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.

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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.

Categories: Non-NFS | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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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.

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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 🙂

Categories: Challenges | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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OMGrey

I did not complete my 50 Shades of Grey challenge by Valentine’s Day, partly because I wanted to actually enjoy some of my Valentine’s Day and spend it with my valentine, and partly because I was more miserable reading this book than I can remember being reading anything ever. I instead finished the book today, and if you were within an eight mile radius you heard me despairingly proclaiming my distaste for the never-ending “novel” to the heavens. I enjoyed reading My Immortal and Heart of Darkness significantly more than I enjoyed reading 50 Shades of Grey, and those have both been different and significant kinds of painful for me. This being the case, I will create and present my product for it later because I need some time to return my brain to its rightful place and state.

Please give me challenges to restore the health that this book stole from me. Thank you.

UPDATE: I forgot that this existed, but I’m happier than I was:

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Update plus begging

As previously discussed, I met with Nina on Tuesday to read. In the interest of not reading 50 Shades of Grey for the next sixty years, Nina and I have decided to instead read the book individually and confer with each other later on what we’ve found. I’m not holding her to the same schedule, but I am going to finish reading the book by Saturday so that I’ll have read it before the movie comes out and also have a deadline for this challenge. I have no intention of seeing the movie in theaters, but, like with Eragon in tenth grade, I want to read the popular book before the popular movie comes out. Fortunately, unlike with Eragon in the tenth grade, I will (hopefully) be reading this book without ten or more people helpfully informing me that there’s a movie coming out for the book that I decided to read because there’s a movie coming out for it.

My next order of business is to beg you all again for challenges. Pleeeeeease. I’ll even post the inspiration list again, look!

  • 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

Since I now have a deadline for my current challenge, I also have a pseudo-deadline for getting more challenges. As i said, I want lots! So, again, pleeeeeeeease. Even if you’ve already posted a challenge, you can give me new ones. If you haven’t posted one, get on it! I’ll be super super grateful wherever they come from.

To everyone reading, thank you 🙂

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