Monday, January 25, 2010

New Look

Yes I have made a few minor changes to the look of my blog page. I never was quite happy with the old template. And now that video content is making appearances, I knew that I needed to widen the content segment. Of course I lack the skills to make the changes myself so I had to pick a new template. It's fairly simple in appearance, but I can live with it. I am not a fan of sites that have too much flash and dance anyway.

Let me know what you think, and any suggestions you may think of that would help things look even better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meet the toy strewing toddler

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thoughts on a small island nation

I know I am not the only one out there who is talking about the tragedy in Haiti. The enormity of what has happened in the capital of that little country will likely takes weeks or months to add up. While I am heartened by the rush to help by nations all over the globe, the logistics caused by earthquake damage is going to make getting help in time for people hanging on to life by a thread quite difficult. It will likely get worse there before it gets better, and there is no one to blame.

People as the same questions every time there is a tragedy like this. Questions like "Where was God in this?", "Why didn't he stop this from happening", "Does He even care?" Those are tough questions with no easy answer. These kinds of events have been happening for countless centuries, the only difference today is we find out about it almost immediately, thanks to modern technology, and we can often bring assistance to areas and people in peril much quicker. Both are wonderful things, but both also have a downside.

The downside is we make the assumption that because we have faster transportation, better medical technology, improved methods of moving and implementing goods and services then in years past then the scope of the aftermath can be minimalized. It is quite frustrating to see images of collapsed buildings and bodies lying in the streets and wonder why it is taking so long to do something. The reality is, just because we can see news feeds within minutes of a tragedy, it doesn't mean we can get people in to fix things within a few hours. Especially when the infrastructure of a city was essentially turned into rubble.

What I find even sadder is a small group of people who use the media for political, or personal agendas. These people, who for some reason have been given microphones and free reign to airways, have said some things that demonstrate no compassion, or suggestions on how to help. Instead they have chosen to make political or religious hay. That "hay" has no relevance or use in the situation of Haiti, and only serves to bring attention to themselves.

Former president Bill Clinton said the following in partial response to one of the political hay makers. Clinton said a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti "reminds us of our common humanity. It reminds us of needs that go beyond fleeting disagreements." He said political debate is healthy in normal times, but it would be perverse in a time of disaster to let politics get in the way of helping. (Washington Post)

I completely agree with Mr. Clinton. Now is the time to set aside foolish things and deal with the task at hand, helping our neighbor. I don't know the reason why this tragedy happened. I can't imagine the suffering the residents of Port-Au-Prince are enduring, and I mourn for their losses and the fact that the end is not yet in sight for them. I will not be the only one who wishes they could be there physically to shelter and give a home to a child who has lost their parents, or to hand out food or water, or even to remove rubble from a street. God speed to those who are given that privilege. I can do something else. Give to the relief agencies focusing on Haiti, and pray for things to improve sooner then expected.

 I think that dwelling on the why this happened is moot, and a waste of effort for now. Instead the questions should be along the lines of "how" and "what". "How can we help and what do you need to make that  help happen." should be the questions of the day. We can debate the why's later.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A "lazy" Sunday afternoon.

I discovered when I returned home from church that I was going to have the house to myself. Well if you don't count, Chernobyll, "the always underfoot", and Lunatic, "Miss, Do I want inside or outside?". My son who is visiting from Houston, wanted to go spend the day with friends, so he borrowed my car. Being without transportation and a whole afternoon free,I was faced with a what to do dilemma.

Granted I have plenty to do around here. There is the inevitable laundry, the fact that even though we just cleaned the living room, you can't tell. Between visitors, a toy strewing toddler, and the need for extra jackets and blankets these days, the living area is a bit less neat. There is the refrigerator that is in dire need of a hosing down, and I do need to foray under the stove and the fridge on a magnet hunt. Chernobyll considers it her mission in life to play magnet hockey with those to locations as goal. I could try to up my bowling and tennis skills on the Wii. I am the token loser in the family. Everyone can beat me easily. There was the fact that I could take the entire afternoon and curl up with a library book. The girls and I are reading through the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Hilarious books by the way.

What I decided to do was to give my desk area a serious purge. I sorted last years receipts in preparation for adding the tax deductions. I tossed out cancelled checks and registers from 2005. I also tossed old computer software disks that are designed for windows 98. Yes I still had some. I hung a couple of pictures of the grand and her parents by the desk. And then I hosed the whole thing down, making my glass top surface look nearly fingerprint and kitty paw print free. I should have taken a picture. My desk doesn't look that good for long.

After that was done, I moved on to my broken, sad looking jewelry box. I bought that stupid thing last year and it fell apart within a few months. What I get for buying it on clearance at Ross. I don't have that much in the way of jewelry but I still needed to go through the thing and weed out broken chains, unmatched earrings, and toss the box. I stuffed what was left into two smaller boxes until I find something better. I then dusted the shelf it had once sat on, plus the rest of the room. Then I gave the master bath a wash down, and ran the vacuum.

That all took me a total of four hours. It is amazing what amount of time sorting, purging and reorganizing takes. It is one of those tasks that needs to be done, but is best done with no interruptions. The laundry, the dishes, the Mr. Potato head parts will be there awaiting attention later. I still think I had a well spent afternoon. Now where is that novel?

Friday, January 8, 2010

My first video!!!


woo NO!

So I get a new webcam, and will be posting my first video here as soon as the darn thing decides to load. As I was testing it out I decided to try out video chatting, something I think will be handy for talking with family far away. I was downloading one of those instant messenger services I never use, when Megan found one called There was no downloading required just your basic sign on stuff that included user name, age, email and password. We tested the video chat format and I then logged out of the site.

One thing immediately bothered me about Woome. The first was that I hadn't been signed up to the account when I started to get invites from perfect strangers, all men. Granted, my blog, my facebook and twitter accounts and my column puts me somewhat in the public eye, and video blogging will add some to that, and I expect occasional feedback from new people. That is a good thing, as I know that people are actually reading what I write. What I did not like was chat invites five minutes after I had signed up for service.

Then this morning I get two emails from family members asking me about a video I had sent them. After a WTF moment, mostly because I was waiting on my first cuppa, I remembered that I had yet to upload a video to anything yet, AND I hadn't asked anyone to view anything either. I also had received several emails saying that people had accepted my invite to Woome. I hadn't invited anyone either. What I deducted is that Woome took my email and proceeded to send things to my entire list. I immediately unjoined Woome. And passed word that I had wanted everyone to join me as part of the Woome network.

 For video chatting, I will be using something more proven and content controllable like Yahoo messenger. I am not a big fan of instant messaging services, but they have their place. This will be a lesson learned about doing just a bit more background checking before signing up to a new networking format. I don't mind recommending websites, I also do not mind recommending staying far away from one, that is unless you like things like Woome has to offer. I have to give it a enthusiastic thumbs down.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

54 words

Ok so it is one small phrase, just 54 little words, but those 54 words have made my day. Why? Because I wrote them and submitted them on a reader's panel for a trade magazine for the company I work for. I am very happy about those 54 words because what I wrote was published in that trade magazine. Yay me!

Yes I write a weekly column. Yes I blog. Yes I do other writing projects now and then, but this was the first time that I am certain that more then ten people will read what I wrote. It makes this little writer very happy. It gives me a little bit of satisfaction and something to brag about, even if it was just 54 words amidst thousands of other words in a single issue of a company publication. Just let me have my moment................

ok. I'm done now.

Now onward on my quest for future writing successes, small as they may be.