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? 🙂

GeekMom’s latest “this is not my child” moment: Tantrum at Target

I don’t know who came up with the phrase “Terrible Twos,” because with my three kids, age three has always been much worse than two. I was reminded of this today, when my three year old daughter had her first humongous public meltdown. It happened like this…

This morning, I needed to get some things from my favorite store, Target. I love going to Target. There is a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell snack area up front, and I can grab a soda to sip while I shop. Usually, I get a sugar cookie for my daughter, and she sits sweetly in the cart, smiling at strangers, waving at old folks. It’s a nice outing. Not today.

About halfway through the shopping, she decided to throw a big screaming fit. It was really magnificent. On the International Tantrum Scale (based on how many strangers would stop and stare), it was probably a 9 out of 10. There was crying, whining, screaming, falling on the floor, scratching, bleeding, hair stuck to snot, kicking… No vomiting, though. That would have made it a 10.

I will spare you the rest of the little details, but let me share some of the things I learned from today’s Tantrum at Target:

  • Age three is more terrible than two, because a three year old is heavier, more wiggly, and can cause more damage during a tantrum.
  • The first time a child has a huge tantrum at the store, it will be unexpectedly crowded, even though it’s a Monday, and people should be at work.
  • The more difficult your child is being, the more people will stop their carts directly in your path, blocking your way.
  • The ear-splitting shrieks of an angry toddler would make a highly effective torture device.
  • The ear-splitting shrieks of an angry toddler would also make a highly effective birth control device.
  • Chanting “this is not my child” to yourself while you wrestle the kid and try to drive the cart around the oblivious morons parked in the middle of the aisle does not help to block out the screaming noise.

I’m sure some of you parents can relate to this experience. It’s one of those things that we all go through with our kids, right? Do you have any favorite tantrum lessons you’d like to share?

Today is a Geek Holiday: Happy pi Day!

Hip hip hooray! Today is PI DAY!

Okay, I don’t really get that excited about mathematical constants, but I didn’t think I could let the day go by without an acknowledgement. Pi, which is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, is approximately 3.14. At least, that’s the way most of us learned it in school.

If you have continued your education beyond high school, you may have memorized a few more digits for pi, such as 3.14159. And if you’re a complete genius (freak?), you might know even more, such as 3.14159265358979323846…

My husband pointed out to me that the ultimate pi day will be March 14, 2015 (the first five digits being 3.1415), although an argument could be made for the following year, March 14, 2016 (rounding up from 3.14159 to 3.1416) being a truer representation of the value of pi. Either way, I’ll be using it as an excuse to wear a geeky t-shirt and eating some extra pie!

If you were hosting the ultimate pi day party, what kinds of pie would you serve?

Geeks Get Geekier with Tattoos

geek tattoosI would never get a real tattoo. I’m afraid of needles, and I don’t want to be an 80 year old lady with a tattoo someday. For years, I’ve been searching for a way to express my inner geek. Okay, not really, because my inner geek is pretty much the same as my outer geek. There’s no hiding the geek inside of me.

But say I wanted to give epidermal artistic expression to my inner geek, without the use of needles? Now there’s a solution! Temporary Geek Tattoos!

I know that was a long way to go to introduce these, but they are pretty neat. I found them at, and the set includes “PWN3D,” “Game Over,” “Hack the Planet,” and other fun designs.

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. 🙂