Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for October, 2011

It’s not you, it’s Klout.

If you’re on Twitter with a fairly geeky network, you’ve probably heard people moaning about their Klout scores changing.

Klout is a site that gauges your influence over various social networks, and today they unveiled a new algorithm. For people with high scores, it wasn’t uncommon for them to drop as many as 20 points.

Why? Well, their algorithm is a secret, but from what they’ve hinted at- it was unfairly giving weight to elements it shouldn’t have. The only frustration I have is that when Klout discussed these changes, they’ve said they’re being more transparent, at the same time they haven’t actually said much of anything.

Blizzard is a good example of how to change things without giving too much away. When they roll out a patch and alter skill trees for a game class, they say that they noticed the class was overpowered because of this skill and so they’ve altered it. It tells you what the problem was, but doesn’t tell you how to play the altered class. It’s up to you to figure it out. There’s no reason that Klout couldn’t say, “We noticed that it was raising your score if you were just linked to a lot of networks, even if you don’t do anything on them.” That doesn’t tell you how to raise your score now, other than putting in some work on other social networks.

Realistically, a high Klout score shouldn’t be your goal. Focus on building an active network of like-minded people, RT posts that are relevant to you and you’ll get some real clout.

In one of my last Wired Mom posts, I talked about Twitter, and my rules for using it. I thought I’d add one more thing to think about here.

Be extremely careful about using unusual characters in posts. I follow a writer that uses characters (ASCII, not the literary kind) to plug his books. The posts include the title, his name and a link to his website (which unfortunately looks like something designed in 1995 on Geocities), which has links to the various places you can buy the book. If you’re viewing it through, you can see the characters just fine- and the title looks properly epic.

On the other hand, if you’re viewing it on your phone or through another program- usually all I see is a row of boxes. I suppose what I’m saying is that you should be extremely careful about what sort of tweets you use them in.

Awhile back, Dylan Meconis started telling a story using Twitter (archived here at Dame Jetsam). She posted the musings of a woman shipwrecked. Then other people joined in as characters and the story continued. But a good part of it used upside down characters.

However, there’s a big difference. These were story tweets, and meant to be viewed in a web browser. The author I mentioned is trying to sell a book. Books which can be read on any device now. Why would I click on a link to buy a book if I can’t even read the title in the Tweet?

If you’re promoting your own work, you already know that you have to think like an ad executive. Part of that isn’t just finding a way to break away from the pack to be noticed, it’s making sure that your efforts work as widely as possible. If you’re selling ebooks, you want to make sure that your efforts can be seen on any mobile device- they might be intrigued, read your pitch and click on the links you’ve provided to download your book right away. On the other hand, if you’ve muddled the pitch, it’s far more likely that they’ll just scroll by.

Have anything to say- agree, disagree? I love conversations.

Why do I do this to myself?

My name is Whitney, and I’m a procrastinator. (Hi, Whitney)

Time and time again, I start an ambitious project with a deadline and then keep convincing myself I still have time to finish it. This time, it’s two Halloween costumes that I have to have finished by Saturday afternoon. So far I’ve copied the pattern for the shirt (I spent $12 on that pattern, and it looks like one I’ll be able to use as they get older. So I’m not going to chop it up when they’re tiny). Tonight I’ll make the pattern for their vests and pants. (Want to make your own patterns? For $5 you can buy a roll of art paper at Michael’s in their kids’ section. It’s meant for easels, and only 18″ wide, but it’s a snap to tape parts together and it’s sturdy enough that it won’t accidentally tear like the regular pattern.

Thankfully, I’m not new to sewing. Once I get everything cut, assembling it will be a snap.

The downside of putting off buying everything for sewing costumes is that in the end, you’re stuck with buying what will work- at a price that’s usually higher. Had I started to assemble these during the summer like I’d originally planned, I could have looked for fabric in Downtown LA where it’s unbelievably cheap. Heck, I would have had time to distress them so they didn’t look brand new.

Oh well, lesson learned. (While I put off my original costume concept- which was going to be Sheik from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I do have enough bits and pieces to actually pull together an awesome Halloween costume. I think you’ll like it.)

Though I do have a bit of good news to report. I’m on day 6 of my first week of the 250 word challenge, in which I write 250 words, six days a week. If you look at the bar to the right, you’ll see that I’ve already exceeded it- and I still have one more day in the week. It resets on Friday. So at least there’s something I’m not behind on.

Another bit of good news? The Oldest Kidlet actually slept through the entire night. You’d think this is crazy for a 6 year old, but for the last year he’s woken up at least once a night for almost the entire year. Heck, I might use the humidifier every damn night if it helps him hit a deeper sleep.

Here’s to hoping that everyone out there has a productive and happy Wednesday.

Any procrastinators out there? Anyone recovered from this maddening curse? Feel free to commiserate or share your tips.

Liveblogging Kidlets & Pirates of the Caribbean

We’re watching Curse of the Black Pearl for the first time, so I figured I’d share whatever gems popped up.

At the first shot of Jack
Oldest Kidlet: His boat has water in it? Who is he?
Me: Captain Jack Sparrow
OK: Spardow?
LK: (echoing) Spardow?

As the dingy sinks at the dock
Oldest Kidlet: He is a silly silly pirate captain

Elizabeth falls off the fort
Little Kidlet: Where’s the girl?
Oldest Kidlet: Why is she in the water?
Me: She fell from the fort.
Oldest Kidlet: Why would she do that?
Me: You don’t fall on purpose.

Jack to the rescue
Oldest Kidlet: It’s a good thing he’s the best swimmer.
Little Kidlet: WHA HAPPENING.

Jack in the Smithy
Little Kidlet starts waving his pirate sword around in general, and is actually imitating the swordfight. He’s trying (and failing) to get his brother to oppose him. Instead, he’s just smacking him with the sword.

Oldest Kidlet is looking at all Will’s swords. “I only have one.”

Arrival of the Black Pearl
TheBoy: Pirates are attacking the city
And both the boys just blankly stare at the TV.
Oldest Kidlet: They’re scary pirates.
Me: I know, but it’s just pretend.

Elizabeth arrives on the Black Pearl
Oldest Kidlet: THAT’S A BIG ONE
TheBoy: What?
Me: Did you mean the ship?
Oldest Kidlet: Yeah, mine (his toy ship) is tiny.

Will & Jack commandeer the Interceptor
Mother-in-law: Is it bath time?
Oldest Kidlet: But I’m going to miss the pirate movie
Mother-in-law: Don’t you have school tomorrow
Oldest Kidlet: Oh, I definitely need a bath, then.
Me: What about the movie?
Oldest Kidlet: We own it. I can watch it later.

After bath time, the boys came back into the movie just as the Interceptor blew up.
Oldest Kidlet: Why is he trapped?
Me: There was a battle and the mast fell across the hold.
Oldest Kidlet: Oh. (Yes, my son knows what a mast and a hold are) Is he going to be okay?
Me: Yes.

Elizabeth & Jack walk the plank
Oldest Kidlet: Are they making her walk the plank?
Little Kidlet: Yes
Oldest Kidlet: Jack is the best swimmer.

Elizabeth sets the Island on fire
Me: It’s so that passing ships would see the smoke.
Oldest Kidlet: Can’t she just call for help?
Me: Phones weren’t invented yet.
Oldest Kidlet & Little Kidlet: No way.

The face-off in the Island
“We’re all men of our words, except Elizabeth, who is in fact a woman.”
Oldest Kidlet: He says a lot of things I don’t understand. But he’s funny.
Little Kidlet: Don’t touch bad gold.

The crew of the Pearl “take a walk”
Oldest Kidlet: Are they underwater? Is that even possible?
Me: Cursed.
Oldest Kidlet: Oh. Why didn’t they just take their boats?
Me: They’re sneaking up on the Navy.
Oldest Kidlet: And are those pirates wearing dresses?
Me: Let me guess, you’re confused.
Oldest Kidlet: I’m too tired for this. Come and get me when it’s time for bed.
(I should note that the Little Kidlet is just watching this movie, completely enthralled. He just isn’t saying much)

“Now Bring Me That Horizon”
Little Kidlet: The end.
Me: How did you know that was the end of the movie?
Little Kidlet: It’s the end.
Me: Well it is, but he’s singing the song first.
Little Kidlet: Piwates Life fo Me.
Me: That one. Did you like the movie?
Little Kidlet: I like pirates.
Me: In general or the movie?
Little Kidlet: I like pirates.

Starting fresh

While browsing through my G+ circles, I found a link to this page- the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge. With NaNoWriMo on the horizon, she created a slightly different challenge to help motivate people to keep up with their writing.

Instead of 50,000 words over the span of the month of November, she set up a challenge where you can pick a daily wordcount that you’ll accomplish six times a week. That way you can still have a rough day or a busy day during the week and it won’t tank your confidence.

There were three flavors of the challenge. 250 words, 500 words, or 1000 words. Since I’m still having problems getting myself writing something regularly (other than blog post I don’t publish), I thought I’d choose 250 words and start from there. After keeping that milestone for a few weeks I’ll try to bump myself up to 500, and then keep going until I hit 1,000. I have no time limits on how long it’ll take me to get there. But I intend to make this a reality.

So what counts?

I’m not going to count blog posts. This blog, I update out of love. As far as word counts go, this will be strictly fiction.

So there you have it, Universe. I’m doing my best to make this work.

Drizzle, fo rizzle.

Forgive me for the title, but it’s drizzly today. The marine layer is extra thick and low, and when I drove to the Little Kidlet’s school (which is up in the hills), it was very drizzly.

LK was thrilled and danced in the parking lot, shouting “RAIN” to anyone who passed us. I’m sure they think we’re crazy. I know that I think they’re all sticks in the mud.

On the way back to the car, I saw my favorite mom at the private school. I call her Lady Gaga Mom. While her hair isn’t blonde, she certainly tries to steal some of Gaga’s more accessible style. Her hair is always teased, she never wears shoes with a heel lower than 4 inches (she was in 6 inch heels today), and she always wears red lipstick. The parking lot was slick from the drizzle, and there she was teetering in the heels, wearing ultra skinny jeggings with an off the shoulder sheerish top. Never change, Gaga Mom. Never change.

Of course, I needed that sighting to make my day better. It got off to a very rocky start. (You might want to stop here if you don’t want to read an anecdote that involves vomit. And eggs. Egg vomit, really.)

Last night, the Oldest Kidlet woke me up 4 times. We aren’t talking about his coughing waking me up- that happened a few more times. No, we’re talking about him actually coming into my room to wake me up. First, he was thirsty. Then he was afraid of his room. Twice. Then he woke me up to tell me he had to pee. Lovely when they think they need to share this information.

Then. Then came the worst part.

I was aware that the Oldest Kidlet had gone downstairs before I’d gotten up. My mother-in-law was up, and I figured she’d turn on the TV for him so that we could all get ready. She also fixed him breakfast. I got out of the shower and was putting on makeup when my door opened.

“Moooom, I had eggs and then I burped them all over your spot and now I’m leaving a trail of them.”

Ookay. I could see there were eggs on his legs, so I told him to walk into the bathroom and I’d be right there. Then I saw what he meant. There were bits of egg everywhere he’d walked and now, all over my bathroom. I told him to stay put. Walked downstairs (more egg) to the living room where he’d thrown up eggs all over my spot on the couch and covered it up with a blanket.

We divided the tasks- my mother in law cleaned up the stuff downstairs and I cleaned up the upstairs, getting the boys’ clothes for school while I was up there.

Admittedly, it could have been worse. I think, from the story he told us again and again, that he’d eaten and then had a coughing fit which made him vomit (happens me to from time to time). The eggs weren’t really digested so it just looked like he’d spilled eggs everywhere- but they were really tricky to clean up since eggs just break up when you put pressure on them, and they were too wet to really sweep.

So now I’m sitting in my spot on a cushion that isn’t my cushion, and probably won’t eat scrambled eggs for the next decade. That’s my morning. How’s yours?

When kids shows just miss the mark.

I have no voice today. My fabulous mother-in-law took the Oldest Kidlet to his best friend’s birthday party, so I’m sitting here watching TV with the Little Kidlet.

We’re watching one of his favorites, Dino Dan, which airs on Nick Jr.

For those unfamiliar, Dino Dan is a Canadian show about a little boy named Dan. His father (never seen) is a paleontologist, his mother is a police officer, and he is the dinosaur boy.

You know him. You might have been him- there’s always one in a class. The little boy that’s obsessed with dinosaurs and knows everything about them. No matter what you try to talk about, they find a way to link it to dinosaurs.

That’s Dan. And because this is a show about him, his classmates tolerate him and even think he’s cool.

But there’s a problem. You see, Dan doesn’t just know everything about dinosaurs- he sees them all around Toronto. The show commits itself to having Dan believe this, even convincing his best friend it’s real. But nobody else believes him, and there are hints all around that it is Dan’s imagination. What could have been a very entertaining show about the power of imagination instead feels more like a little boy who is so desperate for his father that he creates the one scenario that’s guaranteed to bring him home- real dinosaurs.

Curiously, I’m watching an episode of Dino Dan that might just be my favorite. Dan goes to visit his friend Cory, who has built a time machine with his Dad- out of cardboard and pie pans. They’re clearly playing, and Dan eagerly joins in, narrating an adventure for them so that they (Time Traveler Cory and his Robot D-A-D) can travel back in time to see a T-Rex. It turns into a cartoon segment, and is education and fun. In the end of the episode, Cory tells Dan it was a great story and invites him to join them for another one. Lots of imaginative fun.

But it highlights just how far off the mark the series usually is. Is it too much to ask for the show to not be so earnest about the dinos?

When I was a kid, the big storyline on Sesame Street was Big Bird and his friend Snuffleupagus. You see, Snuffy might have been Big Bird’s imaginary friend- or he might have just been really shy. This went on for awhile, but the people at Sesame Street Workshop realized that it’d be bad to put Big Bird in a situation where adults wouldn’t believe him (which would make kids think that adults might not believe them) so Snuffy was revealed to be one shy Snuffleupagus.

Odd then that the people behind Dino Dan would have opted to create a show that other parents have described as a mix between Jurassic Park and a Beautiful Mind.

Somehow these days, it’s easy for kids shows to miss the mark when it comes to dinosaurs. Look at Dinosaur Train, which has the mindboggling premise of a dinosaur family that visits the various ages of dinos on a time-traveling train. If you can get past that, the show falls into so many annoying traps that it’s hard to enjoy. Buddy (the adopted T-Rex) and Tiny (his Pteranodon sister) are overly precious- speaking in sing-song unison to greet adults. Not only that, it makes you wonder- how do dinosaurs that invented time-travel die off? Why is the dinosaur train the only real invention they have- other than a few articles of clothing? They treat fossils of dinosaurs so casually, do they ever have Yorick moments, wondering if that fossil they found might have been a friend they only saw just the other day?

I suppose it bothers me that time travel is treated so cavalierly. Though not as much as it bothers me that my kids love this show. Oh, well.

I’ve been quiet, I know.

I haven’t had a lot to say, Internet. Actually, that isn’t true. In some cases, I’ve had so much to say that I’ve been trying to edit it back into coherence. In others, I’ve simply been enjoying quiet moments in my life.

Well, as quiet as things can be with a 5 year old and a now 4 year old.

That’s right. The Little Kidlet turned four this week. In his preschool class, they gave him a little crown that he’s been proudly wearing or carrying around the house this week. If I can’t get it away from him, I predict it’ll disintegrate by next week.

His preschool also had their Pumpkin Patch day. They bring in pumpkins for all the kids, who get to go out and pick them out from the wood chip filled playground. The teachers then put tape with the the kids’ names on them so that they get the pumpkin they chose. Last year, the Oldest Kidlet’s teacher even snapped a picture of him holding his!

Little kids with pumpkins are hilarious. The Little Kidlet wanted so badly to carry his. I had to convince him that it was awfully heavy. I even had to buckle it into his brother’s empty car seat just so he’d be satisfied it was safe.

A boy and his pumpkin. He couldn't hold still.

The Oldest Kidlet’s been busy with school. He is still as much in love with school as he was that first week, if not more. You see, he’s competitive. I have no idea where he gets it from.* He got his name up on the wall for recognizing all his upper and lower case letters. While he knew the standard alphabet, he was getting tripped up by the sort of g you see in some typefaces (not this one), since they throw in that version of g as well as the old fashioned a. For doing this, he also got a small storybook and two pencils.

He now has his mind set on being the first in the class to be able to write or recognize the numbers 1-30 (I’m honestly not sure which). His teacher tells me that he’ll be the first, and pointed out that he’s certainly focused on it. Which is true. He walks around looking at his chart of numbers 1-100, and just keeps reciting his numbers. He wants that star.

What he isn’t sure that he wants? Well, he isn’t sure about going to the birthday party of a girl in his class. I’m still not sure if it’s the fact that it’s a birthday party and there’ll be people he doesn’t know- or if his hesitation is solely because it’s a girl’s party and more importantly, a girl he likes.

Now, I should get back to my WIP. Not the novel I should be working on, but a nagging loose thread from something I’d written previously. Here’s to hoping that once that’s out of the way, things get a little settled around here.

*Okay, he gets it from me. I’m so competitive that even Mario Party games on the N64 would end with me shouting “Suck it” to anyone I beat. Or vowing to break up with TheBoy because he kept sniping me in multiplayer with that damn gun that could shoot through walls from Perfect Dark. I am so competitive that my mom’s backyard is filled with the little peg people from the Game of Life because I threw them out my sister’s window. (I’m getting better about it, I swear!)

I’m Not In Love with the New Facebook

This post has been a long time coming. Okay, a couple of weeks. Not that long ago, Facebook unleashed a giant update to their site a couple days before announcing their new profile- the Timeline.

With most large sites, when they’re about to roll out a big update, they let you know. Remember “New Twitter”? Twitter had a link at the top of the page asking if you wanted to try it. They also talked about the changes on their blog. Whenever Gmail rolls out new features, it’s the same deal- links at the top of the page and in depth explanations on the blog, usually with videos to help explain the features.

Facebook tells you that they’ve added one feature, while neglecting to tell you that they’ve completely redone the back end of the site.

This update was no different. It added the Ticker, a constantly scrolling mini-Feed in the upper right of the corner, which had already appeared as a Game Ticker when playing games in Facebook. It added subscriptions, which allows people to follow you (or you to follow people) like you can on Twitter or Google+, no mutual relationship involved. But more importantly, it completely shifts the way that your privacy is handled.

Subscriptions. I actually like this- it allows people have one account (as opposed to a Facebook Page & personal account) and simply decide what’s put out their by using the “Public” privacy setting, and using lists to control who sees the rest. Not only that, but you can decide what sort of posts you like to see from your friends. Say you have a friend who plays FarmVille all day long, and you just want to see when she posts pictures of her kids? You can turn off the subscription to her game posts- or decide you just want to see “important posts.” Or, say you have a person you only added for game posts, you can say that you don’t want to see anything but their game posts.

There are a few ways to play around with your subscriptions. You can go to your friend’s profile page and in the upper right corner, you can adjust what you subscribe to by hovering over the subscribe button. Or you can hover over a friend’s profile picture in your news feed and up will pop a screen with the subscription button (you can also unfriend people this way as well). The last way is to scroll down to the bottom of the facebook page. You’ll see a bar that has two links. One to load more updates and on the right to “Edit Options”, which is what you want to click on. A window will pop up with a list of your friends, and there’ll be another link for “Manage Subscriptions”. This will show an entire page of your friends, so that you can just scroll down and adjust what you see. The first thumbnail in this paragraph will take you to a screenshot of where to find the Edit Options and Manage Subscriptions. The second thumbnail will show you an overview of the subscriptions page itself.

I have two problems with how subscriptions were rolled out. First, Facebook decided that you want to see “Most Updates” from your friends, instead of “All Updates.” So if you want to see everything, you’re going to have to change that. But the bigger problem is that they don’t have a way to change your subscriptions globally. Meaning, if you want to see “All Updates” – you’re going to have to change it friend by friend.

Privacy. There has been a huge shift in privacy with this New Facebook. Instead of you being able to control precisely who sees what, a lot of the privacy settings are now in your friends’ hands. My default status post privacy setting is “Friends Only”. Say you comment on a status of mine. Facebook will broadcast that you’ve commented on that post within our mutual circle of friends. Now, say it’s a post that I’ve set to “Public.” It will broadcast to all of your friends both in their news feed and ticker that you commented on a post of mine. There is no way for you to opt-out of this yourself. You either have to ask your friends to turn off “Comments and Likes” from their subscriptions options, ask them to stop posting with the Public setting, or only post comments on posts that you’re comfortable with the whole world possibly knowing what you said.

The Game Ticker. This went live about a month ago, and is actually sort of helpful. You can see when your friends are playing, and when they’re likely to help out by sending you things. But at the same time, if you’re playing while at work, you’re also broadcasting to the world that you aren’t actually working. Or that you’re playing Fluffy Princess Monkey Ninjas (I just made that up, but feel free to use it for a game).

Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t make it easy to opt-out of this either, but there is a way. While you’re in a game, you’ll see posts pop up on the right. Hover over the post that says that you’re playing whatever game it is. It’ll expand it, just the way the big ticker works. From there you can mouse over the upper right of the window and click on the little arrow button. A drop down will appear. Click on “Don’t Publish is playing ‘Game Name’ posts”. And voila! All of those posts will be gone. (The thumbnail here shows you what I mean)

Of course, you’ll have to do it game by game. But at least you can hide them.

Facebook, I expect changes. I don’t care about changes, as I expect them regularly- but if you’re going to dump a major change on your users, make sure that you keep something the same. The privacy controls are completely different, in addition to the changes that were made. And make it so that you have detailed walkthroughs so that users can actually see how to handle what they’re doing. While I don’t want to help you too much, you’re letting your users get information on how to use your product from tech bloggers. You roll out product changes, expecting the power users to figure it out (which they do), but alienate your base of users by not warning them or explaining what you’ve done.

To the users out there, if you’re unhappy with the shift in privacy and want to try something else- there’s always Google Plus. It’s in open beta now (you won’t need an invite), and all you’ll need is a gmail address/google log in.

As a final note, I hate blogging about Facebook. It takes FOREVER to hide all the names and user pictures. So I hope you enjoyed my Gaussian blurring and pixelating.

Steve Jobs

One would think this was a post I might have written in advance. When Steve Jobs stepped down at Apple, to me it seemed like there was only one reason that he would- and that was that he was dying. But no.

I’ve been pretty open about not understanding the hype behind Apple products. At the end of the day, they’re just computers and just phones. I myself have a MacBook, and it’s not a magic machine of productivity. I looked at iPhones when buying my own smartphone- and at this point, it isn’t ahead of the game.

But the reason that Apple is so lauded as being innovative is because Jobs cultivated that brand. He was one of those rare individuals who could combine dreaming and execution- the last person I can think of at this level of game changer was Walt Disney (who didn’t just make movies and theme parks- he pushed innovation, between his multi-plane camera for animation to the animatronics that were developed because he had a need for them).

Jobs was smart. He took the MP3 player, something that had sort of started to appear on the market, but with a lot of buttons and weight and produced something that was streamlined and intuitive to use. It was his focus on intuitive use that is what set Apple apart.

He made the iPod ubiquitous. He introduced the online music store and made it seem normal to buy your music online instead of in a store. And he turned a product announcement into a three ring circus, turning their new products into something you had to have.

Then he turned his attention to the smartphone, which had existed prior to the iPhone. But there was a level of style and yes, intuitive feel to it that changed things. Ditto for the iPad- tablets were on the horizon, but he adapted it into something a bit more special.

Sometimes it seems as though the biggest dreamers wind up burning through their life energy just a little faster than others- but Jobs even found a greater drive when he learned he had cancer.

While I didn’t always agree with the hype, I am saddened by the loss of a man who saw the world as what it could possibly be and tried to create the technology to get us there. It’s easy to shrug and say that he was a stranger and therefore his death shouldn’t impact us. But he was a man who stood for what a lot of us wished to be- he was a man who didn’t let being forced out of Apple in the early days stop him. He gave Pixar the push they needed to become a major player, and came back to Apple to guide it into the empire it is now. He didn’t let the past stop him- he let it drive him forward.

As a creator, it’s this quote that summarizes why he touched my life:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford.

Do what makes you happy. Follow your gut, and don’t let someone tell you you can’t.

We won’t all be Steve Jobs. But who cares, if you’re doing what you love?

Power Outages and Mayorships

It’s raining here in SoCal- the first real rainstorm of fall/winter, and a welcome change from 80-90 degree heat. I drove the kids to school, through throngs of drivers who tried to go the speed limit or higher on slick roads with not so great visibility- and a bunch of drivers that insisted on driving without any lights on. I survived, obviously.

Now, not that long ago I was ousted as the mayor of our local Fresh & Easy on Foursquare. Since I was hungry on the way home and didn’t feel like cooking, I stopped in to pick up some chicken salad. I checked in and I snagged that mayorship back.

I got home, discovered that our power was out and did what anyone would do. I checked Twitter while I loaded the fiction I’ve been working on up on my laptop. That’s when I saw… this (sorry, I compiled it Twitter style, so you have to read it from the bottom up).

Finally. A worthy opponent.

The power is back on (obviously, since I’m updating here- it’s just too hard to edit pictures on my phone), but I have to say that the hour and a half I was without power, I was unbelievably productive. Guess I need to just shut off my net access more often.

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