would be awesome, but I don't expect that to be a major source of income this year, at least.

As a sub-request, I need the focus to keep my blogs updated more frequently, and to apply to positions I come across online

How this might work:

My current opportunities could prove fruitful.
You, my dear readers, could take advantage of my talents.
Friends whom I've helped in the past can spread the word.
I could fall in love with something I find online.
Something else I haven't thought of, and I'm open to suggestions.

My commitment:

I will work hard with my current opportunities.
I will stay current with invoices.
I will mention that I am available for hire in public fora (hint hint!).
I will apply to jobs I find online.
I will make blogging a priority, instead of viewing it as a selfish luxury that has to wait until everything, ever, is finished.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

In which I evaluate the past week.

I recently read this article at Marc and Angel Hack Life about the end-of-week review.  I figured I'd give it a try, and if it works, great -- maybe I can use it to increase my blogging production!


What did I learn last week?

At a certain point, it ceases to be sangria and becomes marinated fruit salad.  This, in itself, is not a bad thing.

What was my greatest accomplishment over the past week

After eating at one of our favorite restaurants, Chris mentioned to me that it would be great if we found a similar recipe.  I found such a recipe provided by that restaurant!

Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why?

Going to the gym when it was crowded and having to stand around "hot" while waiting my turn to cool down.  I ended up just walking home the long way, and it really annoyed me.  I won't be going at that particular time again.

What’s the #1 thing I need to accomplish this week?

 Emailing our videographer with our music selection.  I've been putting it off for way too long.

What can I do right now to make the week less stressful?  

I'm doing it!  That is, I'm working on my blog so it's one less thing to worry about.  I always feel like it's a luxury I have no right to work on, because other things are more important... but then the blogging doesn't get done at all.

What have I struggled with in the past that might also affect the upcoming week?


That's private.  Suffice to say I'm keeping it in mind.

What was last week’s biggest time sink?

The new TV! I've already been avoiding it.  

Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped?

Sure -- there's a bookcase needs building that I should have put together last week.  When it's done, we'll have one fewer box and a heck of a lot fewer piles. 

What have I been avoiding that needs to get done?

Noted and on my to-do list.  I've mentioned two already.  

What opportunities are still on the table?

I've bookmarked several interesting jobs.  I should apply to at least one this week. 

Is there anyone I’ve been meaning to talk to?

Yeah, but I suck at it.  How can you hold an interesting conversation with an old friend when the two of you no loner have a shared frame of reference? 

Is there anyone that deserves a big ‘Thank You’?

Chris, for working so hard. 

How can I help someone else this coming week?

It's a surprise. 

What are my top 3 goals for the next 3 years?

Do work that is meaningful and/or enjoyable, cultivate a social life, and travel more. 

Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals?

Not especially, and in at least one case, not for want of trying.

What’s the next step for each goal?>

Keep applying for jobs, attend local events, save money. 

What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week? The Lost premier!  OK, it's not really related to my goals, but I'm really looking forward to it!

What are my fears?

 Nothing I'm going to share publicly at this point.  Well, heights and clowns, but you know...  

What am I most grateful for?

Loved ones, health, and written language. 

If I knew I only had one week to live, who would I spend my time with?

Chris, my family, and as many of my friends as I could squeeze in,

So... would you be interested in seeing more of this?  Are you willing to do your own?
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Personal Ad: In which I need a social life.

What I'm looking for:

A social life.  People to hang out with.  A non-solitary reason to get out of the house, and people who will be glad to see me when I do. Some kind of routine in life where people notice whether I show up or

How this might work:

The church around the corner could turn out to be inclusive of non-Catholics
The library could have some good programs now that the holidays are over
Some of my friends could magically get jobs in New York
I could get a job and magically make friends with my coworkers

My commitment:

To seek out local events
To attend the church regularly
To get my local library card
To accept any invitations I can
To extend invitations once I finally have people to invite

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