In which I prove that I drank the apple kool-aid

Well, my computer blues seem to have been resolved by the purchase of a new external hard drive. Apparently, the ol’ Powerbook just got full up of zeroes and ones, and didn’t want to add one more thing. So now, my entire iTunes library is on the hard drive, and I have to have it attached if I want to play music on my computer, add new songs, or update my iPod. I really didn’t think my iTunes library was that big, but it did free up about 8 GBs on my hard drive, so I may have an exaggerated sense of how big is big.

I’m about due for a new laptop, but we’re going on a fairly ridiculously expensive vacation soon, and I’d like to get through that, and have it paid off, before introducing another enormous charge to my Visa.

Boy, this is starting to seem like a post sponsored by Apple. Disclaimer–it’s not. (But if the nice folks in Cupertino want to send a shiny new MacBookPro for my review, I wouldn’t say no. I’d even promise to return it without many drool stains. It’s the ethical thing, after all.)

And while I’m on the I-love-Apple theme, let me just say, I heart firewire. How do you PC people out there stand having to wait for the USB connection when you’re backing up your computer? Do you just not back up stuff like music and pictures?

July 14, 2007. meta. 8 comments.

awol

I’m spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out a major transition in my work life, and I think it’s taking up all the space in my brain that’s normally devoted to blogging. Hopefully, I’ll have worked through it all by the end of this week, and I’ll be back to normal posting on the weekend.

June 27, 2007. meta. 4 comments.

a blog-reader’s ethical dilemma

There are a couple of reasons that I blog anonymously. The first (and foremost) one is that I want to protect my kids’ privacy. In an ever-more-googleable world, I don’t want something that I write on this blog to affect their future employability, love lives or general sense of security. The second reason, frankly, is to protect my own privacy. I’m just not that interested in having my co-workers, my boss, or anyone else in my work world to know things about me that my own family doesn’t always know. I know that some people are okay with that, but I’m not.

That being said, I’ve found myself in a somewhat awkward situation recently. For my job, I read a bunch of local political blogs. Some of those are group blogs, where people just stick to posting about legislative or electoral politics. but some of them are blogs that mix the political and the personal. Most, but not all, of the blogs that fall into the latter category are written by people that I don’t know in real life. It’s the ‘not all’ that’s got me in a bind.

Last week, one of the bloggers who I know in real life wrote a post about going to some event where there was a kid that he found obnoxious. Okay, that’s fine. But then he went on to complain about all children in general, and to outline all the reasons that he would never have kids, and how he couldn’t understand why anyone else would have kids in this day and age. Then he went on a huge rant against children, and how awful they are.

I was a little taken aback, and not really sure how to deal with it. On the one hand, it is obviously his right to have that opinion, and to share it on his blog. On the other hand, I’m finding it a little hard not to think of his post every time I see him, and it’s making me like him much less than I used to. I can’t really figure out what to do about it. Do I tell him that I read his post, and found his comments offensive? Do I pretend not to have read it? Do I simply chalk it up to the delights of life in the 21st century?

June 6, 2007. meta, work. 16 comments.

listen

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about Ryan Fitzgerald, the guy who posted his phone number on YouTube and unleashed a media firestorm, inviting everyone who had something to say to call him. That offer seems to have touched a nerve, and he’s had a lot of phone calls since then, mostly from people who just wanted to talk to someone.

I’ve been reading the book The Shockwave Rider* recently, and it’s eerily prescient about a whole bunch of internet-related things, eerie because it was written in 1975, when the internet was not-yet-dreamt-of by most of us. The basic premise is that the people in the world of the novel live in a ‘plug-in’ society, where everyone’s lives are in unceasing upheaval–they move in and out of jobs, houses, relationships, families–with little constancy from one year to the next.

The main character grows up as a sort-of-rent-a-kid, hired out to couples that are in town for a year. At about age 11, his intellectual powers win him a spot at an elite institute, where he is indoctrinated as a future leader, but he eventually sours on the place and escapes. He survives underground by programming new identities for himself through dial-up telephone lines.

The book features a utopian community, Precipice, which survives financially by providing a service called Hearing Aid to the rest of the society. It’s Hearing Aid that reminded me of Ryan Fitzgerald. The people of Precipice make the same offer to their society that Fitzgerald has made to ours–they’re there to listen. You can call them, at any hour of the day or night, and talk. You don’t have to worry that they’ll report you to the government, or that they’ll judge you. They’ve hacked the system, so their calls can’t be monitored. The phones are always ringing, because there’s always someone with something to confess, some secret to share.

The Shockwave alluded to in the title is the dislocation that the world’s residents feel, due to their plug-in lifestyle. Reading about Fitzgerald this week made me wonder how far from that world we are now.

*BTW, I’d never heard of this book until Comfort Addict mentioned it in a comment he left here a while ago. CA, if you’re out there, come on back and tell me about some more obscure science fiction novels that will blow my mind.

April 25, 2007. books for grown-ups, meta. 3 comments.

who makes you think?

One of my favorite things about having a blog is when someone leaves me a comment that lets me know I made them think about something differently. So I was delighted when Suzanne tagged me as a Thinking Blogger. I also really love writing that makes me think, particularly writing that makes me get outside the box of my own head.

There are so many bloggers who affect me. Some of them probably don’t even know I’m reading them–because sometimes after reading an affecting post, I don’t know what to say, and so I don’t comment. But it still touches me.

Suzanne took this meme to a new level, by not just naming the bloggers who made her think, but the specific posts that were especially “think-worthy.”  I’m going to follow in her footsteps, and award “Thinking Blogger” to the following:

Thordora, for her post Voices Carry

Michael Willis, for his post Total Raisin Bran

Angry Black Bitch, for her post Nasty Little Revival

Elle, ABD, for her post Mothers of Color

and Brett, for his post An Outdoor Experience That Changed My Life

March 21, 2007. memes, meta. 8 comments.

I could look at this for hours…

have you checked out bloglines new image wall yet? I could look at this all day. It’s a constantly-updating series of images from blogs.

No, I don’t have a life.

Also, I’ve added new page to my blog–look up at the top, to the right of the header. It’s tracking what I’ve read so far this year. Pretty exciting, I know. Have I mentioned that I don’t have a life?

March 10, 2007. meta. 4 comments.

trouble commenting

Is anyone else having trouble commenting on Blogger? I have lost the ability to comment on half of the blogs I read, because for some reason, the visual verification isn’t working. Instead of having the string of nonsense letters & numbers, I just see the words “visual verification.” I’ve tried just putting in some random letters & numbers of my own, but that doesn’t seem to work.

This just started happening at the end of last week. I’ve emailed a couple of comments to folks, but not everyone has an email address on their blog–if anyone has suggestions as to how I might fix this, I’d appreciate it. I’m using Firefox, btw.

March 5, 2007. meta. 8 comments.

wanna be on my ticket?

I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to be the PTA president. I’ve had a fairly easy ride as vice-president these last two years, but now that it’s time to pick my cabinet, I’m befuddled and bewildered. For one thing, there are very few people willing to run as vice-president, when they know it means they turn into the president two years from now. For another thing, the current PTA officers keep wandering around during school events saying, “next year, this will all be yours!” and then cackling evilly.

Yeah, thanks, could you say that a little louder next to the kindergarten parents? I don’t think you’ve scared them off enough yet.

So I decided to put together my dream PTA ticket from the parenting blogosphere. We might not live in the same zip code (or even the same country), we might not bake for the bake sale or direct the talent show, but a girl’s gotta have a dream. Here’s my dream team.

For Treasurer: Penguin from penguinunearthed. I mean, she wrote a post about being an actuary–she must be good with money, right? And, she’s got working mom guilt. I can’t have any PTA allies without working mom guilt–how could I relate to them?

For Recording Secretary: Kimberly from Sanity & the Solo Mom. Blogger (other than me) most likely to have given birth to my daughter. The one thing I would really worry about is how landisdad would handle having her girls as well as our kids when my cabinet and I went out drinking together to plan back-to-school night.

For Corresponding Secretary: Vicki from Procrastamom, because I think she can actually type. Plus, her kids are older than mine, and she’ll be able to tell me how to avoid various tweener pitfalls (or at least laugh ruefully when I encounter them). And, she makes delightful cards!

And for Vice President: my good blog friend and the monster of all daddybloggers, Metrodad. First, because I really want a man on the ticket (subverting the dominant paradigm one old-school principal at a time). Second, because I like to do spit-takes during meetings, and I’m sure with Pierre around I’d be doing that at every PTA get-together. Emma Goldman famously said, “if I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.” I feel the same way about sarcasm, and I’m almost positive that sarcasm will be the centerpiece of the Metrodad revolution.

Who would you pick to run your fantasy PTA?

March 1, 2007. memes, meta. 6 comments.

Carnival of Feminists #32

I’m not sure if I’m lucky or unlucky to be hosting this Carnival. On the one hand, it covers a period of time when the feminist blogosphere sustained an attack of tremendous proportions on two of its favorite daughters (does the blogosphere have daughters?). On the other hand, I’ve seen a pretty amazing outpouring of support for those two women. I’m talking, of course, about

The Great Edwards Campaign Kerfuffle of Aught Seven

For those of you living under a rock (or just outside the US), in short, the Edwards Campaign opened up a Pandora’s box by hiring feminist bloggers Amanda from Pandagon & Melissa from Shakespeare’s Sister. That hiring was subsequently criticized by crazy Catholic William D*n*h*e, leading to My people call it accurate.. by Angry Black Bitch. For a hot second, piny from Feministe thought Edwards might have a spine after all, and Jill from the same blog took the opportunity to point out that it was the real extremists who were calling Amanda an extremist. Sara E Anderson at f-words pointed out that lots of people with strong opinions have run for office or worked for candidates. Raging red opined that her vote for Edwards was less secure as a result of his handling of the situation.

But in the end, first Amanda and then Melissa left the campaign. Amanda wrote eloquently of her decision at Salon, and Melissa announced her resignation on her own blog. Many, many bloggers wrote about their reaction to the news, some of which are collected here under I Am Spartacus. But I’m giving the last word on this topic to my blog-friend Elizabeth over at Half-Changed World, who lamented the current level of political discourse in our country.

Hooha about Hoohah

Some spineless clever folks down in Florida decided to rename Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, after someone complained about seeing the word “vagina” on the theater’s marquee. Bitch PhD (caution, some folks thought it was NSFW) wrote about the irony of a play that tries to keep women from feeling shame about their genitalia being censored. I was mildly amused, to see on f-words, this defense of the play by an anonymous nun. And stroppybird pointed out on her stroppyblog that now every kid will know what the play is about.

Policy Pandemonium

Lots of folks had good things to say about women’s health. There’s been a fair amount of controversy on the parenting blogs about the HPV vaccine, and the decision by the state of Texas to make it mandatory for sixth grade girls, so I was interested to see what some non-parent feminists had to say about it. Debbie from Body Impolitic wrote an interesting post about the disturbing potential that Merck is trying to get the vaccine made mandatory to protect themselves from liability. And *e from A Blog Without a Bicycle wonders why the mandatory-ness is aimed at tween-aged girls, and not other at-risk populations?

In other reproductive health news, Rachel from Women’s Health News reported on the move by a Tennessee Republican to propose death certificates for abortions, Terry from I See Invisible People asked readers to write to Wal-M*rt’s CEO Lee Scott to make Plan B available in all their stores, and Rachel from RachelAPP’s Blog wrote about how her monthly cycle reminds her that her body needs care. C-A at Figure: Demystifying the Feminist Mystique wrote a post about Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania’s proposal to efforts to ban lay midwives, Bean from A Bird and a Bottle spoke up in favor of the need of women in drug treatment to have reliable child care, and Thirza Cuthand from Fit of Pique dashed off a post about bipolar disorder and sexuality.

Laura from 11D informs us about the Bush Administration’s decision to seek comments on the FMLA, in the interest of making every working parent’s life harder. But Miriam from Everyday Mom points out the complexities for feminists, as women small business owners lead the charge against a New Jersey bill to provide paid family leave. On a somewhat related note, Shawna from Girlistic wrote An Open Letter to her co-workers, asking them not to focus all her attention on the fact that she was leaving her child to come to the office.

It’s all over but the shouting

And last, but definitely not least, a little category I like to call “miscellaneous.” In a post title near and dear to my heart, sailorman wrote about raising feminist daughters. I’ve done a fair amount of flipping genders while reading stories to the preschooler set, it’s an interesting exercise. Several bloggers had something to say about money—Penny Nickel penned an excellent post about the long-term effects of sexism in salary negotiations, and what to do about it. Joolya posted a letter to a colleague about why ‘marrying up’ might still make sense to some women.

Uma from Indian Writing produced a great post on racialized makeup advertising. Naiades from Mind the Gap also wrote about advertising, with an emphasis on over-sexualized images. Sue from Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents wrote about a lack of women political bloggers in her local community. And I’m giving the final link in this Carnival to Heart from Women’s Space/the Margin, for her great profile of Nawal Al Saadwi.

Thanks everyone, for the wonderful submissions–I’m sorry I wasn’t able to use them all. This was a lot of work, but I truly enjoyed having the chance to focus on such fine feminist writing. And now, back to your regularly scheduled mommyblog…

February 21, 2007. meta, politically motivated. 22 comments.

sometimes, you just gotta say what the ‘f’?

the ‘f’ in this case being short for ‘feminist’

The 31st Carnival of Feminists is up in two parts, over at petitpoussin’s blog, truly outrageous.

Guess who’s hosting the next Carnival in two weeks? None other than yours truly.

Because I, apparently, am insane. Do you see how many posts that is? Two parts, people! Start sending me links! (take deep breaths, LM, take deep breaths)

February 7, 2007. meta, politically motivated. 4 comments.

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