the name of the game: names

There are several conversations that are almost unavoidable when two individuals meet one another for the first time. The name conversation is one of these.

Dear parents, think about the name conversation when picking out that lifelong title for your tot.

Now sometimes, both people have pretty normal names. In this case, the name conversation may not happen, or only to a mild degree, unless one person is for some reason unusually interested in etymology or, to be more exact, the origin of name meanings.

But other times, one person has a less common name and the other person notices and makes the same comments that every person makes about the less common name, but regardless, the person with the less common name decides to humor the common-name holder and pretend like that’s the first time anyone has said that. For example . . .

Howard: Hey, my name is Howard.

Virginia: It’s nice to meet you. I’m Virginia.

Howard: Virginia, that’s a pretty name. Isn’t that the name of a state?

(I’m sure she’s never heard that one before.)

Virginia: Yea, it’s the name of a state.

(She says, pretending she’s just learned something new about her name.)

Howard: I didn’t do that well in school. Where is it exactly?

(Why don’t Americans know geography? I’m guilty, too.)

Virginia: East of West Virginia.

Howard: Oh. That makes sense. (With sort of a chuckle.) So there are really two states named after you?

(“Oh, you’re clever,” Virginia thinks.)

Virginia: Well, I’m pretty sure they were named before me.

the challenge

Start a blog about names. Each day, post about names you’ve heard for the first time recently, your findings on the origins of the name, details, how you think the names describe the people you’ve met, etc. Or blog about your name. Document the things you learn about it. This could even turn into an ancestry project. Maybe you even hope to live up to your name? Blog about that and your efforts.

possible blog names

  • TheNameoftheGame
  • WhatsInAName
  • LivingUpToMyName

a drawer full of unmatched socks and other great mysteries of life

This morning, I decided to wear socks. It is, however, becoming more and more of a decision, especially when summer, disguised as spring, is already here in the South. (I did pass a billboard the other day that read, “Summer is almost here.” Spring started a week ago, people!)

I am a lover of summer, don’t get me wrong, but in all honesty, I prefer socks to bare feet. I wear socks even around the house. I usually wear socks to bed. My mother can attest to the fact that sometimes I even wear socks outside just because I don’t want to take them off. But socks, much like the Grand Canyon’s formation, are one of the great mysteries of life.

Back at home, we have twice as many baskets for unmatched socks as for the matches. Maybe we should opt for a sock display like this one?

I can give the closest attention to getting each sock in the same load of laundry as its coordinating sock, but regardless, when I shuffle through my drawers on days like today, matches are few and far between. I pulled out about seven individual socks this morning before finding one pair, and of course it was a hole-y pair with non-stretch itchiness.

the challenge

Start a blog about the great mysteries of life, those things that baffle you or leave you in awe. Some, to be sure, are mundane, while others are more extraordinary. Include comments and details about why these mysteries are so . . . mysterious.

possible blog names

  • MysteriesOfLife
  • MatchlessSocks
  • MysteriousToDelirious
  • SockStealingElves

inspiration here and there

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I find inspiration everywhere.

In listening to Coldplay CDs. In watching interviews of unknown to famous people. In hearing memorable quotes from the average people I know. In reading. In learning to cook. In driving down the interstate. In walking up and down stairs. In browsing through professional photographers’ websites. In cleaning out the junky drawers in my bedroom. In writing itself.

*Recent inspirations*

Quote // “The life in a graveyard is so beautiful.” – a friend of a friend

Slam poetry // Listener’s “Wooden Heart”

 

Phrase // “and so forth and so on”

Cause // Timestwo

Movie // The Book of Eli

challenge

Start a blog showcasing the small to big things that inspire you every day. It may be a list of words, your description of experiences, photographs, websites, movie clips, graphic images – anything, really.

possible blog names

InspirationStation

AspireInspired

TheOnePercent

InspiringThing

the distractions we call life

the distractions we call life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live one day without a single distraction? Peaceful. Relaxing. Productive. Or maybe . . . boring.

It’s been a lengthy fifteen days since my last post. 15! That’s unheard of for me! If you read my earlier treatise on the “best practices” for blogging (now kept readily accessible on the “Ready” page of the site), then you would know that I advised first-time bloggers to be consistent. Specifically, I encouraged them to blog 2-3 times per week. And here I am, a blogging hypocrite. Can it be!?

But, I have a confession of sorts. That is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these 15 days. Yes, I’ve been distracted by many things. By writing, laundry, late night talks, last minute errands, unexpected visits, sickness (two-week cold) and health (I’ve been able to celebrate our occasional warm days with outdoor running!), assignments, music, emails, studying, working. My personal  favorite distraction = people.

I used to always begin deep and thought-provoking conversations with my roommate in the middle of her homework sessions. She’d be hunched in her corner, writing an essay about contribution by lamplight, when I’d break in with random comments about life. For this, I apologized. But she responded, “I welcome distractions.” It’s always stuck with me.

And I myself am coming to welcome them even more, because it seems to me that life is a long string of distractions. Perhaps so we can constantly be reevalutating what’s actually necessary. But sometimes the distractions themselves are the necessary, so if we had done what we intended to do, we would have really been distracted from the needed distraction.

I don't look like someone who would be easily distracted, do I? (This photo was taken during a "study session," and that is a blanket on my head.)

challenge

Start a blog about the distractions that make up your life. Analyze particular days when what happened was so contrary to what you had planned. Write about all the moments that seem “unplanned.” Write about the times when it seems like you are running late, only to be just in time for something.

possible blog names

  • TheDistractionCalledLife
  • LifeDistracted
  • IWelcomeDistractions

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

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

365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012

One year. One project. Are you in?

The official WordPress blog recently encouraged readers to “Kick Off 2012 with Project 365.” Though this project is most often associated with taking one picture each day for a year (There’s a whole site for it, 365project.org, with over 70,000 users uploading one photo from each day of their project.), the concept of a 365-day project can be adapted to fit any project you hope to work on during 2012.

Another variation of the project is a Project 52 (I’m not sure if that’s an official term, but we’ll agree on it, okay?). The idea is much the same, only you do what you do to add to your project once a week instead of every day. My friend Michael Gibbons is working on a 52-week project (Check out his Scottish spiel by following the link. End shameless promo.) in which he hopes to make one video each week of 2012. He even has a theme for each week that the video must express! (Talk about project-ready.)

Now, if you’re numerical and all, then you may have gathered that 365 days and 52 weeks are two equations both equal to one year’s time. (I really don’t make these mathematical statements to insult your intelligence, dear reader. I’m just not very mathematical and like to pretend I am every once in a while.) You would be right.

Today is January 1, 2012.

So if you’re right (365 days= 1 year and 52 weeks= 1 year) and I’m right (Today is January 1, 2012.), then I believe there’s a little more going on here than math. Yes, an idea that’s brewing like hot coffee at a corporate office. Because today is the first day of a new year, it’s the perfect time to start a Project 365 or 52. So why not?

A new year is the ultimate in late Christmas presents.

Now, you know I have to throw in a little promo for starting a blog (I’ve been promoing all over the place in this post.), but I’d like to give a list of ideas for projects, and you could do these whether or not you decide to blog about it. (Of course, I’ll be the first to subscribe to your blog if you do blog about your project.)

PROJECT IDEAS

Remember: Do/Make/Take/Write (about) one per day or week.

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Meal/Dish
  • Illustration
  • Interview
  • Song
  • Poem
  • Short story
  • Craft
  • Form of exercise
  • Restoration (car, antique, etc.)
  • Review (book, restaurant, movie, etc.
  • Page of your next book
  • Invention
  • Update on your ventures in …
  • Way to give
  • One Dress Protest or other social activism
  • Letter
  • Development of a skill 
  • Experience at a new job
  • Conversations
  • Tour (of your hometown, or the world)
  • ((Insert your creative idea here))

This isn’t an exhaustive list, because you could Project 365 or Project 52 almost anything. But if you do, start a blog about it . . .