Archive for July, 2008

Interview with Kelly O.

For me, BlogHer became an introspective exercise. What did I want to get out of baring my soul? Why should you all care what I have to say? I decided it is about building relationships & communities. Like having a foreign pen-pal back in the day. You all are my pen pals. We can have as many or as few as we like because we broadcast ourselves.

In order to build bigger, stronger communities we have to do some outreach. Also, I’m inspired by NPR’s StoryCorps. Our communities are transient. One of the few things that seems to stay some-what consistent are our URLs, our blogs. We’re leaving behind a record of what it was to be us, today. Not what we remember it to be us 20 years from now. It’s like we’ve had the good sense to take notes for our autobiographies long before we know we’ll have one.

So, with that – I introduce you to my outreach effort: “Pen Pals”. It’s a Q & A with a blogger I read. I haven’t settled on a format, or a set of questions. Hang with me for the first couple while I iron out the wrinkles. Some of my questions are complete rip-offs of those I was asked or that I witnessed at BlogHer ’08.

Kelly has graciously agreed to be my guinea pig inaugural interview. She writes at Hey, ho, KellyGO and THE BUGHOUSE. [Technically I don’t write at The Bughouse. It’s my sister’s blog. I helped her early on with some tech issues, and she’s been lazy about taking me off. It’s been so long that it’ll seem like a statement if I take myself off. Interestingly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she thought it would be a statement if she took me off herself. And so we languish.)

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Orwell Diaries

Repeating news published elsewhere … George Orwell’s diaries will be published on a blog the same day, seventy years later, that they were written.  I think it’ll be interesting to see how little society has changed with regards to politics and how much in regards to technology.

PS: I am still reading Great Gatsby. I haven’t forgotten the book challenge!


One thing that no one can claim is that they weren’t given tons of free stuff at BlogHer. One of the freebies I received is a subscription to SmileBox.

I am not a scrapbooker. I tried once and when all the shapes didn’t come out square I cried and started over.

So, SmileBox … it’s fun. They have over 1000 themes (backgrounds?) to choose from; they have slideshows, postcards, greeting cards and scrapbook pages. I chose a very basic postcard called “montage” which support 5, 10 or 15 photos. Since I wasn’t blogging when Elliot was a baby, he’s my test subject (ah, isn’t he cute?).

Some of the things I like: it’s an application that runs locally, so it’s faster to make stuff. I like that I can find themes by how many pictures I have or by a mood/season/occasion. I don’t like the navigation. It doesn’t conform to standard windows operations (I hate that I put standard and windows in the same sentence). But truth be told, we expect thing to operate a certain way because that’s how the MAN does it. Maybe Mac users wouldn’t find it so disorienting.

Click to play Elliot Montage

full disclosure: the smilebox people don’t know me from eve, so I did this on my own – but maybe you’re a digital scrapbooker and want to try something new? Or, you just want to be like me. Either way – it’s fun to try. Also, I don’t know the difference between what I have and what’s available free on the site.

DMV, How I Dislike Thee

Things I learned at the DMV today:

I have the same phone as an 11 year-old girl.

They don’t give two shits.

I wanted a new driver’s license. We’ve moved and when writing my new address on the back in Sharpie it smudged. And my name isn’t quite right. My passport, my water bill, Audrey and I headed to the DMV. I took ticket #255. We’re on #239. Okay. I can breathe through this.

I get my turn and begin to explain to the worker that legally, as one can see in my US issued, valid passport my name is (let’s pretend because my maiden name is crazy uncommon) Catherine Louise Smith Williams. My maiden name is Smith. My married name is Williams. It’s not hyphenated. It’s not two last names. Actually, it’s two middle names. The IRS likes to call me Catherine L. Williams. My payroll calls me Catherine L. S. Williams. I commonly go by Catherine Williams. My driver’s license says Catherine L. Smith Williams. And herein lies the problem. Seven years ago after getting married I still had a tie to my maiden name, Smith, and wanted it reflected on my driver’s license. At the time, at that office, rather than making my entire middle name show up on my license (there’s plenty of physical space) someone chose to put my maiden name (my legal middle name) in the last name field to get it to display.

Now? I don’t care so much about my maiden name. I care more that my voter registration is incorrect. My county pulls its records from the DMV. The DMV says my last name is Smith Williams. It is not. Nor has it ever been.

Worker tells me I need a certified document stating that my last name is Smith and not Smith Williams like in her system. I point to my US issued, valid passport. No, she needs something else. I ask what could that be? My birth certificate surely doesn’t have my married name. My social security card looks exactly like my passport. And my marriage license doesn’t have my married name because in Alabama you sign the license at application time and therefore sign with your current legal name. So, my marriage license says Catherine Louise Smith.

To which she replies, “I cannot help you if you’re going to get upset.”

And I said, “You cannot help me because you’re not interested in helping me.”

And we left.

In hindsight, I’m sure she has lots of 9/11 rules governing her life. But my name change on my passport was post-9/11 and they managed to muddle through somehow.

Now I am bound & determined to get a new license. What forms, other than my US issued, valid passport should I take? According to their site, a passport is a stand-alone document and proves identity, name, age and lawful presence.

… and some time passed …

egads! Now I worry that I’m not really a Williams at all. What if I did the marriage certificate wrong? And only convinced the guy at the social security admin that I could change my name because he had never seen an AL marriage license before?

Achieve Your Childhood Dream

In case you lived under a rock last year, Dr Randy Pausch gave his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon last September retiring from teaching to spend the final months of his life with his wife and small children. He died yesterday.

Here’s his appearance on Oprah, grab a tissue, you’ll need it for the final five seconds.

The world is truly worse off without Dr Pausch. Sadly, he wouldn’t have shot to fame if he hadn’t been dying. Hopefully he’s inspired many to achieve their childhood dream.

Made-Up Haiku

Macy’s, you temptress
parade your wares openly
not one bit sheepish

your makeup counter
so shiny and full of hope
this cream removes years

beautiful shadows
many hues for day and night
blue like seventh grade

lipgloss so shiny
it’s a plumper you say, smile
I like name – buxom

buxom in my bag
face done like unemployed clown
many compliments

forced to wonder if
at thirty-four might need more
than just mascara

might benefit from
make-up lessons and products
not found at Target

Me and Grover

My chest contracts a little every time I watch it. I have no idea how TV people do it. But! I did meet Abby Cadabby’s puppeteer and asked her if she ever imagined that *this* would be her job. She was so genuinely excited that she gets to do this everyday. Before working on Sesame Street she was a puppeteer at a children’s theater. Meeting people that are living their dream is inspiring.

And yes, I do believe Grover is a natural Blue.

I Knew It

I’ve always known that I’m cutting-edge. But today my girls Abbey and Amy validated my assertion that deep down you all want to be me.

Name Droppin’

Clearly I was kickin it like a celebrity …

me and my fairy friend Abby Cadabby

My friend that’s in a band, Raggs

I ran lines with Grover

And up & comer, Cow Bella

I Was Spotted

Tonight walking through Macy’s a woman says, “Catherine! Pink Asparagus, right?” And in my head I’m “OH MY GAWD … SHE KNOWS ME.” She asks about my pink purse, I whip it out, she shows me shoes to match. And then I warn her that I might scare her and I say out loud what I said in my head.

Turns out I had met her Thursday night.

I gave her a moo card.

I do not have my own personal stalker.


You should go read my new friend, Sara, at – she reviews cars! how awesome is that?

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