Friday, July 28, 2006

My Lance Bass Fan Website

Google is out of control. They clearly have way too much time and money on their hands. Have you checked out their "lab" page recently? They have developed tools and programs for everything conceivable. It sick is what it is. From web searches for the blind to Googlized maps of mars to a tool to plan public transportation trips in Portland (and only Portland), Google has developed it. I love Google Suggest which apparently will offer you real time suggestions on better key words than the ones you are currently typing. Ever get annoyed by Microsoft Office trying to force words on you as you type? Yeah, its like that, for the web.

The one feature they don’t have is the one I was looking for. Naturally. After reading an article in today's paper about these 20 year old girls who were making $100,000 a month in Ad Sense revenue from their website which offers free MySpace templates, I decided to immediately jump on that rickety, overcrowded bandwagon (probably along with the Washington Post's 6 million other subscribers). But first, I needed to know what the hot search terms were so I could create a webpage that would lure them in like hungry minnows.

Except Google refuses to tell me. Unless I am to believe that "Lance Bass" is truly the top search term.

I asked my friend: "Do You think it's possible that Lance Bass is the top search term right now?"

She said: "Who is Lance Bass?"

I said: "You know, that gay singer from N synch that just came out of the closet?"

She said: "I'm so out of that scene"

I said: "look, trust me, Im no n-synch fan, but this was on CNN!"

She said: "I havent had the TV on today"

I said: "It was a couple days ago. Are you living in a cave with Osama?"

THEN she changed the subject. Very suspicious, no?

Well, I guess I should get to work on my "Lance Bass" Ad-Filled Website.

The Benefits of Shunning Diversity

Working in a male dominated company is a mixed bag. While my inner feminist weeps, I have to admit it has some benefits. For example, there is the fun of watching your boss squirm and nervously fidget in extreme discomfort as you calmly explain why you are requesting a private office to express your breastmilk because otherwise you intend to do it in your open cube (note only middle management gets the benefit of "immersion with staff to promote openness". Senior management is locked away in a separate wing with full offices). Lets face it, for a mother returning to work bleary-eyed after maternity leave, and after nursing an infant 52 times a day at all hours of the day and night, your squeamishness on openly discussing breastfeeding fades. In these types of male dominated environments, lactation rooms are not real high on the priority list, though we proudly offer foos ball tables, slurpie machines, and streaming media of sporting events. You have to essentially freak out the men enough to the point at which they say- fine! Take it! Just stop talking about female body parts! (now if you want to *show* me some, that’s a different story). So as long as you can say "engorgement" without flinching, the world can be your oyster.

Another benefit is that there are less people in the ladies room. While two men chatting their way into the men's room is a common sight, there is a less common, awkward pause as a man realizes he has "caught you in the hallway" on your way to the ladies room and you aren’t intending to abandon your trip to chat with him. They tend to freeze with a look of confusion about 5 feet away from the door, as if they have been zapped by a canine invisible fence. This always makes me smile as I sail through the door, unaccompanied. As far as I am concerned, the less people in the bathroom, the better. I can't understand those people that want to make small talk in the bathroom. If I had my way, all bathroom stalls would have those full floor to ceiling walls and doors. Substantial enough that the post office would probably deliver your mail there if you slapped a number on it. Stuck with our flimsy metal dividers, I want to get out of there as soon as possible. I will only talk to people in the bathroom in extreme circumstances, like if I am with friends and I don’t want them to know that I’m neurotic. Otherwise, shut up.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Potty Training Report 1: Its not looking good

Now that Jack is 2 and a half, I'm beginning to get concerned that he hasn’t yet woken up one day and decided to potty train himself by dinner time. Which has pretty much been my potty training plan to date. Mission: Wait for Toddler Inspiration.

At Playgroup yesterday, the subject came up, as I'm sure it does in every 2-3 year old playgroup on the planet. One woman said she was amazed at how easy it was. That she made a little chart and the child got stickers for going and the stickers added up to a reward. Within a week, he was trained.

"What kind of reward?" I asked, evaluating just how much funding this reward system approach would take. V-smile systems? High end tricycles?

"Oh, you know, like 5 M&Ms or being allowed to watch a video", she said

Hmmm. I'm trying to imagine Jack waiting for 5 stickers to pile up to earn those rewards. Based on that list, Jack gets rewarded all the time. Like when Mommy wants to read the newspaper. Or when Mommy wants him to stop crying for M&Ms.

Please snip and send any extra diaper coupons you may have, it appears that I will be needing them for a long long time to come.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

No Comment

Hey You! Yes, I’m talking to you. Who are you, how on earth did you end up here, and why aren’t you commenting with witty retorts?

I started this blog 3 months ago on a whim, despite never having read a blog myself and knowing I was unfashionably late to the blog party. I was also pretty sure no one would ever find my blog. I’m an internet addict (I sat in the dark for 5 hours last week because the power went off and I was unable to look up the Power Company’s number online to report the outage… I forgot about the Phone Book), and I don’t recall ever stumbling onto a blog. I sure as heck wasn’t going to tell my friends about it, lest they actually come and read it thus ruining my opportunity to use them and their private lives as subject matter. Anyway, It seemed clear that bloggers banded together and went looking for each other and that was that. Blogging was the “back alley” of the WWW if you will.

Somehow, that all naiveté evolved into me reading blogs every day (that, she’s so funny. Every time I read her I want to go back and burn my blog.) and actually continuing to post on my own occasionally. While these are both surprising, I’m actually the most in shock over the fact that, according to my sitemeter reader, I have had over 400 visitors. Now granted, 80% of those were probably me, but still that means that at least (argh, math) 80 or so people-who-are-not-me have come to my site.

And of those vistors, according to sitemeter, the average visit duration is “0 seconds”. At first, this got me fairly hot under the collar. What the heck, I thought. Does my site give off some sort of Ebola vibes that causes people to immediately yank their computer power cord out of the wall? Then, in my increasing blog savvyness, I realized that it had to do with page views or something like that which has not yet interested me enough to get me to read the entire explanation. I think am partially afraid it will say at the end, “…unless this is in reference to One Day At a Time, in which case your average visit is truly zero seconds. Sorry”.

And I learned something else through sitemeter- the internet actually tells the pages what you typed into a search engine to get to their page and it will go so far as to pinpoint it was someone in your city typing in “unnatural sex acts, biscuits”. Holy cow. For heavens sake, I don’t want to be anyway affiliated with some of my “queries of boredom” as I’ll call them, even within a 100 mile radius. And trust me, some of you should feel the same way, especially visitor number 256 who somehow found my blog by googling “time of sucker management is done in pineapple”.

In any event, I see many of you are men and women of few words. That’s ok (no its not!). Just because I want to ramble on doesn’t mean you have to (you really should). Really, its reward enough to know that I have connected with so many of you (and mostly me) for those precious 0 seconds.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Strandings and Strange Engine Noises

It is the end of an era. My husband and I bit the bullet, took the plunge and pulled out all the stops. Yep, we finally got a new car. It was not outside the realm of possibility to think that this may never happen. We are not what you call rapid decision makers. It took us 3 years to buy a house, 5 years to decide on a dining room set and 6 years to have a child. The cars, well at both 11 years old, they seemed a lot of like permanent fixtures. My husband is met-tic-u-lous when it comes to car care, so they still looked like new, even as engine parts fly off and hit traffic behind us. Aside from the obvious benefit of having forgotten what a car payment was, we weren’t really the type to worry too much about what we drove, despite constant jokes from our friends about our antique classics. My husband, an accountant, was very clear on the concept of "depreciating assets" so we just drove and drove and drove on some more.

However, for his car, we have found over the last year that it’s safest to keep it within a two mile radius of home, unless you are up for an "adventure" that you won’t easily be able to walk home from. His lemonmobile was a 95 Chevy Blazer with 170,000 miles, which was probably technically still considered a new car since every element had been replaced at least once. This car was a disaster from the start, yet my husband continued to insist that it "runs good, its smooth don’t you think"? At least we got great gas mileage since the car was usually in the shop.

Well somehow in the space of a week, we went from "keeping the car to at least 200,000 miles!" to my husband finding a great deal on a 2007 Tahoe LTZ at which point the Blazer "probably wont make it until the end of the month, baby". Although suspicious of this rapid change in attitude (I prefer attitudes to shift gradually over the course of a decade or so), I said, "sure, whatever" to the purchase of a new car. Because I’m hip and I can roll with the punches (other than my two hour lecture on the perils of buying another Chevy beginning with: "are you insane?")

So we have to head up North 6 hours to get the new car, because that’s where the super-duper deal is. Again, though the Blazer had previously been slated to go into the mileage hall of fame, my husband insisted now it was barely scotched taped together and wouldn’t go faster than 60mph. Our son kept yelling "Fast! Fast!" from the baby seat, since my husband usually drives in such a manner as to leave me digging my nails in the leather seats and reflexively punching my feet onto the floor in search of a passenger side brake. The kid didn’t know what we were doing in the right lane being passed by bicyclists.

So as not to entice me by this new safe driving, my husband also came up with a rule that I couldn’t turn on the air conditioning, despite it being literally 95 degrees out. I sat melting into the seat, the open windows created a vortex within so that anything not nailed down was sucked out of the vehicle. My son was draped listlessly in his car seat, hair plastered to his face, eyes squinting from the wind. I said, "what happened to this car being so smooth? Are you trying to ensure my support of this new car by making me as miserable as humanly possible?" Finally, my husband relented and turned on the air conditioning. On bilevel low. Whatever.

At the car dealership, we parked next to the new Tahoe and piled out of the Blazer feeling a little nostalgic. We walked around the Tahoe to inspect and admire, and by the time we got back around, the Blazer was gone. These dealers clearly are taking no chances that you may change your mind. I looked everywhere on the lot and it was nowhere to be found. It probably had already been crushed into a little green can.

In any event, the ride back, after a week of visiting family, was smooth and comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can get when your two year old refuses to nap and kicks the back of your seat the entire time. Still, it's strange not to see the old car leaking oil on the driveway anymore, I keep thinking my husband has gone to the store, until I step into my garage and have to turn sideways to slither by the behemoth that now occupies it. Ah well, onward and upward, as they say.