Exploring Personal Halloween Trends

A Halloween Meme for Bloggers

For some Halloween is part of their spiritual journey but for most it is about the candy and the costumes. This blogging meme lets your share some of your Halloween spirit on your blog. There are two ways that this meme can be tackled. It can be done all in one blog posting like shown here with short answers or broken up by each question or group of closely related questions for different days of the week. Mini pumpkins used as outdoor decorations in fall.

Exploring Personal Halloween Trends

Directions: Create a new blog post. Write an introduction then copy and paste the meme below into your blog and change the comments after the questions to your own. Use the title of this meme in your subject line or create your own. Feel free to tag your friends or not. A link back to this page would be appreciated.

1. Did you trick or treat when you were a kid? Definitely, it was a highlight. I would often tire out the adults who were supervising. I was so fascinated with people giving me candy and I would fill up one pillowcase and then go back home and get another.

2. How old were you when you stopped? Not sure. I was probably eleven or twelve.

3. What was your favorite costume as a kid? A neighbor who used to babysit me dressed me up as a pretty wicked hag with an old wool skirt, knee highs, black shawl, babushka, and green face paint complete with ugly moles.

4. What is your favorite adult costume. Witches are still tops.

5. What was your favorite Halloween treat as a kid? Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

6. As an adult? Not much has changed, it’s still Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

7. What do you like to give out for Halloween? Not much of a surprise here, Reese Peanut Butter cups in a zip bag with one rocket, one tootsie roll, one caramel, and one mini Kracker bar. We only get about thirty kids.

8. Does anything scare you about Halloween? Adults creeping around in the dark in hideous face masks; especially clowns. But mostly I am paranoid about our dog. When I was a kid a dog was poisoned and died one Halloween night and that has really stuck with me.

9. Are you superstitious about black cats? No. I think they are awesome.

10. Do you decorate your home for Halloween? I get a pumpkin, that’s pretty much it (although the last two years it has been mini pumpkins because they are so cute). I’m not a big decorations person in general. And I never dress up to hand them out (I know, bah humbug).

11. Do you bake Halloween goodies? Rarely, but if I do it is the Pillsbury pumpkin shaped cookies.

12. Are you a pumpkin carver? No, but I’m totally thrilled by other people who do it. I do like to bake the pumpkin seeds though!

13. What is your favorite scary movie to watch on Halloween? Anything to do with zombies!

Happy Halloween!

If you blog this meme then leave us a link will ya, I’d love to come read about you. Don’t have a blog? Well then, cut and paste the above meme into the box below and tells us all about your Halloween trends!

Music Meme

Music is an important part of our existence from the time we were in our mother’s womb listening to her heart beat through the many decades of artistic music exposure.

The right song contains enough sentimental value to make us laugh, cry, or just give us an overall sense of nostalgia. While some of us are formidable talents with strings, horns, drums and everything in between the rest of us are perfectly happy to be able to soak up their creations.

One man’s taste is definitely not for everyone and luckily we have so many genres of music to choose from. Not to mention the centuries of music to draw upon.

Here is a brief music meme to explore your musical inspiration. If you don’t have a blog feel free to copy and paste the bold parts below into the comments and answer there.

How to use this music meme: Create a new blog post. Write an introduction. Copy and paste the meme below into your blog, changing the comments to your own answers. Use the title of this meme in your subject line or create your own. Feel free to tag your friends or not. A link back to this page would be appreciated.

A brief history of music in my life.

Did you play an instrument in the school band? No. I didn’t have the guts to try.

What instrument would you like to play I would be happy with piano, drums, acoustic guitar, saxophone, violin… too hard to pick just one. Cello. Probably a cello.

Church choir? I remember singing in the pews at a Polish church I went to with a friend but no, no choir experience for me.

What is your favourite song right now? Currently, it is Oh My by Gin Wigmore.

Favorite Lyrics? Big Big World by Emilia. It is so simple but I find it both addicting and soothing.

Favorite Band? I have not had a favorite band in a very long time. When I think of favorites, I think buying more than one album. The latest band album I have purchased was Juliette Lewis and the Licks (Four on the Floor).

Favorite Soloist? It is a tie between Madonna, Jewel, Diana Krall, Loreena McKinnett, and Norah Jones. My largest mini CD collections are of these four artists.

Favorite Musical (theatre)? Oooh, this is tough. I have seen Phantom of the Opera twice and loved it but Mamma Mia is really so much fun. I have seen school plays of Grease and Hairspray and also found them very enjoyable.

Favorite Musical (movie)? Wizard of Oz. No question about it. This is probably the movie I have seen the most in my life time and it never gets old. I also have the soundtrack on CD — like I say, never gets old.

Favorite Christmas song? “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”.

What was your favorite live concert? Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Have you ever belonged to a mail order music club? Yes, Columbia House… three times. Never again; although it is a good way to build up your music library quickly.

Do you still have your old tape collection? Yes, and I have nothing to play them in. I just cannot get rid of them though. I have replaced a few with MP3s from iTunes.

Do you let your friends borrow your music? Ok, this is a quirk of mine. I just cannot do it. All my CDs have to stay in their slots. I do not loan them, not even to the bestest of friends in the whole world. It is not that I don’t trust them… ok, it is. I hated sharing as a kid.

If you were stranded on a desert island what CD would you take with you? Jewel’s Pieces of You.

While you are in the car… CD or Radio? Radio, please. If it is a long ride I am totally up for an audio book.

What genre of music do you listen to on the radio? Anything pre-90s is preferred when I am listening to the radio; especially while in the car.

Do you listen to music while you are working? For the most part no, I want to sing too much if I know the lyrics which interferes with my thinking process. Occasionally if I am really bothered by outside noises I will put on classical music but I have to be in the right mood.

Music that annoys you? Music with screechy guitars are singers who scream instead of sing. Christmas music in November really annoys me too.

What song would you like your family to play at your funeral? The Parting Glass, a beautiful Irish song that celebrates friends and love ones.

Ok, now it is your turn. Share your musical inspiration — leave a link to your blog post if you do it.

A Little Never Hurt Anyone

A Procrastinating Meme for Bloggers

I have not met a person who does not procrastinate in some way or at some time. What makes it unique is that we have our own ways of doing it. This meme has nothing to do with the topic of procrastination so much as it has to do with actually procrastinating.

Directions: Create a new blog post. Write an introduction then copy and paste the meme below into your blog and change the comments after the *’s to your own. Use the title of this meme in your subject line or create your own. Feel free to tag your friends or not. A link back to this page would be appreciated.

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be? On my private island. The one I would have if I could afford to build a house anywhere.

2.What is your favorite article of clothing? Sweat pants.

3. Last C.D. you bought? Adele’s second album.

4. Where is your favorite place to be? In front of the tv. Especially Sunday nights.

5. Least favorite place to be? In a spider pit.

6. Are you strongest in mind or body? Body. I cry easy — put a Hallmark commercial in front of me and I am in tears in 30 seconds.

7. What time do you wake up? When my body says get out of bed. Could be anywhere between 8 a.m. and 12 noon depending on how late I was the night before.

8. Favorite kitchen appliance? Dishwasher.

9. What instrument would you like to play? Cello.

10. Favorite color? Blue.

11. Sports car of SUV? How about an environmentally friendly Toyota hybrid?

12. Favorite children’s book? Ferdinand.

13. Favorite season? Fall.

14. Least favorite chore? Changing the kitty litter. Sorry, Suzie/JD!

15. Favorite day? It has always been Friday.

16. Favorite food? French fries and gravy from the Bamboo Gardens. Too bad it is closed.

17. Favorite drink? Ice cold skim milk with one ice cube. Ice cold chocolate 1% milk comes in second.

18. Favorite word? C**T. And it ain’t coot.

19. Favorite inspirational book? The Celestine Prophecy.

20. Who would you like to play you in the movie of you life? Charlize Theron.

If you blog this meme then leave a link will ya, I’d love to come read about you. Don’t have a blog? Well then, cut and paste the above meme into the comment box below and tells me all about yourself!


I’d Like to Recommend:

100 Word Blog Challenge

Day 9 – Sleep

I love to sleep. The only time I had a problem sleeping was when I was doing nightshifts in Geralton. I would sleep dead for three to four hours, then wake up and not be able to fall back to sleep. To get a full eight hours before my next shift was impossible. I had to resort to taking Gravol which would conk me out for at least 6 hours. I hated working the nightshift which is funny considering what a night owl I have turned out to be. These days I have no problem sleeping when I am supposed to. Baby sleeping

I went to a sleep clinic about four years ago when I first started having seizures (when they did not know what they were). It was an interesting experience and if you ever get the chance to go, go. They stick about twenty electrodes to your head, chest, calves and stick you in a small room to sleep the night. At the time they determined I had sleep apnea which means I stop breathing for a couple seconds before my internal alert kicks in and wakes me up. Apparently this does not make for a restful sleep. They hooked me up with a CPAP, a little machine with a mask, that forces air into your passageway to keep it open while you sleep. Me and my CPAP have a love hate relationship… but that is another story.

***
Take the 100 Word 100 Days Challenge

From Childhood to Adulthood

My Life in Films Meme for Bloggers

film stripWe have been exposed to moving pictures since we could sit quietly for more than five minutes. It is foolish to think that we are not affected by what we watch. This blogging meme helps us to explore and share our film experience through the years with our readers and while many of us will be able to share commonalities I am almost positive that we can add a few new films to our viewing lists.

This blogging meme was inspired by a post my friend Keris Stainton made on her blog many moons ago (although I cannot seem to find her original post).

Directions: Create a new blog post. Write an introduction. Copy and paste the meme below into your blog, changing the comments to your own. Use the title of this meme in your subject line or create your own. Feel free to tag your friends or not. A link back to this lens would be appreciated.

To say I love movies is an understatement. Movies are one of the things that make life enjoyable. Once the film starts rolling I am teleported into an alternative universe of diverse locations and interesting people.

Films That Remind Me of Childhood

Star Wars – I went to see this at the other end of town with my babysitter, Keith. Not the greatest baby sitter but he had a good mind for films. I loved Star Wars and I immediately fell in love with Han Solo (like millions of other young girls). I do not remember how old I was but I remember Keith taking me for soda. It was a self dispenser and we had to walk around it and fill up our plastic mug with whatever flavor we wanted. I followed Keith’s example and took a smidgen from each flavor, there had to be over twenty. I do not remember what it tasted like, I just remember it being a good day at the movies and I wanted more.

Officer and a Gentleman – This was about the time the huge laser discs movie players came out. Boy was that short lived! My best friend Barb’s sister had a laser disc player and would tease us with clips of Richard Gere. She would not let us watch the whole thing because of the language. Being sneaky, like all prepubescents, we waited until she was out and watched the whole thing numerous times until we knew the dialogue and all the dirty songs by heart. Today, if any one asks what my favourite movies are, it is in there. I have seen it over 100 times. Seriously. And I may need to get another dose of it again soon.

Childhood Films Where Removal was Necessary

Are you kidding? My mother would never remove me from anything that made me cry, scream or have nightmares. Good parenting skills there. I think my mother was born without the common sense gene. I do not know where I got my common sense from. Osmosis from my teachers and babysitters maybe.

The films that made me wail the most were: Ole Yeller, E.T. and Bambi (no child under 12 should be allowed to watch these films).

The films that made me have nightmares: Exorcist (to this day I cringe and turn away when a clip is shown on TV), Amityville (the upside, I fell in love with James Brolin) and Nightmare on Elm Street (the upside, I fell in love with Johnny Depp).

Films that Defined My Teens

Pretty in Pink / Sixteen Candles- Every girl could relate to Molly Ringwald but who on earth could not or did not fall in love with Andrew McCarthy and Michael Schoeffling. Director John Hughes films left a big mark on my teens.

The Karate Kid - Believe it or not, this film made me stand up for myself… and for other people. It is probably the reason why I handed out two bleeding noses before I made it to highschool. Don’t worry, I have mended my ways. I go for the jugular now.

Films Seen Multiple Times at Theaters

I cannot think of any films I watched in the theater more than once. Money was tight growing up so I cannot imagine paying to go to see the same show. Outside the theater the movies I have seen the most are Officer and a Gentleman, Alien, Poltergeist, Robin Hood (Kevin Costner), Reservoir Dogs, 13th Warrior, Forrest Gump, Backdraft, Resident Evil, Erin Brockovich, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Wizard of Oz, and Hope Floats. These are movies I absolutely never get tired of seeing and can start watching in the middle and still watch it and cry and laugh or get scared at the appropriate places.

First Date Film

My husband took me to see Alien Nation on our first date back in 1988. Eek! It was an OK film. I know it had spotted aliens in it and it became a TV series afterwards but I do not remember the storyline. I was way too nervous. And considering how lost I get in my movies that is a big thing.

Nightmares from Films

I mentioned three above: Exorcist, Amityville and Nightmare on Elm Street. Others were: Ghoulies, Pet Semetary (especially the scene with the kid under the bed and the Achilles tendon — I still hop to get into bed), Incubus, Bees, The Blob, The Brood (the bloody finger prints on the ballisters!), The Hills Have Eyes, Magic (I hate ventriloquist dummies). Quite a few of these are not what I would call scary now. They are just stupid. But I was not old enough to BE watching them the first time.

Films that are Guilty Pleasures

I am a sucker for a good Harlequin Romance movie (no I do not read the books). It is like being a deer caught in the headlights. I cannot look away. Along the same line are any movies made from Jane Austen books, my favorite being Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.

Last Film I Saw at the Theatre

We have satellite (some promotion we got with the Internet) so we do not go to the theater that often. That and it is so bloody expensive. $11 per person. We have seen two recently because Jeff’s parents gave us some gift certificates. Prince Caspian because I am a Narnian nut and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because I am a Indie nut. We still have some coupons left and I really want to see M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening (I love his movies–all of ‘em).

Favourite Film No One Else Seems to Know About

I am going to say, The Man from Snowy River with Tom Burlinson. I had such a crush on him. Cowboys on horses with Australian accents are sexy.

100 Word Blog Challenge

Day 7 – Procrastination

Procrastination has always been my other middle name. I could have an assignment due two weeks from now and think about it every day and not have anything genuine come to mind. Nothing, nada. Then the day before I will bubble over with ideas and concepts and end up with a better outcome by staying up all night to complete it. I feel like I accomplish more and have more ideas in the last moments before something is due than the whole two weeks prior. That of course does not mean I do not try or take note of all the bad ideas that may come up.

Like anyone else, I avoid the things that are difficult, consuming, or I just do not like. Over the years I have practised pushing myself through these periods by purposefully working on my habits but I have a system and it works for me. It is not that they will never get done, it is just they do not get done as quickly as other people would like. And it is not always work related like you might think. One day I could do housework to avoid work and the next do work to avoid housework — I like to mix it up a bit. There is always something more important to do first.

Regardless of my procrastination habits, nothing is ever completely ignored. If I commit, I commit.

***
Take the 100 Word 100 Days Challenge

100 Word Blog Challenge

Day 6 – Writer

I left the traditional workforce in 2001 or 2002, it is vague, to attempt writing fiction. Somehow along the way I ended up writing internet content. Funny how things work out. I still consider myself a writer, I am just not the kind of writer I expected myself to be.

woman at typewriterI still have three unfinished novels sitting on my bookcase beside my desk that occasionally start whispering to one another about the dust and such. Next to them is a larger binder full of poetry, something else I have not worked on in some time. I am lucky if I write three poems a year now. In some ways the guilt of not touching them haunts me and at other times they are the furthest from my mind. When I consider working on them I suddenly feel like I do not have a creative word left in my body and end up having a cup of tea instead.

These days I find it so much easier to write non-fiction than fiction. My thinking mind realizes this is because my fiction muscle just needs some exercise but who has time for that? Am I right?

I think part of the problem stems from the neurological barricade I have created for myself. In 2004 I suffered two temporal lobe seizures (old school terminology would be grand mal). The temporal lobes store our memories and I did seem to lose a lot of them from around that time. Long term creative projects felt foreign no matter how many times I have read them. Even now if I pick up something written about that time and read it, even though it has my name on it, it feels like another person wrote it. The fiction writer part of me seems to have gone on an extended vacation.

Another issue that developed post seizures was missing words syndrome for lack of a better term. Most writers will get stumped along the way with finding the right word but I suffer from not finding the word. It is like the word is behind a screen but I cannot reach it to bring it out. Sometimes I can put a “?” and go back later and fill it in but it usually not the word I wanted, just a substitute. And other times it is just gone, never to be found. I think over time I have allowed this to become my barricade against finishing longer pieces of fiction. The wall is still pretty high.

Regardless, I am happy doing what I am doing and it manages to pay the odd bill or help offset the next item that needs to be replaced because of malfunction or destruction. But still, occasionally, I dream about the smell of my own bound work of fiction — you know, if I actually wrote it.

***
Take the 100 Word 100 Days Challenge

100 Word Blog Challenge

Day 5 – Blue

What is blue? Why, it is my favorite color of course. My eyes are blue, my glasses were blue, I have blue blankets all over the house, the paper on my bulletin board is blue, I have a blue glass globey thingy from an instructor, I even have blue decorations on the tree at Christmas. blue eye

I love blue. It is the colour of the sky, river, sea, and the lake on a good day. Blue can be a feeling or someone’s name. How cool would it be to be called “Blue”? Without actually changing my name the best I could do was BigGirlBlue. That is it. That is Blue. I do not know why I like it, I just do. Blue.

***
Take the 100 Word 100 Days Challenge

Swag Bucks Review

Earlier last year I started seeing a lot of tweets on Twitter about making money on Swag Bucks. In a nutshell: people use the search box on their site or a special downloadable toolbar to search for topics like they normally would through any search engine (Google, Bing etc.) except while using Swag Bucks they earn points. Other ways to earn points included watching TV ads and videos, answering surveys, and playing games (there are other options too). These points can later be traded in for gifts or gift cards (GC). You need a lot of points to get anything substantial. For example:

  • One $5 Amazon gift card was 450 points
  • One $25 Amazon gift card was 3150 points

For kicks I signed up via a referral link from someone I follow on Twitter and kept a record of my point accumulation for a few months.

May 5 – 83 points
May 8 – 282 points
May 10 – 301 points
May 11 – 325 points
May 14 – 359 points
May 15 – 394 points
May 16 – 416 points
May 17 – 502 points

As I mentioned above a $5 Amazon gift card (GC) is 450 points and a $25 Amazon gift card is 3150 points. Doing some basic math I noticed that getting five $5 cards for 2250 points required 900 less points that going for the larger gift certificate amount. To get my money’s worth, so to speak, I decided on working toward the $5 GC increments.

Once you trade in your points it can take up to a week to receive a digital gift card in your Swag Bucks account. “Most gift cards from the Swag Store are e-gift cards. These prizes are delivered to the ‘My Gift Cards’ section of your account within 10-14 business days of prize verification.” Then they have to verified and added to your Amazon account. It is not a super hard process but time consuming.

After redeeming 450 points for my $5 GC I spent 46 of my remaining bucks on a few entries in the Swagstakes area for bigger Swag Bucks (250 and 1000) giveaways and an iPad (no luck there).

May 17 – 6 points
May 19 – 31 points
May 21 – 50 points
May 23 – 117 points
May 24 – 140 points

On May 26 I got an email telling me that my gift card “order has been delivered to your account”. They can be left in your Swag Bucks account or you can take the code and enter them into your Amazon account under “your account” and “your gift certificates”. It was super easy to do so I would recommend putting them into your Amazon account immediately (that is the paranoid part of me).

May 26 – 192 points
May 27 – 216 points
May 28 – 245 points
May 30 – 285 points
June 1 – 629 points (2 surveys, one 250 points)
June 3 – 686 points
June 4 – 701 points

In June I submitted for $5 in PayPal money and received and email stating it would be “7 to 21 business days for payment email to be received”. At this point I also discovered Swag Codes which were special codes hidden within the site’s blog posts and elsewhere and were good for another 10 to 100 points if submitted in the special “gimme” area before the deadline ended.

June 4 – 1 points
June 6 – 6 points
June 10 – $5 paid into Paypal account.
June 23 – used points for $5 Amazon GC

After a few months I think I gained a good feel for Swag Bucks. Yes, you can definitely earn money via their method but it does require conscious thought and effort to work within their guidelines (they have strict guidelines so the system is not abused by users). For the two month period I earned $20 in Amazon GC and $5 in Paypal money.

In my opinion, this is not a suitable source of income when you take into account the time involved to make up the points. If you are already online anyway you can make an extra $5 to $10 bucks a month using their search engine a few times a day, playing a few games a day, doing a few surveys (which take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to complete), and any of the other options from their dashboard. But honestly, you are not being paid for your time — that is if you value your time — which you should. Not to mention the aggravation of spending 15 minutes doing a survey then being told you do not qualified (happens often and no points attributed).

That being said, it was an interesting experience and if you blog I recommend trying it out and documenting your results. This, of course, is my referral link which offers me points if you use it. At the moment I am not using Swag Bucks as a search option or participating in any other of their offerings (I have other ‘extra’ toolbars taking up space at the moment). Depending on how many people use the referral link provided I will update this post with further information on results. If you use it stop back and let me know how you like/hate it.

100 Word Blog Challenge

Day 3 – Gerard

Gerard (Gerry) Butler that is. Love him to pieces. When it comes to actors I adore I seem to lean toward many from the UK. I do not know if it is the accents or what. Gerard Butler

Not only is he beautiful, he makes beautiful movies. He first came into my hottie radar in the movie Dracula 2000. I just love vampire movies and Butler made both an intimidating and sexy vampire as the lead, Dra-cu-la. Unfortunately I was one of the few who enjoyed the movie as it was considered a flop among movie moguls.

Gerry kind of fell out of my Radar until I watched Attila. A television epic tale about barbarian Attila the Hun’s life and death. I still have the copy of the VHS I taped it on even though I cannot watch it. Gerry walks around half naked most of the time but it really is a good movie. Lots of action. This is the movie that cemented my connection with him.

There after it seemed like he became the handsome supporting actor who gets killed or disappears. Reign of Fire, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Timeline. Loved all three.

When Gerry was cast for The Phantom of the Opera I was dismayed. I just could not see him playing the phantom. But he pulled it off. And he can sing! I still think Christine made the wrong choice. And apparently, that was a problem with critics. Gerry was too good looking to play the Phantom. Not!

Next, Dear Frankie. What could make a woman melt more than a ruggedly handsome man pretending to be someone’s dad so a little deaf boy does not know the painful truth about his deadbeat dad and lying mother. I melted. Could he be more perfect?

Gerard Butler in white shirt.As you have probably figured out I find it hard to separate the actor from the character. But I really do not want to. It is entertainment after all and it is not like I am going to actually meet Gerard Butler.

To round things up here is some basic background on the man, not the characters. Gerry and I share the same birth year, 1969. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, spent a short stint of toddlerhood in Montreal, Canada and grew up in Paisley, Scotland. Despite being Scottish, he is from Irish decent (me too!). I have been going on and on about his looks and acting ability but apparently he has an Honors degree in law. Looks and brains too! And long before I knew him he was an established stage actor.

There are many websites devoted to this talented and handsome movie hottie but no official website. He is too busy making movies I guess.

***
Take the 100 Word 100 Days Challenge