Taste of USA. This week are: Utah, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Arkansas. On deck... Illinois, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Arizona.
Today is going to be a fun day. Hopefully you got some rest over the weekend, because we have an adventure ahead of us and it will require each of us - new readers, returning readers, and lurkers alike - to be at 100%.
A couple of weeks ago I stopped in Borders Books looking for a book (and an excuse to get a White Mocha coffee). They didn't have the book, but the coffee I got. Before leaving, I decided to make a quick detour through the store and in this particular case found a book of interest... judging it SOLELY by its cover! Yup, that's right. Smack in the center of the white book cover was one red paper clip and I wanted to know why.
Interestingly enough, the title of the book is, One Red Paperclip and it is a great and fun story. Little did I know when purchasing the book, the entire story is about one twenty-something guy and the adventures of his blog (added bonus!). A quick synopsis, since you'll need it to understand highlowaha's newest adventure.
Kyle was an unemployed twenty-five year old Canadian guy, living with and mooching off his girlfriend. He was caught between knowing he needed a "real" job and pining over the simpler days when his biggest teenage concern was gas money for the car he didn't have yet. Kyle reminises of an urban Canadian legend where some teenage boy, starting with a simple item - "traded up," until finally he got a new car. Kyle and his friends always dreamed about doing the same, but as life would have it, they got older, wiser, and more practical.
Finally at twenty-five with little to lose, Kyle decides life is too short to live with regrets, and that finally he is going to challenge himself to embark on the game Bigger or Better. But if a teenager can successfully trade up for a car, he should be able to do better. So instead of a car, Kyle's goal was to trade up for a HOUSE (that way he could stop mooching off his girlfriend). What did he start with? You guessed it. Staring up at Kyle, while sitting at his computer crafting the first blog message, was... one red paperclip.
Fourteen trades later (red paper clip for a fish pen made of wood for one door knob for one camping stove... and on it goes...) and with the help of people from all over North America, one red paper clip became a house. How did he do it? Kyle posted the red paper clip on his blog and then waited for offers to come rolling in. Once the "right" item was offered, Kyle officially made the trade and then updated his blog with his new trade item. On and on it went until finally he got his house. I won't give all the details away, in the event I've compelled you to want to read the book (an easy read with a terrific ending).
All of this would have fallen on deaf ears... or blind eyes as the case may be... if it weren't for Patrick (artnme1560). Yes, you Patrick. Two weeks ago, Patrick made the suggestion that I could sweeten the Taste of USA pot by bringing Cheryl (the fun and games behind the whole contest) with me to the winning location. This by the way is something I had already been milling over in my head, but with the cost of airfare, could just not figure out to make happen.
Then came Kyle.
Kyle seems like a great guy. Impressive. Living in the front row of his life. That kind of guy. But I figure, I'm fun too. Does Kyle have a house full of oversized stuff, because his life motto is "think big?" I don't think so. But me... yes. I've got a HUGE converse sneaker, ruler, crayon, pencil, clock, coffee cup, heck... even a tweezer! I know Thinking Big!
So, I figure if Kyle can play Bigger or Better and, in just under a year, walk away with a new house, surely in two months I can trade for a plane ticket.
So, here's how it will work. Our goal is to start with my initial item and then, item by item, trade up for things that are bigger OR better. In the end we want one free, round trip, plane ticket to whichever state wins Taste of USA (which I dare say is still completely up for grabs).
Are you in?
Here's the thing. There is NO WAY in heck this is going to work if only drawing on our current readership for the making of trades. Kyle posted his on Craig's List and was literally choosing from thousands of offers. I don't want to be a public copy cat, so instead of using Craig's list, I was hoping we could draw on our networks (mom's groups, friends, colleagues, Face Book, My Space, other blog sites you visit, etc...).
Now for the unveiling of the first item... purchased at a garage sale on Saturday...
"Fish on a Stick"
This beautiful fish pin is the perfect summer accessory. Approximately 2" x 1", it will add a sparkly touch to any summer outfit.
Signing off until tomorrow, but now - at 6:45 a.m. - let the trading commence...