Monday, January 3, 2011

January Kickoff

Happy New Year!

For anyone who was curious, the blog did not reach 5,000 hits by the end of 2010. That's really okay, though, because it hit close to 4,500 -- which is way closer than I expected! I was puzzled because suddenly today, my hit count is rising, but I quickly discovered that the culprit is Kate, who posted at the BC in DC website about my recent blog post concerning the convention. Edit: I'm told that it's not the Kate I know who gave me the mention, but her friend who is also named Kate, and helps run the show. Her post is here, just to make reality thoroughly recursive. The blog is also starting to get a little bit noticed by the people wandering around at the Blogger's Choice Awards, and has been receiving votes from complete strangers as opposed to my friends, so thank you to anyone reading this who took the trouble to vote.

As the year begins, another item of note is the fact that Blistered Thumbs is growing by leaps and bounds. BT is a spinoff website from the people who bring us the Nostalgia Critic, and features all the people from the main site who are involved with video games; our CEO and 'spiritual leader' is the exuberant Angry Joe. It's still pretty new -- it's actually younger than this blog -- but it's coming along very well and I enjoy being part of it. I was, as of the first day of 2011, appointed a moderator in the forums, and am eagerly awaiting a final decision as to whether or not I'll be joining the regular staff as one of their editorial contributors. With the holiday season behind us, I'll have more time to write, and I have some work planned for submission at the Geek Girls Network too. Something tells me this is a good year to be a geek.

But enough about me, let's talk about the rest of the world.

As I said, the holiday season is behind us. The presents have been opened, the menorah has been extinguished, the ball has dropped, Dick Clark has come and gone. So now we're stuck with January -- the cold, the drab, the uninspiring -- and the tedious process of un-decorating and cleaning up after our assorted celebrations.

But even while we're cleaning up our own mess, we can do something useful.

Let me guess. Chances are, you have a huge pile of beautiful holiday cards sitting or hanging around the house that you received from friends, neighbors, and relatives. (And if you're anything like me, you may also have a small stack of cards that have been written out and addressed but never made it to the mailbox...but I digress.) The act of exchanging cards with our loved/liked/grudgingly tolerated ones is an old custom, and it's a nice one, but it does leave people wondering what on earth to do with most of the darned things after the fact.

St. Jude's Ranch has a perfect solution. (Note: This is not to be confused with St. Jude Children's Hospital. They're both really good things for kids, and they're both named after the same guy, but they're two completely different organizations.) The ranch is a home for neglected children, and they will take your unwanted Christmas cards -- as well as your unwanted birthday, thank-you, Easter, and all-occasion cards -- and turn them into new greeting cards, which are then sold to help raise money for the cause. It helps the kids, gives them something creative to do, keeps the cards out of the landfill, and gets them out of your house in a completely guilt-free way. Win-win situation indeed. Visit this website for the guidelines and mailing address.

All right, that takes care of the cards. Next, let's look at the gifts. This being the 21st century, I'm sure that at least one of your holiday gifts was of the electronic variety. And it wouldn't surprise me in the least if that gift was an upgrade to something you already owned. So that begs the question of what to do with the one you already have. Please don't just toss it out in the garbage -- there are so many better ways to dispose of your unwanted electronics. To wit:

  • To get rid of old cell phones: Why not donate them to someone who really needs a cell phone? You're spoiled for choice as to who the recipient could be. Cell Phones for Soldiers will give it to military personnel overseas, providing them with a way to talk to their loved ones at home. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence distributes the phones to domestic violence victims so they have a way to call for help in an emergency. Or there's Phones for Life, which recycles the phones by giving them to senior citizens, thus providing them with a way to contact emergency services if they suffer a fall or accident.
  • To get rid of old computers: This one's tricky, because it may be determined by your location and/or your computer's model. Therefore, the easiest thing to do is to visit Computers With Causes and read up on the specifics of what you'd like to donate and how. They'll help you with everything from finding the recipient to acquiring documentation of the donation for a tax write-off.
  • To donate other electronics: I'll refer you to the Environmental Protection Agency's information page. Whatever you can't donate should definitely be recycled, but you knew that already. Used video games can be donated directly to me. Never mind, my husband says no.

Of course, unwanted non-electronic items can be taken to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other charity dropoff of your choice.

One last idea, before this post runs on too long. As is so often the case, credit for this info -- as well as for that concerning St. Jude's Ranch -- must go to the lovely Debbie Tenzer of Do One Nice Thing. Did you get any delectable personal items for the holidays? Soap, lotion, bubble bath, and so on? Yeah, me too. Love it. Ever wonder what life would be like if you didn't have soap? Nope, me neither. Turns out, soap is one of those necessities that a lot of people might not think about until they no longer had it.

My guess would be that in your home at this very moment, there's an average of two bars of soap that have shrunk down through usage to the point where they're mere slivers of their former selves. Clean the World wants them. They take those slivers of soap, sterilize them, merge them, and turn them into brand new bars of soap that are then distributed to the needy throughout the world. They also collect shampoo and have worked out arrangements with many hotels to receive used items from hotel rooms. If you'd like to work with friends and neighbors to collect your own used soap to help others, visit this page. You can also donate a fresh package of soap from Amazon.com and have it shipped directly to them; the directions are on that same page.

And so 2011 begins! Let's see what we can accomplish in the next 52 weeks!

4 comments:

  1. Oh, I didn't write the BCinDC post. The other Kate is our webmistress. :)

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  2. Duly noted and corrected. Thanks!

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  3. Awesome, wonderful, helpful, you. XOXOXOX

    Daniela

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  4. BTW, a couple other articles you might find interesting:

    http://www.bagmonster.com/2010/12/happy-2011-lets-do-some-resolutions.html
    http://www.bagmonster.com/2010/12/after-christmas-recycling-tips.html?spref=bl

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