Tuesday, February 28

Tough love or just plain love?

I did an awful thing to my five-year old son, Ethan, this weekend. Well, I mean, it's not "smack your kid in public" awful, but still, I feel bad.

Well, sort of.

On the one hand, I cherish the time I get to spend with him and just have fun. And I want to do whatever I can to make sure that he's challenged and develops into a thoughtful, confident, polite, loving, and happy kid. But on the other hand, I also want him to learn and accept that fun (and life) isn't always about winning.

I'm squarely in the "you win some, you lose some" camp. And as I've said before, I think children, even at his age, shouldn't be shielded from a little competition. So long as you have fun, give it your best effort, and learn something along the way, it's all good.

So, Ethan and I were at the food court arcade at the local mall on Saturday, heads swimming in a McDonald's-induced glycogen high. The bass of the Dance Dance Revolution thumping in my belly (or maybe that was the quarter pounder). Our game is tied at 6-6. Ethan had just caught up from a three-point deficit without a lick of "hey, my shoe's untied" help from Daddy. The scoreboard warning lights are starting to flash letting us know that time's almost up.

And there I was...at a crossroad. Do I nudge it down and give him the last shot? Or do I capitalize on his obvious height disadvantage and bank one in past his reach? I take the shot. His paddle misses its mark, and I hear the sweet "PLINK" of glory. The scoreboard timer buzzes.

I beat my five-year-old son 7-6 at air hockey.

A brief glint of disappointment flashes in Ethan's eyes, and even though it's gone as we high-five and head over to the counter to cash in our skee-ball winnings, I couldn't help but think that maybe I had made a mistake. Did my competitive side get the best of me?

But now that a day or so has passed, I think maybe I'm being a little hard on myself. It was a good afternoon. Fifteen dollars well spent for some QT with the E-man with the added bonus of dishing out a little air hockey smackdown life lesson. Don't feel too bad for him, he made out like a bandit at the arcade ticket counter--two army paratroopers, two superballs, and two foamy smiley face rings. Plus, he's already talking smack about the next time we go.

At least, I think that's how "You're silly, Daddy!" translates.

Tuesday, February 21

Putting the Bill back into Billwildered

In case you haven't noticed, dear reader (for the sake of accuracysimplicity, I'll admitassume that you are singular), there's been a shortage of Billwildered posts lately. (I'm not counting the coupon bone I just threw.)

No excuses really. I guess I've just been struggling a little with what Billwildered is all about. And frankly, I'm a little unenthusiastic about this whole bloggity-blog thing since I'm just not feeling the love.

Sure, you like Billwildered. You may even really, really like it. But love it? Umm, not so much.

And what's worse, I'm not loving it either.

So, I thought back on why I started Billwildered and realized something--call it a billpiphany.

I haven't begun to accomplish the goals I originally had in mind.

So, bear with me as I review.

The one I thing I've done alright on--share useful, funny, or bizarre sites, products, and services with family and friends. Of course, I'm basing that assumption on the three or four of you who, rather than just trolling, have actually given me any feedback.

What I need to do more of:

  • share everyday events with family and friends
  • share who I am with family and friends
  • find my voice, and
  • build my confidence to share beyond the comfy "we love you anyway" confines of family and friends
So, like it, love it, can't live without it, gauge your eyeballs out to avoid it...whatever. It boils down to this--while you may not want anything more from Billwildered, I do (not "more better," more like, uh, "more biller").

It may not be pretty. It may not even be readworthy. But it'll be chock full 'o Bill.

Oh, who am I kidding? It's going to be fu--ing AWESOME!! Get ready to be billwildered!

Printable Retail Coupons

I read about Wow Coupons, a site that aggregates retail coupons for both in-store and online use, at this Consumerist post.

Like Consumerist says, if you can get over the annoying sound effects, there's some definite good deals here. For the retail section (the only one I really took a look at), the site links directly to coupons on the retailers' websites. Although I did see a few that expired a few days ago, most seem up to date.

Next time you're headed to the mall or before you click "checkout," be sure to take a look

Sunday, February 12

Best of Bootie 2005 CD

A while back, I posted about mash-ups (What do you get when you mix...). Well, I recently saw this post on Boing Boing about a "best of" CD that's available for download of the 20 best mash-ups from a San Fran club called Bootie. Apparently, Bootie is dedicated to mash-ups and has monthly mash-up parties.

I got them on my iPod, and my favs are:
Beatles vs. Black-Eyed Peas vs. Ludacris vs. Kelis (Black Beatles)
Franz Ferdinand vs. Run-DMC vs. The Knack (Do You Wanna Cuz It's Tricky)
Rob Base vs. Prince (It Takes Two To Kiss)

To get the tracks, visit Best of Bootie 2005 CD.

Wanna jump back 25 years?

If you do, then visit Neave Games for a little bit of nostalgia.


Tuesday, February 7

The must-have item you've been waiting for

They're finally available. No, it's not the Xbox 360. Or even the new 1GB iPod Nano. No, it's WAY better--your very own Billwildered shirt. Come on...you know you want one.

Seriously, you better get one.

Sherioushly, there's this really cool site I learned about on Lifehacker last week called
SnapShirts that will analyze your blog/website and create a word cloud (similar to a tag cloud) based on the most used words on your main page. Then you can have them put the word cloud on shirts, mouse pads, clocks, and other items.

Get 'em here while they're hot.

Wednesday, February 1

Where to find good blogs

So now that you've been a "loyal" Billwildered reader for the past three months, I'm sure my razor-sharp wit, dramatic storytelling, and integrity-oozing pseudo-journalistic voice (oh, and don't forget my modesty) have completely sold you on the rich universe of the blogosphere (if you weren't there already).

You've probably even said to yourself, "Hey, this bloggity-blog stuff is the bees knees. I wonder where I can find other good bloo-bloggy thingies, even though I seriously doubt that I can find one as refreshing and thought-provoking [read: trivial and forgetful] as Billwildered."

Well, stop. You're making me blush.

Seriously, if you're interested in finding new blogs, here are just a couple of places that I would suggest:

  1. The nominees for the Sixth Annual Weblog Awards - These are considered the "cream of the crop." The nominees for the 2006 Bloggies includes some great stuff, many of which I have on my blogroll (I'll get to that later). Like most awards, the Bloggies are categorized by topics like Technology, Food, Travel, Fashion, Entertainment, and Politics. You can even look at past year's winners and nominees.

  2. Technorati - This site is great for finding blog postings based on topic, keywords, tags, or popularity. By creating a free account, you can also set up watchlists that will pull together posts based on whatever criteria you define.

  3. Google Blog Search - In it's never-ending drive toward world domination, Google is offering a beta product for searching blogs. It's similar to a regular Google search, but you'll just be "googling" the blogosphere.

  4. Blogrolls - many blogs you visit will include lists of links to other blogs called a blogroll. Typically, it's because the author(s) may reference them on a regular basis, read there posts often, or just want to give other sites added visibility (the number of sites that link to yours is a determining factor in most organic search engine results). Any time I'm reading a blog and like it, I'll usually look at their blogroll to see if I find anything else that I like. Most aggregators give you the ability to create a blogroll. I recently posted my blogroll on Billwildered (lower right sidebar). I use Bloglines.


UPDATE: They've closed the nominations for the 2006 Bloggies, and for some reason, they're no longer showing the list of nominees on the page. So, you'll have to wait till around March 13 to see this year's. However, you can still see past winners and nominees.