I can’t decide

if it’s annoying or endearing that the Netflix is trying to predict things for me to watch based on the Potato’s SpongeBob consumption and the Bee’s addiction to binge-watching cooking shows…


Someday, I’ll miss this. I’ll have a queue that only reflects my personal viewing, and it won’t be nearly as quirky, right?


May 8, 2013. meta. Leave a comment.

the social niceties of social networking

I’ve been struggling to manage my Twitter feed, since I came back from BlogHer and added a bunch of new followers. Some of those were people who I met and thought were cool–so I started following them. Some of them were people who followed me, and I counter-followed them out of politeness. I’m not talking about the Twitter stalkers I picked up–the folks who are just about marketing.

But you know what? My feed is practically unreadable at this point. I need to prune.

I feel bad, unfollowing someone just weeks after I started following him or her. But I also feel bad missing the tweets of people I have real relationships with, because some new follower tweets 30 or 40 times in an hour. What are your Twitter feed standards?

August 18, 2010. meta. 4 comments.

I have a voice

I went to BlogHer last weekend, and I met some lovely women, including Velma and IlinaP, who I already ‘knew’ from these here interwebs. It was very fun to hang out with Velma, and I’m sorry that I didn’t get to spend more time with Ilina–from her 5 p.m.  Fridays posts, I know she’s my kind of gal, as far as the drinking goes. I also met some fab new bloggers, including Anita and Maegan and Melissa. I have a ton of new Twitter followers (waves) and found some new people to follow on Twitter as well, which is awesome because as we all know, I tweet a hell of a lot more than I blog.

There were some amazing things that happened that I’m glad I got to witness, especially the panel of International Activist Bloggers, who are simply kicking ass all over the place. I went to the MomsRising lunch on Saturday, and that was awesome too. I also went to a session that I found really irritating–I’m not going to revisit it here, but if you’re bored, go read my Twitter feed from Saturday afternoon.

But there was something odd about it for me, and it wasn’t until I left on Saturday night that I really figured out what it was.

I have a voice.

I don’t mean that in the “my blog is my voice” kind of way. I mean it in an “I have actual power and privilege in the world” kind of way.

And for all that I think blogging can give voice to people with no voices, I think for the most part, many of those specific conference attendees have voices even without their blogs, too.

I spent a lot of the conference feeling like I was passing for someone other than who I am–and to be fair, because I blog pseudonymously and didn’t introduce myself the way I do in the world, that’s to some degree what I was doing. I didn’t wear a t-shirt that showed my radical politics or cut-off jeans–I dressed like a suburban mom who was in the big city for a weekend.

And the thing I was most disappointed by about BlogHer was that I didn’t feel enough recognition of the privilege that almost all bloggers have, nor did I figure out anything new about how to use my own privilege to help empower other people. Almost all the sessions that I went to were in the “Change Agents” category–meaning they were aimed at people who wanted to do some cause-oriented or empowering blogging–so that seems like kind of a problem to me. To be honest, the most political thing I heard any presenter say in any of the sessions was in a session that Liz Henry did on keeping yourself safe from being hacked, where she compared the threat of danger that is raised around internet security to the threat of danger that is used to keep women from going out alone at night, or otherwise exercising agency in the world. (and can I just say–Liz Henry rocks. Squeeee!)

In some ways, my disappointment reflected the fact that I work in an environment where people talk about the importance of collective action all the time–and I know that is not the case for most people in the US. I think, though, that that means that the conference organizers have a special responsibility to help figure out–while we’re together as a collective–how our collective voices can maximize our impact–there was, for example, nary a mention of net neutrality, which seems like a pretty good target for blogger activism. And instead, what I felt was that the conference did a really good job of maximizing everyone’s individual voice.

I’m not sad I went, I didn’t think it was a waste of time, and I did enjoy the hell out of the things that I enjoyed (plus, free flash drives!). But I don’t think I’ll be heading to San Diego next August.

August 9, 2010. meta. 5 comments.

shameless linkage

I tweeted something the other day that was along the lines of “I sometimes think the sole purpose of the internet is for guys to give me musical suggestions.”

I’ve gotten some great ones recently. And I would be remiss if I didn’t direct my readers to the guy who’s given me the most new recommendations in the past year—Drew from The Listomania.

He’s been (perhaps too slowly for my tastes, sometimes) putting up a list of the top 100 songs of the first decade of the 21st century. Some amazing stuff I’d never heard of—check it out! And hat tip to jo(e) for turning me on to him in the first place—I think he’s a friend of one or more of her boys.

July 27, 2010. meta. 4 comments.

blogher nerves

So we just got back from our vacation, and I’m reading up on everyone’s BlogHer posts. Starting to feel like everyone already knows everyone else, and I will be the lonely girl in the corner who has no friends.

I know, you pity me.

Who’s coming to BlogHer, and will let me sit at their cool kids’ table?

July 19, 2010. meta. 5 comments.

what do you do?

when your co-worker (in a different city) refuses to acknowledge your texts, emails, phone calls and even DMs on Twitter?

You stalk her on g-chat till you see her online and say: “when can we talk.”

At least, until she blocks me there.

February 26, 2010. meta. 1 comment.

BBSP at five years, the remix

So yesterday, I put up my top-ten most-read posts. Today, it’s just my personal top ten. YMMV.

I did, by the way, read through almost every old post on my blog in order to write this post. Just not the memes. Remember how many memes there were in the blogosphere, five years ago? I think those have pretty much been replaced by Facebook quizzes.

I did make an editorial decision not to pick posts that had a trackback from my own blog—if those posts are worth re-reading, they’re not hard to find. There had to be some kind of criteria, or I never would have gotten it down to ten.

One thing that really struck me was how much my kids’ personalities were fully-formed when I started this blog–though of course, they are so much younger in those early posts. If only I had known then what I know now…

I’m really happy that I’ve kept this thing going, though, if for no other reason than that it gives me the ability to go back and read about moments that I’d totally forgotten…like when the Potato was praised for not eating crayons.

#10–Reading the first year of my blog brought back a lot of fun memories, but also some painful ones.

#9–Once upon a time, I drove across the country to a soundtrack provided by Eddie Vedder.

#8–When I first started writing this blog, landisdad had a more demanding job than I did. That’s changed, big-time, over the past five years.

#7–Did you know that I really like maps?

#6–I’m happy that we’ll be going back to one of our all-time favorite family vacation locations this summer.

#5–My kids can be awfully creative, when they want to.

#4–I often struggle with anger management.

#3–Sibling rivalry is a common thing to read about, on this blog.

#2–If you read my blog at all, you can’t avoid the politics. Or the peace movement.

#1–Will the worry ever stop? I don’t think so.

There’s a special category of posts about books, that needs a top ten of its own. In no particular order (and the track back rule did not apply).

The Potato learns how to act out Caps for Sale.

I write alot about books and parenting, both my own parenting and the parenting I received.

There was the time I rediscovered my love of zines.

Still one of my favorite kid books of all time.

My to-be-read pile has once again outgrown this old picture.

The Bee’s competitive nature, combined with her love of reading, has worked out well for her.

February 2, 2010. meta. 2 comments.

the five-year mark

Five years ago today, I opened my first account at Blogger and started this blog. At that point, the Bee was a five-year-old in kindergarten, and the Potato was only 18 months old. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then, both in our house, and on this site. I’m glad I’ve kept this blog going, though it’s been tough to focus on, sometimes. I usually post a year-in-review on my blogaversary (sp?), and I’ll be doing that today. It’s also, as you can see, time for my annual blog redesign.

Tune in tomorrow for Landismom’s greatest hits of the past five years.


Believe it or not, I only wrote one blog post last February, which was about my kids’ newspaper reading habits. The irony of that juxtaposition* does not escape me.


In March, I posted a couple of times about the effects of the recession, on the kids’ school and the number of people that I knew who were looking for work. We also welcomed a new niece to the family, and the Bee had some advice for her older sister.


The Bee took home her first spelling bee trophy. The kids staged their first demonstration. And I worried about how to push the Bee out of the nest, a tiny little bit.


In May, I took a step back and wrote two posts about ten things I love about each kid. We had some major emotional breakthroughs in our house, which were difficult for everyone. And on the cusp of fifth grade, the Bee got made a safety.

In June, I spent a solid week wearing green in solidarity with the Iranians who were protesting the theft of their election, and marveling at the online support their democracy movement was receiving. The end of the school year came, and with it, a use for my blog that I never would have anticipated when I started it. I also violated my son’s rights in a most egregious way.


This year, for the first time, our kids went to day camp together. I took a solo trip with the kids to visit my mom. I was glad that the Bee was in therapy before we took that trip, and while things aren’t perfect, they’re slowly getting better.


was a jam-packed month, with the tea parties, and various vacation-related events. The kids started school before Labor Day, for the first time ever.


Not much happened in September, except that I painted a chalkboard on our basement wall. Oh, and the Bee turned 10. 10!


I got a creepy email from a campaign worker (whose candidate ended up dropping out of the race…go figure. And the Bee had to deal with another kid stealing from her in school.


I might have blogged in November more than any other month of the last year. Maybe that NaBlWriMo (?) thing worked, even though I’d never sign up for it. I did a fair amount of thinking about blogging and other forms of social media. I also taught the kids to sew, and took a picture of our pumpkin-like cat. Finally, I gave thanks for the little readers my kids are becoming.


In December, I had a crazy amount of work-related travel. The Potato wrote me his first-ever “mom’s going on the road” note, and got a Christmas present for his stuffed animal. The Bee came up with an idea for a new reality show (not, thank god, Jersey Shore). And I had my heart embiggened by a huge blizzard.


So far this year, I’ve been wondering about kids growing up, and enjoying the things they do now.

*the irony being that newspapers are dying the death of a thousand cuts via the internet being the topic of the only blog post I wrote in a month, that is

January 31, 2010. meta. 4 comments.

Don’t Mess with Textas

Earlier today, I was at a meeting where someone made an announcement about another meeting–the topic of which related to “teens who text instead of talking to their parents.” The person organizing that meeting went on a rant about how teens are “texting, tweeting, FaceSpacing (sic)–they’d rather talk to someone 20,000 miles away, than talk to their own parents!”

I leaned over to the friend next to me & said, “if my kids knew about this kind of intervention, they’d stage it on me, not vice versa!”

He leaned back & said, “I’m pretty sure someone made similar complaints when they invented the telephone–‘No one writes letters anymore!’.”

November 9, 2009. meta. 8 comments.

on twitter and the iranian revolution

Demostration in silence in front of governmental TV station ... on Twitpic

Demostration in silence in front of governmental TV station ... on Twitpic

Way back in the first year of this blog, a little thing called Hurricane Katrina happened in this country. I was having kind of a slow week at work, and I sat in front of my laptop, day after day, watching the unfolding of a horror show that was fairly unprecedented in our country.

One of the things that amazed me, at the time, was the online community’s response. I found blogger after blogger who was doing something about the tragedy—the one I remember best being Liz at Badgerbag, whose daily messages from the Astrodome, where she was volunteering, were rage-filled and compelling. It wasn’t just that bloggers were blogging about their feelings—though that was going on too—but that they were actually doing things that helped people, and helped themselves through a period of emotional upheaval.

Flash forward five years to the present day, and it’s now Twitter that is allowing people to ‘do something’ in support of a situation that they are outraged about—theft of the Iranian election. I’ve been watching the hashtags #tehran and #iranelection over the past couple of days, and have been truly inspired by what I’ve seen, which is a community coming together in support of members at risk, who have developed an informal code of conduct (ie—don’t re-tweet using an Iranian’s Twitter ID; if you’re outside Iran, change your time zone & location to Tehran to confuse the Iranian military; change your profile picture to green to show solidarity with Moussavi’s supporters; don’t trust specific newly-created Twitter IDs, as they may have been created by the Iranian government to spread disinformation, etc.).

And that community is interested in viral expansion of support for the Iranian protesters. Within five minutes of the time that I posted a tweet saying that I didn’t know how to change the color of my profile picture, five different Twitter users responded to me with suggestions—2 of whom actually sent me a version of my profile pic in green. In fact, it can be a bit difficult, at this point, to find new info, because so many people are helpfully re-tweeting other’s responses. On the other hand, with the mainstream media being shut out of news coverage by the Iranian government, it’s the first place that many of us have heard about protesters being killed, or about the dorms at Tehran University being attacked by police.

It’s not just a visible show of support that people are manifesting, although that’s important. After reports that the Iranian government was shutting down cell networks and blocking activists’ Twitter accounts, people starting setting up proxy servers, and creating Denial of Service attacks against the state websites. One user even posted a guide on his blog, to explain to other users what they could do to help organizers in Iran. (Edited to add) And here’s a link to set up your home computer as an anonymous proxy for Iranians. I’ve linked to the Mac one, but there’s a Windows version too.

It’s a little humbling, to watch in real time as a father in Iran worries about his daughter, and tweets that he’s just heard that there are military police in the park that she was last in. And it can feel so far away, that park, and that girl—so far away that there’s nothing we can do to help. But every person reading this can do something to help that girl, right now. You can pick up the phone, and call your congressman, and tell him or her to ask the US to intervene. You can wear green to work tomorrow, even though it’s not St. Patty’s Day. In most big cities, you can find a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the Iranians, and you can attend it.

What gives me hope about both of these examples is the fact that people are willing to do something. Social media is giving us new ideas about exactly what to do, but it isn’t capable of making us care about something if we’re truly apathetic about it. The world wants to help.

(Note: Here’s a link to the Twitpic photo above–I couldn’t make it work with html.)

June 16, 2009. meta, politically motivated. 5 comments.

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