Category Archives: I’m a geek

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My New Favorite Educational Video Channel

(If you don’t read/watch YouTube videos at all then this blog post will bore you to death. I’m sorry.)

(If you know about the Big History Project already and want to skip to my plea for YouTubers to have a DeLurking Day, I don’t mind.)

Have you heard of the Big History Project? It’s a genius concept that makes me wonder: Why did I never think about this as it applied to all of my history curriculums in school?

ALL of our history classes involve humans. And all of those lessons involve things that happen on this planet that humans were able to write about.

BUT THERE WERE SO MANY OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED!

Basically, The Big History Project is a collection of lessons and YouTube videos dedicated to covering ALL of the history of the planet. And it turns out that my favorite educational video sibling duo (They’re my FAVORITE, because there are SO MANY educational video sibling duos) has created a set of videos for the project! Crash Course Big History!

AND I AM SO EXCITED.

The first video taught me so much like…why can’t we answer the question, “What came before the Big Bang?” It’s AMAZING and I just wanted to share it with you today. There’s a whole playlist, watch them with the kids! They’re awesome!

Tangent!


There needs to be a DeLurking Day on YouTube

Do any of you word bloggers (as opposed to VIDEO bloggers) remember when Sheryl from Paper Napkin created De-Lurking day? Basically it was a day where we word bloggers openly recognized that there were people who never commented and asked them to come out from hiding to say, “Hi!” It was mainly to boost our egos for a day to let us know there were people reading our words, but it also eased the guilt of lurkers because they commented once a year! That was plenty!

I am the BIGGEST YouTube lurker. I watch TONS of videos, subscribe to SEVERAL channels and never (rarely?) ever comment. I think I have commented once or twice in the last few years, but NEVER is accurate enough to describe my commenting habits relative to how many videos I actually watch.

I think YouTubers need to start a DeLurking day! I think John and Hank Green and Nerdfighteria would be a GREAT place to start. One day where they encourage people who watch their videos in silence to just leave ONE comment saying, “Hi! I’m a lurker! I’m going back into hiding now!” Because I don’t know how to start comment at YouTube and I feel like that would take the pressure off of me. YouTube comment sections are filled with mean and scary people on many of the videos I watch, and I hate I let that keep me from commenting. I would be motivating if it was an organized effort to call me out of my hiding spot! DeLurking Day on YouTube! The day where scared/shy people like me can come and say, “I watch all of your videos! Don’t forget I’m here even though I never ever comment!”

Take the word blogger idea and run with it, YouTube! It could be HUGE!

(Mainly I’m just scared to leave comments at YouTube and need someone to guilt me into it.)

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Happy Bullet Journal Birthday To Me!

Embarrassing Preface: I have not broken out my “real” camera to photograph my kids in MONTHS. But this morning? I dug it out to – basically – take pictures of a notebook I carry in my purse. For a blog entry I’m writing about that notebook. To celebrate that notebook’s birthday. Do I write blog entries celebrating my kid’s birthdays? Not usually. I feel like this little tidbit says more about me than I would like it to.

August 29th, 2013
August 29th, 2013

I did it. I stuck with one calendar/planner for an ENTIRE YEAR. I have never done that before. EVER. IN MY LIFE. I kinda thought I was just compulsive in that I could never use the same system for a whole year, like it was a quirky habit I had no control over. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars over the years buying new calendars or planners before the year was over. And – of course – I always bought a new one New Year’s Day! I’ve bought nice leather bound planners in the years before you could buy cute ones and I would just buy a new set of refills a few times a year. I’ve bought custom planners with pictures of my kids and replaced THOSE partway through the year. Nothing ever lasts because nothing every works completely. I always need two things: A calendar and a notepad of some sort for my constant list making. And finally, I found something that satisfies BOTH needs and takes less than half of a year to fill up so I still get to “start over” periodically. WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN.

I had actually tested out this system for a little while with cheaper notebooks before August 29th. However, once I realized it might stick and figured out what worked and what didn’t, I forked out the big bucks for the $18 Moleskine to start 9/1/2013. I started it a few days early to give myself time to add all of the pages I needed – hence the August 29th “start” day. I used that Moleskine until the end of the year and, even though it wasn’t full, used January 1st as an excuse to start a new one with the habits I had solidified in the previous months. In those next few months I really implemented the system to personalize the method for me.

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I filled up the second one in June – a perfect 6-month cycle – and decided to store them in a way on my shelf so that they could A) Be easily found and B) Be displayed to show off their AWESOMENESS. With Volume 3 I made a few changes/additions to the method. The most significant change was that I started using the bullet journal as a scrapbook. A place to keep all of those wonderful things that pop up in my life that I know I want to look back on, but am not crafty or creative enough to ever do anything with. I have looked back on these type of pages so many times, it’s shocked me that I never considered this before.

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Of course, this means the pages hold a lot more stuff and so the discovery that my Molekine fit my old Kindle cover was INTEGRAL in my process. It keeps the book bound tighter than the tiny elastic that came with it AND it makes it look more professional for when I don’t want to show the world my obsession with stickers.

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But even with all that extra stuff – the scrapbook additions and the fancy cover – it’s still the calendar portion I use the most. And while I still get soooo busy some days I just kinda forget to look at it, it still has helped me manage the chaos in my life so much better! The weakest link in my productive life now (besides the fact that I can’t find extra hours in my day) is that I’m still not the best at skimming emails. I’m still notoriously bad about archiving something without ever seeing an important date or event in the body of the email. BUT! If I see it and manage to get it in the bullet journal as an event/task to remember – the chances are DAMN GOOD that I’ll actually do it.

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And – best of all – the bullet journal system gives me a completely valid reason to buy/obsess over/use stickers and colored pens. Things that make me so happy but that I always found a hard time justifying buying until now. I decorate my pages with the stickers AND am now the coolest adult in the room to the kids because I often have Frozen AND Avengers swag to hand out. And this kind of stuff just brings me joy. It’s silly, I know, but I have found that silly is important in my life. Keeping the silly in, however I can, seems to help ground me when the stress gets overwhelming. Too much to do, too little time to do it, but plenty of pretty ink and awesome stickers to decorate the chaotic schedule with.

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I don’t declare that the Bullet Journal system is perfect for everyone. I always ask, “Are you a chronic list maker? Do you depend on pen/paper, actually prefer it over digital?” before I’ll even suggest it. But man – if you are a chronic list maker and you do like/need to write things down? I can not recommend this system enough. And OBVIOUSLY it’s uber-customizable. I have a page for my Library Volunteer Schedule and a page for my kid’s Soccer Schedule. I have a page for my blog ideas and my 50-mile training. I have a page to keep notes about our Ironman trip and our Wizarding World of Harry Potter trip. It’s all mine and I hope it becomes a great nostalgic resource for my kids years down the road.

Happy Birthday, Bullet Journal. Thanks for helping me remember shit.

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Crowdsourcing FTW

EDITED WITH LATEST ATTEMPT AT BOTTOM

So! Remember when I designed a tattoo, never got it, but other people did and then some people sold my graphic in an etsy shop?

That was weird!

Well, I’ve been thinking about redoing that graphic and, you know, TAKING CARE OF IT this time so no one steals it and sells it in their Etsy shop! (In her defense, I never watermarked it or sourced it. I just stuck it on Pinterest as a placeholder. I didn’t realize other people would like it.) And then yesterday I had an idea to do a race that would be AWESOME and FUN and GREAT BLOGGING MATERIAL but would cost me lots of money to do.

So! Why not recreate the graphic, fine-tune it a bit, and then sell stuff with it as a fundraiser? Or something? GENIUS, right?

Except I am having trouble deciding if I like ANY of the new ones better than the old one.

My first attempt I threw up on Instagram last night and compared it with the “original” –

The top one is the original that – technically is my design – but since it’s not been sourced or anything online and people are using it in their Etsy shops, I feel kinda weird using it. The bottom one was my first attempt to re-do it. I decided I liked the idea of the “run” at the top better, like someone pointed out, it’s like running up a hill!

But I still wasn’t too sold on it.

This is my latest attempt:

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(Trying to watermark this one – FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.)

I like it better than the first attempt I put on instagram, but I’m still not sure if I like it better than the original. Part of me thinks I’ll never like ANYTHING better than the original, so does it matter? I keep reminding myself that I didn’t really LOVE the original (which is why I hadn’t gotten the tattoo yet, something was off about it to me) – it’s just that now that it’s kinda hard to use, I somehow have built it up to be more awesome than I thought it was originally.

I think, if I remove the fact that the first one has been bogarted and put on Etsy, then I like the most recent one best. If I remove the “can’t use” factor that makes the first one so appealing, then I think I like the last one better.

I’m not a graphics person by any means. I can use Photoshop, I have the SKILL, but no actually talent or vision, so I’m crowdsourcing.

If I were going to try to sell stuff with this logo on it to raise money for a running adventure in Seattle, WA – which one would you be more likely to purchase?

(Also – haven’t hashed out this fundraiser yet. Just know that this graphic will be used as some sort of incentive – either in the means of purchasing or as a reward. This is still VERY early in the planning stages.)

(But also I don’t have much time. I have to decide by the 24th if I want to even attempt this, so I need to decide SOON.)

(Parentheticals are the finger quotes of blogging.)

Thoughts?!

NEW ATTEMPT!!

I took some comments to heart and played around some more and this is my latest attempt. I also posted it as a “reply” to every comment because GOD FORBID you guys not see it. I KNOW I AM A BIG DORK.

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thebrainscoop

This Is Why ALL Adult Women Need To Be More Active On YouTube

Let me start by saying it is no secret I adore Emily Graslie. I fell in love with her after she led Hank Green on a tour for one of HIS videos and I supported the resounding masses in saying, “GIVE HER A CHANNEL!” I’ve written about her and other Geeky female YouTubers here. I link their videos on Facebook and Twitter regularly. I show them to my kids. I am very supportive of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Women on YouTube yet…YET…I never comment. Because to me? YouTube comments are full of A) Teenagers and B) Creepy Men. And I am neither of those.


Then I watched her most recent video. And I became ASHAMED. Here is the woman who I adore. I make my daughter watch a LOT of her videos to give her a good role model and yet…YET…I’ve never (rarely?) commented on one of your videos. Instead…she’s getting THIS TOTAL BULLSHIT. I mean, the environment is so sketchy to me that I don’t even comment…how must if feel to the people in the videos themselves? Awful…obviously.

My daughter is growing up under the influence of YouTube. And if Nikki wants to do AMAZING videos like Emily does? Or like Vi Hart? I want the support in the comments to be overwhelming and the creepy sexist/bullying/weirdo comments to be rare and isolated and not something that deters her from doing these amazing things. So, I’m going to join the masses. I’m going to start commenting on YouTube. I’m sorry to all of the women I’ve watched but never supported. I’m sorry I didn’t add my positive voice to all of the negatives. I have been blogging for 10 years, I know how one negative comment can carry more weight than 10 positive ones. But for me? Over here on this small blog? The positive ones are resoundingly the majority. On YouTube it’s not always that way, and I now accept some of the blame.

So…Women on the Internet. Go! Watch Emily’s videos and leave supportive comments so that our daughters, nieces, and granddaughters will have a safer and more supportive place to work if they choose to make amazing videos on the interwebs. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s leave resounding support for these STEM Women so that we drown out the creepy comments from the sexist jerkfaces.

ARE YOU WITH ME?

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Godspeed To My Space Crush

This weekend was INSANE. The only time I was home all weekend was to eat/sleep/bathe – and I didn’t even do all of that at home. Nor did I do much of any of it. From about 3pm on Friday until bedtime last night it was a constant flurry of activity and it may not slow down at all until June as we have an out-of-town wedding, two graduations, one birthday, and family coming into town for several of those things. CALGON…BRING ME A BEER!

BUT! I can NOT let today pass with taking a moment to feature one of my favorite people…NOT on this planet. Colonel Chris Hadfield – Commander of the International Space Station up until a ceremony yesterday where he passed the baton to someone else in preparation for his trip home tonight. Officially he was commander of expedition 35, unofficially he is the commander of my super-geeky heart.

In the last five months, Col. Hadfield became quite a fixture in the lives of the kids’ and I. Mainly with Wes and I. We looked at the pictures he took every day and watched all of his educational videos. This was one of the coolest:

He’s been up there for five months and tonight? He comes home. And I’m going to miss him being in space! I hope someone else (Maybe an American?) takes up the mantel he’s carried and continues the social aspect of the work on the International Space Station. Look at this FANTASTIC collaborative event he did for Music Monday – singing a song song co-written by with Ed Robertson from the Barenaked Ladies. IT’S A SONG ABOUT THE SPACE STATION. I MEAN…COME ON.

That’s what I love about Hadfield. He’s not just a scientist and astronaut. He’s a musician and he’s simply passionate and excited about everything he does. He loves showing off the photos he takes and the tasks he does. And when someone is that excited about what they do? That enthusiasm is contagious. Wes often asks to watch videos from the International Space Station. And he calls it just that…the full name. Because he knows what it is thanks to Col. Hadfield.

He has posted several “goodbye” type videos the last few days but his cover/production of one of my FAVORITE songs in the world.

Follow him on twitter and like his page on Facebook so you can see the final hours of his stay in space. And help me wish him and his fellow travelers a safe trip home.

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