Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.

Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.


You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

The Food Project Blog Challenges

Food Buzz had ten challenges for food bloggers in their Food Project Blog. The contest is over, the winner announced. But the challenges can inspire some fresh ideas for all bloggers, of every niche.

#1 Ready, Set, Blog!
Recipe for Success. Be yourself and be present. – This was where the bloggers enter the challenge and introduce themselves to everyone else participating.

#2 The Classics
Cooking outside your comfort zone. – Food bloggers were to tackle a new dish outside of their usual fare, a foreign dish was suggested. But I would think foreign dishes are not the only option a creative food blogger could come up with. How about a chocolate sculpture?

#3 Luxury Dinner Party
Impress your guests. Hosting a luxurious dinner party. – Bloggers create and promote their event and readers on the Food Buzz site vote on which they would most like to attend.

#4 Picture Perfect
Designing a dish for the camera. – Tutorials can help you learn food photography so you can take scrumptious photos for your blog. Tempt readers to take a bite.

#5 Recipe Remix
Honing your technique, make a recipe your own. Contestants were to take the typical pizza and turn it into their own unique creation.

#6 Road Trip!
Food to go, presentation is king. Design a meal to go on the road, one that can be carried around and still come out looking good enough to eat.

#7 Video 411.
Lights, camera, cook. The challenge is to make a video in order to teach your recipe to your readers, or the readers of Food Buzz in this case.

#8 Piece of Cake.
How to get a great performance from your oven. A seasonal ingredient was used to bake something that shows off a knowledge of the science behind baking.

#9 You’re the Critic
Asserting your opinion and telling a story. The bloggers take it out to a restaurant, write their own review and rate the dining out experience.

#10 The Final Post
By this time the challengers were narrowed down to three. They were given a last chance to post about their experiences during the challenge and what they learned.

This must have been a fabulous experience for all the bloggers who kept up with it all. Even if they were out of the running by some point, it would have been a real achievement just to do all ten of the challenges.

Look at the list and think about what you could do, step out of your own comfort zone and try something new with your blog.

If you have a food related blog you can find Food Buzz on the web, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Starting Your Book of Shadows

Once upon a time I was writing for Suite101. It was actually the start of the second round I had signed up with them. But, I didn’t see much point in staying. Basically just too little results for the amount of energy I had to put in. Yesterday I went back to check my account and I’m signed up as a writer but not allowed to post anything. I guess my login as a writer timed out as that was 2007. Anyway, here is the article which I had written for them. Deleted because it was written in first person, something that was not a problem when I wrote it but changed afterwards I guess.

TITLE: Starting Your Book of Shadows

SUBTITLE: Keeping a journal of your magickal road trip though Paganism.

SUMMARY : The Book of Shadows is a creative and practical way to journal your adventures as you explore Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism.

BODY: A Book of Shadows or a Grimoire is your journal/ scrapbook about your explorations into Wiccan and Pagan ways. The Grimoire is a bit more of a recipe book, like a technical manual. You may decide to keep a Book of Shadows with all your experiences, thoughts and technical details or you may have both a Grimoire and Book of Shadows to separate the technical side.

Don’t make it a pressure cooker, something holier than thou you can only write in with perfect results. It is there for you to use, to keep track of little things and big things, great things and great mistakes. It’s a guide to where you have been and would like to go.

Don’t be intimidated by your journal, enjoy it and feel free to be creative. It’s not perfect, it’s not a symbol of your commitment to being Wiccan. You could even decide Wicca isn’t for you and look at other belief systems and continue to use the Book of Shadows, but call it something else to suit you.

The book itself needs to be something adaptable to grow and change along with you. A binder with removable pages is good. That way you can move them around and sort them into subjects or dates as you choose. In some cases you may have physical elements to add such as photos, clipped out articles, some sand you used in a ritual, a feather you found on the way home, a napkin you doodled an idea on… don’t feel limited to just what you have written on standard paper. If something doesn’t easily fit into the book format adapt it, take a photo or draw it.

Use your Book of Shadows to collect phrases and quotes that appeal to you. These will be great when it comes to writing your own rituals. Not that you want to copy someone else but everything that inspires you should be saved. A special turn of phrase, one that feels right or opens your mind and emotions is a great way to jump start your own words for your own ritual. Your Book of Shadows is documenting your adventures.

Don’t cheat yourself by taking short cuts like printing something from the Internet and leaving that as a whole package when it’s only something you have read and not something you have really felt or experienced. Do print something from the Internet and make notes right on it or on another page which you attach it to.

It’s a very personal book, this collection of your deepest thoughts and treasured moments, be careful about sharing it. If you are part of a group you might pick a topic and each person gives thoughts and experiences they have written in their Book of Shadows. But you aren’t likely to photocopy a page and hand it over. It’s not about keeping information to yourself as much as it’s about having a safe place where you can continue to be very honest and open with yourself about the things you are experiencing and thinking as you take the Wiccan path.