Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wow. July sure has gone fast. The Big Give is almost done for 2010. In a couple of days we'll be posting all of the submissions from our Givers, and then our judges will go to work on the challenging task of choosing a winner.

Don't forget to visit each of our entrants blogs (you can find a full list here) to check out what they've been up to with their $20, and don't forget to always give with a smile on your face.

In the meantime, we asked the amazing Wade Johnston to answer Three Questions on video. Wade is our music guru, and the lucky rabbit who wins TBG will get the chance to chat with him in IM about all things related to making music on the internet.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giver updates and Three Questions with Una LaMarche

I have two very exciting things to announce today.

Three weeks in, we've received our first progress report from one of our Givers. Megan posted the first part of her Give, and you can read it over here. Remember to check out The Givers page to meet all eleven entrants in TBG, and visit their blogs to check on their progress.

Secondly, the wonderful Una LaMarche has answered Three Questions for us. Una blogs at The Sassy Curmudgeon and is our blogging guru. For more of what that means, check out the Prize Pack section of this blog.

Remember to check out TBG's Youtube channel and subscribe/like/comment as if you mean it. www.youtube.com/goaheadmaketheirday

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TBG on Youtube

Phew. It's been a crazy couple of days with processing the registrations for TBG, but I'm excited to announce that we have eleven Givers, and you can follow their progress right here, with regular updates.

I'm also excited to announce that TBG is on Youtube. The channel is something we'd been planning since the launch of TBG, and after several false starts, multiple computer glitches and a crashed laptop in Ireland, we're finally good to go with Three Questions from the lovely Nel from Finding Rabbit. Check out her contribution to the TBG prize pack over here, visit Nel's blog here and watch this little clip here:

If you love us, head over to our Youtube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/goaheadmaketheirday, and follow, subscribe, like, poke or whatever it is you do on Youtube.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Compliments also count

My city is full of "windshield cleaners", you know, those guys (or girls but those are rare) that clean your car's windshield when the traffic light is red...OK, so some of you have never heard of them? It's OK, maybe it's a third world thing, I am not sure.

Anyway, we live about 10 kms away from the downtown area. It doesn't seem that bad but believe me, it's a lot. Of course there are a lot of traffic lights on the way, and that means "windshield cleaners"...so basically they wipe your windshield and they get a tip. The problem is we live so far away that our windshield gets cleaned at least 4 times until we reach our destination. My mum always says she ends up spending more money tipping these boys than on parking, however, she always gives them some money.

Last Sunday, we went to the movies to see "Prince of Persia" and there was a windshield cleaner at the mall's traffic light. Mum didn't have any change but I did, so when he was done I handed him the money and told him : "I'm tipping you only because you have dreadlocks" (which I find very cool). He looked very surprised and his face lit, while flashing a great smile, the lights turned green and he said "Yay for dreadlocks!" and so we left.

I know it is a very silly story, but my point is that you don't need much to make someone happy, to make someone smile. It goes beyond tipping someone who is trying to make a living (I often tell mum that, "you know, they could be stealing but they're not, they're working"), sometimes being honest and complimenting someone help us make their day too.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Own Big Give: Kris, Part 3

So, here's the part where it all plays out.  And, know what?  It was fun!

Step one: Shopping.
This part was kinda boring.  You know I already that I had flour.  So my budget looked (roughly) like this.
Gallon milk : $4.50
Yeast:            $5.00
Margarine:  $4.50
Now, I realize this doesn't equate quite my $20 budget, but it eases the guilt I was feeling for using all sorts of ingredients that I had on hand.  I also bought a bunch of bags, but they didn't end up fitting a full loaf, so I had to scrimp some up.

Step two: Baking.
Here I managed to be efficient and skilled.  Every batch I made met with success.  Hopefully there wasn't a batch with ten-fold salt or something.  I'd never know about it.  Unfortunately, I had to bake in sets of two since I had only two pans.  And since bread is fairly time consuming this was a long process.  This is a picture of some of my healthy bread set out to cool.  Check Pt. 2 if you're interested in the recipe.

Step three: Delivery.
Now this was the fun part!  I've always enjoyed leaving secret surprises for people.  I seriously met some small adrenaline sneaking through people's backyards and popping loaves of bread on their porch railings.  I included brief handwritten notes with their names (for the ones I knew), so they wouldn't be creeped out, and a bit of nutritional info.  Wouldn't want somebody with a severe dairy allergy cutting into my fresh loaves...

I was discovered on occasion.  It would be hard not to be.  But just ripped the note off, stuffed in in my pocket and said, "Here.  My recipe makes two and I can't eat both!"

And, here's what I think.  It's true!  I can't eat two loaves.  But I love homemade bread.  So in the future that extra loaf will be finding it's way onto porches and door stoops around town.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Where's the (internet) love

Maybe it's all the Big Giving love that's been flying around, but the internet just seems like a brighter place of late. It seems that everywhere I turn, there's someone else who wants to make someone's day and is using the interweb to do it. Here are a couple that I've come across. Remember, if you read and don't click, you're doing it wrong.

Tweet love to haters - I discovered it while listening to Triple J last week. Triple J morning radio presenter, Tom Ballard is both the youngest ever host of Triple J Weekday Breakfast, and openly gay; a sure-fire recipe for some serious online hate. And that's why Tom's started to #tweetlovetohaters. When the hate starts flying, Tom will send out a tweet like this one to his 7000+ followers...

... with the aim being to fight hate with love. Oh and guess what? It works, even to the extent where Tom's received apologies from haters who have been showered with love by the Twitter-verse.

Love Bombs Any blogger worth his customised layout will tell you that nothing has the power to brighten our day like logging in to Blogger (or Wordpress. whatever) to find that someone has left us a shiny comment on our latest post. The clever rabbits at ItStartsWith.Us were well aware of this, and thats why they started Drop a Love Bomb. Each week they put the call out to drop a love bomb on someone in the form of hundreds of comments to someone who could use the encouragement. Uh, hello! Where do I sign up?

I mean sign up to give comments. Sheesh.

Dares for Good -

Here's one for all you bloggers who just love to tag each other in your blog posts. TBG contributor and all round darling, Dori from Dori the Giant has started her own viral blogging campaign, Dares for Good. Dori says that she wanted to create tags for things that make a difference, and she's succeeded with dares such as donating to the Haiti appeal and turning off unused lights to help the environment.

We'll be seeing some serious action from our Givers in the coming weeks, but in the meantime remember, The Big Give is not a spectator sport, so get out there and do something!

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Own Big Give: Kris, Part 2

The decision, and my justification of such:
Anyone who read my last post will know that I'd dedicated to baking bread.  I believe in homemade food.  I think it's healthy and appreciated, so we were off to a good start.  I started to dream big, like we're asked to do.  What if I sold this bread for a reasonable price at our local farmers market and donated all proceeds to buying seeds through World Vision?  I believe in this organization, as well, and believe it's one of the better options for charitable donations.

However, I quickly ran into budget issues.  To enter the Farmers Market costs ten dollars, and half my budget.  Even with the flour I already own, this makes baking more then a few loafs of bread virtually impossible.  I also am having some major time issues.  As summer comes, and I'm sure most of you will agree, my spare time dwindles considerably.

So, when my sister started to make fun of me when I'd rant off about having to give big, I knew it was time to calm down the stress.  In the spirit of just because shouldn't be grudging, am I right?  The excitement is back, and I'm glad.

So, I've made a few loaves of bread.  As much as I originally played with the idea of asking people to donate if they felt so inclined, I've decided this is really not a very good idea.  I know people who don't have the time or ability themselves, and will appreciate a loaf of homemade bread.  I really just want them to be able to appreciate that.

It has got me thinking, though.  I still believe in World Vision, but I'm taking this opportunity to reach out to the people I know.  The single girls, the amazing old couples, people I know will appreciate a fresh loaf of bread (and, yes, they're turning out well).  I can't being you photos, because on top of this all my computer has crashed.  What I will share with you is the bread recipe I'm using, in case you feel like you have the time to learn to make it yourself. 

6 tbsp marg (or butter or lard)
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar (I use brown)
3 cups milk (I use 1/2 water)
Add in multi grain (or raisins, or spices, or whatever)
8 cups of flour... But don't stir!
Create a dent in the flour and put in,
4 tbsp yeast (instant or slow)
sprinkle this is 1 tbsp sugar
Pour in 1/4 cup warm water.  Moisten yeast with tip of knife.  Let sit well yeast rises.
Once yeast has risen (about ten minutes) stir together and knead on floured surface for about ten minutes.  Create dough into ball, return to bowl, cover with  clean dishcloth and set to rise in warm area until doubled in size.  About 20 minutes.
Once risen punch dough down, and form into loaves.  Set them to rise, again until doubled in size.  Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until brown.  Approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and rub with butter to keep soft.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I won't be entering The Big Give

I'd like to start by saying that this whole project is completely mindblowing. I know the women who've put The Big Give together, through their blogs and thwhatever other social networking we young folk do nowadays. They're all forward-thinking, compassionate, sweet, decent humans. So, of course, it's no big surprise that they've come up with this but... seriously, where do they find the time?! These four ladies are the reason the world is going to be okay in another fifty years: If nobody else saves us all, they will.

Anyway, I can't enter The Big Give. I'd like to, because I think it's positive and it's brilliant and, more than anything, it's needed. But here's a story about me and my life and why I can't participate...

I was a bad kid. I did a lot of terrible things. Drugs, thievery, lies... that was my modus operandi. Many of the times I lied, I was simply trying to make people think I'm interesting or "cool" or dangerous or... any number of things that i didn't think I already was. I bought a crack rock in 7th grade, just so I could tell people I tried smoking crack. No, I never tried it (gave it to a train station bum), but I told everyone I did. I made up all kinds of stories about older cousins in New York City and recording sessions with make-believe punk bands, and all of that. It's embarrassing to admit, even all these years later.

And I stole. For years. I mean, the compulsive lying was MOSTLY given up like... by age 18ish. The stealing, well I still like to shoplift sometimes, if we're being honest (Now, I only steal from big companies that make money by exploiting peoples' stupidity and obedience). But I used to REALLY steal. I did a bunch of burglaries... even into age 20. No, I'm not proud at all. One moment that has haunted my existence forever and ever was... well, I stole $400 from one of my best friends. When I was a homeless 19-year-old sociopath. Anyway, yes.

As one might guess, I'm basically a walking guilt factory nowadays. And that's why I won't sign up for The Big Give.

I will be participating, however. Silently, selfishly. I've been reading the blog every day, and I am feeling really inspired. But... I operate a little bit differently. I do my best to give now, as I've taken so much. But it's very important to me that I don't talk about it. When/If I give, it is between me and the person I'm giving to. And sometimes, whenever I can, I prefer to give without anyone knowing at all. For example, have you ever found $20 taped to the bottom of a table at your local cafe, or perhaps you woke up early to shovel your driveway but it was mysteriously done already? Yeah, that was me, maybe. I like to give, but I think talking about it is wrong for me. Because there's a very good chance I will start lying again, and I don't want to do that.

So. Day to day life for me is usually ALL about giving back, or paying dues, or repenting (no, not to Jesus, just... to the universe) for my wrongdoings. Even the no-big-deal things like holding doors open, giving up my bus seat, smiling when I talk even though I hate my teeth... I try to give of myself, the best I can. Yes, I am motivated by guilt... which makes me feel more guilty. I mean giving and giving, to avoid guilt, but then realising I should be giving and giving for no good reason at all? I don't know, I haven't got it all worked out.

But I do want to say THANK YOU to Risha and Mel and Kris and Ella. For coming up with The Big Give., I won't be entering, but if there's anything else I can do, let me know. And GOOD LUCK to all the contestants! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. This is a beautiful thing, and I'm truly happy that it exists.

This was written by Robert Boylan. He is 28, living in America. Pretty weird, but pretty awesome. He has a blog called The Stir-Fried Dinosaur. Also pretty weird but also pretty awesome.