I may be a replicant, fun with filters, and awaiting my pedometer

{Send me a postcard}

Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 07

I am 54 percent likely to be a replicantAfter watching the fascinating film Ex Machina, I fell into a rabbit hole reading about the Turing Test, sidled over to whether the Blade Runner replicant test counted as a Turing Test, and ended up scoring a 54 percent likelihood that I myself am a replicant. It’s a simplistic test, so I wasn’t too fazed. That is, I wasn’t too fazed until my husband scored as more likely to be a human than I.

How can this be? I’ve been calling my husband a pod person since seeing the Invasion of the Body Snatchers creatures’ eerie resemblance to my husband’s maddening lack of empathy that occasionally rears its low-affect head.

I re-took the test with the mindset of answering as I guessed a fully human respondent would answer, and I scored a zero percent chance of being a replicant. That means I am capable of imitating a human better than I am at being one. Thus, I can at least pass the Turing Test. Which is nice.

I next stumbled onto a Bloggess recommendation to check out Dreamscope. Her headline warned: Get ready to waste a good hour.

Yep, at least an hour.

Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 02 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 03  Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 05  Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 08 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 09 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 10 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 11 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 12 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 13 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 14 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 15 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 16 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 17 Mardi Gras David Marcy Daniel 19

I lost my pedometer a week ago, and the replacement should be arriving today. It’s time to get off the couch again, to be sure.

At Mardi Gras 2007
Down South in New Orleans

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My 5th Blogoversary, and Love on a Copy Machine

love on a copy machine

Today is my 5th blogoversary.

Five years of blogging! It’s been fulfilling to make connections with people around the world, some drifting into my life and others drifting out as our interests have changed, all documented here in living color. I worked a lot harder at blogging a few years ago, as I toiled at getting my stats up, toyed briefly with monetization, and linked up at various blog parties.

I didn’t write as much in the last year. I thought I was dealing with writer’s block for a long time, and I guess I was, but I also felt like I finished telling the stories I wanted to tell. I’m sure some new ones will come along, and I hope they do, but for right now I don’t want to force it.

I just reviewed my favorite posts from 2015, so on to my favorite funny search terms from the year, along with, well, another one.

Funny search terms

love on a copy machine
how do ladies with a big bust play the bodhran
don’t be a prufrock
farmers drinking beer and goofing off
freaky old man in toga
a crazy man’s brain waves
steps to eat food
bucket of pez

The last one, though, is so peculiar, I couldn’t bring myself to type it, lest I bring on even more bizarre Google juice in the future. You’ll have to settle for a screenshot. What is going on out there, people?

not so funny search term
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They didn’t find the answer on my blog, just to be clear.

Stats Attack

My most visited post of the year also became my most visited post of all time:
A Christmas Quest: Solve the Riddles to Find Your Present

It gets a big surge in interest each year as Christmas approaches. I like the idea of little kids searching for gifts on Christmas morning, and that being connected in some small way to my story. And that’s what has been the most special part of blogging to me, making connections.

Stats for A Christmas Quest

P.S. I continued my tradition of illustrating my blog anniversary posts with images purchased from Fiverr.

Previous blog anniversaries

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Year in Review 2015: Just When I Thought I Was Out

Royal typewriter

{Celebrate your courage. Send me a postcard.}

I slowed down with blogging in 2015 and didn’t write a single post for the month of June for the first time since I began in 2011. Just when I thought I was out, I received news that I won a Voices of the Year award and was invited to appear onstage at the #BlogHer15 conference in New York City.

I was filled with intense dread at the prospect, but intense excitement, too, and I knew I had to do it, no matter how much I told myself I couldn’t. After all, I had declared I was timid no more.

Meeting blogging friends in real life and enjoying the conference made me realize I didn’t want to stop blogging. I’ve now settled into a comfortable routine of blogging when I feel like it and not worrying about what or when I should post. That’s how a hobby should feel, of course, but it took me quite a while to get here.

Year in Review: 2015

January

Blue boats of Essaouira MoroccoTangled Up in Blue

As I shuffle through my travel photos, bits of memories wash over me. Some loom large in my past, while others are only tiny moments, almost forgotten. I listen to music as I remember. When Bob Dylan comes on, I grow tangled up in blue …” (Read more)
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LevitateLevitate.

“This means that, even in my dreams, I never fly, never even levitate.

“Until now.” (Read more)
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February

Golden RecordFrom Bees to Brain Waves for Aliens: Unconventional Love Letters

“My husband tells his science students this story every Valentine’s Day. Somewhere, sometime, in a galaxy far, far away, will an alien life form decipher Druyan’s feelings long after we’ve all left this mortal coil? As heady as that is to think about, I also think of my husband’s students hearing this story in a sleepy first period classroom and carrying it silently with them until they meet the person who ignites such devotion inside of them.” (Read more)

Planet Trapeze School #littleplanetPlanet Amsterdam and Other Worlds

I asked people to vote for their favorite “little planet.” As of this writing, Planet Trapeze School and Planet Tennis are tied for first place, each earning about 30 percent of the votes. Will someone break the tie? (Read more)
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March

The Hideout Kilcullen IrelandSearching for Dan Donnelly’s Right Arm

“I walked into the pub and tried to act nonchalant, but just how do you bring up that you’re looking for the preserved arm of a bare-knuckle boxer from the 19th century?

“Slowly. That’s how you bring it up.” (Read more)

Make homemade kefirLeave some milk in a dark cupboard to make homemade kefir

“I’ll admit it took a leap of faith to drink it, knowing it had sat at room temperature in the cupboard for a day. People in Eastern Europe, though, have been preserving milk this way for centuries, so who am I to question it?” (Read more)

April

50 Years of Great Rock50 Years of Great Rock: You Say It’s Your Birthday

“Hop on a 14-minute journey through the history of rock and roll. Starting with the classic rock of the Who in 1965, you’ll hear hard rock, psychedelia, roots rock, Southern rock, funk, punk, new wave, a quick nod to disco, eighties pop, grunge, indie rock, and beyond….” (Read more)

Cuzco plaza at nightThe Middle Ages

A 42-word post told with photos (Read more)
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May

Comfort zone postcard 03 Dancing with the StarsPostcards from Outside Your Comfort Zone {3}: Dancing with the Stars

Send me a postcard to celebrate an achievement, large or small! (Read more)
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July

#BlogHer15, VOTY, recapMy #BlogHer15 Recap as a Timid and Squeamish VOTY Featured Honoree: From Excited to Terrified to Exuberant

“When two men sat down at the table, I embarrassed myself by blurting out, ‘Men!’ as if I had just sighted two lions on the Serengeti. They laughed it off, though, and were used to standing out in this estrogen-filled crowd.” (Read more)

#BlogHer15 Experts Among Us notebookHow to Avoid the Killing of Darlings

“Save snippets like
pulsing hearts,
scraps like
vital bones.” (Read more)
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August

crab10 Things I Learned from Naked and Afraid (and a Perfect Connecticut Afternoon)

“1. After a few awkward minutes, no one will care if you’re naked in the wilderness.

“2. There’s good naked and bad naked. (OK, I learned that one from Seinfeld, but I relearned it from Naked and Afraid.)” (Read more)

 Cry “Havoc!” in a Sleepy Classroom

“My students hadn’t thought twice
about a stab in the back,
or a robe drenched in blood;
video games steeled them
against such violence.” (Read more)
..

September

Marcy trapolining blurry proofFrom Trafficgeddon to Trampolining

“I’d vowed never to return to the Big E after my last gridlocked visit, wall to wall elbows while I directed my little boys to look at the just-hatched chicks, or the monster trucks, or the world’s best fried dough. When a religious holiday gave me a day off mid-week, though, I thought I’d give it another try. The whole Eastern seaboard had the same idea.” (Read more)

October

Marcy long hair Cousin Itt before donate ponytailDonate my ponytail

“I cut off my ponytail, and I am donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, which creates real-hair wigs for cancer patients.” (Read more)
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November

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CTThe Bushnell Park Carousel, a Delight with Barbecue to Boot

“Oh, to those joyous moments, when you’ve already accepted a lesser perfection. Love bubbles up and spreads and shines.

“The carousel started, a kaleidoscope of sweet, distorted sound, flashes of color and light, and stretching, careening shapes.” (Read more)

December

Roasted pears with blue cheese over arugulaWhat I Ate on Christmas: Lasagna, Roasted Pears, and Fudgestravaganza

Tennis outside on Christmas day, fudgestravaganza, and the prettiest pears I’ve ever been in the same room with all made for an extra sweet holiday. (Read more)

Royal typewriter faded ribbon What?

Happy New Year!

How has your year gone? Bloggers: Do you put pressure on yourself to post? Feel free to link up a favorite post or a “year in review” in the comments.

Year in Review 2012 Year in Review 2013

Year in Review 2014 Year in Review 2015

 2015 review button_zpsaebial7k workshop-button-1

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What I Ate on Christmas: Lasagna, Roasted Pears, and Fudgestravaganza

Christmas table setting with Christmas cracker

With my older son home from college, Christmas was more special than ever, and I cooked up a festive meal to celebrate.

As with our long-standing tradition, I threw an already-assembled breakfast casserole into the oven when we awoke, and it baked while we opened our Christmas presents.

Christmas breakfast casserole

We didn’t have lunch, but we broke out the fudge for our first-ever Fudgestravaganza. We’d put molten fudge into ramekins the day before and mixed in various treats for six different types of fudge: caramel, fruit and nut, toffee, white chocolate, marshmallow, and plain.

Christmas fudgestravaganza

Christmas fudgestravaganza

There’s a winter heat wave now in Connecticut, and instead of sub-freezing temperatures and piles of snow, we had green grass and a day in the 60s, so we hopped out and played a set of doubles tennis together, just the thing to work up an appetite for dinner!

Christmas day tennis selfie

Christmas day tennis outside in Connecticut: exhilarating!

For Christmas dinner, I served lasagna; roasted pears; and fennel, red onion, and orange salad. I make pasta all the time, but hadn’t made lasagna in years.

Christmas dinner lasagna roasted pears fennel saladChristmas lasagna

The roasted pears were stuffed with blue cheese, cranberries, and walnuts, and served over arugula. I liked them, but they were not a hit with the boys. They sure are pretty, though, right?

Roasted pears with blue cheese over arugula

The roasted fennel, red onion, and orange salad was tasty, and I liked how it contrasted with the rich lasagna.

Roasted fennel, red onion, and orange salad

Our Christmas cocktail was a Moscow Mule. My husband and I had both given the hammered copper mugs that the drink is traditionally served in to each other as a present. Kismet.

Moscow mule copper mugs Christmas presentsChristmas copper mugs

It’s hard to take a #selfie in a #coppermug . #moscowmule for Christmas

A photo posted by Marcy (@marcytootimid) on

Wishing all of you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Christmas presents under Christmas tree

Years of Christmas past:

Linking up to WIAW at Sprint 2 the Table

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The Bushnell Park Carousel, a Delight with Barbecue to Boot

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

With a wide-open Saturday and a new camera lens, I longed to visit the Bushnell Park Carousel on a crisp November afternoon. I wanted my family to come along.

Barbecue to the rescue.

I assured them 30 minutes, tops, for the photo shoot, and separately asked them to estimate the percentage chance they’d ride the carousel.

Zero. Zero percent.

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

I started taking a few photos, and to my delight my husband Randy went on up and bought three $1 tickets for the next ride.

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

Oh, to those joyous moments, when you’ve already accepted a lesser perfection. Love bubbles up and spreads and shines.

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

The carousel started, a kaleidoscope of sweet, distorted sound, flashes of color and light, and stretching, careening shapes.

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

We dismounted, and as the ride started up again, I took a series of blurry photos, with a few gorgeous splashes of color and light frozen in my sights.

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

I needed more, and I searched for the black and silver beauty, a horse named Sir Galahad.

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, CT

Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT

And after all that we still had barbecue ahead. (Vegans, look away.)

Bear's Smokehouse Barbecue, Hartford, CT

Bear's Smokehouse Barbecue, Hartford, CT

Things to do in Connecticut Things to Do in Connecticut

Bushnell Park Carousel, Hartford, CT

Bushnell Park Carousel, Hartford, CT

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Update–I played around with creating an HDR effect in Photoshop:
Bushnell Park Carousel dutch HDR effect Bushnell Park Carousel Dan Randy HDR effect Bushnell Park Carousel Sir Galahad HDR effect

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Donate my ponytail

Donating my ponytail to @Pantene #8or8 #beautifullengths #pantenebeautifullengths

A photo posted by Marcy (@marcytootimid) on

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I cut off my ponytail, and I am donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, which creates real-hair wigs for cancer patients.

Marcy long hair Cousin Itt before donate ponytail

Donate my ponytail 101 things in 1001 days

Related: My husband shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s–Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

#8or8 #BeautifulLengths

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Examine the LARPers: How to Tell New England Fairs Apart

Fall in New England is a wondrous time, with fairs of every size and shape vying for attention. It can get a little confusing, though, so here’s a handy field guide to figuring out just where you are.

Who are the LARPers?

  • Jesters, Knights, Wenches: You’re at a Renaissance Faire.
  • Zombies, Rambo, Survivalists: You’re at a Doomsday Fair.

Renaissance Faire or Doomsday Fair New England

How are people dressed?

  • Gowns and Doublets: You’re at a Renaissance Faire.
  • Shredded jeans and t-shirts: You’re at a Doomsday Fair.

Doomsday Fair and Renaissance Faire dress collage

What are the weapons like?

  • Whips and hurlbats: You’re at a Renaissance Faire.
  • No weapons allowed: You’re at a Doomsday Fair.

Renaissance Faire CT

What insults are you hearing?

  • “You toad-spotted malt worm!”: You’re at a Renaissance Faire.
  • “You wouldn’t last two days in the Zombie Apocalypse!”: You’re at a Doomsday Fair.

Doomsday Fair or Renaissance Faire insults collage

What food’s available?

  • Turkey legs and mead: You’re at a Renaissance Faire.
  • MREs: You’re at a Doomsday Fair.

Renaissance Faire CT

What entertainment’s available?

  • Jousting and axe throwing: You’re at a Renaissance Faire.
  • Roller derby girls: You’re at a Doomsday Fair.

Renaissance Faire or Doomsday Fair

Related:

Marcy zombie at Doomsday Fair

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From Trafficgeddon to Trampolining

Marcy trapolining blurry proof

I’d vowed never to return to the Big E after my last gridlocked visit, wall to wall elbows while I directed my little boys to look at the just-hatched chicks, or the monster trucks, or the world’s best fried dough. When a religious holiday gave me a day off mid-week, though, I thought I’d give it another try. The whole Eastern seaboard had the same idea.

We gave up after three hours of traffic when we were still about five miles away, two lanes of the highway frozen as cars waited in vain to exit. I tried to find traffic updates on my phone to make sense of the mayhem, but couldn’t get a signal amid the crush of humanity, so I just screamed at Siri, “What is happening!” to the amusement of one of my sons and his buddy, two tall teens crammed into the back seat. The only movement was people getting out to walk or abandoning the mission altogether, which is what we finally did when my husband predicted at least two more hours in the car before arrival.

While traveling home, we decided upon a visit to a trampoline park, where we finally got to move!

I was scared at first, like always, but got kind of used to jumping up and down and was pleased that I could jump into a sitting position and back onto my feet. I did an almost-flip somersault into an airbag and was repeatedly the weakest link in several games of dodgeball, too.

Beats waiting in traffic.

Trampolining selfie

Things to do in Connecticut

101 things in 1001 days Go trampolining.

Related Links:

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10 Things I Learned from Naked and Afraid (and a Perfect Connecticut Afternoon)

10 things I learned from the survivalist reality show Naked and Afraid:

1. After a few awkward minutes, no one will care if you’re naked in the wilderness.

2. There’s good naked and bad naked. (OK, I learned that one from Seinfeld, but I relearned it from Naked and Afraid.)

3. Fire good. (OK, this one’s from Young Frankenstein.)

4. When you’re starved for protein, a raw slimy tree grub will taste amazing.

5. Laying around slowly starving counts as surviving for 21 days.

6. Gotta stay hydrated.

7. You can’t tell how tough someone really is until about the sixth day of misery. In fact, the tougher they say they are, the more likely the meltdown will come.

8. Surviving is a lot different from thriving. Surthriving is badass, but then, so is surviving.

9. Lazy jerks are among the worst people to be around.

10. Reality TV is not real.

After binge-watching Naked and Afraid, I knew enough to get a good meal in me before heading out into the wilderness.

Lobster roll from Lobster Shack Branford CT

On a beautiful summer’s day, my husband and I fortified ourselves with lobster rolls and gelato, then searched and searched for the trailhead to the Branford Trolley Trail.

Foot bridge Branford Trolley Trail

A quick path to a foot bridge took us deep into an idyllic marsh, complete with a gentle tide rushing in over clumps of seagrass and the encompassing sounds of birds and insects.

Branford Trolley Trail

We spotted several large white birds, but we know we never could have caught one if placed in a survivalist situation.

Bird Branford Trolley Trail

A crab would have been a goner, though, when it sidled right across our path. As the survivalists say, “Protein!”

Crab Branford Trolley Trail

We did partake of some wild raspberries. Sugar!

Raspberries, Branford Trolley Trail

We passed on these possibly poisonous berries. We passed on some wild rhubarb too.

Branford Trolley Trail

Branford Trolley Trail

We definitely would have survived from this bounty, at least for a while, when we’d be ready for some more New England seafood. We did both get bit by horseflies, and I don’t even want to imagine how bad the mosquitos would be here at night.

Branford Trolley Trail

Have you seen Naked and Afraid? Does it make you imagine you’re foraging for food when you’re in the wilderness?

P.S. When Naked and Afraid XL began, I was fascinated by the premise. Various survivalists were dropped in the wilderness in Colombia. They joined up into small groups, and then some of them started to meet up with the others. There are little glimmers of truly intriguing situations. Changing group dynamics. Division of labor. Territorialism. Ostracism. The beginnings of a modern hunter-gatherer society. What could have been an amazing documentary about all of these issues and more is instead aiming for the staged drama of a lowbrow reality show. It seems obvious that they are manipulating the dynamics rather than letting them unfold. It is a TV show, after all, but I had hoped for more and would like to see an actual documentary of this type of situation.

P.P.S. No crabs were injured in the making of this blog post.

workshop-button-1 Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: 10 things you have learned from reality TV.

Things to do in Connecticut Hike along the Branford Trolley Trail

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I gave a speech and it was this big

BlogHer15 video still 4 I gave a speech and it was THIS BIG

SheKnows Media posted the speeches from the #BlogHer15 conference, and I finally got to see how my speech went down, free from the fog of memory and fear. I cued it up below to start one minute in, after my introduction and an abbreviated version of my “101 Things in 1001 Days” video. (You can see my full 101 Things video below.)

(Video link)

I had guessed my speech lasted about a minute, while my husband estimated 15 seconds. It turns out I spoke for 30 seconds. Boom.

All the community keynote speeches: #BlogHer15 Community Keynote

My full “101 Things in 1001 Days” video:

I grabbed a few screenshots from my speech, too.

BlogHer15 speech collage

Related post: My #BlogHer15 Recap

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