Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

The Actual Official Launch of GeekMom!

Thursday, September 30, 2010
San Francisco Artist & Television Personality ...Image via WikipediaIf you follow my not-oft-updated blog here, you would know that some people and I recently started GeekMom, the companion blog to GeekDad, where I've been writing for a year and a half. September 1st was our soft launch, a dry run of sorts. It's a good thing we've had that month to work out the bugs, because there have been a few. I'm sure there will be a few more in the future, but hopefully a very few.

In any case, Monday, October 4, 2010, will be our hard launch of the site, where we pull out all the stops, have advertisers, and start our monthly segment where Kari Byron of Mythbusters fame writes her own posts! Yes, this new GeekMom will be a contributor to our brand new blog. So please come visit, especially next week, and see on what we have been working so hard.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Announcing GeekMom!

Thursday, September 02, 2010
The four moms at GeekDad, including me, plus our fearless leader, Ken, have started a new blog called GeekMom! We aren't associated with Wired.com, but there will be plenty of crossover with GeekDad. We hope it will be similar to GeekDad in content, except with a mom twist instead of a dad one. We're only in soft launch, so we'll be working out the kinks over the next month. Our official launch will be October 1.

So please, visit the site, read some articles, and write some comments. Let us know what you think!

Counting Down in 3... 2... 1...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Little Joe 2Image via Wikipedia
Tomorrow is a big day! The start of a new venture. I think we're mostly ready. With school taking more time than I thought it would this year, though, it will be a challenge for me to keep up the pace of the writing I'll need to do. The more I do it, the easier it gets, though.

I'll write more about it soon!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Strange Things Are Afoot...

Saturday, August 14, 2010
party on, dudesImage by krupp via FlickBut not at the Circle K.

I recently realized that I have been completely silent here all summer. I suppose there is a reason for that: my insane load of work this summer. Despite not homeschooling over the summer, I am always busy. It is my time to catch up on projects that I have neglected during the year, and this summer also included catching up on my dozen unwritten reviews for GeekDad. I am almost caught up with that, and I did get quite a few other projects completed, too. But, as usual, I only got about half of my Summer List done. Part of the reason for that is that during the past month, I've also been working on a new project, to be announced soon. So I hope to have more things to talk about this year. Also, I am planning a ginormous road trip for next summer with my half brother's wedding and my 20th high school reunion as bookends. I figure, if I'm going back east for two things, I might as well just go once. Despite the events likely being 5 weeks apart. Watch my Wandering Gnome blog for updates on that.

As summer vacation wraps up, and we start school on Monday, I feel like the summer was way too short to accomplish what I need to do. Next year's summer vacation is going to be even shorter, as the kids and I will be gone from home almost the entire summer break. But we'll have many adventures before then, which I will try to write up for my Homeschooling Adventure blog.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Just Back From the Maker Faire!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Maker Faire Flickr BadgeImage by marymactavish via Flickr
Just got back last night from the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. We had a GeekDad booth there again this year. It was a ton of fun, a little different from last year, though. We were selling our editor's new book, also called Geek Dad, and he sold out of all the copies that he had brought. I met great people from LEGO Education, Craft:, and ThinkGeek. I got some decent swag from some other booths. The kids had fun with the activities, and playing with the other GeekKids. This was my second year helping run the booth, and I hope to do it every year!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Going Viral

Friday, February 19, 2010
50 Social Media IconsImage by Ivan Walsh via Flickr
I've been writing for GeekDad for about 11 months now. They have always been able to count on me for writing regular posts that are of a good length, with the occasional one which is fairly interesting. But I'm not usually the one who writes the very popular or controversial posts.

Writing has gotten easier with practice, though. I have gotten a bit stuck in a rut of writing reviews. Between asking for a few cool things and my contacts continuing to send me more and more stuff (some of which I didn't ask for), my list of reviews to do is growing. I'm trying to knock them out before asking for new stuff, but it's hard when something comes across my desk that really excites me.

Once in a while, to break up the reviews, I'm moved to write a post that has nothing to do with a product. Sometimes the ideas just come to me and I sit down and write. Those posts are usually very fast to do. Other times they require a lot of research and end up more trouble than they are worth! Sometimes they are inspired by others, such as my recent 10 Ways to a Geeky Girl's Heart. Ed had the original idea for the post, as well as a couple of ideas for items for the list. My friend Alan completely inspired the treasure hunt item. I'd written most of the post a couple of months ago, but it just didn't sound right. So I let it sit, eventually realizing that it would be great timing to put it up for Valentine's Day. Somehow I thought that I'd just get it up for Valentine's Day itself, but it occurred to me, about 8 or 9 days ahead of time, that if people wanted to take my suggestions they might need time to prepare! So I got the post up a week ahead of the holiday, and it ran on Monday, February 8, when I was on my way to Disneyland with my kids and stepdad.

I had no idea if the post would go over well or not. Then, in the middle of Disneyland, I got a call from Ed who told me that it was doing VERY well. It was on the front page of Wired.com, it was the second most popular post on the whole site, etc etc. As the day went on, he kept filling me in on all the details, such as Mythbusters tweeting the link to their almost-million followers, and how it totally went viral. I was so excited! I was having fun at Disneyland, but also wished I could be at home, in front of my computer, enjoying and participating in the buzz from my post.

Marian Call even started following me on Twitter. And it went popular on Digg. It was on Slashdot. By the next week, it had gotten almost 150,000 page views! That's about 10% of GeekDad's entire monthly page views in a good month.

Fortunately, at the last minute before posting it, I'd thought to include a few Amazon Associate links for some things. Good thing I did. I made a bunch of money that day on referrals!

Because Wired.com had several Valentine's posts rolling around that week, they decided to put us all up again on the front page for the entire weekend of Valentine's Day. More page views!

This whole thing has been very exciting for me. Going viral like that... It's never happened to me before and it's a great feeling. The comments on the post are (for the most part) very supportive and good. I think I struck a chord with a lot of geeky women out there. I hope I can do it again in the future!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Small Town Life

Friday, January 29, 2010
I love living in a small town. It's big enough to have a hospital, a Costco, a Target, far too many Wal-Marts (two, and that's two too many), and a mall, albeit not a great one. But it's small enough that we're constantly running into people we know, the library is often actually quiet, and we really feel at home. We don't have things in common with everyone in the town (there are a lot of retired Republican gun owners, for example), but we've found a few niches where we fit in really well.

Another advantage of living in my town is that when someone like Alan Dean Foster shows up at the library to do a talk for the local professional writer's group, there are only about 50 people there. It makes for a much more intimate talk, and you feel like you're in the room with him, rather than just watching him from the audience. I won't quote him, as I don't have his permission. But needless to say, it was a great talk, and he covered many things that are different from what I learned when I interviewed him for GeekDad last spring.

So thank you, ADF. Learning from your experiences in writing, Hollywood, traveling, and local small town living is invaluable. Thank you for sharing with us all.

Creating My Process

Monday, January 11, 2010
And What shall I WriteImage by tomswift46 via Flickr
I'm still relatively new to this whole writing-as-profession thing, and I'm still working out the kinks. I don't have any set time set aside for writing. I am very busy and have the kids at home with me all day. Sometimes I have time in the evening to write, but by then, my brain is usually only operating on half power. Early morning usually works, except that means I have to get to bed early, which rarely happens.

So it'd be nice if I could get a regular time each week to write. Preferably every day, but since each day is a little bit different, it's hard to work it in. Perhaps I can work in a couple of post-lunch hours, a couple days per week.

I do have a pretty good writing process, though, once I do get writing. First I write down everything I want to say, either as a review or another kind of article. Then I go through it a second time, rearranging paragraphs, filling in big holes, making sure all of the parts are there. Then I go through it a third time, making sure it sounds right and I didn't leave anything out. Occasionally I have to read it a fourth time, and once in a blue moon I only have to do it twice. But a pattern has emerged, and it is working for me. But I can't write in 10 minute increments. I need to focus on it for a while.

I need to find time to focus, since my mom brain is always got its antennae up listening for the kids. That's my challenge recently.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

2009: A Great and Trying Year

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Blank Sheet of PaperImage by mark78_xp via Flickr
This past year held a lot for me, both bad and good. For the bad, our house has sat unsold all year long. Our savings are dwindling. As usual, I have more dreams and goals than I have time and/or money for. But there was plenty of good this year, too. We've (mostly) stayed healthy, had some great trips, learned a lot, and have gotten to do some exciting things. I also became a real official blogger, first with the local newspaper, then in March for GeekDad.

Writing for GeekDad has made a huge difference in my life. It's been something new to inspire and excite me. It's opened doors and given me opportunities. I hope that will continue if I keep working hard. Writing for GeekDad has been more than all of that, though. I finally feel a sense of purpose. Before I had kids, I had no real tangible sense of purpose. I worked at jobs and did random things, but I wasn't doing much that fed my soul, that made me feel like I had found my calling. Having children made a big difference in that. I always knew that I wanted kids, and when I had my first child at age 28, I was finally doing something that was important to me and that I enjoyed: taking care of a little being (and later two little beings).

I also feel like writing is finally my vocation, or avocation, depending on how you look at it. It's something that I can do. I have so many interests that it's hard to pick just one, but writing can be used for everything, and thus doesn't exclude any subject. So writing is doing a good job feeding most of the rest of my soul. I've always written, to varying degrees, though I'm not usually compelled to write. I just like having written something good. But now that I have a reason to write, someone to hold me acountable, I do it much more. Now, when I write, I feel myself growing as a person. I'm finding my voice, fleshing out my opinions. No wonder people say their 30s are better than their 20s! I'm doing some things for me now. I'm doing things that I'm proud of that lead to other things that I'm proud of. Squee.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Finding Your Voice

Monday, December 21, 2009
Work with schools : writing a composition : gi...
Ever since high school I've written things on my own, just for fun and mostly for myself. I always knew I wanted to write, but didn't really have much to say. Or I didn't feel that writing without an audience was terribly useful. Unless you're writing for therapeutic reasons (which I have also done), why write if no one will read it, and perhaps comment on it? I know there are a lot of valid answers to this question, but I hadn't yet found any for me. Until about a year ago. I started writing a blog for the local newspaper. This then led me to write for GeekDad. I haven't looked back. While I have put a lot of work into the GeekDad blog (and some into the newspaper one) over 2009, and haven't gotten paid much, if anything, for that hard work, it has been so personally satisfying that it's all been worth it. Plus the free review copies don't hurt. It has been like a giant unpaid internship, where I can learn, make mistakes, and personally grow without the pressure of it being a real job. I am making friends, making contacts, and having a great time. I can't wait to see where else it will lead.

The whole writing thing... In some ways, writing is easy. Sometimes the words just flow out like water from a faucet. And sometimes it is nearly impossible to come up with anything eloquent or it all sounds like gibberish. I don't always know which one of those I'll get until I start to write, so it is hard to be prolific. The best posts I've written are ones that I didn't spend a lot of time on. The worst ones are also the ones I didn't spend a lot of time on. The rest I put a lot of work into. And so it goes.

I'm learning about my process as it unfolds. Usually, especially with a review or something on which I've taken notes, there are three phases to writing. One, get all the ideas down, preferably in some semblance of order. Two, rearrange, add, subtract, and generally organize the post, making major changes. Three, fine tune it, fixing minor errors and omissions. Once in a while, I have to do a fourth pass, if pass number one was a real mess. And also, once in a while, I get lucky and get away with two passes.

But it all gets easier, the more I write. I'm sure others have experienced the same thing. Unlike some people, I am not compelled to write, but when it's easy, it's a great feeling. When it's hard, it does feel a lot like work. But that happens less and less.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

When Do You Get Your Ideas?

Friday, November 27, 2009
Tapping a PencilImage by Rennett Stowe via Flickr
Is there a special place and time when ideas just come to you? Whether for writing or other creative outlets, or inspiration for how to solve a pesky business problem, or how you'll code your current program... Where are you and what are you doing when ideas and solutions tend to come to you?

I've noticed lately that my ideas come to me when I am in the shower. My mind is on autopilot: shampoo, rinse, wash face, rinse, conditioner, wash rest of me, rinse. So the creative and task-based parts of my mind are free to think of things that I need to get done, or ideas for the next post or project.

Of course, like most people, I don't have a way to write down these ideas while in the shower. I'm not sure a small white board would work. Perhaps something with grease pencil? How does one take notes while in the shower?

So I'm asking all of you out there, my handful of readers, do you have any ideas for how one could take notes while in the shower? Perhaps something to hang up, held up by suction cups? Of course, I'd have to squint while I wrote things down (who showers with their glasses on?), but it'd be better than forgetting the genius idea that I just came up with, or the important thing to grab on the way out the door.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Saturday, November 21, 2009
MoneyImage by TW Collins via Flickr
Okay, not quite micro-income, but fairly close.

As some of you know, I'm trying to save up for a few trips in the next few years, starting from zero dollars. Thanks to a very small job I have that takes about an hour a week, plus payments from Amazon Associates, I'm saving up about $70-100 per month! Go me! After a couple of years, that may just pay for one of the three trips I want to take. Perhaps other things will trickle in as well, helping to pay for the other two trips. You can help by clicking on the link to the book I'm reading now (at right) each time you want to shop at Amazon.com. I'll get a percentage of your purchase (but it won't cost you anything additional).
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

GeekDad Tshirts Now Available at ThinkGeek!

Friday, November 13, 2009
We had our awesome GeekDad Tshirts made to wear to the Maker Faire this year, and so many people asked us where they could buy a Tshirt of their own that some of the other Geeks looked into it. Ken, our head Geek, wrangled a deal with ThinkGeek, everyone's favorite store for geeks. As of this week, they now offer our awesome Tshirt for sale. The logo is on the front, along with the URL, and the back has a tag cloud of post tags from GeekDad.

The price is decent, and your purchase goes to help all the Core Contributors of GeekDad earn a small amount of money (especially me, if you use my links - muhahahaha!).

(Image: GeekDad.com and ThinkGeek)

A Mom's Day Off

Sunday, November 08, 2009
Reading cornerImage by delphaber via Flickr
I love what I do in my life right now. I have the privilege and luck to be able to stay home, take care of the kids, homeschool them, and be able to schedule my own day (most of the time). I also write for a few blogs, mostly not for pay, and I do a little other paying work here and there. I wouldn't trade it for any of the regular 40 hour per week paying jobs that I've had in the past. I would miss my kids too much, and I never liked anything enough to do it for that many hours per week.

Spending all of my waking hours being on call, though, being the go-to person for everything for everyone in my household, tends to wear on you after a while. Having the constant possibility of needing to do something for someone, or listening to what someone else is saying, it doesn't allow for any quality time inside my own head. It makes me go quite mad after a while. It's hard to get much done when you have to put it down every few minutes. Especially writing.

Most weeks I get a couple of hours off one night a week while my husband takes the kids swimming (thanks, Ed!), but that is usually it. As time goes on, it's not enough to get me sane and keep me there. Today, however, I asked for the whole day off. Not so much to do things that I don't have a chance to do otherwise, just so I can do them without interruption. Naturally the dog takes this opportunity to be high maintenance, but her needs are simple.

I'm only a small part of the way through my day, and I've already done some writing (see what I did there?), some crafting, and a little Netflix watching (Mad Men Season One Disc Two). Later on, I plan to do some reading, some exercise, some more writing, and perhaps some Beatles Rock Band.

I had better get going, though, because the one thing that is inevitable for time off, is that I always have more things that I want to do than I have time for.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]