Posts Tagged With: internet

On spam, sleep issues, and making fun of people online

After 6 spam comments in 4 days, I’ve changed my comment settings to not show up unless I approve.  This is just the spam that’s getting through – I shudder to think of the spam that wordpress is catching…

For your enjoyment:  Newborn Bad Lipreading:

And for your further enjoyment: there are few things in the world happier than this pup:

Aaaannnddd….on to the Baby Stuff.

We’ve been struggling with establishing a schedule/routine for Baby J.  I’m amazed at people who can say, “Baby takes a nap at 11 every day” at four months.  I have a friend who does this.  The best I can tell you is that when Baby J wakes up at 10:30 from a nap, he’ll be back down for another nap around noon.  Each day is different, because his wake times/nap times are different every day.  I sometimes feel like I’m doing something wrong, but then I figure there are moms who are worse off.  At least Baby J can put himself to sleep (most of the time) without me rocking him or nursing him.  I realize part of the problem is just that his brain is maturing.  He was on a set schedule for a couple of weeks, then a Wonder Week/Growth Spurt hit (combined with a couple of vaccinations) and it got shot to hell.  Now we’ve got the four month sleep regression looming (or here?  He’s gone from sleeping 7-8 hours through the night to waking every 2-3), so I’m not even trying to figure out his schedule for a few more weeks.  (And please understand that when I say “schedule” I mean more of a routine, and fully baby led, lest anyone start yelling at me for putting too much structure on my child.  Then there are those who will tell me I *should* put that much structure on him…can’t win in the parenting game.)

I’ve also been struggling with the late afternoon nap/bedtime issue.  I would like to put him to bed around 8-8:30, but if I follow the whole “no naps after 6pm” guidelines he may end up having been awake for four hours.  Then I have people tell me his bedtime should be 6-6:30.  Which would be awesome, except then when the hell would he see his father, on the weekends?  Seriously, how do working moms get to spend any time with their babies, if they’re putting them to bed that early?  Figure get off work at 5, pick up from daycare, get home, and you’re looking at half an hour of bonding time.  That’s not enough, not in my book at least.  Once again, I’m so glad I don’t have to work (although that doesn’t help out Daddy with bonding time…).  Besides, babies don’t have any concept of time, so what does it matter if they sleep from 7p-7a or 10p-10a?  I’m struggling to understand that.

Ugh, I spend way too much time looking up baby sleep advice.  And right now, it changes so fast.  Like I said, I’m waiting a couple of weeks to get past the four month mark, then starting fresh.  I’ve got the Magic Merlin sleepsuit coming from the US (thanks to a friend with an empty suitcase, bringing everyone here whatever they can’t get here) to try to break Baby J of the swaddling (currently not technically swaddled, but his arms are pinned inside a sleep sack).  I’d like to eventually wean him off the pacifier, but his habit isn’t too bad at this point.  It calms him when he first lays down, but he often spits it out within a couple of minutes and doesn’t need it to fall asleep.  And he doesn’t use one very often when he’s awake, so maybe I should just let it go.  *shrug*

On to other topics…

I’ve done my share of laughing at people – not in a super mean way, but in a *side-eye* “Look what *that* guy is wearing” way.  I had a big change of heart last year, though, after reading about a Reddit user posting a photo of a Sikh woman with facial hair, and her response.  The guy who posted the photo ended up posting an apology, and these are the words he used:  “Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of.”  He says the photo was “an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.”  Suddenly, everyone I had ever made fun of, even in my head, popped into my mind.  How incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant of me.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I still think certain things when I see people, and I sometimes voice those things to those close to me, but I really try hard not to.  I try to think of what reason they have to wear what they’re wearing, look how they look, or do what they do.  Because here’s the thing — there very likely is a reason.  For example:  “I am the woman you laughed at on the internet.”  Same basic thing happened to this woman – someone took a photo of her and made fun of her, shaming her to the world, without knowing the why.  Why do we do this?  Does it make us feel better?  Have you ever done or worn something and thought, “I hope people know I’m just doing this for *x* reason.”  What if someone had taken a photo of you like that and posted it online with the express purpose of making fun of you?  Remember, everyone on the internet is an actual person, with feelings and emotions and reasons for what they do.  When this happens with teenagers, it’s called cyber-bullying, so why isn’t it the same thing when it happens with adults?  I challenge you, the next time you see a photo of someone that was taken with the intent to make fun of them, think about what might have happened the moment before that photo was taken, think about the why.

Whew.  Off soapbox.  Now, I’ll leave you with this –

I love her thoughts on the messaging in the US about what a mother should do and the remessaging that needs to happen.  I needed the reminder that only I can make myself happy, and I need to work on that more these days.  I just hope it will get easier as Baby J gets older, because what would have made me happy today was to finish my cup of tea without microwaving it four times to rewarm it.  *sigh*  I don’t think it applies to babies who can’t take care of themselves.  How long until Baby J is able to occupy himself?

Categories: Baby J, Random | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Kids deserve privacy, too

Recently, Stephen sent me this Slate article about the privacy of children in today’s online world.  The author says she posts no photos or videos of her child online, and she and her husband went so far as to run their name selection through a google search to see what came up.  They also set up an email address, a domain name, and social media accounts for their daughter when she was born.

It’s true that anything we post online is, or potentially will be, available to the public at large someday, even if you keep a tight reign on your privacy settings.  We (society) have been trying to drill this into the heads of young people for years now.  We admonish them to think about what they post, what photos they take.  Teachers and parents have tried to prove to kids how quickly things can go viral (and wrong!) by using “Like this photo” posts on facebook.  Of course, some adults should probably think twice about what they post, as well… (No, dear, not you!)

I had already sworn to myself that  I would not be one of those people on facebook that only posts photos of their children.  I have friends who do that and I have to say, I’d like to see more of YOU, and less of your child than what I currently see.  (No, no, dear friend, I’m not talking about you!)   My facebook account is about my life, and, hopefully, there will be far more going on in my life than just my child.  Yes, you can laugh at me now, but I do not want my child to become the only thing in my world.  I hope to still have my own passions outside of my child, and I hope to have other things to talk about.  I figured I would post a few photos here and there, though, since he will be part of my life, and it’s the easiest way for extended family and distant friends to see the baby.

I had also already decided to keep all distinguishing photos of Baby J off my blog, and to continue referring to him as Baby J, even after we do have a name for him.  What I mean by that is, I might post a photo of his foot or his head, but not his face.  Private photo sharing and video accounts will be accessible only to those people who have the full link.  I don’t want cute/funny videos of him to go viral, and, especially as he gets older, I don’t want strangers to have access to pictures of him to do God Knows What with (if you know what I mean).

Stephen and I discussed it, and he agreed that the author of the original article went a tad bit overboard, and he’s okay with my current privacy plans.  They may evolve.  I admit, I may end up being one of those parents whose whole lives revolve around the child.  My facebook friends may be wondering what I look like in a year, because the only photos I post (including my profile picture) are of my child.  But I seriously hope not.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Is it completely okay with you that strangers may be able to access photos and videos of your kids?  Are you just as privacy minded as the author of the Slate article?  Let me know by commenting below!

Categories: Here Comes Baby | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Random things making me happy lately

  • Love, love, loving this New Orleans style cover of “Sweet Child of Mine,” complete with clarinet:
  • This one has made the rounds online, but it’s a video of magician (Finnish!) making dog treats disappear.  I love the ones where the dog looks at the camera/owner, like, “WTF?”
  • Another Finnish related video – this Jimmy Kimmel commercial break cracked me up.  He talks to a couple of Finns in his audience and finds out they’re not the most chatty of guys.  Q: “What do you do [in Finland]?”  A: “I work.  I live.” Q: “You have short conversations?”  A: “Yeah.”  Well, he answered the question….  (I was seriously giggling so hard at this!  “That’s just how Finns are.”  Indeed!!)
  • Thanks to a friend notifying me about it, I got to take an online seminar last week about giving birth in Finland.  It was geared towards foreigners, focusing on the way pregnancy and childbirth is done here that may be different from other parts of the world.  The class was run by a doula, Finnish by birth, who had spent some time in the US, and come to find out she does online childbirth classes in English!  I was already looking into online childbirth classes, because while they do have classes locally, they are not in English.  When I found out this doula did them, I jumped on the opportunity.  Much better to get a more local understanding of childbirth than a US based class could offer.
  • Speaking of, I’m officially in my third trimester!  Baby J is getting stronger, and he’s still fairly low.  I tend to feel him moving primarily below my belly button, with occasional kicks on the upper right side.  I never feel him on the upper left.  I also often feel something knobby about a quarter inch directly above my belly button – a knee, perhaps, or an elbow?  I wish I could figure out how he’s situated in there.  I’ve started getting more pregnancy symptoms – swelling legs/ankles/feet, mild heartburn.  As long as the kid stays off my bladder, I’ll survive.  (I think he was sitting on it last week like Miss Muffet on her tuffet.  For two days I couldn’t go ten minutes without needing to pee.)
  • The weather is getting warm again – it was almost 50F today, I think.  We may need to take the down comforter off the bed – we already sleep with the bedroom window cracked open at night, and I’ve had it open over the last couple of days, as well.  The afternoon sun streams in the windows from about 2-7pm, and it really warms the place up.
  • I’ve got some baby projects in the works, including burp cloths and washcloths and a diy-Moby wrap.  I asked my mom to get me some fusible fabric, the kind you can run through your printer and iron onto clothing.  I’ve “made” a few onesies, and I have to say, they are so darn cute!  I’m totally geeking out, have plans for Firefly and Dr Who and Buffy related designs, but here’s one that’s not a total copyright infringement:
  • Onesie with bird and worm

What’s making you happy lately?  Any fun videos or blogs or events in your life?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Random Amusing Things

Creative Street Art in France – artist OakOak sees more to that cracked plaster than just…cracked plaster.  He sees a seal.   Those manhole covers?  He sees a snowman.   That hanging potted plant is a hot air balloon.  That pole is a nose.  And I just love what he’s done with the love padlocks.  I’m going to see the town in a whole new way the next time I go for a walk!

Image:  OakOak

Image: OakOak

If you live in a big city, the light pollution kills any chance you have of seeing a great astronomical display.  But what if the lights went out?  Photographer Thierry Cohen shows us what we’re missing.

Image:  Thierry Cohen

Image: Thierry Cohen

Sloopy the Dancing Chihuahua (the music totally makes this!!):

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Exercise, or Copyright Infringement?

Writing Prompt: Think of a critical scene in a book you love. Write a different ending to the scene, then continue the story with the new ending in mind.

Congratulations, you’ve just written FanFiction.

Time Magazine had a piece in a recent issue about FanFiction – what it is, who does it, who likes it, and who doesn’t. It was a well written piece, and it really got me thinking.

I’ve never thought much of FanFic – and by that I mean I don’t think about it often. I’ve known about it for years, of course, and have read some, but sometimes finding something of quality is difficult. I don’t even have time to find new good blogs, let alone good FanFiction, so it’s simply not something I’m into. I don’t think I’ve actually written any FanFic, although I have thought out scenes in my head: What if Angel meets another vampire with a soul and falls in love with her – would she be his salvation? What if she’s an original vampire, and is immune to sunlight? The scenes I have written in my head are a mishmash of Angel/Blade/In the Forests of the Night mythology. So, yeah, FanFic.

Because isn’t that what we, as writers, do? We imagine What If. That is our mantra. We ask What If when it comes to the stories and characters we write, so it seems only natural we would ask it of the stories we read and watch.

What if Gale had been chosen for the games instead of Peeta?

What if Tom Buchanan died – would Daisy and Gatsby have gotten together?

What happened after Johnny drove away from Baby? Did they ever meet again?

What happened when Inigo Montoya took over as the Dred Pirate Roberts?

We think What If, we write that story down, and we want to share it with others who also wonder What If. It’s natural.

But is it legal?

FanFic writers do not make money on their stories when they post to websites like, but is it still copyright infringement? Authors Ann Rice and Orson Scott Card think so, and are quite upset when fans pen What If. But others, Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling, are all for it, figuring it’s a great promotional tool. Is one group right and one group wrong?

It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I think that if I were published and someone did fanfic on my work, I would be excited – I mean, after all, something I wrote inspired someone else enough to write! That’s amazing! But, wait, you’re having two of my most loved characters do what?! No, no, no, that’s not good at all. So yes, I understand perfectly where Rice and Card are coming from, in that respect, because you can’t say fanfic is fine, unless you do this with it. It doesn’t work that way.

Good FanFic truly is amazing – the ability some people have to truly know the characters the same way the original author does – or, at least, the layers the original author wants you to see. Maybe Stephanie Meyer did her own fanfic, wondering What If Bella had chosen Jacob instead of Edward, or What If Charlie dies in a werewolf attack? A thorough writer would certainly entertain the possibility, to see where the story goes.

Honestly, good (note the use of the word good here) fanfic seems like a lot of work to me. You have to really know these characters that were created in someone else’s head. That takes research, study, and more imagination than I think I have. (Not sure what that says about my skills as a writer…)

So, what do you think of fanfic? Good? Bad? Would you want someone creating fanfic based on your work?

Be sure to check out the Time article – some good quotes:

“…fan fiction was not just an homage to the glory of the original but also a reaction to it. It was about finding the boundaries that the original couldn’t or wouldn’t break, and breaking them.”

“…I love the show, but what if it went further? What happens if I press this big, shiny, red button that says “Do not press”?”

“It was a way to bring to light hidden subtexts that the show couldn’t address.”

“Fictional worlds, while they appear solid, are riddled with blank spots and unexposed surfaces.”

“It’s human nature to press at the boundaries of stories, to scrabble at the edges, to want to know what’s going on just out of range of the camera.”

“A writer’s characters are his or her children, but even children have to grow up eventually and do things their parents wouldn’t approve of.”

Categories: On Writing, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“existence” – a one word writing practice

“I’m ready for my existence to come to an end.  I’ve lived enough lives, enough lifetimes, to fill a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  My tales are more gruesome.

“When this all began, when I first realized what was happening, I thought it might last another century, two at the most.  It’s been twenty.  Over 2000 years of falling victim to the same fate, over and over again.”  She laughed, shook her head.  “I’m exhausted.”  She looked up at him.  “And you are, too.  You just don’t know it.”

“I’m tired of this life.  That’s enough for me.  My tales aren’t pretty, either.”

“Yes, but yours are beyond your control.”  She looked away, gazed across the treetops.  “In fact, your tales are my fault.  Everything bad that has ever happened to you, happened because of me.”

“You aren’t responsible for everything.  Becca, LJ, they weren’t your fault.”

She looked back at him, her eyebrow raised.  “Weren’t they?  How do you know?  What if they died because of me?  Would you be able to forgive that?  Would you be able to forgive me?”

He was unable to hold her gaze, and she had her answer.

**oneword gives you a word, and sixty seconds to write whatever pops into your head.  Obviously, I didn’t write all this in sixty seconds, but I like to expand what I start with, and this happened to work with my current WIP.  

Categories: My writings, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unfinished Novels, Typewriter Art, Photographs in Photographs, and The Million Dollar Question – Weekend Roundup

I read a lot of blogs in Google Reader, and I’m horribly far behind right now on posting some things I’ve been wanting to post about.  Let’s see how many I can sneak in today, shall we?

Ah, that unfinished novel.  The one you’ve completely given up on, you’ve lost half of it to a bad hard drive and aren’t possible able to recreate it.  The one you wrote ten years ago and never got back to.  The one you’ve given up on finding a way out of.  Post it at

Keira Rathbone makes art with a typewriter – visual art.  “One of Keira’s mediums is the use of vintage typewriters to create her art. Typing out letters, numbers and symbols in place of brush strokes and pixels results in beautiful enigmatic images.”  Very cool:

Keira Rathbone – Typewriter Art

Loving this site:  Dear Photograph.  Old pictures in new pictures are nifty:

Rachelle Gardner posed an intriguing question over on her blog:  Would you rather receive a million dollars for a book that no one will ever read, or have one million people read your book but never make a dime?  I have to say, reading through only some of the comments, I’m in the minority.  Yes, I write not because of the money, but because I have to – if I didn’t write, I would go crazy.  But for exactly that reason, I would be perfectly okay with no one ever reading a specific book I write – because there will be another.  And I’ll have a million dollars.  I don’t know, that’s how I feel – what about you?

How do you keep track of  the books you’ve read (or want to read)?  I started using WeRead through Facebook, but I’ve also heard of GoodReads.  Is one better than the other?  Is it worth trying to bring everything over from one site to the other?  Thoughts, anyone?

Categories: On Writing, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to write a book, Typewriter keyboards, Short stories, and Philosophy – Weekend Roundup June 5

If you write, and you haven’t heard of Scrivener, go look it up.  Right now.

I found out about Scrivener during NaNoWriMo last year.  It’s a Mac program, but they have been working on a release for Windows, and it’s been in beta for over 7 months now.  I’m anxiously awaiting the full release, which will hopefully be in July.  I admit, I haven’t fully explored Scrivener and all it can do, but I can say, even with my limited use of it, it has changed my writing life.  You can break up your book into moveable pieces, make notes, do outlines.  You can easily find a scene you want to look at, without having to scroll through pages and pages (and pages) as you would in Word.  I can’t wait to explore it more.

Someone on BoingBoing posted a link to a list of tips from writers, and wrote that the most valuable thing she took away from the list is Scrivener.  Yep, it’s that awesome.

What I took away from the list:

Writing on the Wall

Image by Indiana Public Media via Flickr

  • I would love a huge wall to write on.  Whiteboard, chalkboard, or maybe just a wall I paint over every so often.  A big place to write down ideas, storyboard, timeline events, etc.
  • I need to write every day.  I’ve known this for…ever, of course, but I really need to do it.  Even if it’s only five minutes, I must write every day.
  • I need to get my characters in trouble.  I know this, but I love them, so I don’t want to hurt them.  But pain is a key component of survival.  I need to remember that.
  • I need to find a way to deal with distractions.  I read that Jonathan Franzen has an old laptop stripped of all distractions, including the internet, and has pretty much nothing but that laptop, a desk, and a chair in a room.  I don’t know that I can do that, but it’s probably exactly what I need.
  • I really need to get into a writing group.
  • Maybe I’ll look into a residency program next summer…hmmmm.

I love sticky, noisy keyboard keys.  I know, I’m a weirdo, I don’t care.  I’ve wanted an old-fashioned typewriter for years, but I realize it’s not practical – you know, since it’s not in an editable format.  I wondered if there was a typewriter-like keyboard somewhere out there in the world, and discovered you can make your own!  It’s well beyond my technical expertise, but maybe I can get one of my technologically inclined friends to give it a go.  Or, maybe I can buy one online...for $800…

Yeah, I’ll add that to my Christmas list…

One Story Blog made a list of the best short stories.  I’m embarrassed to say I think I’ve only read one of those on the short list, and only a couple more from the long list.  But it got me thinking about some of my favorite short stories:

How’s this for random fun?  “Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at ‘Philosophy.’”  No, really, try it!

Categories: On Writing, Random, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Things I wish my cat understood

  1. Just because I’m in the kitchen does not mean I am there to feed you.
  2. You can’t be starving to death if there is still food in your bowl.
  3. You’re supposed to kill the insect, not stare at it and meow for help.
  4. The shower is not going to hurt me.
  5. Tomorrow is Saturday.  If you wake me up at 6am to feed you and I find food in your bowl, I will be pissed.

This is my cat, particularly the part at the end when he points to his mouth:

Categories: Five Things Friday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Books, Maps, and Laughter – Weekend Roundup May 29

We talk about living and breathing something – art, football, shopping.  Books.  Breathing Books has some beautiful photos of books, among other things.

Books can transport you to a whole other world, and sometimes they can blow your mind.  Need proof?

Great journeys, from your desk.  Follow Amelia Earhart’s flight path, tag along with Jack Kerouac, ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Need a good laugh?  Check out the 20 best corpsing videos from The Telegraph.  I love #4!

Categories: Random, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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