Archive for August, 2008

Scrabble Tile Haiku

really no secret
my abiding love of all
cute accessories

I’m not on FaceBook
followed Scrabulous scandal
Hasbro need not stress

Scrabble tiles have use
beyond twenty-eight point words:
squeezy and quartzy

extra Scrabble tiles
hang from clasped ribbon on neck
you can have one too

this one is mine
please choose a different one
so we won’t be twins

Interview with Abbey

Hey, you stuck around for installment two of Pen Pals, how awesome are you? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read the inaugural interview here. You can also choose the tag “penpals” from the cloud or type “interview” in the search box.

Today we’re getting to know Abbey. She writes indulge*laugh*create and contributes to Mad About Martha. I met Abbey at BlogHer ’08. You all should be sad if you did not meet her. She’s cute as a button. And I think maybe I want her to be my long lost sister.

So, without further adieu …

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Community Identity

Driving to work I like to listen to NPR, or Modest Mouse turned up to 11. But usually NPR. It makes me feel s-m-r-t.  Yesterday on Morning Edition Steve Inskeep interviewed their own editorial director of digital media, Dick Meyer about his new book Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium. It was fantastic. I highly recommend everyone go listen to it, I’ll wait. It’s seven minutes 19 seconds that you’ll be happy you gave up.

I’ve pulled out a little of the conversation (this took me about 7 rewinds, so enjoy it)

The cultural revolution of the 1960s and the technological revolution that followed set people adrift; they can’t count on communities … People had a community identity.

I am adrift. I am an only child. Peter is one of two children. His brother and parents live 1000 miles away. We live in a town near the one I spent my “formative” years. There’s been so much growth in this area in the last 20 years that it’s not the same place in which I grew up.

The town I live in does not evoke a community identity. In fact it evokes very little response – it’s a bedroom community, it’s completely non-offensive. My neighborhood doesn’t have a community identity, it’s another beige subdivision. My block does not have a sense of community. We are more fortunate than other blocks, in that we all know each other’s first names, but last names? Forget about it.

My kids go to the same daycare as one of the neighbor families. It’s brought our two families closer together; we’ve had dinner at each other’s homes. When she suggested that we put each other on the emergency contact form at school I was dumbfounded. Why, of course we should do that. It makes total sense. But it didn’t occur to me. I was embarrassed by that. I’m the emergency contact for some friends, for kids whose schools I don’t know the location. To rely on your neighbor is such a profound act. The reliance builds community.

I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Every time my children get love, guidance and reprimanded by our friends I’m happy to see my village at work. I have a community. I am part of a community. I cannot simply fall off this planet without someone noticing. And for that, I am grateful. But I do not have a community identity. Or maybe I do and I cannot articulate it? Totally possible.

What was the technological breaking point for a community? Was it the telephone? Now you could maintain relationships with people from your geographic past, you didn’t have to befriend your neighbor because you were still friends with your old neighbor. Was it the television? No need to go outside and visit with your neighbors, you could watch your stories and feed some of the socialization feelings there. Was it the computer? The Internet? Video games? The never being able to be incommuncado?

Where did our communities break? How do we rebuild them?

And yes, y’all are my online community. But I’m not sensing that I can call you to bail my ass out of jail. You know, since you’re allowed one phone call – not one email or tweet. Not that I twitter, but if I did, that would totally be something worth tweeting about.

As a total aside, I did learn from looking at NPR’s webiste that when I have my professional anchor picture taken I should sit with my right side facing the camera and look straight at the camera. Or at least that’s how Mr Inskeep and Meyer do it. Regardless, they’re no Anderson Cooper. I was once in the CNN Center and for a brief moment considered making out with his larger than life size portrait on the wall. I remembered that I wasn’t a 12 year old girl alone in her bedroom with her Corey Feldman poster. So I just pet it a little as we walked by.

Disruptive Thinker Transport

On my way to work Monday I passed a bus going the opposite way that required I turn around and follow it. It was gray and looked like a police transport. The lettering on the side said, “Disruptive Thinker Transport.” Now, there are a lot of places where the thought police may get you, but Boulder isn’t one of them.

Turns out the Disruptive Thinker Transport is the company bus for Crispin Porter + Bogusky ad agency. It’ll take you to lunch, to Target, to coffee and home again. Riders can get its schedule online.

While trying to figure out what this was, I found sites people bitching about the work environment at CPB. Uhm, hello, it’s an ADVERTISING AGENCY. What did you expect when you signed up? Also, when the public facing website says

Before now, looking like a real live CP+B employee meant jumping through a bunch of hoops. Sleep deprivation. Poor hygiene. The systematic alienation of every single person who loves you.

You should know they’re going to work you to death. They told you up-front, even if it is tongue-in-cheek.

For the whole story read the Daily Camera.

Craigslist to the Rescue

I hate throwing away anything that might have value to someone else. Take for example the tricycle I plucked out of a neighbor’s trash (in her defense she was hoping someone would) and gave to another friend to rehab and use for their son. Maybe the husband got carried away?

Nah.

But more than throwing away things that still have life in them, I abhor paying other people to throw things away for me. We had a deck on the back of our house.

It was a fine deck, served its purpose but not terribly well suited for a family with small children. Our neighbor said it’s a redwood deck. We believed him since he helped build it. It was also over-engineered. Screws (not nails) – 2 per joist per board, joists every 16 inches – it’s like they were building a house foundation.

We wanted a concrete patio and got a few bids. All the bids included demo and removal of the deck. But if it’s redwood, surely it had some value, right? Not to the concrete guys. So I placed an ad on our local Craigslist listing the redwood for free if you dismantled and hauled it away. Nearly immediately I had a furniture maker call me. He came over the following Saturday and removed all the decking. He also said it was really good redwood and will make lovely outdoor benches and tables.

He left behind the pressure treated lumber.

Another post on Craigslist. Another taker. In the end our deck was dismantled and hauled away by people other than us and for free!

We kept the materials out of the landfill and lowered the cost of our patio since they didn’t have to do any demolition. It was a total win.

The next time you have things that still have life in them just not room in your life, check out Craigslist. You may not make a penny, but you’ll keep stuff from the landfill. Remember, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. And it makes for good community.

Do you have any good Craigslist stories? That antique dresser that you finally found? The dining table you’re going to rehab? Share!

Priority Haiku

You remember when
I blogged about my cute kids?
Yeah, I don’t either

Now with no context
you must look at a picture
from two months ago

We both sit on couch
tv off, computers on
send IM, don’t talk

I wonder if all
dual-laptop couples are same?
We can’t be special

Today, a day off
will spend the day in the blue room
not just blog fodder

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