Scarlett of Suburbia

Field Notes from The Motherhood


April 2010

Why is the pirate with an eye patch always the lookout in the crow’s nest?

The 11 y.o.


On Men’s Clothing

The Mom (to The Dad): Honey, you really shouldn’t tuck your tee-shirt into your jeans anymore. It gives you muffin-top.

The Dad (unstuffing his shirt): There, is that better?

The 11 y.o: Well, your stomach looks better. But now you’ve got man boobs.

If Jesus baptized the Apostles, and John the Baptist baptized Jesus…who baptized John the Baptist?

The 11 y.o.

On Geography

The Dad: I’m looking at a Director of Retail Sales job, working for the Korean company Kia.

The 11 y.o: COOL! I’d love to live in Sweden.

The Mom: Geography is clearly not her strong suit.

The 11 y.o: Did I say Sweden? I meant Switzerland.

Bloggers Need to Cultivate the Fine Art of the List

one must develop ways to decide in a blink if a post is any good. What works best for me is to see if a post has an ordered (1, 2, 3) or bulleted (*) list; if it does, it's probably worth reading.

On the other hand if it has long paragraphs of unbroken text or a multitude of short paragraphs, the post is probably one of those “woe is me, I am fascinating, these are my deepest feelings that I want to share with you” bull-shiitake posts written by a guy who changed the pronunciation of his name from “Kevin” to “Keevin.”

By contrast, a post that contains an ordered or bulleted list is probably much better conceived and organized. Here are some examples, good and bad, to consider:

  • Could have been so much more powerful as a list. Do you see how you have to dig the tidbits out of this posting? If the author had done it, thousands of people wouldn't have had to do it themselves—assuming they had the fortitude to try.

  • A list, but a disguised list. This one makes me sad. He tried to make it into a list with headlines, but there so many graphic elements going on that you can't figure out where a new item begins. It could have been an even greater post. The same thing is true for this post by my buddy John Jantsch.

  • A lovely idea: combining a list with graphics. If only I could draw, I would do my “top ten” lists this way. Each item would also make a great Powerpoint slide for a speech. Not for everyone, but it is a lofty goal to try to achieve.

  • So close—if only the person had used a little bit of HTML. The tips just don't pop out of the posting—if only they were in boldface or offset somehow. A touch more HTML would have made all the difference in the world.

  • A good example of a well-done list. Honestly, the five paragraph preamble to the list is a bit long for me, but the list makes up for the slow launch. He also uses links to outside sources very well. As seen in the previous example, a bit of HTML would have gone a long way.

  • Just about perfect in my humble opinion. Rohit does a perfect job with this: interesting introduction, an ordered list that stands out, and a nice number of interesting points.

If you buy this theory, then you should write posts in list format so that your readers will make the same positive snap judgment. To speed you along the way, here are my tips for the art of the list, a.k.a. convincing people in a blink that your post has substance.

  1. Provide four to twelve items. Any less than four, and the reader feels cheated. Any more than twelve, and the reader feels like you haven't put in the effort to filter out the detritus. If you have to go more than twelve, go way more than twelve, such as “99 ways to change the world.”

  2. Make them parallel in structure. Every list item should be roughly the same style and length. Two to four sentences is the proper length: just enough to explain your point but not enough to bore your readers.

  3. Start with a verb for maximum impact. If you're trying to catalyze action, you should use verbs as the first word of each item. And I mean active verbs like “reach,” “serve,” “engage,” “provide” and “deliver.” Passive verbs (“Be interesting”) and negative verbs (“Don't disappoint your customer”) are weak.

  4. Begin with boldface text. Start off each item with a word or phrase that's in boldface, then use the next two to three sentences to further explain your point. You want your main point to suck in the readers. Boldface helps make this happen.

  5. Write it in HTML yourself. Don't be a wimp: learn enough HTML to do this yourself. You don't want to use numbers or asterisks in regular paragraphs like “1.” or “*” because they make you look like a Luddite. Here's all the HTML you need for an ordered and unordered list, respectively.

    <​li><​p>Your first point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your second point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your third point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your fourth point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your first point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your second point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your third point here.<​/p><​/li>
    <​li><​p>Your fourth point here.<​/p><​/li>

Give it a try the next time you write a blog post. Even better, the next time you're scanning a bunch of websites, see if the most useful and interesting posts aren't in list form.

Source: Open Forum

Facebook’s True Ambition

Some Quick Stats about Facebook:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • Average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 70 pieces of content each month
  • More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
  • There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

Ad agencies must keep up with the new transformations of Facebook and its impact on social media and the advertising industry.

Robert Scoble, best known for his blog, Scobleizer, reports from Facebook’s F8 developer conference with some enlightening interviews and video of Facebook’s press conference.

Robert’s first interview is with David Kirkpatrick is very enlightening and I wanted to share it with the readers of Fuel Lines. David is one of the foremost authorities of Facebook. He just finished a book, The Facebook Effect, about Facebook. David says, “This is not just another company, it is a transformational phenomenon, it is really great, but it is really scary in some ways too.”

Facebook announces new ways subscribers will be able to personalize their online presence and share what is important to them:

  • The Open Graph: A social platform that Facebook is intending to turn into a more intelligent way of searching the internet, offering an individually relevant set of search results based on the user doing the looking. The Open Graph could offer the first serious challenge to Google.
  • Social Plug-ins: Facebook is offering a lot of new social plug-ins as a way for other websites to embed widgets on their own pages with direct and often live access to what’s going on in Facebook in relation to the site that you happen to be looking at. Facebook will try and get us to use Facebook Connect, which means all of these other websites will have access to our Facebook profiles and data
  • From within Facebook, users will be able to create documents, share them with friends and edit them together as well.
  • Graph API: Facebook API which will allow developers to create better applications and more easily as well. Anything you share or Like around the web is going to turn up on your profile and be obvious to all your friends as well as appear in widgets on external sites as well, an extension of the Public portion of your profile.

Source: FuelLines

Menu Plan for the Week 4/26/10 – 5/2/10


Monday April 26th


Breakfast: Ovaltine, Mallow Oats Cereal

Lunch: PBJ, Apple Slices, Chocolate Cookies

Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potato, Broccoli


Tuesday April 27th


Breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy, OJ

Lunch: WF Tuna Salad, Whole Wheat Pita Halves, Chocolate Pudding

Dinner: BBQ Chicken Wings (not too spicy), Leftover Refried Beans, Carrot & Celery Sticks


Wednesday April 28th

Breakfast: Egg-white & Cheese Omelet, Hashbrowns

Lunch: PW Chef’s Salad, WW Pita Halves, Blueberries w sugar

Dinner: Corned Beef, Boiled Redskins, Tossed Green Salad


Thursday April 29th


Breakfast: Good Morning Muffins, Hot Chocolate Milk

Lunch: Leftover corned beef sandwiches, Cascadian Farms Granola Bar, Baby Tomatoes

Dinner: BBQ Wild-caught Salmon with Yogurt, Fresh Corn Casserole


Friday April 30th


Breakfast: Toasted Bagel and Spreadable Goat Cheese, Fruit

Lunch: Leftover Buffet

Dinner: Baked Lemon Pasta, Cesar Salad Kit, Blueberry Cobbler


Saturday May 1st


Breakfast: Oatmeal, Tinned Peaches, Milk

Lunch: Pioneer Woman Favorite Salad

Dinner: Chicken Parmigiana, Green Beans, Buttered Noodles


Sunday May 2nd


Breakfast: Poached Egg, Toast & Marmite Soldiers

Lunch: Crockpot Mac & Cheese, Leftover Favorite Salad

Dinner: White Chicken Enchiladas, Shred lettuce, Cheese, Sour Cream, Olives, Chopped Roma Tomatoes

On Gym

Mom: “So, what’s going on this week with specials at school?”
The 11 y.o.: “Well, we start orienteering in gym.   Orienteering — the obvious successor sport to cup stacking and curling.”

Menu Plan for the Week of 4/19/10 – 4/25/10


Inspired by The Pioneer Woman this week….lots of links. Enjoy!


Monday April 19th


Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie, Mallow Oats Cereal

Lunch: BLT Wrap, Fruit Salad, Celery Sticks

Dinner: Crispy Yogurt Chicken, Roasted Carrots


Tuesday April 20th


Breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy, OJ

Lunch: Left-over Chicken, Carrot & Raisin Salad, Chocolate Pudding

Dinner: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Boiled Redskin Potatoes


Wednesday April 21st

Breakfast: Huevos Ree-ohs

Lunch: Left-over corned beef sandwiches

Dinner: Fettuccine Alfredo, Tossed Green Salad


Thursday April 22nd


Breakfast: Good Morning Muffins, Hot Chocolate Milk

Lunch: California Rolls (Sushi), Edamame

Dinner: Roast Lamb, Fresh Corn Casserole


Friday April 23rd


Breakfast: Quiche, Melon Slices

Lunch: Leftover Buffet

Dinner: Grilled Pineapple Shrimp Skewers, Jasmine Rice, Asparagus


Saturday April 24th


Breakfast: Apple Dumplings, Milk

Lunch: Chicken Salad, Whole Wheat Pita Crackers

Dinner: Mexican / YW Fundraiser


Sunday April 25th


Breakfast: Monkey Muffins (no monkeys involved), Fruit Salad

Lunch: Pioneer Woman Favorite Salad

Dinner: Beef Brisket, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Peas Chocolate Sheet Cake


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