Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Melanie Day 4

Day 4: Left notes in Barnes and Noble books.

Left notes in Barnes and Noble books, February 6, 2010.

Spontaneity is a great feeling. Knowing that there are people who like the same things you like is a great feeling. Why not combine them?

Event: I went to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore and left notes inside two books: Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, both of which are by John Green. Technically, these were “nerdfighter notes.” (If you don’t know what nerdfighters are, the short answer is that they’re a group created by author John Green and his brother, Hank. They do cool things like Project Nice, discuss books, and other awesome projects.)

One said something along the lines of: “Hi! So you like John Green! (Or at least I’m assuming you do because you just bought this book.) You’re probably a nerdfighter. If you know what that is, I love you. If you don’t, I still love you, but you should probably check out DFTBA.”

The other said something like: “French the Llama! By reading this book, you have become more awesome than a puppy-sized elephant! Don’t know what that means? Check out Know what that means already? Cool! Don’t forget to be awesome.”

Reactions: Not sure, since I didn’t see anyone pick up/buy/read the books. I know I’d love to find notes that that, but I can only hope whoever finds them likes them!

Would I do it again? Yes!

Cost: $0.
Not much – writing the two notes, walking to the Barnes and Noble. The most difficult part was inconspicuously picking up the books, slipping in the notes, and replacing the books on the shelves. The goal was to do it without looking creepy or like an idiot. I doubt I accomplished that.

Time: About 15 minutes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Melanie Day 3

Day 3: Said “goodnight” to a troubled peer.

Said “goodnight” to a troubled peer, February 5, 2010.

I’m an extremely introverted person, so I deeply empathize with people who have trouble making friends. It hurts when you’re having a bad day and have no one to talk about it too; I’ve definitely been there. But it helps when there’s one person who, even if you can’t tell him/her all of your secrets and troubles, at least cares about what happens to you and hopes you are okay.

Event: A new girl who transferred into one of my classes a couple weeks ago (the class is so large that we’re separated into two sections; we weren’t in the same section) had an emotional breakdown during class that afternoon. She was waiting outside the teacher’s office to talk about her future in that class, alone, when everyone else was being let out for the day. As I passed by where she was sitting, I said, “See you later, hon!”

Reactions: I was almost out the door when she called to me. “Oh, sorry!” she said. “I got confused and thought that you were talking to me.”

“I was talking to you,” I replied, walking closer to her.

“…oh! Wow, thanks…Why did you say that to me? You don’t know me.”

“Well, I said it because it was a nice thing to say.” After hearing what had happened to her in class, I wasn’t even thinking about Project Nice when the event occurred. I was just focused on cheering her up.

The girl immediately started looking like she felt better. She was smiling, at least. But she was surprised that a classmate would talk to her and wish her well. That was a little painful for me to learn: no matter how nice you are to someone or how much you care about them, he/she may never realize it.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Cost: $0.
No more than I would have expended walking out of class.

Time: Less than a minute.

Post script: About a week later, the girl transferred into my section of the class. We’ve gotten to know each other a little better and are now somewhat good friends. If friendship isn’t what Project Nice is for, than I don’t know what is.

ERINN'S COMMENT-- This one made me choke up. It's beautiful. I'm so glad Project Nice could make an impact on your life like this.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Melanie Day 2

Day 2: Gave food to a homeless man.

Gave food to a homeless man, January 27, 2010

I was eating dinner at our student center (where they always serve huge portions) and was about to throw out my carry-out box when it became clear how ridiculous that action would have been. The homeless in the area are constantly checking trashcans and dumpsters for food that people throw away, and most of it isn’t in the best condition. So why throw away the container, leaving it to be found days later and rotting?

The best option was to eliminate the middle-man and breach the unjust wall between the well-do-to (which defines pretty much everyone) and homeless on my block; and give the food to whoever needed it straight off.

Event: I sealed the carry-out box of Chicken Korma and basmati rice with a fork and knife and wrote “I hope you enjoy!” on the top. I approached an older man who sits two blocks away from my apartment every day and gave him the box.

Not much. Not that this surprised me too much, considering how stoic these city people are. He did take some interest in the food, asking me what it was. But I realized a little too late that I should have left a couple more pieces of chicken for him than I did. The food felt more like a large portion of scraps than a decent-sized meal, and I just wanted to give the guy some food, not inadvertently condescend to him.

Would I do it again?
Yes, but definitely will improvements.

Cost: About 60% of my dinner. Probably amounted to $1 or $2.
No more than labeling leftovers before putting them in the fridge at home.

Time: 2 minutes or so.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Melanie Day 1

Melanie is a Maryland-based Nerdfighter studing Drama in New York City. She found Erinn and Project Nice on the Nerdfighter Ning and signed up without a second thought. Her expertise is in social justice and change in the are, so Project Nice was a perfect match. (Except that Project Nice occurred know...real life.)

Most of all, she learned the importance of approaching hostility with acceptance and an appropriate level of openness and vulnerability. Especially with the busy, no-nonsense citizens of Manhattan, it was imperative to learn how to let others know she was there to help, not to antagonize. Project Nice became more than just a way to be friendly; it became a way to make a more trusting community.

Day 1: Made breakfast in Brooklyn.

Made breakfast in Brooklyn, January 24, 2010

To be honest, I kind of cheated with this one in that the act wasn’t of my own invention. (A student group was planning the event in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.) But it helped the community, which is all that matters.

Good help is hard to find these days. Yeah, it’s cliché, but it’s still true. Organizations working to assist people in need are too often under-staffed and under-appreciated. The least we can do is give them the help and attention they deserve.

Also, the event was occurring in Brooklyn. I had never been out of Manhattan. And if I were going to leave the borough, it might as well have been for a good cause.

Event: Took the metro to Brooklyn (not quite sure where we were…) in the morning and walked to a senior center. The ten or so people I was with were split into groups to do various tasks; I was with a group making little baggies of juice, toast, fruit, and milk to deliver to the residents for breakfast.

Reactions: The employees were too busy teaching us what to do and doing their own jobs to immediately react with any gratitude. But as we were leaving the center, the two workers in charge of us thanked us and took pictures with us. Their smiles were enormous, and I can believe that they were genuinely happy to have us there to help.

Would I do it again? Yes, but perhaps not as far from home.

Cost: $4.50 to get to and from Brooklyn.
Minimal physical strain.

Time: Three hours, counting getting the group together and travel time.

Debbie Day 8- bonus day

I was in a building and saw an elderly gentlemen sitting in a wheel chair. On the back of the chair was a flap which stated "Proud to be a Veteran". I walked around to the front of the chair and asked the man if I could shake his hand, I wished to thank him for serving our Country. I than asked him where he had served. He told me that he had been an infantryman and was in the Battle of the Bulge. I shared a story of my Dad being in Patton's 4Th armored at the battle as well.
The man was quite shocked when I thanked him, both of us were moved to tears. It was a beautiful moment.

Would I do it again:
Absolutely. When I travel and see our soldiers in different airports I often walk up to them and extend my hand. I thank them for serving our country. I am always moved with the gratitude they give me back.

please note I am not trying to make myself look like a saint. I am just so appreciative to our military present and past for all they do on our behalf. We
are so blessed that we have a free country

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Debbie Day 7

Event..7. Bought a bunch of lottery scratch off tickets and gave them to a variety of folks at several different stores. When I completed my transaction I handed a ticket to them, thanked them for doing such a good job and wished them luck at a win.

Reaction.....Surprised and ever so thankful. They said this had not happened before.

Would I do it Again? In total I gave out 10 one dollar tickets, what an inexpensive way to bring a smile a fun reaction from individuals.


I wanted to share a story as well as mention one non-profit.

My friend has a nephew who has brain cancer, his name is Tommy. He is 17 years of age. He is going down hill quickly at this point. He fell down a flight of steps the other day and landed on his head. The tumor is spreading quickly and has caused him to lose use of his right arm completely, right leg is very weak, speech is at about 50% - this has caused him to withdraw because no one can understand him. The family is trying to function with some normalcy, but someone has to be with Tom every minute. They live in Boston. His family uses all of their resources, financial and emotional.

His siblings live in other areas; a sister Julia is living in Germany, Jenny is at UCLA and is currently in London for an internship. Brother Doug is in Atlanta. The kids are frantic to spend every minute they can with Tommy.

A group of us have been gathering our miles that will allow flights for the kids.

I can’t give you a time frame for this young man, but he fell again today.

The Mia Sutphin Foundation

This is a Non Profit that I sit on the board for I wanted to mention it.

The Mia Sutphin Foundation (MSF) is a not-for-profit organization founded in memory of Mia Helene Sutphin. Mia was a registered nurse that dedicated her life to caring for and lifting the spirits of young children living in some of the most desperate conditions in the world. Today, Mia�s spirit and good works continue through MSF, as we strive to support programs on the front lines of caring for children in serious need and their families. Since our inception in 2002, MSF has made more than twenty grants to organizations in the US and around the world. If you are interested in contributing to MSF, you can do so electronically by clicking on the following link or you can mail contributions MSF at the above noted address. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Mia's foundation.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Debbie Day 6

Event..6. Made a couple of dinners for a family who needed a break. They just had a baby plus they have 2 other older children. Just thought it would be nice if they could have some easy ready to go, home cooking. Desserts and fresh veggies.

Reaction.....Happy and Excited. The chicken nuggets were just what the kids liked, the rosemary chicken was light and calorie conscious for Mom & Dad. The chopped up fruit will last for several days, along with the fresh rolls and cookies.

Would I do it Again? It was grand fun. Kid friendly recipes made it easy; I made a dinner for my family at the same time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Debbie Day 5

Event..5. Stopped my car (No Traffic Area) to thank the workers from Verizon workers one day and B G & E workers the next. I wanted to let them know how appreciative I was for all of the hours they had worked over this last week. That I recognized how they had put themselves out to help so many.

Reaction.....Shock!!!! One of the workers was squatted beyond the work box, when he heard what I was saying he popped up. No one had said anything to do them during the snowstorm. Actually people had told them that they were angry that they still had problems.

Would I do it Again? Absolutely and I did indeed repeat this action.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Debbie Day 4

Event…4.Helped to load groceries for a Mom with 3 kids.

Reaction…She kept saying it is OK, I’ll get them. Once she saw I was going to keep on going she was relieved. I let her handle the kids and I got the bags loaded into her car.

Would I do it Again? Absolutely, just a warm sensation to help. Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs out there. I told her what a great job she was doing, and be sure to give herself some credit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Debbie Day 3

Event..3.Created an opportunity for a friend to take a day off, by arranging to have someone who could step in for them.

Reaction.....Thrilled, they thought it would be impossible to get the personnel to make it happen. We often times make ourselves last on the list, it was good that they took the time.

Would I do it Again? Sure thing! Sometimes it just takes a call to a few folks, make inquires and most importantly…ASK. Most folks wish to help others when they can.

Debbie Day 3

Event..3.Created an opportunity for a friend to take a day off, by arranging to have someone who could step in for them.

Reaction.....Thrilled, they thought it would be impossible to get the personnel to make it happen. We often times make ourselves last on the list, it was good that they took the time.

Would I do it Again? Sure thing! Sometimes it just takes a call to a few folks, make inquires and most importantly…ASK. Most folks wish to help others when they can.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Debbie Day 2

Event..2.Made Hot Chocolate for the School Nurses (they work so hard)

Reaction.....Tickled Pink, they are so busy that they don’t have the time to this simple task.

Would I do it Again? At any given opportunity, I will do for them again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Debbie Day 1

I must preface the recording of Project Nice with a few thoughts from me. I was raised with the philosophy that in your every day life, there are a couple of things that you needed to make a daily habit.

One was that it costs us nothing to be kind, therefore give kindness whenever and wherever you can.

Secondly was that by smiling at folks you can help change their mood, thirdly was to say hello.

Simple actions speak loudly if they are done with sincerity.

I applaud this project, because the world around us needs to be positive and pro-active in the ways of kindness.

I am recording the seven events which was the mission. I have others that I carried off but I thought these were a nice collection to share.

Event.1..Bought a Vintage tie for a friend who collects them. (Jerry Garcia)

Reaction.....Elation, he was so appreciative that I would actually go out and find this for him.

Would I do it Again? You bet, he was so moved and so tickled that the time and thought was spent on him….I did request that he pay it forward when the right opportunity presented itself.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Susan Day 7

TITLE: Chauffered person to meeting

Date: Feb. 15, 2010

Explanation of the act: A self-proclaimed “weather wimp” was going to have to miss our monthly meeting (see previous post), which had been postponed many times due to bad weather. She emailed the group saying the threat of snow would keep her home. The group decided to meet without her. I emailed her back, saying I’d come pick her up and take her to the meeting.

Event: I drove to her home and got her, drove us to the meeting, and then drove her home afterwards.

Reactions: One happy lady! She was thrilled to be able to attend, and had no qualms about going as long as she didn’t have to drive. It was good that she was able to make the meeting because she gave a report on something of great interest to the other group members.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat

Cost: zip

Time: an extra half hour, total

Susan's reflection on Project Nice

During the month that I was involved in Project Nice, I, myself, was the recipient of several random acts of kindness from strangers. These were connected to the major snowstorms we had that month. It seems like being snowed in brings out the best in people.

In one case, I was single-handedly trying to clear my 6-car driveway of thigh-deep snow when a woman I didn't know came by with her shovel and dug in to help. She ended up doing more of the shoveling than I did, because I was exhausted from shoveling off my deck and had slowed down considerably. I was surprised, touched, and exceedingly grateful; but I realized after she had left that, although we chatted while we worked, I didn't even know her last name to send her a thank you note.

After the next snowstorm (a few days later), I finished shoveling off my deck to find three boys cleaning my driveway. It turns out they were the woman's sons, and she had sent them over to help me. I offered them money when we were done, but to my surprise they all refused.

My thoughts immediately turned to what I could do to thank this family. I was a stranger to them, yet they went out of their way (they lived several streets over) to help me out on two occasions. I considered getting them a gift certificate to a restaurant or maybe baking them a cake or brownies. I asked a mutual acquaintance for help - she knew their last name, but not their address. I was about to search online for it when I remembered something that made me stop and just enjoy the benefits of this good deed without trying to repay it.

Many years ago I lived in a townhouse with my sister. We had started attending a small, informal church nearby. Two other attendees of this church, a middle-aged husband and wife, lived in our cul-de-sac. We knew them by sight, but that's about it.

One Sunday they were not at the service and the pastor asked us to pray for the husband, who had had a heart attack and was recuperating at home.

Several days later it snowed, and after we shoveled our driveway and steps we went over to this neighbor's house and dug out their car / driveway, too. It was fun; we were young and energetic and it felt good to help them out. There were no signs of life in the house - they hadn't even opened their door to see what was going on and we didn't see any faces in the windows. I think part of what we liked was thinking about the surprise on their faces when someone came out to shovel, only to find it already done. It was like we were leprechauns or fairies--magically doing good when no one was looking and not getting caught.

Many months later (I think it was summer by now), we were at a bible study one evening and the husband asked to share something with the group that had touched him. He told the story of how, when he was weak and sick that winter following open-heart surgery, he had looked out the window to see two angels shoveling his snow. It had meant a lot to him, and his eyes started to fill with tears. I was slightly embarrassed to be thanked in front of all the other people and called an angel, but thrilled that it had brought him so much joy - not only physical relief at not having to shovel, but happiness that someone cared enough to do it. We had thought our deed was anonymous, but it wasn't. All this time, he and his wife were harboring these warm feelings for that simple act of kindness we did.

But that's not where it ends.

Later that summer I noticed his wife on her hands and knees in front of our townhouse. It turned out she was weeding our garden. Your first reaction may be, "Aw, that's nice, you started a chain of people doing things for one another." Maybe I'm odd. (OK, I'm definitely odd.) I may be atypical, but that wasn't my reaction to seeing what she was doing. After my confusion, I realized she was "paying us back" for our kindness during the winter. I'm almost ashamed to say, it didn't feel wonderful. It felt like she was trying to even the score so they didn't owe us anything. It felt like being paid to do a good deed, which takes away the pleasure of doing it. If you're compensated for it, it's not really a selfless act anymore. Anyway, it took away some of the pleasure I had gotten from being that little leprechaun spreading magic when no one was looking (or so I thought).

I know that wasn't her intention - she was motivated out of gratitude. But my emotional response shocked me and I never forgot it.

Fast forward to this snowstorm. After being all set to do something nice for the family that helped me, I remembered that event from years ago and stopped. Other than my profuse verbal thanks at the time of the event, I didn't do anything to thank them. I let them savor the good feelings that come from helping out a stranger without being "compensating" for it.

What did I learn from that nice act years ago? I realized that part of the gift of doing a good deed for a stranger is the good feeling that you get about yourself. I realized that I had gotten at least as much happiness -- maybe more -- from doing the good deed as the stranger had gotten from receiving it. Could it be that the giver gets even more out of the act than the receiver?

I hope I did the right thing by not tracking down that helpful family after the snowstorm and doing something nice for them. What do you think?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Susan Day 6

TITLE: Made gifts for women in group

Date: Feb. 15, 2010

Explanation of the act: I am part of a group of women who share a common hobby. I don’t know any of them outside of our monthly meetings. Over the weekend I went to the hobby store and bought supplies to make inspirational bracelets for these women. I customized the colors and charms according to what I had seen them wear and what I knew about them. Our next meeting was the day after Valentine’s Day, so I wrapped up the bracelets with some chocolate-dipped mint oreos (which I hand dipped) as a belated Valentine’s gift for each.

Event: Gave hand-made jewelry to women in group.

Reactions: They were very excited about getting an unexpected present and all of them put their bracelets on immediately. One said her husband forgot Valentine’s Day, so this was the only Valentine gift she got. I got a thank you email from another the next day, after she had eaten one of the cookies.

Would I do it again? You bet – I think I had more fun making the gifts than they had getting them.

Cost: About $5 each ($20 total) for the bracelets

Time: Approx. 4 hours

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Susan Day 5

TITLE: Let car in front of me in line

Date: Feb. 13, 2010

Explanation of the act: After the big snowstorm, I was in a long line of slow-moving cars in a parking lot waiting to get out. One car was waiting to get out of a row into this long line of exiting cars (up near the beginning of the line). It would be a long wait until the end of the line came, so I let him in front of me - even though it meant waiting longer, myself. (I’m usually impatient about these things.)

Event: Let car go ahead of me

Reactions: A wave from the driver

Would I do it again? Yup

Cost: nothing

Time: an extra minute of waiting

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Susan Day 4

TITLE: Emailed a lonely older person

Date: Feb. 11, 2010

Explanation of the act: I get tons of junk emails (forwarded jokes and political rants) from a widower I barely know who lives in another state. I mostly delete all the emails I get from him. He lives alone and works from home, and has minimal contact with the outside world. During the last snowstorm, I decided to answer his emails and be a friendlier correspondent.

Event: engaged in email chat

Reactions: Positive. Unfortunately, this meant that he sent me MORE annoying emails than usual, but he seemed very happy to have someone to interact with and tell his stories to.

Would I do it again? Probably

Cost: Free

Time: less than 10 minutes (I sent short emails back)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Susan Day 3

TITLE: Bought a struggling writer’s book

Date: Jan. 21, 2010

Explanation of the act: I bought a novel from its author. I never buy novels – I get them out of the library for free. And this wasn’t even the sort of novel I usually read.

I went to a talk (on a related subject) given by the author, and she had some of her books with her. Although the talk ran long and she didn’t get to publicize her book before the event was over, I stayed and supported her efforts as an independent publisher by purchasing her book.

Event: Bought a novel

Reactions: She thanked me and offered to autograph it for me. (She wrote that she appreciated the support when she signed my copy.) I sent her an email after I finished reading it to say how much I enjoyed it, and she sent me a nice note back.

Would I do it again? Yes

Cost: $10
Effort: Nil

Time: 5 minutes for her to autograph it and take my money

Monday, March 15, 2010

Susan Day 2

TITLE: Gave a penny

Date: Feb. 5, 2010

Explanation of the act: Donated my change to the “give a penny” bowl by the cash register. You may not think this is a big deal, but I always ignore these and don’t give or take pennies from these cups. Note: the bowl was empty before I donated.

Event: When I checked out my bill came to $1.99 so I donated my change.

Reactions: None that I witnessed, but I’m sure some other shopper will come along and be grateful they don’t have to dig through their pockets for a penny if their bill comes to $ ##.01.

Would I do it again? Sure

Cost: 1 cent
Effort: none (it was easier to put it there than find my change holder in my purse)

Time: 1 second

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Susan Day 1

TITLE: Baked brownies for a co-worker

Date: Feb. 4, 2010

Explanation of the act: A very sweet young military woman who was working in my office got reassigned suddenly. She was told that afternoon that she should pack up her things and report to another assignment elsewhere in the building. She was very upset about this because she liked working in our office and the reassignment came out of nowhere. No one got to say goodbye to her (we usually take the departing person out to lunch as a send-off). I’m one of the last people to leave and sit closest to her, so I noticed what was happening and asked her what was wrong.

Event: I baked her brownies that night and brought them to her new office.

I made them extra fudgy by adding Nutella (she loves nuts). Did I mention she’s also a new mom and gets to eat lots of extra calories because she’s breast feeding?

Reactions: She was very excited about the brownies (I’m not sure if her husband got any) and followed me back to my desk and talked to me for a long time. I eventually had to excuse myself and get back to work, but you could tell she was grateful that someone cared enough to do this for her.

Would I do it again? Absolutely

Cost: under $5
Not much. Baking is easy—or was easy, until I got 2 kittens. I had to lock them in the basement while I was mixing up the batter.

Time: About an hour

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Linda Day 7

TITLE: Helped mom with pastry making 02-26-10

Date: Feb 26, 2010

I can be pretty lazy around the home when I get caught up in school work or other activities. The most I do are dishes, laundry, and garbage. I forget about all the other responsibilities (like making food) that only my mom takes care of on her two or three days off each week.

After doing dishes I saw mom at the table making something. I believe it was a dessert for her friends and my aunt. There were tart cups, a tin of red bean paste, and a big bowl of tiny white grains. It looked like rice except it was round and lighter, and when you steam it, it becomes clear and sticky like jello. (does anyone know what I’m talking about?) I had no idea what these were called or how to make them at first, but after a few minutes of her teaching me, I started to work on them too. We made about fifty or sixty. They look pretty cute in my opinion.

I think she felt bad at first and kept saying I could go back and do my school work. But in the end she also kept saying how much faster she finished with my help.

Would I do it again? Sure. I liked making stuff with my mom when I was a kid.

Cost: nothing
Learning how to make them wasn’t that hard.

Time: 40 minutes, not including the steaming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Linda- day 6

TITLE: Gave away items/money on a role-playing game 02-14-10

Date: Feb 14, 2010

If you have ever played a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game), you may have come across newbies who need help getting started in the game, or beggars who just want free stuff. Sometimes it is very difficult to get help and resources. I think it really depends on how nicely you ask for things and how generous the other person is.

Today is not only Valentine’s Day, it is Chinese New Year. The game I play happens to have an item called “red envelope”, and upon opening it, the player receives a random amount of money. In reality it’s a common item given out during the New Year.

Given the occasion, I decided to hunt/collect two hundred of those a few days earlier and drop them everywhere in towns for random people to pick up and keep. I made sure to visit populated areas, because dropped items on the ground will disappear after a few minutes if no one picks it up. Luckily, people did pick them up. Some people also sent me a direct trade request if they wanted more.

Most players took them without saying anything, and I’m not surprised (when you drop stuff, people initially think you just don’t want it). A few people said thank you. A few people were confused as to why I would throw away money. One person messaged me about that.

Later, this same person gave me a rose by surprise. How sweet, I thought.

Would I do it again? Sure

Cost: 200 red envelopes that I hunted myself, so I didn’t spend anything.
Click click click click click click click. Not hard.

Time: about 30 minutes

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Linda Day 5

TITLE: Mailed a package 02-25-10

Date: Feb 25, 2010

I actually did this a couple weeks ago but didn’t want to write the post yet, in case my package flew into outer space and I would have failed to be nice to anybody from that.

Last year I attended a convention, hoping for a better experience after my previous horrible one back when I was twelve (that story is for another day though). Turns out I had a great time. I don’t remember buying anything for myself in the dealer’s room, but I did try to buy things for friends who don’t live around here. Problem is that I procrastinated too long in actually shipping the stuff…

I don’t know how I brought myself to finally ship one of the boxes, but I think it’s because some holidays were coming up. So in addition to what I got at the convention, I threw in some red packet, tea, and homemade stuff (birthday card, valentines). It’s nothing big but I hope the thought counts.

They thanked me online after they received it. When I said it was nothing, they said it looked like it took a lot of effort. Well that’s embarrassing, because admittedly I did put effort into this small thing; finding the right sized box, writing up notes, printing out labels and images. It’s not to complain though. I do it with love.

Would I do it again? Yes but it may take me another 39 weeks.

Cost: 6 dollars shipping
more than I wish.

Time: 30 minutes to organize and pack, 20 minutes at the post office. I’d rather not count the time it took me to gather and make the stuff.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Linda Day 4

TITLE: Designed free graphics 02-12-10

Date: Feb 12, 2010

I aspire to be a great artist someday and use my creative skills in a future job relating to graphic design, web design, or illustration. Slowly, I have been working towards that goal and I even get a few commissions every now and then. Very rarely will I do requests for random strangers for free these days because 1) it can be time consuming 2) it’s easy to be taken advantage of; once one person notices a generous act, others will start bugging me 3) It would be wrong and untrue to say I’d make art only for money, because I make art either way. But if I had a choice between doing it free for strangers and doing it for financial security, I’d probably go for the latter. It’s not to sound selfish, especially considering the amount of freebies I’ve done in the past. But if it’s the only kind of work I have, I’ll need it to survive (speaking from a starving artist perspective).

I received a private message on Gaiaonline this week. Often on this site, people make mini shops and they like to customize their shop. It’s almost like making a mini website, and having an attractive layout will likely draw more attention.

The conversation went like a series of instant messages.

So they offered to pay me at first, but I decided not to accept it since I couldn’t guarantee that I would make anything on time. Five days later I managed to actually make some graphics and send them off.


Translation: “Aww (heart) Thank you (heart)”

I sincerely wasn’t expecting any kind of gratitude (in whatever way they choose to express online), so I’m just glad they’re happy with it.

Would I do it again? It really depends on my mood and the time I have.

Cost: Nothing
Effort: Not much. It’s harder when you have creator’s block.

Time: An hour to design, zip, upload and send.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Linda Day 3

TITLE: Helped fold 1000 cranes 02-11-10

Date: Feb 11, 2010

There is a Japanese legend that says anyone who can fold a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish (such as longevity). Of course it’s just a legend or story, but it holds great symbolism and cultural significance.

A Lunar New Year festival was taking place at my school, where several clubs held their own events. There were wish trees, dumplings, craft tables, and other things I missed due to class unfortunately. My club was in charge of folding cranes and teaching strangers how to fold them. Our goal was to make one thousand before the end of the event, so we could make a wish for the people in Haiti given their current devastation

When I got out of class at 1pm, I saw our club members huddled over a table of colourful cranes and origami paper scattered everywhere. So we folded, chatted, took pictures, and taught other people how to fold. The actual festival ended at 3pm, but we were only about half way towards our goal. That didn’t stop us though; when all the other club tables packed up, we moved our stuff to another area to continue. At one point, we ended up dragging a table into the hallway to work. By 7pm we had folded all of our paper, and all that was left was to string and hang them.

I honestly did not plan to stay past 3pm, but it was too hard to leave. I met some wonderful new people. Everyone was having fun, and it was the huge communal effort that made this goal actually possible to reach in a day. In theory, if each crane took one minute to fold, it would take almost 17 hours for a single person to make a thousand.

I taught about six or eight people how to fold, and their reactions were mostly “Oh cool, thanks” and “Yay!”

One member questioned if we were actually helping the people in Haiti with our cranes, and I agree that they certainly don’t help in the same way that actual medicine does. But the nice thing about this project is not just the hope we have for people, but the act of working together and helping each other whatever the task may be, whether we know each other or not.

Would I do it again? Yes if I had the time. I love origami.

Cost: Nothing on my part; the paper came from club funding I assume
Effort: Not much, but a little bit more effort when teaching because I wasn’t sure how to explain steps at first.

Time: 6 hours, from 1pm - 7pm

Monday, March 8, 2010

Linda Day 2

TITLE: Sent a birthday wish 02-07-10

Date: Feb 7, 2010

Explanation of the act:

I used to frequent a game forum dedicated to players of a French MMORPG (role playing game). Thanks to the awesome software of Invision Power boards, the forum always lists “Today’s Birthdays” on the bottom of the front page. There is your daily opportunity to be nice. On the other hand, I was not about to click every user profile and paste a birthday comment on each one, because I remember another user on the board had notoriously done that before.

But on the list, I noticed the name of a person I used to play with whom I haven’t talked to in a year or two. I was wondering what I could give them, since I don’t play the game anymore. I also noticed this (no longer enough helium) balloon laying on my floor that someone in my class had distributed as an art multiple. I was about to throw it away.

Event: I took that no-longer-enough-helium balloon and wrote a birthday wish on it. Sadly it wouldn’t fly itself all the way to the Netherlands, so the next best thing I could think of was taking a picture and sending that. It’s nothing big or creative, but it’s something.

Reactions: No response, but I know he received it and I know he always loves his birthdays.

Would I do it again? Yes

Cost: nothing
Effort: I tried to print neatly.

Time: about 8 minutes to write on the balloon, take the picture, upload it (my server was having trouble) and send it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Linda Day 1

TITLE: Took dad to the hospital and tipped family friend 02-05-10

Date: Feb 5, 2010

I notice as my father gets older, he complains more and more about life, be it little or big things. His health also deteriorates slowly with old age. Admittedly, I’m not emotionally close to my father but we’re still a family. He has taken care of me long enough, too much rather, as if his care has become his life purpose. I hope he realizes one day (very soon) that it ought to be the other way around as I grow up.

Event: During the afternoon, my dad was complaining about a stomach pain, and later an additional back pain. By complaining, I mean he unusually walks up and down the stairs, constantly making loud sighs and mumbling to himself. Sitting or laying down didn’t help. Warm water didn’t help. A massage didn’t help. Mom wasn’t home.

Normally I would go about with my work and tolerate his complaints, hoping it will just pass. But it was an awful sight, to watch your father in pain and listen to him sigh. But the doctor’s office closes at 4pm. I decided to call a nurse to ask questions on what to do. She recommended going to an urgent clinic.

Sadly I don’t have a car or license, and he wasn’t eager to go anywhere. We really have drag him to a doctor when he needs one. I called a family friend and they drove us. After a few hours of waiting and tests and more waiting, he was prescribed some medicine and was free to go. What was the problem? It was probably something he ate that day, giving him bowel movements.

That makes me want to sigh.

But whether it was a serious or mild problem, I decided to do something that I normally would not go so far to do, and I would have been wondering all night what might have happened if we did not go.

On the way home, we made sure to tip our family friend with a red envelope (in our culture they are packets containing money), for going out of their way to drive us and wait for three hours. Apparently it’s not polite if I say his name, so my parents said to refer to him as either “x’s husband” or “uncle”.

Reactions: Not surprisingly, dad complained about the time it took in the waiting room. However, when explaining to our friend and cousin about the situation, he did acknowledge my initiative, that I was “smart enough to call a nurse”.

As for the family friend, he refused the envelope at first but accepted it after we insisted, and thanked us. It’s actually an unspoken rule amongst our relatives to refuse money out of courtesy.

Would I do it again? It feels like a great obligation to say yes, but only if the case is worse (or if he complains more). This wasn’t as urgent as I thought it was, and I’ll know what to do the next time it happens and save ourselves time.

Cost: nothing for Canadian health care, and a red envelope (the amount is undisclosed, but it was more than $5)
Effort: A few phone calls and a lot of patience.

Time: 30 minutes of waiting and speaking to a nurse, 30 minutes in the car, 3 hours in the hospital.

Today starts The Do Good Crew!

Great news: As of right now, 13 people in the Do Good Crew have handed in their 7 good deeds.

Every week a new Do Good Crew member will be featured.

The first person to get it done was Linda.

Linda is a Nerdfighter which means she has never met me. She saw my post on the Nerdfighter Ning and decided she wanted in.

She runs a great website and is a graphic designer. I should have had her design the badges I made for the Do Good Crew.

Enjoy her deeds.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 65- Project SUPER Nice

Day 65- Project Super Nice.

So I'm sort of crazy about the number five. I'm bad at math and I like numbers that are divsiable by the number 5 because they are easy. I couldn't end Project Nice 2.0 on day 64... it didn't feel right. I HAD to do ONE more day.

Hence Project SUPER Nice.

I had this idea month ago. In fact it was my first good deed. I wanted to pay for the car behind me and start a chain of people buying food.
There's plenty of examples of this and recently this has been springing up all of Howard county.
I posted the idea a few days ago. I would pay for the food for person behind me in the drive thru. I cut out little cards for the cashier to give to the person who I just paid for, asking them if they would buy the food for the person behind them.

I've been e-mailing the Do Good Crew about this. I've been updating the blog. And you would think I would be better prepared.

I left during lunch, I signed out of school and I was about to walk out when I remember I forgot to print out the cards. Crap. I ran back in school. Printed it out and cut them out while I was waiting in the drive thru.
Way to be prepared.
I bought my chicken sandwich and I pulled up to the cashier and asked to buy the food of the woman behind me and I asked if the cashier if she would give the woman the card. She didn't seem very impressed.
"Um ok."
I said, "I don't have very high hopes but it would be nice."
She smiled.
All the cashiers and workers were watching me and seemed interested in what I was doing.

I called back 30 minutes later. The girl who answered the phone had been in the window when I was there earlier. "Hi, I was there about 30 minutes ago, I paid for the person behind me."
"Yes I remember."
"I was wondering how many people paid for someone elses meal."
" Well we got pretty busy, but it was three people."
AWESOME! 3 people, that was WAY better then I predicted.

Would I do it again: Sure if I was going to do my own Project nice again.
Cost: My meal was $7.30 the woman behind me was $3.50 Total: $10.80
Effort: Not too much-emailing and explaining was more.
Time: 10 minutes

I will be updating the blog with other people's experiance.

Linda will be starting tomorrow! Linda is a Nerdfighter and the very first to get her good deeds done! And she included pictures. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 64 Wrote a letter to an injuried nerdfighter

By now you've heard me mention nerdfighters alot. It's not easy being a nerd in a cool world. Sure we think we're pretty cool, but the rest of the known world is quick to point and laugh at us. For a long time we didn't have a community, a home of our own. Then for the select few nerds who wanted to make the world a better place... an awesome place, a community was founded.
Nerdfighters were born.

A ning was created... and a social networking sight gave nerdfighters a home to talk to one another. To chat about the awesomeness of Doctor Who, to feel like you were part of something.

The ning is run by several ningmasters. Tom is one of them.

He was in an accident at the end of February.

If you watch the clip it will explain more about it.

I wrote an e-mail to Tom and his family. True I've never met Tom. I've never chatted with him on line. All I ever knew about him was that he was one of the Ning Masters.
Thing is the Nerdfighters have been a HUGE part of Project Nice. Percentage wise they take up most of the pie.

One of the nerdfighters needed help. So I stepped up, in a very small way.

Tom's family has been reading the e-mails he's been getting to him while he was in his coma.

As of a few days ago, Tom woke up.

I would never expect an e-mail back. Ever. His family posted a message to the nerdfighters a few days ago. You can read it here.

Would I do it again: yes. yes. yes.
Cost: nothing
Effort: Not much
Time 10 minutes to write the e-mail


I could have ended today but I'm very ocd about the number 5 and I wanted to end on 5. 65 days sounds so much better then 64 days.

TODAY is project SUPER nice. Info to follow tomorrow!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 63 Spread the Joy.

Day 63 Spread the Joy

I thought I would take it easy one day: What do you think?

Event: Share cool websites that make me happy.

I had the idea for Project Super Nice three months ago, but I'm just now getting around to it. But what's really cool is that other people are being nice.

I keep hearing all these stories of random acts of kindness.

1) My student's family had their meal paid for by a total stranger
2) My daycare provider told me about a woman who had the meal in front of her paid for and she paid for the person behind her.
3) I went to Chick- fil-A (Not a shocker--- I'm there three times a week) and I asked if it would be a problem if I did Project Super Nice, they said it was be fine, it happened last week. (Probably the woman in number 2)
4) My student while he was in Disney world gave away his FAST PASS to stranger.
5) A DO Good Crew member had a friend who was at the Movie Theater on Valentine's day and the person in front of them paid for their tickets.

All I have to say is AWESOME.

Humanity, you rock.

There are a lot cool websites out there. Things that make me happy just watching them or seeing them.

Tickling Slow Lois <-- that's an animal btw not a person.

Nom nom nom <--- its my daughter's favorite

Duet with myself<-- This is the single greatest video I've ever seen! And I love the message too. Subscribe to his channel Charlieissocoollike

John Green discusses Fatherhood

A whole lot of Running by chameleon circuit the BEST BAND ABOUT DOCTOR WHO.. (also by Charlieissocoollike) <-- very cool art every day there is something new and it's constantly blowing my mind
Nerdfighters 'nuff said. <-- Hayley Williams of paramore is the MOST entertaining musician on twitter. I check twitter every day just to read her comments. <--- Most entertaining writer on Twitter. Shameless promotion of My friends and the Do Good Crew: Do Good Crew's Blogs: Mo
Two twins are going green and blogging all about it!!!
Alica's Blog-

this is a blog of a character written by Meghan of the Do Good Crew

Um, I know this stuff makes me smile. You tell me.

Would I do it again: YEP! I love shameless promoting the things I love or like or are kinda of in to.
COst; nothing as long as I don't get sued.
Effort: Cutting and pasting
Time: 30 minutes

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 62- Hung out with friend who had back surgery

Day 62- Hung out with a friend who had back surgery

One of my good friends has been suffering with back pain for years. A few weeks ago she had major back surgery. Then she had some sort of an infection and then she got sick. I didn't rush out to visit her because she was sick and in pain. From my experiance, I would never want to see anyone when I was in pain or sick.

But she was getting bored. She sleeps most of the day, she never turns on the TV- this may or may not be because she wasn't sure how to operate the TV.

Cindy and I went out to Target and bought a whole bunch of feel better stuff.

We spent about an hour and half in Target... although a large chunk of time was staring at the DVDs commenting on which TV shows were good and how long we spent watching them.

Stage one was going to target and buying the stuff.
1) Carmel Popcorn
2) Rasinette
3) Smelly bath stuff.
4) A book--- light and fluffy and it was about math-- our friend is a math teacher.
5) Mind games, and logic puzzle books ( three of those)
6) Dog treats --- our friend bought a puppy about six weeks before the surgery. We figured the puppy needed to be entertained as well.

Then we picked a time to drive over there.

I arrived first. I asked my friend how was doing and what she was doing. She said "this." and pointed to the bed in her living room.
She then confessed she wasn't even watching TV because she didn't know when her shows came on.
My friend has a masters degree and is easily on of the smartest people I know. I wrote down the times and channels her shows were on.
"How do you know all this tech stuff." She asked me.
"Well, I did just spell channel wrong so I think there's a trade off in life." I laughed.
Cindy came in a few minutes later and we gave our friend the bag feel better goodies.
We hung out for a while, chatting and having fun.
I miss working with my friend.

Our friend seemed happy to see us, we laughed a lot and joked around with her husband as he tried to make tacos for dinner. It was one of these things were you had to be there, if I tried to explain it to you, you'd get bored and think I am a moron.

I know how grateful I was when my friends visited me when I was on maternity leave. So I can understand how she might feel.

Would I do it again?: Yep. Probably very soon.
Cost: $30 for my half of the feel better bag
effort: Picking stuff out for our friend was hard but fun. I was also rocking a pretty bad headache while I was over there, but really my headache was a minor pain compared to my friend's pain.
Time: 1.5 hours in target and 1.5 hours hanging out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Info on Project SUPER Nice

Here's the idea. We start a chain of people buying food for each other.

There are two options, the drive thru and the quick food restaurant.

Prep a head of time:
Pick a location and get the phone number.
You will need money and a mode of transportation.

Cut and paste the cards at the end of the blog

Drive Thru (this is the easiest)
Drive to a restaurant with a drive thru during a pretty busy time, lunch and dinner would be best.
Drive to the little speaker and order your food, or just a drink, whatever.
Drive up to the pay window.
After you pay for your food say, "I would like to pay for the car behind me. Could you give them this card?" Read the card to the cashier.
It reads: "Hello, the car in front of you has just paid for your meal. Would you like to pass the good deed on and pay for the car behind you?"
Give the cashier a stack of the cards and ask them to pass it out to everyone who had a free meal.

Tell the cashier that you will be calling the restaurant in 15 minutes to see how long the chain lasted.

Take your food and go on your way.

Call back in 15 minutes.

Keep calling until the chain stops.

E-mail me the about your experience.

Benefits to the drive thru---
far less social interaction. You will be only speaking to the cashier.
The person behind you will not know it's happening so it will be a surprise and if they continue the chain, its because they want to, not because of social obligation.
You will not get turned down.

you will not see the persons reaction.
You will have to call back.
It might get expensive.

A quick food restaurant like Panera, a coffee shop, Baja Fresh, 5 guys, those sort of places.

Buy your food and hope someone else comes up behind you.
Tell the cashier you will buy the food for the person behind you.
You will have to hang around until the person behind you orders so you can pay for it. This could get awkward.
You will have to explain to the about Project Super Nice and hand them a card. Give the rest of the cards to the cashier to hand out to the people in the chain.
You can sit down an wait for your food and watch the chain for yourself.

You will see the person's reaction.
You can watch everything from your seat and watch people's reactions. This is 900 shades of awesome.

Most likely you will be watching when the chain ends.
The person behind you might argue and not want your help.
It might get awkward hanging around while the other person orders their food.
People might feel forced to pay for something they can not afford since there will be witnesses.

E-mail me the about your experience.

As always e-mail me if you have any questions or concerns.

Hello, the car in front of you has just paid for your meal.

Would you like to pass the good deed on and pay for the car behind you?

You have just been a witness and a participant of Project Nice 2.0.

If you get a chance please check out the website:

Day 61 Paid for someone to wash their car

Paid for someone's car wash

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Erinn so please don't sue me for breach of copyright infringement since this song is copyrighted....

Yep, today is my birthday. And I know what you are thinking... what can I get Erinn for her 31st birthday? Well how about Project SUPER Nice. (more to follow on this)

So as you know by now-- it's snowed and the roads are covered in salt. Back when I was coming up with the list of good deeds I wanted to do this one. Pay for someone to wash their car.

But there had to be under the right conditions.
1) It had to be over 32 degrees. --- you know because water freezes and all
2) It had to between snow storms.

I made a little baggy filled with $1.50 in quarters with a note that said "Have a free car wash or at least rising the salt off your car" <--- By the way did you catch the spelling mistake? I didn't until my hubby pointed it out. I had to edit it and reprint it out again and I still screwed it up. It's times like that it really sucks having a learning disability.

I drove to the carwash near my house. This car wash had two different kinds an automated and self serve. The self serve is basically a concrete room with a hose that shoots out water and soap for 5 minutes.

I drove into an empty one and nearly had a heart attack. $3.00 seriously? For water and soap? I had to redivide up my bags of quarters. I taped on of the bags up and guess what--- someone else had already left quarters. How awesome is that?

Then I walked over to two people who were waiting for a car wash to open up. The first car was a family and I asked them to roll down their window. I asked them if they would like a fee carwash and inside the bag was enough quarters to pay for it. They took it but seemed like they would like me to get very far away from their car.

I walked up to another car and there was a girl drive and a guy in the passenger seat. I asked them if they would like a free car wash. She paused for a second as I handed her the bag. Then it clicked exactly what was happening and she smiled. It was pretty awesome. Because it's been a while since I've been able to see that my actions made someone's day.

Would I do it again: Sure, the doing part was easy... the prep wasn't but that was operator error.
Cost: $9.00
Effort: Printing and reprinting and cutting the paper and putting it in zip lock baggies and remembering tape...
Time: 10 minutes total.

I'm sure you're thinking it, Erinn did you wash your car while you were there.
No. No way. It was cold, it was windy and there's water everywhere. That's the trinity of crappiness for me.
Nope my car will stay like a salt lick for deers until the rain washes it off. It's a good thing I got it winterized.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 60- Made the Solar System

Build the solar system.

Well I wasn't going to count this one originally, but to took so long I had no other option.
So remember when the International Astronomical Union, or IAU decided that Pluto wasn't a planet but a dwarf planet? Well it made ALL those models of the solar system inaccurate.

My daughter's daycare provider was teaching her about the planets this week and took out her old solar system hanging mobile and cut Pluto off. The whole thing flopped over.

Being the super amazing teacher she is, she went out and bought another. Then she remembered how long it took her to build it the last time. She asked me if I would ask my hubby if he would put it together, since my hubby LOVES puzzles.

Not thinking at all, I said, "Sure, he'd love it."

Epic fail

I got home and said, "Hey baby, guess what? You've got a new project." I handed him the box.
"I don't want to do this. Are the planets painted?"
I poked my head into the box, "Nope." Now the guilt started. I hate it when people volunteer me for things and I'm constantly do that to my hubby. "I'll paint the planets."

Again I don't know what I was thinking.

As you can tell by this blog, quality control isn't something high on my priority list. I also have zero artist ability. I'd like to think a long time ago I was sort of crafty... you know arts and crafty not "Crafty" the Beastie Boys song. Sadly, as I've gotten older those skills have vanished.

I started to paint at 7:30 on Saturday morning. I pulled out all the materials. None of the plastic planets were labeled and they came in two different colors. I've been watching The Universe and other space related TV for a while and I know a little something about the planets. You would think that the inner planets would all be the same color plastic and the outer planets would be a different color. nope.

Also one was missing.

And so was chart with information about the plants.


So I had to rely on the box to give me some sort of hints as to how I was supposed to paint it. The box got it wrong, which annoyed me. It had Mercury all sorts of cool colors. Nope, it looks like the moon so I painted it gray.

Then I moved on to Mars for no real logically reason, and Venus and Earth. While I was painting Earth it seemed to be missing a large part of the western hemisphere. Look, if there was a planet model people would notice if there was a glaring mistake on, it would be earth.

It took me two hours to paint the inner planets and to call the daycare provider about the missing planet. I had dropped it on the walk to my car.
I took a break for a while, and returned to the project with the new planet and a new zest for the project.

That zest quickly vanished when I stopped and looked at all the detail that was on Saturn and Jupiter, and then I also spent time trying to remember how to mix paint to get brown. (red, yellow and blue makes brown in case anyone was wondering)

Another hour.

Then everything had to dry.

Then I had to paint it all with glow in the dark paint.

I opted again to paint the sun in glow in the dark paint because just didn't make any sense to me why the sun would glow in the dark.

Sunday I decided I would start tying the string on to the planets. AT this point I should point out I'm not impressed the with quality of materials the kit has provided me. For the record fishing line is nearly impossible to tie into a knot and you have to do it twice.

Then I labeled all the rods with the correct location of the planets.
I'm not impressed with my work.
My two year old probably could have done a better job if I had allowed her to.

My daycare provider was very grateful for everything I had done. She thanked me and told me how busy she was this weekend and she had run out of time.

Would I do it again: Never-- I've put together one solar system I'm not doing another. Science you are not allowed to demote anymore planets for the next sixteen years. If you're planning on demoting please wait until my kid has graduated high school... thank you
Cost: Nothing expect my patience.
Effort: You're kidding, right?
Time: 4 -5 hours over two days.