Friday, April 9, 2010

Technology: the bad, the good and the ugly

Maddee James is the owner of, which designed and built this blog and a bunch of other cool author sites too! This is her first guest blog ever. Be gentle.

You would think that guest blogging amongst the wonderfully talented writers here would be too intimidating, and um.... it is... but I figure if I keep my words to a minimum, what bad could happen? (which reminds me of a recent convo with my son... me: "Did you have a good day at school?" him, enthusiastically: "It was GREAT!" me, thinking he like met a new girl or got an A or something: "What made it so good?" him: "Nothing bad happened.")

Okay so anyway, technology.... Here's my take on it -- from TV to the internet to all important hair implements -- things I don't like, things I wish it did (!) and things I LOVE...


1. TV: just say no.

Okay so one night there weren't any new forensic shows on so I turned to Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet. And there was this story about a woman who had raised a chimp from babyhood and he suddenly went beserk and attacked her best friend. No, I am not kidding. The YouTube story is here. Just hours after her friend is MAULED (and I mean permanently disfigured!), the woman says: "I would do it [raise the chimp] all over again if I could." Um, hello? That chimp just ATE HER FRIEND'S FACE OFF.
I swear I'm never watching late night TV again.

2. PayPal.

See that guy relaxing in his chair 'cause he loves the ease of PayPal? That would not be me. I know I shouldn't admit this but I can't figure out how to get the money OUT of there. People have paid me that way for like two years and I have never once taken money out. I have no idea how much I have in there. It's like the black hole of money.

3. The ability to watch movies in the car.

We drove to Santa Fe this last weekend. My son was glued to his mac laptop watching Pirates of the Caribbean which admittedly has some good scenery but look what he missed outside:

4. Researching how to murder someone is now easy as pie!

I admit it -- I watch too many forensic shows. But come on now people, don't you realize that if you google how to kill someone with rat poison, stockings around the neck, or an ice sculpture THEY ARE GOING TO CATCH YOU? Erasing your browser history does not matter. THEY WILL CATCH YOU. And by the way, the ways to avoid getting killed are very clear if you watch enough of these shows like I do: DON'T GET MARRIED (it's always the spouse) and DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL (oh the idiotic things people blame on being drunk).


Need I say more?


1. Turn the heat on in my cottage when I forget.

We have gone out of town more than once and come home to DEAD PETS. Not the dog, thank god.

(Zeke says thanks mom. is he not the cutest pup EVER?)

But we've frozen fish and even birds (sorry Mario and Margarita).

Which brings me to the next thing I would LOVE it if technology could do...

2. Make it stop $%&#* snowing!

Yes, this is our cottage. Now honestly, they seed clouds to make rain, right? Good technology for drought! So why can't they MAKE IT STOP (this from someone who woke up to 8 inches when she was in a tank top just yesterday!).

3. Stop me from eating BBQ potato chips.

(no that is not me; I would never wear pink)

4. Keep me from running out of gas in the middle of freaking nowhere.

Oh yeah there's a technological gas gauge thingie! Guess that was my fault.

5. Cell service no matter where you are.

I know you ALL want this one! Plus the cute blonde girls abducted by creepy wingnuts on the crime shows would always be able to call the cops from the locked windowless room in the dank cellar of the remote cabin in the dark woods at the end of a single-lane road along a forgotten highway.


1. My hair straightener.

This has to be number one. Amazing technology. Changed my life. Enough said. (except that that is not me either. Swear to god.)

2. My daughter texting me during Chemistry.

I know, a lot of mothers wouldn't like this but I totally do. If I need to ask her something in the middle of the day, I can! (sorry Ms. McFadden)

3. Email.

I will never forget the moment (1996?) my husband (at the time) got an email for me on HIS email address and him saying: "Don't you want to get your own email address?" and I said (yes I SAID THIS!!): "I don't see why I would."
I. Don't. See. Why. I. Would.
OMG!! Email is my life.

4. My job.

This should have been number one, of course. I have the BEST JOB in the world. And it's all 'cause of the internet. I have clients all over the world (New Zealand, China, Ireland, Germany, New Jersey (hi Brad -- I know you're reading this!) -- SO COOL!) -- and this couldn't have been possible without the internet, high speed connections, email... the list goes on. Thank you gods of the universe, and all my fabulous clients.

5. and last but not least.... GLEE on demand!!!!!!

If you are one of the few who haven't seen this show, you are MISSING OUT!! (the above is a scene where the Glee kids join in song with the deaf (!) glee club they're up against. Normally I love this show for the laughs (OMG Jane Lynch is HILARIOUS!) but this scene brought me to tears)

Now what things do YOU wish technology were capable of?

- maddee


Carla Buckley said...


You are the Best Web Site Designer Ever, and I'm constantly battling the urge to tell everyone how fantastic you are, and keeping it zipped so I can keep you all to myself (along with your three thousand other clients--even Brad.)

Let's see. I don't spend a lot of time wondering about what I wish technology could do. I'm too busy trying to figure out how to make it do what it already does. But it would be really cool to be able to zip back into time to undue some previous mistakes.

Example #1: using a curling iron in seventh grade to make my bangs vertical. Yes, it was The Look. No, it was not the look for me. Example #2: buying my first car, a Chevy Vega, just because it was a pretty color. Example #3: eating my first potato chip ever. I have laid waste to bags of potato chips. And singlehandedly kept McDonald's in business.

And Glee is the Best Show Ever (next to Criminal Minds.)

CJ West said...

Great to see you out front for a change Maddee!

Loved your blog, you should do it more often.

Don't feel bad about your email story. When I was in high school I was trying to convince my parents I needed a computer at home to write programs. My computer science teacher asked, "who would ever need a computer at home?"

Who knew?


Anonymous said...

Greetings from New Jersey and welcome to the blogosphere, Maddee! You have (unsurprisingly) made a smashing debut. Okay, playing along now...

Thing I don't like about technology: My 2-year-old already has a working knowledge of how to use the TiVo remote (he likes to pause 'Thomas the Tank Engine' so he doesn't miss anything while he's getting his diaper changed).

Thing I wish technology could do: Clone Maddee. That way there would be more of her for all of us to enjoy.

Thing I love about technology: That, at some point, I just know that seventh grade picture of Carla with over-primped bangs will surface on Facebook. Ah, the joy of tagged photos...

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

SO wonderful to see you here..and this is hilarious. I know, email. Can you imagine?

1. Why would we need a microwave?
2. What's so great about a latte?
3. I never get tired.
4. We have a VHS machine, what could be better?
5. A 24-hour news channel is a stupid idea.
6. What's a blog?

Carla: My first car was a Chevette.
Brad: I wish I could have seen YOUR bangs in 7th grade.

And LOVE GLEE. I make Jonathan put the Tivo on regular speed as we're zooming through the commercials so I can watch the promos.

Maddee--truly, I adore my website. You are phemonenal. Thanks, Pens, for inviting such a wonderful guest!

Carla Buckley said...

Hank--you and I need to trade car horror stories. There may be a close connection between my potato chip addiction and having owned that Vega...

Brad--that 7th grade photo's not the one I'm worried about. It's the 8th grade photo where I've discovered the joys of powder blue eye shadow that really worries me.

Maddee--next week, Glee returns!

Harley Jane Kozak said...

Maddee, this is such a great blog, you are never going to have time for your spectacular clients and their websites because you are going to be hit up for guest blogs on a regular basis. For instance, what are you doing this weekend? Besides freezing?

Lesa said...

Loved the blog, Maddee! I appreciated the email story. Jim used to say to me, don't you want your own computer? And, I said, I don't spend enough time on the computer to get my own. Then, once I was on "my own computer" for hours at a time, he'd look at me, and say, "I don't need my own computer. I don't spend enough time on it." Huh!

Welcome to blogging, Maddee. You made all of us remember our past.

Lesa -

Anonymous said...

Hank and Carla -- Luckily, I was never short and fat with braces and pants that didn't fit right. No, no, that wasn't me. So there are no regrettable adolescent pictures of me anywhere. Thank goodness.

(Aside to Carla: Big faux paus about the powder blue eye shadow. Hanks's a TV news girl, remember? They still wear stuff like that all the time!)

Pens Fatales said...

Thank you all for coming to see me along with the fabulous women of Pens! And for all your kind words!!

Carla, you are wonderful. I see we both have a both have a potato chip addiction! Two years ago on my birthday (coming up again next week -- how does it happen so fast?!?) I gave up all sugar for a whole year which I thought would make me SOOOOO skinny but alas, I found BBQ potato chips. damn.

Brad, you are too much (and too cute I may as well admit it). My favorite Brad quote ever: "I JUST BOUGHT A DIET COKE FOR LEE CHILD!"

CJ, good to see you! That is TOO funny -- a computer teacher no less!

Hank, OMG you are funny. I NEVER GET TIRED. Oh how I wish that were true! I went to bed at 2 and just got up to make my kids breakfast at 6:30 and now I'm headed to work out for what the trainer calls "atomic friday." I'm insane. We all are! Thank you for your sweet words! I've missed you lately!

Harley Jane you sweet thing! It's actually supposed to be in the 50s this weekend -- wooHOO! Alas I'll be inside designing websites... I am still working on the March clients...(but I'll be happy to come visit the gorgeous and funny women at Lipstick whenever!) Could never be as funny as you though -- you guys are hilarious.

Darling Lesa, how are you doing? What a great Jim memory that is! I'm so happy you got your start in the blog world all those years ago.

I'm SO glad you all love GLEE -- isn't it the best? Savannah and I watched a clip last night where Sue says: "Children NEED TO BE TERRORIZED. It's like mother's milk to them."


Pens Fatales said...

P.S. maddee here again.

Did you know you can log into without joining (thank god as I will NEVER try that again!) So that man above is a REAL man from MY TOWN. See why I don't date?!!? That and the way I look in the pink dress of course.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Ok people, do you see, do you see, DO YOU SEE WHY WE ALL ADORE MADDEE????? The fact that she is funny on top of being brilliant and beautiful is almost just a little too much. :)

Martha Flynn said...

Ya know, I had no idea what I was going to blog about but now I do! The ONE piece of technology I actually don't hate....thanks Maddee!!!!! And the match thing is HILAR!

Rachael Herron said...

iPad! I love my iPad! It's the reason I got up this morning! I don't need it! I'm doing a little tapdance right now, and you can't see it! If you put me in a car, I'd look like your son! Disappearing down a rabbit hole to play with it, bye!
(Great post!)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Fabulous post, Maddee! And I'm so honored to be not only your newest client, but also your favorite...oops, was that supposed to be a secret? You don't say that to all your clients, do you???
And I'm right there with you when it comes to internet and I are going to have to take NYC by storm one of these days, find some interesting fellas ;-)

Pens Fatales said...

me maddee here again...

Oh my Pens friends came to see me!
Sophie, thank you; that is sooooo kind! I think the EXACT same way about you... beautiful, funny and oh so smart.

Martha, thought you'd appreciate the hot match guy. I browsed 15 pages of guys and it was ultra depressing but funny as hell at the very same time! Can't wait to hear what you love as much as I love my straightener.

Rachael, I'm glad you liked the post. So you don't love your iPad, do you? I got my son a mac laptop for Christmas -- you would think he would be satisfied but noooooooo now he wants the iPad! That and Taylor Swift. What else could a 14-year-old boy want?

Julie, Julie, OF COURSE you're my favorite client. Brad had to give up that role eventually. ;) Honestly, I do have the best clients EVER. I feel so supported and loved by you all and I try to do my absolute best to work 24/7 for you. Though right now I need to go straighten my hair, and lie in the last bit of sun, and ...


Anonymous said...

Maddee -- I suppose I'll grudgingly give up my spot as your favorite client... provided you give ME Taylor Swift, too.

Unknown said...

Hi Maddee!! Can't believe that was your first ever blog post. :) I hate Pay Pal- or maybe I should say -it hates me. Seriously. It won't take my money. I've tried, and tried, and tried. I've finally given up. :)

Thanks for designing the Pens site and thanks for guest blogging. We heart you! :)

Unknown said...

The one thing that humans are incredibly bad at is predicting the future--we imagine one change, but have a hard time seeing what all the consequences will be. We win the lottery and think EVERYTHING will be better, instead of realizing that having money just gives you access to more expensive solutions--it doesn't make the problems go away. Or we create an internal combustion engine and can't follow the dots to choking-killing-fumery that now wraps around us...

So I would love it if technology could help me with my human blind spots. "If I buy $20 a week in lottery tickets and never win, which is so likely it's practically guaranteed, how much money have I lost by the age of 70 when I'll be eating dog food because I didn't save $$ for retirement?" In a great big 3D graph.

Or even better, "If I steal this man away from his wife, how long will I really get to keep him? And how long will I want him?" With age-accelerated photos, in 3D.

Of course, as a crime writer I'd be out of a job if people didn't naturally lack the ability to follow a change ripple out in all directions. Cuz it's hardly EVER the case that killing someone is really the easiest/best proactive solution to any problem.

Pens Fatales said...

Brad, if you were here I'd rip the Taylor Swift shirt right off Riley's back and hand it over to you (they went to the concert last night)!

Lisa, good to hear from you. PayPal is SO irritating. I know I need to figure it out -- maybe I'll be able to send my kids to college by the time I do.

Mysti, VERY good question about someone else's husband. I'll try to remember that. :)


Sophie Littlefield said...

Mysti! Myyyysttttiiiii!! I swear, you *breathe* noir. Great questions.

Brewster said...

Maddee - You're my hero, even if Mrs. McFadden is not a fan (and you design a damn good website!).