The Good News and the Bad News

So wow!  I can’t thank you folks enough for all the well wishes on my behalf after I shared my basically nauseating tale of having a mole on my upper back removed. 

The good news, though?  The little creep was innocent of all charges, and had been taken to the slammer unjustly.  However, as a result of the experience, he has decided to travel from school to school as a cautionary tale of what can happen when you forget to use sunscreen.  Be looking for him at an assembly near you…

On a totally unrelated note, however, I’m sad to report that my eldest son also has a growth that I have no idea how to get rid of.  It would seem that he and his netbook have become a single entity. 

Where my son goes, the netbook goes.  Coffee shop, grocery store, church, mall, homeschool gatherings. 

In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw him take it with him to the bathroom yesterday.

It’s becoming a little worrisome.  I’d like to separate him from his new gadget, but I fear it may take more than a visit to the dermatologist to get rid of this foreign body.  I’m not even sure a surgeon has got the skills needed for an excision like this one. 

Nope… this one is going to need some heavy-duty psychoanalysis, I think.  If I could only remember how I got H-T to finally give up that pacifier…

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Where the Wired Things Are

So I thought I would give you an update on our unschooling adventure and how that’s going.  As you can guess, even our unschooling tends toward the techie. 

Uber is busily learning Java and studying artificial intelligence.  He’s also considering joining a local group that meets regularly to discuss how Linux can take over the world. 

H-T is writing a book.  I KNOW!! I WAS SO EXCITED TOO!! Until I realized the book is based on the life of a video game character.  But hey, he’s WRITING A BOOK.  Beggars will NOT be choosers in this house.  And anyway, the book is actually pretty darn good so far.  I’m actually invested enough to care about this video game persona! 

Other, slightly non-techie pursuits include their music lessons Canterbury Tales, Woodcut 1484(Uber’s taking piano and H-T’s taking guitar), we’re reading through the Canterbury Tales (thanks to Holly!) and studying a bit of Medieval History, and they are also getting ready to take part in Drama Club, where the spring play happens to be Robin Hood – – how serendipitous!  They also are both doing well with their math studies, which Uber takes on YourTeacher.com, and H-T uses Time4Learning

Overall, this has been an amazingly successful experiment, so far.  I don’t think I could have done it when the boys were in their elementary years…but interest-led learning is SO VERY PERFECT for the middle and high school years!!

Just Exactly How Wired Am I??

wired So the first thing in my inbox today was a surprising email from Obi-Mom letting me know that we had both made a list for “Top Ten Wired Mom Blogs!”  I got that feeling akin to what Tom Hanks must feel when his agent calls him on the day of the Golden Globe Nominations.

Well, if Tom Hanks were a geeky homeschooling mom, of course. (hey, he DID wear that dress back in the 80’s!!)

Anyway, I had to think for a moment (not exactly pleasant before breakfast) what it means to be a “wired mom.” 

Does it mean I have all the latest gadgetry?  Not even close.

Does it mean I keep up with the latest techie news?  Ok, maybe a little in between the de-cluttering and the waterfalling.

Does it mean I am 100% obsessed with the world wide web?  You bet your cotton-pickin’-mobile-wifi-enabled-laptop it does! 

I’m a wired mom.  And if you need me…I’ll be here. 

On the web. 

Forever. 

Or until my charge runs out. 

Whichever comes first.

Who Is This Linux Guy…And What Does He Want With My Son??

Computer rigeneriamoci

Image by rigeneriamoci via Flickr

I’m not sure how your family actively studies vocabulary, but we have our own unique strategy around here: give birth to a geekling. 

Our 15-year-old has a new passion, and I can always tell, because a whole new crop of words begin cropping up in his daily conversations. Now I like to think of myself as somewhat of a word nerd, but I quickly realize I am out of my league when the following arcana starts to infiltrate our life:

Ubuntu

Root (and I don’t mean like the plant!)

open-source

Debian

partition

desktop environment

I kind of get the whole “desperate parent” thing Jon Voight has going on.  It is not exactly easy to be completely bypassed by the person who was asking you to help them tie their shoes not long ago! 

So to stay in step with my son it means I have to embrace the idea of Linux. 

Lordy, do I feel old today.

Some Weeks Are A Little More Topsy Than Techie

So I came home from that glorious Camp Greenville field trip on Sunday to a message in my inbox from one of the members at my SecularHomeschool.com website.  It seemed that while I was hiking and dosey-do’ing, a major tool of a person was busy hacking into the site. 

I didn’t want to believe it was true, but alas when I arrived at the homepage, I was greeted with an ominously evil looking “you’ve been hacked” screen instead of the screenshot that I’m so used to – – the one that has my blood sweat and tears all pixeled in the right places. 

Following that lovely revelation was the realization that even my admin page was out of access to me.  This asinine evil-doer really had my “balls in a vice”, as my hubby is wont to occasionally say.  Topsy-Techie was feeling a lot less techie, and a lot more topsy.  I had to call on my back-up crew…the REAL techies…who know what to do in these kinds of instances. 

It was degrading and demeaning on so many levels.  If you’ve been following T-T for long, you will know that there are few things I detest more than having to grovel at the feet of the Geek Squadhands in ears My idea of “technical support” is anyone who is willing to replenish my coffee cup, take over the cooking duties, and ignore my language while I am tackling a particularly snarly technical difficulty.

But I knew immediately that this particular snafu was way out of my league.  The stupid site had started hurling racial epithets and extremist Islamic propaganda by that time, so I knew it was time to call in the big guns. 

Anyway, as humbling as it is, I’d like to dedicate this post to M and I.  My two knights in shining pocket-protectors who not only knew just what to do, but how to handle an renegade would-be know-nothing know-it-all techie.  Thanks to them, SecularHomeschool.com is back in business and humming along like clockwork. 

Me?  Well, I’m still licking my wounds a bit.  All will be better soon, I’m sure.  Anyone have any easy technical glitch that they need advice on to help boost my morale???

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All The Crap That’s Fit To Print

My printer and I have a love/hate relationship.  The thing knows I love and need it.  It sits there, all confident-like, shooting out pieces of paper with perfect color and texture.  It mocks me with its reliability.  I can count on it…and it is fully aware of my affection.

But I also hate it.  It costs a small fortune to keep it inked up.  It makes printing so easy that I print out things I don’t need to, just because they come out flawless.  I can actually hear the trees outside my window weeping each time it chews up and spits out another one of their family members.

I’ve wanted to get a handle on this co-dependent relationship for some time now, but it was so hard to get past the first three steps in the Printers Anonymous 12-step Program.  I needed help.  Couldn’t do it on my own.

But now, I have found a sponsor.  Someone who has been through my pain, and has come out on the other side.  I’d like to introduce that sponsor to you today…

Meet: printfriendly

Prientfriendly lets you take whatever webpage you feel the urge to print, pop it into their preview page, and makes it immediately print optimized.  Takes out all the unnecessary “gunk” and lets you customize it down to exactly the part you want to print – – nothing more, nothing less. 

Because of printfriendly, I can now raise my head up high again.  I can look those trees outside square in the bark. 

My printer and I are now on a level playing field, and we have some respect and equity back in our relationship now. 

The damn microwave, however, is as cocky as ever…

 

Go ahead, register at the site and take it for a spin!  Print

Twittered Out and Fed Up

You know that aunt that comes to all your family gatherings and feels the need to share in great gory detail about her various aches, pains, surgeries, and scars?  And if you end up having to sit by her all night, you pretty much have to knock back more than just a few Bud Lights to survive the evening with any measure of your sanity intact?

Well, I am telling you to give the woman a break.  Sometimes, even when you know other people don’t care, you just NEED to share.  And besides, throw in a few bad email experiences, and some Windows Vista and I am that aunt.

You see, when things aren’t quite working out in my techie little world, I simply must tell someone.  And since my husband gets this really glaze-y stare when I try to share my online woes with him, then I’m afraid that you are the ones stuck sitting next to me all evening.  It sucks, but life just does, sometimes.  So go grab your lager of choice and DEAL, k?

First of all, I’m tired to death of Twitter.  If you follow me on Twitter, or I have been following you, I apologize in advance if this hurts, but I AM BORED OF YOU!! For some reason, no matter what people Twitter about lately, it just feels rehashed, contrived, and time-wasting.  It was a great experiment, but a failed one overall – – for me at least.  I’m happy to give over my Twitter time to Facebook, anyway because I actually KNOW those folks, and have a history with them.  Face-less messaging somehow just wasn’t my cup of tea after all.

Secondly, I have been lamenting on the fact that no one was updating their blogs lately (including myself).  The truth was everyone else was doing fine…it was my Windows Feed Reader that had gone to hell in a hand basket.  You guys had been saying big important things, like you were moving, and you were having pseudo-fantasies about Dave Matthews, and you were finding snow on the beach, and finding out your children were getting key parts in a play, and I was MISSING IT ALL!  Stupid, stupid Windows!  So, I threw in the towel and manually entered all my feeds into Google Reader (which I later found out you don’t have to do manually, but I’ll save that gory story for another family gathering.)  idaho

Oh Boise, Idaho do I love Google Reader!!!  (BTW, that’s my new  thing.  I randomly insert U.S. cities as exclamations.  I figure it will somehow improve the boys’ geography.)  Now that is a real woman’s feed reader.  It is stylish, sexy, and oh-so-easy on the eyes.  And the best part?  It actually works!!

So let’s go back and recap now, in case you missed one of the details while you were grabbing that last beer.  I’m…

TWITTERED OUT AND FED UP…get it? got it? good.

Sacramento, California that was good to get off my chest!!!  Now you want to hear about my ingrown toenail?