The Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Summer is here, and what an odd, mixed up, mess it is. In a few days I’m going to be visiting a shiny new specialist conveniently located 4 hours away. The constant bummer that is my health, paired with the huge amount of stress this appointment is laying on me, is making me distinctly un-fun to be around. However, for you guys I’m mustering up my best Pollyanna because yes, my health sucks, but there is still a whole lot of generally awesome stuff I want to share with you.

First, in August I’m going to see Public Enemy live! Never as a teenager listening to “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” did I imagine there would be a day when I would get to hear, in person, Chuck D say, “Bass, how low can you?” Perhaps there will be some zany antics to write about after the event.

While discussing zany antics, my friends at the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society have got a film crew following them around for a documentary! A trailer just went live on You Tube for it.

As you’re aware, if you read this site regularly, my friend and partner-in-crime for the “A Magical Buffet of Authors” event at the Saratoga Springs, NY Barnes and Noble, Crystal, passed away. It’s been a challenge to wrap my brain around the idea of this event happening without her support and guidance. That said, I am pleased to reassure everyone that Barnes and Noble has confirmed that the event will still be happening!

For those of you unfamiliar with event, go here to see me break it down for you.

If you’re on Facebook, join the event here, and be sure to invite any of your Facebook friends that you think would be interested.

If you’re on My Space, the first online home away from home for The Buffet, join the event here, and again, invite any of your My Space friends that you think would be interested.

Hopefully soon I’ll be touching base with Barnes and Noble to see what the promotional plans are like, and how the event is firming up. Count on me to share it all with you guys as we rapidly approach September 11, 2010.

As Crystal’s death pointed out to me, the friendships forged on the retail sales floor can be pretty potent stuff. Whether it’s loaning a spot on your website to a former retail cohort, or writing an overly sentimental essay on the nature of said relationships, the cat is out of the bag; us current and former retail workers have a sentimental streak and can be prone to nostalgia. Perhaps knowing all of that, you won’t find this a surprising statement, but I certainly can’t believe I’m about to make it.

This summer I am officiating not one, but TWO weddings. Yep, your read that right. Not one, but TWO different couples have decided that I am qualified to oversee the beginning of their new lives as couples. With the lead in, I doubt it will surprise you that I know both couples from different tours of retail duty. So yes, if you are so inclined, you may call me Reverend Rebecca (Let’s give it up to my home state of Illinois for hooking me up!). Of course, what’s funny about this is that I’ve attended very few weddings in my life. Also, I’m not chained to a formal religious text for wedding ceremonies, so writing a ceremony has proven to be a pretty big challenge. It doesn’t help that my husband offers such gems of wisdom as, “You should wear a name tag at the wedding that says, ‘Hi! My Name is Officiant!’” Then I get caught up in whatever silly stuff I can get away with, and then I realize this has offered nothing productive to the process. Funnier still, when my hair stylist found out I was now a Reverend her immediate response was, “You totally have to do my funeral! That would be a riot!” That is I, spiritual shepard to those in service industries. Perhaps I should start my own church? A spiritual movement could certainly help move along my plans for global domination.

Design by Than Saffel

While on the topic of religion, The Pluralism Project at Harvard University is having a photo and video contest! The Pluralism Project’s mission is to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources. They invite you to participate in their first-ever Pluralism Project Photo & Video contest! They are looking for high-resolution (300 dpi) digital images and digital videos (max. 3 min.) that convey the vibrancy of religious diversity in the USA.

Photos/videos might feature: religious practices and rituals, religious centers, including festivals and center openings, participation of religious groups in American civic life, interfaith encounter or social action, and women’s leadership and participation.

One photographer and one videographer will be selected as grand prize winners, each receiving a $250 cash prize. The winning photograph and video will be spotlighted on the Pluralism Project homepage,

Additionally, 50 photos and 10 videos will be selected from the submissions to be featured on the homepage. The photo/videographer’s name, as well as the location of the image/video will be included as a caption. The winning photos/videos will be featured over the course of one year, beginning September 1, 2010.

For contest details and how to enter, visit their site here. It would make my day if some Magical Buffet readers contributed, and I’d be extra super happy if any of you guys won! Go forth and photograph!