Twitter Anxiety

Twitter or Twit?

I admit I am very late to the Twitter party…which on the one hand is a little weird since I am usually an early adopter – but I made a conscious decision a long time ago to cut down on the number of online outlets – or potential addictions and just focus on one.

I was working at Microsoft at the time and surrounded by tech everyday and frankly was much more interested in unplugging rather than plugging in.  So I ceased using a bunch of random accounts and decided Facebook was it – I could share my photos with family and keep in touch easily – this was manageable.

But over the course of the past year I have ramped up my online presence quite a bit – partly due to an obsession with all sorts of apps  – I am a user interface design director so I can claim it is for my job LOL – and partly due to the cross country relocation we just completed. My husband and I spent a lot of time apart last year and checking in with him online, despite the time difference and conflicting schedules, became really important and also lets be honest I had more time on my hands to fill without him 😦

I started checking into shows I watched more often – posted about random thoughts on Facebook, played a lot of Zynga games…. Little by little I realized I had plenty of things to say or share and that I kinda enjoyed doing it.

Finally the house in Seattle sold and my husband and I are together again and I now have the best of both worlds  – I get to see my honey every day and having a co-parent again means I still have time to mess around with my online addictions 🙂

I started this blog which was something I had been considering off and on for a few years – I have had my own domain and website for probably close to 10 years but it was really just a portfolio – not something I updated with any real regularity.

Then my mom suddenly started using Facebook. She still lives in Ireland and has never had a computer in her life but has a friend who is computer literate and already on Facebook that she wanted me to “friend” so that my Mom could check out the family photos. Great – but it is a little weird to suddenly have my mom sending me messages on Facebook from her friend’s profile.

The fact that after she makes a comment, she feels the need to go in and comment again to let me know the original comment was from her and not her friend, is pretty funny.  After all this is the woman who called emails “faxes” for many years 🙂 But lets face it –  if my Mom is on Facebook then it is clearly not that cutting edge – it may, in fact, have jumped the shark completely!

Recently my good friend Christa and I started Anti Pink T’s and I had to set up another website and a Cafe Press store and suddenly we had a Twitter account and a Facebook page and people were asking if I was on Twitter….I sheepishly had to admit I was not.

Then, on top of that, our 17 year old invited me to follow him on Twitter and I decided I should really get on this train once and for all or be forced to admit I was falling behind the times…. Next thing you know I will be buying a damn Snuggie and handing out Werther’s candy to small children! So not ready for that…

So I took the plunge and got a twitter account a couple days ago and I will confess I am a little intimidated. Do I really have anything that fascinating to say? Will anyone care?

Then there is the odd sensation of being closer to the celebs you can choose to follow – I can read the casual comments they make throughout the day in the same way I can with my actual friends.

It is a little bizarre. I can tweet them but is that being overly familiar with someone I don’t really know? Does it make me a stalker or a fanboy to want to tell an author or comedian how much I enjoy their work? But then isn’t that the reason they are on Twitter in the first place – to communicate with fans? But you really don’t want to send mundane messages to someone who gets a million tweets from strangers every day – so again with the pressure to be different, amusing, interesting… this could be worse than high school!

So I guess I am taking it slowly….I need to figure out the twitter etiquette and then we will see if I can truly be six degrees apart and loving it – or not….

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Xbox Memories

Over the past couple days there has been a flood of old friends and colleagues celebrating the 10th birthday of Xbox. Seems hard to believe it has been so long….

Read the article here that started all this nostalgia

As a designer I was never interested in working at Microsoft – Windows, Office none of that flicked my switches – so although Microsoft was one of the biggest employers in the Seattle area, I was much happier making games for companies like EA and Looking Glass.

When my son was around 3 years old I started freelancing so I could spend more time with him. Then one fateful day I got a call from my rep saying she thought she had the perfect job for me…

As it turned out the rumors of Microsoft getting into the game console business were true….I interviewed for a UI design position – they needed someone with both UI and 3D Max experience –  and on the drive home I got the call to say I had gotten the job

On my first day I was so excited I backed out of the garage and knocked my mirror almost clean off the car!! Never done that before or since – I had to duck tape it back on – very smooth…

As it turned out, then next 8 and a half years were filled with highs and lows both professionally and personally. I divorced, then met and married the love of my life –  I made close personal friends that despite the distance are still my favorite people in the world –  I worked on amazing projects and built an internal design studio that at it’s peak was 43 people strong – I collaborated with creative and talented professionals both internally and externally and I am hugely proud of what we accomplished.

I can say, without a doubt, that Xbox 360 was the high point of my time at Microsoft.

So Happy Birthday Xbox and my congrats to my Xbox family (you all know who you are)

Coupon Dabbling

My giant receipt and total savings

I have never been much of a bargain hunter to be truthful – don’t get me wrong – I love to get a bargain, but I just don’t invest much time in seeking them out – I kinda stumble over them. I am a big fan of TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack – but once again it take little effort to score a bargain when you are in a store that has nothing else but bargains….

I also like to shop at Kohls, but every time I get those Kohls dollars, I tend to forget about them and they expire – which is I know is just like throwing money away –  but I am just not that organized and don’t really need any incentive to buy more stuff – I can do that all by myself…

A few months ago I was thrilled to come across some crumpled up in the bottom of my purse the very day they were due to expire and was able to actually use them for once. I scored a pair of diamond dust hoops for FREE. I felt like jumping on a table and proclaiming loudly to the world at large about my shopping maven prowess. I was suddenly the smartest shopper in the world – somebody put me in a damn commercial right now!

I have, however, always worked pretty hard and therefore my time is a precious commodity – so I won’t drive out of my way for the best deal on gas and I do my grocery shopping wherever is most convenient for me. I have been fortunate enough during most of my career to make enough money that I am not always worried about a few cents here or there. I have never been able to tell you exactly how much a dozen eggs cost or the best deal on a gallon of milk but recently things have changed a little…

Maybe it is the effect of living in this bleak economic time – the ongoing recession that turns 401Ks into 201Ks – having to sell a house that plummeted in value in a few short years as part of relocating across the country, worrying about our retirement and our kids futures…. I think everyone seems to be paying more attention to where their money goes these days. I have moved away from the big banks in favor of a long standing relationship with my credit union and certainly seem to get much more of a thrill out of a good deal when I do find one.

One fateful day, I got sucked into that Extreme Couponing show on TLC – which is sneakily and horrifyingly addictive. I was stunned to see people going to their local grocery store and buying $1000 of merchandise but paying only $5 for it – what strange sorcery was this? I started to feel like an idiot – why was I paying hundreds of dollars when other mere mortals saved 97% on their household shopping? If I paid less for the stuff I have to buy – like food and toilet paper – then I would have more money to support my Grey Goose Slushee habit and my continuing shoe fetish… (I really should be in Shoes Anonymous – just call me Imelda)

So although I refuse to go dumpster diving for coupons and I am not going to buy 400 cans of cat food for a cat I don’t have just because it is free, or set up an end of the world style stockpile in my garage with a lifetime supply of minty mouthwash and Cheerios – I decided I was willing to buy a Sunday paper and see if it made a difference in my regular shopping. And so began the great coupon experiment…

It started innocently enough – I picked up a paper and used a few coupons on items I normally buy. Not so bad, I saved myself a little money and felt like a slightly smarter shopper. The next week I looked at the Krazy Coupon Lady’s web site (I know – gotta watch out for that slippery slope…) and realized that the proper way to do this was apparently to match store coupons with manufacturer’s coupons – if I really wanted to save the big bucks…

I also discovered that Target, which already has pretty good prices, gives you back $5 gift cards when you buy certain combination of items –  like for instance detergent, toilet paper and paper towels. Well I use all of those things, in abundance, all the time and was amazed to be given a gift card last time I shopped. This meant that when buying more shoes (on sale) for my fast growing teenager this time, I used my gift card and felt like an even smarter shopper – this was actually pretty cool!!!

So on our last trip to Target we managed to save $127 on items we normally buy and got three, count them three,  $5 gift cards. Thats 142 more dollars in my pocket – well in my pocket for now – clearly they will soon be spent on shoes and cocktails…..

It may not be anywhere close to 97% savings – more like 30% but still pretty impressive if you ask me. And, more importantly not a single bottle of mouthwash or can of unnecessary cat food has ended up taking up space in my pantry.

Be nice to “Aliens”

Classic Cars

Now that the hot weather has broken, Floridians are suddenly making up for all the time they spent hiding indoors in the AC – we are falling over festivals and fairs everywhere we look in fall. This Saturday we wandered around the local arts & crafts festival in our neighborhood, which though small, is surprisingly filled with interesting vendors and artists.

My guys enjoyed checking out the classic cars which made up for the for the fact that they had to trudge around looking and art and jewelry with me…. They also had Bloody Marys on sale which further improved my mood, although not enough to incite me to buy  any of the overpriced items…

The only problem with this particular fair is the sheer number of product vendors that you have to get past before you get to the interesting stuff – you know what I am talking about right? Buy a lifetime subscription to the paper and get a free pen, double glazing quotes, solar panels for your doghouse and this stylish plastic bag is yours for the taking!

Tempting as all that may be I am pretty good about not making eye contact or accepting any pieces of paper they try to pass me – nicely, but firmly striding past – on a mission to see the bedazzled sun catchers crafted from spoons and glass beads, alongside the quirky dog sculptures made from rusty bits of iron and googly eyes.

My sweet husband is not quite as skilled at this and usually ends up with a handful of pamphlets. Which in this case I am indebted to him or I might had missed this little gem  – The Avatar Compassion Project?

Avatar Compassion?

This tie-dyed booth filled with earth mother types and new age music is exactly the sort of thing that I practically run past for fear of being dragged into a never ending conversation about my spiritual beliefs and ultimately being forced to join a cult and drink Kool Aid – Hey, it could happen!

While Eric was sprinting to keep up with me, one persistent earth mother managed to get a flyer into his hand proclaiming it was “Compassion on the go” Once we reached a safe distance we laughed about it being a new Navi religion or something and stuck it in a pocket forgetting about it till much later that evening….

On further examination and perhaps under the influence of a cocktail,  this pamphlet urged us to focus on other people and understand that they too were learning about themselves and trying to find meaning in their lives etc etc – All in all pretty much exactly what I expected although there was sadly no mention of kool aid… but that was likely just a ploy to lure me in and give me a false sense of security. I am sure if I showed up to a meeting they would urge me to give away all my worldly goods and start living in a yurt in the desert!

May be used on other life forms...

Just before I dropped it in the recycle pile I noticed that right at the end they suggest that these techniques could also be used on “Other Life Forms”

I LOVE IT!!!!

This made my evening – I now have an instruction manual on being more compassionate to aliens.

Now I am all for people being nicer and more compassionate towards one another – the world would be a better place if we treated everyone with kindness and respect – but this just tickled my funny bone.

As it turns out the Avatar project was invented by some guy in Florida, very close to where we now live, back in 2009 – because “Earth is the only spaceship we get” I didn’t make that up – I read it on their website >8)

Does this mean James Cameron stole his movie concept from a cult? Inquiring minds want to know…