first time for everything

first time for everything . . . mostly

They say there’s a first time for everything, and I agree but for a few small exceptions. As a general rule, the more likely it is to be both my first and last time doing said thing, the less likely I am to be willing to give it a try. Swimming in piranha-infested waters, for example. Jumping from an airplane without a parachute on. Trespassing on the private property of gun-owning South Carolinians (which is practically all of them, though I love them).

This past week alone, I experienced several enjoyable firsts. Eating my first mango. Witnessing my first juggling show. Going downtown on a Saturday for the first time. Getting my first paycheck from the new job.

The first juggling show I've witnessed.

Some firsts aren’t as glamorous, like catching my first cold of the year. But the mango was there to help.

My first mango, pre-devoured

challenge

Start a blog about your firsts, from little to big. Include details such as the where, when, how, circumstances that led to the first. Share what you learn from those firsts, what the “first” experience was like. Provide pictures and artifacts.

possible blog names

  • FirstTimeForEverything
  • FirstTimer
  • ForTheFirstTime

hunts and finds: the pirate in all of us

everybody, everybody wants to hunt

Whether you take it in the spiritual/metaphysical purpose-seeking sense or the small, everyday practical sense, we’re always looking for something. We all like to hunt (and by this I mean search for things, not necessarily kill them and put their heads over the living room fireplace, which would be especially unfortunate if you, like Elmer Fudd, prefer to hunt innocent yet humorous rabbits such as Bugs Bunny).

A group of some good friends and I used to go geocaching quite religiously. When I would try to explain the object of geocaching to others – to follow coordinates to a specific location where others have hidden “treasure” (aka, usually a pill bottle with a log in it where you sign your name to prove you found the cache) and then keep an online profile recording all your finds – I always felt a little lame. Usually I would finish my increasingly polished spiel, and the person would squint their eyes a little and ask, “So, what’s the point?” I guess it’s one of those things that sounds stupider than it actually is. But geocaching makes perfect sense if it’s true that we like to look for things and find them, especially when they have some kind of value to us.

Three good friends looking for a cache

 

challenge

Start a blog about what you like to find, what you’re constantly on the hunt for. Some posts could be informative. Think American Pickers: they always share why their picked items are valuable, the history of the items, etc. Other posts could be mostly photographic, showcasing recent finds. The blog could be a documentation of sorts of the things you’ve seen, found, collected, or bought/sold. Maybe you want to go ancestral and start a blog that traces your hunt for family background?

possible blog names

  • _____hunter (Fill in the blank with what you hunt.)
  • PirateseekstreasureArr (For pirates.)
  • Ontheprowlforfowl (For bird hunters? Or Jack Sparrow haters.)
  • Searchinforurchin (Now I’m getting carried away, and I’ve overused parentheses in this section.)

my recent find, or the inspiration for the post

What do I like to find? I like to find abandoned buildings and houses, rundown structures, unkept places. After months of passing this old house, I finally took my photo opp.

famous quotes that somehow pertain to the post

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Jesus

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

first five minutes, or the morning hypothesis

My Theory, or Hypothesis

I have a theory. No, wait. I have a hypothesis. Okay, I have either a theory or a hypothesis. It’s the very idea behind the old adage about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. If someone were to say, for example, “Peter woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” then we would all know that Peter is in some sort of bad mood and we should avoid him at all costs. Right now, he’s probably treating some nice old ladies with eye-squinting evil acts of incharity or running over squirrels with a tractor. (I get carried away sometimes.) Whatever this grumpy Peter is up to, it isn’t pretty. It’s a bad day for Peter.

(Maybe you never understood the expression “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” I think this t-shirt graphic explains it all. From TshirtGroove.)

Now I get it.

So the hypothesis – and I do believe it has to be a hypothesis, since there may possibly have been just as many people to have good days after having good mornings as people to have good days after having bad mornings – is that our waking moments determine much about the day to come.

Challenge

It would be excellent to see a blogger chart the uncharted waters of their first five minutes each day, talking about how they woke up, the first sounds and smells they encountered, their initial thoughts of the day, and then piecing this together with how the rest of the day went consequently.

Possible Blog Names

  • Myfirstfiveminutes
  • Themorninghypothesis
  • Themorningdaysynergy
  • Rightsideofthebed
  • Wakeupandsmell

Personal Note, a P.S. of Sorts to This Blog Entry, Though in the Form of a Letter

Dear readers,

Perhaps you have noticed that I’ve been experimenting with a few things on the blog over the last little while. For example, I’ve strayed a bit from the traditional opening line of, “Someone should start a blog about (insert preposterous idea of my mind’s recent adventures).” I may keep experimenting a bit until the blog reaches the feel I’m going for. Feel free to comment. One feature I’m QUITE excited to introduce is the “Possible Blog Names” section. This should be fun!

I never officially celebrated my three-month anniversary of blogging earlier this month, but it’s true. I’ve been at this for three months! Cheers! So thank you for reading and sticking around. Blog on.

Sincerely,

Me

photo negatives and unedited memories

We rarely develop pictures anymore. I, for one, upload my photos to my computer, edit them, post them to facebook, and that’s the end of that.

One of my friends was recently telling me that eventually they’ll phase out of developing photos at all in places like Walmart and drugstores, and with good reason. I’m sure the demand has gone way down in my lifetime, since technology makes it almost unnecessary to print photos. (But not to fear, because even if you’re the old-fashioned type who likes to hold photos – they have photo-friendly printers and even machines made just for printing photos on the market. Plus the ever-classic photo booths – my favorite!)

But we still have photo negatives, even with all our technology-savviness and brilliant digital cameras. We have the photos that don’t make the cut, don’t make it to facebook, end up in the Recycle Bin on our computer and in our memory. It’s so easy to edit our lives by deleting, erasing, and just never posting the imperfect pictures or experiences.

The new Facebook Timeline seems to reflect this modern evolution of memory control. Fellow blogger Writingthroughthefog said this very well:

“‘Once you get timeline, you’ll have 7 days before anyone else can see it. This gives you a chance to get your timeline looking the way you want before other people see it.’ Right here, in Timeline’s instructions, I’m encouraged to pluck out my flaws and dismiss memories that aren’t life-altering or amazing.”

Yet even the photo negatives have a place. Life doesn’t come at us neatly edited and picture perfect. It’d be neat to see a blog with all the photo negatives, the ones that wouldn’t make the cut, but are still somehow relevant.

In this spirit, I’ll share some photos that don’t really make the cut. They’re not my best, favorite, most flattering – but they’re still part of my life:

(Note: I’m sorry that this post is so late in coming, but I had planned to use different pictures I took recently and then lost my camera. For more on this, refer back to irony.)

original interactive artwork

Someone should start a blog showcasing their original interactive artwork, artwork “with purpose.” I don’t mean that art doesn’t have purpose of its own volition (The scholarly debate on this subject is too extensive to go into.), but what I mean is if the art also had user-interactive purpose. A blog of this kind could provide optical illusion artwork, or artwork with hidden items (like the I Spy and Where’s Waldo? series we loved as children). Or mazes!

Mazes are these manipulated confines for getting lost in, just so you can know the joy of being found, or unlost. Isn’t it interesting how much we hate the feeling of being lost in a crowd or in an unfamiliar place, but when we go through life-size mazes, we get lost on purpose. We can’t see beyond the walls, or in some cases, rows of corn. We know where we are trying to get to, and yet we’ve never reached that end.

On-paper (or in this case, on-screen mazes) are a little less intimidating. In fact, some individuals throughout the long ages of maze existence (but I’m certain not you, dear readers) have cheated and started at the end, working their way to the start. But when you think of it, that doesn’t make the adventure any easier, because you still know one point and not how to get to the other point until trial-and-error does its magic.

The example blog I am sharing was actually the inspiration for this post, so I give a friendly blogger shoutout to mazeingpuzzles and encourage you to drop by the site to see more original, artsy mazes like the one above.

volunteering :: from us, for us

Have you ever stopped to think how many of the places and organizations you frequent or enjoy the benefits of or simply believe in not only accept volunteers, but even depend on them? As in, they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for people willing to help out, expecting nothing in their pockets afterwards. When you think of the idea of volunteering, maybe you think it’s lame. Maybe you think volunteers walk away empty-handed. But I suppose it all depends on perspective. I think they walk away anything but empty-handed.

 

Volunteering is giving to someone else while also giving to yourself.

 

Although it’s over a week in, the new year is still fresh on my mind. As I’ve thought of my post 365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012, I’ve wondered what I’d do one on if I did one. I like writing. I like blogging. I like making waterballoons and eating spoonfuls of peanut butter. I like taking photographs of my goofy but loveable friends and attempting to draw obscure flowers like mountain laurel.

But what is one-year-of-my-life worthy? What is one-year-of-my-life blogworthy? It’s strange how thinking on what you blog about inevitably leads you to think on what your life is about. (And for any first-time readers, this is probably the most philosophical I’ve ever waxed in a post. I’ll try to throw in a few jokes or puns before it’s all over.)

Well, here’s what I decided: whatever you blog about, you are promoting in some way. I always blog about blogging, because I, of course, promote readers to begin blogs about the random things I write on. But this year, I want to promote something else, too. I want to promote volunteering, giving back, helping people, putting into those people and places that provide so much for you and your community.

So, here’s the goal: volunteer at one place in my community per week this whole year. I already have a list of possibilities. Along the way, I hope anyone in the area will join me in my ventures. In fact, I hope never to go alone. I’m not sure yet if I’ll blog about this 52 project, but someone should start a blog about it.

Example blog: http://volunteer52.wordpress.com/ (Perfect example, might I add! And I thought of the idea before even seeing this blog, but it goes to show I’m not the only one around here with some good ideas.)

The promised joke: A peanut walks into a bar, and then . . . Snickers.

quick, easy meals for non-chef, experimental kitchen inhabitants

I’d like to begin this blog post with an audacious statement: is there really any ordinary part of a day that’s better than food? That might have sounded like a question, but no, it was really more of a rhetorical question, which is in practical terms much more like a statement since everyone knows the answer. I can’t think of any other just “normal,” “mundane” part of human existence that is so fulfilling and filling both. Think about it. We often plan out our days around meals. We share meals and food with those we’re closest to, and that time is often the most conversational and heartfelt. In the Lord’s Prayer, the only physical request is “daily bread.”

I like to cook. I did maybe as much cooking as Mom growing up, just because work often kept her late. Still, somehow, I’m not a chef. I’m a non-chef, experimental kitchen inhabitant at best.

This last semester was my first semester “out on my own.” All the meals were up to me. And to be quite honest, I rarely cooked. I heated things up in the microwave. I made sandwiches. I snacked. I ate at Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s weekly. But cooking was more like a full moon in the phases of food attainment.

But it’s a new year, right? I like how you can make even the smallest changes and claim that for your reasoning. New beginnings and fresh starts (just like coffee and peanut butter) inspire the best in us – in me, I know. So I’m aiming to cook more this time around.

Attempt #1: Salmon Patties – This has been one of my favorite meat entrees that my mom makes for many years. She’s always told me it’s very easy, but I’ve never really attempted it. Today was a first, and they turned out deliciously!

Sizzle, sizzle.

Ingredients (in order of appearance):

  • olive oil
  • 1- 14.75 oz. can of salmon
  • crackers of your choice (I used Great Value’s Mozarella and Sun-Dried Tomato crackers, which added a burst of flavor.)
  • 1 egg

Directions: In a pan, heat oil over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, add canned salmon. Do not drain. Crush approximately 20 crackers (my estimation). This part is where you just have to use your best chef judgment. Add the crushed crackers in the bowl with the salmon. With your hands (the chef’s secret weapon), mix together the salmon and crackers until all the mixture is of the same consistency. It shouldn’t still be juicy, but it should be fairly moist – about as moist as meatloaf before it’s cooked. Finally, add an egg to the mixture and stir together with a spoon. Using the spoon and/or your hands, form circular patties about 4 inches in width and 1 inch in depth. Fry each patty for around 3-5 minutes on each side, or until brown. Remove from pan, let cool, and then devour. If you’re feeling daring, eat them with ketchup or barbeque sauce. Makes 6-8 patties. Time: 25 minutes. (Of course, if you buy pre-crushed crackers, it may not take as long. But this may take away the joys of making loud noises in the kitchen and being questioned by family members.)

Delicious salmon patty, served with brocolli and cheese.

Wow. That was extremely fun – writing a recipe out. Wouldn’t it be great for someone to start a blog with more quick, easy meals for non-chef, experimental kitchen inhabitants?