Friday, April 27, 2012

Giving the People What They Want



Although I've made a weekly feature out of checking and reporting my search terms, I don't really think about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when I'm writing a blog post.  Why should I?  I do what I want. 

Yes, I have Google Adsense installed, but I make *very* little money from it. 

In fact, I've never filled out my tax information for Adsense, so I haven't even received a check.  It seems like a lot of work, to be honest.  I'll probably wait until there's enough money in the account to buy a meal with, which could take years at this rate. 

Recently, I was chatting with another blogger about catering to the readers.  I joked that I was going to start blogging based on SEO:  giving the people what they want.  Pandering, basically.

According to my most popular search terms, this would require me to start a gossip blog about annoying celebrities, or maybe one about Spartacus and double jointed people. 

Am I what you were looking for?
 
That would be one weird blog.

Seeing as how I'm not an expert in any of those fields, I guess I'll just continue to post my vacation pictures and write about things that annoy me.  Then in 2015, I'll take my hard-earned blogging money and buy a pizza.

It's nice to have goals.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hey! That's Na-cho Record!

The Proud Hubby


Over the last month or so, The Hubby has been very busy preparing to break a world record, and on Saturday he achieved that goal.  What world record, you ask?


A very important one, of course.


While I'm sure that every world record recorded by Guinness is special and important to someone, this one is particularly close to the hearts of many:  Mexican Food.


Yes, he broke the World Record for the largest plate of nachos.


 

A volunteer adding the finishing touches.  It smelled wonderful!

The Hubby works in the food service industry, and he's been talking for years about breaking a Guinness Record for some type of giant food, and now he's finally done it.  With the help of several sponsors and lots of volunteers, he and the rest of his staff built an 80-foot long plate of nachos out of chips, ground beef, cheese, salsa, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and fresh cilantro that weighed in at 4,689 pounds.

I spent most of the time taking photos

The event took place on Saturday, April 21st at the Kansas Relays, an annual track and field event held at Memorial Stadium on the KU campus.


A representative from Guinness was there to test the quality and certify that the previous record was indeed broken, and it was--by an astounding 690 pounds.  


What do you do with 4,689 pounds of nachos?  You eat 'em, of course!  Volunteers scooped up heaping plates of the record-breaking snack food to hungry fans and athletes for two hours.  They were super-delicious, if I do say so myself.

A volunteer serves up a plate.  They tasted much better than they looked. ;)

Those track and field kids can EAT, too.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, but some of them came back for seconds and thirds.  I'm not sure how they all run and jump with a bellies full of nachos, but I'm assuming many of them had already competed in their events by then.  :)


Was it gluttonous?  Of course!  Was it wasteful?  Not so much.  By the time the nachos were below safe serving temperatures (the health department kept close watch), over 70% of the creation was consumed.


The Kid was not as excited to be there as we were.
What about all the hungry people out there?, you may be thinking.  Don't worry; they're being taken care of as well.  The whole event acted as a benefit for L.I.N.K. Kitchen, a local food kitchen that serves up free meals to the homeless five days a week.  Volunteers collected canned food items and cash donations at the door in exchange for each plate of nachos.  Since L.I.N.K. is funded entirely by private donations, the event helped out the charity tremendously. 


All-in-all, it was a successful event.  I'm glad it's over.  The whole process was very stressful and tiring.  Let's hope that one world record is enough and The Hubby won't set his sights on creating The World's Biggest Taco or The World's Spiciest Burrito or The World's Largest Margarita.



On second thought, that last one's not such a bad idea...I'd better start hoarding tequila.  ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

You're just somebody that I used to know.



Everyone loves this song right now.  It's good.  The video is pretty weird, but interesting.  The song feels dated to me, like it's from the 80s, but I guess that's a trend that's been going on for a while.

It's a good song.  The lyrics make me think; "now you're just somebody that I used to know" is such a universal statement.  The band is talking about a romantic relationship, but it can apply to friendships as well.  How often do you find yourself spending less and less time with a friend, until eventually you remove their number from your phone without much thought?

It feels like it's happening more and more often to me lately.  The internet has not only shortened the news cycle and attention spans, but also the lives of friendships.  Online relationships are especially fragile.  The friends I had two or three years ago have mostly moved on.  Even the people I was interacting with on a daily basis four or five months ago aren't really the same people I interact with now.  Lots of real-life friendships are cyclical too, only the drifting apart seems to happen more gradually.

And that's okay, I guess, but it still makes me sad.  I suppose you never really know who'll stick around and who'll end up as just somebody that you used to know.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm busy.

I cannot keep up.

I took a break from Twitter, which turned into a break from my computer, and now I'll probably take a break from blogging.  Or not.  As soon as I announce a break, I always think of something to blog about right away, so this post is just a notification of the fact that I may not be blogging again anytime soon.  Or maybe I will. 


Don't be surprised either way.


The Hubby is breaking a world record (officiated by Guinness and everything!) this weekend, so I'll probably blog next week sometime, but that's part of why I'm busy.

Also, the weather is all springy, and that makes me not want to turn on my computer.  I've been out doing things with The Kid, enjoying the sunshine.

Oh, and I re-joined a gym after a four-year absence.  So I'm busy working out, and when I'm not working out, I'm too sore and tired to lift my fingers.


I'm trying to start a business too. 

Good stuff is going on with the screenwriting as well.


So you see, it's not that I have nothing to blog about, it's just that when I find the time to sit down to do it, I can't figure out how to fit it all into a coherent post.  It's a shame, really, because my life is pretty entertaining right now.  Oh well.  

I probably won't do a Search Term Thursday this week.  Or maybe I will.  We'll see if I turn the computer on.

Yes, I'm busy in general, but sometimes it feels really good to just disappear for a while.  I'm enjoying my absence.  Do you ever have the urge to just delete all of your social networking accounts and disappear?  I do.  We shall see.

I'm turning off comments on this post because sometimes I can't approve comments through my phone for some odd reason.  I just attribute the whole thing to Google hating me, which is probably not the case, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were.  It wouldn't be a big deal, but the idea of comments sitting there waiting to be approved really annoys me, and I don't want to feel forced to turn on my computer if I don't want to do it.

I hope you all are doing wonderfully.

Here's a picture that I took in my yard the other day of a dandelion growing out of the top of another dandelion:



:)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Marlene Shigamabob

I have some really great friends.  Some I've known and kept in touch with since elementary school, others since high school or college.  I can probably count on one hand the number of true friends I've retained for ten years or more, and I love all of them.

There is one person, however, who always ends up at the very top of my list.  Today is the birthday of my oldest and dearest friend, Marlene Shigamabob.

Okay, that's not really her name, and I'll explain why I call her that in a minute, but first let me tell you all a little bit about her.


I first met Marlene when she was four years old and I was five.  She was walking down the street to her grandma's house (which was three blocks from her own house) all by herself.  Her parents were very...permissive.  Upon talking to her, I found out that she was the sister of my new best friend who I'd met in kindergarten that year.  His name was David, and we used to sit by each other at lunch.

She and I struck up a friendship, and after an unfortunate incident involving a wagon, David on his bike, and skid marks across my legs, I had a new best friend in Marlene.

Since we only lived a block apart, Marlene and I would spend pretty much every waking minute together.  She quickly became the fourth daughter my parents never had.  In the summers, she'd spend entire weeks at my house without going home to her parents and four brothers even once.  I often had to remind her to call home and let her mom know that she was still alive.

1st day of school, 1991
Her nickname came about one day when we were in Wal-mart with my family.  Looking for something fun to do that wouldn't get us into too much trouble, we decided (as we often did) to page people.  There was something thrilling about hearing your name over the loudspeaker at Wal-mart--it made us feel famous.  We thought it'd be funny if we made up the silliest name possible and I'd ask an employee to page that name.  Then, she'd come up and claim that it was her.  We came up with "Marlene Shigamabob", and it's been an inside joke ever since.*

One thing you should know about Marlene is that she is a copycat.  If we were at McDonald's and I ordered a Big Mac, Marlene was having a Big Mac.  If I went vegetarian for a months, she went vegetarian for a month.  We had the same haircut at the same time (aside from one time when she tried to get layers like mine and ended up with a Carol Brady cut), wore the same clothes, liked the same music, had the same favorite movies--everything.

 I once tested her resolve by giving her this really disgusting yogurt that my dad had brought home as a sample (he was in the food business).  My sisters and I all deemed it inedible, but when Marlene came over that day, we gave it to her, pretending it was the most delicious thing we'd ever had.  She swallowed it down with a "yum!" until we told her we didn't like it and she spit it out, thanking God that she didn't have to take another bite.  The girl is definitely loyal.


Every day after school, Marlene would come over to my house and we'd watch Kids Inc. (and later The Brady Bunch re-runs, after Kids Inc. was cancelled), followed by The Mickey Mouse Club.  We didn't miss an episode.  We were super-fans, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  That show was everything to us.  We had posters and sent fan mail and copied the Mouseketeers' dance moves in ridiculous contests we'd hold in the bedroom I shared with my younger sister. 

Marlene, Lindsey Alley, and me
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that former Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley would be performing her cabaret show in Columbia, Missouri--a two hour drive from me, and even closer to Marlene--on April 7th, the weekend before her birthday.  It was fate!

So, in addition to Easter, that's what I did last weekend:  took my best friend forever to see one of our childhood heroes do standup and sing.  It was marvelous. Just like old times--but with more profanity and sex talk, less running man and roger rabbit. 

We went out to dinner before the show, where I ordered a veggie wrap and cottage cheese and Marlene ordered...a veggie wrap and cottage cheese.  It's comforting to know that some things never change.

This post is for you, Marlene Shigamabob.  Happy birthday.  You are the best friend a girl could have, and one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.  I hope you know that I really do Love You Like A Sister. 




*My dad actually called me recently and asked me, "What is Marlene Shigamabob's maiden name?".  Seriously.  He could remember "Marlene Shigamabob", but he couldn't remember her real name.  True story.




I'd also like to wish a happy birthday to Vanessa, Una, and Jennifer, who all have birthdays either today or tomorrow.  It's a blogger birthday bonanza!

Search Term Thursday 4.12.2012

I had a very disturbing search term yesterday.  So disturbing, in fact, that I refuse to post it.  Keep in mind the disgusting searches I've posted in the past, and that will give you an idea of how sick and awful this one was.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE????!?!?!?!?!


Not *you* people who read my blog on a regular basis, obviously, but "you people" who just searched for "women who have sexual intercourse with household objects and record it"* and found this post.  I mean, I guess I can't judge you guys too harshly, because at least you're not hurting anyone (aside from the kitchen utensils that are being kept from their main purpose in life), but those men and women who are searching for the things-which-shall-not-be-named?  Get help.  Try Googling "local psychiatrists" next time instead.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here are some of the harmless search terms:

Those turtles...SO conceited.  Ugh.

Of course it is!  I do find it odd, however, that you can't spell "grown" but you got "phineas" right.

Looks like that ad campaign is backfiring.  Who'd have thought?


Did Buffalo Bill open a drug store that I'm unaware of?


*Not a real search term for my blog--not until this very moment, anyway.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Magical Music

I'm supposed to be writing. 

I mean, I AM writing, obviously...I'm just supposed to be writing something else.  Anyway, I turned on Spotify with the best intentions, but then I got lost in the music. 

Is it just me, or does listening to music through headphones completely change the experience?  I've got on Elton John's "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", and I can't concentrate on anything else.  I get lost in his voice, in his piano-playing.  It's amazing to me, to think that he recorded that song over thirty years ago--forty years, this year--and yet, when you listen to it, you can hear him on that day, frozen in time forever.

I think that's what's amazing about music and film; they capture a moment in time that will come and go, just like every other moment, but you'll be able to go back whenever you want, any time, for the rest of your life.  Isn't that wonderful?

Listening to music from that time period, especially, gets me *right there*.  Auto-tune wasn't invented yet, and some of them have no added effects whatsoever.  This is just Elton and a piano.  Pure.  Beautiful.  It's almost a lost art (Isn't that sad?), but it's the one way that music can really reach into my heart and grab me.

I don't know where I'm going with all this, other than to say that I freakin' love music.  Do yourself a favor:  put on a pair of good headphones and listen to this song:


Did you hear the magic?

Search Term Thursday 4.5.2012

Spartacus has taken over my search terms.  I'm trying to sift through them, but if this continues, I may not be able to keep doing Search Term Thursday!  Who wants to read about Spartacus every week?  Not I!

Here are the most amusing terms I noticed this week:


Duh.
Double duh.

Me neither.  I'm still resentful.

Thanks?

WTF??  How???

Monday, April 2, 2012

LOVELOVELOVE

I was listening to Spotify tonight and came across a song that reminded me of my first crush.  As soon as I heard the first few notes, all the feelings came rushing back--He's perfect!  I love him!  He doesn't even know I'm alive!--I was ten.  

It got me to thinking about love.  What is love?  (baby, don't hurt me)

I asked people to share their thoughts about love on Twitter and got an overwhelming response (okay, four tweets):





 

So, to some people, love = (possibly poisonous) pancakes.  Interesting.


Is love pancakes?  Is it awesome and agonizing?  Is it manufactured?  Is love never having to say you're sorry?  Is love a many splendored thing?  Is love, actually, all around?


I think it can be all those things, and more.  

When I was a kid, I looked at love as this big mysterious thing.  I was positive that it couldn't be defined; that I'd know it when I felt it.  I think that I did know it when I felt it, but I also think that there's more than one type of love.

As I see it, there are four basic types of love: crushing, romantic, familial, and that for inanimate objects.*  Some of them can overlap, and it's kind of confusing, so I made love into a venn diagram:


Click on it if you feel like you MUST see the right-hand side of that circle.






Of course, this diagram makes it look like I have love all figured out, which is not the case at all.  It's still mysterious.  I do, however, feel reassured in knowing that love can overlap and evolve into other types. 

For example, two people fall into a crushing love.  The relationship evolves into a romantic love, and they get married.  Down the road, the love becomes more familial.  While the romantic love remains, the crushing love is gone, leaving the two to wonder--are we still in love?  My answer is yes, yes you are.

A lot of people think that if you don't want to jump your partner's bones every second of the day, it means you aren't in love anymore.  Not true, I say.  I think that you've just evolved.

Now, if you NEVER want to jump each others' bones, you may want to get some relationship counseling, but nobody can keep up the momentum that comes with the crushing love in the beginning of a relationship.  Who would want to, anyway?  That sh*t is exhausting.

Why does the word "love" freak people out so much?  Telling someone that you love them can mean so many different things.  Love is a puppy licking your face--it's an unsolicited hug from a toddler--it's butterflies in your stomach--it's a  perfect spring day--it's a smile that you can't wipe off your face.  More than anything, love is pure joy.  Who wouldn't welcome more of that into their lives?



Then again, I could be completely wrong about all of this.   What do you guys think?  How do you define love?


*I'm not an expert or anything--far from it--but I do feel like I've got a lot of love in my life. 
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