300% Course Completion

I did not complete this challenge on time even by my “It’s still the same day until I go to bed, even if it’s after midnight” rule, but I was close, and I now have this screenshot:

Unfortunately, most of what I learned won’t be super helpful for my current social media management work, but I’m excited to have learned the information anyway, and can definitely see where it’d be useful for some of my future career ideas.

I’m going to give myself a challenge again because I actually have a to-do list that I would like to get through; I’m going to use the modicum of pressure provided by NFS, because telling myself “You really should be doing more with your time since officially you work a whole six hours a week” apparently isn’t proving to be motivation enough.

I have one week to find somewhere to volunteer on weekends and to reach out to them about doing so.

Stay tuned for more dry updates on my life progress, and hopefully some jazzier ones as well. ✌

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Progress Attempts

I’ve watched The Office through five times. I’ve watched all of 30 Rock. I’ve begun updating my Goodreads profile (add me, if you’re into unexciting social media presence). I recorded vocals for a song cover, though it’s still not technically done and I still don’t actually have any of the files for it. I’ve been on not one, but two first dates. I’ve visited New York City four times, immediately losing my wallet one of those times. I interviewed and met Matt Nelson, otherwise known as the We Rate Dogs guy. I’ve officially owned up to my new personal website. I made a photo board the other day. I live in freaking Boston, Massachusetts.

My satisfaction with these accomplishments and others has been fairly fleeting, for reasons I’ve been trying to hammer down and resolve as I fight off the negativity that I now associate with summertime. I’m not dealing with the depression I was before, but I have a lot of frustrated energy without any real target. I spend a lot of time alone, and a lot of that time I am angry for many different reasons.

That being said, I’m feeling less inclined to shut down and disappear like I sometimes do, so I’m instead just dealing with a lack of focus and purpose. I want to update this site and figure out what the hell I should actually do with it at this point. I’ve tried to pick challenges from what I could find, but a lot of them just don’t feel right right now.

A lot of my professional focus lately has been on web development and social media management. I saw on the Hootsuite app that I’m trying to understand that they have a little “Hootsuite Academy” that I can do for free, so I guess I’ll make the “Hootsuite Platform Training” my current challenge to complete by Monday (minus the $99 certification fee…).

As always, feel free to leave me comments and challenges. I seriously do love and appreciate them.

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Wicked Pissah, or Unoriginal Title that’s Secretly Actually Clever to Me, I Swear

I’m in Boston! I’m busy! I’m wearing scarves!

Things are very exciting, but I’m also very occupied with the everything of it all that has been the past few months, and it’s eating up a lot of time. I’m getting settled and caught up enough to start getting some extracurriculars taken care of. However, one of those is National Novel Writing Month (in which I’m participating for the first time this year but am definitely not hitting the intended word count–goal of 20,000, woooo!), and so most/all of the time I’m assigning to “writing” has been going to that.

Once again, I keep starting to write something for here, then get frustrated with not focusing and so I don’t end up posting anything at all. I would really like to start updating this more regularly, though, so I’m just going to post this so there’s something for me to keep building on.

Here look, I gave myself a challenge and did it!

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Checking out all of these places was pretty fun, despite losing my gloves and parts of it turning into a bittersweet tour of places I went to first with people who don’t talk to me anymore. It’s not a particularly extensive list of sites, but as a relatively geographically-challenged individual, I feel slightly better about my knowledge of where things are in the city. I also felt pretty good about all the walking, because did I mention I pretty much walked to all of of these places? I did, I walked to basically all of them from downtown.

I’ll start writing more focused posts soon, I promise! However, my sister just asked me to help keep her on task, which reminds me that I am also not on task. Until next time, here are the things I’ve checked off my bucket list since my last post:

  • Live in Boston
  • Learn what my vocal range/type/whatever is for singing
  • Chug a Frappucino

And here’s what I’ve added:

  • Jump a subway turnstile in NYC
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo >>> Participate in NaNoWriMo correctly
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What the Bucket

Oh my ugh, this is a busy summer.

I received one challenge, from my grandmother, for my trip home with my sister:

I challenge you to go to the Casa Bonita restaurant in Denver on your return trip. See if it looks at all familiar!

The restaurant of Eric Cartman acclaim has been a semi-regular point of interest for my family on trips out west over the past four decades, and I hadn’t been there since I was about eleven. I think I found all the parts of the restaurant that I do remember, but there was a lot that apparently didn’t stick the first time for me. We were pretty underwhelmed with the food (fortunately a friend warned me that it’s “the worst food ever,” so I was prepared), but otherwise I could see it being pretty fun if you were there with kids. The sopaipillas did not disappoint, and no matter what, it would have been worth it for the joy that these two Google reviews bring me:

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I  know it’s longish, but seriously, I encourage you to read this surreal nonsense

Holy crap. Such spectacular melodrama.

Anyway, I have about three thousand things on my to-do list this summer before I move to Boston. Even though “get rid of things” is patently on the list, I’ll be honest, I did not pick up the “get rid of things” challenge when I got home like I was supposed to-do, as per my promise in my last post.

What I did do is find the bucket list I organized and then lost a few months ago–I’ve been working on a lot of lists lately. I wanna post some of that one because I can get a little negative here sometimes, I like having hopes and dreams, and at least it’s content–I’ve even finito-ed some of the items 🙂 Maybe making it public will give me more accountability or something, too:

  • Learn to juggle
  • Get really good at building fires
  • Be a barista
  • Be a waitress
  • Hug a tiger >>> Hug an adult tiger
  • Live in Boston *pen hovers above item*
  • Learn what my vocal range/type/whatever is for singing
  • Get married
  • Have kids
  • Do a 5k
  • Write a short story >>> Finish a short story
  • Touch a London pigeon with my foot
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Learn to drive stick
  • Learn to drive a motorcycle
  • Get professional headshots
  • Pinup photoshoot
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone
  • See Stonehenge in the early morning
  • Learn a valuable zombie survival skill
  • Start a retirement fund
  • March in a televised parade
  • Own a “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” t-shirt (just learned that this was apparently a thing with Ross on Friends when I was looking up a picture to link to here; he was definitely not the inspiration for this item)
  • Drive from the right side of a car
  • Ride as a front-seat passenger on the left side of a car
  • See Breaking Benjamin in concert
  • Learn all the words to “One Week” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”
  • Eat poutine
  • Eat haggis
  • Make my own perfume
  • Blow glass
  • Go down and then back up the really scary huge dune they say not to go down right off of Lake Michigan at the Sleeping Bear Dune park
  • Be able to do the splits
  • Be able to hold a handstand
  • Bake a rhubarb custard pie
  • Bake perfect cookies
  • Bake rum cake with pie cherries
  • Go to a wine tasting
  • Drive someone else’s car because they got too drunk
  • Get stitches >>> Get stitches from an interesting injury
  • Have a pleasant reading/speaking voice
  • Do a backbend from a handstand
  • Make a quilt
  • Knit a blanket
  • Learn how to use a gun
  • Get waxed
  • Be able to identify specific penalties in hockey
  • Have a work husband
  • Meet a Pittsburgh Penguin
  • Read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Read The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Go to a casino
  • Make sourdough bread like my mom’s
  • Bake with yeast successfully >>> Bake with yeast more successfully
  • Smash a light bulb
  • Weave a basket
  • Organize my license plate pictures
  • Skinny dip >>> Skinny dip in a river
  • Use a claw foot tub
  • Chug a Frappucino
  • See Mt. Fuji
  • Be in a movie or TV show
  • Wear fake eyelashes >>> Wear fake eyelashes sometime that isn’t Halloween
  • Take my youngest sister to see Chicago on Broadway

That’s not all of it, but I’ve literally filled out four notebook pages so far, I know there’s stuff I keep forgetting to add to it, and I suspect these goals are more interesting to me than to you 😛 I’ve got a to-do list to work on anyway, so I better go cross “New blog post” off of it.

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I have some bucket list work to do, too 😉

Leave me comments about your bucket list!

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Sissy Trip

Completed my challenge! It wasn’t a particularly difficult one, but my challenger-sister and I just drove from North Carolina to California in four days, and I think I maybe made myself sick on one of them trying to make sure I finished reading on time.

My challenge was to read this book by today:

a-curse-dark-as-goldMelodramatic as that title is,  I enjoyed the novel pretty well. The story is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, so–as a fan of fairy tales and their various manifestations–I was excited for this challenge. It’s set in a fictional woolen mill inspired by the early Industrial Revolution and the cultural transition of values from superstition to “reason.”

The narrator is incredibly frustrating sometimes, and there are several characters in whom I was more interested, but the plot itself was strong enough that I didn’t have any issues sticking with it. It’s an easy read, I really like the writing, and I’m grateful for the pleasant resumption it provided for my challenges.

I discovered in the author’s note that she visited a functioning 19th century woolen mill in Missouri which is extraordinarily convenient to the sight-seeing trip that we’ll be taking back east next week. If I can convince my sister to read the book herself before we leave, I think it would all be pretty cute to check out the Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site as an interactive follow-up to this challenge.

This is the part when I should choose a new challenge from the suggestions I have. However, since I am on this grand cross-country adventure, I’d like to open the floor to travel-challenges for my sister and me in case anyone has any good ones that we can afford. My last post got 5 views, so I’m not overly expectant, but you can’t get what you don’t ask for. So! At risk of this being a particularly clumsy conclusion, I am requesting challenges relevant to a drive through northern CA, NV, UT, CO, KS, MO, KY, WV, VA, and NC. Thank you and good night.

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Divergence

I’ve tried to write an update post for my challenges and Non Finito Spaghetti several times in the past six months. Instead of finishing even one terrible draft, I’ve written two non-NFS posts, created a new personal blog, and worked on basically anything else. My focus is as reliable as ever.

I’m not upset that I didn’t prioritize this more because I’ve actually been fairly busy.

Perhaps my most notable development is getting into grad school 😀 I will be at Emerson College in Boston, so I can actually check something off of my goals from my Slight Edge challenge. I’m excited, and trying not to get too anxious about money.

I’m a published professional writer as an intern for the Outer Banks Voice, which sort of meets the requirements for my employment goals with the Slight Edge in a roundabout, watered-down way.

I’ve done some editing and copyediting, mainly for Dear Uber Rider and Lizzie McGuire Reviewed, which are both excellent and hilarious projects that I highly recommend reading. The time I’ve spent on these has been a refreshing reminder and confirmation of how much I seriously love this kind of work. I’m eager to do more.

The challenge I was working on before depression really started pushing me the wrong way was to get rid of something every day for 30 days (also, wow, if that post’s title doesn’t reflect my mental status at the time). My mom just moved out and we have gotten rid of a LOT of stuff, so if I wanted to be cheap I could call that challenge “done.” However, I am not cheap, and I still have puh-lenty of crap to lose despite the progress we’ve made. Therefore, I’d like to start this challenge over. I have some traveling coming up soon, though, so I’m going to do that after I’m back home. My sister challenged me to read Elizabeth C. Bunce’s A Curse Dark as Gold by the end of May; I’ll do that in the meantime.

I still have lots of challenges left to do from last year, and I know it’s been a year since I’ve really worked on any, but I would tooootally be cool with people submitting more here, because I love reading the ideas you guys have for this.


I moved some stuff I’d originally posted here over to that new blog I mentioned, Jerrika, Wallflower. I posted them on NFS because I didn’t have anywhere else for them and I honestly didn’t think I would do more of that kind of writing right now–I figured one or two pieces unrelated to the project wouldn’t detract too much from it. After the third piece in a row that had absolutely nothing to do with NFS, I decided it was time for their own venue.

Truthfully, I frequently struggle with not knowing what the real “point” of Non Finito Spaghetti is. The challenges give me a superficial purpose about which to write for it, but I haven’t found what gets me as excited about NFS as I was about my own leg hair yet. I’m sure this is why it has taken me six months to write this post, which I intended to be about as simple as “I can brush my teeth with my left hand now, and I also read a book.” I want to care about this blog, so badly, but I often don’t.

Because of this indifference, I am relieved by the fact that having unrelated content here annoyed me. If I see that some things don’t belong here, that means that something definitely does belong here–right? I’m not sure it’s sound logic, but it feels like a step in the right direction of figuring out what the hell I want to do here.

 

 

 

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Floating

I’m mainly posting today because I read an article that is lavishly called “Why can’t we read anymore? Or, can books save us from what digital does to our brains?”, which I feel is relevant to the purposes of this blog. It discusses the role technology plays in our productivity and ability to finish things efficiently. I want to post a link to it on my blog so I can easily find it again later because I appreciated how bluntly honest and–importantly–relatable the author is about his “digital dopamine addiction” (a phrase which is actually a lot of fun to say despite its negative implications) and the role it has played in his life, professional and personal. Go read that article here, and then focus on something else for half an hour 😛

I’d also like to mention that I was quite flattered by how many people read the post I made about me. I usually try not to consider myself especially interesting, but y’all certainly made me feel like I was, so thank you :3

Tapering down on this post to mundane life updates, I’ve had an interesting weekend+, primarily highlighted by visiting the Boy and doing dope stuff like learning the basics of hurling–ahem, I mean, the basics of camogie (since I’m a lady)–and helping Boy spray-paint a hockey helmet for hurling (he’s a gentleman). I also got to spend an evening in DC to see an Irish performer Boy really likes, and spend another evening hanging out with him and his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.

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I tried to take a picture of Boy and my spray-painted flip-flop tan-lines, but the color wasn’t showing up properly, so this picture I already posted on Facebook will have to suffice

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Me, As Told by Me

Since the emphasis of this blog so far has essentially been on my failures and not so much on me and/or my positives, I thought I would write at least one post giving a little more background on who I am and why, I swear, I don’t completely suck. I originally asked my sister, who role-plays online a lot, to find me a character profile thing off of Deviant Art to help give me some direction with this idea. She offered me some “memes,” which are actually just rebranded Myspace surveys that apparently go around Deviant Art now. I don’t expect anyone is any more interested now in what I’m wearing or “how many buddies are online” than they were in 2007, so I will not be posting that here today, even though I did fill it out for fun.

Instead, I guess I’ll just go with my original plan of telling you about myself by myself:

I am your humble writer, Jerrika L. Waller.

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My most attractive-while-still-being-normal self

My favorite color is decidedly purple. I have a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill, and would like to use it for editing, writing, and publishing in general. I would not like to use it for teaching, contrary to that bafflingly popular assumption. I like to think I’m reasonably talented at drawing and designing things. I enjoy crafts and painting when I have the time, space, and inspiration, and when my materials aren’t scattered throughout a storage unit and multiple houses.

I’m basically the exact profile of a Pisces, although I’ve avoided any hallucinogenic drug addictions or experiences, which I consider a general plus to my life so far. I have a dry sense of humor that, when most characteristically mine, doesn’t usually make complete sense. The most immediate and cogent example I can think of is my current “performance art” project I’ve been doing with my Facebook profile pictures this year: every month I’ve added another stream of “blood” falling down each cheek, and eventually the images will depict blood just pouring out of my black-rimmed eyes as the streams run together.

Goth Pictures

There was also a prep picture taken for April Fool’s Day

Why? The official explanation is that I’m doing it ironically, inspired by Tara and Raven—the authors of My Immortal, the tremendously bad Harry Potter fanfic I mentioned a few posts ago. However, there’s also a more internal part of me that is just amused by the semi-public appearance of blood pouring out of my face, for reasons I haven’t entirely worked out yet. That amusement is really the impetus for the “performance” at this point; for all the entertainment Tara and Raven provide, it isn’t really more than a couple months’ worth, and we’re quite past that benchmark. Although my jokes aren’t usually this long-term (or goth), they are usually this confusing/quirky.

I have two younger sisters to whom I’m very attached, and both of my parents are alive and divorced. I have two cats—one who stays outside, one who stays inside—and a dog who is mostly my charge. He, like me, lives with my mom, who takes care of him with the other two family dogs. I have the extraordinary good fortune of several very good and close friends, and I have an adorable godson.

Lady-Swag

Ladyship documentation

Perhaps my proudest accomplishment to date is my induction into the Royal Prussian-Swedish-American Family House of Lords and Ladies; I am actually Lady Jerrika, ROLO. I was nominated and accepted into the Order for outstanding character and loyalty to the family—or at least that’s what I was told. I’ve been informed that I can’t get “Lady Jerrika L. Waller” on my driver’s license because “Prussia isn’t a country anymore,” which I think is nonsense, but I can hardly complain if that’s my only “disappointment” with the title.

I like pretty much all animals enough to declare my love for them upon sight, but my favorites are wombats, goats, sheep, tigers, and penguins. Dragons occupy a special place in my heart. I like bubbles, stars, and tiaras. I love Indian food and cheesecake. I do not like lettuce or country music.

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Party Planning by One Who Doesn’t Party

Dropping the ball hard on this challenge (which I should have finished by now >.<), and I don’t exactly have an excuse, but I have been working on some other stuff in the meantime.

The biggest thing I’ve been doing has been planning my best friend’s bachelorette party. I’m poor, so I had to create a lot of the stuff for it myself, which was actually a blessing in disguise because it gave me a lot of practice with Microsoft Publisher. I also got to make a bunch of silly clip art because I’d rather draw my own than do the probably easy grunt work to find public domain clip art, and I thought I could use the excuse to play a little bit more in Photoshop Elements.

I drew all those little chalk-looking pictures! None of it is anything particularly ground-breaking, but it did the job, and any experience with this stuff is better than no experience. This party also gave me the new–and awful–experience of papier-mâché; more specifically, I now have the experience of making a penis-shaped piñata, or “peeñata,” if you will.

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I’m glad I made the peeñata, but I don’t recommend unless you have eleven hours to devote to something you’re creating to destroy. Fortunately for me, the glue was too thick and the door to the peeñata was too weak, so the one I made wasn’t actually smashed to bits and I’m not stuck mourning it. Still, though, holy crap, people do this with children? Oi.

Planning and preparing for this party reminded me once again that it’s a lot easier to create a product if it’s done with a specific goal or event in mind (such as a once-in-a-lifetime party for someone). That reminder gave me some helpfully relevant thoughts for this blog in exchange for the work I should have been doing for my challenge, and has me wishing I had more specific tasks for which to practice these kinds of skills.

The weather is finally nice enough that I can start working in my storage unit without hating life too much, so I’m going to get back on the challenge wagon now. I’m not even sure precisely how far behind I am, so I’m just going to get rid of at least 40 things, for good measure, and then start on a new challenge.

Speaking of challenges: I am still accepting them, and would love some new ones to add to my catalog. Since it has been a while since I’ve posted the challenge idea list, here it is:

  • walking my dog
  • learning to play guitar
  • improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects
  • yoga, sort of
  • significantly reducing my possessions
  • letter-writing
  • watching iconic or important movies
  • reading more books

Please give me challenges in the comments!

I apologize for the lack of updates. Hopefully there won’t be such dramatic lulls anymore. Thank you for reading!

P.S. I apologize that the formatting of the pictures on this post are so ugly and stupid; I fought with what WordPress will let me do with them for at least half an hour… Ugh.

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Lemonade is in my blood

I have had an exciting week, and it isn’t even over 😀 St. Patrick’s Day happened, of course, which I spent with the Boy and his family. The next day was my sister’s 21st birthday, which included: her joining me in a bizarre therapy session where she received a drawn birthday cake and a pen; and our Mom teaching us how to play racquetball.

My birthday was yesterday. I woke up to a strained back that scared the crap out of me because it felt like an omen to remind me that in just a matter of time I’m (hopefully) going to get old and then die someday. Despite that, it actually turned into one of my favorite birthdays I’ve had. I got to spend it with a bunch of my favorite people…

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Just some of those favorite people. I’m the one in red.

and I got to dress up…

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Fancy

and my mom made amazing cupcakes and shepherd’s pie for me…

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Guinness chocolate cake with Irish cream frosting and Jameson chocolate ganache filling :9

and the Boy really outdid himself with being the best and sweetest…

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I didn’t eat all of those waffles… but I did eat the difference in Toaster Scramblers >.>

and I got to use a bath bomb for the first time, which turned the water green and had a piece of paper in the middle that said “BANG”.

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I accidentally ripped it trying to figure out what it was

The excitement continues this weekend as I head down to visit my best friend tonight so I can go to her bridal shower tomorrow and do maid-of-honor things. While waiting for the ok to head out for that, I took a couple of the dogs for a walk because Mom told me there was a little girl selling Kool-aid in the neighborhood.

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Jerrika L. Waller: Passionate supporter of lemonade stands, even if it means taking these two geezers on a walk so one of them can pee on a young entrepreneur’s driveway and the other can crap in the street

Wore these guys right out, and gave me the opportunity to look ridiculous in front of a child who made more money today than I did, so that was great.

To update on the challenge, it has been hilariously unsuccessful so far. I’ve selected a handful of things to get rid of, but I’m about a week behind, which means I’m going to have to get rid of more penalty items. I suppose it’s for the best because I’ll get rid of more crap, but I really do need to catch up.

That’s all for now; hopefully the next time I check in I’ll have more of my ducks in a row (and ready to donate or throw away).

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