needless guides for miscellaneous tasks

the need for needless guides

I make my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the same way. Every time. Put the bread out on a napkin. Spread the peanut butter over the piece on the left side (Why the left side? I don’t know.), avoiding the very outer edges. Plop the jelly (Well, I prefer preserves really.) in the center of the slice on the right, spreading it out but still leaving the majority in the center. Merge. Consume. The true test of if I got enough jelly or not is if some falls out while I’m eating. If it doesn’t fall out, then I didn’t put enough jelly.

Sandwiched between the “big” and “important” things we do each day are the small, almost trivial tasks, along with the small decisions about how we will perform those tasks. Whether it’s making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, selecting a table to sit in at a restaurant (Booth or not?), naming your pet Bactrian camel (Bactrian camels, as opposed to dromedary camels, have two humps.), getting lost effectively, cleaning out the multicolor-fungus-infected leftovers in the back of your refridgerator, or holding an olympic pillow fighting tournament, you have your own way of doing things. And some of us need your expertise. But maybe there’s also just a joy of analyzing how we do the small tasks.

I like booths better, and I'm becoming pretty effective at getting lost.

challenge

Start a blog of needless guides for the miscellaneous tasks that fill your life. Maybe you’re a writer or a computer geek or an equestrian. Give guides for those skills you have. Or maybe you have no specialty, but you have cute, peculiar ways of doing the random. Or maybe you want to learn new and interesting ways of doing things. Or maybe you’re an excellent people-watcher and you can simply record the ways that you see people doing things or even let the blog be a documentation of sorts of what people say when you ask them how/why they do these small things.

possible blog names

  • AndOtherNeedlessGuides
  • HowtoDoSmallThings
  • ThisisHowYouDoThat
  • GettingLostEffectively
  • BigSmallDecisions
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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.

getting lost experiences

Someone should start a blog about getting lost experiences . . .

Now, I might just be the perfect candidate for starting this blog. However, I can’t tell if it’s all my fault, or if it’s South Carolina’s fault.

There’s this one road, Pleasantburg Drive, that, every time I try to find, I end up getting very lost. My most recent excursion (in other words, the last time I got hopelessly lost trying to find this road) was yesterday on the way to an interview.

This road is one of many that leads to Pleasantburg Drive. Photo by my friend Lucas.

One thing I should tell you, dear reader, about roads in South Carolina (based on my limited but true-to-life experience) is that they are not always clearly marked by road signs. And even when they are, the name on the sign may be different than the name you know the road by. Roads change names in South Carolina, I tell you, and I know one road in particular that goes by three different names, plus it has a number. So if someone says, “Take Locust Hill Road,” it is the same as if the person told you to take 290 or about three other things. I tried to remember these names, but I cannot.

When I asked a friend who has lived here much longer, “Doesn’t Locust Hill change names?” he offered, “Oh, they all do.” So there you have it.

Anyways, it is still always quite an experience, and there may be a little sense to the madness. Yesterday, I decided just to keep driving. I ended up on a road I knew the name of, and although I didn’t know where it led to, I took it and drove on. Eventually, I came to the road I was trying to find – by some miracle. 

In the end, all roads lead somewhere. It was once said that all roads lead to Rome. I say that most roads (at least in Greenville) lead to Pleasantburg Drive. And few roads lead you where you’re trying to go.