Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Snarking Blackhole

If you're reading this, you're probably a fan of reading blogs. If you read blogs, then you probably know about the snark site GOMI. I've blogged about the practice of hate reading before and I've never made a secret of my habit of keeping up with many of the threads on that site. As I became bored with hate reading, I spent more time on the "Members Only" threads about TV shows and other non-blog related topics.

Recently, a schism occurred and several hundred users migrated over to a subform called "Blog Snark" on Reddit. I only knew about it because I saw one of the links on a thread before they were all deleted.

What was the catalyst for this?

In my opinion, this was bound to happen and I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. GOMI was fun at first, but like some of the popular subreddits (like r/music), it is susceptible to group think and circular logic. On Reddit, if the "hive mind" doesn't agree with a certain sentiment, they will downvote it into oblivion. On GOMI, dissenters are often called "white knights" when they offer a contrary viewpoint or justify the actions of a blogger, even simple things like pointing out overlooked facts.

I think the primary catalyst for this Reddit move is two-fold:

1. The issues with the site. A main reason that I only read GOMI occasionally is that the site is so slow and has so many issues. A few times of typing out a long comment and having it disappear was enough to make me stop participating and just lurk instead.

2. Bannings. For a site that was founded on the principle of being an open forum for airing criticisms, there have been a disturbing amount of reports of users being banned for questioning things or angering the wrong person.

Why would I believe that someone could be banned from GOMI for a small infraction? I'm one to question my sources and I like to think I have some critical thinking skills. I'm inclined to believe it because I got banned from GOMI chat.

This was a few years ago, but the gist of it was that I didn't realize that the chat auto-loaded when I logged on to the site. I never used the chat feature until one day I got a message from a GOMI user asking me "Why are you always lurking about in chat??" and when I logged in after that I got a message that I was banned. I didn't care because I didn't use chat anyway, but I thought it was weird because usually I earn things like banning and I know exactly why.

Do I agree with the move to Reddit?

Honestly, I'm just an observer and I'm not Team GOMI or Team Reddit.

GOMI threads get boring (yet weird) because the users get each other so riled up about trivial stuff. It's like in an attempt to keep the conversation going, they go over the line from reasonable criticism to "I went through XX blogger's trash and she has been LYING about recycling her plastics!"

The Reddit board isn't perfect either. The users are too focused (in my opinion) on the admin of GOMI and her personal life. It overshadows the legitimate complaints of poor site performance and shady past dealings like the shutdown of Smugnom.

I prefer Reddit as a whole to most other places online, so to that effect I would prefer a Reddit board for blog snark. I haven't commented on the r/blogsnark yet, mostly because I don't want people combing through my Reddit history and realizing how deep my nerdiness goes. I expect to see the reddit subforum to branch off shortly, much like the division on Reddit between the people who just watch the show Game of Thrones and the people who obsess about tiny details in the books (seriously, some people write essays on book-based theories). I don't even care if outsiders think that's weird, I'm totally on board with Clegane-bowl hype.

Why are you writing about this?

Well, because I figure a good amount of my readers (whoever is left) are interested in this, and it was either this topic or a boring weekend recap. This is also a fun test to see if I can get myself banned from GOMI.

Were you aware of the GOMI/Reddit issues? What are your thoughts? I don't even know how to ban people from my blog, so go crazy in the comments.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

8 Things to Never Ask a SAHM

I wrote a follow up post for my 8 Things to Never Ask a Working Mother over a Fit Bottomed Mamas. Hopefully this will also be accused of furthering the Mommy Wars, which sounds fun, like Risk but with organic snacks.

8 Things to Never Ask a Stay at Home Mother

If you read my first post about things to never ask a working mom, you’re prepared for the “stay at home mom” edition. I held that prestigious job title for five years so I had a chance to hear a wide variety of reactions. In my experience, I had a pretty positive reception to telling people that I wasn’t working, which is interesting on a anthropological level. Why are we harder on working moms than SAHMs? That may have been just my experience, so let’s get to the list:

1. So what do you do all day?

Do you honestly want a detailed blow by blow of our day, or are you just trying to remind me that you can’t even fathom what it’s like to not have a job? Do you ask the same question of someone who works full time in a daycare? Spoiler: we do basically the same fucking thing, but with less oversight and a whole lot less pay.  

2. Oh, since you’re at home during the week, you can do [fill in the blank errand].

Read the rest over at Fit Bottomed Mama

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Already feeling the holiday spirit

Blogging is a little bit like working out: the more regular you are in doing it, the easier it feels. Blogging once a week reminds me of running once a week: I'm glad I can still do it, but holy crap it's not as easy as I remember it.

Of course, I could be remembering it as easier, for both blogging and running. In my mind, it was all much easier before.

I have been running, once a week as mentioned, and I'm registered for the Richmond Half Marathon in November. I'm also going to do another 10 mile race in October. Neither of these will be PR pace, but hopefully they will both be fun.

The kids are really enjoying school. Faith is continuing to excel in math. I'm sure there are some kids doing calculus at age 5, but I'm still pretty impressed by this:

Cordelia is loving school too. She's almost talking like a person, but she does have a strong preference for that cave man toddler talk. I think she feels like she can express herself better with that.

Cordelia is already excited about her 3rd birthday next month, which she totally should be because I rented this majestic piece of equipment for the day:

We took the kids to my company's "Appreciation Day" event at an amusement park over the weekend and they were so excited. I miss being that easily amused.

If you looked at that top picture and thought, "Holy crap, how big are her kid's FEET?" then you're not wrong. It's like she's dragging around canoes, which has been an ongoing theme in her life.

Yeah, those are silver metallic high tops. I got her acid wash jeans to go with them too. I'm jealous of her wardrobe. I need to figure out how to make acid wash jeans and tube socks part of the corporate dress code.

If you can't tell from the much better quality than usual pictures interspersed here, we had family photos done. I'm still waiting on the bulk of them, but the preview ones on Facebook were great. It's so hard to get really good pictures with little kids in the mix, but we scored a few homeruns with these. Our Christmas cards are going to be adorable.

I don't know if this is normal (probably?) but at least a few times a night at dinner, we all discuss potential Halloween costume ideas. I thought it would be fun to do a family theme costume this year and Faith has so many ideas on what we should be. I think the top two choices are Avengers or Star Wars, which is hilarious because she hasn't been exposed to either of those ideas by me. I saw a slutty Darth Vadar costume at Target and Black Widow dresses like a skank, so I'm good either way. I don't think there are very many things more scary than a middle aged mom of two dressed in a slutty costume for Halloween.

What are your potential ideas for Halloween this year?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Riding a sled down the slippery slope

Remember how I was committed to eating healthier food and cleaning up my diet? I've been really consistent with it and I keep waiting for this mystical "extra energy" or just in general, feeling less like this is all a horrible mistake.

The first step down the slippery slope was giving myself permission to stop using the MyFitnesspal app on the weekends. It was just such a pain in the ass to input every ingredient of stuff I cook and I wasn't really eating anything super unhealthy, so what was the point?

Then I realized that I pretty much eat the same shit every day at work, so there was no reason to put that stuff in the app either. At that point, I was zooming along the road of life with no app seat belt on. It was totally fine, I didn't go on a sugar bender or start eating gas station snacks. Ok, maybe but Wawa doesn't count. Also, not remembering what a Slim Jim tastes like is totally a valid reason to eat one.

I'm still not sure what goes into a Slim Jim. Why is it called a meat snack? Is it just a human dog treat?

Anyway, it was good but then I needed a Coke to wash it down. I've been so good about giving it up, but last week I had one for dessert. Calorically, it was totally fine. Mentally, it activating some part of my brain that is just screaming for more sweet, sweet soda.

I've been drinking unsweetened seltzer water and I'm still waiting for the day that I'm not drinking it primarily because it's better than tepid tap water. I'm not even sure why I'm denying myself soda anymore.

Is it really "falling off the wagon" if you're like "Fuck that wagon and the stupid sugar free drinks they serve on that ride"? Also, I hate that phrase. Who rides a wagon? Are you two?

There is no point to this post beyond a desperate attempt to crowd source approval to drink the Devil Juice again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Back to School

It finally happened: I broke down and joined the sign trend.

Look! It's a mom who cares enough to get chalkboards!

Both kids had their first day of school and it went really well. Faith is one of the "big kids" in her classroom and she loves getting to help the younger kids (read: boss them around). Cordelia moved up to 3-5 year old preschool, even though she's not quite three yet. Clearly, she's very advanced.

It's been a little bumpy getting them acclimated to the new routine, especially after a summer of camp at the same location as school. If I recall correctly, we had similar issues transitioning from school to camp, so in a week or two it will be easier.

On a slightly related note, here's a creepy, but hilarious kid story. Starting school messed with the kids' sleep a little, so I was up with Cordelia when she had a nightmare. I heard Faith in the bathroom at some point in the night, but I didn't actually see her. When I went in to get her up in the morning, she rolled out of bed and said, with a big smile, "Mommy, I saw you SLEEPING" and then added "In the DARK."

I really need to convince her to go to the other side of the bed and stalk my husband in his sleep instead.

What's the creepiest thing a kid has ever said to you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy International Literacy Day

Literacy Day Infographic from Grammarly

To get involved, consider donating books or money, or check with your local library for opportunities to volunteer as a literacy coach.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

8 Things to Never Ask a Working Mother

I've been writing some blog posts for Fit Bottomed Mama and in case you want an extra dose of my opinions, here you go:

8 Things to Never Ask a Working Mother

Before I had kids, I worked full time. After I had kids, I stayed home for five years. Now I’m working full time again. From that fairly recent shift back to full-time work, I’ve had some first-hand experience with questions and comments regarding that change. The following examples are all things that have actually been said to me, either in person or via blog comments/emails.
The following are examples of things you should never ask a working mother:

Do you think it makes you a better or worse mom?

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