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100 Happy Days: Day 101


I’ve just completed the 100 happy days challenge, which I posted on my Instagram account (https://instagram.com/norecipelife). In case you haven’t heard of it, the basic idea is that you post at least one picture a day capturing something that made you happy. It was kind of fun, and definitely interesting, but more often than not I found it kind of annoying. Just another frustrating thing I have to do that I don’t want to.

In theory, participating in the 100 happy days makes  you think about good things in your life, with the intention that it will take focus off the negative things and make you grateful for what you do have. I love that idea. It’s great. But the reality didn’t really work out so well.

A large part of this not working out as planned was the time in my life I chose to do it. Because I work from home there are a lot of days I see absolutely nothing interesting whatsoever. Due to a lack of means to go out and do exciting things, bad time management, and a pretty uneventful social life, there really didn’t seem to be anything worth sharing on a lot of days. I’d search around for something and usually it would just be a picture of food, or I’d google image search for something cool and be happy about that instead of anything in my real life. A lot of my pictures wound up being of food, or coffee, and while I don’t have a problem with that really, it is kind of boring and seemingly pointless if you look at them all together. It got to a point where I was like, is food really the main thing that makes me feel happy at this point in my life? Because that’s kind of sad. On my penultimate day, the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality in all 50 states, and it was awesome to be able to include that in my set of pictures. I was very glad that happened on the 99th day. However, the next day I posted several pictures and ALL of them were food-related.

Lesson number 1: If you’re going to start this challenge, you should try to pick a time when something interesting or exciting is already built into your plans, so that you have other things to share than just food. Vacation, graduation, party, I don’t know. Something like that. Or you could actually have a social life, unlike me.

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Re-entry


I returned from my cruise today! …to find that WordPress has been updating the site. I’ll have to see what I think about this as I continue to make more posts. I took a few pictures and videos on my trip, so I’ll have to do an experience post about the cruise and see if I can make a watchable youtube video with what I have. I will probably do that this weekend or sometime next week.

I need to say that this is NOT a relaxing Thursday right now. I wanted to get home and have some nice peaceful relaxation time, and I have to deal with some loud event happening at the school near my house. And I mean LOUD. With too many screaming children.

I’m also kind of in pain for some reason or other. I have all kinds of sore muscles and my lower back is bothering me right now. I don’t really know why. I went out to CVS because I am all out of ibuprofen, and I needed to get some melatonin as well because I have not been able to sleep well most nights lately.

CVS has rarely been a nice experience in the last several years. Today, I had people crowding me in the aisles, a bunch of stockroom stuff piled up right in front of the shelves I needed to get to, and a group of loud kids showing up at the checkout lane as I was waiting for “assistance” that should not have been necessary. (I don’t even know why they have self checkout there.) Plus, the machine refused my dollar off pain relief coupon. I didn’t feel like taking the time to complain about it.

Whole foods was not so bad. Middle of the afternoon on a weekday, apparently, is when you need to get there in order to avoid the crowds.

Having just returned from shopping, I once again have to deal with the constant stream of video game noises from downstairs. I really should work on cleaning my room and unpacking, but all I want to do is lie down and not give a f#@! until I absolutely have to (tomorrow morning).

I’m going to try to find something online that will make me smile and avoid my chores until Saturday, I think.

Monday Madness


Look to the right. Did your eyes leave the computer screen? You looked too far. I meant just to the right of the post, where there’s a countdown to my vacation. Yes, I have one week of work left before I’m off! I leave on Sunday and return Thursday. I will be at work on Friday, but I’ll be out for almost a whole week.

Which really means that I’m crazily trying to get as much done at work and home as possible before I go, so that I’m not hit with huge piles of stuff to do when I get back from vacation. No one wants that.

They’re supposed to have a sort of cruise-ship version of an internet cafe, so I might be able to do my usual Monday Madness post and maybe update with some pictures along the way, but I won’t guarantee that. So, if you don’t get any madness next Monday, you’ll know why!

I’m going to have to choose my vacation reading soon. …so many books, so little time.

. . .

Now an update from my last Monday Madness–I put my first video on youtube, under the account norecipewriter. It is available for viewing and you can watch it here, if you want to see me introduce myself and my channel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko0zG3z01pw

Filming was difficult in the sense that I don’t have a real camera, or a good place to set up my phone, and my phone’s camcorder mode automatically stops at 10 minutes. Which I guess is a good thing, as I’ve clearly gone on too long if I’m still going when it shuts off. Then, of course, the picture quality kind of sucks because my phone camera is not very good.

I was pretty nervous when I sat down to do it. I had written down a list of things I wanted to talk about, but I kept stumbling over my words and I completely lost my momentum when I talked over the 10 minutes my phone gives me and had to start a new video. I did end up with some fabulous outtakes, though, which you might see at some point when I have gotten a little  better at editing. My do-over went much better, as I’d gotten most of the nerves out, and I managed to talk for only about 7 minutes. I just snipped the ends a bit, figuring I would edit more next time, if necessary.

Editing was another problem (of course it was). Ok, just to be clear, I was already aware that editing is difficult. I played around with making a video or two when I was in college, with clips from tv shows of course (because I’m a geek). What I really did not count on was that my computer was unable to open the files I recorded with the usual windows programs I use. I decided to go online to find an editing program I could download. The first one waited until I was at the saving point to tell me that with the free version of the program, they would put a watermark on the video. I tried it anyway, and it turned out to be situated right across my eyes. I tried a second one, which seems to be a little better, and at least didn’t leave a watermark. That is the one that ended up being the final version.

I like that youtube has some editing options right on the site, so you can tweak the video after uploading. That’s a cool feature that I do not remember from my days of making geeky mvs.

I will be playing around with my current equipment and software to try to make cooler videos. I would love to find a reliable editing software that I can get for free or at least that is inexpensive, and I would LOVE some recommendations, as this stuff is all new to me and I don’t know how to tell which programs will be really good. Ideally, I would like to get a real camera (not a super-nice one, just a regular digital camera that actually works is all I’d be expecting) and a nicer computer, but both of those are out of my reach for now.

My aims for now are: keeping my videos under 10 minutes, posting at least 1 video a week, and learning how to edit to make them a little more polished. And maybe coming up with an intro,  but I don’t think I’ll worry too much about that. If I could animate I would have a really cool one, but I can’t animate.

So that’s my experience as I started vlogging. It was very stressful when I thought I wouldn’t be able to edit the videos I had made, and would have to re-record it, but it turned out ok. As I’ve seen some other vloggers mention, you shouldn’t expect your first videos to be great. I’m just going to try my best and hope some people out there find me interesting, or endearing, or fun to make fun of, or something.

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