Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Person of the Year

We realize there are six months to go -- but if you had to make a preliminary nomination for your "person of the year" for 2010, who might you pick? Who has had a big, positive impact on your life? Who inspires you by their example? Who has achieved something remarkable this year?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Plans and surprises

Which of your predictions for 2010 have already come true? What things unfolded pretty much the way you expected? What were this year's biggest surprises so far?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Halfway through the year

2010 is almost half over. How are things going? Is this year shaping up as well as you had hoped? Is 2010 working out better than 2009 for you?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tell us a story: lost

Think back to your childhood, to a time when you got lost. Were you alone? If not, who was with you? Where were you? Where were you trying to go? Who helped you find your way?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Being prepared

At Blog Headquarters, we had an extended power outage this week -- which allowed for an interesting reflection on this week's theme of how important machines have become in daily life.

The trouble with power outages and similar emergencies is that they come by surprise. If you know that they're coming ahead of time, you can prepare and be in a much better position when the emergency arrives. It's not practical to be prepared for every possible emergency -- but what are some simple things you can do now that would put you in a better position for many different possible emergencies?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Making it your own

Do you personalize your machines? Machines can be adapted to suit your personal workstyle, customized to handle the specific tasks that you do most often, and decorated to express your personality.

Think of your own machines and devices. What is one that you personalized in some interesting way?

This week's theme is you and machines.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gadget sacrifice

Thinking about all of those machines that you use every day, which one would it be hardest to live without? How would your life change if you could never use it again?

This week's theme is you and machines.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your faithful assistant

If you had to pick one out of all the machines that you use, which one is your specialty, your area of mastery? When a job needs to be done with this machine, people are likely to defer to you or at least to ask your advice. Which machine reveals its subtle secrets to you and reliably does your bidding?

This week's theme is you and machines.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A thing about machines

How is your relationship with machines? Do you resent every gadget you're forced to deal with? Do you revel in every new toy? Do you just...coexist with them?

This week's theme is you and machines.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You and machines

Anyone reading this post is intimately connected with machines — anything powered by something other than muscle. (According to one thesaurus, synonyms for "machine" include: apparatus, appliance, device, contraption, contrivance, mechanism, engine, gadget, tool.) Machines take up a tremendous amount of space in our lives, whether you work as a programmer, a mechanic for NASA, or a baker. We really know how dependent we are on machines when we lose access to them, as in a power outage.

What are 5 machines you used today? What are 5 machines you use every day?

This week's theme is you and machines.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tell us a story: compromising positions

What is the most embarrassing situation in which you've been caught? How did you end up that way, and who was involved? If another person was involved, did that person often get you involved in shenanigans?

Weather or not

How affected are you by the weather? Do you always need to have a sweater with you? Are you unable to function in high heat and humidity? Do rainy days make you sad? Or do you carry on regardless of what is going on out of doors?

Friday, June 18, 2010

School days

Think back to the first school you attended as a child. What was the name of the school? What kind of building was it?

What was something that you passed every day on your way to school?

What happened on the first day of school?

This week's theme is details from your childhood.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Think of your childhood disappointments. What was one unhappy time when something you were looking forward to — some special event or trip or visit — was canceled (or just didn't happen)?

This week's theme is details from your childhood.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At the usual place

Think of your childhood friends. Where did you and your friends get together? Did you have a "secret" meeting place? What are some of the things you did with your friends?
This week's theme is details from your childhood.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good morning

Think back to a typical day in your childhood. What woke you up in the morning? What was something you liked to eat for breakfast?

This week's theme is details from your childhood.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Details from your childhood

This week we'll ask you to think back to your childhood — not to analyze how you came to be who you are, but just to look around at the world you lived in. Of all the things that you took for granted as a child, some might be quite ordinary in retrospect, and some might be unique and noteworthy.

What color was your childhood bedroom? What covered the wall: paint or wallpaper? If wallpaper, what was the pattern? What else was on the wall?

This week's theme is details from your childhood.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tell us a story: 2 times 2 is 8, right?

Working with numbers is not a natural human ability. Our mental calculator is extremely error-prone; that's why we double-check any complicated calculation. But it's a good idea to double-check even the simplest of calculations. Did you ever buy twelve socks for twelve people, forgetting to account for the fact that each person has two feet?

What is one time when you made a wrong decision based on an embarrassingly dumb mathematical error?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

That old thing

Which item of clothing, among the things that you actually wear, has been in your collection longer than any other? Do you keep it because it has a special meaning or history, or is it just extremely durable?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Brave new world

How would the world be different if everyone took you as their model of normal social behavior, and conformed to your example?

This week's theme is rules.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

That thing you do/have/are

If you have something about you that is a constant source of outside attention for being different, unusual, or somehow contrary to the perceived rules of normality, do you have a stock response for people who mention it? How long have you had this stock response, and what is the genesis of it?

This week's theme is rules.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lightbulb moment

Did you ever have a moment of epiphany wherein you realized that most of the rules didn't actually matter? What caused that realization? Did it change the way you related to the rules from that time on?

This week's theme is rules.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rule breaker

What childhood rules didn't you follow? Are you still breaking those rules to this day?

This week's theme is rules.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Our lives are dictated by rules: rules set by others that we perceive we have to follow, as well as the rules we set for ourselves. Some rules are extremely important to follow (I'm thinking about some signs I saw on our recent vacation indicating that to proceed any farther on tricky terrain would be hazardous to your health!), while others are decidedly arbitrary.

When you were a child, what rules did you follow? Do you still notably follow those rules?

This week's theme is rules.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tell us a story: backstage pass

What is one place where you had a special opportunity to go backstage, literally or figuratively — into an area behind the scenes that's off-limits to most people?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

We're Not Gonna Take It

What is something unpleasant that you used to put up with, but not anymore?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Life story: edits

This week we're having fun with your life story, re-imagining it in a historical time period. Though the point of the exercise is to retain the main narrative of your life while putting it in a wholly different context, no one could fault you for making a few little, let's say, improvements in the story. What is one major mistake you made that you'd like to edit out of your alternate life story? What are a few choices that the historical you could make differently to get on a faster track to a happier, more successful, more dramatic life?

This week's theme is your life as a historical novel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cast of characters

As long as you're rewriting your life as historical fiction, you might as well make the most of it. What larger-than-life characters from your chosen historical time period will play a supporting role in your alternative life story? Who are your friends and adversaries?

This week's theme is your life as a historical novel.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No spelling checker

In this week's historical rewrite of your life, there are no cell phones, no automobiles, no shopping malls. Which modern tools, conveniences, skills, and settings play key roles in your real life story? Which of these things will be hardest to translate into a pre-industrial setting for your alternate life story?

This week's theme is your life as a historical novel.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vienna, 1790 — for the fancy clothes!

This week you're imagining rewriting your life story as a historical drama. What country and time period will you choose for your alternate life story? What appeals to you about this particular time and place?

This week's theme is your life as a historical novel.