Challenges

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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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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Minor success breeds minor self-contempt

I have completed my challenge to submit an application a day for seven days. I am trying to feel accomplished, but reminding myself every day for a week that I’m unemployed is about as uplifting as you can probably guess. Still, this challenge gave me the opportunity to fine-tune my resume and fix some formatting inconsistencies, so I do at least feel like my professional documents are stronger than they were. I didn’t notice some of those formatting inconsistencies until I’d already submitted screwed up resumes for five applications, but life goes on. I collected the digital evidence of my application submissions and arranged them in no particular order below.

Collage

I added that fancy Gryffindor-looking stock background to it all by myself

I am also pretty much over my fear of writing cover letters now.

For my next act, I am going to perform one of my earlier submitted challenges, put forth by my mother the first day that I started this challenges business:

I challenge you to choose at least one item per day, for thirty days, which no longer serves you and sell, donate or if unable to repurpose it, throw it away.

This one has a longer timeline than the challenges I’ve been doing so far, but since my last challenge contributed to me hopefully getting into a position where I can move out in the nearish future, I think it’s appropriate that I start dealing with a relevant thing on my challenge inspiration list–whittling down the amount of crap I own. I won’t say my situation is like an episode of Hoarders, but I will say that about twenty-seven seconds into the introductory video on my about page is still representative of many areas of my life right now, even though I made that video almost two years ago.

To wrap things up here, I’d like to give a shout-out to the people who responded to my request for inspirational people in my last blog post. I haven’t replied to those comments yet because I’ve been fairly busy this week, but I definitely read them and appreciate them and am excited to look more into some of those people you all told me about. Everyone reading this should also go read those comments because they made me smile and might learn you about someone cool.

Maybe I’ll come up with some catchy send-off for these things. Until then, thanks for reading 🙂

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Still excited I’m done with 50 Shades, but in other news…

I finished my letter writing challenge! Now I just have to wait for that station wagon to come pick up the letter and start it on its way to L.A..

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I’m artsy

Since I finished this challenge with a day to spare, I’ll be taking tomorrow “off” and will start my next challenge on Monday, which is:

I challenge you to apply to a job every day for a week!

This is another one from Tori, and she said she’d do this challenge with me, so I get to have another challenge with a buddy!

Now that I’ve set that challenge up, I would like to go back to the challenge I just finished. The fact that I had so much trouble figuring out somebody not dead who inspires me concerns me a lot. I can think of lots of people I know personally who inspire me, but with 7 billion people in the world, that seems like a pretty closed system. I want, nay, need to know who I haven’t met that I could or should be looking to for inspiration.

This brings me to my request for all of you today: I would love it if everyone posted in the comments about somebody alive today who you find inspirational. I don’t care if the only thing you post is their name and nothing else; I’ll do the research later. If you want to give me reasons for why they inspire you, that would also be fantastic, but at least leave me a name, please. It’s possibly the easiest comment to leave in the world (as long as you aren’t me, apparently), and you would be helping to give that person exposure and credit for their awesome deeds 😉 Tell me who inspires you!

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Long Grey’s Journey into Night

There’s a high probability that I was more annoying than the actual books as I raged at them, but I’ve finally done it. I’ve finished the 50 Shades trilogy, and it’s contending as the most disappointing thing I’ve ever “accomplished.” I bristle when forced to use any words I associate with literature to describe any part of them. I hovered over my keyboard before I reluctantly typed “trilogy” up there. I did and do hesitate in conversation when I’ve had to say “book” or “reading” if it had to do with 50 Shades. The words come out tinny and false, like whenever I had to read poetry aloud in middle school. I’ve whined to literally anyone who would listen about how stupid I think 50 Shades is, but my dear mother and boyfriend in particular have endured the many coping mechanisms I’ve employed throughout this experience with unparalleled grace. I thank them and everyone else who demonstrated the necessary patience to not smack me during this time, because these books brought out in me a childlike inability to deal.

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I’ve seen different versions of this quote floating around, and put it to you that we can go even shallower. If Christian Grey merely wasn’t hot, this story would fall to pieces.

I honestly considered writing E.L. James for the inspirational letter challenge I’m doing right now, because she definitely inspired contempt and self-loathing I didn’t have when I wasn’t reading about her dull characters and their impressively uninteresting sex and drama. However, since the challenge was issued with the hope that I would get a response, I will not to write her. I can’t really overstate how much I would love not to read any other thing she’s written, and any chance that she would personally write something to me with the intent of me reading it is most unwelcome.

Although E.L. James is decidedly off the table for options, I’ve been embarrassingly stumped on this challenge. I had no idea that I was so uninspired by strangers in my life, but I haven’t really been able to come up with anyone who feels right and to whom I could get excited about writing a letter. Rachel gave me a two week time constraint on this challenge, and I expected I wouldn’t need all of that time, but here we are. I’ve been frustrated because this situation means at least one of at least two things: I have been so out of touch with the real world that I’m completely unaware of the cool things any one person out there is doing; I have been so out of touch with my own world that I can’t remember a single other hero I’ve had in my life besides J.K. Rowling.

Fortunately, while I was writing this post I figured out with a friend who I want to write my letter to, and I am pretty stoked and relieved. I actually have been keeping up a bit with someone who is currently inspiring me: actor Myko Olivier. I discovered Myko around September last year in a wholly ridiculous, so-bad-it’s-good movie called Barely Legal, and he is probably most recognizable right now for at least two commercials I’ve seen, and his role as “Head Warbler” on Glee this season. Looking at how he, first of all, manages to deliver a solid performance in Barely Legal, despite its goofiness, and then continues working his way up to more dynamic opportunities has been encouraging as I work on my own much less glamorous climb to success.

I’m finally getting to a point that I can catch up on some of my earlier challenges that I’ve had to put on hold for various reasons, so I don’t need to beg for more of them this time around. HOWEVER, if you still are so inclined, go ahead and submit challenges. I love them. They make me happy, and even if I don’t need them just yet, I want them. I am greedy. Here’s my list, again:

  • 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

Thank you for reading! I’m going to go sleep off the dregs of Christian Grey & Co. now.

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I’m most productive at night

I fear I may have misunderstood my last challenge, which was:

Read 50 Shades 😉

I assumed that “50 Shades” was just a shortening of the first book’s title, 50 Shades of Grey, but apparently this story was written in its entirety first, and then literally split into thirds with almost zero regard for how thoughtfully composed books and stories are supposed to work (I say almost zero because they did at least bother to finish out the chapter as a stopping point). The ending of 50 Shades of Grey was absolutely ridiculous and lazy and I’ll leave the expression of my feelings for it at that.

Since 50 Shades of Grey is actually just a third of one larger book consisting of the entire 50 Shades “series,” I don’t really feel like I actually finished the book. Therefore, on my own time outside of my challenges, I feel like I have to read the other parts of the horribly-written, paradoxically dull and rage-inducing thing, 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed. I’ve begun 50 Shades Darker, and am even less happy than I expected to be.

I didn’t know that I had any actual triggers, but apparently the romanticization of emotional abuse causes a sharp downturn in my mood, ultimately making me depressed enough to want to cry. I became aware of this within the first 4% of 50 Shades Darker. To E.L. James’s credit, even though most of her writing is elementary-school simple at best and head-shakingly baffling/dreadful at worst, she does manage to depict the thought processes of an abuse victim shockingly accurately, at least compared to my own experiences.

Unfortunately for her, most of that credit will probably be cancelled out because although she is capable of making that part of her fiction startlingly realistic, as far as I can tell from the patterns in the story and foggy spoilers I’ve been exposed to since the books came out, I expect she does not offer a similarly realistic representation of her abused main character leaving their abuser and moving on to a healthy life. Instead, I expect James perpetuates the myth that the troubled, tortured man who lashes out to cope with the pain can be cured by the sheer staying-power of the one woman who suffers through it all until he finally realizes that she is worth changing for. That incredibly misinformed idea is why I spent five years in a relationship that should have lasted three or four months tops, and why I even have a trigger now in the first place.

I do still plan to produce the product I mentioned for this challenge. Even though the books have bummed me out enough that I don’t want to do anything silly regarding them, I think it will be therapeutic to undercut any credibility the books might have in whatever way I can. Therefore, I intend to fulfill that promise and will post it as soon as I can.

Moving on to happier things, I have a new challenge that began yesterday, put forth by my cousin Rachel:

You should write a letter to an inspirational person for you who is still alive and see if you get a response.

I beat her to the punch four years ago when I wrote a letter to J.K. Rowling–I got a response on her behalf as well as a small portrait of her, and I was so happy I cried.

They sent me a version of this portrait

This puts me at a disadvantage because it rules out the most obvious inspirational person for me who is still alive. Rachel also did not include a time frame for this challenge, so, again, I will update when I have it. I haven’t chosen who I will write a letter to yet, but obviously I will tell you once I have.

I am immensely appreciative of all of the support and feedback people have given me for these challenges, and I want you all to know that I am continuously offering my gratitude. I’m offering it this moment, and this one, and every other moment that will henceforth exist. Thank you all very much 🙂

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