Sunday, June 29, 2008

Scraping the Bottom for SEO

Chances are, if you are a regular at Twitter, you are aware of the mystery of the strange followers with "tweets" that don't make any sense. You know the ones: Maggie668 (not a real account) starts to follow you. You click over to see who she is, and find a picture of a girl, probably a party girl. She's cute. What does she have to say? Her tweets don't make much sense, they are in four languages! The ones in English are barely coherent. What's going on here? Is she drunk? This account is most likely a bot "scraping" tweets off the public timeline, and attributing them to user in question. How many people is she following? How many follow her? And Why would anyone do this? Bottom line? Money. Isn't it always?

First a quick crash course. What is the most popular Internet buzzword right now? SEO or Search Engine Optimization. There is a ton of money to be had out there for people who are good at it. Companies will pay to to raise their page rank in the search engines. The higher the rank, the earlier you appear in the Google results. It isn't enough to google esoteric terms. You want to be associated with keywords that define you, your brand and bring visitors to your blog or business website. It is all about who drives the traffic. This is where Twitter comes in.

Say "Joe" comes in and starts an account at Twitter. He gets a couple of followers, but really doesn't follow many people. In his account, he has a link to his website. Meanwhile, new accounts start popping up all over, usually female, with names like Brittany, Maggie, Karen. The accounts have no links to any outside sites, so it is impossible to check out who they are. They post content but that content is really from the public timestream in order to appear to be tweeting. At first glance, everything seems fine. They follow a ton of people, a percentage follows back. Here's where it gets confusing. Stay with me, now... Once they have a great many followers, they all follow "Joe". Joe's website, an online gambling site,or a monetization site, jumps exponentially in its SEO. Every follower of "Joe"and friends of followers of Joe now gets to display Joe's link. It's right there in the picture bar. This is potentially thousands of indexed links for search engines. Now, the originator of Joe's account goes back to prospective clients and says, "Hey, I can raise your rank", and points to Joe's website. Little companies trying to break through believe it and pay money to increase their SEO. With the scraper bot, the originator of Joe's account wins clients. This is really just another form of spamming.

Why does it matter?

1. They are stealing your data. The things you say to your friends are harvested into someone else's account and passed off as their words. If you are a frequent user of Twitter, this affects you. Don't believe me? Go to summize. Enter your Twitter name, or even some keywords for things you have tweeted. What do you find?

2. They are using Twitter bandwidth in order to scrape your info. You know our friend the Fail Whale? We see him more frequently due to the heavy use of scraper accounts. That hurts us all.

3. It's just bad Netiquette. yes I hate that word, too. But it is much easier to type than "Internet Etiquette.Which I typed anyway...well, now I am too lazy to go back and kill "netiquette." Just like you don't use someone else's bandwidth to host pictures unless they allow it, what the scrapers are doing is effectively stealing.

So What Can You Do?

1. BLOCK scraper accounts. Keep up with new followers, block suspicious accounts. If enough people block the user, it alerts Twitter, and they investigate the account.

2. Don't blindly follow. Check to see who you are following, and why they are following you.

3. Contact Twitter and ask they to address the issue of scraping. I know Twitter has enough in the water right now, that Whale barely floats. But if they are going to grow, they need to figure out how to deal with these issues. Twitter at its best is a Community. As a member of the community, you and I have a responsibility to better it and work towards improving it.. Nothing Orwellian here, simply a little Good Neighbor practice.

By blocking these followers, we all benefit. Less scrapers mean less down time for Twitter. Their servers are less taxed. Now, I know, if you are like me, the ego boost of watching that number go up on the righthand side of your page is something you like. I love getting new followers. But if the followers in question aren't real human, but bots who care nothing for your wit? Why bother? It says nothing about me or my ability to entertain. The bots will follow anyone. My numbers dipped a bit when I blocked the bots, but now the people following me are, well, people who might actually want to hear what I have to say.

In the end, those who game the system will always game the system. But at least we send a message tweet? that we are on to their game and that it won't happen on our watch.

T, who is glad that is settled

*many thanks to GeekMommy for helping me figure this out

Saturday, June 28, 2008

John Lasseter is a Frickin' GENIUS

We just came home from seeing Wall-E. And I have one word: Wow-EE. Seriously, this is a MUST-SEE movie. It is a movie for your children. It is not a childrens' movie. The message of the movie, which is ultimately one of hope, isn't for us as parents, or grandparents. It is for the next generation. The message has already fallen on deaf ears. It is too late for us. We've squandered our resources, too set in our ways. But it is not too late to reach our children. And they? Will heed the warning.

At the risk of giving too much away Which I won't do, because I hate when I read a review that tells me the whole story...

all I will tell you is that Wall-E is a masterpiece. A magical tour-de-force that sings of promise for a new day. I know, I am waxing poetic and sounding schmaltzy. But? It's that good. Truly. With this movie, John Lasseter has catapulted Pixar to dizzying new heights. Directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) this movies makes no missteps. The pacing is great, I never once looked at my watch or thought about going to the bathroom. I was mesmerized all the way through. This is the movie your grandchildren will watch. A Snow White for the 21st Century.

I thought it was a coup to make us care about rodents. But no, that was nothing. Now? Now we cry over hunks of metal. and cockroaches?? Inanimate objects, with no life in them at all. Well, not life as we define it... Pixar's strength has always been in its story. John Lasseter calls it "The Rules"

From Variety:
"To make these films work, you have to do three things," Lasseter asserts: "Tell a compelling story with humor and heart that keeps people wondering what will happen next. "Secondly, populate it with memorable characters. If audiences invest in your main character, they'll travel that character's journey. Even the bad guys have to be likable, because you're asking audiences to spend the equivalent of a nice long lunch with them. "Finally, put the story and characters into a believable world."

Pixar nailed it. I cried. I am not ashamed to admit it, dear readers. And not the "oh isn't it sweet" soft cry, either. I cried the Ugly Cry. The one that comes when you are profoundly moved. I couldn't speak. And finally? I simply said, "Wow."

GO see it. Right now. Sleep your computer and head to the movies. Then come back and tell me what you thought. I'm giving it 5 out of 5 stars. And I am not easy to please. Oh, and my kids loved it, too!

T, who wants to see it again

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There is a Reason We Don't Watch Childrens' Television

I was surfing today and one thing led to another, I ended up on YouTube, and found this FrightFest:

There is not enough money in the world for all the therapy JBean would need if she saw this. She would never eat again. Food? Alive? In her tummy? Do these people hate kids, or are they just clueless? I have a literal kid. She would not sleep for days. I get what they are trying to do: Umm, vegetables, yummy! I want to eat them. Om nom nom nom nom. But, really, do they have to pander? Kids are smart, they don't need this approach.

T, who swears her kids eat without dancing carrots

And In the Narcisism Department: Why Would You Want to Know?

A few people told me I need to do my "50 Things" post. I have resisted, until now, but have a pretty heavy case of Writer's Block so... you are subjected to...

50 Things About Me
  • 1. I have always wanted to be a writer I kept journals throughout my childhood and through the years until I had kids. They were destroyed in the fire of 2006.
  • 2. I fancied myself a poet, but haven't written poetry since before my kids were born.
  • 3. I have a perfection streak and a fear of failure= terrible combination
  • 4. I was an editor of both my high school newspaper and college, as well.
  • 5. I was once going to run for school board. I decided to put it off a few years, and now I homeschool.
  • 6. I was an Army brat until I was a teenager...then we settled in a small town. Wish we'd kept moving.
  • 7. lived in Alaska for a few years in elementary school; my brother was born there.
  • 8. my parents were asked to let me enter a study on giftedness at the University of Alaska when I was 5. They refused.
  • 9. I never lived up to that hype.
  • 10. I'm ok with that.
  • 11. I am a lifelong learner, I am happiest when I am learning something new.
  • 12. I was a voracious reader as a kid. Now I read when I can. I rarely read fiction, but am always reading for new information.
  • 13. To shut up the "Why?" questions, my parents bought me a set of encyclopedias. I was in Heaven.
  • 14. I used to keep a running list of topics I wanted to look up in the library.
  • 15. Now I keep a list by my bed, or just get up and Google it.
  • 16. The Internet is a dream come true for me.
  • 17. I was once told by my crush in high school, "The trouble with you is that we want to talk about what color the car is, and you want to know what the paint is made of."
  • 18. At the time, it broke my heart, but I had to admit he was right.(I still love sexy cars, though)
  • 19. I still want to know what the paint's made of.
  • 20. That quality has served me well.
  • 21. I have been married almost 19 years.
  • 22. I was attracted to his brain. The sex was a fringe benefit...
  • 23. I went through my stage of dating jerks, but found I really like geeks.
  • 24. I am seriously attracted to a large IQ.
  • 25. I realize this is truly pathetic, shallow (can it be shallow?) I'm ok with that.
  • 26. Talk nerdy to me... I'll be putty in your hand. TED? W3C? Extreme Programming? Java? Ubuntu? Ooh, baby. Don't stop.
  • 27. I have an affinity for tech, an intuitive understanding of how it is supposed to work...but cannot troubleshoot at all. Or code. Or fix my flubs.
  • 28. I have a very understanding partner who comes behind and fixes what I screw up.
  • 29. We have had more than one screaming fight late at night because I have messed up my template and am frustrated.
  • 30. I usually write after the kids are in bed; I concentrate better that way.
  • 31. I thought about not having children, I had cats. I thought it was enough.
  • 32. We said our lifestyle wouldn't change after kids. We would still take weekend trips. 14 years later...ONCE.
  • 33. I loved being pregnant, and thought I'd never looked better. Birth was easy. The first two times.
  • 34. My third child, JBean, was 10 weeks early. She was in the hospital for a month.
  • 35. I read piles of books, cover to cover, on prematurity. I taught the nurses.
  • 36. My motto: Knowledge is power. (and control, thank you very much)
  • 37. When I found out my son had autism, I locked myself in my room and cried. I did the same thing when my daughter was diagnosed.
  • 38. Then I started googling. Both times.
  • 39. I already knew a lot based upon a Wired magazine article years ago called The AQ Factor. My husband is an engineer. 'Nuff said.
  • 40. Now I feel like I have a handle on this autism thing. And that's usually when I fall on my face.
  • 41. If it doesn't kill me, it just makes me stronger. It is what it is. My six words: Plan B Now, but it's ok.
  • 42. I am a closet Emo fan. Panic at the Disco, Evanescence and My Chemical Romance rule.
  • 43. My 14 year old believes I should be the teenager. She is more conservative than I am.
  • 44. I am a night owl. I rarely am in bed before 1 a.m. I need two solid hours to decompress after kids are in bed. I have a 14 yr old who won't go to bed.
  • 45. I am bipolar, but mildly so. This is part of why I don't sleep. But I also just don't like to sleep.
  • 46. I haven't had a major manic episode in 17 years. I am hypo-manic. Creative, feel good, less sleep needed.
  • 47. I don't talk about it because I don't feel like it affects who I am. I definitely don't hide it, though.
  • 48. I have, in the past, been on meds, and wouldn't hesitate to go on them again if needed.
  • 49. I'm not a bitch, I only play one online.
  • 50. I seriously see the Internet as a community; a way to connect people and provide support. It is the 21st Century Kaffeklatsch, and I am privileged to be a part of it.
  • T, who is amazed if you made it all the way through that

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    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Friday Finds

    Think Before You Blog
    Linking you to all the best content I can find on the web for the past week

    Gena from Out on the Stoop shares some thoughts on education, technology and 21st Century Literacy. This really isn't to be missed. I loved what she had to say, and the videos she posted are wonderful.

    Lotta at Momomatic shares how a certain supplement improved her son. Do you see your child in these symptoms?

    Erin, aka Queen of Spain gives us a great piece over at the Huffington Post on the lack of accountability and the changing face of journalism.

    Sociological Images has some great videos about male masculinity, including how to give an acceptable man hug.(Don't we just need to know??)

    Over at 15 Minute Lunch, we get a picture worth a thousand words. (or at least a glass of lemonade)

    For Joss Whedon fans, Miss Zoot gives us a sneak peek at his new online project...looks pretty funny.

    A Girl and a Boy are expecting a... well, go see for yourself.

    And this week's Favrd tweets, because you know you are just as twitterpated as I am...

    And that's it around the Blogosphere...

    So, what'd I miss? Shout it out in comments, I'll check it out

    T, who's aggregatin' your blogz so you don't have to

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    The Skies Are Only Friendly If You Don't Have Autism

    Anyone who has flown anywhere with a toddler, autistic or not, will get this. A mom, flying with a child who had autism was kicked off a plane in Raleigh, North Carolina. Why? The child didn't want to wear his seatbelt tightly. He kept it on, but didn't want it as tight as it would go. The flight attendant engaged in a power struggle, and called in the pilot. After that, the child had a meltdown. Rather than understanding how difficult it is to deal with a child (compounded by the fact the child has autism, and the various sensory issues that it involves), the pilot made an announcement that was a judgment on her parenting, turned the plane around and left them standing at the gate. Was this wrong?

    Talk to any flight attendant, and you will hear about how their first duty is to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers. Anyone that poses a hazard needs to be evaluated and left behind. And while I get that view, I don't buy it. How many times have you been seated next to someone who has bad breath? Or is sleeping on your side of the seat? Or, the person is just taking up too much room? How about the kid behind you or in front of you that constantly *knocks *the *seat until you want to get up and throttle them? And all of those people stay on the plane.

    A mother with a toddler needs to be treated with understanding. She is having a hard enough time without derision and judgment. A mother who is dealing with autism? Should get a medal...

    Should the mother have alerted the airline to the fact that her son had autism? Probably. Did she? We don't know. We also don't know if they had early-boarding. What we do know is that rather than try to help the mother or the little boy calm down, they simply took the hard-nosed approach and kicked them off the plane.

    I am sorry that passengers were inconvenienced, and funny how easy it is to judge when one hasn't a clue about the issue. Would we ask someone who is overweight to get off the plane? How about someone in a wheel chair? Autism? IS A DISABILITY, people! It is not a catch-all for crappy parenting, or an excuse to let a child run amok. Believe me, as a parent of a children with autism when I say,

    "I don't WANT my child to act in a way that embarrasses the snot out of me and makes me want to climb under a rock."

    Kids with autism really don't have a lot of choice in many of their behaviors. And? Neither do their parents.

    What would I have done in the mother's situation? I am pretty sure I would have cried, just like she did. Enough of the shaming. When did we declare war on mothers of small children? When did they become second-class citizens? They have just as much right to travel as anyone, and a harder time of it. What the pilot did was chicken shit inexcusable. As a parent, I am tired of being judged because my children have a NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER!

    But, you know? At least, even with kids who have autism, I haven't lost my sense of civility. This is, after all, a kind blog. There is another blog out there that said some really rotten things about the child and the mother, and how "she" shouldn't have to be inconvenienced. She compared autism with a child to an adult with bipolar disorder. First of all, bipolar adults have a choice in whether they want to be where they are. She also mentioned that many kids are being diagnosed with autism when really they are just "flaming brats." Excuse me? I didn't comment there, what's the point? (I am not linking to the blog, simply because

  • 1) I don't want to give her the hits
  • 2) Ignorance cannot be rewarded
  • But really? If you haven't lived special needs parenting? If you don't know what it is to live with an out-of-control, neurologically-damaged kid?


    As far as a child who is throwing a fit? Talk about feeling helpless! A two year old is along for the ride, he doesn't get a choice. This giant tin can is going to lift off the ground, it makes noise and makes your ears feel funny. Explain it to a two year old? And an autistic one at that? Have some compassion for those who just don't get it.

    The airline industry is floundering. With airlines discriminating against moms with small children (there was another incident of a mom thrown off a plane with a toddler last year), who wants to fly? This kind of negative press can do nothing but hurt them in the long run. I suggest some sensitivity training for the flight attendants, at the very least. I won't be flying American until they apologize to the mother. Clearly, they cannot admit a mistake. And that to me is what is inexcusable.

    T, who realizes that we have a long way to go on autism awareness

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    A Place For US?

    I have decided to start an "autism stories from the trenches" blog. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing out in BlogLand like what I am envisioning. My vision of this new blog is that ANYBODY who deals with autism can write on it. We are all in this together, and we are not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. With multiple authors, we can share our stories and get validation and encouragement from those that get it. NO judgment. So. If you are interested, leave me a comment here, and/or go check out autism sucks and leave a comment there. I will add you as an author, and that's all it will take. I really want to see this take off, and for no other reason that we are a Community and it helps to know we are not alone.

    I am not doing ad revenue over there, I am not trying to drive traffic to another site. I won't be doing reviews or trying to sell anyone anything. I just really believe in the Internet as a community, a help and a place to land. I want to provide a place where parents (and siblings?) can just vent to one another in a safe place.

    T, who lives it everyday and understands

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    My Very FIRST Works For Me Wednesday (Like Water Under the Bridge)

    *This is my first WFMW, a meme that rocks in my dryer started....

    With all the talk about "greening" and improving the environment, I have been trying to figure out what to do to reduce my carbon footprint. We were originally going to buy a hybrid vehicle, but with gas so high, it seems prudent to wait. Currently, both of our cars are paid off, and J is loathe to take on a car payment until his car completely dies. He drives a Kia Sportage ( Yes, we are a Kia household, we have been very happy with the way the cars hold up) that has been around at long as JBug has: 14 years. It is definitely on its last legs, though we have been saying that for years. Currently, the heater has to be on as he drives, or the car overheats. Yes, you read that right. But I didn't start this to talk about his car. I wanted to tell you about my Sigg bottles.

    First of all, no one paid me to write this, I just love my bottles that much.

    For about the last year or so now, I have been gradually replacing plastic in our house with healthier alternatives. I switched the kids plastic cups for glasses that were shorter and with a wider base to keep them from tipping. I only buy glass containers and only microwave in glass to keep us all from growing a third arm or something. But with three kids and being on the go all the time we were going through water bottles by the case monthly. All that plastic couldn't be good for us. (not to mention the expense of bottles that we use and then throw away).Then I read the report that some polycarbonate bottles were leaching BPA and whoa, nelly! That was enough for me! Being smart, I went to Target and bought the hard plastic nalgene bottles. Thinking I was done, and wasn't I smart, then I read this! The nalgene bottles aren't any better than the throw-away bottles! Ok, so clearly that wasn't enough. I had to figure out something else. I did some research and ended up on the Treehugger site, reading about BPA leaching. From the site:

    CEO, Steve Wasik says that SIGG uses a proprietary liner formula from a Swiss supplier with "an impeccable reputation for quality" but that "as there are many copy-cat manufacturers in the market (most based in China) that would like to get their hands on this formula, our supplier has an agreement with SIGG to keep his formula confidential." Wasik continues: "Very thorough migration testing in laboratories around the world is conducted regularly and has consistently shown SIGG aluminum bottles to have no presence of lead, phthalates, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), Bysphenol A (BPA), Bysphenol B (BPB) or any other chemicals which scientists have deemed as potentially harmful.

    That was enough for me. They could have looked like dog butts as long as they didn't smell that way! and I wouldn't have cared. But surprise! There are many designs, pick the one that strikes your fancy. And since they have been around for a hundred years, they are definitely trustworthy. From the website, there is a slideshow that talks about how a bottle is made. They say it undergoes twenty-six steps just to create the neck of the bottle! Then they spray the interior coating. The bottles are made of aluminum but are safe, and the coating won't flake off. My ice cubes fit right out of the ice maker, so I don't have to buy any weird-shaped ice trays. One thing, Sigg recommends that you do not put te bottles in the freezer, they might explode. Also, would you really want to ruin your bottles by forgetting they are there? Sigg is made to hold "fizzy" drinks and also fruit juices, and sports drinks, as well. You won't get a metallic taste.

    The bottle interior is now sprayed with a taste-inert, food-compatible stove enamel which is baked on.

    I liked the safety factor, definitely. But I also liked the great designs. I have this one:

    and it is even better looking in person! Each of my kids have their own water bottle, and they are responsible for filling it before we leave the house. The designs reflect their personalities:

    This is JBean's:

    This is JBear's:

    and this is JBug's:

    Currently, SIGG is having a really hard time meeting demand, but if you search, you can still find a few internet retailers that are selling the products. Hopefully, that will ease up in a few months. I am going to buy a couple back up bottles, just in case.

    So though it isn't much, it is something little that I can do...and that works for me!

    T, who likes being all environmental-y

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    I Have a Special Job For You

    Type-a Mom is looking for a few good moms, and you are one of them! Do you like to write? Do you know a little something about parenting? Special needs kids? Preschoolers? Crafts? Massage? Then type-a mom wants you! They are currently looking for mom writers in all areas to write articles for the site.

    We especially need moms who are adept (or just pretend to be, like me) in special needs parenting! I need some help with material over there, readers! I would love to have you join me. So if you have kids with autism, adhd, hearing-impaired or other different-abilities, high-tail it over to type-a mom. And tell them TLC sent you! I would love to see a well-rounded category representing special needs.

    I have my newest article running right now on transitioning to theGFCF diet and remaining sane (yes it is possible!) Go read it and give me feedback. I am writing for you, tell me what you want.

    edit me rest of story

    T, who would love to see more people over there writing

    A Burning Question or What Autism Stole

    Tonight at the grocery store, they were selling those "in Memory Of" cards for pets. Normally, I pass them up, but I was thinking of the three kitties we lost in the fire going on two years ago, now. So I ponied up and bought three of the cards. I had hoped to finish filling them out before the kids came back from the bathroom, but I wasn't fast enough. Of course little JBean saw what I was doing and wanted to know more. I showed her the tags with "In Honor of..." and showed her that Maia, Bon Bon and Beleu all had their own card. That's when her face crumpled, and she started to cry.

    I know that crying is healing, and it is part of the process, but dammit, it is hard to watch your baby cry. It is especially hard because much of the time she tends to lock up verbally and does not talk about how she is feeling, so when she is showing emotion, part of me is thrilled and the other part feels like it has had its heart ripped out. She is just so sad, and really, who can blame her? It was a tough thing for me as an adult to swallow. For a child, and one with autism as well? It was almost impossible. How do you explain why three cats had to die in a fire from smoke inhalation? How do you make it ok? Like I said, it is going on two years now. I am not sure it will ever be...ok.

    My beloved Beleu, he was my first baby. He came to live with us when he was little bigger than the turntable on my stereo. J used to hold him in his hand. He was there years later to usher in the births and introduction of each baby. And after a long and pampered life, I knew he was not long for this world. It was just a feeling I had. I thought we would lose him to old age, though. He was over thirteen when he passed. The firefighter was very kind. "They just go to sleep, honey. They don't feel any pain." I didn't believe him, not really. But I was grateful for his effort. At the time, I couldn't even process the horror that I was experiencing. We. lost. everything. And yet, the thing that hurt the most was not saying goodbye to my cats. Everything else? It could be replaced...

    JBean asks, "Why? Why did God let our kitties die in a fire? WHY?" And? I have no words. Because, I have no answers. The only thing I can do is hold her tightly, let her cry and pray. We always pray. And we rail at God. It's ok, He is big enough to handle it. I have told her it is fine to be mad about it, it stinks. It's not fair. And God? He knows. And he cares, even if it doesn't always feel like it. After all, he did send us our new cats, and we raised them from kittenhood, with baby bottles after their mother abandoned them. They needed us; we needed them. Presented with a need I couldn't ignore, I was able to open my heart to new animals, something I wasn't sure I could do again.

    I learned a lot from the fire and the aftermath of the experience. It changed who I am in many ways. I wouldn't want that taken away. But I surely would want to take away the hurt from my children, if I could. Afterwards, we put JBean in therapy. She scared us, because she just shut down. There were daily fits. She would become nonverbal. There was no interaction. There were times she just retreated deep inside herself and in her world of toys. I guess it was safe there. But we knew she had to deal with what happened. Thankfully, she never saw the house on fire. None of us did. We were coming home from a day of gallavanting around after church, so we didn't know what had happened until we pulled around the corner and onto our street. So she is saved that particular etching on her memory.

    But she remembers the cats. She remembers how soft the little grey kitten, Maia was. She remembers how Maia would climb onto her bed and suck her fingers. Maia was four months old. She remembers Bon Bon and her fat, fat butt, climbing onto her lap and hanging over the sides. JBean is small, but it was still a funny sight. She remembers Beleu, the "silver cat", sitting on the bed with her, staring at her when she was a baby. She doesn't talk about these memories, but every once in a while, she opens up just a bit, so I know she has a lot of deep feelings that she just doesn't share. But today? She talked about the cats. She talked about how sad she was and how mad she was. And she cried. And I cried too, but not for the same reasons. Sure, I miss the cats. But I missed my daughter more. And if in this instance, the memory of her pets brings her back to me, if it helps her open up and let me see the private pain that autism locked away, then treasures have come out of darkness. And I find that pure gold.

    T, who doesn't have the answers, not this time

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    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Finally, A Way to Get the Guys In Line! NSFK

    I don't usually run things that aren't PG, but I couldn't pass this up. I know it is an oldie, but I love it. If you are a gamer, married to a gamer, or just know about gaming culture, you will love this. And even if you aren't, (we call that a N00b) it is still very amusing.

    T, who IS a Level 70 and don't forget it

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    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Exactly the Way a Brick...Doesn't

    Spider = 0
    Spider-Killing Brick = 2

    I guess the evil Black Widow that I offed called in her cousin. I was in the house when I heard JBear call, "Mommmmmmma!" I know that note of alarm well, and he only uses it if something is really wrong. I rushed out the door and he was sitting on the porch, eyes as wide as saucers. With a shaking finger he pointed, "Mama, there's a black widow right by the door. Sure enough, there was the relative of the Widow I murdered, and she seemed pretty calm. Ok, I already proved I am a bad ass. I will let my huband deal with it. (Plus, if I can walk up to a spider, no worries. But if I have to walk by a venomous evil thing, that's harder.) was at ankle level, so hard to see. I chickened out. So I called J and told him it was his turn. He grabbed the Method cleaner that I use greener, don't you know and sprayed it. I told him it wouldn't do anything, since it was natural. Apparently, I was wrong, it seems to be the Method for Stunning Spiders, so I wouldn't advise that you bathe in it, or drink it. It stunned her enough that he was able to crush her with the brick.

    If you want to see pictures, click for more..I am not going to post them on the front page. I will say if one more shows up, I will be calling the exterminator!

    T,who really, really doesn't like those spiders

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    The Agony of The Feet

    When you are a mother of three kids, you can't keep up with everything. Some things fall by the wayside. I mean, sure, you make sure the kids eat meals (if they can find food that is worth eating since you are too busy blogging to go to the store) And for the most part, you make sure if you are going out in public that the kids are wearing (mostly) clean clothes free of large rends or tears. Of course, you must fight your son in this department, who has glommed onto one particular pair of pants and eschews everything else, because they are "comfy." Did I mention he will only wear tan pants, like Indy Jones? And even if it is 99 degrees out (like today!) the kid won't wear shorts? Seriously. But I digress... What else is new, you ask...I can't seem to stay on topic for anything. See why I need an editor? ahem..

    My point, if I had one, would be...I am only one woman. I can't do it all. If all kids are reasonably clean and clothes are free of visible dirt and don't smell like old bacon, I consider that a win. Once in a while, we forget to brush hair, but that's pretty minor. Who has time to stand still and have your hair brushed when you are JBean...and busy taking every toy you own to the car? I mean, JBean has to have the My Little Pony purse filled with My Little Pony toys and their My Little Pony houses and beg mama to carry them, even though she said she wouldn't and that they would be too heavy for a little girl to carry and mama IS NOT carrying, I mean it... and Mama ends up carrying anyway. This happens a couple of times a week. The child cannot go anywhere without toys. (this is not a post sponsored by My Little Pony, and after you read it you will understand they wouldn't want to be near it) But in the scheme of things, these are small annoyances.

    My son does not have time for things like baths, and honestly, unless we are going somewhere, I guess I don't have time to fight him on it. I fight him on enough things Much too soon, he will hit that big-footed, shaggy-haired phase and will stink all the time. Then, we will make baths (or showers) an issue. For now, if I see visible dirt, into the tub he goes. Which brings me to today.

    My son has a new(?) obsession: The Indiana Jones game for the Wii game system. And while I need to review it, because there are some fun surprises hidden in said game, that is not tonight's subject. Tonight is concerned with feet. Namely, my son's feet. Understand that yesterday he was outside, barefoot. But I didn't think about it at the time. Lazy days, summer, easy going, you understand. And really, if the body parts aren't showing, they don't count. He puts socks on, I don't see the feet, he's home free. Until today. He was sitting on the couch playing the video game again after he was done with his school...what kind of mother do you think I am and I was sitting on the other end of the couch, reading email. I glanced down and saw these things... and in the interest of proving I have no pride...

    THIS is a picture of my son's feet (he asked, "Are you gonna blog my feet?? I'm gonna be famous!") Sure, son, just what you want everyone to remember you for... you know this is going to come back and bite you in the butt. But really, isn't the story of how you mooned the entire line at McDonalds going to do more damage? Ok, fine, guess feet are no big deal. So, to keep my son happy, here is a picture of his disgusting, nasty feet. any pervs who strolled in based upon a "dirty feet" search can just keep right on strollin' out the door, thanks...this blog is protected by Anti-Perv snakes. What? You don't see them? They're invisible. They see you. Best be off, now...

    with apologies to Bill Cosby, but I have little original material, I am too busy policing my son's feet!

    T, who understands if you never want to speak to her again

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    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Calling all Type-A Moms, You Know Who You Are!

    Are you a Type A Mom? Do you try to do too much? Do you need help? We all do. My twitter-friend Kelby runs this great site, type-a mom where moms connect with moms and write articles based upon where they are in life. Some great information is housed there. I wrote one on what else? autism and what parents new to autism can do right now without a ton of training. I will be writing about once a week, so check it out if you can. And...guess what? You can write there, too! If you do, send me your article and I will link you. I just love connecting mom writers with one another!

    T, who wants to help

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    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Say WHAT?? Misheard Parenting #1

    Talking to JBean tonight as I was tucking her in before bed:

    JBean: "How come JBug and I don't have a volcano?"
    Me: (really just trying to get her into bed and only half-brain engaged) er...I don't know, because lava would get everywhere and you have a hard enough time keeping your room clean, I guess.
    JBean: What? Not VOLCANO. DOOR HANGER. Like JBear has on his door. Mama, that's just silly, lava would kill us!
    Me: Oh! DOOR HANGER. I was wondering what was up with that, it was a weird question. We'll get you a door hanger this weekend, if you want one.
    JBean: Yeah, we won't get a volcano!

    T, who needs to learn to listen better

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    You Came To Read #20 and All You Get is Lolcats??

    SPECIAL 20th Thursday Thirteen...with 20 Items!

    13 LOLCats my kids like (and one I do)

  • close is the caption? cat
  • 2.after I pass Geometry I'll be a genius cat
  • 3. does it taste like chicken? cat
  • 4. Maybe FF3 will be better? cat
  • 5. it was a nice couch cat
  • 6. better adjust the settings on that monitor cat
  • 7.nom nom nom nom cat
  • 8. when ya gotta go... kitten
  • 9. so that's what happens! cat
  • 10. I was wondering where that was, but was too lazy to track it cat
  • 11. come on now, admit it, you squuueed cat
  • 12. another "squeee!" cat
  • 13. my cat rides the same place kitty
  • 14. truth in advertising kitty

  • 15. oh hunnee...there's something in the drain... cat

  • 16. Gotta watch out for those dingos kitty

  • 17. comfiest seat in the house cats

  • 18. I think its brother is still there humorous pictures

  • 19. that's how it always starts humorous pictures

  • 20. THIS is my favorite.. it doesn't look that evil... animal

  • Didn't get enough? more cat pictures

    T, who can't help it, finds these funnee

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