Monday, November 30, 2009

seasonal offering

1. Refrigerate them.

2. Eat within three to five days.

3. Think about them, the verbal hiccups, ones mentioned too quickly, under-processed and ill-advised, because they're at the epicenter of this holiday season.

4. Just say, 'thank you' and go about the business of ushering the kids out of the restaurant and in to the minivan sporty manmobile. That middle-aged woman is sincere when she tells you in passing that the children are beautiful. She's sincere when she asks if all four are your children. You offer her one, jokingly of course, because you'd never give away your children, no matter how irritating they may be. She's a cautionary tale when she lets you know that she'd love one because she misses one, her only one, the one who died when he was eight, and that she remembers his smile, his waist-high hugs, his boundless energy, his love of trucks and puddles and his father. And I'm stuck on 'puddles' because 'his father' is the dig, the reminder, the cautionary tale.

5. Carry them, one by one, to the car.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

serious bots

One of the premiere selling points for any chiclet of technology is in a particular application's ability to make life a bit easier.

So, when Jim Gates shared a link to Google Wave Extensions on Diigo today, I immediately checked them out, excited at the prospect for a host of new widgets and bots.

But then I looked at the names for the extensions. And if indeed there's something in a name, then almost all of them scream ridiculousness.

It's tough to go around promoting add-ons for any application when their names immediately create equal parts disdain and distance with end-users.

Some of the names are comical, animatedly comical. Behold:
Google Wave and The Seven Extensions:

Othello (this one just wants to grab a pillow and suffocate the other six)
And for the grown-ups:
Polly the Pollster
Now how does one sell that?

Friday, November 6, 2009


Writing prompts demand your best, original effort.

That said, the only acceptable ready-made set of writing prompts for use with high school students would have to be:

The University of Chicago's essay portion
of their undergraduate application packet.

I want to write this essay:
How do you feel about Wednesday?
And I want to assign it to a class, and engage in thought-provoking discussions that foster meaningful argument support.

And I want that one kid to stay after class to ask if she can do a different topic:


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

virtually an idiot

The New York Times gives us the opportunity to gauge our distraction by playing an online simulation. The game:
...measures how your reaction time is affected by external distractions.
I'm a savvy TXTR!

I switched lanes for a virtual mile, and then I received the first of three text messages. The rules said that I had to respond, and that I had to do so while driving and moving from lane to lane.

After I responded to the third TXT, the game ended, and I received my own bar graph:

  • My driving acumen improved with each TXT, so I'll just get better and better the more I TXT while driving. Yay!
  • 23 percentage points worse than other participants!!! From a demographic angle, I thought I was on the younger side of NY Times readers...especially online readers. Shameful.
  • I have responded to, and even sent, text messages while driving with my children. Moron.