Liebster Award: Take Three

I’m astonished by the amount of award nominations I’ve been getting lately. This time, Shay from Planet Shay has nominated me for the Liebster Award.

Shay is a friendly, upbeat teenager who’s a delight to talk to. She writes that on her site, “you’ll find things ranging from science to philosophy and equality to little light-hearted, comedic posts.” Thank you for the nomination, Shay!

This version of the Liebster Award comes with six rules. They are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gave you.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers who deserve the award.
  5. Create 11 original questions for the nominees to answer.
  6. Let them know they’ve been nominated.

Eleven Facts

  1. I’m moving back to the Cleveland area next Monday.
  2. Making coffee is a caffeine-laced meditation for me. 

    It turns out that a wine glass is the perfect vessel for serving espresso.
  3. I definitely have a sweet tooth.
  4. It gets harder to think of facts about myself each time I do one of these award posts.
  5. I ate pizza almost every day last year.
  6. I can no longer watch television for more than fifteen minutes at a time without feeling like I’m procrastinating too much.
  7. I strongly considered participating in the archaeology school in Belize again this summer, but time and money are not on my side.
  8. As I wrote on Facebook the other day: “My three years in the Pacific Northwest have taught me that I can never be content in hospitable climates; I need to be flirting with heat exhaustion or hypothermia to be happy.”
  9. I believe I can fly, as the song goes. I also believe that I don’t know how to land without serious injury.
  10. I’m beginning to feel restricted by the rushed nature of blog writing. I’d like to get into arenas that allow for greater depth and creativity, and that force me to expand my abilities. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know.
  11. Along those lines, one of my future goals is to get my hands on a DSLR or higher-end point-and-shoot camera. If anyone knows where I can find decent cameras for cheap, do tell.

Shay’s Questions

What’s something you could talk about for five minutes straight?


Your opinion on pigeons?

Pigeons are unjustly maligned birds that are miraculously able to thrive in that harshest of environments: Chicago.

Pigeons do better in cities than some people! Pigeon by The Yellowrider. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What are your main long-term goals?

To become an accomplished artist-scientist. My main artistic skill is writing, and I want to start practicing that craft in a more professional manner. After that, I’d like to get (much) better at photography.

Last text you sent? If it’s too personal, second to last text?

“Leaving for the library now. Had to finish my third cup of espresso first.”

Secret guilty pleasure you have?

Doughnuts. I hide doughnut boxes in my closet like alcoholics hide beer bottles.

Favourite season and why?

Winter, bar none. It’s so starkly beautiful: there’s no other season quite like it.

I imagine you all are getting tired of hearing me wax poetic about winter. Here’s a shot from Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville, Ohio this past December.

What motivates you to keep writing posts on your blog/website?

Working on my blog is also the only time I get to engage in semi-creative writing, as opposed to academic humdrum.

Favourite film and why?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was obsessed with the books as a child, and Peter Jackson did a good job of adapting them to film.

Number one pet peeve?

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink.

What other country than your own would you want to live in for at least a year and why?

Canada. I’ve always enjoyed myself there, and would like to spend more time in it.

What do you think your unique feature is? (Like a feature of your appearance, personality, style, etc.).

My perfection. Or maybe it’s my sarcasm?


As ever, nominations are tokens of my support. Nominees are not obliged to accept them.

  1. James’s Travel and Photos
  2. Mistakes and Adventures
  3. Murmurs Underneath
  4. Adventures from Elle
  5. A Guy Called Bloke
  6. The Subtler You
  7. Christine’s Blog
  8. Melanie Franz
  9. iseeyoureality
  10. SheSpeaks
  11. Jess!

Congratulations nominees!

Questions for Nominees

  1. What country/state were you born in?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. How many languages do you know, and which ones?
  4. To quote Shay, “What is your ultimate long-term goal?”
  5. Do you have a favorite sport? If so, which one?
  6. How do you alleviate boredom?
  7. Which current issue(s), if any, are you most concerned about?
  8. In a few words, what is your happiest memory?
  9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  10. What is one skill you’ve always wanted to learn?
  11. If you could have any one superpower, which would it be?

46 Thoughts

  1. Congratulations once more Mr Swarthy and Also thank you for the nomination.

    I agree with Katrina’s suggestion above – perhaps vlogging l think it is called, may have an appeal to you as a challenge.

    As per 9 , think Fred Flintstone and a wing and a prayer :)

    Back to 10 again, have you thought of submitting work to perhaps organisations such as WWF or similiar for more depth? How about guest blogging?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Bloke! Vlogging does seem to be popular at the moment, but I’ll have to give it some thought. I don’t know much about video making/editing yet, but it’d be fun to learn a new art form.

      However, I have thought about trying to submit pieces to other organizations/blogs. I have one guest post tentatively lined up, and will definitely be looking into how to submit longer and/or more formal writing to emagazines and such. It’s time to stop playing around and try to take my writing to the next level.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Excellent Josh – l also need to as you say ‘stop playing around and try to take my writing to the next level’ as well.

        Keep writing, that’s the secret to success :)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You. Ate. Pizza. Almost. Everyday. For. A. Year!?? That is my dream!

    Also I like the way you answered the last question! 😂

    Those are some great questions for your nominees and also great answers for my questions! I enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha, I had to check the post again to remember what I said for the last question.

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post! And yes, I had pizza almost every day for a year. In fact, for at least the past 5 years pizza has been my mainstay. My mother showed me a quick and easy way to make pizza with pita or naan bread, so now I eat it all the time!

      I’ll send you the recipe if you want. It’s super easy!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you so much for the nomination, Josh.
    Seeing that I am going through a bad writers block- I will get back to this post some day. As Aragorn said, ‘But it is not this day’. ;)

    Also, totally agree with your last answer! Get that camera soon.

    Liked by 2 people

          1. Hahaha! Of course, you would prefer it in the winter, OMG!!! Definitely, I would appreciate some postcards or selfies to see how it looks like. Because I don’t think we have enough alcohol in this country to get me in a plane to Antarctica 😂😂

            Liked by 2 people

  4. Many congrats! I also suffer from a sweet tooth – no croissant stays safe from me. ;) Hope you can get to that archeology school in Belize, it sounds awesome! I´ve studied classical archeology so I know what I´m talking about. ;)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the nomination Josh! Like you say, it gets harder to think of new facts with each award and since I’ve got the Liebster award already, I’ll leave my responses here if you don’t mind. ☺
    -Born & raised in Jamaica
    -Favourite food is a local dish you may not know haha. Ackee and saltfish with roast breadfruit, or maybe chocolate, or a ripe juicy mango. And pasta, and pizza. It’s so hard to decide.
    -English and Jamaican creole (patwah), but I took advanced Spanish in high school. I’m likely rusty now.
    -I’ll be the stereotypical Jamaican and choose athletics. It’s the only sport I watch outside of swimming and gymnastics at Olympics.
    -Sadly I alleviate boredom the millenial way. Social media and Youtube.
    -Environmental issues concern me the most right now. Climate change is very real.
    -Getting a phone call re a full scholarship I’d applied for, which means I didn’t have to take student loans for college, phew.
    -I think i already live there haha but I can’t wait to travel overseas more before I’m 30. Who knows which country could change my mind?
    -Oh gosh, to be a proper swimmer. And maybe learn an instrument. I wish I did as a child.
    -Telepathy but I understand the issues that would bring lol.

    P.s. I enjoyed reading this! We have that sweet tooth and DSLR camera wish in common. I’ve also never experienced winter but would love to one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Rochelle! I liked reading you answers! I actually haven’t heard of ackee and saltfish with breadfruit before, but I’d love to try it. If you say it’s good then it must be good! Lastly, I can see why you wouldn’t want to live anywhere besides Jamaica! It looks like an incredible country.

      About winter, you should definitely try to experience it one day. It’s absolutely gorgeous, as long as you respect the cold (dress warmly, eat a good breakfast, stay hydrated, etc.).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your last text!
    Apparently there’s an annual 5K at the Antarctic Research Station. I still want Mythbusters to feature that one, there’s no way people can do a 5K in -100 degree weather. Or is there?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, I’m glad someone commented on that text! Besides my heart doctor, that is.

      Okay, running 5K in Antarctica sounds too bizarre for me. I’m willing to put up with -100º weather if it means I get to visit one of the most unique places on Earth, but running ~3 miles in it? That sounds craz…tempting. Strangely tempting…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lmfao. I think they might do it on skis. There’s a picture of them doing it online somewhere…My suggestion about your blogging is to consider freelancing. Some magazines accept in-depth research articles but also cover shorter things like interviews or creative writing. I like the vlogging idea but I don’t suggest YouTube. Maybe something like vimeo where you don’t feel like you need to have millions of followers to be heard?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Skis would make more sense than trying to run over ice. Might be even harder on the legs though.

          Thanks for the suggestions, Jess! Right now freelancing is the option I’m most pursuing. I’ve already agreed to send a Q&A article to one emagazine, and will be reaching out to others in the coming weeks.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s awesome!!! I recently sent out my first freelance interview as well..although I’m not getting paid so I don’t know if it counts :/ I wonder how you keep up trying to write creatively while writing scientific papers at the same time? Does it get stressful trying to get published in science magazines and blog simultaneously? As of right now I don’t have to submit to any science magazines but I’m curious to see how I’m going to keep writing with my own style once I’m part of the science community at UW-Madison. it’s “publish or perish” and that just doesn’t sound fun.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I’m not getting paid for my article either, although right now that’s not the point. I’m just trying to improve my writing and get my name out there.

            I also wonder how one writes for both creative and scientific outlets at the same time. I imagine that it’d be nearly impossible if one is working as a professor, because I don’t see how it’s possible to keep up with teaching, research, scholarly journal publishing, and creative writing at the same time.

            For the rest of us, I suppose we have to pick one type of paper and prioritize it over the other. I’d rather figure out where the ‘average’ person is reading and try to publish there; I’m more interested in writing for the public than for an academic audience.

            I can’t yet say if it’s stressful to publish in scientific magazines and keep up with the blog, because I only started sending out
            inquiries to scientific magazines last week. I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to do both: you can always reblog your magazine articles on your blog! That way you get two for one ;) It’s probably also a matter of priority. For me, my blog will always be my dominant platform. Part of the reason for trying to publish in scientific magazines is to direct more traffic to my blog, through getting my name featured on different websites.

            The challenge for me will be figuring out how to make money. I’m deeply opposed to directly monetizing my blog, and am going to need to up my subscription level this summer. So yea…

            If you get too busy to keep up with your own blog once school starts, you could always write guest posts for me every now and then. We could also do more collab pieces, to share the burden. Speaking of which, don’t I have an email of yours to respond to?

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Same same same. I’m aiming towards everyday people as well, and I know it isn’t likely they would get their hands on a research article, much less understand or have the materials to make a reverse osmosis water filtration system based on one (just an example). But at the same time, I know that as a Master’s student you are expected to publish, and especially if you want to get hired in academia, publishing is a must. Can’t wait to see where freelancing leads though…maybe you and I will be the next Bill Nyes XD

            Liked by 1 person

          4. I’ve definitely been encouraged to publish as a master’s student, but not required. Publishing in scientific journals is a must for working in academia though, but I know I wouldn’t last long as a professional academic. So I’m not too worried about that. I definitely don’t think I’ll be a Bill Nye though! More like a Marcus Brody. Check out Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark if you don’t get that reference ;)

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Another post I loved to read! I think we’d get along super well if we ever met up :D I also have a sweet tooth and LOVE it when I hear that someone wants to take photography more seriously, I’d have so much fun trying to teach you whatever I know haha

    You should definitely try to look for a second hand camera + lens, mine were bought second hand too :)

    and I hope everything goes well on Monday! Also, I haven’t forgotten that I promised you a print last year – let me know if you have anything in mind :)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Monika! We MUST meet up some day! I’d love to visit Switzerland or Germany (if that’s where you are now). Maybe we could even meet up in South America?

      I’m definitely going to look for some second hand equipment this summer. A friend told me about a website that has good deals, but I can’t remember it :(

      I’m also going to look through your website this week and get back to you about that print. I completely forgot about it during the craziness of the school year.


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