Dinosaurs to the Moon

I wasn’t on the trail much over the weekend; I was following a livestream on YouTube.  (I can’t even imagine what I would have thought if I had read that sentence 20 years ago!)

15 years ago, after reading a book by John Green (I think it was Looking for Alaska), I started following him and his brother, Hank, on their YouTube channel called VlogBrothers.  Hank is the brainchild behind SciShow, another fabulous channel and together the brother have created multiple other channels and platforms.  They manage and ship creations by a variety of artists, from their DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome) warehouse, among many other things.  Their following is called Nerdfighteria and I have to say that they were a big factor in my finally being able to own my nerdiness and feel that it was OK to admit to my smarts.  I say it calmly but it was actually a fairly big turning point in my life.

Both John and Hank are thoughtful, kind and generous – the year I started following their vlog, they decided to do a weekend event on YouTube to raise money for good works.  They invited people to send in videos to the channel to support charities; we would watch and vote on the videos and, if we could, send in money.  At the end of the weekend, they split up the money among the top voted groups.  And they did a livestream the entire weekend to encourage folks to watch the videos, vote and donate.  They called this Project for Awesome. 

And 15 years later, it is still awesome although a little more cohesive these days.  The first 24 hours of donations go to a couple of specific organizations that Nerdfighteria have supported for many years and then the second 24 hours of donations gets split up among the top groups whose video have been voted on.  Lots and lots of perks donated by various online creators.  The livestream is a little surreal… YouTubers setting up goals and challenges.  My favorite is Destin whose vlog “Smarter Every Day” I have watched for years.  Donations during his 2-hour stint get you a plastic dinosaur magnet with your name on it that gets sent to the moon on an electronic pulley system. Honestly I don’t even know how to describe it.  Suffice it to say it’s just hysterical and the donations just blast in during his time.

Anyway, I watched quite a bit of the livestream, including staying up too late both nights and then watching early in the morning.  As the project rolled toward its end, donations again ramped up as John and Hank finished up the livestream with a lot of thanks and champagne poppers and confetti.  About 15 minutes before the end, the counter clicked over the $3 million dollar mark.  I have to say I got a little verklempt.

The happiness that I get from being part of the nerdfighter community makes me think a lot about the Trail and my baboon companions there.  I am not a serious member of the group and I only know one other nerdfighter personally but as a group they follow their leaders… they are kind and thoughtful and generous as a whole, exactly like those I know on the Trail.  No nastiness, no name calling, no mud slinging.  Wish I could spread that feeling out to the whole world.

Tell me about some other nice, thoughtful, kind folks you know!

39 thoughts on “Dinosaurs to the Moon”

  1. Great question, VS, and I’m glad to know about these guys.

    There are many, but the first that come to mind are John and Carolyn, part of our UU (Unitarians) community here. They are the couple who introduced us to the WSU Library (see yesterday’s post), and Husband will be going there to play ping pong this afternoon. She is chair of the Caring Committee. They met while in the Peace Corps, way back in the day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

      The last group of kind, thoughtful folks I met was my Master Gardener Mentor group from 2020. There were 10 interns and 3 Mentors. During our social isolation the online meetings and learning was what kept me interested in life a year ago while awaiting the vaccine rollout. The best thing they did was last September when the Mentors staged a pop-up banquet in the parking lot of the Hennepin Co Master Gardener Office in Eden Prairie, complete with linens, Champaign, and a meal. This was such a welcome gathering between onslaughts of COVID variants. To be fed, pampered, and appreciated was such a kind gift.

      The group is no longer needed as a Mentor group because all 10 of us were granted our Master Gardener Certification, including the intern diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, origin unknown, who was in active cancer treatment throughout the entire intern year. Apparently it is unusual for an entire group to get certified, but we all did it. Now we are planning a Master Gardener Autumn Harvest Festival.

      VS, while I admire your dedication to this cause, watching online for an entire weekend is more than I can do. I don’t know how you managed this. After 2 years of living life online, I want to run full speed back to life in person. While I realize it is not possible to do this because the online ship has sailed into our lives, it is what I wish for myself.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Jacque – except for that last hour, there was no watching that was not accompanied by occasional bouts of reading, crafting and my Italian lessons on my phone. I have pretty much lost the ability to just sit and watch anything for any length of time! Even Destin and dinosaurs to the moon shared air space with online MahJong.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. Give someone a phone call when needed – checking in on someone who is ill, Sends cards, maybe a check when someone close has died. They were who set up some meals for us in the early couple of weeks after Husband’s stroke. Provide rides where needed, stay with a sick person to give care-giver respite…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The ‘Smarter everyday’ guy, he’s fun and I’ve watch a lot of his videos.

    In terms of niceness,It’s pretty hard to compete with this group!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. The last two years have made it tough to find new and maintain old congenial associations, more so if, like me, one is not on Facebook. I can’t imagine my telling you about people you don’t know that I think are nice would be anything you would find diverting. But I’ll tell you about one who goes beyond nice in my opinion.

    Our nephew grew up near Milaca, Minnesota but lives now in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They (his preferred pronoun) went to college in Grand Rapids (Calvin College—their family is evangelical) and sometime after college came out to their family. Our side of the family had assumed he was gay since he was in high school and I don’t know how surprised his family was but that’s neither here nor there. They have generally supported them (these pronouns get sticky).

    They (the nephew) has started a foundation in Grand Rapids to support gay and trans youths, some of whom have been disowned by their parents, and to provide scholarships to worthy candidates. Robin and I and also our daughters individually donate to the foundation.

    A few years ago (pre-pandemic), a long-time friend, a young woman with a congenital kidney disease and on dialysis was failing and needed a transplant. This nephew donated a kidney to their friend. It’s hard to express how much admiration I have for that gift. I don’t know that I could have done the same.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Next year they should do a video for Project for Awesome and get in the running for some of the money raised!


    2. As I recall, Clyde’s daughter donated a kidney to someone (maybe one of her parishioners?) some years ago. Such a gesture speaks volumes about generosity of spirit, not to mention selfless courage. Hat’s off to your nephew.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. I don’t know whether more people identify as LGBTQ these days, but I suspect we’re just better informed and more aware; I personally know at least four transgender and several non-binary young adults.

      Gay and lesbian individuals have been a normal part of my circle for many decades. So much so, that I rarely think about it being a struggle for some, but I know these are issues that continue to cause a great deal of pain, and sometimes result in suicide. We need to educate ourselves, folks, overcome our squeamishness around speaking about these issues. If we’re not willing to do that, we should at least step out of the way so as not to add to the misery.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. They’ve been a normal part of my acquaintances for decades as well and we’ve tended to live in neighborhoods where gay and lesbian households are commonplace (a few years ago, I calculated there were 8 lgb households within a one block radius. My gay neighbor said there were more).

        But that kind of acceptance is not evenly distributed. My sense of Grand Rapids is that it’s less accepting, which makes my nephew’s foundation all the more courageous.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I have no doubt that you’re right about that, Bill. Even in a relatively progressive state such as Minnesota, you find many rural areas where progressive attitudes toward such issues are neither prevalent nor accepted. I know, too, that there are conservative enclaves even within the Twin Cities. I see it as an encouraging sign that young people such as your nephew are ever more visible and willing to stand up for what they believe in.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Thoughtful and kind are attributes I appreciate in others, not so sure “nice” is high on my list of priorities. Often people choose “nice” over rocking the boat, and the niceness runs only skin deep. Besides, sometime that boat needs rocking. I prefer to not be in conflict with others, but not at the cost of shutting up when I see something really wrong going on. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, many do; sometimes you just have to accept that we bring a different set of life experiences to the table, but some issues are not negotiable.

    My support network is loose and flexible, not organized around any one particular activity or interest. A large part of the “community” I’m connected to grew out of music and other creative pursuits. I quite naturally gravitate toward people who share my interest in, and commitment to, social justice, and I find that all of my musical friends share this commitment. It’s an ever evolving and changing group.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I object, again, to today’s Wordle solution. It took me five because I had dismissed it as a possibility until it was the only possibility.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit I find your objections funny, Bill. In the practice Quordle games there have been several times when I’ve made a guess that, as I was pushing “enter,” I thought to myself, “surely they wouldn’t stoop to this,” but they did. I got today’s Wordle in three guesses, four on the Nerdle, but bombed miserably on the Quordle.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I had also dismissed it but had managed to get 4 of the letters on the second guess, so I went for it, figuring if I were wrong, I had three more tries. I can live with the Wordle choices for the most part. I do draw the line at some of the Quordle selections. I did get through it today (I blew both yesterday and the day before) but the second word really p*d me off.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The group of nurses with whom I’ve worked during the past seven years and some before my DNR days were the kindest, most compassionate women I have ever met. Many have retired. There are two whom I hold as models of selflessness and kindness and I’m honored to call both of them close friends. One is my dear friend Pam who never stops giving to others and can’t understand why sometimes I have to ask her to stop. The shirt off her back is the very least of what she’s given to me, besides her time, friendship, and her listening ear. The other is Debbie, who is an intelligent person and an unusual woman in a lot of ways. We’ve known each other since she was 15 and I was 18. We’ve worked together in a couple of different settings for almost 25 years. Other coworkers we’ve had never knew how Debbie really felt about things. She is always kind, always patient and tactful, never openly critical. As she has gotten older, I’ve noticed her patience growing thinner. She is endlessly dedicated to our clients and our workplace, puts herself last but doesn’t complain, helps when and where she can, comes in on her days off, and does much more than her share of the work. I admire her but I can see her rope beginning to fray. She also adopted two kids after having three of her own and helps raise her grandkids, nieces and nephews, and neighborhood kids whose lives aren’t perfect. She is a fundamentalist Christian who doesn’t attend a church and embraces Jewish holidays and some traditions. I admire her but would never make some of the choices she has made. Both these women serve as daily reminders to me to be patient, tactful, and kind to others, even those who haven’t been kind to me. It’s harder for me than I care to admit.

    This bunch of Baboons is full of nice people. It’s nice to be here.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My friend, Barb, the woman who coordinates the around the clock care for my friend, Philip, sounds like Pam. She comes from a fundamentalist Christian background and grew up somewhere in rural Ohio.

      Barb, a nurse, and her husband, a school teacher, are both devout Russian Orthodox Catholics. They have three adopted children, one with severe autism. She’s patient, unflappable, resourceful, and kind. I admire her greatly, but don’t aspire to emulate her. I know that temperamentally I’m not cut out to be a saint, I just can’t pull it off. I’m doing well, on most days, to not step on anyone’s toes.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Quordle is four words and it shows you all the right and right but wrong place for all four words, but you have to do them in order.


        1. I’ve never been able able to do them out of order so if there’s a way to do that that would be nice


        2. Oh, then you’re missing out, vs. Absolutely, you can do them in whichever order you choose. Furthermore, I find that sometimes if I have four letters correct in a word, and there are several choices as to what the last letter is, it pays off to switch to a different word on the chance that will eliminate one or more of those choices. Just pick whichever word you’re going to work on and do it.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. When I did it, not really knowing how it works, I just solved the ones with the best clues first so that I could ignore them and work on the others.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. After we contacted the breeder about getting one of his pups, he invited me to join the FB group for the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association. They are a small bunch, but very friendly and helpful with advice for new owners.

    Liked by 5 people

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