Archive for January, 2009

Fab People: Neediest Cases Donors

January 19, 2009

Letter written by a Neediest Cases donor:  “Dear Sir or Madam, Instead of giving gifts to each other this year, my family thought it would be a better use to donate the amounts that would’ve been spent on gifts to a charity of our choice. Please accept the enclosed donation of $360 on behalf of the (redacted) Family. Keep up the good work!”

You know how the economy has been, to put it gently, not so great?  People all over the world are tightening their wallets, trying to weather the storm.  So you would think, in this kind of dismal economic climate, that charity organizations would be experiencing huge drops in donations as people are cutting what they perceive to be unnecessary expenses.

But not the Neediest Cases charity from The New York Times.   Neediest Cases is a regular feature in The New York Times, in which one of the reporters writes about a person who is down on his or her luck.  Then readers can send donations to help that specific person or the charity in general.  Not only has Neediest Cases collected more than a half-million dollars MORE than they did the year before, but it has also seen a 53% increase in the number of donors.

The reason?  Many donors felt that if they were having a rough time dealing with the recession, then the people at the bottom must have had it a whole lot worse.  So the donors felt that now, more than ever, was the time to come through and help their neighbors.

I know there’s a lot of sadness in the world, but there’s a lot of goodness too.  🙂

Here’s the article.  And some letters written by the donors.

Community Art

January 19, 2009


Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S.  Yesterday I saw this really cool painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. hanging in the lobby of a school.   I tried to find a picture of the painting on the internet, but the best I could find was the photograph the painting was based on (above).

So the cool thing about the painting is that it was a community art project, involving the students, the faculty, and the neighbors surrounding the school.  For a few days in the lobby of the school, there was a lead artist present, along with multiple shades of gray paint laid out in trays (more or less corresponding to the different shades in the original photograph).  Throughout the day, people would come, place their hands palm-side down in one of the paint-filled trays, and the lead artist would show them where to place their handprints.  In the end, there was this really nice painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. made from the handprints of the community.  Fitting, isn’t it?  A community coming together to paint a portrait of a man who spent his life bringing communities together?

Have any of you seen any kind of artwork similar to this?  Something that was made by a community, with its active participation?

Where are my manners?

January 19, 2009

Seriously.  I forgot to say to all the Stateside peepz who are about to, or are in the middle of, taking midterms…


If you’ve already taken midterms…umm…Belated Good Luck? 😉

The Story of Stuff

January 18, 2009

Hey hey hey GBD!

This is going to be the only post from me today because…well…because I’m busy.  lol.  This is something that I’ve been meaning to post for a while now, but never found a good time for it because the video is about 20 minutes long.  But don’t let that scare you away!  It’s a really good, informative video that introduces you to “the story” of our stuff…where it comes from, where it goes when we’re done with it, etc.  Some people might stop watching it after a couple minutes because they’ll think they’re in school again.  😉  But I think the host does a really good job of maintaining your interest about something that can get bogged down in details and bore the heck out of people.  So stick with it because I think most of us want to be aware of how our decisions affect the rest of our world and the people in it.  And don’t worry…it’s not like a super-depressing video that’s going to make you feel like crap.  Unless you’re from the States, like me.  Hahaha!  I kid, I kid.  Sort of.  Anyway, the point of the video is to encourage you to be more active and aware of the decisions you make when you buy stuff.

The video above is a teaser trailer for The Story of Stuff video.  If you’d like to watch the whole thing, click on one of the links below.

The Story of Stuff (English version)

The Story of Stuff (International version – includes many languages to choose from, like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, Arabic, etc.)

Also, if you haven’t already checked out Chloe B’s introduction to Aberystwyth, Wales…what the heck are you waiting for?  Her post is a few posts below this one.  And keep ’em coming!  We’ve got one about Bulgaria from Megi, and one about Quebec from MarilyneL in the queue.  Whoohoo!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday GBD!

It’s like CSI for realz.

January 17, 2009

A mosquito (Anopheles stephensi) in flight with its abdomen full
(A mosquito in flight with its abdomen full of blood.)

Police in Finland found a stolen car.  That’s not the big whoop part.  The big whoop part is that the police also found a mosquito inside that car.  Then they used the DNA from the blood in the mosquito to find a suspect and arrest him.

The article (it’s really short).

Done in by a mosquito.  Whoda thunk?

RSS? What the heck is that!?

January 17, 2009

Okay so it looks like the first subject I will begin to discuss, from the “techy-side of tabby” (some may refer to as “the dark side”), will be RSS feeds.

What the heck is an RSS feed? Well! It’s a big pink ball!!! Just kidding! An RSS feed is a wonderful little tool that helps avid blog or news readers stay on top of the latest and greatest all from one single place.

Imagine a world where you want to keep up with 20 different blogs and three major news sites and four local news sites and your local animal shelter’s pet list. In this world, you might have to go to 27 different sites every single day just to catch up on things. Oh wait! That’s what most of us do! HEHE. Well, as you know, that’s GREAT for the advertisers of the site and for the unique views/visits and click-throughs (yay business!) but really time consuming for the end-user.

Now, imagine a world where you create a space where you log in and go to ONE SINGLE web page and see the latest blog entries, latest news posts from your major news, and latest local postings? Well, that leaves plenty of time for you to traverse your local animal shelter site to see their listings, doesn’t it!? (Hint: Local animal shelters, please get an RSS feed soon!)

Okay so here’s what you do. Find what they call an “aggregator” which sounds like alligator but its not an alligator, at all. The good news is that many of us have access to an aggregator without knowing it. Firefox has a built-in tool for you to add it to what is called a “Live Bookmarks” folder. Then you can go to your bookmarks and see a menu item for the blog. Try it out using the steps below:

1: Using firefox, click here
2: In the top of the page, you should see “Subscribe to this feed using” and then a drop down selection showing “Live Bookmarks”. Select “Subscribe now.”
3: Now go to your Bookmarks menu and navigate down to “Bookmarks Toolbar” and you should see “Girls by Design: This is a Blog.”
4: Hover over that and you should see a list of the latest blogs.

Spreadfirefox Affiliate Button

Easy, hey? So! What if you don’t have Firefox? Well, firstly you might want to ask yourself why not but then if you really don’t want to get Firefox and make your web browsing experience more enjoyable, then you can use as a reader as well. Do this by signing up for a account and then going to Then you see a control panel with lots of options. In the top left, click “Add a subscription” and paste the following into the box that appears: et voila! Now you can see the latest blog entries in your feed.

Now, getting back to “its good for unique views and click-throughs if you visit the site.” That’s true. So, while RSS feeds are a beautiful tool, please be sure to come back to the site and participate as often as possible!

There is one other note as well. RSS in and of itself refers to “Really Simple Syndication.” Many blogs and newsites provide several different methods to syndicate their material such as ATOM (which is the same thing but just a slightly different delivery method). In this case, you can use the same two methods above to syndicate ATOM for most cases.

Post here if you have any questions or additional comments to add about the world of The Pink Ball.


Passport to: Aberystwyth, Wales

January 17, 2009

(“A” marks the spot where Aberystwyth is.)

GBD GBD GBD!  Today is a special day because today is the VERY FIRST edition of the finding-out-about-other-places-and-cultures-idea-thingie.  Remember?  Introducing Chloe B (aka “The Wales Girl” aka “cbee17”), from Aberystwyth.  Here’s what she wrote:



I live in a little university town in Wales in the UK called Aberystwyth (but moved from London to here about two years ago), and it’s pretty much bilingual language wise between Welsh and English. The people are kind of varied, cos sometimes there’s a little hostility by those who speak welsh and think everyone should…but generally people are ok, and the students aren’t bad, plus it’s cool because you got people from all over the place. Sadly there isn’t a lot to do around here…there’s the arts centre that is with the university which has a little theatre which sometimes has good productions, and a cinema in it, but most people (I mean the younger generation including moi lol) prefer our little local one, which only has one screen -.- and shows one film a week so we only really get the big films. Aber’s right on the coast too, so I’m near the beach. But it’s annoying because Aber isn’t exactly a city it’s quite difficult to travel between towns (and there’s only one main route to connect us to everywhere by road lol… and only one train line) so most of my friends travel about two hours by bus to get to school which makes it difficult to see them outside of school. A definite place to visit is Constitution Hill which has a railway going up, or you can walk, and at the top you can see the whole of Aberystwyth and a great view of the sea. But yeah that’s pretty much all the places you can visit! I guess people talk about normal stuff…and there aren’t really any traditions. Food, generally normal but apparently the Welsh are keen on stew (I repeat here that I’m not Welsh lol). But the scenery is lovely, and the place is great for a short visit, but to live it’s kind of dull, but I don’t mind cos I sometimes prefer the slowness to city life. Erm…attitudes to women? I suppose if you look at the general families, it’s kind of old fashioned with mums at home, and with some people you can detect a bit of sexism which I won’t go into, but I’d say there definitely is some around. But yeah again that’s only really with the older generations, the youth around here are very open-minded and have great ambitions, most of my friends all want to go to Uni (not here though :P)


Thanks Chloe for telling us about Aberystwyth!

So whaddya think guys?  Isn’t this so cool??

Noellia Goodwin: Special Performance

January 17, 2009

Here I am pulling a Kathy, and posting yet again!

Before I post the video, I would like to share something very important I learned today: RAD is not a made up word. It is short for radical. The joys of not having English as your first language…… heh 😀

There you goooooooooo:

To be continued…

SPOILER ALERT: 2nd part of the interview…. o_O

ps. thanks Kathy for helping me post the blogs haha

Noellia Goodwin: Pt. 1

January 17, 2009

Noellia & Taylor


Tays and I have been busy in taskland trying to put together a video interview of the aaaamazing, iiiiincredible, taaaalented (I wonder how many more adjectives I can come up with before being excruciatingly obnoxious) 11-year-old singer Noellia Goodwin. Coming up with it was easy! I just thought one day “huh, wouldn’t it be cool to feature Noie on GbD?”… except, well, I am in Canada. So I had to get help from my minion the fabulous Taylor Nikole. So it was settled: Taylor would be meeting up with Noie and her family to get the interview done.

She was supposed to attend Noie’s recital, which she never did as she was too busy getting lost due to missing streets and impossible mapquest directions 😀 Which is okay, though, cos that means we got a special performance just for ussss u guis! Ain’t that grand?! AND to top it off, the wind and the cars passing by were so jealous of the awesomeness that is GbD that they just HAD to be a part of the video!

Then after all that we just had to add subtitles to the video (you’ll see why), ‘cos we’re nice like that…. and by “we”, I mean Taylor. My involvement consisted of bugging her everyday asking about it. Meaning: I did it all. Thank you.

Special message from the Tays:
“Hey guis it’s Taylor! Anyways, interviewing Noellia was such a great experience and I apologize beforehand for the sound on the video… I really didn’t expect the camera to pick up so much wind noise or any at all since it wasn’t a very windy day. Anyways, there’s nothing I can do about it now… although I did add the subtitles and I hope that helps. I hope you guys enjoy the interview; I know I had a lot of fun interviewing Noellia and getting to pick her brain a little bit! She is super intelligent and mature for her age and I hope you guys really do like hearing what she has to say.”

Without further ado, I present you…… :drum roll:    THE INTERVIEW!

To be continued…..

SPOILER ALERT: she sings.

How big are you?

January 16, 2009

A representation of our sun (on the left) compared to other stars in the universe.

And last but not least, we’ve got Emma-Lu coming through with the following bit.  I’m only including the link because there are a lot of pictures, and text corresponding with the pictures, etc….so I figured it would be easier to give you the link instead of trying to reproduce everything here.  I do have a life after all.  😉  But check it out.  It’s pretty amazing, the sizes of everything relative to each other, and how much is out there, beyond our planet.


Isn’t that weird?  Emma-Lu sent me this not long after I made yesterday’s post about the Scales of the Universe, but before that post was published.  So we were both kind of thinking of the same thing around the same time.  OooOooOoo.  😉

And that does it for me today.  Not that I really did much since today’s content was all provided by you gals.  Again, thank you so much to everyone who contributed.  Despite the cold outside, I will go to sleep warm with the knowledge that GBD peepz rock.  🙂