Friday Fun

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 10)

7_quick_takes_sm Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted at Conversion Diary.

Let’s get started …

—1—

I just read about a new widget the WordPress.com team put together called “Social Vibe.” In essence, here is how it works:

From the WordPress.com blog: You spend a lot of time creating great content and attracting an audience for your blog. What if you could use that influence to make a positive social impact? Now you can.

We’ve teamed up with SocialVibe, and now by adding the SocialVibe widget to your blog, you are able to earn donations for the charity of your choice by getting sponsored by a brand that appeals to you.

Each time someone visits your blog and engages with your brand (by rating a video, for example), you’re making a difference. That impact is immediately visible on your badge, i..e., ‘My blog has provided 63 cups of clean water for people in need.’

I’m not exactly sure how this works yet, I’m still researching it, but I like the overall concept. Personally, I really dig blogging for charities – blogging is such a self-indulgent activity that it’s nice to be able to give a little of myself, of my life experiences, back to the community in some small way.

However, when I looked over the list of charities that are currently participating in Social Vibe, I was disturbed to see that PETA currently has WAY more donations than say, charities geared toward children.

Animals are more important than children? I don't think so.
(Sorry this is so pixelated).

The fact that people put way more thought, energy and effort into saving animals – that were created and put on this earth for man, I might add – instead of investing in our future, which is our children for the confused, really says a lot about our sad and twisted society as a whole.

Placing more value on animals instead of on children angers and disgusts me on so many levels.

—2—

Speaking of blogging for charity …

The 2009 Blog-a-thon begins July 25th!

blogathon-banner

The blog-a-thon, in a nutshell, is blogging 24 straight hours for a charity. Bloggers provide both entertainment and information in articles posted every 30 minutes for 24 hours to try and entice readers to donate money and/or time to their showcased charity.

I’ve participated in the blog-a-thon for the past two years – in ’07 I was part of the Write Anything (back then it was called Write Stuff) ‘thon and last year, I did the ‘thon all on my own because the blog-a-thon site wasn’t participating last year.

I plan on continuing the tradition year after year, with or without the official blog-a-thon website because I think it’s important to bring attention to, and remind people, that giving back to the community is important. We all get so wrapped up in our lives and stingy with our time, that I think it’s crucial to stop the craziness and donate our time and talents to those that truly need it.

I’m also pretty passionate about donating time and attention to local charities – both in our communities and in our country, in general. Sure, it’s great to go overseas and help those in third world countries and it’s honorable to financially give to these worthy charities, but I think it’s EQUALLY important to turn our attention to those in need on our own soil, too.

Participating in the blog-a-thon is also a great way to distract you from the fact that you didn’t go to BlogHer. 🙂

If you’re participating in the ‘thon, please leave a comment so we can keep each other awake! I can use all the support I can get. I haven’t decided on which charity to support yet – I’m seriously thinking of doing something a little different (I know, big shocker there) and actually talk about ALL of the charities in my community just to raise awareness.

—3—

Speaking of BlogHer

Let the blog wars commence.

*sigh* Seriously. Why do we feel compelled to put each other down, or step on each other in order to try and make ourselves more important in this self-imposed blog-o-sphere hierarchy? I honestly don’t understand the b*tchy posts that have cropped up in the last week or so.

It’s a blogging conference, folks. It’s not the academy awards. No one is going to remember, or care, when this thing is over. You might be a celebrity for a day. You’ll still have to go back to your regular life after it’s over and guess what? The sphere is a vast and dare I say empty place to live. It’s big enough for all of us. We all have different and unique voices. We all have different reasons for doing what we’re doing. We have different ways of doing what we’re doing.

Get over it.

The trick is to find those bloggers we care to be around. If you don’t like someone, or like what someone is doing, place your index finger over your mouse button and *gasp* click away.

It really IS that easy.

I personally have no interest in turning my blog into anything other than it is – a place to dump my boring, mundane thoughts. I’m not interested in SEO rankings. I’m not into placing ads in my sidebar. I could care less about accepting products to review. This is what I feel and who I am.

Because of this, I will never attend a blogging conference like BlogHer because it doesn’t offer anything that I want. If there is ever any sort of organization where the sole purpose is to get together and meet each other, without all of this added pressure of trying to make more money or be better in Google rankings than my blogging peers, then I’ll be the first one to sign up.

But as it stands now? No thanks.

If you go, great. I hope your expectations are met. If you don’t, then leave the ones who choose to go alone. We’re all supposed to be adults here, let’s act like adults.

And for those going to BlogHer? Have fun! We’ll see you when you get back.

—4—

If you’re a creative writer, then you’ll appreciate this next part:

I’d like to take a moment to share this awesome button that Dale made over at Write Anything.

Cool, right??

Please feel free to steal this button and put it on your blog/website. Please link the button to this URL: http://writeanything.wordpress.com.

Oh, and if you’re looking to stretch your creative writing muscles, then check out today’s [Fiction] Friday prompt.

Here’s a cool badge you can put on your [Fiction] Friday article, if you want:

There’s quite a community going on over there. Check it out when you have a few minutes!

—5—

One of my Twitter friends, @oliveshoot, pointed this nifty tool out the other day:

It’s called “Print Friendly” and in essence, it turns your blog posts into a PDF file. What’s cool about this is that you can delete any portions of the post you want to before printing so you don’t end up with a page full of ads or anything else cluttering up the content.

You can see an example of how it works by clicking on the green “print friendly” button at the end of this post and then typing in http://writefromkaren.com in the URL space.

Pretty cool tool. I don’t know when you would ever WANT to print off a blog post, but I’ve had some people say that they wanted to print off a few of my articles before so … you never know. The point is, it’s AN OPTION – it’s there if you ever need it.

—6—

Speaking of Twitter links …

Another Twitter friend, @brianspaeth, tweeted about a new Flickr Twitter app that allows you to post a picture you’ve posted to Flickr onto Twitter. It’s called “Twitter Your Flickr.”

You access it by clicking on the “Blog This” feature in Flickr. If you’re not a Flickr user, then that probably doesn’t make sense to you, but I’ve set it up and tested it and it works great.

Here’s an example of how it works:

I like to pretend I know what I’m doing. http://flic.kr/p/6AQ6DY

And by the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can find me here: http://twitter.com/writefromkaren. I’m ALWAYS on and ALWAYS updating so follow me and let’s chat!

—7—

And lastly …

Every Wednesday, Nicki, from Birthplace of the Process of Illogical Logic, posts Humpday Hilarities. She passes on jokes she’s received from friends and family and they never fail to make me laugh.

Here are few that really tickled my funny bone this week:

First Degree

A married couple were asleep when the phone rang at 2 in the morning. The wife (undoubtedly blonde) picked up the phone, listened a moment and said, ‘How should I know, that’s 200 miles from here!’ and hung up.

The husband said, ‘Who was that?’ The wife said, ‘I don’t know, some woman wanting to know if the coast is clear.’

Get it? Read it again, it’ll come to you. 😀

And this one:

DaVinci Code

Written across the wall of the cave were the following symbols:

drawings

It was considered a unique find and the writings were said to be at least three thousand years old!

The piece of stone was removed, brought to the museum, and archaeologists from around the world came to study the ancient symbols. They held a huge meeting after months of conferences to discuss the meaning of the markings.

The president of the society pointed to first drawing and said: “This is a woman. We can see these people held women in high esteem. You can also tell they were intelligent, as the next symbol is a donkey, so they were smart enough to have animals help them till the soil. The next drawing is a shovel, which means they had tools to help them.”

“Even further proof of their high intelligence is the fish which means that if a famine hit the earth and food didn’t grow, they seek food from the sea. The last symbol appears to be the Star of David which means they were evidently Hebrews.”

The audience applauded enthusiastically.

Then a little old Jewish man stood up in the back of the room and said, “Idiots, Hebrew is read from right to left. It says: Holy Mackerel, Dig the Ass on that Chick.”

ROFL!! Love this one! It’s a prime example of how we take everything soooo seriously.

Anyway, I hope your Friday is going well. More vacation pictures will be posted tomorrow!

Photo Contest at writefromkaren.com

Summer Fun

Summer Fun: July 3rd

Are you ready for some fun ideas to keep your kids busy this next week?

Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):

Day One – Ask your child to watch the moon & record changes in size and color. Dig out some binoculars or a telescope and take a closer look at the moon.

Day Two – Have your child decorate a shoe box to store treasures.

Day Three – Talk to your child about fire safety. Discuss a fire escape route and have a mock fire drill.

Day Four – Make a grocery list that fits within a budget with your child.

Day Five – Learn a tongue twister with your child. Have fun, laugh. Then discuss the importance of proper grammar – both verbal and written.


Crafts for the Kids (by age)

Featured Craft of the Week:
Toddlers
Indy 500 Painting

4 to 5 year olds
Frog Puppet

6 to 8 year olds
Rubber Band Belt

9 to 12 year olds
Beaded Sunglasses Strap


Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:

groovy-face2 Found Sound

I’ve often marveled over how one person’s noise is another person’s music — and vice versa. Aren’t our ears strange and wonderful accessories? This palooza is quite flexible because it can be done off and on over any period for as long as it seems fun.

arrow-right-side What to do:

Create a composition of interesting sounds you collect in your everyday life. John Cage’s infamous 1952 composition, “4’33″”, called for four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence to be filled by whatever random sounds were heard in the concert hall each night: coughs, rustling, sneezes. Considered rather radical at the time, the first performance was held in Woodstock, New York, at the Maverick Concert Hall.

Okay, silence as music might be hard to imagine. But Cage also used rubber mallets, metal hammers, toy pianos and wooden objects. So point your tape recorder toward a toilet flushing, hanging pots and pans, a fan, or the washing machine — be a maestro and create a musical composition, a la John Cage. Set sound free!

Record various sounds, exploring all over the house, in nooks and crannies. Living room sounds. Kitchen sounds. Bathroom sounds (oops, excuse me!). Take the activity outside to record in the backyard, at the park, in train stations, at stores — as many places as you can.

Try to avoid the obvious “musical” objects. Instead of the telephone’s ring, record the dial tone or a busy signal. Rather than a doorbell, try the click of the bolt lock.

Now listen to all the found sounds you’ve collected, picking and choosing favorites to use in a composition. Decide what order you want the sounds to be in, maybe jotting them down on a piece of paper: clanging pots, dripping faucet, whistle, vacuum cleaner. (A younger child can dictate a composition to an adult). You might want to think about whether there’s a scale of some kind, perhaps from lowest-pitch to highest-pitch sounds. Go back and re-record them in the particular order that you like best.

Arrange a concert hall with the tape recorder position on a pedestal, a podium perhaps in front, and chairs for the “live” audience — whether it’s the family, the family pet, or a collection of action figures. Make a sign with the name of the auditorium and a program listing the composer (that’s you!), the “instruments,” and the date. Naming the composition is half the fun: Concerto for Blender and Bathtub? Sonata in Six Spoons Sharp? Of course, you must “conduct” as the tape plays and then take a modest bow!

EXTRAPALOOZA:

Guessing Game: Take turns recording found sounds and guessing what they are. The challenge is to find ten sounds within a time limit of five minutes. This of course will involve a lot of sneaking around so that the guessers don’t see what the recorders are recording. It could even turn into a sort of found-sound hide-and-seek.

BLOGGING IDEA: Bloggers, upload your child’s found sounds to your blog. Can your readers guess what the sounds are? Blog about your child’s appreciation for sound.