Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Qweek Qweek Qweek - The Sound of Furious Tricycle Escape

A combination of having listened to three chapters of the Lovely Bones and then having eaten dinner too close to bedtime led to bizarre dreams and restless sleep. Like this one: I was being chased by an evil man and I was trying to get away...on a tricycle! Ever tried pushing a tricycle faster than a human can run? Yeah.


Heard from the back of the car: Autobots! Destroy the princess.


I can't cook liver anymore. Used to make liver and onions. But I've tried twice in the past month and both times it made me so sick to smell it cooking I had to throw it out. Twice! If I didn't know better I'd be at the drug store in the aisle with the little white wands with pluses and minuses on them. But thankfully, I know better. Maybe just some weird phase or hormonal change.


The new Make magazine came in the mail yesterday. I haven't finished building even one of the eight or so projects I wanted to do in the first magazine I got. I'm afraid to even open it. It makes my head spin.


Me: (sigh) I miss people.
Husband: That's what a sniper flunky would say.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crazed and Behind the Times

You know that old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"?

I have a mutation of that:  All news and no fun makes Maggie a crazed mom.

I'm getting to that point where news is making me insane again.  My infernal sense of fairness has been attacked from all directions of late.  My disillusionment with the powers that be as powers that fail consistently to care for the things that truly matter has heightened.  And I begin to wonder if I just don't get it.  Or maybe I'm too heavy on one side of the news?  In any event, I can hardly take it anymore.

To top that off, in a way, this is going to sound somewhat pedestrian of me, I feel like I need some entertainment that taps my intellect less.  I'm reading a lot.  This is excellent.  I've recently taken up toying with electronics and given my schedule of mothering and writing that has left little time to unwind I guess.  I feel wound as tight as a multi-firing rubber band shooter. 

I realize that in days gone by, television wasn't even an option for entertainment.  So I am acting rather spoiled when I admit that I miss TV for that very outlet of allowing my brain to melt into goo for an hour or two.  Any life needs laughter.  There are many places to find it, but TV sure is an easy respondent. 

Add to that my overwhelming awareness that in the four years we've been without TV, we've reached a point where we're completely out of it when it comes to current trends, movies, music etc.  We get some of it, but in large part we know none of the shows people talk about, we get news somewhat later than many (though internet is rather as fast as any I think), etc etc.  This is all just a laundry list of excuses to invite the evil back into our home.  Fortunately for us, we can't afford it right now.  We're dumping everything extra we've got into tuition for the twins at pre-school, a much needed year of it. 

The original idea of turning off the TV was to encourage other pursuits and stimulation during the first five years of the twin's life.  Not just for them, but it seemed an important time in their lives to focus on mental development in that way.  Now we're ready to attempt having it without giving in to total couch slouching.  So, we've determined that by June, when tuition is finished, we could turn the evil eye back on.

Will we?  Remains to be seen.  We have six months to convince ourselves into or out of it.  And so the saga continues:

As the Cable Turns
Days of our Wires
The Bold and the Techie-ful

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Balancing on Your Balls

All the kids want to be cool.  Even us grown up ones.  In fact, in some ways, we're worse than teenagers.  Add to that the advent of internet communications:  widespread, instantaneous and seemingly immortal, and the need to be something you want others to see rises like the Dow on a good news day.

Some people pull it off exactly because they don't care.  Decidedly strong personalities being exactly who they are, or want to be.  Not living an image.  Living a life.

Then there are those so entrenched in the image that they lie, they become anonymous trolls, or they simply shift with the wind.  They are cellophane.  They may not know it, but the image they upload is drawn so tight it's a countdown to the inevitable burst wherein the hot wind held back comes blowing through.

And then we come to the end.  Ok, that's a book.  Then we come to the middle ground.  Where many of us struggle to be who we are, but find ourselves affected by the massiveness of the outward world staring in at us.  Many a blogger has analed the dilemma of writing for oneself and writing for readers.  We won't go there.  (Step lightly, all the king's horses have been through these fields).
But there exists this fine balance. 

Most obviously failing that balance are those that force coolness by being sarcastic, hating everything to be sure not to be 'like everyone else' and not to be 'a lame loser who loves something pathetic'.  They choose the dark road of negative, thinking they can shine through it with jest.  But in the end, they come off rather, well, ignorant.  Because if you can't have an actual opinion, you're not shining a light, you're just trying to reflect one.  And let me tell you, you're no mirror.

Sure we all get snarky.  And snarky is unbelievably fun.  But being just plain Oh I hate that, I won't even go into it.  Or God, you're not really into that are you?  is flat and unimaginative. 

So I say, you want to be different and cool?  Grow some balls and have some opinions, and then, do something really original.  Back them up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Epiphanies of the Old and Cantankerous

I was in a store the other day.  The pharmacy to be exact.  Where two older gentleman (older than me, thank you) and myself were waiting for our prescriptions to be filled.  The people behind the counter were all young and new.  They expended more energy talking to each other in constant stream of information about who is dating who and what party is coming up than in counting the pills.  Which I think is rather scary.  But, that's not my point.
My point is that I was standing there telling myself "They're young.  Be patient.  Don't be such an old codger" and yet the two gentlemen and myself were getting visibly irritated.  This pharmacy has never taken this long to fill prescriptions, not even with this many people in the store.  So there I was diligently attempting to be gracious (well, we'll say shifting from foot to foot, staring at the floor so I wouldn't be glaring straight in someone's face) and it dawned on me, we get to a certain age and everyone behind counters offering us 'service' is younger than us.  I think this may be a considerable factor in the old age developed cantankerousness.  Think about it.  No, think harder.
If I had lived 65 or 75 years and seen so many things, I really don't want a twenty year old talking to me like I'm a child, and I sure as hell don't want someone with not so much, ok no life experience controlling my health/welfare/happiness/purchases/etc.  Would you?  All the time?  Imagine the indignity of having to give up driving and then being condescended to by youngins.  It gets my dander up just thinking about it.
So, the next time you meet a cantankerous old woman or man, smile and remember you're going to have to deal with whippersnappers like yourself someday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Geeking Out

I recently subscribed to this magazine: Make. It comes out every three months and is thick and chock full of great things. It is all about DIY stuff. But the variety is awesome. In the first issue there are projects for lazer shows, hydro-electric rockets, toy car shooters, rocket firing stations and the list goes on.

When I received the first issue, I was delighted to see Adam Savage on the front page. I was even more delighted when I read the interview with him. I've long been a fan of Mythbusters and love the way they jump head first into making things and trying things.

So I'm cutting my teeth on some electronics. I'm learning to read schematics and I ordered and started in on a book also put out by Make called Make: Electronics. And I've decided to build the lunch box lazer show from the magazine. I visited the local flea market for a lunch box at a dollar and I've been twice to a local electronics store. Man it's like being in a candy shop. And I love my candy.

I am now the proud owner of a multimeter

a bread board

a soldering iron and soldering wire

and various small electronic parts

I'm so excited about this I can hardly stand the waiting for the time to be able to sit down and dig in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shameless Plugs and Not of Follicular Variety

I gotta do it.

The Brown Book Club just opened a new book. Link on over and watch the video. If you like the looks of the book, check it out, join the fun!

Friday, January 08, 2010

I've been thinking

New Years hit me this year with a lot of thoughtfulness.

I spent the last year almost avoiding this space. And most other Internet spaces. Not because I was shunning anyone or hiding (OK maybe a little hiding), but mostly because I realized there was a plethora of life happening around me every day that I had been missing in the depression years. So I tried to make up for lost time. And I had fun doing it.

But, even so, I've missed being here. I came to the New Year with a less cynical view of resolutions. Why? Because even if a person makes resolutions and then does not accomplish one of them, they have still accomplished something. They've taken the time to analyze their life and find things they want to change. They've done what many never do, they've admitted their shortcomings, identified goals, inspired themselves. And even without making any of the things happen, they've taken the first step to realizing even one portion of it.

So I started thinking about resolutions this year. I had a list of fairly typical ones like exercise more (oh my, the ease of losing sight), read more, etc. But I thought about this space and searched for a way that being here made sense for me now. How could I get back into it and enjoy it the way that I want to? I thought about the self discovery journey I've been on for the last four years. It's been a long and winding road. I know that I love certain things. Writing. OK that makes this space make total sense. I love sewing but I don't really want to talk about that here - at least not regularly. There are plenty of sewing blogs and frankly, I love it, but I'm not that good at it so I haven't got a lot to say other than posting pictures.

Here are the things I think I'd like to talk to you about: books. I have the Brown Books Project (see sidebar) and encourage anyone interested in the weirdest book club to go check it out and join. I've been rather remiss for a bit and the club has waned in spite of the wonderful support of my friends there. Help me get that rolling again. I might be mentioning those books here from time to time. But I'd like to share with you other books I read. I'll be doing that here.

My writing. You might get bored with this one but let's face it, it's what I do. And this year I'm forging forward with goals to get more serious about it as a career. So I'll be talking about my forays and failures in the writing spectrum as well.

Movies. This one is a little more difficult because I don't go to theaters much. I buy or rent DVDs which means by the time I'm seeing a movie, most people are long past it. So I'll be mentioning them, but I'm thinking the focus will be more on older movies. This is a relatively recent passion. And I've got stuff to say so that's a good thing.

Other media. Like magazines and stuff. You'll find babbling about that too. I'm headed into a year of messing with electronics and DIY projects inspired by Make magazine. I'll be posting up stuff about that too. I bought a special science calendar for me and the kids. We're going to be doing some experiments from it. I'll be showing you the gruesomeness that is us armed with ordinary home chemicals. Ha. So there you have it. A sort of blogging resolution.

I've really missed you guys and am determined (famous last words I know) to get back out there, hop back on that horse and ride giddyup into the blogging sunset. Yeeehaw.