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And then there are days I hate technology

July 24th, 2013 Heather 2 comments

I know just enough code to be dangerous.

I know where to change things.

In general I know where to look to find things I need to make the changes I want. Unfortunately I do not always know how to fix said things when they go wrong. This generally results in 500 errors and frustration and phone calls that I know my more knowledgeable friends hate.

I’ve told you not to work on the live site.

I KNOW you did, but. . .

The caching system I was so glad I had working last night? Has saved some kind of error somewhere that is making my life annoying.

If you need me, you’ll probably found me hunched over my computer, cursing loudly -until the support line rings and then I’ll clean up my language a bit and turn on the friendly. I’m not feeling friendly though. . .

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Use Your Klout Or How About Don’t

June 28th, 2011 Heather 1 comment

Saturday I was mic wrangling for the Type-A Parent Blogger Townhall Meeting. Jim Lin took a moment to remind us that marketers are people, too. I know this. Yet I can’t just let this topic go. I think the problem may be that the mistakes are so visible and feel very personal due the delivery method.

Spam isn’t personal, it’s very obvious that the email isn’t for me. “Make her cry at your man meat,” yeah, I just can’t relate, this makes it easy to delete and forget.

Halfway decent marketers do a good job of making even an email blast feel personal and I think therein lies the danger. When a boneheaded or insulting pitch arrives, the insult is perceived differently than when it’s carried out through other media. It takes a colossally offensive advertisement to rile me up and I suppose even then they are still creating effective brand recognition.

Last night an email loaded with arrogant ways to use your Klout score landed in my inbox. I thought I could leave it alone. I thought it would just sit there with all the other emails collecting virtual dust, waiting for a response. I should have deleted it.

I didn’t and now it’s still rolling through my head.

Disclosure: I have a modest Klout score and I got to go to their party in Las Vegas during Blog World Expo. I had a lot of fun. Once in a while I check my Klout score. I do this as just another way to put off more productive work (Yes, much like this post is also a procrastination tactic). I don’t obsess and I don’t include it in any metrics because it just isn’t that great and I really don’t think it matters that much.

From the email’s suggested ways to use your Klout score:

5) Problem resolution.
Your car breaks down in the middle of a road trip… Having a high Klout Score will often get you speedier service and a potential refund/credit, saving you valuable time and money.

If I ever hear of someone using their Klout score to bully a customer service rep into an upgrade, I will think less of that individual.

It is tacky.

It is saying, “Do you know who I am?”

Don’t be that person.

Call me on it if I ever am that person.

Please.

Categories: Navel Gazing, general frustration Tags:

Deja Vu

June 20th, 2011 Heather 1 comment

Dear Berkeley County Water and Sewer,

The view from my front window is a little too familiar.

Do you recall May of ’08? I do.

Also, how hard would it be to knock on my door or call before you start destroying my yard?

Seriously.

Categories: general frustration Tags:

Split Screen

January 11th, 2011 Heather 1 comment

On one screen I’m looking at Engadget, watching the Verizon iPhone announcement.
On the other. . .

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Arizona Shootings Reaction
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

I don’t even know how to process what went down in Arizona. It hurts my heart and while I joke about “the crazy” it’s out there and it hurts people. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small. Sometimes it creeps in when we just can’t manage to live up to what we think the standards are.

I can’t process it now, so I’m letting myself be distracted by the new and the shiny. Heck, I don’t even want an iphone.

I just don’t know how to even acknowledge things. Perhaps it’s ok for me to admit that I feel terribly for the families, but that I cannot focus on it. I don’t think the 24 hour news cycle of rehashing everything over and over is at all helpful. So for now, I am going to look at gadgets and maybe when heads are cooler it will be time to see what, if anything can be done.

I Didn’t Shoot the Messenger

November 30th, 2010 Heather 5 comments

But I was sorely tempted.

If you hang out on Facebook, you probably already saw this.

My oldest is 7, he attends virtual charter school which is funded by the state of South Carolina’s public school system. Today I sent an email, through their obnoxious proprietary mail system, to the teacher to make sure everything was up to date and that we were we needed to be.

My kid isn’t a genius. He’s bright, he’s inquisitive, and can almost rival me in the stubborn department.

Last year my son started kindergarten and finished the 1st grade curriculum for phonics and math. They don’t let children complete more than one year in the other subjects: history, science, art, music, and PE.

That was fine, his favorite subjects are history and science and he’d do those all day long, if I facilitated it. Don’t worry, it’s not like I restrict learning activities after school is done for the day, I just don’t force them or do the ones provided by the school after our work is completed. Maybe that means I’m not “up to the task” or not cut out for this. Whatever. He’s ahead, he’s happy, we’re getting through. I think that means we’re doing ok.

What ticked me off is this. The response to my email was, “your son is progressing too quickly in math and will run out of lessons.” They won’t release the third grade curriculum for him until he is in the 2nd grade. She suggested instead of progressing, he should “play learning games.”

Our daily math lesson usually consists of handing him two assessments. If he makes a 100% he’s got the concept mastered. If he doesn’t we go over the lesson(s).  Sometimes we play a math game, he loves the games.

Is it crazy to want to reach a point where my child is challenged by the curriculum? I don’t really think that’s out of line.

What I’d like is to progress to a point where the lesson is actually needed, so he can learn how to learn. I was a lazy student, I didn’t get that skill until well into college. I relied on my ability to absorb the information from half-listening to my teachers. I coasted with good grades, without doing homework, until after graduation.

My husband? Same story.

What I hate is that each week we have to sit through a one hour online lesson geared toward where the 1st graders should be in the 1st grade curriculum. He’s bored, I’m bored, but we sit through it. I’m sure review is great, yada yada yada. (We also have the same deal for Language Arts, makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil, but I plaster on a smile and redirect his attention to the computer screen every 25 seconds for 45 – 60 minutes)

As far as Language Arts, he’ll finish the 2nd grade program this year. We’ve reached a point where he has to work to remember the spelling words, but he gets them. His reading and comprehension are great. His grammar is good. I’m ok with this. He’s still developing the fine motor skills for good handwriting (and the patience to write is another story entirely, but we’re getting there). So I don’t push him in Language Arts, we’re moving at the expected pace.

Next year he’ll be labeled a 2nd grader, but take 3rd grade English and 3rd grade math.

I need the structure of a program like this one. Where there is a laid out curriculum and some oversight, it helps keep me on track. What I don’t like is this arbitrary crap preventing his progress.

Categories: boys, children, general frustration Tags:

Standards, People, Standards

October 7th, 2010 Heather 9 comments

I don’t talk about faith too often. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I believe, I just try really hard to live a quote I’ve heard attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:

Preach the gospel always. Use words when necessary.

Am I good at that? Probably not, but I hear effort counts for something.

Why do we hold Christian media producers to a different set of standards than secular?

Could we please start at least judging Christian art, in whatever form takes, on its actual merit and not its intentions. This is something I see a lot with my more evangelical friends. If a movie is labelled Christian, then no matter how bad the acting is, you’d think it was the best thing since sliced bread.

It’s not.

No matter what the intentions, bad movies are still lame.

Bad acting is bad acting.

Every time someone creates a bad movie and promotes it on the Christian platform, they really aren’t doing the rest of us any favors.

Plenty of people I know immediately knock IQ points off of anyone who claims to be Christian. It’s an obnoxious and cruel assumption, but it’s out there. In that light, I believe excusing bad media for its intentions or message does Christianity and faith a huge disservice. It’s one thing to be mocked for your beliefs and it’s another to embarrass yourself.

Knock it off.

It is a beautiful thing to create to glorify Him, it’s another to expect others to glorify you for the effort.

Having faith in God does not make a person an artist.

Michaelangelo was not commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel because of his faith, I’m not even sure he was Christian, I think I remember hearing he was Humanist or Platonist, but I could be wrong. He was chosen because his art would best glorify God.

Categories: Meh, general frustration, neurosis Tags:

Coming Home Again

September 30th, 2010 Heather 14 comments

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.

IMG_7491

A Venting of Sorts

July 9th, 2010 Heather 5 comments

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.

Categories: blogging, geekery, general frustration Tags:

Knocked on My Butt. Again.

March 13th, 2010 Heather 6 comments

Strep is back in the house and of course I’m the only one to get it. I had the worst case of my life in January and it took a couple rounds of antibiotics to clear it up. Tim came down with strep in Feb and apparently it’s my turn again.

Yes, we wash our hands, yes we have new toothbrushes.

I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago due to joint pain and I think it’s related to the strep. He ran a lot of blood tests which all came back ok. The pain responded well to an NSAID which I quit taking a week ago. I was feeling good enough to make plans to start running again on Monday.  Like magic it flared up as I came down with this case and I’m miserable waiting for the antibiotics to work their magic.

Funny how I grew up in that period where they decided tonsil removal wasn’t a great idea and now in my thirties I’m being told, “It’s too bad you didn’t have your tonsils out as a kid, because it’s really going to hurt now.” Great.

Yesterday was a complete waste. I was on the couch in and out of consciousness waking up only to take the 2yo to the bathroom and to break up arguments when they got too far out of hand. Optimal parenting, I tell you.

Today doesn’t look much better, but we have to at least do Aidan’s make up work for the missed school day.

If you need me, I’ll be on the couch.

Bring popsicles and don’t mind the mess.

Categories: general frustration Tags:

The Only Parts I Didn’t Like

October 1st, 2009 Heather 3 comments

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I’ve talked nonstop about the Type-A Mom conference for weeks now.

There are two things I need to bring up, and Kelby, I do not believe either of these actions reflected on the conference as a whole. These two incidents were simply bad choices made by individuals, who you’ll notice are not being called out by name.

#1 As a woman, speaking at conference focused on empowering women, do not ever point to a man in the room and suggest he knows how to code simply because he is in possession of a penis.

I about died. All I could think to do at that moment was to sputter to my tablemate, did she really just say, “There’s a man, ask him?”

#2 Never publicly question anyone about their stance on adult products, toys, marital aids, etc unless specifically invited to do so. I attended the conference as Heather Solos, founder of Home-Ec 101. None of my readership has any business knowing what happens in my bedroom. While I am “on duty” as a representative of the business I have worked hard to build, I would appreciate being treated as a professional. If this makes me sound like a prude, so be it. I have never sought the public’s opinion in that regard.

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