Friday, July 20, 2007

Maillot My

We just spent a weekend in the Wisconsin Dells, a popular tourist trap that has a smidge of credibility now for its outrageously expansive (and expensive) waterparks. My husband's company ran an incentive trip and my kids won the lottery.

What was disturbing, aside from me throwing my back out on the very first morning (did I mention my three kids and a waterpark?) was that there were an incredible number of obese people there, both adults and children. Children as young as 3, 4 years old who were already on a very serious path of health problems due to being overweight.

It's easy to say to myself - Hey, at least I look decent in my tankini. I'm heading for the ice cream place as soon as my daughter starts to yawn for her nap.

OTOH, now that I work for who I work for, childhood obesity is no joke to me. I look at these kids and think, you are going to be the first generation of 20 year old heart attacks and Type 2 diabetes sufferers. It's incredibly sad.

I don't have any ready answers, except to acknowledge that all of us need to stop rewarding kids with food. Why not say -- instead of "Let's get ice cream, you did such a great job on ____" -- "Let's go for a walk together." Or "Let's play baseball."

I understand that kids aren't as mobile (on foot, on bikes) as they used to be. For very valid reasons. But let's make an effort to show them that physical activity is a part of healthy every day living.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

David Strom's Luddite Quiz

From the blog!

Thanks to David for letting me reprint this here.

I got the idea for this column from Dennis Drogseth, who has been around in our industry as long as I have, working at IBM, Cabletron, and now as an analyst for Enterprise Management Associates. He told me that he still was a Luddite, even though Dennis is one of those people that can actually speak about routers and SMNP. So I thought up this little quiz that you can give your friends and see how you stack up on the tech scale. Okay, print this out, pick up your number two pencils, and no looking at your neighbor's paper.

1. How do you communicate with your teenagers?
(a) Still talk to them f2f
(b) Call them on their cells to find out where they want to you to think they are
(c I M them from work when they get home from school
(d) Message them on Facebook or Myspace
(e) Not allowed to connect to them via Facebook or Myspace
(f) Who can talk to their teens anyway?

2. How did you find your present job?
(a) Am self-employed, the ultimate job 2.0 lifesytle
(b) Found it through LinkedIn
(c) Found it through Craigslist
(d) Did all those annoying exercises in "Parachute" and they actually helped

3. When did you last post to your blog?
(a) Last hour
(b) Last 24 hours
(c) Last week
(d) I don't have a blog and don't want to start now
(e) Blogs are so yesterday, now I have my own Facebook network and they create all my content for me

4. How many iPods do/have you own(ed)?
(a) Have an iPhone, who needs an iPod?
(b) Have two (or more) – one for exercise, one for cross-country travel
(c) Have one, and replace it every time Apple announces a new version
(d) Don't want to spend the dough and bought a cheaper MP3 player
(e) Still buy music CDs and listen to them the old-fashioned way

5. How do you watch most of your movies?
(a) Download them legally from Netflix, iTunes or Amazon
(b) Download them via a P2P, you don't want to know the details
(c) Rent them from Netflix, just upped my monthly plan
(d) Have a DVR and love it
(e) Just bought a DVD for the car to keep the kids occupied
(f) Stay up late and have watched every "Die Hard" at least five times
(g) Go to the movie theaters and suffer with the vast unwashed masses

6. How many speakers are connected to your living room music system?
(a) 7 (and more in other rooms of the house too)
(b) I thought I was pretty cool with 5
(c) Listen to The Who on just 2
(d) Just the one that came with the TV set, thank you very much

7. Do you have more computers than people at home?
(a) Yes, significantly more and it is pretty damn depressing when you think about it
(b) Yes, but only counting the work laptop(s)
(c) No, we are one-to-one
(d) No, fewer PCs than people and have to fight over who gets to use the laptop

8. Do you have a NAS device at home?
(a) Yes, it is the only way to safely store my music, videos, and photos
(b) No, but I do my backups online do I get points for that?
(c) What's a NAS?

9. How many online photo-sharing services have you used?
(a) Several, and I upload photos to an electronic photo frame too for grandma
(b) Several but they all have issues
(c) One and I am happy with it
(d) Why did Yahoo get rid of theirs, it was better than Flickr anyway
(e) None, still taking my film to the drugstore

10. How do you look up phone numbers?
(a) or similar service
(b) I go to the company's Web site and root around for their contact info
(c) I just Google the company
(d) I have that big printed thing from the phone company somewhere around here
(e) I don't care if it costs me a $1, I still call 411.

11. How do you book your airline flights?
(a) I use Kayak or something equivalent to find the best prices
(b) I go directly to the airlines' Web sites
(c) I call my travel agent
(d) I don't want to fly anywhere this summer and deal with the crowds

12. How many digital cameras does your family own?
(a) More cameras than people
(b) Fewer cameras than people
(c) One-to-one, but I still can't find a camera that has decently short shutter delay.

13. Are you the master of your own domain?
(a) Own several domains, in the process of consolidating them all under one registrar because it is getting out of hand
(b) Yes, own my own domain and run the family Web site keeping track of everyone too
(c) I am a GoDaddy reseller and will gladly sell you a domain if you don't have one yourself
(d) No, just use hotmail or Yahoo and am happy with that

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Or, Why Me + A Mac = Dangerous

Our home laptop has been ailing for what feels like years. In fact, I bought it over three years ago, and have had it in to Schmest Scmuy at least seven times for various problems. Having given up on Schmest Schmuy, I went to a local PC fixer, then a friend from our school who repairs PCs in his spare time.

Mind you, my brother has been trying to get me to switch to a Mac forever. FOREVER. "But," I'd say, "what about ____ software or ____ compatibility? What will become of my emails?" He'd patiently lay out the options for me and wait for me to come to my senses. I didn't.

Meantime, I was purchased another Schmindows (Schmista) laptop for work. I'd offhandedly requested a Mac, only to be told they were too expensive. After only three weeks on the job, it quit during the projection of a DVD during our annual meeting. Subsequently, it shut down during a Schmower Schmoint presentation a mere half hour later. No love lost between me and Schmista.

Flash forward to my current situation. Dead laptop, emails piling up (or being bounced) from my web ISP account, checking obsessively to try to delete out what I could while saving what I needed. Missing a payment or two because my Quicken interface hadn't gone online in 3+ weeks. You get the drift.

My son attended two (free) Mac camps this week. One on movie-making and one on podcasting -- both of which he loved. (Editor's note - If you do this, you have to stay on site. As Shrek would say, "Now that's some fine print for yeh!") That said, I spent a lot of time in what I've always thought of as a product manager's dream home -- the Apple store. Clean, well-organized, friendly, helpful, accomodating, thorough, funny -- this place has it all.

Today, I brought home our new baby, an iMac with all the new Mac software I need. So in addition to Andy Warhol-ing myself, I can also pay my bills again.

But if you expect an email or a Christmas card -- think again. I lost that all with my old email program and contact manager, neither of which port to Mac. Please contact me with all your info, so I can plug it into my new system!

And yet, I'm smiling. Only slightly more broadly than the store manager when I asked whether or not I needed to purchase anti-virus software.

Bye-bye, Schnorton and Schmcafee.

Oh, and check this out for more.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

One of My Favorite Comediennes

You can't beat Kathy Griffin, especially as a celeb watcher.

(Who can forget her red carpet -- where she isn't allowed any longer -- interview with Gwyneth Paltrow, which was preceded by her announcing, "Here comes Gwyneth with her big bag of bullsh--.")

Watch this for a hilarious Ann Coulter rant.

Don't Have Time To Peruse The Web?

Try this to set you off in all sorts of directions...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Funny Internet Forward

One of the rare funny ones! Thanks to my friend Lori for sharing this.


After Mr. and Mrs. Fenton retired, Mrs. Fenton insisted her husband accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, Mr. Fenton was like most men -- he found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, Mrs. Fenton was like most women -- she loved to browse.

One day Mrs. Fenton received the following letter from her local Wal-Mart.

Dear Mrs. Fenton,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and may beforced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Fenton are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5 minute intervals.

3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares - get on it right away."5.

August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

7. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.

8. September 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"

9. October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as amirror while he picked his nose.

10. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudlyhumming the "Mission Impossible" theme.

12. December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.

13. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

14. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"

And last, but not least, 15. December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"

Regards, Wal-Mart