Friday, December 19, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Have you ever heard of Light Painting?
It's a lot of fun and the results are unpredictable — which is just one part of the fun.

One result I did NOT expect was to have my photos featured on another blog — and not just any other blog — Robert Lachman's Photography and the Mac.com photography site! I was very honored when he asked me if he could use my photos in a slide show on his site for a post on Improving Your Holiday Photos. Robert gives great tips about photography and his blog has really been inspiring me lately to dip back into my passion for the art. Robert's impressive history and experience with the art of photography really shows in the unique moments in time he's captured throughout the years. Check out his portfolio.

My Christmas Tree Became a Paintbrush
The other week I was pretty proud of how nicely our tree turned out this year after I decorated it and I wanted to photograph it all lit up. I love the way it looks in the middle of the night, when I'm still up finishing up tasks around the house. Everything is quiet and it's just me and our Christmas Tree. (I never imagined how hard it would be to get stuff done around the house with a toddler constantly under your feet at all times!) I waited till Nate and Lucian went to bed and set up my trusty old tripod and started to experiment with the settings on our little old point-and-shoot digital camera.

Fireworks are an example of "painting with light." It is tricky to get really good photos of fireworks because it involves longer shutter speeds and having the correct exposure for low light. If you've ever tried to take pictures of fireworks using the standard setting on your point and shoot camera, then you know what I mean.

Here are some examples of my process.

BEFORE
Here is your average, ordinary shot of child in front of Christmas Tree. Boring. Not very lively or expressive.




AFTER
Here is almost the same shot only this time, it's lit up. See the difference?




Dancing With Lights
Here is where I had some fun with my Christmas Tree decor! This is my favorite shot. You can click on the link below to check out the rest of the album and also read the captions. I basically experimented with different movements of my camera while the shutter was open and "recording" the light show. Sometimes I kept the tripod stationery on the ground and just moved or jiggled the legs or adjusted the handle to change the angle. Other times I picked up the whole tripod and just moved it around.

From O Christmas Tree


Here is an embedded slide show of all of the photos I took that night and the experimentation with different movements while leaving the shutter open for longer exposure times. I've written details about the shots in the captions.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Geeking Out with iGrandma

Check it out! I was a guest on the "Call Your Grandma" show tonight with Patti Serrano. It was a lot of fun and I hope you might join us next week.

The show runs every Friday night at 10:00 pm ET.
Mark your iCal with a pop up reminder. The show is simulcasted using UStream and TalkShoe so you get it from different angles using audio and video streaming while also being a podcast to which you can subscribe.

What's the show about? Go ask your Grandma and find out!

Patti has invited me to do a weekly Mac Segment. Tonight's show was just an introduction. This is NOT a "Mac Show." Some people have already asked me, so I thought I should point that out. It's a show about having some fun using social media to talk about anything and Patti is brave enough to pull all the strings to make it happen. She also happens to be a grandmother who uses a Mac to do it. If you know anything about me and have been reading my blog and twitter, then you know that's right up my alley.

For the audio portion of the show, it's best to listen to it from the TalkShoe feed for better sound quality. Click this TalkShoe graphic to play it or go directly to the page where you can listen there or subscribe in iTunes to the show.


I sounded like a dork, but oh well, that's me! The show is live and totally unscripted. We rely on feedback from the chat room to let us know how it sounds and looks. While listening in to the TalkShoe stream it's hard to hear others speak because there is a slight lag, so that's why I kept rambling on and on. I'll have to work on that. But it's not half bad for being able to talk to people all over the country and world in one place with a few clicks of a mouse!

So, if you're free on Friday nights at 10:00 pm ET, come hang out with us on UStream or TalkShoe or both! For a couple of minutes each time, I'll be talking about general Mac stuff, some tips and tricks and the more techie side of things, like why it's called a Mac and not a 'MAC.' Okay, I'll come up with something better than that.

If you have a question you'd like to ask, interact with us in the chat room and I'll take my best shot at it from the hip!

Just in case you didn't figure it out on your own, I want you to know that is NOT me singing Natural Woman during the live recording. I did not drink enough beer before the show. Below is Carole King singing it and you should probably go wash your brain with this embedded video or with this link after hearing the male falsetto rendition of it during the show. (Although he was very brave to do it live!!)

I hope you'll come join us on Friday nights, have some fun and maybe learn a thing or two from some hipsters. Don't know about you, but gettin' geeky just makes me feel like a natural woman in an unnatural way. I think it's a lot of fun to toe the line.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guacamole Bowlee

I normally don't post about food or recipes. That's my husband's area of expertise, but I was too proud of this and had to share it. My friend Emily is going to be so proud of me! I can't wait till she sees this.

Ever since I moved out west, I have fallen in love with avocados. I had never even eaten one when I lived out east. I think I may have tried guacamole at a ChiChis restaurant maybe once, but it didn't leave an impression on me. I'm sure it's probably because the price of avocados are extremely high as compared to the sale prices out here in AZ.

I first got hooked when my sister-in-law made guacamole for us. Then I learned how to make it and now I am pretty much the designated Guacamole Queen in this family. I wear my crown very proudly. I have my own way of making it, which is different from the standard, but everyone loves my version of it and it never lasts long at a family gathering. The only thing I don't like about mine is that it's not as bright green like the kind you're used to seeing at the store. The reason is because I add red Hatch chili to mine so it gets a darker coloring to it.

Here is a picture that shows some of the ingredients I used in this batch. We had burrito night last week so this is the full spread of our dinner making items. If you live in the east, the tin of Old Bay seasoning might catch your eye. Yep, I even use a little bit of that in my guacamole just to make it all my own. That Old Bay is sent to me by my mother since it isn't as easy to find out here in AZ where they no nothing about a good clam chow-dah.

I called this post "Guacamole Bowlee" because that is what I've decided to name my new little kid's treat that I just made up for Lucian. When I was making guacamole last week, he was getting impatient for his share of the goods, so I just quickly grabbed one of the avocado skins I had scraped out and just put a scoop, chip and spoon into it. It made the perfect little bowl for him. Just his size and fits in the palm of his hand. He is now old enough to eat chips without choking but he is still getting the hang of using a spoon. He loved it so much, he had seconds and thirds!

You see, the boy just loves avocados. He would turn into one if we let him. It was the very second baby food he ever ate right after rice cereal. (Again, thanks to Emily and the fabulous book called Super Baby Food she gave us that taught us how to make our own baby food.) It turns out that avocados are one of the most perfect, natural baby foods you can give your child at any age starting as early as four months old. We started at six months old as seen in this photo of him.

Wow, this brings back memories. Poor little guy had such bad eczema back then. We had to really be careful which foods we introduced to him when.

While he was still in public day care, his eczema was so horrible to the point of almost bleeding. Once I started staying home with him, it cleared up because I kept on top of it. I also think that constantly having avocado smeared all over his skin helped too! There is also what looks to be oatmeal in this photo mixed in there too. And to think we women pay the big bucks for skin masks that have the same ingredients!!)

We made all of our own baby food and rarely bought store-brand. We only ever bought store-brand when we were going to travel and even that didn't really matter once we collected enough of the glass jars and lids to reuse with our own home-made variety. We loved making our own baby food for him. Nate took much pride in using his handy-dandy food processor. It was probably one of the better investments we've made when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I'm sure it has paid for itself well over by now.

One trick I enjoy sharing with new parents about to start feeding solids is avocado cubes as I like to refer to them. When baby is old enough for finger food and just beginning to master the pincer grasp, avocado cubes are perfect for this. Just take one avocado, slice in half and remove the pit. Instead of just scooping out the "meaty part" with a spoon or fork, instead, run your knife down vertically to create 4 cuts long-wise. Next, turn the avocado sideways and now run your knife down and make another few cuts to intersect so you have square-shaped cuts. Lastly, turn the avocado over so the skin side is facing you. Pinch near the center and squeeze gently to pop the cubes out onto a plate. There you have it! The perfect baby food that grows with your baby's needs for feeding!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Parody Was The Pill I Needed

Now THIS IS funny. Just what I needed to soothe my pain.
And you know how much I like boob jokes.



I hope we can move past this soon, but not before we learn some important lessons from it all. (And when I say 'we' I really mean 'me' but ya can't blame me for hoping for a larger collective.) I really wish someone would put an end to the original Motrin ad on YouTube. I mean, seriously — why hasn't THAT been pulled? (Just in case it has by the time I publish this post, as of now, it's still being linked to and it's got over one hundred thousand views.) Isn't it illegal to scrape it from the motrin.com site and post it to YouTube? I wish someone would explain to me why this is ok. Isn't it counterproductive for the same people who complained about stopping the original ad campaign to keep linking to it and promoting it? I used to think that there was a simple common goal: to possibly get the original ad removed or revised on the company's website and educate people about the misconstrued facts of babywearing. (The Sept. 30th ad campaign wasn't even popular before this past week but sure is now while it's on YouTube.) I just don't get how that got all messed up. I'm also still peeved about the people who bitched about the ad in the beginning who keep trying to milk it for their own selfish and personal gain. I am no longer linkbaiting anything that drives traffic towards the original ad or the people who stirred the pot and spoiled the stew. I'm even considering removing the links from my original post on the whole thing. I'm just talking about how I've allowed myself to feel about the whole experience and what I'm trying to learn about myself from it.

One annoying thing is that now we've got all sorts of "experts" spewing their psychobabble about the effects of the "mommy mafia" on marketing who then link to the Queenpins which pushes more traffic to their sites. I don't quite yet know just what to make of that whole bag of hurt. Maybe the "marketing analysts" are right. Maybe they're also for hire. It frustrates me though because of the perceived ill threats this poses to moms with blogs and the sincere business efforts they try to achieve through social media on their behalf. I'm attracted to the idea of moms having a say and maybe even getting compensated for their ideas about how marketing could be improved to make advertising more effective. I'm also kind of turned off though when we act like the market owes us something just because we're moms. I joke about it at times when something pisses me off and I feel like I can "threaten to blog about it" but I'm also part Italian and the whole "mafia" thing has always been a tongue in cheek thing with me.

I suppose it's only human for us to always look for some kind of a power trip to makes us feel worthy in situations where we feel our personal beliefs are being threatened. I have to wonder though — are we mommy bloggers (whatever you want to call it or not call it) so desperate for attention these days? The competition is really getting the best of us I think. (Present company included.) I used to think it was a nice community in which to belong. Moms promoting other moms just because we think each other are cool. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Blogging with other moms used to be one big happy lovefest for me. It made me feel giddy and like I belonged to a group who accepted me even when I didn't shave my legs or put on a bra.

I'll be honest, I sometimes felt like I was exploiting the "#motrinmoms" situation by the couple of times I tweeted my blog post link or used the #hashtag to link myself to the conversation stream. I was excited at the prospect of commenting on another's blog to get a linkback in return. Oh the things we do for some traffic or to get noticed. This practice has been bred into us by the mommy bloggers who paved the way before it was a popular idea to have your own blog. They taught us the ways of the modern-day sewing circle. All the stitching of blogs together makes one collective group of moms with common goals and ideas.

My real intention of my original comment on the subject was to speak my mind on something I felt knowledgeable about and to then share that knowledge with others. (ok, this is the last time I'm going to apologize for myself.) But I couldn't leave it at that. I was too proud to let my comment — my content— to sit idle on another's blog who was getting attention. I don't want to just give my ideas away when I've got a stale post on my own blog just hanging there. The thoughts belong to me and I may want to revisit these thoughts in the future when I feel the need for reflection. When I began to copy my own comment and post it on my own blog, I thought about a way to introduce it. Then I thought it was a good opportunity to post on something I was passionate about which also brang back fond memories of my son from before I even had a blog. For so long I had been wanting to post something about my earlier parenting experiences for my son's portion of the "baby log." My blog is mostly about preserving my memories of my life including the people, experiences and philosophies I've had during my lifetime.

I also begin to wonder about this whole blogging for "business" scheme I've been thinking about getting in to. I'm trying to be more careful now. It's hard in this day and age of the modern-day-depression "economic downturn." The pressure to be an entrepreneur and push for self promotion to get by and rise above the competition out there is immense. I wonder if the stress of it all is starting to turn people into something they wouldn't normally be.

The more we dedicate, the more we medicate.
What the hell is in this water we're drinking?
If it is not laced with pride then it is tainted by greed.

All of these experts but no one to self mediate.
Where do we draw the line before blinking?
If we keep on wanting to belong we will always perceive the need.


It's not good enough to just be a stay-at-home-mom and especially when you have already started a career before choosing to stay at home to raise your family. I have found the stress to be overwhelming at times. I feel I still have to prove myself. I have to prove that I'm good for more than just changing diapers and cleaning toilets. Especially, since I have a college degree, I have to prove it to myself that I'm not letting it go to waste. We had to take out a second mortgage on our home to money launder our own debt, the bulk of which was my college loan. I feel so insanely guilty about that and I punish myself by allowing myself very few privileges in life. If I'm not working hard all the time, I don't feel worthy.

Despite the fact that I give great hugs, mend broken hearts, listen to troubles and dry tears, make things by hand and enjoy helping others for nothing in return — I still feel guilty for not doing enough.

You have to prove yourself to stay at home moms if your work out of the house and if you're a stay at home mom you have to prove you're just as active as a mom who works full time AND raises a family. I don't see where there is a win here. I've done BOTH now and BOTH sides have their merits. I decided to stay at home for many reasons. One of which was because the money wasn't enough to keep me slaving away at my previous full time job. I enjoyed the job very, very much, but the expectations and bureaucracy killed it for me. It's hard to say, but I'm inclined to think that a very LARGE amount of money would have been required to keep me punching someone else's clock, even at a job I could stomach. If I were making the equivalent of above and beyond mine and my husband's salary combined, I would have been harder pressed to quit and that's why I can understand the plight of the "working mom." Lucky for me I wasn't so embedded in my job at the time that I felt a sense of obligation to keep it. I knew I was easily replaced — not my efforts or ability — but me as a warm body to fill a slot that wasn't given a whole lot of priority. In other words, in my situation, I feel like I could always go back to a similar job or even a different job and that staying wasn't going to change that fact. After having so many different jobs, it's hard for me to feel any sense of loyalty for any one particular place. Take me or leave me. I'm an outstanding worker and if you compensate me and treat me well, I'll bend over backwards for you. But if you try to micromanage me or cheat me out of my worth, then there are other things I can do.

One skill I have that no one really ever thinks of putting on a job application is the ability to live on unemployment, still pay on my debts and take care of myself. I know how to hunker down and live within my means. I don't mind eating macaroni and cheese with tuna out of a can. I work to make a living doing something that I love. If you expect me to work to live, then I can make working livable, but not lovable or lasting.

I'm frustrated with myself for getting sucked in to what turned Twitter into a major soap opera. I have been trying to take a break from Twitter for the past couple of days now. It hasn't been easy, but I am trying to focus my attention on other things now. I do miss the way it used to feel to me. When people started using it for selfish promotion and to say nasty things to each other, it became tainted. It was like a bar fight broke out and now I'm not sure I want to go back to that bar. I think I've actually reached a point of burnout on it.

A couple of my friends have experienced this burnout too so I know I'm not alone. For me, Twitter is like the Cheers of online networking like AOL chat rooms used to be. Have you ever read the lyrics to the Cheers theme song? No? Well, you're in luck! You know you wanna. AOL chatrooms lost their appeal when the meat market and pr0n spambots took over. I fear Twitter might soon suffer a similar demise, but I really hope not. I know Twitter seems like a really powerful force to be reckoned with and people are claiming that companies will now be shaking in their boots about what affect it will have on marketing, but anything seems powerful enough when you live in a bubble. It's really easy to get sucked in to Twitter like it's your little world. Sometimes that makes it harder to be more objective.

I'll probably get back into it soon, because I still love it for all the great feedback I get when I have a question about something technical or feel like being silly geeky. I also do like to use it as a mini baby log by posting little #hashtagged thoughts about my son throughout the day and archiving the RSS feed on it.

If my blog posts aren't in the form of a personal journal entry to myself or a baby log about my son, they are usually in the form of a review, tip or promotion for something I enjoy and want others to know about. So, I'm going to keep reminding myself that this blog is for ME and these are MY feelings whether I'm right or wrong or just passionate but unsure.

Now, it's time to laugh about it, dammit!
Aaaay! Fuh-gettaboutit! You jes tell em' TheMacMommy told ya – iz all gonna be alright! Oh-KAY? sheesh. Fuh-gettaboutit! You should lissen to your own motherboard. Ya know? Deep down. Be true to yaself. Ay-ite?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Scarlet Blog

Don't read this. Really. I swear a lot and offend people. Mostly myself. Way too much scrolling involved. You don't have time to read this, trust me. Move on. You'll never forgive me if you don't.

Dear Blog,
I like lemonade. Do you like lemonade? I was hoping that by posting about the whole Motrin ad thing that I might be able to take something negative and turn it in to something positive. Oh silly me. Silly mommy blogger. What were you thinking? The whole thing has gotten so out of hand now and it's got me so pissed off at the Internet that I don't even have twitter open. Yes. It's that bad right now.

The whole "thing" whatever the hell this thing is — it's like a rash or something and I'm all worked up over it. I am so guilty when it comes to rubbernecking on the web. I subjected myself to reading all of the post shit-slinging and allowed myself to get worked up about it. I seriously thought about deleting my entire blog over some hurtful, hateful things people have said. Seriously. I am so close right now because some of the things were said by people I respect and would consider a friend. Maybe they are right and that's what bugs me.

The main reason is because I am so sick and tired of the online drama and my inability to not take part in it at times. Being snarky is a huge weakness of mine. I don't have a life, so I hang out online where I feel social and can commiserate with others. It usually makes me feel good. It usually makes me feel fulfilled. Until lately.

That's just one reason. Another is that if I hear or read more person say "must have a lot of time on her hands or nothing better to do than blog or tweet about it" or "wasting her time while there are more important things to do or talk about" — let's just say, if you come back here and get a 404 error or the page is empty, you'll know what happened.

They say if the shoe fits, buy another pair. Oh wait. No, sorry, that's what my mother says. She has a lot of shoes.

I don't know why I'm taking all of this shit so personally, but I am and I have to somehow come to terms with it and hope that I can get past it soon. Maybe I should go scrub my toilets. Maybe that would make me feel better. More like a true woman. Maybe washing the dishes would make me a more productive person in society and help to fulfil my obligation on this earth better than writing a blog, designing a website, trying to keep up in technology trends, because, you know vacuuming my carpet right now will keep me employable in this hell hole of an economy, won't it? When has learning anything done anyone, especially women, any good?

I don't know why I feel so guilty about posting on it. I still feel the same about most of what I wrote, but yet I've considered deleting it all. I thought I was trying to be fair and balanced. I thought I was trying to help a cause. I thought I was being passionate about supporting something I believed in when it came to babywearing and pointing out that dads do it too. I thought I was helping others and being supportive — of even those with whom I disagree.

All this because someone asked me to check out a blog post and comment on it and I bit. I bit hard because I was pissed that an ad was mocking the practice of babywearing. I bit for the same reasons outlined by a response from Babywearing International. It all started with one comment on another blog that, at the time, I was passionate about. At the time, I was thinking, it's one little ad on one company website. It's not like it was a TV commercial being aired at prime time. The damage was all the same though and moms all across the world started using online communications to comment back. It spread like wildfire, just like the fires close to LA just one night prior.

I watched it unfold and was immediately addicted to it like a drama on TV. What will happen next? Who will pick up on it? Will anyone "internet famous" comment on it? All of the sudden I felt like I was part of a community taking action to send a message to defend attachment parenting practices.

What did I get out of it? Well, the ad did get pulled and that made me feel satisfied and everyone could have left it alone then. That didn't happen. All of the sudden the "mommy blogger" and "women blogging" community turned inward on istself. The ad, even though it got pulled, ended up on YouTube where it could very well live permanently. Is anyone talking about copyright infringement in the thread? No, instead they are all too busy bashing one another and turning the whole thing on its side.

So now what exactly did we accomplish again? Oh yeah, traffic to our own blogs and a negative social stigma.
Thanks but no thanks. Now I feel completely unsupported. Ironic, isn't it?

I don't question what I wrote quite as much as why I even write at all now.

I mean, there are more important things in life than a blog according to so many new "authorities" on the web who obviously know way more than me. Like Darfur and the economy and, oh yeah, I could be cleaning my house to make it spotless every effing second of every effing day during nap time or whenever my son is having his play time.

Wanna play guess who's blog or post I just read?

I write a blog that talks about my personal experiences of being a a stay at home mom who is trying to raise a healthy, loving, productive member of society in her child, while trying to learn more about managing a tiny consulting business and God-forbid I should use my brain instead sit on my fat ass and eat bon bons all day long. And for that I guess I'm just one of those stupid, bitchy, dramatic mommy bloggers who has too damn much time on her hands and wastes time bitching about unimportant things in life. Maybe I should go hump a tree after I plant a new one.

Never mind the fact that I struggle with constant depression and anxiety and that writing is a form of therapy for me. Never mind the fact that it will be three years since the last time I smoked a cigarette and that spending time online keeps me from smoking or hanging out at a bar. Never mind that I'm trying to be a better person by not swearing on my blog, by trying to rise above it all. Well, shit. Not tonight anymore. I'm pissed and in the mood to just be honest with myself right now.

I'll probably get chicken shit in a day or two and delete this all anyhow but right now it feels good to pound on the keys instead of my lungs and liver.

Never mind the fact that I work hard for my family managing the house, finances and communications and everything else that being M-O-M means. Does it ever occur to some of these assholes that documenting personal journeys in life IS important and takes time but is a worthy investment?

Yes. It IS worth losing sleep over. I'll sleep when I die and by then it will be too damn late to write.

Some people are just miserable pricks and don't deserve their own life scrapbook. (Especially people who have a year for their handle. I wish he'd go back to living in that time and leave the rest of us the hell alone.) I for one, think my child, my family and my interests are important enough to write about and share with others who want to connect. It's not like I live in the middle of the effing desert or anything almost completely isolated from friends and family most of the time. Oh wait. Oops. It is, sorry almost forgot.

Maybe I should just take some antidepressants and go mop the kitchen floor and shut the eff up. (No offense to people who are on antidepressants. I'm happy for you, sincerely I am. But I don't want to do it right now - too chickenshit. Maybe not until I'm done writing this post.)

All of the sudden the term "mommy blogger" is a dirty word.
Just paint a big ol' red letter M on me now.

It's the new whore of the Internets. There are moms who blog — who openly talk about parenting and their kids in one form or another on their blog or vlog — that don't want to be labeled as such and fiercely defend themselves as not wanting to be associated with the term. That's been going on for some time and now I see why. I have recently seen some nasty fur flying, cat scratching and flinging of poo at play dates. It is not becoming and now my biggest fear is that I may have contributed to some of it in some way.

I'd like to buy a vowel now, Pat.

If there is one thing I have learned from this experience, it's that the bandwagon is not an air-ride equipped with cruise control.

I'm not sure how long this post will survive the ride since I'm not wearing my seat belt right now. It's a crash test dummy for the time being.

Time for some Tylenol PM which is as close to taking antidepressants as I'm getting just yet.

P.S.
It's probably a good idea to avoid posts with the tags listed below. You never know what you're going to get on that filter.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

May Cause Mild Discomfort

And you still decided to read this!? Hey, you're my kind of people.

Alright, alright. I just have to say something. I've been thinking about this now long enough to convince myself that I'm not just shooting this off the hip, but when you're passionate about something, isn't that what blogging is for? If not, then I give up.

I got sucked into the whole Moms Against Motrin thing. (That's what I'm nicknaming it for now and I don't mean that to sound derogatory, just don't know what else to call it right now so read hear me out first.) No, I'm not going to link to the drug's site because I'm hoping that soon the subject of this case won't even be available anyhow. Besides, plenty of great blogs are linking to it and providing some nice documentation without doing the bidding of selling the product.

Premise
Let me just say up front, I think it's all a worthy cause but I fear things can get out of hand quickly. I believe that even bad publicity is still publicity. I don't want to contribute to the problem but be a part of the solution. Some in the conversation stream have been quick to suggest a complete boycott. I do not believe that boycotting the company is the solution. Maybe the company does good things in other areas in this was an oversight on their part that can be rectified. Here is an article that offers some insight on boycotting.

I do not use the product advertised. It is overpriced in my opinion and the generic version works just the same for me.

Proposed Solution
I would like to see the ad removed and hope that theirs as wells as other marketing teams learn a lesson from this. I am attracted to the fact that a group effort such as people using social media tools like twitter and blogs to get that task accomplished seems viable. I would like to think that I, as a consumer and advocate, have a voice and would like to invoke my right to use it.

Conclusion
I would like to advocate for methods of child rearing, used but not limited to Attachment Parenting like "baby wearing" and I can only hope that this negative event will shed some light on the subject for new parents considering it. My husband and I used a baby carrier and we feel it had very positive and effective results. I have my wise, dear cousin to thank profusely for giving us our Baby Bjorn as a gift. We never considered wearing our son as a fashion accessory but as a necessity for traveling and soothing in general.

Here is one photo of us when Lucian was just 8 weeks old. Wow. Where did the time go?


Now that you've read the disclaimer, here is my version of the low-down:

The advertising agency responsible for creating ads for the makers of the drug Motrin put out an ad on their website and it rubbed a lot of parents, mostly moms, the wrong way. Not even their own product is going to soothe the bemoaning from many angles this ad campaign has invoked. The ad is in the form of a movie clip which consists of a woman reading a script that matches in cadence with coordinating and artfully-placed typography that flash across the screen along with two-dimensional graphics.

In the opinion of mine as wells as many others, the ad suggests, by use of voice inflection and tone along with classic advertising techniques, that 'wearing your baby is a fad and causes undue pain and discomfort so if you're going to be ridiculous and put yourself into that situation, you should purchase our product.' Certain words used certain ways make it sound like they really don't stand behind baby wearing and they misconstrue the facts about the practice.

The ad attempts to guilt-trip the consumer into buying the product by indirectly insulting the consumer for thinking they are educated in trendy new parenting practices. Not many would dispute that new parents easily fall victim of ads because they are stressed out about making the right decisions for their new baby. This is classic advertising technique when they try to convince the consumer of a need they don't really have and it works especially well on already guilt-ridden new parents. [For example, if you choose to wear your child in a carrier the correct way and don't have any preexisting back pain issues, why would you need this product? You wouldn't, but damn if they don't make it all sound bad anyhow. Not sure about you, but I don't always think this logically when sleep deprived in the first few months of parenting.]

Recently, I learned from several of our doctors, emergency room as well as pediatricians, that ad campaigns for fever reducers have trained parents into over-medicating children to bring down fevers under 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Just take a look at the recent recalls for children's Tylenol products. Several doctors have now told us that by medicating a fever early on, we're actually keeping the child sicker for longer because we're not allowing the fever to do its job in making the child better faster. Drug companies would rather you spend more money on their products instead of letting nature take its course. My mother still finds that hard to believe, but after close to 40 years of being marketed to, I can understand why.

The ad in question for this particular drug, Motrin, has sparked major controversy and it blew up virally on Twitter and in the blogosphere last evening and early into this morning. So much so that Twitter actually choked a couple of times! (Not sure if #motrinmoms is the cause, but it's a funny coincidence.)

I posted a comment on Shake the Salt which is where I first read about it. Here is my initial reaction comment after Dave Taylor told me about it.
(By the way, Dave, I still like you even if I don't completely agree with you. You're a good guy!)

ok. I bite. I’ll even pick the meat off the bone. When it comes to baby wearing, I didn’t much, but my husband did. According to him, the ad isn’t necessarily offensive, but it is opportunist and inaccurate. I agree except I believe the ad also takes a low blow to attachment parenting practices like baby wearing and encourages the bias we constantly face. I didn’t wear my baby because my back couldn’t handle it, especially not after my stomach muscles had been cut to get my son out via C-section. I know a thing or two about taking ibuprofen for pain — and lots of it. (and I didn’t take Motrin mind you because the generic version costs less and works the same, so you can #suckit Motrin.)

I think the part that gets my goat is the snarky/snooty tone or attitude that the narrator seems to have when reading the script. It would have been one thing if she had said “baby wearing, if not done correctly, can be painful so we got your back.” No, instead, she goes on to belittle it in her tone and manner of speaking. Seems I’m not alone in this, so I can’t be that far off.

I worked many years in advertising so I tend to be even more critical of ads than most. Maybe this is an American movie culture bias, but I didn’t appreciate the word “schwing” used as one of the made-up names for other sling products. Perhaps the ad just wasn’t properly tested or else they would have known that “schwing” is a sexual reference. I felt compelled to mention this since it hasn’t been too long since breastfeeding was attacked by Bill Maher and I still feel the sting of that one. But that’s just me.

I highly recommend reading the transcript and looking at the words that are given emphasis. The psychology of this ad is clearly trying to play to the consumer’s ego. “What about me?” Nothing like trying to guilt you into purchasing their product. Aren’t moms and dads bombarded with enough guilt during the whole parenting experience? What’s a little more? Advertising most always tries to convince you of a problem you didn’t know you had.

This advertising is NOT about bringing awareness to baby wearing or attachment parenting and the aches and pains that might be part of the process. If anything, it’s a tongue in cheek way of ripping on it and THAT is the part I find irresponsible. The makers of Motrin aren’t horrible, they are just like many other ad campaigns who prey on “that demographic” who might be considering baby wearing.

This is a stretch, but I have to say it. Since Motrin costs more than generic brand, maybe you can afford it by not purchasing a fancy schmancy baby sling. After all, just where are your priorities you crazy baby-wearing parents! Doesn’t your back pain come first? Why would you dare to consider wearing your baby in a carrier if it’s so painful. Oh yeah, because “it’s a good pain, for your kid.” Well, if that’s the way you crazy baby-wearing moms choose to be, you better have some Motrin on hand because you’re gonna need it. My opinion is that the Ad Agency for Motrin is ethically irresponsible for playing with this idea because it’s negative propaganda against attachment parents or “fashionable moms” who choose to wear their babies as a necessity — not an accessory.

Lastly, the video player in the ad is wonky. Turn-off. There is no clear indicator of when it’s finished the loading process. I fumbled with it to get it to work, but others might not (as noted in the original blog post).


1. Don’t hate Motrin, be pissed at the ad agency who didn’t properly test this ad.

2. Remember, even bad publicity is still publicity. You’re selling Motrin right now.

3. Spread the word about how good baby slings and carriers really are and what your experience is with them.

4. Buy generic ibuprofen and take some like I’m going to right now.

My Personal Experience with Baby Wearing
In the beginning, when babies are little, you have them in the carrier face forward and the back of the carrier helps to support their bobbly head and neck. They sleep so much better when they can feel the warmth of a body and hear your heartbeat. This is a FACT that the ad tries to dismiss.



Baby Wearing is not only for moms. My husband absolutely glowed whenever he wore his son close to his heart. It gave me a much needed break after carrying our son for nine months of excruciating nerve compression and pain during my pregnancy. One of the biggest benefits was that since I breastfeed, the baby wearing for Daddy gave him a chance to bond and negate that helpless feeling a lot of new fathers have. At first, I wondered why he was so eager to be the baby wearer all the time and then we went out to a museum for the first time and I understood. When I was pregnant and fully showing, people would always smile at me when we went anywhere. When Nate was wearing Lucian, he got to get all of that attention. (I kinda felt like chopped liver and it helped me to empathize with my husband more.) He always had a smile plastered across his face whenever we went anywhere because he always wore Lucian so proudly. It was not a fashion statement at all but more so a well-adjusted new father because of the ability to bond better, feel needed and publicly show caring and affection for his new child.



Baby slings and carriers are a great help in traveling and going places. I can not imagine how we would have done it sanely without one. We have traveled up and back to Flagstaff without a stroller which saved room in our trunk for everything else (ten hours of driving). We have flown across the country and back several times with just simple luggage like a backpack on me and the baby on his daddy in a carrier. We didn't have to check a stroller and lug it around. Whew!

Don't Waste Your Time and Money on the Expensive Brand-Name Pain Pills
So, here are some links to some nice baby carriers and slings and people who promote them that I thought of off the top of my head. There are many, many more. You can also find them at second-hand shops. Buy one as a gift for an expecting friend or hand yours down if you're no longer using it. If you know of any more, please link to them on your blog and in twitter and help promote the positive effects of baby wearing and other practices of Attachment Parenting. I don't know a whole lot about slings personally but I would love to use one the next time we have a baby. If you know of a great sling you love, please let me know in a comment. I'd really appreciate that!

Baby Bjorn
DadLabs: How to Wear a Baby Bjorn
DadLabs: About Baby Bjorn
Snugli by Evenflo
Maya Wrap


Several blogs are offering linkbacks and traffic pushing in an effort to bring about awareness. I support that and wish I had the time and energy to link to all of the posts that keep showing up but several people are working on culminating it all together to attain a solution and my hope is that they get the ad pulled and bring about awareness to baby wearing and Attachment Parenting and similar parenting styles. Who knows, maybe stock in baby carriers and slings will go up and it will help the economy in one small way.

It's worth a try and there is only one way to find out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Music To My Eye

Last night, Lucian and I watched another one of Geoff Smith's live performances on UStream. Geoff does one of these concerts every couple of months and Lucian gets really animated so sometimes I record a seesmic video of his reaction to Geoff's music. I thought it would be fun to post the previous videos next to each other because it's still amazing to me how fast my little boy is growing and how much he is learning. He loves making videos, as many kids do. Right now he is starting to engage in pretend play and it always amazes me the things he comes up with. He will take an ordinary object and pretend it is something else. In this case, he took some items out of my jewelry armoire and improvised. A necklace box became a "guitar" and a chain clasp tool became a "trumpet." I think.

I love being able to go back in time and see how much my child has grown and changed. I love finding new ways to document his growth over time.


Speaking of changes, I should give you an update on Lucian's vision problem in case you wonder why he might look a little odd in the videos. Lucian has strabismus in his left eye. He also has an astigmatism which prevents him from focusing clearly. His optometrist recommended he wear corrective glasses to straighten his eye and help him focus. Yesterday was his most recent checkup. Unfortunately, after 8 weeks, he hasn't responded to this treatment alone, so we've now been directed to patch his good eye to help force his bad eye to work properly. Currently, he is only using his right eye and turns his head when confronted with using his left eye. So, I just wanted to let you know about that because sometimes the quality of online video might not show certain details, like the fact that he is wearing a flesh-colored patch over his eye, not that his eye is missing entirely.

Last night was the first night of patching his eye. We were very nervous about it because we weren't sure how he would react. Would he have a major meltdown and begin to hate us? Would he keep ripping it off and refuse to cooperate? All I know is I would be really ticked off if someone patched my good eye so it was not easy doing this to him. For this reason I have to tell you just how thankful I was for Geoff's concert last night. It really helped to smooth out this experience. Lucian was so cooperative. I was shocked that he kept the patch on all evening. The doctor said she would be really happy if we could keep the patch on him for at least two hours per day for the next two months. Well, he kept it on all night last night and he's been wearing it for over two hours with no complaints today. I'm so proud of him!

I really think that by making movies and seeing himself with his eye patch on and having fun helped to make him more confident about wearing it. It certainly didn't impede his ability to have fun and it sure did help to have Geoff's online music show to interact with.

People always tell me to savor these moments because the time goes so fast. Capturing these moments on video helps me do just that but it still blows my mind at just how fast five months has gone by!

Geoff-meet your new band memberhttp://www.ustream.tv/channel/geoffsmith
Hey JudeI think he thinks it's hey Dude tho
hangin with Geoff Smith

If you don't yet know who Geoff Smith is, you should really check him out.

Last night he performed another free UStream concert for close to 300 people who joined as viewers and chatters from all over the world. (I say world because several from Canada were there plus a buddy of mine from Australia checked in too. I know that because I was tweeting it like crazy in case you missed my tweetmeat. I wouldn't call it spam, so I'm calling it meat instead, LOL!)

Last night's performance marked the one year anniversary of his "accidental concert." He doesn't really have a regular performance schedule so you kind of have to catch him. To make that easier — if you already follow me and I know about it, you'll know about it. Even easier yet though would be to follow Geoff Smith for updates.

Thank you Geoff Smith for all the good times so far!

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Do Worms Eat for Lunch?

I found a little inch worm in our kitchen today and thought it might interest Lucian. I brought it out and put it on our front door step along with a small leaf. I took some photos and this little video of him eating his lunch with the little worm. He calls it a "nake" (since he can't quite say "s" yet. He offered it a cracker and I thought that was really awesome that he is learning to share. It's a lesson we're working on right now since he keeps saying everything is "mine! mine! mine!" I'm sure this would be much more interesting if he had a sibling. (We're working on it.)

It was fun to get down on our bellies and study this amazing little creature.




Lunch With A Worm from TheMacMommy on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The S Report

This is Lucian and Mommy reporting to you from Seesmic on The State of the Nap.

It's late.

Tune in next time.

What should we report on next time?

The S ReportLucian came out with 2 megablocks pretending to be a reporter so we decided to have some fun with it

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

O Yes We Can!

Congratulations, United States of America!

It will take some time, but my bootstraps are thick.
Just a couple more months of that miserable old pric killjoy.

Yes we can.
Yes we did.
Yes we will.

And, Yes — I just did.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Finding Halloween

We had a great Halloween this year with Lucian. He only ate one little lollypop despite the huge "facebucket" of candy he collected. (He carried a little orange jack-o-lantern bucket and because it has a smiley face on it, he called it a facebucket. Sounds like some new social media application, doesn't it?) Aside from a few pieces of chocolate (I'm only human) we'll be donating the rest to Mr. Davis' science class for, um, science, yeah, that's what we'll call it.



Instead of going to the mall or trick-or-treating door to door, we went to something called Trunk 'O Treats which was held at the
Picture Rocks Community Center. Several families volunteered to dress up their vehicles stocked with goodies (as well as themselves) to line the perimeter of the parking lot. Picture Rocks Fire Dept., Trico Electric, the A&W Great Root Bear, C4PR and Arizona Youth Partnership were there to support the event. There was a decorated Sheriff's car where a male and female officer handed out badges and coloring books.

Our favorite part was the Picture Rocks Fire Department's firetruck. Lucian and all the other youngsters got to climb up and tour the firetruck. We had to pry Lucian out of it. He really loved sitting inside of it. No surprise as his Great-Grandfather was a Fire Chief once upon a time. (I just know my Grandpop was smiling down on us from Heaven that night with pride. If only he could have met Lucian. I really miss you Grandpop.) The firefighters were so awesome and entertaining. They were always willing to answer any questions. Lucian really loved inspecting a fireman's hat. He couldn't get enough of the flashlight attached to it.


Inside the building they had face painting and coloring supplies for the little ones.
There were also drinks, stickers and cookies for everyone. There were about 10 vehicles all decked out with some amazing decorations, music and special effects like a smoke machine. Everyone was dressed in costume and all the kids were adorable and pleasant.

We met up with some new friends and their two little boys as well as some other parents and their children. It was nice because everyone knew someone there and it felt like a very safe and secure environment. Lucian and his new little buddy held hands as we walked around visiting the different families at their cars. We brought our own bag of goodies and helped replenish a someone else's stock so we could feel like we too were sharing.

After that event, we headed over to Oma and Opa's house to Trick-or-Treat with them and they were very much delighted to spend the holiday for the first time in person with their grandson. Oma took Nemo by his little fin and walked him to a couple of doors around the block to say hello to their new neighbors and show off their little pride and joy. Daddy and I took the opportunity to teach Lucian a lesson in saying thank you and having patience while people answer the door.

I always have mixed feelings about Halloween because it's not the way I remember it and I'm still not certain about what I want my son to experience. I really don't like the idea of kids consuming so much candy. I don't mind the idea of the tradition and celebrating it, but I don't see why it has to be all about candy and unhealthy snacks. When I purchased treats this year, I got pencils, playdoh, bubbles, etc. I didn't go wild on the candy because we never get enough kids to hand it out to and then it sits in our house for us to deal with.

I just re-read my post on this from last year and I still feel the same way
.

I wonder what you think about Halloween and how do you explain it to your kids?

I don't know. Maybe I'm the mean mommy and things will change as Lucian gets older and starts hanging with his friends. I don't care for the kind of mixed messages kids get when it comes to this event so that's why I was grateful for the opportunity to go to the Trunk 'O Treats event where Lucian got to meet Police Officers and Firemen. It gave me a chance to start introducing him to these services as part of a broader family emergency plan. Part of an emergency plan is preparing your child by introducing them to things like the sounds and lights of police cars, ambulances and firetrucks and also the people who provide these services so a child knows what the uniforms look like and who they can go to for safety. I got the idea from the Sesame Workshop. This is one treat I hope you'll check out. There are great links on the right side of the site where you can download printable PDFs of some important information to keep handy. There are also tools to help you communicate these concepts with your child. I really like the page that has the large phone keypad on it. I think it's a great tool to help a young child learn his/her phone number. If you click here it will download the PDF so you can see an example of what I mean. (Tip: I had to physically rename the file to add the dot pdf extension on it so my computer would open it.)

From our family to yours, we hope you had a very Happy and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grandma.app

Let me elaborate
I finally updated my website so I could integrate my blog into it. Now I can just tell people to go to 'themacmommy.com' and I don't have to worry about whether or not they'll remember the dot blogspot dot com part. The only thing I'll have to worry about is if they remember the 'the' part of the address.
(PITA, but macmommy.com is already registered so I had to put 'the' in front. Just in case you thought I was really that conceited.)

I've tried to lay out my home page as a sort of one-stop virtual business card. (Inspired by Dave Taylor, thank you Darling.) I'm still tweaking the rest of the site and pages, but the bulk of it is done. I'm pretty happy with the layout despite the fact that I barely know anything about building websites and that I made the whole thing in iWeb. On the blog I just kept tweaking numbers and code and previewing it till I figured out what changed what. My OCD must have kicked into overdrive and this probably explains why my eyes are so dry lately. I still wonder sometimes what would have happened had I studied web design in college instead of print graphics and advertising. Oh well. I'm having fun now and that's all that matters, right? There are lots of cool things I'd like my site to do, but this will suffice for now until I learn more. Baby steps. Goo goo ga ga.
(What baby ever says that anyhow? Just wondering.)

<--- You can use the page links on the left hand side of the page to explore other pages on my external website and social network.

It's always a work in progress because I love to tweak. It keeps my mind off of my allergies and gives me something to do (instead of cleaning the house) while potty training my son. (not that it hasn't been just so much fun hanging out stuck in my living room with a nekked kid running around who isn't me) Eventually I want to create a better page on my site to display some of my artwork and creative photography. I just have stupid links there for now. Don't click them. It's more of a reminder or placeholder for myself as to what I'd like to put there. I have all of my older photography all backed up on archive and I just have to dig it out and arrange it better. (An OCD attack for another time perhaps.)

I could never be a good scrapbooker. Thinking about it just makes me twitch.
And it's not like I don't have all the supplies sitting in my closet either just in case all the computers in our house ever break down and I have a nervous breakdown along with it.

I've also added some enhancements to my blog here. I hope you like them. You'll notice there are little icons after outgoing links. If you roll your cursor over those tiny icons, you'll get a preview of what the website looks like without even having to click over and leave the spot where you're currently reading. I find this helpful for those times when I may add a link that points to an image to illustrate some vague concept inside my head. Like this one.

I've also added a new commenting system called Disqus. Now you can leave me text comments as well as video. (go ahead, I double, dog dare ya!) If you don't have a Disqus account, you can still leave comments, but Disqus is pretty cool and free to sign up. So is seesmic. Just sayin. Sometimes it's a bit funky to be able to read everyone else's comments to each other — kinda like you're spying on them and reading their mail — but I suppose you could be all ninja about it and leave yourself annonymous or "unclaimed" somehow so no one would know it was you who talked about your mother-in-law out in the open. I'm looking forward to seeing comments using this new feature. I hope someone leaves me a video comment sometime. That would be a lot of fun. If I could get my friends and family on board with these free services, it would be a really great way to keep in touch through my blog. Ahh, the power of web 2.0 — if only I could get people to use it now! (Hint: the more people who participate with me on my blog, the more examples I'd have to show them.)

Thanks to help from friends on twitter, I FINALLY got the favicon thingee working on everything including my spot on the Alltop Moms page. (Tip: there are lots of awesome blogs on that page, so if you are looking for someone specifically, just press command-F and type in parts of their blog name and Firefox or Safari will highlight the link for you. If you want to search for me, for example, type 'the' 'mac' 'mommy' with spaces and it will take you right to it.) w00t! Thanks for all your help guys! You rawk! (and contribute to my OCD, thankyouverymuch)

The only time the favicon doesn't load is if you type the url into the browser. For example, if you type 'themacmommy.com' and load the pages, then the favicon doesn't load and the url locations don't change either. This has to do with the fact that I'm cheap/poor, take your pick a stubborn frugalista and trying to stretch the outer limits of free content hosting wherever I can. My blog is hosted for free here on Blogger. My website is hosted for free with Cox, my ISP. All of my photo and movie sharing needs are hosted for free with services like Picasa, YouTube and Vimeo. I've taken all of these free services and stitched them all together using a combination of embedded code and links on my blog and website; you know, "internet glue." Google is my favorite type of "internet glue."

So, to professional web designers, I'm sorry if all the under-stitching looks like crap, but the fact is, my 80-year old Nana who lives 3000 miles away — doesn't care. She just likes to click on stuff and I like to imagine the smile that melts across her face when she sees her great grandson in movies and pictures that she doesn't have to fumble with in her mail program. (So long as her Windows box loads the correct plugins - I keep my fingers crossed or walk her through it over the phone.)

I guess you could say that my grandmothers are my driving force when it comes to doing what I do online and how I create content using my Mac. My paternal grandmother, Nana, has a computer and is pretty savvy when it comes to being organized. She knows how to check her email and forward virus hoaxes, because she cares about me, ya know and respond to messages. She can navigate the web. She finds joy in simple things and that really inspires me. My maternal grandmother does not have a computer and is a traditional artist. (She would rather put ink to paper and I don't think she's ever even touched a mouse. She only knows of the mammal kind and would keep it as a pet if she could.) I respect her unwillingness to embrace technology and it challenges me that much more to find simple tools she might possibly consider. I get the creative influence from her. Both grandmothers are in their eighties so anything I create online or offline has to be easy to use.

My sole motivation for learning how to use iMovie is so I can someday create a collection of videos and make a DVD using iDVD to send to my grandmothers so she they watch it on their TVs. Now I just need to get my optical drive fixed and I can move forward with that project.

Every time I sign up for a new social networking service, I have my Nana and other family members in mind. I always wonder if it would be something they could use or would like. Most of the time, sadly, the answer is no for several complex reasons. I continue to look for ways in which families and friends can network and keep in touch using the web. Just a few days ago I walked my Dad through the installation and setup of a Skype account and the result was awesome and we had so much fun. (iChat is fun too, but has been having some quality issues lately.)

Most of my friends and family live on the other side of the country. The distance always keeps me reaching out to them in new ways.

So far, the best way I have found is to try it all out, use it for a while and then incorporate the best parts of it somehow into my online space in such a way that I can just email one simple link to a friend or family member. That's what I'm hoping to achieve with my website and blog and I hope it will inspire others.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Installed Disqus

Well, I think I installed Disqus, but I told it to apply to new posts since I didn't want to lose comments from prior posts or at least that's what it sounded like would happen. I'm a wuss, what else can I say. Maybe that cool chic Mattie will come back here and tell me if Disqus is working on my blog ;) and why do they call it Disqus with a 'q?' I guess Discuss was already taken or it was just a kewler name perhaps. hmmmm.

I'm still tinkering with the favicon image formats in my blogger code because it still looks like crap on alltop. Reminder to myself, right now I only have .ico and .png formats listed in the code. I removed the .gif and that didn't help so now I'm removing the .jpg format to see if it's the .png that alltop prefers. I also wonder if the order listed has anything to do with it. I have .ico listed first in the code because if I put anything else before it, my favicon has a little white border around it and it looks like crap in the new version of FireFox where the favicon is now on top of a silver background. Mozilla could have left that part alone in my opinion! Plus you can no longer click on the favicon to highlight the entire url address which is a trick I had been showing my clients in FF and Safari. I've now gotten trained to press command-L to highlight the url box and command-K for the search box, so I suppose it doesn't matter so much to me personally because I'm a quick key type of girl. For those who's muscle memory is trained to click the little ball or favicon, this will be hard to unlearn.

Anyhow, that's my current state of rants at the moment!

Now, blogger blog! I command you do add in Disqus commenting and obey the new template I just pasted in! Do it!! Listen to me!!

Comment Back

Just wondering something. When you leave comments on other people's blogs, do you expect people to comment back? If so, how do you prefer getting that comment delivered to you? I comment on lots of other people's blogs and I usually don't expect a comment back, but occasionally I do wonder what they thought of my comment. There have been some blogs I've visited that allow you to be notified when someone comments on your comment. Some I like, some are just annoying because then your inbox gets filled with a bunch of comments unrelated to my comment so I end up unsubscribing to that comment thread anyhow.

I'm going to try enabling a commenting service called Disqus and see how it goes. Let me know if you like this once I add it. I'd love to see some video comments too! (hint hint, no pressure or nuthin!)

Tweaking and Testing

ok, I think I've figured out how to get the favicon to show up for my blog and website. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get it to display properly on Alltop.com. Right now the favicon for my blog is showing up as a little black and white blob. I suspect it's because there was a .gif loaded into the code. It seemed as though it wasn't enough to have just a .ico in the code and I couldn't figure out why the icon wasn't displaying properly so I tried adding .gif, .png, and .jpg icon files to the code sourced from a place on my hosted webspace. Let's see if I can get this post to refresh the alltop.com page.

I'm also trying out a previewing service for links in my blog posts. This way, a reader can just hover over a link to see what it is before clicking on it to go there. Sometimes when I write, I like to add a link to a wiki entry or picture. I'm hoping this might be an enhancement and not a nuisance. The service is called snapshots. You can find out all about it by rolling over this link for snapshots. There are other features the service offers and I intend to experiment with it in the near future. I have a theory about archiving my blog that I want to try out involving linkbaits. I'm thinking this might be the tool for me, but we'll see. I'll explain this more in depth in another post when I document my ideas about archiving my blog and posts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hi, I'm a Mac

I was just reading some of the PPC Mac Owners Group comments over at MyAppleSpace where they had begun discussing their favorite PPC models. MyAppleSpace.com is a Ning group with around a thousand users now (and growing, hint, hint). It's just the kind of place I can really feel comfortable and ultra geeky and not worry what others will think of me. I think, or so they tell me over there, that I fit right in. If you're a Mac user and you haven't checked it out yet, you really should.

So, I was considering responding to one of the comments and sharing all the specs of my own machines and it got me thinking and even more excited about the upcoming announcements from Apple tomorrow on what could be new laptops in their product line. As I was drafting my post and sharing personal thoughts about my experiences, it made me nostalgic thinking about how far Apple has come in their development over the years. It's hard to believe that I've been a Mac user now for close to twenty years! (about 18 to be exact) Man, I feel old!

I can't wait to see what Steve will unveil tomorrow. I can't wait to twitter and chat and read live blogs about it all. There is much speculation about a significant price drop to new notebooks and I really hope it's true. Some of my friends and family members think I'm nuts for being so excited about this, but they just don't understand. Some people have cars and boats and other hobbies. This is mine. Maybe this will help you understand a little better.

Imagine if you will the droplet effect as we fade to black and white using a moiré pattern in 133 dpi.

I had been using Macs exclusively for commercial art in trade school since 1990 and continued to use them working in the field of advertising as a typesetter for a few years. Back then, the Shift key was your number one troubleshooting resource. Feeling unfulfilled as a pre-press technician, I decided to go back to school for my BFA so I could become a designer.

The first Mac I ever *bought* was in 1997 (I think). I was a communications design student at university and got sick of having to fight my way in to the Mac lab on campus each night to work on projects. I decided it was time to get my own Mac and spend my late nights at home instead of the lab. (Oddly enough, I believe I'm STILL paying off that Mac since it got financed in with the rest of my student loan debt.) Just the desktop alone cost $1900.00 back then through the university bookstore and that doesn't include the monitor, printer and UMAX scanner I purchased along with it. Oh, and also the RIP software I had to install so I could print postscript using an inkjet printer since I was developing some mad skillz at silhouetting objects in Photoshop and needed to be able to print EPS with clipping paths. Oh yeah, and also the design software: Quark XPress, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I also bought Painter before Macromedia bought it.

I don't even want to know how much it all really cost me (including interest compounded).

I'll never forget that machine though. It was my baby. I knew all the sounds it made and could tell when there might be trouble or how long of a break I could take while waiting for it to boot up, connect and be ready to go. I got brave and upgraded the RAM and PCI slots myself to give it some USB ports. I remember one time I had an issue with the "personality card" and had to snap it back into place because the startup chime wasn't sounding. That case was NOT one of their better designs, I must say. The card would never stay in place. The modem also got fried at one point too. Good thing I finally got high speed internet via ethernet and didn't need it. To this day, the sounds of a fax machine make me cringe. Luckily I don't hear it very often anymore!

I suppose you're wondering what model it is? I'll give you a hint. Big, red, hairy monster.

Nope, not me after pulling another all-nighter.

Yep, it was a good ol' nicotine beige G3 266 Desktop. Code named: Gossamer. It had a 6GB HD, floppy and CD ROM drives but no built in Zip drive. I later regretted not getting that built in because I had to buy one separately later on since our art projects were getting larger and larger. When we needed to work during class, the lab's Macs had no Zip drives and it was at least helpful to bring your own — SCSI I should mention. No plug-n-play, nope...you had to shut it down, plug the damn thing in and boot it back up. I don't miss those days at all. I don't miss dealing with Extensions either even though I was quite a whiz at troubleshooting them 'back in the day.'

I upgraded it all the way up to OS X 10.2. It took me a while to switch over, but eventually I grew to love OS X. I was a die-hard Quark Xpress and OS 9.2.2 user. Maybe it's just the loyal Capricorn in me. I tried to hang onto this Mac as long as I could, but eventually the upgrades would cost almost as much as a new machine. When I upgraded to a new Mac, this one served for several more years as a scanning station since the new Mac didn't have SCSI to support my scanner. Eventually it became my Dad's first Mac. (Funny how parents of g33ks get their kids' hand-me-downs, huh?) (He now has a Mac Mini, but he's still using my old Monitor which I hope dies soon so he'll get a nice big flat screen for it. My Mom has a MacBook. They use their Macs to keep in touch with us since we live close to 3000 miles away.)

This PPC G3 now resides in my Dad's attic out in PA because I can not bear to throw it away. Someday I'll make a planter out of it or something, but I'll never part with it. There is even an LC575 up there keeping it company. One of these days I'll find something to do with them.

Some people collect stray cats. I collect stray Macs.

My next Mac was (and still is) a Quicksilver G4 800 MHz PPC. Despite using a MacBook Pro for my main machine now, the Quicksilver, in my opinion, was one of the best machines Apple ever made. My husband still uses this machine today and it still has the potential to be upgraded to run Leopard if I plunk in a new processor - which, someday when we have the money, I'll do. I bought this machine with my tax refund in 2001. I OWN it! I love being able to say that. Funny how this machine cost me $700 less than the first one and this one is paid off whereas the other one is lumped in with my college loan debt, sits in an attic and is not in use. I don't like being able to say that. :( At least my MacBook Pro has paid for itself with the consulting work I've done over the past year. I'm glad I can say I've paid for two out of the three I've purchased in the past decade. (The first was a bonus lesson in financing for educational expenses since I've put myself through college with little financial aid along the way and will probably be paying for it the rest of my life. Needless to say, I don't fancy designer clothing or accessories. I have my priorities.)

I still think the Quicksilver's hinged case design and grey plastic is the most efficient and beautiful desktop design. I like it even more than the silver aluminum, I must admit. I take pride in keeping this machine clean on the inside and outside. I love opening it up and looking around inside and dusting it out once in a while. The RAM is maxed out at 1GB and like I mentioned, it could still be upgraded to a higher processor to run Leopard. It's got a SCSI PCI card because it used to support that blasted old UMAX scanner too. I finally gave up on that damn thing and we got an HP all in one since my days of having to scan for pre-press are far and few in between now. I still have my Epson Photo Stylus 1200 printer. That printer hasn't been used in so long, poor thing. I'm not even sure the state of the drivers for it. I can't give up that hunk of plastic either because it got me through my portfolio nervous breakdown, I mean, class right before I graduated and earned my bachelor's degree. That printer, G3 and I went through many a long night together. We burned a lot of candles at both ends (along with cigarettes and soda pop - back then, but no longer, thank God!)

I think there are a lot of Mac users out there who are nostalgic about their machines and the memories and projects they've created with them. All of the creating, organizing, problem solving, learning, the "what do you mean I just lost the last hour's worth of work because I forgot to save?!!" "curse you %&#@ing bomb icon from hell!" I think many people have develop OCD and ticks because of it. Apple-S, Apple-S, Apple-S - it is your friend, right next to Apple-Z...they are bodily functions equivalent to blinking now – for me anyhow.

When the hard drive died in the Quicksilver G4 after 5 years of heavy use and barely ever being shut down, a friend came over and helped me replace it with one we pulled out of another machine scrapped for parts and not yet in use. Using my backup CDs, I was back up and running within 24 hours. Thing is, I still can't bear to part with the original hard drive, not only because I can still get it to boot up and connect externally with an IDE to USB converter, but because, well, I met my husband on that hard drive.

What?

Yeah, I met my husband — of now four happy years with one beautiful little Applet so far — online while using *that* machine with *that* hard drive. Some girls keep dried flowers in a box somewhere. Some girls keep their old Valentines in a box somewhere. I keep my old hard drive in a box somewhere. For me, there was something about the little Apple icon in his AIM avatar that turned me on. ;)

This Grrl has AOL chat transcripts saved in a folder containing love letters, poetry, emails and MP3s, PICTS and iTunes song lists. Even a QuickTime movie or two. (and they're all safely backed up for posterity.)

My old hard drive may be a hunk of metal and moving parts, but it's our little reminder of how far we've come in our relationship. From blinking cursors to beating hearts.

Ok, you can go puke now. It's ok. I know I'm a geek and I'm ok with that.

Anyhow, those are the two PPCs I've ever personally owned and interacted with in a loving manner. It's my story and I'm stickin to it!

We also have a Tangerine PPC G3 iMac with built in Airport that our son's uncle found and gave to us for his godson to play with. I have it all set up as a play toy for him in his bedroom. He loves it. He's only 2 and can already log into his own little account and play AlphaBaby by himself.

In addition to those three working Macs used in our home, we also have a couple of other legacy Machines laying around in the garage for parts. There is a Grape tray load iMac and something like an LC575 or close to it. It's fun to boot that thing up and watch the twisted After Dark screen savers.

Then there is my husband's "lab" at the high school where he teaches Physics. Wanna see some beige in action? He's got about 8 PPCs (and lower – Performas anyone?) networked, using parallel, to two printers. I don't think a single one of them is running anything beyond OS 8.1. Two of them have black and white screens. The kids only use them for graphical analysis where they graph data using Excel and print out their charts. My husband is the kind of teacher who still keeps several dictionaries throughout the classrooms, purposely uses big words and makes his kids "look it up" when they don't understand a certain word he says. He doesn't realize how much he's making these kids appreciate modern technology by keeping those old dinosaurs around, so it's our little secret. (Until he reads this. Hi Sweetie!)

One of these days, I'd like to put together the little old Grape slot-load iMac and set it up in his lab. The last modification I'd make to it though is I'd like to paint all the purple parts black so it not only like the more modern black and aluminum theme, but it will coordinate with his black slate table tops as well.

So, yeah, I guess you could say I'm a bit of an Apple fangirl because of the many fond memories I have of using Apple's PowerPC models (and earlier). I'll always be excited to partake in the progress of this revolutionary company as it's proven nothing but a worthy investment to me. While it's true both Mac and Windows' operating systems run on "PCs" using Intel as opposed to PowerPC processing, the difference is that the Windows PC is a more of a Public Computer than personal, while the Mac, to me, truly is and will always be the Powerful, Personable Computer.

Hi, I'm a Mac and I'm personable.

Geek cred to whoever can identify the Mac I'm sitting at in the yearbook photo above!

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