Flash Mob Food (non) Drive next Monday

The Columbus Social Media Cafe and your local bloggers invite you to join us for the first ever Flash Mob Food (non)Drive for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank on Monday July 28th. Bring non-perishable food items to donate and have fun doing it.
Here’s how it works:

Everyone participating will board the COTA route #3 either at Broad and High departing at 5:57p (same side of the street as the State House) or along it’s route to Lane Avenue.

When we arrive at Lane Avenue, we’ll box up our donations and enjoy the company of others at Caribou Coffee, Graeters Ice Cream as well as the other merchants at The Shops on Lane Avenue.

The goal is multifaceted.  We’ll lend a hand to our local food bank because there is a great local need.  We’ll demonstrate the power of our local social media.  We’ll demonstrate how easy it is to use public transportation to access good shopping.  We’ll demonstrate how public transportation benefits local business and we’ll have fun doing it.

COTA route 3 departs (Northwest Boulevard) on-time from Broad and High at 5:57p and arrives at Lane Avenue at 6:22.  Join us anywhere along the route, which you can find at this link.  Bus fare is $1.50 each way and exact change is required.  If you’re commuting by bus to work that day purchase, a day pass (from the driver) for $3.50 and you can use it for the entire day.


When blogging, do this

Love Chris Brogan, though I’m bad about passing along good stuff about blogging. This is a great post, which reminded me of what I should be doing, both as a blogger and as a reader. I’m bad about commenting, since I usually only have computer access at work. Anyone have a free laptop? Anyway, check it out.

Oh, not the BPP!

The New York Times announced that the Bryant Park Project will end later this month after taking NPR into a hybrid of radio and social media that attracted audience members like, well, ME. I have recently fallen in love with this social media/Gen X/new NPR audience program. I am very disappointed. This highlights the need for us to support NPR, which, of course, means supporting WOSU locally. Projects like this don’t have the funding to really take hold and flourish before financial pressures put them on the chopping block. And, by the way, if more of us in the generation targeted by BPP were giving, we’d be more likely to keep radio/social media hybrids long-term.


Ohio Roller Girls

Last night I attended the Ohio Roller Girls championship at the Lausche building on the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Wow that was a blast! I’d post a picture, but I can’t get to any related sites because of the Library’s content filter. GRRR I really need a laptop or computer of my own.

Anyway, Roller Derby is not exactly the crazy spectacle I remember from 1970s television. But, it’s close. It’s a delicious blend of sport and show. Last night was the championship to place the first four teams. The first match, between the Band of Brawlers and the Sprockettes was great! I rooted for the Band of Brawlers and they won! Our favorite was, by far, the Jammer called Dirty Girl. Yes, they all have names like that. The championship was between the Black Eye Bullies and the Takeouts. It was a bit rougher than the first match, with lots of spills and bruises.

This is not a sport for those opposed to violence, though I’d say the violence is no worse than football — with less protective gear and more fishnet stockings! These women are tough, no doubt. To stay upright while being tackled and blocked from all sides, all on wheels, is pretty amazing. I highly recommend a trip to a Roller Girls game — though you’ll have to wait until Fall for their season to start again.

Oh yeah, I saw Ken and Elise  there — both former attendees of the Columbus Social Media Cafe. It was fun to watch Ken have a Roller girl land in his lap. Hey, he got a free t-shirt for that! I linked Ken’s and Elise’s Flickr sites, because I’m sure they’ll be posting some great pics from the event.

Outside the room

It happened again. I feOutside looking in on the Columbus Social Media Cafelt like I was standing outside the room looking in. At the Columbus Social Media Cafe last night, during introductions, I felt a familiar inferiority to other bloggers. I want to say I’m a blogger. But as it comes around the room, I find myself waffling, wondering … do I mention my blog? No one reads it. (except Andrew) Well, some people read it. I don’t really know who they are. Regardless, I feel this sense of “I’m not good enough” when I talk about my blog.

I believe the problem is that my blog has no real focus. I understand that it doesn’t have to. But, I want it to function as more than an online journal. I am a writer by trade, with a real journalism degree and everything. Yet, I don’t want to function as a professional blog, as an outlet for a certain topic only.

So, I’ve decided to craft a description of the blog that gives it a clear purpose and defines what I’m about.

First, what are the topics I like to write about, in no particular order?

1. Columbus, OH and what it’s like to live here, from the viewpoint of a small-town girl who moved here only two years ago. I have written, for example, about the COTA Challenge

2. Social issues and problems, on all geographic levels, with particular attention to poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, and education/children. These posts are examples.

3. Politics, but not on an expert level. So far I’ve done this.

4. Social media — I hesitate here, because I am interested in the topic, but would rather be someone who uses social media effectively, rather than talks about it. I do plan, however, to share more about the online tools I use, such as I did in these posts.

5. Fundraising and nonprofits — this is what I do for a living and I sometimes have opinions and information to share about this.

My next challenge is to craft a short description. Coming soon…

My sister, Books, and WorldCat

My sister and I have a constant flow of books. Suggestions, traded copies, etc. So, I’m on the phone with her yesterday and she says, “I’m going on vacation in a couple of weeks so I need to get some books.”

“I’ve been reading a ton of books since I started riding the bus,” I say. I give her some suggestions. But, I’m shocked at how quickly I’ve forgotten good ones I’ve read.

I wanted to give Marianne more information via email, so I today I look up the book suggestion lists that I have automatically sent to me by the Grandview Library.

Here’s my (old) system: I read the e-newsletters, then open another tab for the Columbus Metropolitan Library and reserve the books I want. Then, when my books come in, I get an email from the Columbus Metropolitan Library and I go pick them up. This keeps me in a pretty steady flow of books.

Anyway, back to my sister. I wanted to browse old Grandview Library book newsletters to jog my memory about good ones I’ve read. Then, I remembered WorldCat — which I sort of knew about, but was told about by my friends at OCLC. I decided to check it out.

WorldCat is the ultimate tool for book lovers and library consumers like me. Within minutes, I had registered and created lists of books. One List was Recommendations for Marianne. I typed in a title, clicked “save to list” and created a list for her to browse, where she could read about the book, see if it’s in her local library, and even click on the library and reserve it right there. I also made a list of books I have on reserve, which I’ll shift to other lists once I read them.

Marianne can click on my lists, read my recommendations and the books I’m interested in and haven’t read yet. I keep a running record of books I like. And, from now on, when I read my book suggestions I can just go to WorldCat, look up the book, click into the Columbus Metropolitan Library and reserve it, then save it to my list of reserved books.

Man, I’m a book nerd.

Stealing from a Soup Kitchen

I know several people who have gotten a meal at the Holy Family soup kitchen. I was devastated to hear about the theft of compressor coils which effectively shut the soup kitchen down and ruined $90,000 worth of food. As soon as they have new refrigeration, I plan to take them what I can to help them restock. I challenge you to do the same.

Franklinton is an area near to my heart. I’m not sure why, maybe because I drive through there often. It’s just down the hill from where I live in Grandview, but it’s a completely different atmosphere. I have blogged before about the problems facing Franklinton. What I know is this: theft of metal is almost always the act of those desperate for money to get drugs. It’s an easy way to turn around a quick buck and get what you need. And let me emphasize: Drug addicts need drugs. They are desperate, aching and sick without them. Until they are ready to find recovery and stop using, they truly need drugs to survive. I am not angry at those who stole metal from the church and thus took food out of the mouths of their neighbors. I feel great sadness at the horrifying desperation that could lead someone to steal from the hand that most likely feeds them.

What upsets me is the glaring set of problems which have led Franklinton and many neighborhoods like it to the state of being yoked by addiction — not just individuals, but whole neighborhoods. Problems such as poverty, generational victimization by social stratification, lack of mental health care parity, low educational achievement, unbalanced governmental priorities. These are the core problems which make drugs and alcohol a coping tool, which leads to addiction.

I am not sure I have answers. However, I believe in the philosophy of each person making a difference, the starfish metaphor of being able to help just one having tremendous effect. I will write more as I formulate my plan for making a difference — and challenging you.

By the way — I was in the Franklinton branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library recently. I was disturbed that I could not find any fiction or literature. Perhaps I missed it, and I didn’t take time to ask a librarian, but from my survey of the branch, it was more of a homework help center and an A/V repository. I wonder what could be done to encourage adults and children in Franklinton to read literature, but first they have to have access to the materials.

COTA Challenge Cost Estimate

Thanks to Walker and Cap City Savvy for the great information regarding the cost of a commute. According to the calculator, my monthly cost of commuting by car is about $180 when gas costs about $4. Makes that $45 bus pass look pretty good, even when I add the $55 of cost from driving the 4 miles round trip to the bus stop. Half! I cut our costs in half!

That said, I had my boyfriend take me to work today. I wanted to sleep in and missed the bus. 😦 Bad Zanne. I’m riding the bus home, though.


I read this over at This Woman’s Work and decided to share. I tag YOU!

What were you doing five years ago?

Wow. I was living in Zanesville, taking care of my late father, working for Family & Children First (Children Services), and getting a divorce. A lot changes in just five years!

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

1. Finish posting payments at work so that I can get a big mailing going.

2. Call my sister about getting together this weekend.

3. Visit with friends.

4. Pack lunch for tomorrow.

5. Get to bed early so that I can make it on the early bus.

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1. Wheat Thins

2. Yogurt

3. Coffee (is that a snack?)

4. Chocolate, any form

5. Bananas

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Be extremely philanthropic, especially in support of Alzheimer’s research and support for caregivers.
2. Invest a lot of money.
3. Pay for my niece’s graduate school so that she can study all the time and not work.
4. Move.
5. Write a whole lot more.

What are five of your bad habits?

1. Trying to run others’ lives.
2. Whining.
3. Leaving things lying around.
4. Picking at my skin.
5. Worrying.

What are five places where you have lived?

1. Zanesville, OH
2. Columbus, OH
3. Athens, OH
4. Coralville (Iowa City), IA
5. Alexandria, VA

What are five jobs you’ve had?

1. Florist
2. Writer
3. Caregiver
4. Drug/Alcohol prevention and counseling for kids
5. Fundraiser

Image of the future?

Now, that’s a great photo! It’s from the masthead of Barack Obama’s website today. Are they trying it on for the post-convention season?

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