GeekMom on life: What’s in your intellectual junk drawer?

Since I finished graduate school and became a full-time mother (nine years ago), my life has become extremely cluttered. There are school papers, coupons, tiny Lego blocks, snack wrappers, odd socks, unlabeled CDs, and mountains of laundry… I could go on, but I won’t. Everything from the important things, like my kids, to the dirty, dusty detritus of life, it all takes up space in my home and in my head.

The point is, with a wonderful husband and three dear children to take care of, and so many truly important codes, passwords, dates, and numbers to remember, why do I still have old, useless bits of trivial information taking up space in my brain? I don’t have room for extra stuff! It makes it really difficult to find what I’m looking for!

For instance, say I’m looking for that very small screwdriver. You know the one I mean? It’s very thin, and it has a standard shaped end, which makes it perfect for unlocking the bathroom door when there’s nobody in there. Oh, yes. This happens sometimes! It’s quite mysterious.

So the first place I look is the kitchen junk drawer. I’m looking for the special little screwdriver, but what do I find? Everything else we’ve stashed in there since we moved into this house! Rubber bands, vegetable seeds, lip balm, marbles, tape, pens and pencils, an old checkbook, super ball, assorted coins, little rocks, and various things with sharp edges that find their way under the fingernails. Ouch! No screwdriver.

Sometimes, that’s how I feel when I’m trying to think of something important, like… my own phone number. Yes, I forgot my phone number. Picture me on the phone, leaving a message for an acquaintance. “So if you could call me back, that would be great. My number is… Four… I’m so sorry, but I’ll have to call you back with my phone number.” I couldn’t believe it. After that, I wrote my number on a sticker and kept it inside the kitchen cupboard, so I would never have to sound so stupid again! (At least not while leaving a phone message.)

I might not feel so bad about having forgotten my phone number, if the data taking its place were actually important, but they’re not. It’s just a bunch of stuff that I’ve stashed in there for the last 35 years. I’ll show you. Let’s give the old noggin a shake and see what falls out

  • High school locker combination (35-9-35)
  • Names and colors of all four Wiggles
  • First telephone number, from 30 years ago
  • Memorized lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Ex-boyfriend’s birthdate
  • Mnemonic phrase for the 12 cranial nerves (On Old Olympus’ Towering Top A Family Very German Viewed Armadillos Hop), but not the actual names of the nerves
  • and more…

I’d say my brain is in need of a good sorting out, but I guess that’s life. Maybe I’ll need this stuff someday, like if I’m in a coma, and my family will be sitting around the hospital bed, talking quietly. Some young doctor will say, “Oh, by the way, do you know a good mnemonic for the 12 cranial nerves? I’m having trouble remembering them.” And one of my brilliant relatives will say, “Of course! On Old Olympus’ Towering Top…” And then, I’ll wake up! It could happen.

So, what’s in your intellectual junk drawer? Care to share your most useless bits of trivia with us? 🙂

Ten Signs Your Blog Might Be Annoying

Okay, I usually try to keep my snarky thoughts to myself, but every now and then, I have to let them out. Otherwise, the pressure would just build up until I had a huge snark explosion, and that would not be pretty, right? So in the interest of mental health, and snarky humor, here is my list of Ten Signs Your Blog Might Be Annoying.

  1. Your background and text colors are similar.
  2. Your sidebars are way longer than your content column.
  3. Your graphics feature seizure-inducing blinkies and glitter text.
  4. Your main page plays music automatically.
  5. Your sidebar is full of buttons, ads, badges, and awards, of all different shapes and sizes.
  6. Your page features automatic audio ads.
  7. Your banners or graphics are wider than your columns, and they overflow into the margins, or overlap other elements.
  8. First-time visitors have a hard time finding your actual post on the page.
  9. You routinely change languages mid-post.
  10. More than 10% of your blog is written in leetspeek or lolcatz style.


If your blog contains one of these elements, that doesn’t mean it’s terrible. But if you have lots of these, you might want to consider cleaning things up a bit. This concludes my snark for the day. 🙂

Darn those Girl Scouts and their Thin Mints

Once a year, the Girl Scouts set up shop in the foyer of our local grocery store. They stack up boxes and boxes of cookies, put on their sashes, smiles, and best manners. I try to resist, but I just can’t!

I must have the cookies!

Last year, my husband mistakenly brought home some peanut butter sandwich cookies. I wanted Peanut Butter Patties. They are soooo not the same. Peanut Butter Patties are covered in chocolate. The sandwiches are not. The Patties are my favorites!

Coming in a close second are the Thin Mints. When I was a Girl Scout, I think there were lots more Thin Mints per box. Also, each box was much cheaper back then. Yes, the cookies are expensive. Yes, they are not good for me. But I just can’t help it!

This is embarrassing, but I just did a line of Thin Mints. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t, and before I knew it, the whole tube was empty. Darn those Girl Scouts and their tiny, delicious, overpriced cookies!

Addicted to the Internet?

After I got my kids off to school this morning, I was sitting in my usual spot, at the computer. I started opening all my favorite sites in tabs, glanced out the window to watch the snow falling, checked to see whether the pages were loading fast enough… Fired up Mail and a couple of other applications, checked Firefox again, started reading headlines.

My husband came down the stairs and was putting on his coat to leave for the office. He said, “Did you see that news story on people who are addicted to the internet?

I said, “How could I have seen that if I was over here working on the computer?”

I’m hilarious, I know. 🙂 I admit it; I have an internet dependency.

How addicted are you? How long can you go without checking something online? Days? Hours? Minutes?

What is Blego? And 5 bloggy questions…

I’ve been tagged again, this time by Rudy. This meme required a bit of thinking, and here’s what I came up with.

So what the heck is “blego”?

Blego (GeekMomMashup.com definition) – A mispronunciation of the name of Aragorn’s horse “Brego,” in The Lord of the Rings. I love that book!

Blego (evilwoobie.com’s definition) – n. an acronym of “blog ego”, which pertains to a blogger’s sense of self in the blogosphere.

Blego (Darkside-Dreamland.com’s definition) – n. a protologism combining blog and ego. Used to define the ego of a blog or blogger. Like personal ego, blego may be good or bad.

Blego (benbarden.com’s definition) – n. a toy for children to build with but with a B in front.

BLEGO (WoganMay.com’s definition) – abbr. Breaking Little Enterprises – Godzilla Organisations.

Blego (Blogosis.com’s definition) – n. An Eggo waffle and a blog mixed together. I don’t know what this would look like, but maybe I can come up with a prototype.

Blego (amid.com’s defintion) – expression. “Bleh, let’s go!” If you’re being forced to go somewhere or do something, by your spouse or friends, just slur those words together and get “blego”. It is usually said after a big sigh. For example, “Do I have to? Hrmph! Blego!”

As any meme, this one has rules.

  1. The person tagged must copy the word (”Blego”) and paste the definitions of the word contributed previously by the people who did the meme.
  2. Link backs would be nice, but not necessary.
  3. The person tagged must then add her own definition in this format ‘yourname.com’s definition’ and place your link. Being creative with the acronym is encouraged.
  4. Answer the following questions.
  5. Tag 5 other people to do the meme.

For #4, here are the answers to the questions:

  1. Do you know what your blog is really about, and you can write a one-sentence promotional material for it in a flash? If yes, write it here.

    GeekMomMashup is a blog about my life. “Life is a mashup of toys and gadgets, hobbies and recipes, kids and odd socks, all held together with love and duct tape.”
  2. Do you join social networks to promote your blog? If yes, do you hope to find friends in these social networks and in the process get regular readers of your blog?

    I’ve joined a couple of social networks, and every now and then, I submit my favorite posts. It’s always a pleasant surprise to find out someone else has submitted my content! I’m not into myspace or twitter (at least not yet). To be truthful, I don’t want anyone following me that closely! Plus, I’m not really that fascinating. People don’t need to see every little detail of my day. It’s boring. 🙂
  3. Do you or do you plan to join ranking sites that put your blog in competition with others for popularity? If yes, do you or do you plan to monitor your stats regularly?

    I don’t think you’ll see my blog in a cagematch any time soon. I do check my stats more frequently than is productive.
  4. Do you tweak your blog often in accordance with the tips you get from blogging guides and gurus? If yes, list the bloggers you visit often to obtain these tips.

    There is almost too much advice for bloggers out there. I try to distill the huge volume of information and keep the best bits. I implement suggestions if they make sense for me. I don’t like cluttering up my blog with lots of ads and widgets, and I’m resisting the big blog monetization movement. I have some ads, but mostly I just try to write well, about things I find interesting. I think the average reader appreciates a genuine, well-written post, without too much commercial content.
  5. Do you think of your next post even if you have just written a new one? If yes, list your inspirations for posting, and/or some routines that you go through before posting.

    Yes, I always have a few ideas in the hopper. I seem to get lots of ideas as I’m trying to fall asleep at night. Thinking keeps me awake, so I scribble my ideas down on a notepad in the dark, and try to decipher them in the morning.

Ok, so now is the fun part. I get to tag 5 more people to follow this meme. I shall now ask:

There you have it! I’m looking forward to seeing what our fellow bloggers have to say!

Does it have to be so big?

big RSS buttonWith the recent blog explosion, I’ve noticed a proliferation of extra-large RSS icons.

I certainly understand people’s desire to attract subscribers. I have my own RSS icons on my blog. See them over there on the right, near the top of the page? Nice little buttons with the familiar — even standard — little curvy line design. Nice, right? You know what they’re for, and you can use them if you want to.

I got them from feedicons.com, if you’re interested.

But what’s with the ginormous feed icons? They remind me of Flavor Flav‘s huge wall clock necklace pendant. Does it have to be so big? Does it tell time better than a normal wristwatch?

Now, it may be that the over-large RSS icon is being used as a design element, which is fine. But as far as function, I think these R.I.O.U.S.s (RSS Icons Of Unusual Size) are a bit excessive. Kind of like an unnecessary and too-long acronym. 😉

I doubt there is a correlation between the size of an RSS icon and the number of subscribers it attracts. Also, there is probably no relationship between the size of the icon and anything else useful. Of course, people can do what they like with their own sites and icons. But isn’t there a size at which the RSS button becomes too big to do its job, and becomes an eyesore, a distraction, or even a deterrent, to would-be subscribers? How about the “World’s Biggest RSS Button“, which is so big, it leaves no room for anything else on the page?

I think the RSS icon should be big enough to be found easily by users who are looking for it, but small enough to be ignored by those who aren’t. That’s just my opinion.