Category Archives: Random Weirdness

Be Who You Are… if not now, when?

A few of you know I’m writing (when I have *&@! time) a book about the unexpected gifts of cancer.  More on that another time.

A few of you also know I’ve lost more than my share of people to that ridiculous disease.  And I have my own little condition to deal with, too.

Couple that with a few near misses with my own kids, and I’ve been ruminating on the temporal nature of our little lives (that would be, “how frickin’ short our lives are”  for those who prefer words under$5) more than usual.

Originally this post was going to be about staying true to your own voice in social media, and not getting lost trying to fit in with some neo-cool Tribe.

I had attended the Chicks Who Click conference in Denver, and three of the speakers — Erika Napoletano, Shelly Kramer, and Tara Anderson— all came back to more or less the same point:  beeeeee yourself.  It reminded me that though I initially created this blog related to my work, without my voice, it’s just a bunch of links.  I needed to be brave and show more of who I am; and if you don’t want to work with me because of that, well… that’s probably for the best.

(You don’t like Disney references?  Sorry; when my kids were little I saw this movie at least 200 times.  Ask me about the deep revelations in Lion King sometime.)

But things change.  Over the Winter I lost another friend to cancer — this would be like, the 27th or something; and I came across a video where half the people were alive just a bit ago.  And well, you should still stay true to your own voice in social media.  But now this post is about something more than that.

So, that video?  It’s Pink Floyd and The Beatles.   Together.  (It’s probably pretend/digital magic, since I’m pretty sure The Wall was made after the Fab Four broke up, but hey — it works).

Three of those guys aren’t here anymore.  John Lennon w as sharing really wonderful parts of life just before he died, and George Harrison and Richard Wright spent more time writing and singing about what was important to them than they did the cancer that would eventually kill them.  Which is fine — the video in a way is more a musing about what might have been.

But I was really struck by how they seemed to be enjoying themselves.  We’ve all heard about the drama with both those bands.  But those moments on the stage looked like power and looked like comfort, and pleasure, all at once.   I like that as much as the wacky mashup.

They found a way to express themselves.   It sounds cliche, but it’s powerful.  That’s why people blog, right?  Or find themselves sharing weird little thoughts on Twitter and Facebook?

They reached both back to themselves and out to us.

What will ultimately express who you are? Do you know?  Can you take a shot?

Hey, I’m not saying that you should go around blurting anything that comes to mind, unfiltered. I’m saying, express your best self.   The one you’re comfortable with.  Secretly proud of.  Respect.    Why wait?

One last video.  This one’s really personal.  This one’s my daughter, a few years back.  I’ll spare you the details, but it was not a happy time.  And yet… since  was little, she has been singing.  It’s who she is.  She used to climb the apple tree outside our house and sing to strangers as they walked by.

That particular night she was in some pain;  it wasn’t easy for her; she was a pretty brave girl.  But you see that little smile she flashes at the end?  It’s a reminder to me always, that being your truest self gives you a road back from wherever you are.  And lets others find you, too.

Why wait?


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Filed under Parenting, Random Weirdness, Teenagers, Uncategorized

January has been quarantined. Recover?

Attack of the Twitter virus.  (Ah yes, from a good friend, who might actually have put me in his blog.)

Attack of the Virtumonde worm.

Attack of the some other crazy worm that actually took out my .DLL files and tied up my .explorer.

It wasn't a good month for me and PCs (Thanks to

It wasn't a good month for me and PCs (Thanks to

(If you’re thinking I spent a lot of time with Windows Forum, you’re correct.)

And then I had to have my computer wiped and re-built, twice.  By Linda, Goddess of IT.

Oh, and I traveled.  Went to a few social media poobah powows.  And got pneumonia.

Then I had to work like mad to get caught up.  Which I’m not, actually.

That’s where my January went.  Not to posting. Shame.

But I’m writing a post tonight (besides this one).  Can’t help myself.

It did occur to me, though — if an earthquake somehow descended upon my town like Vesuvius after Pompeii — it would confound archaeologists.  They’d say, “but this makes no sense.  Her time of death would appear to be the same as the earthquake: early February of 2009; but her pedicure dates back to at least mid-2008.  She must have either been very busy or not very organized.”

If I weren’t by then presumably a pile of ashes, I’d tell them that both would be true.

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Filed under Random Weirdness, Uncategorized

The Only Gifts of Cancer … or, don’t sweat the small stuff

Perspective Comes in Handy

Perspective Comes in Handy

Some of you may know I have been working — well, actually been putting off, thanks to a number of actual life happenings — on a book called “The Only Gifts of Cancer.”

How could cancer have gifts?

Truth is, it’s terrible and devastating, but there are a few gifts it can bring to your life.  I was reminded of one of them this week as I shuttled between a hospital for my father and a different hospital for my daughter.

That gift — from cancer, or from any life-threatening illness or trauma — is perspective.

  • Because it suddenly does not matter to me whether she gets her diploma in May or in July, or next year, as long as she is healthy, safe and happy.
  • Because I haven’t gotten on a scale in over a month and I realize it didn’t matter, it worked itself out.
  • Because most times it really was important for us to eat together as a family… but when we couldn’t, it was cool to see how everyone did fine.
  • Because there are times when it really is important to stay up to get a client’s work done: I promised, and it really could only be done by me; but there are times when it’s okay to ask someone else to jump in — because the work still has to be done, but my father may not live through the night.
  • Because it made my Dad feel better to know I was there, even if he didn’t always remember it.
  • The fourteen million acronyms in the self-reflecting social media universe will be there when I get back.  I can turn off my *&@! phone.

I have children who need me, and that’s a gift; I am someone’s child, and that’s a gift.

It has made it absurdly easy to make decisions.

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Filed under Parenting, Random Weirdness, Teenagers, Uncategorized

Science Reports Invisibility Cloak Within Reach (But Not Within Sight, Duh)

A while back the journals Science and Nature co-reported that the Invisibility Cloak is within reach, according to — oh, 657 articles at last count.   You can read the actual article here if you’re so inclined.

Invisibility Cloak as demonstrated by Infinity Labs

Invisibility Cloak as demonstrated by Infinity Labs

And reading this, I realized it was time to pay tribute to my Uncle George Sutton.

Back to Uncle George in a moment.   About these invisibility cloaks…

At the risk of being a “me too” blogger — and let me state up front that I had to buy separate copies of the Harry Potter books so that we would not fight over them — can I just wonder aloud whether we would be so excited if we’d never had the term, “invisibility cloak” introduced into the recent popular lexicon in 64 languages?

Don’t get me wrong; I think this is way cool.  Scientifically speaking, it’s the sort of thing that should give us all goosebumps — the kind where you don’t know whether they’re good or bad.

(If you ever read H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man, you’ll know he imagined invisibility as a double-edged sword.)  But scientifically only, I’m astonished that scientists can now bend light and waves so that it renders something “invisible.”

Here’s the thing: we’re always doing this.  From the Flying Carpet in Ali Baba to the Phazer in Star Trek to the light saber in Star Wars.  Pick an iconic fantasy item, and someone will say, “we’re that much closer to it!”  And suckers like yours truly — and apparently 657 other people at last count — will write about it, share links about it, talk about it — because it doesn’t just capture the imagination… it captures the imagination in such a way that we’ve already got the picture in our heads.   Dramatic.  Poetic.  Astonishing.

Which brings me back, briefly I promise, to George P. Sutton.

You know those jokes, “you don’t have to be a rocket scientist?”  Well he is a rocket scientist.

And a bit of a fun-sucker, if the truth be told.  When I was six, one of my sisters and I visited him in Los Angeles.  He took us to Disneyland which was, for my six year-old self, something like what they say it is:  a dream come true.

Until my Uncle George, took me on the Matterhorn.  Speaking loudly and precisely (the better to be heard over the machinery), told me:  “This is achieved by very tightly engineered hydraulics.  And ball bearings!  You see, they exert pressure to lift the carts just so…:”

I listened.  It made no sense to me.  But suddenly I was no longer imagining myself zooming up the Matterhorn (where somehow, bizarrely, I would have a view of Flying Dumbos); no, I was on a Triumph of Modern Engineering.

I listened politely; I’m related to him.  Most people, I think, just want the illusion — that’s what they came for.  Whether it’s to Disneyland, or to a website — “Don’t bore me with the details, I just want to be one step closer to my invisibility cloak!” — they don’t necessarily want to know how to create; just to consume.

Which is why I must pay tribute to Uncle George.  Besides being a bit of a fun-sucker, he is also an exceptionally kind, witty, thoughtful human being — not to mention brilliant.   He is 86 and currently re-writing his book on rocket propulsion for the 18th time.

Put it this way.  Without the Uncle Georges of the world, there would be no Matterhorns.  And certainly no Invisibility Cloaks.

So maybe I didn’t get it as a six year-old, but I get it now.  Thanks, Uncle George.  For everything.


Filed under Random Weirdness, Science, Science and tech

Dear Merredith: Fake Personalization FAILS

Have I mentioned I love ReadWriteWeb? Okay, I do. If I ever write a disclosure page, that’s gonna be on it, because those bloggers get Web 2.0 beyond just the news of widgets; it’s like they look under the carpet, and pull some thoughtful and interesting little insights out where others had simply swept them aside.

But I digress.

RWW today has yet another of those “confirmed” studies. This one: that fake personalization — as practiced by spammers, mass marketers and nummynuts — backfires.

Again: should this be news? I don’t like people pretending to be my best friend in real life — let alone in some fake way online. So in theory, this is one of those studies that spends money to confirm what should be common sense. But still, IF this study reaches even 1/20th of the people who would normally ignore it, then they would have done some good in the world.

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Filed under Random Weirdness, Technology and PR, Uncategorized