Who invited Cassandra to the party?

Fasten your seat belt, the holidays are here.  This is it, after this moment count me out.  Family has already started to arrive and I have pull the trigger on which vegi side dish to cook I’m think creamed corn.  It’s probably just as well I stay close to home as the last couple of gatherings that were “work” related I should have changed my name to Cassandra.

First I went to Deca, my old partners in forming this site and Momversation back in the dark ages ( almost 6 years ago). They were throwing a launch party for a cartoon series.  They didn’t make it, but someone on their board did.  I nodded as I was told this shoving a bbq sandwich in my mouth.  Rebecca Woolf of Girls Gone Child and Kim Tracy Prince, mom blogger buddies were there. I hadn’t seen them in a while so it was nice to catch up.  Kim lives far away, Rebecca is close but has 4 kids, two baby twins, so she might as well be in Phoenix. We discussed a few things while we stood there.

the old gang

1) why has the ability to monetize blogging become so difficult?

2) why is the wine served in pre wrapped glasses?  ( they sponsored the party)

3) why did a cartoon with a large busted mom character, that after my brief viewing seemed to be full of hack characters  get money behind it to be made? Perhaps because it’s voiced by Miss Eva Longoria.

4) Is there a disconnect between the consumer and producers of content?  Or is it I who have the disconnect?

When anyone asked, “Hi, Daphne, how are you doing?”

Me; “Great.  You know mom blogging is dead, right?”  I didn’t get a lot of protest. None.

I guess I wasn’t too much a Debbi Downer, because  this week Kim Tracy Prince invited me to a shopping meca near me to drink free wine and meet Randi Zuckerberg and get her book.  The sister to Mr. Facebook worked at FB, and is now doing her own thing and  has written a book. ( Her signing was post free wine.)  So, they called Kim, who called her blogging lady pals and I had two glasses of Sauvignon blanc.  Again, nice to see some of the old gang I hadn’t see in a while.

“You know mom blogging is dead?” I chirped as I shoved a now called fried calamari in my mouth.

“My site was never a mom blogging site, it’s about fashion.” said one blogger.

Randi is a very nice, personable woman. She has good people skills.  If she was a posting I would hit “Like”. In this picture I look like I’m so proud of my life partner.  Kim took it and she said, ” you guys look like you are going to go on a date.”  Hey, I could do a lot worse.

Later at the book signing for “Dot Complicated.” Randi handled it well when I asked, “What did you think about how the movie “The Social Network” made your brother seem autistic.  I don’t know him, but from what I’ve seen of him he doesn’t seem like that.”   Like a politician she praised the movie from a cinematic stand point, but said 70% of it was incorrect and that the actors did not mingle with the real life counterparts.  I also liked that she is focused on getting little girls to be engineers and work in technology.  “If you really want to change the world, be an engineer.”  Oh, don’t take improv?  I was mis-informed.

I cradled my book under my arms as I waved good-bye to my fellow content creators.  “Dead, it’s dead, it over.” I sang out as the escalator took me down.  Then it hit me. It’s great Randi Zuckeberg wants to help young girls, but who is starting the initiative for retraining of sassy middle aged ladies with a creative bent?

Maybe that should be my next project.

 

 

is Mom Vlogging over?

Is mom vlogging DEAD? Oh, in 2007 I seemed so clever.  Why not create short, funny videos for mom? Give them a bite, not the “how to” of BabyCenter, but a virtual wise cracking friend.  Your own digital Ethel.  I partnered with Deca and created this site and Momversation.  The brands poured in, I made over 500 videos.

But, the last year and half I’ve got it alone while the landscape of mom vlogging and mom blogging has changed.  Bigger sites than mine have challenges.  They are chasing the elusive “monetization” and a wack- doodle pioneer like myself is left to reflect on the status of this genre.

grandma’s of bloggers

OH, wait, not grandma’s, mom’s of bloggers.  My grandmas long before the internet was  ready for prime time.   As I was poking around you tube for a video I was hunting I came across this archival gem.  It features my mom!  As well as the moms of my favorite blogger friends, Jessica Gottlieb, Heather Armstrong, and Rebecca Woolf.  I’ve met Rebecca’s mom and she is just as darling in person.  It doesn’t look like it has had many views so I thought I would give it another showing.

Best of all my mom is holding Rex when he was a baby.

 

Divorcing with Children

Blah,blah, me, me.  Even a blogger gets tired of writing about themselves.   So, let me put the light on a fellow blogger.

Mindy Roberts and I became friends when we were Momversating a few years back.  (The picture above is when we conversed in person on BYU TV.) Video chatting and emails can make you as close as  20 minutes into happy hour .  Except they cut out the sex talk in the final edit.   I would have liked Mindy anyway, but then she said she named her daughter (sort of) after me we were bonded for life.  She use to listen to The Dr. Dean Edell Show in the Bay Area where I was known as “That Daphne”, his producer and side kick.  So, there is a cute little Daphne in her home.

Mindy divorced her husband. They had 3 kids.  They get along and successfully co parent.     As we know, this is not that common. So, she wrote a book.  If you or someone you know is thinking about pulling the plug on the marriage this is the book for you.  Our other Momversating pal, Heather Armstrong ( that little blog called Dooce) wrote the intro. (Hereis one we all did together, oh, so long ago… like 3 years.. it’s like dog years) Here is Mindy’s book to help navigate a really difficult situation.

I hope you don’t need this book, but just in case… maybe you should buy one for your spouse as well.  One less thing to divide.

what you said you would never do

This is one big reunion for me.It’s been a long time since I was on Momversation  ( or as I think of it the more successful spin off of coolmom)  Recently Momversation retooled and became a mega site, more like a magazine if you will.  With different channels of programming.  One channel is still bloggers talking like Old Momversation. So that is reunion number 1.

They are doing some stuff with Ricki Lake as a tie in with her new show.  I haven’t seen the new incarnation, but I use to be the token white comic on the last season of her old show and loved doing it.  I would get flown to NYC, jump up and say one or two jokes and then get residual checks.  Very sorry when she decided to not continure the show.  Ricki was a nice lady.  We got on well and I saw her some socially in LA after that since I knew a guy she was dating at the time.   I wish her well in her new marriage and show. That is reunion number 2.

When Momversation started out and was helmed by dear friend Rob Morheim  ( now producing a morning show in Chicago) one of the original panelist was Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.  Karen is one of my virtual friends.  I have never met her in the flesh, but felt like I had.  I always enjoyed when we would versate on momversation.  Prior to doing this video we spoke on the phone for about a half an hour.  I adore here.  She is so much fun.  I hope to finally meet her at the Evo conference this July.  Reunion number 3.

I hope in the future if RIcki does more of these she doesn’t film the intro on her set.  She is warmer than that kind of staged setting delivers up. But, if she keeps it up fine, but I would like that pro lighting as well!

 

Refresh!

So, what do you think?  It looks different right?

Coolmom.com has had a face lift.  In many ways it’s a make under.  I wanted a cleaner look and I needed to upgrade what I was working with as the site was built in early ’08 so it was like trying to keep a ’65 Fiat running.

Thanks to Steve Tsai for doing the work.  Here he is with his lovely wife Candice.  I took them to dinner at Campanile as a thank you.

A few things still need to be tweaked.  He still needs to import my vast video library.  It’s coming.  Notice the feature video on the right and we are refining the “best of” part as well.  I love that the blogs scroll from one to the next. I like this on others site and long wanted for here.

So, I started coolmom.com with Deca.tv.  It was their first foray into the mom blog world.  I did not want to be a blogger I just wanted to make funny videos for moms. Short ones.  In a few short years Deca evolved into a well known place for creating online video content for moms and I became a reluctant blogger.  Momversation was an off shoot of cool mom.  It began as we saw that advertisers wanted many voices to sponsor, not just one.  I used to own part of it, but then sold my part in it a few years ago, but stayed on as a contributor. Now, Deca is building bigger concepts and they kindly have handed me all the keys to coolmom.com.

Now, like a lot of mom bloggers, I’m doing this all on my own.

I will probably make mistakes.  I still have to figure out how to monetize this better.

I want to keep making funny videos for parents.  However, do to my new solo status they may have a lower production value, be simpler, have my clunky editing.  Please hang in there!  I will be writing more and want to maintain my original goal of being of giving moms ( and dads) a chuckle when they get a minute to themselves.  Short attention span theater!

Please feel free to give me advice, feedback, whatever.  I can’t do this without you!  I am also going to do some give aways to thank the core group who have hung on and tolerated my bumpy 2012.

xo

Angry room parent: c’mon help me out!

Here is a Momversation that I started. One of my pet peeves: parents who don’t help in their public schools.  Do you judge the non involved like I do?  Loved getting the input of Janice from 5 Minutes for mom ( who I met at BlogHer, Hi Janice! Let’s do “5 minutes for room parents”) and “Mr. Lady” ( love that moniker) of Whisky in my sippy cup (also met at Blogher, sassy, fun gal).

Since I can’t respond to the videos since I went first I will put them here:  I don’t find a difference between single or married parents.  In fact, my co room parent is a widower and he is very involved ( bless his heart).  Also, there are parents who don’t communicate with me, but go to the teacher.  That’s fine.  I check in with her so I know who to lay the heat on and who to leave alone.  Yes, the amount of communication you can get from a kids school is daunting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be the room parent to help streamline it and make it more clear.  I hate the amorphous “come help” email. People need specifics and they need to know why?  Example: This past weekend we kept hearing “come to a rally to support charter schools” on a Saturday morning when I –as a blogger– was given free passes for my family to go to Knott’s berry Farm.  My husband was all for ditching the social action and hitting the rides.  Since I grew up going to everything from Libertarian “victory” parties to marches for the the ERA this was causing me some pang.  But, frankly the whole event seemed to vague.  So I delved deeper into it and then I composed this email:

So, do any of us want to get up early and hustle somewhere Saturday

morning?  I know I don’t.  But, I’m going to suck it up tomorrow and

do just that.  We need to have a good showing to show the LAUSD and

the State they can’t pick the pockets of the Charter schools.  They’ve

done it and they will do it again if we don’t rise up against them.

It’s like when the ants face down the grasshoppers in A Bug’s life,

our collective numbers can send those who would underfund ( even more

than we are) into the mouth of a bird.

Okay, not a perfect analogy.  Look, drive downtown, wear a green

shirt, yelp and clap for an hour and go home.

Guess what?  It worked.  Our class had showed up in better numbers than most others ( along with the 15 parents who do most everything).

My family didn’t get on the bus with the crowd.  We put on our green shirts, found a meter, stayed for an hour clapping and yelping, then hoped on the freeway and a great time at Knott’s ( short lines, Camp Snoopy, good for little ones).  Btw, all having matching color shirts not a bad idea at an amusement park.  I could find them easily.

But, don’t tell me your busy.  We all have a lot going on.  I’m watching…

Mom who smells like pee

Following hot on the heels of showing you all my gut I’m baring another embarassing aspect of motherhood. For Momversation I am talking about one of those “no one told me THIS was going to happen.”  The dirty parts of motherhood.  If you want the clinical talk about pee and mom’s you can find it here.  I’m about the experience.

Don’t hang me out to dry! C’mon, you know it has happened to you.

Do You Judge Big Families? (Momversation…Sort Of)

This was a Momversation experiment I had long wanted to do — get to talk to the moms in PERSON. Blogging and vlogging can be a lonely business so I had asked Rebecca Woolf, my blogging friend, who lives nearby, to come over and do a Cool Mom with me. Alas, the day she was supposed to come over was also the last few months of her carrying twins, so she was understandably not feeling top dog. Cut to Kelly, the producer of Momversation, writing me to ask if I would be up for a shoot with Jessica and Rebecca in the flesh. Would I!? Jessica is on the other side of the hill from me, but another mom blogger I enjoy conversing with. Not only does she have a great dry wit, but my husband knows her dad from the Spago days and LOVES him.

Anyway, the gals came over to my home, renamed “the Momversation studio” for the day. Great to see Rebecca — first time since she gave birth to the twins. The thought was this might be a new way to tape Momversation, but after watching it, the senior producer nixed the idea. Was it me or my home styled hair?  I don’t know, but the three of us said, “The people must see this!”  Because use kvetching at my kitchen table is pretty important. It’s not on the main landing page of Momversation, but it is up there somewhere.  So, think of this as the Vault.

Let me know what you think. I liked it, but I would have killed the non-stop momver music bed that runs through it.

Oh, and do you judge big families?

Making Out With Your Kid (Momversation)

This Momversation is personal. I picked the topic, I picked the angle of it and I drove a few miles with my son in tow to make it happen. Yes, I left my house to vlog. Doesn’t happen much.

This all started when I ran across an essay on Babble (See, I mentioned you; can you move me up from mom blogger #31?  Thanks.) written by Joel Stein. It had the provocative title, “Making Out with My Son“.  But I wasn’t grossed out. I knew exactly where he was going with this. Sadly, many people were dialing 911 as they read it.

Now, not only did I relate to the essay I also felt like, for years, I got Joel.  He used to write op ed pieces in the LA Times during the very moment when they had interesting writers.  Now, with the exception of Ronald Brownstein, it’s pretty neutered. He writes for Time as well, but unless I’m in an airport I don’t read that. I know he is a very funny writer. In fact, his piece about a man crush on Obama in ’08 was the only writing I had saved in my “inspiration” file. (The file wasn’t my idea. Back when I had money, I hired an organizer and that was one of her ideas to haul all of the crap off my desk). Joel also has his own theme song.

Then I didn’t just feel I knew Joel I did know him. I met he and his wife Cassandra Barry, who also writes for Babble, at a fundraising dinner for my daughter’s school that my husband did. The Barry Stein’s are hoping to get into our little gem of a charter school and eat well while they do it. We also ran into them at the trash fiesta we went to. Clearly, they were our food group. I didn’t tell them about the file least I appear stalkery.

So, a tad bored as I am with the same Momversation format and working alone, I wrote Joel an email asking if I could come with my tripod and include him on this. So, it’s a parentversation. Let me know what you think.

(Production note:  Rex was upstairs watching cartoons and eating crackers while this was made.)

So do you make out with your kid?