(Picture link goes to site for Annika Tiede)
I spend a lot of time internet surfing. My family would gladly tell you that last is the understatement of the century. I am the "internet addict" or "computer geek" or "nerd" in the family when it comes to all things online. Yet, when they need help with their latest PC problem they say those words more kindly, but mostly they use them when they feel I'm neglecting them for the world online.
The other day I was again called an "internet junkie" but I have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous jealousy for a worthy cause. I have finally listed the blogs and sites that I read very frequently on the links portion of this site. Most I read daily. Some are for informational purposes only. Others are sites I enjoy simply because I do.
These are the places I go. I hope you'll go there too.
Cincinnati Black Blog
The first of two sites that inspired me to blog. I simply stole my site idea of blogging and finding a picture I find that best illustrates my blog entries from Nate Livingston. Sue me for the copyright dahling, yes, I got it from you. Nate Livingston is a radical guy. He spits it the way sees it and sometimes he is so spot on regarding local politics and the people who play the game, it's absolutely scary - especially for the people he writes about. Keep blogging Nate and don't ever stop. You are truly my inspiration.
The Cincinnati Beacon
The second of the two sites that inspired me to write Deb Lite and I am truly grateful. Jason Haap, known as The Dean of Cincinnati, often gets called a pissed off white guy (I'm trying to quit). It may seem that way, but underneath all the seeming anger is a brain that is ticking 24/7 and it is determined to never, let anyone get away with slimy politics in our city, with an especial mission to keep our main conservative newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer, on the straight and narrow. Jason and Andrew Warner cover the kind of news in Cincinnati that everybody talks about but never gets media coverage. Everything from my favorite candidate, Stephanie Dumas not getting news coverage even those she's running for County Commissioner to an ongoing expose about a local organization called Kids Helping Kids who may just abusing the kids they're supposed to be helping. Jason and Andrew put it on the line every day and don't pull any punches. My only beef with this site is that Andrew doesn't write more often because I love his articles as much as Jason's! If you're from the Nati, Ohio or our local tri-state are you have to catch the haps at the Cincinnati Beacon.
The Black Fist Blog
Brigadier General Nikki X is the kind of woman you really want to sit down and talk to for a while. Her mind spans the depth and breadth of Black History, Present and Future, bringing it all together under her own battle cry of "Black Power!" Nikki X has a take no prisoner's style and she's bringing consciousness about the plight of black people in our city and around the world. For those of you who think the Civil Rights Movement ended when the last strains of We Shall Overcome faded at the base of the Washington Monumnet, this site is a must read. General Nikki X's Black History series is not to be missed. I look forward to hearing more from her and from the latest voice added to the Black Fist Blog, General Emerald X.
I never agree with anything Nick Spencer has to say. I always leave his site pissed off screaming in my head, "How could he possibly say such a thing, I'm never reading his site again," only to be back there two days later doing the exact same thing. I don't know what it is about Nick. He's a conservative; his views on what to do about local issues never mirror mine; he drives me absolutely nuts and yet I read his blog pretty much every time he posts. His consistency, intelligence and overall "doing something is better than nothing" approach is not to be taken lightly. Nick doesn't just talk about cleaning up a neighborhood, he moves there. He doesn't just talk about enterprise zones and building businesses, he does it! Even though our views differ on a lot of things I have to admit he's one smart cat who is simply not a pushover. His voice will be heard and what's more, he's a man who backs up his words with personal actions. Nick Spencer, I salute you.
A Goofy Ass Emotional Chick and Her Perogative
This Goofy Ass Chick is anything but. OK, maybe a little bit but Chick brings a warm, candid and yes goofy point of view on being a 20-something female in Cincinnati. Personal posts, politcal views, pop culture are all to be found here with a Cincinnati flavor. Check out this post Stop Selling my Childhood Memories and you'll see why reading Chick's blog never fails to make me smile.
I have never lived in, nor been to, Bend, Oregon and I'm still not sure how I discovered a blog called "There Once was a Girl" (also listed under World Class Moms) that is written by Wendrina who lives there. Her posts are about the every day life of a wife and mother with the busy family she raises along with "something in the back of the refigerator". Yet and stil, something in the way she writes brings to life the place she lives. Bend could very well be across town instead of 2,256.40 miles across the country. Before I knew it, I was in love with a town I'd never been to, although Snarky Bend (Cuz ya gotta have your Snark!) would be the first site to advise against loving this town. Bend Blogs is a site listing other blogs from Bend. Reading these sites gives me a feeling that one day, Bend, Oregon may just wind up being my home away from home. Go Lava Bears!
Harry Potter(Link goes to JK Rowling.com)
Back in the 90's I went through a bit of a Harry Potter phase that was startling for 28 year old mom at the time. It included starting my own Harry Potter website and fan club (now defunct), writing fan fiction (still up in certain places) and attending a couple of parties. In costume. OK, even mom bloggers with serious political bents have their odd sides and this is mine. I guess that last Potter bent was one last stab at childhood and now that the phase is over, I tend to just keep up with the Potter fans by checking these few sites. All things Potter are found within their pages and there are few other sites that are worth the time. Just don't ever knock Harry Potter to me. Uh, not that I really care...
World Class Moms
It's hard to write exactly how I feel about the blogs in this category. All moms deserve their due, but these women not only live it, they blog it.
The name alone, Mothered Up Beyond All Recognition, is enough to keep you giggling for a while, but this blog, while funny at times, is not strictly for laughs. Amusing Personal anecdotes are not in short supply but T.O. Mama provides plenty of food for thought. Managing debt in the midst of consumer culture of buy and spend more. Society's views and stereotypes of motherhood versus the realities. How our kids are marketed to so heavily that even a one year old who's never watched Sesame Street can recognize and pronounce the name Elmo clearly enough to ask for products with his image. There's a lot going on in the childhood development chain but MUBAR also puts the kids down for a nap and gets down to the nuts and bolts of what truly defines a woman and mother.
Martinis for Milk
What happens when a die hard party girl is only the second of her friends to trade in her glass slippers and martini glass for nursing bras and strollers? She writes a blog of course. After reading the first post at Martinis for Milk last January, I simply had to go back to the beginning of the story. From the minute the stick turns blue to first birthday is a grand and sometimes harrowing journey that is told in Scarbiedoll's witty voice where her humor and love for her family shine through. The party girl has evolved but she still rocks on!
From Martinis for Milk:
Last night, while I was out celebrating the 30th b-day of a dear friend, I finally had a solution for the inevitable "Where's the baby?" I mean, if you really want to know about the baby, why don't you call during the week? I hardly think 1 am on a Saturday night is the time and place to suddenly give a rats ass about my kid.
So when asked this ultra-annoying question, I would look people right in the eye and respond dryly, "Oh, he's in the car."
Try it next time you're out. It'll teach people to stop asking you about the one person you don't want to think about when you're trying to pretend you're your old self.
Falling Down is Also a Gift
'One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions. "It's my gift!" she declared. Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness. Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs as if she were making a snow angel. "Falling down is also a gift!" says she.'
So begins the story of a pretty little Annika, her darling sister Frankie, and their family. Quote from MUBAR about Annika:
The lovely people over at Annika's insurance company have decided that Annika, who has had 2 liver transplants and needs a third one, has exceeded her $1 million annual coverage limit and will not be covered for any more medical expenses for the balance of the year (yes, the calendar year, the one ending 10.5 months from now). And because the family is technically covered by insurance, they are not eligible for any government assistance. They are fighting the insurer but if they do not get coverage restored, they will have to do what so many US transplant families do and fundraise to pay for medical care through COTA (COTA ensures the legitimacy of things).
Andrea has set up a site to keep people informed and tell them how they can help.
Falling Down, written in the serene, humorous prose of Annika and Frankie's mother, Moreena, details not only the tale of Annika's illness, but of their family life and friends.
However, donating to Annika's Internet Insurance Policy would also be a nice thing to do. You can do that by clicking on the picture of Annika above or by going to their COTA website here.
The closest book I ever came to obsessing over other than the Harry Potter series was a book called Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara steps out of her upper class lifestyle and takes on several jobs in different states to find out if "welfare-to-work" is really doable on low wage ($6 - $7 / hour) or even slightly better than low wage ($8 - $10 / hour). After working as watiress, hotel maid, cleaning service maid and the ubiquitous Wal-Mart, she finds that she is unable to support herself completely on what she is paid, let alone would she have been able to support a child or worse, a family. What she also found out is that low wage America is a dictatorship where you "check your civil rights at the door and button your lip for the duration of the shift". I emailed her once and was surprised that Barbara herself emailed me back. The highest praise I can give her: Nikki X would approve. Ehrenreich supported the Cincinnati Boycott and canceled an appearance her. Check out Nickeled and Dimed and also Barbara's blog here.
The final links are to sites I like. The League of Women Voters, Smart Voter website rocks! All you have to do is plug in your zip code and it will tell you who is running for which office in the next primary or election for your area. Now there's no excuse for standing behind the curtain and not knowing half the names on the ballot! Find your candidates and google them before voting!
Slashdot is a site for computer geeks and techie news. Want to know why downloading is illegal? Why Microsoft still sucks and everyone uses them anyway? What is this penguin called Linux and why is it important? What do the RIAA/MPAA and the Patriot Act have in common? This is the site with answers to all those questions and more. It takes a while to learn to speak geek if you're not savvy, but hang in there. Some deep (and not so deep) topics are covered.
Fark - News that everyone can use at one time or another. The sardonic headlines on up to the minute news stories; the chaotic discussions; the random posts and glorification of half naked women; the Photoshop contests; these are all legendary on Fark. If you can get past the seemingly low-brow humor, you'll find a site that truly gives you the best (and worst) picture of America. The discussions can be alternately laugh out loud funny and chillingly off color. However people tend to be honest when they're anonymous and if it's gut wrenching honesty you want about everything from Britney's Baby to the Patriot Act, this is a site you'll quickly become addicted to.
I just added the Democrat and Republican sites for a relish. Somebody's got a keep an eye on them buggers.
So these are the places I go. I'll post a final word asking you to please donate to Annika's Internet Insurance Policy and I bid you adieu for now.