Grey Matter Oeuvre

All my errors and imperfections

All my errors and imperfections
Create threads, wires under my skin.
Each one has tangled,
Drawn up my flesh,
Into a constant cringe.

Every trivial folly or past moment's sin,
Each fault that I still cannot shake,
Hangs from my elbows,
Clings to my heels,
And brings me to tire and to quake.

I strive to evolve, to grow and reach,
While held back by ties and regret.
No ropes bind me,
No one chains me down,
It's just I who cannot forget.

My religion tells me to forgive myself.
Culture hardly has morals to break.
But, something in me,
Of my own obsessions,
Can never accept a mistake.

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The New Blog School

Technorati Tag: blog

As part of the new website screen capture project for this site (which we've owned for just a few weeks), we've looked at over 1000 blogs in the last few days. Wow. Our eyes hurt and our heads hurt, but we are nothing if not noble, so please learn from our pain, and consider these lessons from The New Blog School...

LESSON ONE: Simple Is Best! As a rule, you have 6 seconds to grab our attention...not because we don't like you (we do!), but because we have hundreds of other blogs to review.

So if your blog doesn't load in 6 seconds, we're leaving. We have to. So please don't fill your site with images that are 1 meg each and will take until next week to load.

Have all your images on your own site. Linking to external images will probably fail, probably sooner than later. If you must use a free image hosting service, make sure it delivers images in 6 seconds or less.

NOTE: All of the loading problems to date have come from only two places. AOL Journals and AOL Journals is pretty ugly, but worse than that, AOL did not deliver the images. And if a pageload stalled, it was usually because imageshack did not deliver the image. Shame, shame, shame on them both.

LESSON TWO: Be Considerate. Make your blog useful or informative in some way... pleeease. Good writing can make almost any subject one or the other. Take the time to craft your words.

Do not cut and paste from Word or other word processor. Your page will end up decorated with weird characters and question marks.

Spell check. Especially headlines!

Learn to use the blogging software. Take your time and refuse to be intimidated or confused. Hosted services like Blogger have "control panels" that are designed for ordinary, non-techie people (like most of us), so you should be able to get a decent blog going. Remember, your blog is a reflection of you.

If you use flashing graphics or unneeded javascript animations, or require readers to download plugins to see them, we're probably moving on.

If you have video on your blog and it starts without the reader clicking a button, we're out of there.

If your navigation is still full of "edit me" or "edit this navigation," your blog is not quite done. Spend a bit more time with it, then start marketing it. We'll wait!

And if you must have ads - and we know a girl has to make a living! - please use them tastefully, otherwise you'll look like a splog (spam blog). (We're re-thinking our own ads with this in mind, even as I type.)

LESSON THREE: Design Is Beyond Important. Good design enhances the content and does not hide it "below the scroll". We came to your blog to read your brillant thoughts, so let's get to them! If we can't figure out your blog in 6 seconds, we're on to the next one.

Design for an 800 * 600 screen. If we have to scroll left to right to left to right to read your blog, we're leaving before we get carpal tunnel.

Now, if your page is attractive, you'll likely get more spend than 6 seconds...but if it's covered in 1996 Windows icons, or is wallpapered with one giant photo over and over so we can't read the text, or has 5,000 little pictures all on the main page because you like each and every one of know the rest. Cultivate an air of mystery: keep some of the 5,000 to yourself. :-)

Low contrast or weird contrast text (pink on blue) are hard to read and make our eyes hurt, so if that's your design choice...we'll leave you to it. And we'll leave.

Check your blog in more than one browser. At a minimum, check it in IE and FireFox on Windows. Layouts that may look gorgeous on one browser can fall apart on another.

If you use external services like Technorati, blogads, blogrolling etc., excellent...just put them last in the design. Because if they don't load fast (or at all) they prevent the rest of the HTML after them from rendering, which means an incomplete page - and we're off to go read a complete one. We're fickle like that.

Remember: good design doesn't have to be fancy or expensive (see lesson 1). Keep it simple, think of your reader, and use the tools you have. We can't wait to see what you publish!


Escapee from the Meme Machine

The One Holdover

Yesterday, when I got home to my apartment I found that a window in the living room had fallen out of the casement, knocked over a shelf full of stuff and shattered across the floor. As this is January in Buffalo, it was snowing with 50 mph winds so everything, and I do mean everything, was scattered all over the apartment soaking wet and freezing cold. (luckily my bunny was hiding behind the stove- warm and safe).

I called the super and he came up to put in a temporary replacement while I cleaned up my trashed living room. At some point during our polite small talk he said to me. "You're surprisingly calm. I'd be flipping out right now. What's your secret?"

You'll have to click over to hear her secret ...

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People are Idiots

Happy (Last) Birthday

This morning, California executed a guy minutes after his 76th birthday ended. I can't help but wonder how his final visitors handled the situation. Did they wish him a happy birthday? Did they bring him gifts? (If so, did they keep the receipts)? Hallmark claims to have "cards for every occasion" but I've never seen a "condemned loved one" section in the greeting card aisle. I can only guess this is what some of his cards said:

Front: On this, your birthday, remember...
Inside: Live each day like it's your last!

There is more ...

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Dove's Latest Salvo: Super Bowl XL

Technorati Tag: politics

Dove's groundbreaking "Campaign for Real Beauty" began with provocative questions like "Wrinkled?...Or Wonderful?" and "Gray?...Or Gorgeous?"

It went on to share with us those giant pictures of supremely happy, radiant, grown women cavorting in their undies, and begat those crazy-sassy Nike ads about thunder thighs and "My Butt Is Like the Letter C."

I am pleased to report that our mighty Dovelets are still not satisfied. Not by a long shot.


In fact, they want to reach at least 90 million people at once with a message about helping girls accept themselves, and being confident just the way they are. And since Janet Jackson so ably taught us that the Super Bowl is nothing if not a Program Suitable for the Whole Family (hence our Shock and Awe at her partial disrobing), what better opportunity to reach American girls and their parents than Super Sunday?


So on February 5, be prepared for a bit of steak with your sizzle at the commercial break. Of the 51 advertisers who spent $2.4 million each for 30 seconds in front of your eyeballs, this particular one chose to use its time to promote the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, founded to teach girls that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors (and, I hope, ages).

The ad features the Cyndi Lauper hit True Colors, as sung by the Girl Scouts Chorus. And it also features an Asian girl who "wishes she were blonde"...a redhead who "hates her freckles"...and a little girl who simply "thinks she's ugly."

I get a little sniffly just reading that.

Says Dove marketing director Phillippe Harousseau:

Most American people will probably not expect to see an ad about self-esteem in the Super Bowl. The decision to invest the money is in line with the strategic commitment we are making...There will be surprise, and we anticipate that this will be an element of provoking a debate.

Or at least some hugs among the Doritos.

Weird Cake

"Mental pulse"

I think that "mental pulse" might be a better way to describe my ever-changing mood (you know, the whole up-and-down crap that we bipolars have to face on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis). After all, no two bipolars are exactly alike in the quality and frequency of their depressive and manic cycles; therefore, I think that "mood" should be universally replaced with the term mental pulse. So it is written, so shall it be done. Or something like that. Why? Just because I SAID so, that's why!!! ;-)

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One Ping Only

Is that a gun or are you just happy to see me post?

I had a chance to do something today that I've always wanted to do: Go to a shooting range. It was one of those things that I always knew I'd get around to eventually and, thanks to The Best Brother in the Whole Wide World, today was that day.

We went to Reed's, which I just learned when finding that link is the largest indoor range in the SF area. It was surprisingly low-key and, well...I guess the best word is normal; there was no "Soldier of Fortune" feel about it, which put me a lot more at ease, as did the guy behind the counter who looked more like someone I'd expect to be helping me at Micro Center than explaining how to load a revolver.

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BlogsbyWomen and TheNewJane Have SOLD

Jennifer Warwick has purchased both BlogsbyWomen and TheNewJane. Both of these projects were created as part of my MBA capstone research and have served me (and the women's blogging community) very well. I wish I could commit the time I should to these projects; however, my real desires lie in kicking ass in the corporate world.

Thanks to Angie and Mags for everything they've done to keep BlogsbyWomen goin' strong. They were the real magic here. I'm sure they will do a great job for Jennifer. I'll be around to bitch and moan and groan and complain -- and of course I'll still write SistersTalk as usual.

Love ya!



One more reason why the Abramoff scandals will hurt the GOP, no matter how much they try to muddy the waters.

Oh yeah. All those Dems are so-oo in bed with Jack Abramoff and his pal Tom DeLay that they were funding attack ads against other Democrats.

Americans can be uninformed or misinformed, but unfortunately for the GOP, they aren't completely stupid. They may believe that in general both parties have corrupt members, but Libby, DeLay, Abramoff and [insert latest corruption scandal] are so obviously one-sided that they have taken a toll on Bush and the GOP. Abramoff-related indictments are almost certainly (given what we know) going to hit only Republicans that all Dems have to do is ask, "If the Republicans are the only ones being indicted, how could this be a scandal that affects both parties?"

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New Year's Post Roundup

Blog posts highlighting this past year, or well-wishes for the upcoming year are obviously making the rounds this week. Thought I'd highlight a few. Happy New Year!

Lorena at Every Passing Moment reminds us that we are beautiful.

Janey Godley shares with us what she does and doesn't regret.

Dana at Southern Gal Goes North talks about New Year's football games and where she found the inspiration to start writing again.

"Get Well Soon" wishes to Marwa, Maxed Out Mama, and Tina at Cakesniffers Beware!

Technorati Tag: 2005 NYE Roundup