Weekly Update: July 6-12

Welcome to the first addition of the possible new format for my bloggage. Why a new format? Let me explain…

Vox Habit
Simply put, I am trying to ween myself of my Vox habit. Vox is addicting. Your lives are addicting. And fascinating.

And I got sucked in involved until I was spending 2-3 hours at a time reading and commenting on everyone's posts plus trying to think of something worthwhile to say on mine.

Truthfully, I enjoyed it and have come to respect and care for my neighbors in Vox-land a lot, but have come to the conclusion that I just can't keep it up at that level. My goal and plan is to write on my own blog at least once a week or so because it will be the primary way to keep in touch with my friends and family once I start my doc program next month. I fully expect that posting once a week might be all I can manage. So, to my favorite Vox neighbors, I will do my best to at least check in once in a while to keep up with your lives and adventures, but I don't think I will be as active a participant as I have been.

Polka Dot Patty

The big excitement this week came from a lovely bought of hives that covered me from chin to ankles in polka dots. Woohoo! It appeared after I started taking an herbal supplement. Nothing else in my life had changed so I'm 99% sure it was connected.

At first I thought it was an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients, but antihistamines and Cortisone cream didn't do anything to make it better so now I think it was the supplement working on something internally and trying to push it out through my skin. Lovely. My very intelligent and well-informed health enthusiast brother and mother first clued me in to this idea. Thank you!

But if that's the case, I'm all for it. If it's some nasty toxin and this supplement will get it out of my body, I'll put up with looking like a cheetah for a while. That being said, I'm starting back on it today, just at a lower dosage. My greatest hope is that it might get at the root of whatever weird malaise has made my life sucky for the past several years. This supplement is an all-natural antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-everything basically, and has actually been called a miracle-worker by people who have taken it. I am hopeful. Let's leave it at that.

Getting Sad
This week I started really feeling sad about leaving JMU and all the wonderful people there. Till now it's been like an

intellectual exercise / problem to solve / list of to-do's. But a couple times this week I found myself at my desk with tears in my eyes. I don't think it has fully sunk in yet so I'm sure I'll be full-on bawling by the end of the month.

I'm not going to say much about this right now because it will be its own post later on. I need to let it simmer for a while to make sure I can honestly get my feelings on paper. I'm hoping it will be cathartic for me and represent the impact the JMU community has had on my life and development.

New 'Puter


This week I bit the bullet and finally made up my mind about what kind of computer to get for grad school. It was a tough decision since I love technology and all the finalists seemed exciting. In the end I went with a Lenovo ThinkPad R61. It gets great ratings on CNET.com and comes with lots of fun bells and whistles. It also comes with Vista, which I'm not thrilled about, but I figure it's going to become the standard OS for PC's whether I want it to or not. Darn Microsoft. It should have been delivered Friday but I have to be present to sign for it. Which I am equally glad about and frustrated by. Now, I will have to leave work early on Monday to be here to receive it. Next week, between 2:00 and 5:00 be listening for an ear-splitting SQUEEEEEEEEE as I tear open the box.

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NeighborhoodFriends.com Instantly Plugs You Into Your Community

There is a really cool new social networking site that is launching from right here in my area – squee! We actually DO have more than cows! We have cows and computer geeks! Ha ha.

Anyway, it's really cool. It uses Google maps as the connecting tool. Have I mentioned that I have a crush on Google? I do. Is that weird?

Here's more info and a screenshot of what it will look like. It is launching on July 1 but you can pre-register now if you're interested.

Do you know your next door neighbor? Chances are you don’t, and it’s often not until a time of tragedy that we come together to overcome something terrible. Ronnie Rodes says, “One of the main causes for not knowing our neighbors is the invention of the garage door opener. We drive off to work and then come home without ever having to get out of the car so we never see or get to know who’s around us.”

July 1st was the launch date for what Ronnie claims to be the world’s most advanced social networking system, NeighborhoodFriends.com. Throughout the world millions of people are enrolled into social networking sites and most of them enrolled while still in their teens. The only thing that NeighborhoodFriends.com will have in common with these other sites is that it too will be free, paid for by advertisers who want to target their products to a specific type of audience.

NeighborhoodFriends.com is a ground-breaking approach to meeting your neighbors on line that is now available throughout the United States and Canada. By utilizing a one-of-a-kind mapping feature, the user is able to quickly identify how close or how far they are to someone who they share something of common with. Here are just a few of the ways NeighborhoodFriends.com could help neighbors connect and find a…

  • jogging partner who is male, 35-45, and has children
  • person who works near where you work to carpool with
  • other first-time parents or special needs parents to bond with
  • babysitter, handyman, housekeeper, mechanic or yardman nearby
  • zealous sports fan to discuss your favorite teams
  • Girl Scout cookie salesperson or Avon representative
  • local business owner to do business with that’s nearby
  • small group from your church or a support group that is convenient
  • competitor who enjoys playing the same board game or sport that you do
  • missing pet or child through the special alerts that go out to each neighbor online

The possibilities are limitless, and in addition there will be community discussion boards, photo galleries, blogs, emailing and more.”The website is secure and will truly change many lives by encouraging us to know our neighbors”, says Rodes. The mission of NeighborhoodFriends.com is to encourage every neighbor to seek out new friendships within their community in an effort to help protect one another, thus improving the quality of life for all.

About NeighborhoodFriends.com

Founded in 2001 (before there was MySpace and Facebook), NeighborhoodFriends.com is an idea that founder Ronnie Rodes had while searching for other joggers and first-time parents within his new neighborhood of six months. That same year, Ronnie and his wife had their first child and being concerned for their son’s future, Ronnie included a way to use this website to help protect children within their own neighborhood following the example of the Amber Alert program.”In 2002, I did a door-to-door survey in my neighborhood and found that 99% of the people I interviewed would utilize such a web site if it were available. The only problem was that the technology to drive NeighborhoodFriends.com wasn’t available until many years later, and social networking sites weren’t so common at the time”, says Rodes.

With the help of his cousin and co-founder, Mike Rodes, the company was introduced to Extreme Exposure Media, a web site design company in Harrisonburg, Virginia, In August of 2007, they were hired to develop this most unique web site, and this energetic team of designers accepted the challenge to build the very best social networking site on the internet. With the aid of new mapping technology, NeighborhoodFriends.com is now able to utilize this key feature to show the location of the closest neighbors and/or groups that share areas of common interest.

NeighborhoodFriends.com was incorporated in 2002, and there is an ongoing campaign to add additional features to the web site on a monthly basis as the user base grows into millions. For additional information, visit the web site at www.NeighborhoodFriends.com or call 281-615-8000.

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Oh Bliss, Oh Joy, Oh Fun, Technology

I do not know if I can do my day justice.


For context, you have to understand that I am planning to start a PhD program next fall in programs with names like Information Science, Informatics, Human Computer Interaction, New Communication Technology, New Media, etc. Basically it's people and technology. Information, communication, technology, and psychology. In my world, those four ingredients together make up the best chocolate ever created.

Today, I attended day one of a conference about technology in teaching/education. The programs I am looking at usually have tracks or specializations some of which include health/medical, politics, business, social, and learning.My background is very strong in education and teaching and I feel like it is something in my soul that will always be a part of my life. But in the past 2-3 years I have "discovered" all the social technology out there and have found an area that challenges, fascinates, and intrigues me so I've naturally been thinking I would lean towards the social tracks of the PhD programs.

But today might have changed that because MAN was I having a blast. All day long I could not sit still. I was bouncing out of my seat. I even – true story – gave an "Amen" during one person's presentation. No lie. I am a big geek. I love technology. I love teaching. I love game playing. I love social platforms using technology in creative ways. I loved every moment of today's conference and I know know know know now for sure that I will love every moment of the PhD program. Even statistics.

Wow. Just wow.

My head is going to s'plode.

Some geekiness to entertain you…

I am sooooooooooooooooo happy! 

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