Entries Tagged 'geekery' ↓

Coming Home Again

I had an amazing time in Asheville. It wasn’t the not cooking or cleaning, having my work already done. Those things were nice, but that wasn’t what made my time there as great as it was.

I learned something this trip.

It’s not really the kids that get me down.

It’s those stretches of time where I don’t talk to intelligent people for days on end. Tim comes home from work and falls into bed. By that time, I’m also too tired to articulate anything coherent, but at least he has co-workers. This isn’t a post about my marriage, don’t try to read between the lines, there’s nothing there to see. We have our ups and downs, we’re human, fallible, but generally forgiving.

I miss people outside of this house.

I’m tired of fact families and phonics, where saying, “wipe your nose”, and “flush the toilet” are the bulk of my human interaction.

My sanity is held in check by a few Skype contacts and the promise that it’ll get better. I know I’m not the only one and I know my situation isn’t at all dire. It’s just frustrating. I hate that I hang on hoping for an hour or two where I might get to see adults where the conversation moves past the social niceties.

So many of my local friends have left, if not physically in practicality: Jared, Janet, Dan, Don. It’s like one by one the people are packing up and moving on. The ones that haven’t left yet, seem to be making plans, Nathan, Chris, Greg, Matthew -see above about fallible- is it true?

If I’m down, it’s because coming home means heading back into the isolation I accidentally created for myself. I’m trying to break free of it, I’m just not sure where to start.

For now I escape into podcasts. I think it’s because I can at least fool myself for a little while that my world isn’t really as quiet as it has become.

Over the weekend I got to spend time with women I consider my mentors: Aliza Sherman, Wendy Scherer, Kelby Carr, Deb Ng, Alli Worthington, Megan Jordan, just to name a few.

Each one is a bit farther down the road than I am.

I’m trying to be brave.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have even tried.

Photo Credit: Alli Worthington

I thank you for the example.

I’ll get there and maybe, just maybe I’ll learn that choosing to be remarkable is a good thing.


A Venting of Sorts

We all get a little crotchety, right? A year in the blogworld is 7 years in real life, right? This makes me old and gives me the ability to randomly vent.

There are a few things that immediately turn me off of any website:

  1. Bug-eyed cartoon women – I find them infantalyzing and as I often have a hard enough time being taken seriously. It may be irrational, so be it. Don’t worry if this works for you, there are plenty of people out there who find the drawings cute and endearing. You can’t please everyone.
  2. Auto-play music or video. ‘Nuff Said.
  3. Sparkles, unless they are ironic sparkles.
  4. Content comprised solely of useless memes that require one word answers or no effort.
    Participation in memes doesn’t bother me, it just annoys me when there is never any original content. (For the record I love memes where people show off projects, so I’m biased in that regard).
  5. People who take themselves too seriously.
    Yes, yes, I’m a hypocrite. Noted.
  6. Blogs that only exist to talk about rebating and couponing. This one is another it’s not you, it’s me.
  7. Slow page loads (I can say that now that I fixed my own. Thanks Jared.

Now #getoffmylawn unless you have a few peeves of your own.

Also, thank you  Malia for the inspiration, not for being guilty of the offenses.

Because I’m a Braggy Bragger

I have to share.

Home Ec has had over 1 million unique visits according to Google Analytics. Sure it’s been bumpy, but the general trend looks good to me. I’m hanging on.

4 chapters to go.

A Smile from Twitter Serendipity

I glanced at the new follow list: a ballet dancer, a priest, and a librarian. I knew there was a joke somewhere, but it was Notoriously Nice Mike who penned it.
A ballerina, a priest, and a librarian walked into a Tweetup. The ballerina said, “Twitter allows me and the other members of the dance company to schedule our practices”. The priest said, “It lets my parishioners contact me when they need comfort”. The librarian said, “It helps me find answers to our patron’s questions when I’m on the reference desk”. @AndyParas, who was sitting at the same table said, “Yes, but were any of you in a traffic accident on your way here?”

Thanks Mike!

Download Tweet for Blackberry via QR Code

Just use your code scanner in Blackberry messenger to reach the download page.

Easy peasy.

Thanks @noaheverett for the URL

Random Bits & MLM Schemes

I am finally coming around to uncoupling affiliate sales and multi-level marketing in my head. For some reason I had the two concepts linked and refused to even investigate affiliate sales.  Now that I have finally educated myself and understand the concept it makes a lot more sense and has lost the skeeve factor.

For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, multi-level marketing plans are often linked to pyramid schemes. Of course no MLMer will ever say that, they’ll skirt the issue and explain how it’s nothing like a pyramid scheme, but here’s what it comes down to. With MLM (remember Amway?) a person not only works to sell products but to recruit other sales people and in return gets a percentage of that new sales person’s cut.

A ridiculously over simplified example. Joe invents Company X and sells products 30% over their cost. Joe keeps all 30% either as profit or to reinvest in Company X. Joe meets Bob who agrees to sell the product at the same price as Joe. Bob gets 20% of each sale either as profit or to reinvest in his version of Company X; Joe gets that missing 10%. Bob of course wants to be like Joe and have people under him, so he recruits people who each get 15% and Bob gets 5 and Joe of course gets 10.  In the real world it’s much more dynamic than this and people move up and down according to how many people are under them and where on the feeding chain they currently swim. Yes, it’s nothing like a pyramid scheme, I get it, you said that already.

I am uncomfortable with this concept and feel it falls into a morally grey zone, especially when naive, new sales people are goaded into  pressuring friends and family to buy products they may have zero interest in through guilt  or a desire to help them succeed. It doesn’t matter if the products are superior or not, if I’m emotionally blackmailed into a purchase, I do not gain a favorable impression of the company.

So, that’s MLM what are affiliate sales? With affiliate sales or at least what I’ve seen so far (and anything outside of this will probably make me drop the whole idea) is I place advertising for a product on my site or newsletter. If a reader clicks through and makes a purchase, I as the referrer, get a cut of the sale. The cost of the product is the same whether they came through my ad or not. I’m ok with this, it doesn’t feel as manipulative. Now, there is always emotional manipulation in marketing, but this doesn’t seem to put anyone in an exploitive position. I could be wrong, but my highly attuned guilt radar is not sounding.

Over on Home Ec, I’m slowly adding some affiliate ads to the site. Most of these will go to old posts that receive a lot of search engine traffic that doesn’t necessarily stick around. The ads will be for products related to the search, appliances under appliance repair, fabric under crafts, kitchen gear I love, etc.

Other random things:

I’ve really gotten into listening to podcasts lately, whether playing chauffeur, doing the dishes, or folding laundry, they keep my mind occupied.

Here are a few I thoroughly enjoy:

Spycast – Run by the International Spy Museum, this podcast is endlessly fascinating focusing on espionage intelligence. I also happen to just enjoy Peter Earnest’s voice.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – I picked this one up on a recommendation by James. I never would have called myself a history buff, but these short shows pack a lot of information that would be useful the next time I play Trivial Pursuit. I’ll still fail the pop culture category.

BlogCastFM – The Up and Coming Blogger Series. I have a narcissistic interest in this one. If you’re not interested in professional blogging, skip it; it will have zero relevance to your life. As blogger / website developer it’s a good reminder of where I need to be placing my focus and sometimes the enthusiasm can help keep me plugging away. The blogging world is so weird with no real definition of what constitutes success. On one hand, I’m “living the dream” with the book deal, but on the other I still feel like a complete nobody.*

*Hush. I get to decide when I don’t feel like a nobody / noob.*

What podcasts do you listen to? Any?

Just for Fun

qrcodeJust because it tickles me so.

Homeschooling, Just One Reason

I don’t talk about Aidan’s education much. We are using the state funded k12 program; it’s a home-based charter school that gives us an amazing amount of flexibility with our schedules. This morning I was reading BuzzMachine, a blog by Jeff Jarvis, when I came upon this statement in TedxNYed: This is Bullshit:

We must stop looking at education as a product – in which we turn out every student giving the same answer – to a process, in which every student looks for new answers. Life is a beta.

I can’t begin to wrap my mind around the idea of the amount of information at my fingertips.  What I’m doing at Home Ec 101 isn’t creating information, it’s simply listening to the questions people are asking and distilling the information into a form some people find more palatable.

Do I know what the kids will end up doing or being?


I want to teach them to find the information they need, to vet it, process it, and perhaps share it in a new form.

The News

A month ago I was contacted by an editor at a traditional publisher. She wanted to know if I would be interested in having a conversation about turning Home-Ec 101 into a book.

Immediately I turned to Google and Facebook, looking to see if it was a legit company.


I returned the email and a few days later we had a conversation that outlined the whole process.  The biggest hurdle is the pitch. She sent me a sample proposal and from that I began piecing together one for Home-Ec 101. After stressing about it and pestering people into giving their opinions, I finally turned it in -before the deadline, thank you very much.

Since then, it’s been a waiting game. Well, until yesterday that is. Around 1pm I got an email from the editor saying they really liked the idea and that it seems marketable. In fact, they wanted to hear it pitched in a larger size. (The original specs were for a paperback, slightly taller than your average novel, but not as thick (about 240 pgs ). Apparently they want to see it priced out in a larger book, I don’t know if that has anything to do with the number of words, adding content, or if it’s to allow for more whitespace.  I’ll negotiate my contract when the final size & cost of production are figured out.

Regardless, I’m beyond excited, if nothing else, this is flattering and validating. I plug away at HE101 hoping I’m not wasting my time.  Insecure much?  Always.

Publishing projects take a while, so it will be some time before I make the big announcement on Home-Ec 101. It’s not a secret, but I’m going to try to not make a big deal out of it until closer to the release.

I’m still on cloud nine.

Highlights from Last Night’s Social Media Club Charleston’s Panel

As per usual there was some great discussion, but there were moments that tickled me to no end.

Someone described being a fan of a brand on Facebook as it being “A friend with benefits.”

Viagra, it’s bigger than the brand.

The highlight of the evening was Andra Watkins impromptu illustration of  inappropriate IRL networking behavior. “Hi! Me. Me. Me, me, me, me me me. ME!” I wish we had been able to get video.

Next time.