Category Archives: Work

Story research does weird things to my Amazon suggestions

Man, I do ONE story on Halloween costume trends

Amazon suggestions

One of these things is not like the others

Sometimes, an algorithm’s idea of what is related to other things can be kind of funny.

legalized crock pots for all

Ignoring the point of Internet content

I don’t have kids, but I have some friends who do, because I’m a human being. One of them introduced me to The Skeptical OB, because I like snark and dislike anti-science thinking. I’ve followed it for fun since, and now it’s blown up into a blog war. Well, that’s not quite true: Dr. Tuteur posted a very valid critique of something that The Feminist Breeder wrote. I can’t link to it because she has locked down her site, somehow believing that people will pay for a subscription to read it, at a price that keeps falling as the night goes on, because apparently no one is subscribing.

What happens when a substantial portion of your reader base is only there to hate-read you? A pageview is a pageview, after all, but someone who loathes you probably isn’t going to subscribe. They might turn their Adblock off to be nice, but that’s about it.

I’m enthralled because good Internet drama is always interesting, but mostly because be this involves two of my favorite topics: copyright and paid online content. Will people pay for access to TFB? Will she get enough in subscription fees to pay for this ridiculous legal battle? Should you use DMCA takedown notices as a tool to get someone who says things about you that are mean but factually correct to stop saying them?

I have nothing new to add to this whole thing that TechDirt hasn’t already said, though. That’s all I got. Go point and laugh.

7 Quick Takes: Road trip, babies, fur, and productivity

1. I may be the only not Catholic-themed blog doing 7 Quick Takes, but who cares? 7 Quick Takes is awesome. I call myself religious but not spiritual because I like rules and rituals but anything supernatural just doesn’t click for me. My brain doesn’t work that way. But that Jennifer lady is kind of cool.

2. I’m going to the Berkshires tomorrow on a top-secret mission of awesomeness. I’m driving to western MA, not visiting WEBS, and I don’t even care. I’ll explain after it happens.

3. For reasons ranging from “I need protein” to “it’s tasty,” I’ve been sort of living on yogurt and granola. I bought nonfat Cowbella yogurt, just to try a different brand, and it was all right. Not exciting. Kind of thin and watery.

There wasn’t much available at Price Chopper when I came through after work and after midnight, so I picked up some full-fat plain yogurt. Why do I buy anything else? It’s so satisfying and tastes so good.

Maybe it’s an indication of how far I’ve gone into healthy eating insanity that plain yogurt seems as rich and flavorful as ice cream. But I’ve been on the internet: there are much, much scarier depths of healthy eating insanity.

4. I realized that I have a lot of friends who are pregnant right now. Makes sense, given my age. Some single/childless women would be mopey about that, but I’m not. Instead, I look ahead to the glorious bounty of baby pictures coming my way.

My services as an honorary aunt are always available. Honorary aunt services largely consist of knitting hats and socks and maybe awkwardly holding the baby because I haven’t really spent time around babies and I don’t understand how they work. Things that drool and make loud noises make me uncomfortable.

Me with a cousin’s baby almost a decade ago. I didn’t break him.

…Yes, I am an only child. Why do you ask?

5. I’m so glad that we’re back posting at Consumerist after the recent unpleasantness. I really miss the commenters, though. And the comments. I really never thought that I would say that until our first comments outage. An instantaneous torrent of feedback can be terrifying, but I miss having a sense of how readers feel about what I’m writing.

6. I brushed out my dog’s fur. She’s soft like an alpaca. If you’ve never petted an alpaca, you should give it a try. However, I’ve never met an alpaca that has long, soft, floppy ears that she dunks in the ground-up raw beef hearts she eats for dinner.

She likes having long hair about as much as I like brushing and styling it. I’m too cheap to take her for regular haircuts, but fearful that if I take up trimming her myself, something will go terribly wrong. She has hair … well, everywhere.  Shaving has never been one of my great talents, and I’d probably hurt her a lot.

I worry that she would hate me, which is a completely irrational fear. When I adopted her, she had an ear infection. We got to know each other while I was chasing her down and pouring cold stuff in her ears three times a day. It’s a good thing she’s genetically engineered not to hate me.

7. I’m writing this on a break from getting my work for tomorrow done tonight. I downloaded a Mac app for the Pomodoro technique to help keep me on track when I have these big blocks of unstructured time when I have a lot to do. It’s not perfect, but it’s nice to have a virtual tomato timer dinging at me, reminding me when break is over.

Breaking tasks into 25-minute chunks is actually kind of perfect for writing blog posts, especially if I’ve done the tip curating and legwork ahead of time. Mostly I just rack up tomato after tomato. The program accumulates them as you work (or don’t work, but time passes anyway.) The row of tomatoes sits there. Mocking you.

I’m going to finish these posts and go to bed.