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Archive for the ‘Age’ Category

Running…

Confession: I actually kind of totally hate running.

Several years ago I “dealt” with that, immersed myself in the hoo-hah and ran consistently (3-5 times a week) for about 4 years. Finally, after an unpleasant ‘clicking’ sound coming from my right knee during the Shamrock Run, I thought its time to call it quits and no matter how much Irish beer I drank that day the pain remained.

My problems with running are numerous. First, there’s no TV and chips! But, even when consciously thinking about it, I have a difficult time with pace. I find that without constant attention, I’m running s-l-o-w or I’ll run too fast at any given moment. That means, I’m always gasping for breath or near it all the time. Second, I think I may be a defective runner as I wander… all over the path rather than in a direct and straight line. The fact that my arms are wailing around like I’m rowing a boat doesn’t help. Second, part 2, even though the medical doctors aggravated me during my knee problems about youth and age and during rehab about age and youth blah, blah, blah it motivated me to try the bike, but you know what? That small seat hurts my butt! What are they thinking? I have none of this discomfort while watching TV!

But perhaps the biggest hurdle is that I never like admitting exactly how out of shape I really am when getting back into trying to run again. I have a friend of a friend…yes, that would be Tina that I compare myself to, who can get up after not running for a year weeks and run a 10K or buy new shoes, fly into a sunny location and just like that finish the marathon. What’s up with that?! So, my recourse is to just force myself to run full-steam until I’m miserable and deadly exhausted.

But, a terrific thing has come into my life that have made running not only possible, not only something I feel I need to do, but, shock and awe, semi-enjoyable. I actually have thoughts like “I want to leave work early and go for a run now.” Maybe it’s just the leaving work early part or:

My iPod+Nike adapter kit, hoo-hah. Knowing that I’m running a 6:40 mile down hill when totally out of shape makes me slow down because I know I can’t maintain it on flat ground. The consistent feedback from this little Apple thingy lets me know when I’m getting out of line. Plus, as a bonus I can listen to music. And oh yeah, you have charts and graphs and other motivational things online…sort of the give a mouse a cookie syndrome…

So there you have it. It’s already February, and looking back at the past month I feel okay with my schedule, but its time to ratchet it up.

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Be careful out there. I often register at Web 2.0 sites as part of my function in life to sketch, discuss, “hot-glue”, mashup, hack, build and think toward a more innovative future.

Most recently in reviewing “Mommy” sites I’ve been posing as a 35 year-old mom (Carmen – likes Cars and Men – get it?) with 4 kids. My oldest son, Ricky, is 16 so he’s taking care of Tabitha, 6, and Billy, 4. My youngest, Jeremy, 3 months, is somewhere around here. He’ll turn up. He usually does.

In looking around some of these sites and they’re disturbing to say the least. The type of information being shared is pretty scary. You often see detailed information about the person and their family, holiday photos of the kids including geo-tags of their house and other content that could be used to identify them. Some of the things parents post makes them look completely clueless or like they are sitting at the computer writing a blog while their kid festers in a dirty diaper. Are parents really this stupid these days? As far as I’m concerned, parents posting too much information aren’t fit to be parents because they put their families at risk at the very worst and at the very best look like they are wasting time on the computer when they could be doing something better. With their kids!

In the backwaters of my online watch, I’ve heard that unemployed guys spend half their time trolling blog comments and the other half trying to pick up middle-aged women on the “Mommy” social networks.

As Carman the 35 year-old mom, I like that my profile is public. It’s good knowing that a lot of guys scour these sites looking for hot single (and not so single) moms to pick up on. I posted my pics from before I had my 4 kids and before the crank took my teeth so, I look pretty good in my profile. Just got an email from a used car salesman in New Jersey. He could be the one! And as long as they’re still collecting unemployment benefits bring them on! After I log off MommyBuzz I’ll head over to CafeMom and see if anybody can recommend the best online dating site. Still looking for a real man to take care of my kids. My welfare check arrives on Friday’s and I can’t wait to buy a new Alienware computer. My games are going to be so hot with the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card!

The list of social networks for moms is growing: they include MomJunction, Maya’s Mom, MothersClick, MommyBuzz, MTV’s ParentsConnect, Famster, Minti, RaisingThem, Cingo and CafeMom. To be candid, I’m not sure which or how all these sites will survive, but surely the market can’t support them all.

Have to go now. Billy can’t find Jeremy. He’s probably stuck behind the furnace again. *Sigh* Do I have to do everything around here?

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Social networking sites can get millions of users, but can they make millions in revenue? I’m a bit conflicted about how these sites monetize services. And, just who are these people? The people that swarm to these sites? Do they have jobs or should we label them the bored-at work generation?

I submit that relevance to your social community and the monetary engagement is what accelerates the social networks forward in terms of revenue or traffic or users. The bored-at-work generation went thru the marketing spin-zone machine and are now called the “Participation Age”…all about people connecting across the network to share, collaborate, explore, create and discover just how amazing the world truly can be. I’m thinking this has a bit of deja-voodoo. If you are ‘ol enuff to remember the CB Radio then you’ll remember that when few people had them they were very good communication tools. Then as costs came down and as more people bought them the “noise” level increased to the point where you could not hear the conversation. How many people have a CB Radio on their holiday wish list? I suspect very few.

So, these predominately Teen oriented sites have had meteoric rise in growth, but the “noise” keeps increasing and increasing. Take Consumating yet another “new” way to find and connect with people. You tag (mypeeps) someone that makes you laugh and they appear automagically (is that a word?) and your peeps will continue to amuse/bemuse/distract you from your important job. Tell everyone what you just overheard at the water cooler and do it on-line…

“Jimmy just, like, called Bill, like stupid, duh we knew that and like he’s totally lazy too…like always surfing the internet…like can we, like just, like U-know go like, back to where we like all get along or like, what…”

Then there’s Fake Your Space. Feeling lonely because your are not popular enough on your social networking site? Don’t have enough friends commenting on your blog? So, how popular do you want to be? This new “service” where paid models (for a monthly price of $.99/month) will pump-up your MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Flickr sites with comments and postings about how cool and popular you are. All this of course, is done as privately as possible so as to not let anyone know that you’re “faking” it and no one will be wiser with your new found gorgeous models as friends.

How about Datemypet. Another Match.com knock-off for the online speed dating crowd with focus on Pet lovers and their pets. Single and have a cat? Then why not spend time at work looking for a life partner or a buddy for your pet. Little known fact from the site is:

14% of dog owners admitted they might continue dating someone they didn’t like all that much, just to spend time with that person’s dog…

I wonder what the cat people think? I can visualize the dating profile now…Cute dog pics everywhere with the statement: My pets perfect date is hanging out in the park, taking casual walks with an occasional Frisbee romp topped off with bone-treats at the McDonalds drive-thru!

Another example is VampireFreaks (with 750,000 users) offers a premium subscription to create “unlimited cults” along with 17 other “useful” features.

Finally, the nirvana of social sites is one that shot up like a rocket called Second Life (a virtual reality world where only your imagination stops) has expanded into a new world and you’ll have the time of your life doing it. Second Life, for those of you who are going, huh?, is a video game full of fake cities, shops and people. It’s the type of place where people who have sex with dolls in real life can have sex with avatars in fake life. And, oh my, what forms these avatars can take. Or if you want to pole dance for $18 in a sleazy club never feeling so alive, this is the place for people who feel no pain while in the guise of a throbbing avatar. Sure, I’ve glommed on to the more thematically mature activities that occur within SecondLife, but it’s all there…on the internet.

Yep, that bored-at-work generation is truly getting everything they ever wanted from their social communities…and people will pay for it! Go figure.

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I’ve noticed lately that I’m getting old-r. Maybe ’cause it’s that birthday time of year or my lack of patience? So, anyway I’m standing in the Starbucks line to buy a Grande Coffee and it’s freakin’ like 17 billion people long ’cause the only thing the dumb teenage boy at the register is thinking about is the teenage girl at the other register and some lady has her purse inside out trying to win the “exact change” trophy…Mac, drink your coffee and chill…

So, where was I? Oh yeah, I’m not sure I fit into the cool generation. Sure, I give it a try…I do “The Google” (as George dub-ya bungled), I blog a bit, I’m on Facebook, I Flickr photo’s, connect with groups on CollectiveX, manage calendars online with Eventful, I Digg lots of articles on the internet and post web pages/sites on Apple dot mac. But I can’t find clothes that I like, I can’t find music that interests me on mainstream radio, I’m tired of the barrage of commercialization and I make fun of both in an attempt to stay sane.

And speaking of music, how about that hip-hop Jibb’s song ‘Chains‘. Yeah, Boii, Jibbs who?! I don’t get it. I understand the lyrics and stupid hooks. I get the thump, thump, thump beat. But, several of my “cube-cruisers” in the office think it’s a great song and I can’t figure it out. They don’t wear a chain with ‘DEALR’ all spelled out in diamonds. They didn’t grow up in ‘da hood. They don’t have 24’s (rims) on a Range Rover with a Rhino Guard and spot floods. Most of them are driving a Pontiac Sunfire or Toyota Corolla’s… on 12’s… and squeaky brakes…with political bumper stickers, so why are they bounc’n to Chains? I must be getting old…because this represents everything wrong with hip-hop IMHO.

Speaking of old-r, I like buying jeans and breaking them in, but not the kind with rips in the butt where your girlfriend can store her hands while walking on latte avenue or missing knees and distressed to the point of Kleenex thin. But, I can’t find jeans that are ‘clean’ anywhere…I’m wearing a pair of “Calvin’s” now that I’ve had for three+ years. It’s time otherwise I’ll be no shirt, no shoes and lots of problems.

And while I’m still on music… here’s something Disturb’n the Peace every day… According to the charts, consumers everywhere are digg’n Hinder’s Extreme Behavior (parental advisory) CD and single ‘Lips of an Angel’…loosely based on an affair of sorts in a love triangle. While keeping in mind that media is based on what comes out of society… in a media based society is that song a snapshot of society… or just hype from the studio? Does influence flow from the media to consumers or do we influence media? A label won’t produce a CD if there isn’t a market. So, is the market craving these lyrics (or relationship concept), or are the lyrics influencing the market? Does a song like that ignite infidelity or does it simply act as a mirror on society’s accepted form of a relationship? I’m not sure I care, but it is curious.

And while I’m on relationships, social networking sites seem all the rage in these Web 2.0 days. I ran across a site called myYearbook.com (started by a 16 year old, bother/sister team). It’s an online yearbook for the digital age where more than 1M young people around the world – mostly teens – gather to socialize. It’s the youngest demographic and also the fastest-growing social networking site on the Internet. I pinged the site and as I waited for the page to load…OUCH! Yep, I’m getting old-r, but when I’m “banner blasted” with an ad evangelizing an ever elusive younger demographic:

“Did you know – 52% of MySpace Users Are Older Than 35″

I’m not even on MySpace so, that must mean I’m at that particular period of life at which a person becomes naturally or conventionally disqualified? Double OUCH!!

Not wanting any long term emotional distress on this age gig, I ventured onward to find some better news, and when I heard about a new report that estimates there are 117 million active gamers (defined as those who play upwards of five hours per week) in the U.S., more than half of whom (56%) play online games. Of all online gamers, the report from Nielsen Entertainment found that 64% are women. While teenagers still comprise the largest share of online gamers (40%), Nielsen found that 8%, or nearly 15 million active gamers, are 45 or older.

Sure my hallway of “cube-it’s” will gladly debate experiences with MMOG’s or if a PC can survive as a viable gaming system against the console giants or if parlor games really qualify as “games”. But, they are totally missing the point.

Us old guys gett’n old-r need to give it up for those old gamers…they rock!!

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