Friday, June 17, 2011

Versatile Blogging

The Laughing Mom
If you haven't checked out The Laughing Mom yet, you should. She is sort of David Sedaris' blonde, maternal, straight, blogging counterpart. Don't know what I'm talking about? You definitely need to find out who David Sedaris is, then, and I assure you you'll never board another plane without one of his many gems tucked into your carry-on. Ms. Laughing Mom (a.k.a. Terri, right) is a highly respected blogger friend, so I was super stoked to discover she recently kicked the Versatile Blogger award to me when she named Life Flipping one of her three favorite blogs. The informal expectations associated with its receipt are to:

   1) Thank and link to the person who nominated you. (Check.)
   2) Share seven random facts about yourself. (Wait for iiit...)
   3) Pass the award along to 15 new-found blogging buddies.
      (Hopefully seven will suffice!)
   4) Contact those buddies to congratulate them. (We'll see. I am
       pretty sure my comment would get lost amongst those from Wil
       Wheaton's 1.8 million-ish other followers.)

7 Random, Unabashed Facts About Me

1) I have worn many professional hats. Amongst a few other roles, I have worked construction (my dad let me get my hands dirty for his company one summer) and as a restaurant hostess, a waitress (got my hands dirty again), bartender, preschool teacher, nanny (for a family with a set of twins AND a set of triplets), university VA department auditor, special education program assistant and case manager, child welfare case manager, coffee shop barista (mmmm, free coffeeee), airline communications coordinator (wrote the newsletter for US Airway’s PHX Hub for a few months) and higher education ESL and math tutor. Phew! Just reviewing the list, I am ready for a vacation!

2) I create art. Note that I didn’t say “I am an artist,” because that might imply I am more of one than the next person. I believe art is an important part of the human experience, and that creating it is an enriching activity that we too often think of as being intended for people with particular artistic “talent” or education, of which I have very little. We all have things to say in ways that no one else can. So artistic expression is an element of my attempts at a well-rounded life.

3) I am passionate about civil rights and diversity issues. I think one of the most important features of our society is the promise of equal opportunity, regardless of our sex/gender and ethnicity and income level and sexual orientation and mobility, etc. I also think that a diversity of cultures, religions, ethnicity and other perspectives enriches our lives. The notion that there is one, Right way for everyone to live undermines and dulls the broad, rich complexity of humanity. I would like to think my convictions naturally stem from compassion and reason. However, my southern-raised mom marched for civil rights in the sixties. She also refused to have a wedding, opting instead for a small, family-only ceremony without other guests, after her parents (who we loved dearly nonetheless) insisted she not invite her African American girlfriends in order to uphold some sort of twisted social code.  So I have been well-influenced. I count my blessings.

4) I love, love, love wintertime. I guess I described this affinity pretty thoroughly, and then some, in Merry Holidays! Enough said.

5) I am a big Science Fiction fan. Mostly, I am an avid reader, and not generally of sci-fi.  But I am also a math and science enthusiast, and so fiction that delves realistically into these realms and projects their applications onto hypothetical future contexts is way too fun for the nerd in me. While I normally take my fiction via the written word, I tend to consume sci-fi through television or film (the giant exception being the novel Anathem by Neal Stephenson, which holds a strong place on my short list - there is a long list, too - of favorite books). For example, Randy and I recently finished watching each episode of Star Trek TOS chronologically and are currently making our way through The X-Files. He also introduced me to the series Battlestar Galactica, which was extremely cool. My sci-fi caveat is that I generally avoid anything violent, but if the plot is otherwise terrific I will deal with it, like with the Alien or Terminator movies... so awesome.

6) I won my school’s spelling bee in the sixth grade. Our challenge words included 'quarter,' 'spaghetti' and 'hammock,' so please don’t think I was Scripps National Spelling Bee material. (Those kids are legendary.) When I went on to the regional spelling bee later that year, I was eliminated almost immediately after quickly misspelling the word 'semolina' (a wheat product, apparently, that I had never heard of and will certainly never misspell again). The day of the regional spelling bee was one of the most valuable of my life, though. (Wonder Years moment!) I learned the terrific lesson that “smart” is an elusive, nearly fictional concept. Practice and effort are the things that really set the successful apart from others. I had thought that maybe I was inherently a good speller. I learned otherwise, and to invest actual time into the things I really want.

7) I have moved 900 times since I turned eighteen. Well, that’s a rough approximation. The precise number is… (I am counting…) ...okay, got it: I have moved nineteen times in the last twelve years and now, for the first time since becoming an adult, I have lived in one place for longer than two years. It feels really nice.

And The Versatile Blogging Awards Go To...
(along with a little critical review)

· 101 Cookbooks
  All-natural, vegetarian recipes presented with fun pinches of
  meaningful personal context and generous sprinkles of obvious
  joie de vivre.

· Penning Photography Daily
  Lovely, simple, thought provoking photographic journal

· The Elegant Variation
   Literary blog. Maybe I will end up finding one more finely-tuned to
   my palette, but it is good for now. Really good.

· The Laughing Mom
   Self-deprecating wit and everyday humor. The self-deprecation is
   entirely unfounded, but we all can relate... and it is comforting to
   laugh about it.

· The Drunken Scoundrel
   Music blog/internet radio station, paired with potent shots of
   relevant politics and personal ethics in its accompanying blog,
   The Vexatious Monkey.

· Where there's a Will, there's a way
   Local environmental activist. I so appreciate the work he does
   fighting the good fight, shedding light on corporate crimes against

· WIL WHEATON dot NET: in exile
   Fellow sci-fi fans likely know who this guy is. His Tweets and
   blogs, mostly unrelated thereto, are solidly clever and interesting...
   and thoroughly addictive.

· Zen Habits
  The difference between Leo Babauta and me is that he is super
  fit... and wildly successful... and terrifically wealthy... etc. ad
  infinitum, almost. But we are both simplification bloggers of sorts.
  His ponderings consistently serve up good, outside-of-the-box-of-
  overly-processed food for thought.

- Sarah

(Posted July 28, 2011)

My good friend John Clay - an honorary member of our Arizona Phillips Family, a multi-decade radio professional of many stripes, and the World's best amateur dessert chef - sent a terrific personal response to my Versatile Blogging post. Not previously aware that I am a Sci-Fi and Wil Wheaton fan, after reading the post he sent some really fun pictures from back in the day.

The backstory: Circa 1988 Universal Studios opened a Star Trek "ride" in a theater with a stage replica of the Enterprise bridge. They filled up the theater, selected some audience members to dress in Star Trek uniforms and participate, then taped a scene using the new bridge crew. John was assigned by his San Diego radio station to attend the attraction's grand opening, after which he participated in interviews and a private party with Star Trek cast members, thus getting his picture taken with a few of them. (John is the handsome one.)

Thanks, John! 

- Sarah

Luckily, Scotty didn't beam him up! I don't think that technology has been fine-tuned yet.


Melissa said...

Sarah! That's so cool! Congratulations on the major award! :)
As someone who had the pleasure of sitting across from you in art class, I'd say you can and should call yourself an artist.
Can't wait to check out the blogs you recommend...especially that literary one!
Have a great weekend.

Life Flipping said...

Thanks, Melissa! That class was so great... a nice farewell to high school :) Always so enjoy your updates and your writing! Do your boys start school soon? Or do you have more time? :)
- Sarah

Mattpenning said...

I'm stunned. Looking at your list of Versatile Bloggers, and my little part of the world is there with Wil Wheaton and Zen Habits? Stunned.

I can't wait to dive into the others.


Thank you. I am all the more motivated to keep my daily postings going ad infinitum.

Ms. laughingmom said...

Thank you! That is the coolest review I've ever received for my blog! I'm so lame - I have never read any of David Sedaris' books. I'm headed to the library tomorrow. I really enjoyed reading the 7 random facts about you. Isn't it great to walk down memory lane prior to diaperville? Great job on your post and thanks again for the kind words. I'm checking out the other blogs as well.

Life Flipping said...

Matt, it's well deserved! It is always refreshing to come across people who know who they are, love what they do and put it out there for others. Thank you for sharing your work.
- Sarah

Life Flipping said...

Oh, Terri, DO head to the library - he is so great! But please consider yourself warned: I made the comparison because Sedaris is a terrific personal essayist and incredibly funny, but you must know that he can be very - how shall I say? - "irreverent," at best. Brace yourself. Also, I recommend going as chronologically as possible. Enjoy!
- Sarah

The Drunken Scoundrel said...

Thank You!
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you on this. In addition to maintaining 4 blogs, 2 Cafe Press stores affiliated with my blogs, and an internet radio station I am also working 50+ hours a week and planning a relocation to LA to start school in Sept.
While doing a 15 mile round trip daily commute via bicycle......

Life Flipping said...

Chris, now I know that you are not only a drunken and classy scoundrel, but a crazy one, too :) It sounds like you are being kept crazy-busy with things you enjoy, though, so that is good! Now I am curious: What is your plan with school? LA isn't for everyone... It will be great for you, though!
- Sarah

The Drunken Scoundrel said...

LA is 'home' for me-I lived there last summer and only came back to PHX because my financial aid for school fell through at the last minute and I had some things in PHX to take care of. I am just going back to finish up some things and fell out my plans for my educational future. Studio apartments in LA are super cheap right now. I don't like Phoenix anymore, and I have always loved LA.

Life Flipping said...

Sounds like fun! Studio apartments are a great way to keep it simple. Best wishes, and enjoy the journey! (and keep blogging :)
- Sarah