Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Farm Girl's Best Friend

OK, so this is not new--it's been blogged about all over the place. And it has nothing to do with Web 2.0 or social media. But I just learned about Go-Girl and I'm sold!

The Go-Girl is a portable device that allows women to pee standing up.

I'm sure this is just going to fuel the whole penis-envy theory, but imagine the freedom!

No more hovering over disgusting public toilets.

And my daughter will be able to urinate in my parents' back yard without soaking the front of her pants.

(Back story)
I'm potty training my daughter. It's been a long hard road. She's 3 1/2. I've been trying to train her since she was 2. I was beginning to think I'd have to start buying Depends.

But we had a breakthrough in the form of candy kisses. Two candy kisses every time you pee. It was working great. She'd been on a candy-coated sugar high for a week.

Then we go to Grandma's house, and I look out the window, and my darling girl is standing in front of some Hostas with her pants unbuttoned thrusting her pelvis forward.

I squint to see what exactly she's doing.

I call my sister to the window--What is she doing??

Quick, hand me your camera.

Then, suddenly, she drops her pants and squats down on the ground.

I run out the patio door to see what she's doing. By the time I get there she has her pants back up and is back to standing in front of the plants.

What are you doing dear?

She asks, Is this a bush?


Just let me pee a minute. I'm peeing on the bush.


I see on the ground, there is a fresh steaming pile, which I immediately decide will be blamed on the dog.

I can't believe my daughter just used my parents' back yard as "the facilities."

But hey--she didn't go in her pants! YAY!

So back to the Go-Girl. One day, my lovely daughter will be out on the tractor with Daddy and this thing will come in really handy. After all, if Daddy pees off the side of the tractor, why shouldn't she have the same freedom?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Bloggers--Give Our Bullets Back"--Traditional Media

In the September 14th issue of Newsweek, Daniel Lyons wrote a sweet little article entitled "Exterminate the Parasites." His was a response to the bold idea blogged by Mark Cuban, billionaire internet entrepreneur, that mainstream news media should stop any other sites from linking to them.

His contention was that all of these "aggregators" were just riding on the content for free and if the sources stopped their linking, the little ticks would die. People would be forced to go to the original source of the news.

Of course, all along the internet model has been free information for all. Lyons compared this model to fighting a war but supplying the enemy with the guns and bullets.

But I thought that's what we did here in America. Teach the little countries how to fight and give them ammo. Then act all miffed and shocked when they decide to try it out pointing at the US.

But really, isn't that what all media does? Just this morning on CNN, the anchor was interviewing a reporter from an independent newspaper. And windy radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh feed on what mainstream media supplies. He's currently bellering about Newsweek's cover story last week about babies and racism. So if Newsweek decides to block me from linking to the story from my blog, then are they going to tell him he can't talk about their stories either?

Mainstream, old school media is scrambling to figure out how to swim in the new media waters. They can't sell paper anymore because no one wants to bother with another thing to carry. And think of all the trips to the recycling bin they save. They probably live an extra 20 years just based on that time savings alone.

So what would bloggers blog about if we couldn't link to other people's writing?

Well, today I cleaned the toilet. OK, so only the inside of the bowl. The outside is still disgusting. But the baby started crying and that seemed like the perfect excuse to exit my less than pleasant chore. And since she doesn't use the toilet yet, what does she care if it's clean or not?

The reality (and this was duly noted by Lyons) is that no one will block linking because they are all afraid the competition won't block linking and all the traffic will go to and through their site meaning all the salivating advertising druids will run like lemurs for the competitions' site leaving those blocking the tick bloggers to waste away.

So not to worry. No one will have to endure any more toilet details, at least not any time soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Facebook Etiquette--How not to get virtually kicked underneath the table

This week in class we're discussing digital publishing. I would wager that most people posting on Facebook don't consider themselves publishers; but honestly, more people probably read the average Facebook post than the last paper my professor published. (No offense, Dr. VanHorn. I'm sure your paper was riveting.)

So, because of that and the fact that I have a feeling I committed a Facebook faux paux, I decided to do some research on what is and is not OK etiquette on Facebook.

I found lots of top five and top ten articles on dos and don'ts for Facebook. Some had to do with not breaking up on Facebook. (I hadn't even considered this possibility, but now that I know about it, it seems like the perfect option for the passive-aggressive-spineless type afraid of conflict. Only slightly better was my cousin's boyfriend texting her they were through.)

This great little video by the same site (I believe) gives some super tips:

Some tips were more business/work oriented, like don't post on your friend's wall that you want to meet for drinks at five unless you want her whole friend list joining you. This is probably better done in an private message. Unless you want to meet all your friend's friends in person. Maybe then you can add them to your own friend list and break the 500 mark.

A news article on related the story of a woman who's husband was going to post to Facebook that they were on the way to find out their baby's gender. She didn't want him to do this because she didn't want her closest friends to find out on Facebook--it was too impersonal.

I had a similar, but scarier, experience when my friend from Wisconsin posted to my Facebook wall, "Congrats on the pregnancy!" I wasn't telling people at work yet, whom I had as friends on my Facebook. I did get her post deleted before anyone saw it (I THINK), but the experience made me realize that instant information can be too instant.

Facebook itself has a very good list of etiquette suggestions; however, it does seem to promote their own interest of you using Facebook more and also giving them more information to sell. My favorite piece of advice from this list was #15--" You obviously check Facebook every 5 minutes, so please respond to your messages in a timely manner. Chances are you're making the message-sender extremely insecure."

It's true--I sent a message to my friend asking if she got the package I sent. It's been five minutes and I'm feeling insecure already.

Oh yes, so what was my faux paux, you ask?

A 'friend' posted some pictures and status updates (which, in my defense, would be a no-no according to the etiquette I read about) and I shared them with someone else who decided to share them with another person who did not approve and shared them with this friend's parents.

Needless to say, I'm not her 'friend' anymore. Oh well, I didn't really need to see her latest half naked party pics anyway. But my husband will miss them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Internet Addiction--Crack for the 21st Century

I've heard of internet addiction before. I might have even had a touch of it when I first got the internet in my home over ten years ago.

I felt the overwhelming need to check my email every 15 minutes and spent hours browsing websites for freebies (everyone had a freebie back then if you just looked hard enough).

Eventually I could see that I was wasting time and needed to limit myself. But for some people, either this realization never comes, or even if it does, they can't limit themselves. They need outside help.

That's where Hilarie Cash comes in. She's the therapist and executive director of the ReStart Center in Washington state that specializes in treating internet addiction. (The picture is a link to photos of the center from which is the author of the picture.)

The Associated Press did an article on the center. The article noted the irony that this center to treat internet addiction is located not far from Redmond, WA, home of Microsoft.

Someone seeking treatment will pay $14,000 for 45 days of treatment which includes therapy sessions, doing chores, and going on outings.

This sort of makes me think I should become a psychotherapist and turn my grain farm into a treatment center of some type. $14,000 for a month and a half sounds pretty decent.

What could I treat? Let's who can't quit farming even when the money is gone. Or maybe deal-aholics who end up spending more time looking for deals and coupons and freebies than actually enjoying life. How about Knitters Anonymous for people who have developed hand deformities from holding knitting needles too much. The possibilities are endless.

I'm not saying I don't think this treatment could work, although the article pointed out that the jury is out on the effectiveness of it. I know when I force myself to stay off the computer for a full day and work around the house or outside, I feel like I've really accomplished a major feat. Imagine 45 days of that!

What I really like about the premise is getting someone to pay you to do chores around your compound in exchange for not letting them near technology. This could really solve the farm hand shortage we seem to be experiencing at the Erdman farm.

I wonder if they would like to open a satellite clinic in the Midwest?