If I Were A Geek, Just For a Day

Geek glasses: my fancy dress favourite for 23 years

Geek glasses: everyone should have some

Frustration and Computers

During the 13 years I’ve been working on computers, designing websites, and studying online marketing, there have been times of frustration. Moments when I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve, but couldn’t quite work out how to do it.

Fortunately, the frustrations of computers and the Internet are balanced out when you finally manage to do something you’ve been struggling with. That success makes it all worth while and keeps you going, and it’s the same with many other challenges in life. But ultimately, it’s constant learning, and the feelings of achievement that come from persevering, then finally succeeding in your goal, that make those challenges interesting.

Working with technology doesn’t come naturally to me, but it’s got to be done, because the Internet is for all of us, not just for the technologically gifted. I’m determined to persevere and play my part on the Internet as well as I can, and I hope you will too.

This article was inspired by:

  • 13 years spent overcoming computer-based challenges to design user-friendly websites;
  • “If I Was A Boy”, as sung by the beautiful, and highly tuneful, Beyoncé.

So, with many thanks to all the geeks who made this possible, here’s a tongue in cheek look at what I’d do if I was a geek for a day:

  • I would add all the cool buttons to my website so that readers could Tweet this, Digg it, email it to their Facebook page, and have it digitally tattooed on their foreheads too if they so desired.
  • I would employ a brilliant writer to come up with inspiring ideas for my website and turn all my geek speak into intelligent sentences which the general public can understand and relate to.
  • I would have an English English spell check on WordPress and Twitter, not US English.
  • I would fiddle with my coding all day long and half the night, giving my site every useful bell and whistle known to mankind and, most importantly, I’d love doing it.
  • I would make sure my site ranked number 1 with Google for the search engine terms: “Hottest Aussie blogger”.
  • I would get one of my brilliant graphic designer friends to make my site look über-cool, so no one ever suspected a geek was behind it.
  • I would write a program that generated short, witty strings of words and automatically added them to my Twitter account every hour or so.
  • I would be best friends with Leo Babauta, John Chow, Darren Rowse, Seth GodinSeth Simonds and Guy Kawasaki plus all the great girl geeks I’d connect with and I’d happily share my brilliant tips with them all.
  • I would set up my computer with perfect voice recognition so that I never have to type again.
  • I would seem shy, but I’d be totally self-confident in the knowledge that, thanks to me and my skills, the future will be a better place.

Now, just imagine what I’d do if I was a geek for a week!

Good luck with your computer and your Internet dreams!

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you’d do if you were a geek for the day by adding a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to In the Hot Spot by email now, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out.

Related articles

>> In Praise of Geeks
>> The Trouble With Typing

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How To Listen To Kids

Candy Family Communication Problems

Happy, Chatty Candy Kids

Happy, Chatty Candy Kids

I’ll be the first to admit that often I don’t really listen to my kids. In the mornings they’ll be chirping away merrily about this and that while I prepare sandwiches, make breakfast, look for clothes and add to the shopping list, usually all at the same time. When I’m able to make a conscious effort to really listen to them, sometimes what I hear surprises me.

This morning my second born son, aged seven, forgot to take his violin to school despite being reminded in the morning.

“Oh dear, how many times did I ask you if you’d put the violin in the car?”

I irritatingly asked.

Poor kid, he already felt bad about it and I needn’t have made him feel worse. So I couldn’t argue when he replied:

“Twice, but I didn’t hear you.”

My four year old has an interesting way of thinking too and is showing an early grasp of maths since she loves to count with her fingers. The other day someone asked what time it is and I said it was three thirty.
“How much is thirty?” she asked.

“Well,” I stupidly explained, “thirty minutes is half an hour so it’s half past three.”

“No!” She bellowed, holding her tiny paws in the air and clearly infuriated with this answer.

“How many is it in fingers?”

Yes, it’s definitely time for me to listen more closely and think like a kid myself.

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe by email now if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out.

Good luck with all your plans!

Puberty Bites: Talking About Puberty With Kids

We all need to laugh more and here’s something that amused me last week.

Being a Parent’s Hard But We’re Doing the Best We Can

Apparently Unrelated Image of Native Australian Long-Necked Turtle

Apparently Unrelated Native Australian Long-Necked Turtle

Two of the cardinal rules for good parenting are not to stereotype your children and not to compare them, however, I’ve noticed that my older son, aged 11, is often quiet, serious and thoughtful whereas my younger son, aged seven, is boisterous, irreverent and irrepressible.

Take the drama show they were in yesterday as an example. The older son concentrated, spoke well and put on a fine performance while the younger son managed to fit his lines in around much improvised face pulling, fidgeting and theatrical bum scratching.

How to Discuss Sexual Development With Your Kids

Another example of their differences presented itself via illustrations of a developing penis in the wonderful book, Puberty Boy which we recently borrowed from the library. Of course, the book was borrowed for the oldest son but he showed little interest in and in fact he appeared not to read it at all, although he did come dashing out of the loo a few days later looking delighted and claiming:
“Mummy, I’ve got hairs growing on my penis.”

My younger son looked at the book too, cast his beady eye over the penis diagrams and, eyes gleaming, asked:
“Mummy, have you got a book like this about girls?”

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe by email now if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out.

Good luck with all your plans!

Search Engine Terms for Blogging

The Fine Art of Search Engine Optimisation

Wide-eyed Tree Frog in Costa Rica

Wide-eyed Tree Frog in Costa Rica

Some people have found this site by typing totally ludicrous and, in some cases, inappropriate phrases into the search engines. It all goes to show how hard it is to find the information you’re really looking for on the Internet because I’m pretty sure that the people who typed these things didn’t find what they were after here.

Fellow bloggers, take a moment to consider what search engine phrases you’d like people to use to find your site and try to include them as often as possible in your posts without repeating yourself gratuitously if  possible. I know I need to work on this more myself because this is what people have Googled to find this site so far:

  • how tasty are kangaroos
  • hot costa rican women
  • kangaroo candies
  • running lizard
  • roo testicles (my favourite)
  • my six year old boy is nervous about tun (this is an interesting one)
  • small cute shaggy dogs (I did have some of these in one article)
  • the best reading list for writers today (at last, a hit, a palpable hit)
  • daylight robbery take my wish
  • lizard saying hey kid
  • stand up paddle bikini (this is a surprisingly popular search phrase, definitely not serviced here)
  • hippy girl
  • andy kangeroos (don’t tell me there’s another odd bod looking for candy kangeroos)
  • male face paint ideas (why?)

Thanks for reading, I hope you find what you’re looking for on the Internet and in life.

Good luck with all your plans!

Why I’ll Always Backup My Work From Now On

Last week I got robbed and stranded at the beach wearing only a bikini a couple of sizes too small, then this week my computer died.

Me and My Gorgeous Geek

Me and My Gorgeous Geek

That’s right, one minute I was typing away happily and the next minute the screen froze and the computer refused to restart, even when I got my clever geek, and husband, on to it. Unfortunately I hadn’t backed up at all and I’ve had the computer almost a year.

Okay, I had backed up my 65,000 word manuscript by emailing it to myself at my gmail account, but what about all those amazing stories, articles-in-the-making, ideas and writing tips that I’d built up over that time? All gone and never to be seen again according to the geek, who smuggly reminded me that he had bought me a little memory stick and I should have used it.

In the end my wonderul geek, who I love more than anything, managed to recover all my work, but not before a few hot tears had been shed, mainly by me. Then I had to use the kid’s computer but Facebook and Twitter were banned by the clever anti-filth detector, K9 Web Protection Services, even though I wasn’t trying to look at any filth. I promise.

My geek claimed he couldn’t remember the password so I couldn’t access my two favourite websites, but when I started shaking, hallucinating and mumbling incoherently from the cold turkey he found the password for me. I didn’t realise how bad my addiction was until my online social networking fix was denied me.

So folks, the message is back up your work daily. At least. And just in case that fails get yourself a good geek. They are truly indispensible in this digital age and every creative type should have one. Mine is versatile too. He also makes bonny babies and can be quite funny at times. Plus he’s a dab hand at gardening, cooking and finances and exceedingly handsome too, so I’m a very lucky lady. I will have to be nice to him for ages now but really, he’s worth it.

We all need a bit of help and support in our daily lives and I’d love to hear who your everyday hero or heroine is.

Two, four, six, eight, who do you appreciate?

Good luck with all your plans!

Daylight Robbery, Little Cove, Noosa

Watch Out Watch Out! There’s a Thief About In Noosa

I’ve been feeling a bit lonesome this week. I’m now six months into my new life in Australia and I think anyone who’s moved overseas will know this feeling: the newness of being in a foreign country has passed and it’s still too early to have made good friends so there’s a gap that needs to be filled.

A surf with my surfer chick buddies-in-the-making was just what the doctor ordered. So when the rain cleared up to reveal sunny blue skies, the famous Noosa surf points were pumping and the surfer chicks were up for it, life looked good.

I have to confess I was a bit out of kilter. For example, I thought it was Wednesday when it was Thursday, but there’s nothing too unusual about that is there? After racing through my work and finding an elusive parking spot close to Little Cove where we’d arranged to meet, I realised I’d forgotten my board shorts. But nothing was going to stop me from surfing. At this point I should clarify that I was wearing a bikini and had my wetsuit top with me but the bikini bottoms are absolutely tiny and normally I wouldn’t be seen out in them unless they were under my board shorts. Basically, they’re completely unsuitable for surfing and the two tiny triangles of material barely covered my ample writer’s bottom.

The Show Must Go On

Still, undeterred, I knotted them on as tightly as possible, grabbed my board and headed out into the surf at Little Cove. There was no sign of my friends but I thought they might already be out in the surf so I left my bag carefully on a rock well above the high tide mark. This is a bag I got free with a magazine. Inside it was a t-shirt, a rash top, a dweeby surf hat that buckles under the chin, a pair of super cheap sunglasses from Costa Rica and my keys. That’s right, my car keys and my house keys which are both those new-fangled remote control keys that are fiendishly expensive to replace, all coupled together with one of my most prized possessions: a gorgeous wooden key ring with a painted toucan and the inscription Costa Rica. A lot of happy memories are tied up in that keyring and I truly love it.

Now, I count myself as being fairly savvy and would never leave any valuables unattended on the beach. As proof of how streetwise I like to think I am I should add that I recently spent 18 months traveling round Central America with 11 bags and not a thing was stolen from me during that time. 11 bags? I know, it sounds ridiculous but it was minimalist traveling for a famly of five and included a complete homeschool kit for three children as well as enough books to keep them all on track with their reading goals for a year.

You Little Ripper

But back to the Noosa surf. Down at Little Cove there was an flood of surfers walking, running and sprinting up the beach to get into the sea further north.

“Gosh.” I thought.
“I wonder where they’re all going.”

But being a complete novice I didn’t study the conditions much, apart from checking that the waves weren’t too big, and I didn’t notice the fierce rip that was pulling surfers south around the rocks to Noosa Main Beach. Until I got waist deep into the sea that is.

Suddenly, the rip was so strong that I was unable to stand in one place so I hopped on my board and caught the first wave that came my way. My pop up was slow and clumsy but hey, I was standing up and surfing, rushing in towards the beach. When the wave petered out I started paddling back towards the breaking waves to try again. At first I noticed I was just paddling on the spot and no sooner had that dawned on me than I realised I was being pulled backwards and quickly towards some rocks where bigger waves were breaking, and then around the corner to First Point where approximately 200 surfers were all milling around. This all happened exceedingly fast and probably less than five minutes had passed since I got into the sea.

“I’m being swept away.” I shouted to a bearded surfer nearby. He just shrugged and ignored me, too busy trying to save his own bacon I suppose.
“I’m trying to get to the shore.” I said to another.
“You’ll be right.” he said. Australians always say this and it’s very reassuring. Sure enough, he was right.

If At First You Don’t Suceed Try, Try, Try Again

Although I thought I was about to die I put on a paddling spurt and got to the shore, overjoyed to be alive. Now I joined the surfers climbing back over the rocks and walking back up the beach for another go. Yes, I’ve been taught that if you fall off your horse the best thing to do is get back on it and have another go.

So I did and I had a few nice rides too despite the dodgy conditions. At some point I noticed I’d forgotten to take my earrings out and one was missing but nothing was going to get me down after my near-death experience. My friends turned up and we had a surf together before heading back to the beach.

It was then that I realised my bag was missing, along with one of my shoes which I’d placed on top of the bag on top of a rock. So annoying. Why would a thief steal one shoe? And, presuming the culprit was male, what would he want with a few well-used pieces of ladies clothing? Perhaps most annoying of all was that I was now stranded at the beach with no car keys and clad only, in the world’s most revealing bikini.

Super Sleuth

Despite this I’m proud to say that I kept my cool and drew on my knowledge gleaned from over 20 years of reading trashy crime thrillers. Yes, thanks to a love of literature of all kinds, I am well-versed in many aspects of criminal profiling and criminal psychology. My expert analysis told me that this was a crime of opportunity committed by a young, and possilby itinerant, person who was hoping to get their grubby mitts on some cash, credit cards, a decent camera, an ipod or at the very least a complete pair of shoes, not just one beaten up sandal that’s been roughed up all over Central America.

In view of the fact that the loot held limited value for the crim (unless s/he was a one-legged tootsie with size ten feet) my guess was that the robber would be feeling pretty annoyed with the pile of crap they’d risked their clean record for and would probably chuck the entire contents of the bag in the nearest rubbish bin or bush.

Another young lady had also had her bag stolen so I left her to look after my surf board and went on a bin trawl. Now, despite being a country bumpkin, I’ve lived in big cities before and I’ve seen people, mainly bearded and ragged men, rifling through bins for sustenance. The middle-class demograhic means there aren’t many people doing it in the Noosa area though, and either my strange behaviour coupled, my scanty attire or a combination of those things attracted a fair bit if attention.

To make things even more pitiful Noosa has these really posh bins with a roof on so in order to see what’s inside you have to poke your head under the roof and over to the middle to even get a peep inside. If you actually wanted to get something out you’d have a hard job. Hmmm, maybe that’s why people don’t bother doing it.

There’s a Moral Here Somewhere

I wish I could say that there was happy ending to this story and that my bag and its contents, or at least my keys, turned up in a bin or under a bush but sadly that’s not the case. I came away feeling slightly nauseaous from the fumes of cigarette butts and fish and chips wrappers but alas empty handed.

So if you ever see a strange semi-clad lady rifling through the bins in an upmarket location don’t avert your eyes and cross the street, take pity and offer her a lift home. It could be me.

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your comments below.

Good luck with all your travel plans!

Shaggy Dog Story From the RSPCA, Noosa

Dogs Love Noosa Too

Controversial Dog in Booties

Controversial Dog in Booties

Australia has one of the highest levels of dog ownership in the world, and one Noosa resident told me that I wouldn’t be a local myself until I got a dog. So I was naturally interested in the ‘Champ Pooch of the Day’ event that was held last Sunday by the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). They tried to keep it a secret from me, but I noticed a stream of people and dogs of all shapes and sizes parading along the Noosa river and just had to find out what it was all about.

Dog in a Bag

Dog in a Bag

Thank heavens I didn’t miss out on the doggy fun. There were all kinds of competitions being held. The biggest dog contest was a sure win for the lone Great Dane entrant. The smallest dog contest was practically a support group for nominees for the Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves website. For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure, check it out. It’s most reassuring to find other people who think that a bull dog wearing a tight polo shirt is tragic, not cute.

I’m happy to say the RSPCA doesn’t condone dressing pets up in clothes either, and the canine winner for smallest dog took it down clad only in its natural fur coat. Good news, even if it was one of those trembling dogs with a really hard to spell name that fashionable girls like to keep in their handbags.

Pampered Costa Rican Cat

Pampered Costa Rican Cat

But my favourite contest, and the most fiercely contested category, was the “Owner and Dog Most Lookalike Contest”. The winner went to a Jack Russel and his short-haired, pointy-faced, wet-nosed owner. They were almost indistinguishable from each other so congratulations to the undisputed champs.

They didn’t have official contests for these categories but I also identified the hottest dog, the smelliest dog, the dog with the largest testicles and the owner who was most in denial that she looked like her dog. This sounds means but it was just the shaggy orange hair. Hey, maybe I could help with the judging next year or reinvent myself as a canine talent scout.

I hope you like these photos I took for the Pets That Want to Kill Themselves website. They’ve got loads of pics of desperate pets and it’s worth checking out if you need a laugh and don’t mind a teeny bit of cruelty to animals. We certainly don’t. Here’s a photo of one of our long suffering kittens in Costa Rica if you want the proof.

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your comments below.

Good luck with all your travel plans!
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