Dana: April 2008 Archives

Lawn Man

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The other day Chris said to me: "You know what? My grass is looking good. Lookin' REAL GOOD." He said it as though the fescue in the backyard had suddenly developed breasts overnight.

"Yes, it does look nice," I said, looking up from my copy of Domino.

"Yeah it does! It looks AMAZING."

It's spring again, the time of the year when animals come out of hibernation, when baby critters are born, when men ultimately talk about fertilizing their lawns whenever gathered together. It's apropos. At a recent gathering of friends, I noticed that the conversation from the man-half of the group delved into grass fertilization and yard work and mowing and machinery. Whereas a man's fishing stories are akin to a woman's labor story, so is yard work discussion akin to something chicks talk about, I'm too tired to think of a competent analogy. You get it. 

The other day we were at Lowe's, often thought of as man territory, but I love it there. I love the shiny objects and the smell of the wood. Basically, I love it for the same reasons as would a cat. Chris convinced himself that he needed a blower-slash-sucker. Some mechanized elephant to remove the dead leaves from under the deck and from the flowerbeds. He spent thirty minutes examining the different types of blower-sucker machines (my mind is about to explode from the juvenile opportunities here) before trotting out proudly to meet me in the garden department with the box in hand.

That afternoon as I pruned and planted like a 50s' housewife, he stood in the backyard and adorned himself with the blower's bag and strap as though gearing up for a joust. He slipped on a pair of the manliest garden gloves I could find him (blue and green stripes), a pair of yellow goggles, and for a moment, I could've sworn I heard the Vienna Boys' Choir and saw a Photoshop starburst behind him as he stood satisfied, his hands on his hips.

Monday in photos

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Some new photos mixed with older ones I came across while clearing off my SD card. We're gearing up for summer and winding down Liam's extracurricular lessons, though his core lessons will continue as planned year-round. Click photos to enlarge and for captions.

(I'm also still working on putting the site back together and yes, all the archived entries that you asked about will be restored!)
Firstly I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart who have commented, emailed, messaged, even called to say an encouraging word and offer a shoulder of support. I am truly humbled that you took the time out of your day to do so.

Now! On to happier, more pleasurably angsty things, specifically today's Friday Flashback. We were asked: "What was the first movie you ever saw? What was your first notable movie memory? And what effect did it have on you?"

Sweet jeebus, there are so many. I remember when I saw "E.T." in the theater and thought that E.T. was gross and ew but yet, aw, how sad that he wound up in a ravine bleating "Elliooot." I remember that the idyllic situation of the subdivision was very appealing. I remember first seeing "Labyrinth" and thinking that David Bowie was a strange, but fascinating man.

Then there is "Rocky Horror Picture Show," which my cantankerous, beer-loving, fallen Catholic uncle picked up at the video store for the kids while the family was vacationing on a house boat in the Ozarks. I was all "Mom, what's a transvestite?" To this day no one can crack me up like that particular cranky ol' uncle.

There's also "Poltergeist," which so impacted my life that to this day I am still weirded out by closets, mirrors, charismatics, and Quaker hats. One evening we grandkids were all spending the night at our grandparents on Thanksgiving night and my aunt thought it would be a nice little scary move, "like Casper." Sweet Christmas. I was never more terrified in my life as I was when I saw that film. After "Poltergeist 3" came out I removed all the mirrors from my bedroom. I'm not kidding. They stayed out of my room until I left home. Come to think of it, why the cost of the film's rental doesn't come with a therapist is beyond me. Steven Spielberg turned all of the fun, neat things about childhood: toys, clowns, trees, innocence, into instruments of terror.

My family seems so irresponsible, don't they?

I think perhaps one of my favorite films of all-time, a film that contributed so much to my warped humor, my fascination with my own neighbors and urban legends, spying on - and a general appreciation for my street is, "The 'Burbs." I saw this film in the theater with my mom and aunt when I was in elementary school. I've never laughed so hard in my life. It saddens me that it's so under-appreciated. I can identify with every character, even the Klopecs's outcast aesthetic. One of my favorite characters is played by the brilliant Bruce Dern. "I spent 18 months n the bush, sonny. I can snap your neck like a twig!" I found a compilation of his different moments from the film here:

Another scene from the movie here:

What movie impacted you the most? Share it in the comments. It's an interesting topic; I'm always curious to hear what people say.

The other divine Flashback Friday participants:
Oh the Joys
Mrs. Flinger
Sweetney
IzzyMom

(We're also still working on piecing the site back together. I'm still manually inputting hundreds of archives - though we may have some hope left for the server; Ill update if we do.)

Setting it straight

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Way back in 2004 I applied to register "Mamalogues" as a federal trademark. At the time there were no other "mamalogues" on the Web. I researched. The USPTO researched. They concurred, which is why they agreed and allowed me to register my site's name as a trademark in connection with a blog about motherhood and parenting.

One thing about trademarks: they're not like copyrights. Trademarks must be maintained because any stone left unturned can weaken the ability of a mark to distinguish a person's goods and services. This is intellectual property law 101. Because my mark was used as a column, because the name was optioned in Hollywood once, and now it seems for a second time, as a project, I knew that I had to stand up and protect my property. So I did.

Ms. Genevieve Hinson was apparently offended by this. I got emails asking me if I was related to her, if our sites were affiliated - there was actual confusion between the two websites. Then she followed me on Twitter. She was well aware of my trademark as I use the ® symbol present beside my mark. I was very cool and contacted her and told her hi, I was a bit concerned, could we talk? I was ignored. Again. And again. And again. I didn't quite know what to do. I realize that bringing the law into your life is a very serious thing and I wanted to steer clear of that but I have a responsibility to protect my property. So I contacted my attorneys. A cease and desist was sent out.

Just days before the deadline to which she was to respond, I was notified by a reporter, Nick Belardes, in my comments section no less, who very curtly asked me why I was "going after" everyone with a "mom" in their website name and oh, he was going to do a piece about it for the ABC affiliate ABC23 KERO in Bakersfield, California. Except that he already did it; it not only aired, but a story was on their website as well as video. I followed the link he gave me and I couldn't believe my eyes. I started crying.

Not only was the story missing valuable information, but I couldn't believe that they went so far as to suggest that I'm somehow being a "bully." I couldn't believe that Hinson thought it easier to run to a news outlet instead of just talking to me in the beginning. Who knows what could've happened. That it was asked why I was protecting my mark instead of asking why others were causing me to protect my mark also blew my mind.

What wasn't mentioned in the piece were all the times I tried to contact her and amicably discuss the issue. Or that I obtained my federal trademark before she blogged, and years before the entry was made on Urban Dictionary (I also think it's curious how the Urban Dictionary entry was created just last month). It didn't mention that my dispute with MomLogic was not over the issue of "MomLogic.com," but rather over their use of "momologues" as a blog on their website.

The bottom line is that it's not a case of "cyber bullying," it's about the rights extended to owners of trademarks under federal law. Specifically, federal trademark law requires that the trademark owners be vigilant with the protection of their marks. Plus, the term "bullying"  suggests that there is a disparity between resource and power when in reality, both parties are represented by capable counsel representing their interests in this matter.

It's amazing that I can be vilified for simply protecting that which I have earned, applied for, and received. I never tried to prevent anyone's speech, but rather act to protect my proprietary interest in my URL. I've never told anyone that they couldn't blog, but rather am asserting my right to my trademark which identifies my website.

That's why companies protect their trademarks.

You can't create a car company and call it "Dadge." You can't open up a coffee shop and call it Stahrbuchs. This is one of the main reasons I, and others, founded the bloggers' guild, to protect our work. We want to protect ourselves against any attempts to restrict and/or dilute the scope and force of the validity of our intellectual property, among many other goals.

It really upsets me that Ms. Hinson would use such a platform to express, for the first time, her disagreement with respect to my rights under trademark and in the process essentially cast me as the villain - that her dispute would resort to personal name-calling instead of having a discussion about the issues of our dispute.

Comments will be moderated.

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Now I'm going to melt your heart

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If my children's voices were respective to the size of their mouths, they'd share a physical trait with Mick Jagger. I can't fault them, they come by it honest. Their poor mother isn't much different. When I was in Jersey Chris sent me this Centro video of the kids in Sam's. Sam's is the first place Chris heads in my absence and the first place he'd head in the event of any natural disaster. I think Sam's hid a man-beacon in their store somewhere because whenever Chris drives and we pass the building on the highway I have to tug at the wheel to prevent him from careening off the road towards it. I came home from Jersey and we had like six pounds of pretzels, a pound of paper towels; the kids were building a fort with mass amounts of toilet paper, and we had new DVDs.

I got this video while I was checking out my hotel room. It was like I was right there shopping for mass quantities with them. Sniffle.

Mamalogues v 3.0

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I was up until 2 a.m. last night restoring my archives. It's going to be a long process. Fortunately, many of you had my archives in your feed readers and two lovely ladies in particular have pretty much my total archives combined. Thanks to everyone who's helped; Martin for his help through the years and Craig for totally bailing my arse out last night and doing the majority of what you're looking at here. He can bend CSS like those kids in the "Matrix" bend spoons. I cannot thank you guys enough.

It's an excellent opportunity to weed through my archives and remove the junk. I'm not kidding myself; after four-plus years I know there's been junk. I'm also in the process of rewriting every single one of my columns. I recently discovered that my former employer is selling archived copies of my columns. In order to write for that employer you pretty much have to sell your soul, which is what I did, like an idiot, because I was under the ridiculous assumption that only a byline gives a person credibility when really, it doesn't. It's ironic. I know not every one of those columns were winners, either, and to make up for that I've started rewriting the topics, so as not to plagiarize myself, and will be offering better versions here on my website for free. Look for that in the coming weeks.

We're still working on this site and things are going to change and things may look funky from time to time so please still with the pashince. Comments should be in working order again. If you notice any problems please let me know: mamalogues at yahoo dot com. 

Bass = kicked

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Hi! Did you miss me?

At some point last night a storm of very technical things beyond my technical intellectual capacity occurred to my good friend M's server (who's been gracious enough to host me these past four-plus years) which completely killed it, the backup systems, and lost all of my data. Non-retrievable. Four-plus years of data. Including some of my letters to the boys on their birthdays. Comments. Everything gone. There is only a teeny shred of hope that we can retrieve anything. So I'm building back up from scratch and Google cache. It will take some time; plze haz pashince, thx. I'm literally retrieving my archives from Google Reader and the Wayback Machine. New design, et al. will come later.

Things are going to be weird around here for a bit but we're working hard to put it back to normal. "We" being me and other people who felt sorry for me when I freaked out, cried, and my hands went numb.

Thank you to everyone helping, especial thanks to M who is having a nervous breakdown along with me because he lost even more than I did.

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