2009 – Less is more

A new year, a new focus.

In 2008, I did a lot of things:  knitting, baking, blogging, throwing parties, etc.  In 2009, it’s time to cut back.  I tend to get in over my head and end up just stressing out about all these supposedly fun things that are going on.

Less

  1. No more TWiB.
  2. Knit only for fun, not because I feel I have to.
  3. Blogging is not a requirement.
  4. I do not have to do everything.  It is okay to delegate.

More

  1. Exercise.  Even when it’s hard.
  2. Home-cooked meals.  They taste better and are better for you.  And it’s a way for my husband and me to do something together.
  3. Relaxing.

More human

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gives their gadgets names.  Some names are out of necessity, but some are just for fun.  I feel it gives the device more personality.  That somehow the name is fitting of its characteristics.  In this technological world, it’s no more strange than naming a dog or cat.

  • main desktop computer – Avalon
  • laptop – Rogue
  • cell phone (Blackberry) – Neko
  • iPod (big black classic) – Edgar, after Edgar Allan Poe
  • GPS – Ellen, after Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS
  • insulin pump – Lucy
  • CGMS – Charlie

Things that don’t have names:  my car and my giant Kitchenaid stand mixer.  I feel they should have names, but I’m not sure what.  My older car used to be named Windfola, after Eowyn’s horse, but I don’t want to reuse that one.  I have a blue Mazda Protege 5.  Any ideas?

Much ado about nothing

I saw this story on Digg a few days ago and I just had to wonder:  What the fsck does that have anything to do with McCain running the country?  Seriously, people.

Here are the number of steps that this “relevant bit of information” is removed from John McCain

  1. John McCain
  2. Sarah Palin – McCain’s VP
  3. Bristol Palin – Palin’s daughter
  4. unborn child – Bristol’s baby
  5. Levi Johnston – baby’s father
  6. Levi’s MySpace page

I’m pretty sure Kevin Bacon is in more of a position to affect McCain’s abilities as a president than Levi’s MySpace page.  I can’t believe people think this is important news.  Ugh.

The wrong message

For some reason, I went on a small Michelle Trachtenberg kick and picked up (among other things) Ice Princess from Netflix.  It’s a cute little Disney film that even includes Hayden Panettiere before she was on Heroes.

In the film, Michelle plays a nerdy high school senior who is working on a special physics project in order to get a scholarship.  She decides to study ice skating, but then gets sucked into skating herself and eventually decides that skating is her true passion.

I’m sure that the moral of the story is supposed to be “find your passion” and “follow your heart” and that sort of thing.  However, what I actually saw was that being a physics nerd isn’t cool and that girls should go into skating because that’s more feminine and appropriate.  ACK!

Amusingly enough, Hayden’s character eventually quits skating because she wants to do better in school.  Yet for some reason, she’s portrayed as the “villain”?

This is exactly the wrong message that Disney should be sending to the young girls that will watch this movie.  Disney should focus on building strong women that can excel in all sorts of areas, including physics.  No wonder there aren’t enough women in math and science!

I haven’t seen many girl-oriented Disney movies that came out after Ice Princess in 2005, so perhaps they have gotten better?  My guess is no.  Physics doesn’t sell to the under-12 set, while ice skating does.  *sigh*

Video killed the radio star? No way.

Newspapers are going by the wayside, video rental stores are disappearing, and radio has nearly vanished in favor of MySpace and YouTube.

Or has it?

Even though radio is often seen as “old school” and “not with the times” or whatever, I completely beg to differ.  My favorite local station (105.7 The Point) is a great example of how radio has transformed itself into something that belongs in the Web 2.0 era.

They have a segment called Control Freak, where the listeners get to “text what’s next” by texting a letter corresponding to one of two choices that the DJ decides.  For example, text an L for Linkin Park or an M for Metallica.  Then, whichever band gets the most votes, that’s the song that gets played.

Throughout May, they have put together what they call the May Shuffle.  Listeners go to the website and build playlists of 5 songs.  Then, at the top of every waking hour, the DJs play one of the playlists.

Similarly, they also have segment called What’s The Point, where listeners put together a 5 song playlist that has some sort of point.  Such as, all the bands are from Illinois, or they all have a member whose last name starts with J, or all the songs have to do with the Sun, etc.  Then, after the playlist is played on the radio, listeners call in to guess what the point is to win cool stuff.

All these segments have pushed my local station from a boring music-only station to a hip, exciting, listener-oriented station.  They are keenly aware of the user-oriented, texting, Web 2.0 crowd and have adapted their style to fit that of their listeners.

However, a major point that I have yet to touch on is that of music discovery.  Radio has allowed me to discover new bands that I would not have normally heard of.  All too often, I come home after a particularly rocking drive and promptly buy 3 or 4 songs from iTunes.  All because the radio exposed me to new awesome music.  I do not think I would have found those bands/songs otherwise.

So, would I give up my FM tuner for XM radio, Pandora, and other so-called Web 2.0 improvements?  No way.

Are we all hippies now?

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but it has come to my attention that we as a people are more concerned with the environment than ever. Practically every company is touting their “green” goods and consumers are making conscious efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

The first sign of this movement, in my opinion, was the success of CFLs. It seemed that instantly everyone was converting their old incandescent bulbs to CFLs. Another sign of environmental awareness is the increase in use of reusable shopping bags. Nearly every grocery store has them for cheap and a lot of people are switching over.

I remember when I was a kid, there was an episode of Barney (yes, I used to watch that show) that showed the kids using reusable tote bags for their pretend groceries. At the time, I thought that was an extremely radical, “hippie” way of viewing things. It seemed so ridiculous. And yet, here we are, in a time where reusable shopping bags are becoming the norm.

I might even go so far as to say that Al Gore‘s An Inconvenient Truth had a role in our perception of the environment. Al Gore often gets a bad rap, but his documentary about the environment definitely put a public face on a very important issue.

I’m definitely glad to see humanity putting more emphasis in helping the environment. Right now, this is the only planet we’ve got, so we’d better keep it clean.

Isn’t that okay?

I had a job interview yesterday that was… mediocre. First of all, diabetes dared to interrupt, but I didn’t let it.

I talked to 3 different people about various things, and I hope I managed to give them the answers they were looking for. However, I managed to get tripped up when the last person asked near the very end of the interview: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Ugh. What a loaded question. I had no idea what sort of answer they were looking for, so I told them the truth: At home, with kids.

I’m pretty that’s not what I was “supposed” to say. The guy talked a bit about how they were looking for someone who would be with them for a long time, and not going to leave in 6 months or something like that. I was crushed. I’m pretty sure that this question was the deal breaker for the position. I have to wonder, though, is what I said okay?

Society today seems to fawn over career-women. Women growing up to be CEOs, business managers, lawyers, doctors, investment bankers, etc. is seen as the ideal. People have longed hoped that women would be more than just homemakers with a high school diploma. To which I say: What is wrong with that?

I am a well educated, geeky young woman, who is currently earning more than her husband (but don’t remind him about that *grin*). And yet, all I want to do in the semi-near future is quit my job, make babies, and raise them. I love the idea of making dinners from scratch, knitting my kids goofy sweaters, doing housework, homeschooling, whatever. I have great admiration for career moms. Their job is harder (and more rewarding) than any so called career-woman’s job. There is no shame in not working and staying home with your kids.

And yet, I got funny looks when I said that’s what I wanted to do.

Relatedly, in my baking class, on the first day we went around and said our name and what we do. Since it was a night class, it was assumed that we all had full-time jobs. Most people said things like “I work at this large company”, “I an investment adviser”, “I work at this restaurant”, etc. Then one lady said apologetically, “I don’t work. I’m a mom.” I thought it slightly odd that that she felt the need to justify her choice to just be a mom.

I’m sure that my honesty will cost me that job, but so what? I want to be a stay-at-home mom someday, and I applaud those who already are.