Monday, July 29, 2013

The Mug Project

Tonight I was unloading the dishwasher before class and realized just how many mugs I have. I mean it's kind of an absurd amount when I think about it. Of course since I am all over social media I decided to post a picture of my mugs (to the right) and bunch of friends comment on it but one stood out. My friend Kara from high school brought up: "I am also a firm believer in mugs telling a lot about a person. It's a form of expression!"

After thinking about it I realized how right she was. Then I started looking through my mugs and you can tell what kind of person I am. Most of my mugs have earthy tones which goes to show my ties to the earth. I have a couple of mugs from old companies I've been a part of at which shows what disciplines I have worked in, a mug that is the Norwegian flag symbolizing my heritage, a Ron Swanson mug that shows my love for Parks and Rec, and an "I'm crabby until I get my morning coffee" mug with a crab on it that shows both my obsession with coffee and that I'm a Marylander. These are all things that are very much a part of me and can simply be seen by my choice of mugs. 

This got me thinking about a study that was done in 1973 by anthropologist Dr. William Rathje known as the Tuscon Garbage Project. Dr. Rathje, who sometimes is referred to as "Captain Planet", and his students studied the trash of Tucson residents so they could learn more about them and their patterns of consumption. The data was compared with information known about the owners of the trash. For example, alcohol consumption was proven to be significantly higher in reality than in the information provided by the people studied. Such findings have highlighted the difference between what people said they did versus what the actually did.

Now this may seem random but my point was a lot could be shown about the residents by what they were consuming. Well I've been inspired to do something similar with mugs. I want to document people's mugs and see how much it says about them against their personalities. I have an edge though to Dr. Rathje; I have the internet. I still want to go to people, talk to them, and then capture a photo of some of their mugs (with their permission of course). With the added help of the internet though I can turn this into a much larger scale.

So I'm starting The Mug Project but I need your help my faithful followers. If you could, I'd love to see pictures of your mugs! There are a couple of ways we can do this: you can post to your Facebook, twitter, or blog about your mugs and then send me the link. An alternative would be to send me an email with the pictures (email is curtincall89 [at] gmail [dot] com). Either way you do it I want to know about it! Then I will do some analysis on the different mugs that you guys show me and will write a follow-up blog post on the subject. If all works out well I would love to use the results in my Capstone Project for Grad School. So let The Mug Project begin!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Halloween in July

The sounds of the leaves crunching beneath your feet, the feel of the crisp air on your cheek, the smell of apples and pumpkin spice in the air, the vibrations of floor as I jump up and down yelling at the football reps - these are all things that define Fall for me. Yesterday I found myself longing for all these things. Now maybe it was due to the fact that Fall is my favorite season or it could have just been that my AC was broken and I wanted to think cool thoughts. Regardless, I decided that instead of waiting for my favorite season I'm going to bring the season to us right now.

I mean ABC Family and other channels have Christmas in July so why can't I have Halloween in July? So starting today and lasting until Saturday I will be celebrating Halloween in July and I want you all to join me. I will be sipping pumpkin flavored drinks, eating apple cinnamon muffins, wearing my football jerseys, watching horror movies, and dedicating my blog and Facebook Page to Halloween related posts.

This also opens the opportunity to do another free promotion for one of my books. For the Halloween in July promotion from July 23rd - July 27th my vampire short story series Deal with the Devil is free to download! Visit the link below and grab your copy before the promotion runs up:

In addition I'm asking you guys to spread the word and urge you all participate! Dedicate your posts and activities for the next few days to  Fall/Halloween related items. Then, in the comments below tell me what your favorite part of the Fall season is and what you will be doing to celebrate that now in July. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Laugh in the Face of Perfection

There are times when it doesn't matter how much effort you put into something, how hard you try to achieve your goal, or what the end result is. There are times when you look in the mirror and feel that you are back at square one and nothing has helped. You close your eyes, turn in different angles, adjust the light, and do whatever you have to do to look like that new person. Sometimes it just isn't enough. Then people tell you that you are crazy and you DO look like that new person it really angers you. Part of you wants them to agree with you that you are once again that fat, acne covered, out of shape person.

That is how I have been feeling lately - I have gained a little bit of weight, my acne is back, and one of my health issues has returned. It is enough to make me want to just give up - to just let myself be that person again. I look in the mirror and I see that fat girl again: the girl who though had quite a lot of confidence in public, in private was ashamed of her body. Then I get on the scale and realize that I have only gained back 4 lbs.

Still, it is enough to make me feel like that girl again and what do I turn to to calm that? Food. I've never had a problem with junk food. I eat almost all organic. I don't eat anything that comes in a frozen tray. My problem: I eat TOO much. Even if it's healthy, organic, and good for me anything in too much quantity can be bad for you. There is also the fact that last week during our appraisal of the company I ate out EVERY day for lunch.

Then it struck me - I'm NOT that girl. So what if I gained a little bit extra, so what if my face isn't as clear as it has been this past year. Sitting around downing organic pretzels, excessive amounts of coffee, and unfortunately at times - candy (especially anything sour) won't solve anything. Instead this week I've stepped up my work out routine (with the aide of my fitbit which will be the subject of next week's Techy Tuesday), cut down on my portion sizes, switched up my face washing routine, and limited the times I eat out.

Then another thing struck me - I'm ALLOWED to have these feelings: to feel like I'm a bag of flubber, to feel like my face is exploding, and to obsess over the un-toned feel of my skin. Because you know what? It's called being human. NO ONE is perfect and hell I don't want to be perfect. I want to be ME and this version of me if just like any other version of me. I have never changed as a person and I've gotten along just fine at any size/image I've had. That being said I'm striving to look better not for anyone but MYSELF. 

*This has been a pep-talk with Sam by Sam. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming*

Monday, July 8, 2013

Techy Tuesday

I'm deep in the land of CMMI Appraisals this week so I won't be around that much in the social media
realm. To keep you busy, this Techy Tuesday, I leave you to play with my favorite app: Stitcher Radio. Stitcher Radio is an awesome app that allows you to listen to many different radio stations' broadcasts, podcasts, and breaking news. I love it since I can enjoy my favorite podcasts such as Freakanomics and Nerdist on my way to work in the morning. So click on the link below or simply search Stitcher Radio in the app store on your phone. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Cloud of Nerdom

It's the day after July 4th. Most people are nursing firework hangovers, real hangovers, and some are even dragging themselves to work. I'm one of the ones who was able to somehow go to bed before fireworks started and woke up bright and early even though I didn't have to go to work. Consequently, I've spent my morning in a cloud of nerdy working out. In other words I was catching  up on Nerdist podcasts that I have I missed while running/walking through the woods for close to three hours. My favorite out of all the Nerdist podcasts that I listened to was the one featuring Misha Collins.

For those of you who don't know, Misha plays the character of Castiel on Supernatural (aka my favorite show out of the Whedony world). On this podcast not only does he go into his experience of the 6 years on Supernatural but also a worldwide scavenger hunt that he's created called GISHWES. Now I've heard of this via twitter before but I never new the magnitude of this scavenger hunt. Basically over 150k people around the world spend a week doing crazy tasks, documenting it, and sending it in to the GISHWES judges. For example one task was to have an "awkward first date" with a mannequin operated by someone in all black. Yeah - next year I'm thinking I might have to get involved in this. Then at the end all the top winners were invited to a castle (yeah a CASTLE) in Scotland for a weekend with Misha and the other GISHWES sponsors.

As cool as GISHWES is, the thing that stuck out the most in this podcast was what they were talking about when it comes to Fan Fiction. Most of you know in some way or another was Fan Fiction is: fans who write their own story lines for shows/books/movies/etc. What I learned on this podcast were two things. First was the difference between cannon and non-canon fan fiction. Cannon fan fiction is when you follow the same ideas/plots of the production and non cannon would be making up your own. An example of non-cannon would be slash fiction (which involves romantically involving characters that otherwise wouldn't be, usually involving same-sex relationships). The second thing I learned was what the first evidence of slash fiction was actually from Star Trek: Captain Kirk and Spock.     

Now of course it's time to expand the nerdiness that others see and confess to you all: I write fan fiction. Most of mine would be considered cannon as I follow closely with the plots but I throw in my own characters (though some would argue that this in itself makes it non-cannon). My productions of choice range from books to movies to shows. The full list of my fan fiction is below and most of it no one has ever read. So I leave you this morning thrown into my cloud of nerdom with the following fan fiction series I write/have written:
  • Supernatural
  • Harry Potter (books)
  • LOTR (books)
  • Buffy
  • Angel
  • Firefly
  • Veronica Mars
  • Four Brothers
  • Charmed
  • Friday Night Lights (movie)
  • Scarpetta (books)
  • Boy Meets World
  • One Tree Hill

Image Courtesy of of Chris Hardwick from Nerdist Podcast.