May 29, 2009

The 2009 Spelling Bee


Do you remember your first spelling bee? I kinda do. It was nothing like the 2009 event won by 13 year old Kavya Shivashankar. She won a whopping $40,000 and a huge trophy. I think I got a ribbon and a cookie.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is an annual event. It has been running for 82 years! Check out some of the past champions and their winning words. I was looking over the list and my jaw about dropped as I perused the winning words.

Kavya Shivashankar won the 2009 spelling bee with: Laodicean, which means indifferent or lukewarm, especially in matters of religion. How interesting! I mean, ironic, with all the religious turmoil everywhere.

Since I have two girls, I am always interested in expanding their horizons. The oldest is going to driving school this summer, so she has lost interest in a lot of what I have to say outside of driving.

Now, the little one I still have tuned in. We have been working on writing and spelling. I know words like cat and dog are not spelling bee quality, but it is a start. Everyone has to start somewhere.

The other day my youngster brought me a letter. It read: NO ME HONOMO GO. There were also some cute little drawings of a couple of creatures holding hands and walking on a beach. I asked her to read it to me. She said, "Mom, take me to the pool please!"

So, with the illustrations I could have, maybe, gotten that. I really think I have a future spelling bee winner on my hands.

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May 21, 2009

Dealing with High Blood Pressure: The Continuing Saga

A few posts back I mentioned I have high blood pressure. On Tuesday afternoon I went for a follow up and got my blood test results. The doctor was impressed with how healthy I am. He said, "I wish my blood looked like yours".

He thought my tests would come back indicating I have high cholesterol. Nope, don't have it. Both my good and bad cholesterols are perfect. I don't have diabetes or anything wrong with my kidneys, liver, and (get this) my thyroid is perfectly within normal range. So, there you have it, I'm as healthy as a horse.

This is mind boggling information. "How come my blood pressure is off the charts"? I asked him. He said he did not have a clue.

I'm beginning to think I might be a freak of nature.

I'm working on losing the weight he wants me to drop because that's all there is left to do. I'm not that over weight. Sure, I'm not within those chart guidelines. But, I'm not 20 years old and I've had two kids.

Then we started going through the changes he wanted to make in my medications. He's taking me off the Procardia and increasing the dosage on the Prinzide. While he was writing this up, I asked him if he could prescribe a new inhaler for my asthma. I had a horrible attack over the weekend and no inhaler (long story, I won't go into it here).

He asked me what I had been doing since my inhaler ran out. "Oh, I've been taking Primatene", I said. "I need something faster acting though. The pills are not cutting it".

He about fell out of his chair.

Primatene has Ephedrine in it. Ephedrine makes your blood pressure go up. Well, of course I knew this. However, I never considered it a contributing factor to my high blood pressure since I only take it when I need it.

He cursed Primatene and stated he cannot believe it is still being sold. He said it is the worst drug ever!

When I got home I threw the Primatene in the trash.

I'm to continue monitoring my blood pressure at home. He wants to see me again in a month. The way I see it, the Primatene is the culprit of my high blood pressure.

The moral of the high blood pressure story: Tell your doctor everything. You never know if one small thing you are doing is causing your body harm. Given my background, one would think I should know this. I guess not. Live and learn...
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May 13, 2009

Adding Related Posts Widget to Blogger Blogs


While doing some SEO research I found that having related posts at the end of your blog posts is a good thing to do. It helps keep readers at your site longer. It gives readers additional posts to peruse on your subject matter. Among other SEO things, It also looks kind of cool.

My blog buddy Peter from St Vincent's Hospital Darlinghurst - Male Nurses asked me about my related posts widget in a comment recently. I thought it might be prudent to post how I went about adding the widget to my blog.

First, the SEO blog I found commenting about related posts explained how to get it done at Wordpress. Apparently that platform has the widget as an add-on. Blogger does not. Well, luckily, I'm pretty good searching keywords. I plugged "related posts blogger" into my Google search bar and came up with plenty of resources.

The first few did not work for me. Either I did not get the code in right or the instructions left me in a daze. I found this post: Related Posts Widget For Blogger to get the job done for me. Use the second set of instructions. The first did not work.

You will also need to host the little plus image on your own image hosting site. I use Photobucket and it's proven to be very reliable.

Once you get your related posts up you will not be able to view your work in the preview mode, it must be saved and you have to click a post to see it. Ensure you download a copy of your template before you start chopping away at it. Just in case you make any mistakes.

If you are still afraid of messing with your template html, you can always make a dummy template account and play with the html at your will. I did this and I'm loving messing with my templates regularly. It's especially beneficial for making those little changes you need to make but are not quite sure about.

  1. Create a dummy blog by clicking "Create a Blog" on your dashboard.
  2. Name your tester blog anything you wish. I call mine Template Tester.
  3. Once your test blog is live, go to your main blog and copy the entire template html from the Layout tab: edit html section.
  4. Once you have copied your entire template html, take it back to your test blog and paste it into the same html section on the test blog.
  5. Click preview and if everything worked out correctly you should see your main blog's template before you.

At this point you can make any alterations or additions to the template html without worry.

For the related posts widget, remember your test blog does not have any posts. You will need to make up a few posts and tag or label them so you can view your related posts widget in action.

If you like everything you've done to your blog's template in the test blog, copy the entire html code and paste it over your main blog's html. Preview the template to ensure it's there then save it.

Double check your widget is there by clicking a post.

Important note: Related post widgets will not work unless you have your posts labeled.

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May 6, 2009

Check Out FairShare to Combat Plagiarism

I've been reading about plagiarism and checking many of my articles for copies on the Internet. Since I've been working on Shared Reviews, I've found many "writers" don't have any scruples when it comes to copying. I came across an article on Associated Content about an alert tool that may help combat plagiarizers:

Using FairShare to Detect Plagiarism of Your Web Content
If you're a Web content writer, you know how upsetting it is to find that your articles have been plagiarized. It's expensive to use commercial plagiarism checkers and time consuming to set up individual Google Alerts. Want a better way?
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/1657084/using_fairshare_to_detect_plagiarism.html

FairShare limits you to 5 feeds. I can't get it to work on my yahoo home page, but it works beautifully on my Google reader. If your putting your stuff online and are afraid of plagiarizers, FairShare is easy to use, automatic, and free.

I will continue to use CopyScape and Google Alerts, but you can never be too aware when it comes to plagiarism.

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