Saturday, February 13, 2010

I have a new home

Mundane Magic has a cozy new home. I'm elated. You can now find the updated site at

At Christmastime my dear husband gifted me with what every geek girl loves, a domain name! We have transferred all this old content to the new site along with all the old comments and some fun new stuff. It's all very exciting. If you are signed up to my rss feed that will redirect automatically. You can also update it once you are on the new site.

So, come visit and stay. I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for being a part of my journey for the last five years. I look forward to more time ahead with you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Great Netflix Mystery

We bought a BluRay DVD a few months ago. It offered a startup plan with Netflix with both streaming and by-mail movies. We've enjoyed it more than I thought we would. It has been very handy to have some movies instantly...and in fact, you can start a movie, decide you don't want it, and then find another one that would be better at no extra charge. Just pull another off of the online que you have established.

BluRay and newer movies are available only by mail. You set up a priority listing online and then they send you one movie at a time. You watch the movie and then mail the DVD back to Netflix. They mail you the next thing on your list. All of this is probably old school to most of you. For years I was afraid it would be a subscription which we would not use to its fullest, so I didn't subscribe because I was too cheap to commit to a monthly fee. But now we are onboard.

We got the first movie, Julie and Julia, watched it and then returned it. No problem. We were notified that the second movie was headed our way, Changeling. But that was just a day or so before our trip to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. So when we returned and unpacked I looked through our mail for that movie. No such luck.

Since my mother had been here with our three children during our trip (bless her) I thought maybe she might know something about it. No luck again. No child admitted to seeing the movie. No surprise. So I kept looking through our clutter for the misplaced movie.

And then....
We got an email saying Changeling had been returned to Netflix.
What? Huh?

Dave and I were perplexed. We had not even watched the movie, nor seen it with our eyes. Yet, it was returned. I've come up with a few scenarios:

  • Someone just reached in our mailbox and took the obviously marked envelope.
  • It got lost in the mail.
  • The movie was misplaced into someone else's mailbox, they watched it, and then nicely returned it. Perhaps not even knowing that it was not a movie from their Netflix account.

We notified Netflix. They resent Changeling and it arrived on Saturday. We watched it last night and enjoyed it. So, as we return this movie I guess we'll see what happens on the next mailing. To whomever viewed and then returned our first mailing, I say thank you! Thank goodness you returned the movie and didn't keep it. The Great Netflix Mystery continues....

Friday, January 22, 2010

pinewood derby world

Pinewood Derby 2009 design

Tonight we are in Pinewood Derby World. We are in the final stages of coaching William through his big project. It began weeks ago when William drew his design and talked about the assigned theme of "Patriotic". You get a box that contains:

a block of wood
two axels
four wheels

And you are to make something that will be fast and stylish as it rolls down the tracks. There are weight requirements and dimension rules. We found out last year that even paint adds weight to the car. In 2009, William decided to recreate a wiimote. this year he's going for more speed with a wedge shape. Last year was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing the fun as I sip my coffee tomorrow morning. I'll post pictures when we get them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

in good times and bad

Oh Haiti. One of the nations of the world which is least prepared for a disaster has had a devastating blow. One of my old high school friends posed the question, "Why should we care what happens to that country in this disaster? Would they do the same for us?"

I read his question and then sat back to think about it. People were replying right and left in a reactionary manner and I just wanted to think that over. It's true sometimes that the US and a select group of other nations seem to be coming to the rescue of others at times. And it is true that this puts a drain on our already fragile economic situation. And my answer to my friend would be this,

"No Phil, we don't HAVE to do anything to help anyone in this world. But we if we CAN we SHOULD."

Blessings have overflowed in our nation. Even in economic scares most of us have beans and rice to spare, running water, health care, and a place to live. If we live with a model of only giving assistance to those who give back to us equally -- well, I can't bear to think about the attitude that society would be acting upon in order for that to happen. To turn our backs on those in need sets us back centuries into the era before what we considered a modern civilization existed. There is no way that Haiti could even begin to overcome this devastation without some assistance. The rules of basic humanity call for us to help with our capabilities.

And it has been no surprise to me how many people have actively participated in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other online communities and forums. This has enabled people to participate in some way constructively...and they have by the millions. Just a week ago a new term became part of the technology landscape. As thousands of ladies posted their bra color on facebook in their status line. It's been termed as one of the most successful viral public relations campaigns to date. But skeptics posed the question whether people participated only because it was easy and that those people were not really activists in the true meaning of the word, rather Slacktivists. So slacktivism has joined our vocabulary.

People like to feel good about themselves and so by doing these type of participatory activities the question is can the effort go beyond this idea. In the Haiti emergency I believe we got our answer. Americans (and others) are willing to step up and do what they can to help when made AWARE of these situations. And maybe that frivolous bra color campaign prepares us to really step us and participate during this emergency.

Expression of concern and involvement in the needs of others...can that be all bad? Haiti, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

leaving Las Vegas

On Sunday we boarded a plane back to Atlanta and left the surreal world of Vegas. I think we walked several miles each day at the conference and our tired feet were ready for a break. By the time we walked out the conference doors for the last time I heard Dave utter, "I'm done. No more cool stuff, let's go." and I completely agreed. I learned something at this gathering though...and I really shouldn't be surprised. The real business doesn't always happen on the conference floor. The real value is in meeting people of like mind. For me, the real value came from the person sitting next to me that I shared coffee conversations with during a class break. Or the people with whom we shared a technical word with on the monorail. The party we attended after the conference on Thursday. That is what becomes priceless and far more important than all the hype and new products we saw.

I'm in the midst of categorizing all the good information I gathered while there. I'll be sharing those links and some ideas in the following days.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

yes, we like tech, too

I'm in Las Vegas this week for the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. I've been to lots of technology conferences, but never to this one. It is truly the place to be if you want to see the newest products and ideas in all areas of technology. Everyone is not only trying to predict the next great trend in consumer tech needs, they want to BE that trend.

Today we got a glimpse into the world of 3-D television. Did you know you needed 3-D tv? Just last week you were saying that, right?

"I really wish I could play only 3-D movies for my lovely children - bring on the Hannah Montana movie! I don't think our life will be complete without this - oh wait, make sure you find those special glasses or it won't work." [odds of finding those 3-D glasses in working order at my house when needed is almost non-existant]

Honestly it was a great chance to get our hands on this new technology, but I can't see myself rushing out to purchase it. I'm letting all of you know ahead of time though. You should escort your husbands to purchase any television - or he might just come home with one of these - I'm not kidding. Guys were lined up as far as I could see and they were beaming with anticipation.

I've attended two days of special sessions here at the conference. Yesterday I attended a day full of ideas based upon technology and children's play and learning. That conference was called "Kids at Play". Today I attended the "Mommy Tech" sessions. One session that caught my ears was concerning a survey which was perfomed on about how technology relates to today's mothers. Tina Sharkey, the Chairman and Global President of BabyCenter, presented the results of the survey and had some insights into how we use technology to run our families. Furthermore, we carry a lot of decision-making power in the technology choices which we make. Companies are beginning to realize this - as we go from "Geek Chic" (before children) to "Practical Hip Mom" (after, of course) we make a lot of purchases along the way based upon the stage of life we are in and what our goals become.

Remember that fact the next time you walk into a retailer to browse for a camera or other goodie. You are an educated consumer. A person on a mission to purchase the right product for your needs. A person who cares about more than just the color of the item. I think manufacturers are ready to take you seriously.