This post was written in response to a Monday Listicle prompt, but as you can see, it turned into much more than a list. It is actually a little, tiny portal showing some of the nuts and bolts of how two women cooperate to write a blog together. If you have never visited us before, Erin and I CO-AUTHOR the blog posts and transcribe them like our conversations. This requires a level of cooperation that nations should strive to achieve as a model for world peace. Seriously.
So, without further ado, we are linking up to Yeah Write Me #48. Head on over there to check out more great blogs. It is our favorite place to catch up on our reading.
Ellen- Stasha at The Good Life hosts this fabulous fun party known as the Monday Listicles.
(If I get any comments pointing out that it is now Tuesday, I might drop kick a stuffed animal. Do you want that on your conscience?) This week’s Monday Listicles topic comes from Jessica at My Time As Mom, who suggested we make a list of things we’re rubbish at. And since Stasha personally asked/challenged us to join in, I immediately called Erin. (Ok, maybe she didn’t challenge, per se, but I am rubbish at turning down a request.)
Erin- Yesterday Ellen could barely speak, had a fever, and was suffering from one of the more heinous upper respiratory infections making the rounds in our fair county. This point is significant, because today, slightly less feverish and ill, she rose from her bed and practically BEGGED me to write this list.
Ellen- I was thinking it was so much cheaper than mediation and would require less energy than slugging it out in one of those inflatable sumo wrestling rings.
Erin-You see, I am absolute RUBBISH at technology. This is not a big deal unless you have decided to partner with me to write a blog. And then it’s a big, stinking, miserable deal, because blogging is only partially about writing.
Ellen- It is a whole lot about mastering technology and making it your biotch.
Erin- I keep hearing Kelly Clarkson singing, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Watch out for Ellen then. Really. After blogging with me, she will be able to lift a bus with one hand. She really will be able to wear those red boots and lasso.
Without further ado, the top ten things about technology that flummox me, thus almost kill Ellen, and at which I am absolute rubbish:
1. My Virtual Mailbox
Erin- Ahh, email. This lovely technology has made my life easier in so many ways and completely highlights how little attention I give to organizing certain things. Like email. In the earliest days of our blog, Ellen emailed me everything she could find about blogging.
Ellen- Lots of these were about technology, folks. Take note that until about four months ago, I would have sworn HTML code was a coupon for H&M.
Erin- She even organized the emails in a folder on her Gmail account—I would NEVER even think to do something like that. Later, but not THAT much later, Ellen got irritated with me, because she thought I was ignoring her emails.
Ellen- Gee, they were only about getting our domain name pinned down.
Erin-I was responding. Truly. But on further inspection, they were stuck in my outbox. Oy. No words. Just oy.
2. My Voicemail
Erin-Yeah, my Voicemail on my home phone and cellphone are both full. I have lost the access numbers and passwords. My BIL Dan tried to help me rectify this over Christmas. He has the patience of a saint, but after about thirty minutes he Pontius Pilated me and washed his hands of the whole mess. When your patron saint declares you a lost cause, you know you’ve got troubles.
Ellen- I sometimes resort to telepathic powers to communicate with her.
3. Posting Pictures
Erin- To be fair, posting pictures to a blog is one of the trickier things to learn early on. There’s re-sizing, and LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of choices. Thumbnail, medium, full-size. Right, left, center. It’s like the Starbucks of visual media, and all I was looking for was a little coffee. On the Blirth-day of the blog, Ellen was setting up Google Analytics, Twitter, and, well, everything else. Meanwhile, I was trying to put my picture on my bio. It took AWHILE.
Ellen- I was actually generating code and she called me expecting a celebration when she got a picture posted.
Erin- I have gotten better, but it’s SLOW.
4. Distinguishing Activity From Productivity
Erin- One of the unwritten rules is that blogs are like houses in a lovely community and you are supposed to make the rounds and COMMENT on them. Hey, nice curtains, lovely rug–that sort of thing. The first time we linked up to Yeah Write Me, I read like 50 blogs, wrote a lovely, lengthy email to Ellen about who we should vote for and why, but I didn’t write a single comment on a single blog. Yeah, I know. (Head hung in shame)
Ellen- Don’t worry folks, I’m all about playing fair, so I swept behind and commented up a storm.
5. Linking Things Up
Erin – It’s kind of a key part of blogging to link things, but I break links like they are a china shop, and I am a bull. Letters appear out of nowhere and attach themselves in funny places BREAKING the link. I don’t copy the whole address BREAKING the link. I don’t even know WHAT I do and I end up BREAKING the link. To say that it’s a problem might be the understatement of the century.
Ellen- Maybe just checking every link you “think” you have posted, might be a goal? I feel like I just channeled Dr. Seuss.
6. Posting Videos
Erin- AGAIN. It bites me twice, because we also like to add videos to our blog posts. Well, the story here starts with my optimistic email to Ellen that read, “Hey, I loaded the video. Blog is ready to go!” Um, well, not really. I hadn’t actually added anything but a link to YouTube that took readers away from our site.
Ellen- And a picture of the video that took you to a blank page.
Erin- Don’t you wish you had a partner just like me??
7. Using My Awesome, Superduper, SmartPhone
Erin- This phone is like a bucking bronco I can’t break. It pocket-dials, refuses to return emails, tweets when it feels like it, and only surfs the net when the mood strikes it. I took it back to the store and they claimed it was an ID10T error.
8. Mastering My MAC
Erin- I am the world’s worst spokesperson for the world’s best computer brand. Apple makes products for people just like me. Everything about Apple is supposedly intuitive and user-friendly. I am the unfriendliest user EVER.
Ellen- She actually FROZE the screen. I have spent years having Mac users snarkily tell me to abandon my PC because Macs are so foolproof.
Erin- This is such a rare occurrence with a MAC that the Apple Geniuses almost had me escorted out the door by the cops who stand sentry. The bottom line is that I don’t even know how to harness all my power for good.
9. Attending To Details
Erin- So much of technology in general, and blogging technology specifically, is the ability to dot i’s and cross t’s. I am a big idea person; the details often confound me or in this case poor Ellen. I regularly forget to check boxes that tag our posts or bring readers back to our pages. My husband Steve calls this Erin phenomena “Oh, look, a rock.” As in, Erin is swimming around a fishbowl and “Oh, look, a rock.” Over and over and over. I get lost a lot too.
Ellen- She DID NOT inform me that her hubby had named a phenomenon about her attention span before I agreed to start blogging with her. Just sayin’.
10. Squashing My Utter, Gripping, Handicapping Fear
Erin- Ellen was out for jury duty two weeks ago and left me in charge of the blog. I was sweating like it was a heat wave in August. I know me. Too damn well. I knew I would forget to check a box, or break a link, or post a picture upside down or backward (I know you think it can’t be done, but I am like the anti-superhero of the computerworld—just watch me!).
Ellen- She does produce a force field that makes even my computer go wiggy sometimes. I think she should get her dental work inspected.
Erin- And it’s not like Ellen has all that much computer background, she’s just not terrified of it. I buck, I stomp, I stone-cold back away from the challenge of it all. But the thing about calling a spade a spade, or in this case, myself RUBBISH, is that it takes the power of it all away. Words can tame the beast. In our house we say, “Fight the Tiger; Embrace the Mountain.” All this time, I thought technology was the tiger at the door, but really it’s just the mountain to climb. And I’m going to get my gear on. Really.
Ellen- I hope so! But there is one more thing at which Erin is rubbish: giving herself props. She has the most accepting and good-natured disposition of any woman I have ever met. Her kindness knows no bounds. She is the friend we all rely on to deliver hard to hear news to members of the Sisterhood because she truly has a gift for being non-abrasive. She is the Labrador Retriever of women, friend to all. She can also accept criticism like no one I have ever seen. Grace should be her middle name. It is the only thing that can explain why she still takes my calls (of course, she has to have her phone turned on). Let’s face it, it’s one heck of a woman who would write this post.
Erin- I just didn’t want to rent the inflatable sumo suits.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski