Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Have you ever been featured on The Flirty Blog?

If you have, do you share the feature or review post with visitors to your website or blog? If you don't it's probably a wasted publicity opportunity because what I said about you was probably pretty flattering!

Hyegraph wedding invitations and calligraphy has been featured on The Flirty Blog. The other day I received an email from them to let me know they had used one of my web badges to link over to the blog posts about them on the testimonials page of their website. The badge is the little icon on the lower right side of the sidebar.

I have a whole page of them online. Below are the step by step explanation of how to use them so that you can send readers to the post I've written about you.

In a nutshell you copy the code from The Flirty Guide.com web badge page and paste it into an HTML blog widget or gadget for your sidebar. Or you can paste it directly into a blog post or web page.

The code will look confusing like this: 

 <a href="http://URLtoYourBlogPostGoesHere.com" target="_blank"><img src= "http://theflirtyguide.com//badges/the-flirty-blog-weddings.jpg" border=0 height=180 width=180></a>

But it actually breaks down very simply into three basic elements:

 <a href="http://URLtoYourBlogPostGoesHere.com" target="_blank"><img src= "http://theflirtyguide.com//badges/the-flirty-blog-weddings.jpg" border=0 height=180 width=180></a>

1. The blue parts create the link
2. The red part is the image
3. The orange part is the url the image will go to when someone clicks on the image

All you need to do is:

• Copy the code
• Locate the url to link to
• Upload the code to your blog or website

To do this you'll need to find the direct url to the post about your company. I'm using a recent post I did about Frost Cupcake Factory to illustrate how to do this.

In the browser window the url reads as http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.com

When you first arrive on the blog the url in your browser will probably read http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.com. You want a url that includes the title (or at least the beginning of the post title) in the url itself. So if the post title is orange, clicking on the post title you will be taken directly to that particular post and the direct url will be revealed.


After clicking on the post title it takes me to the direct url above. You'll also notice that now the post title is brown instead of orange. This means it is no longer a link and you are on the page for this individual post.

Here is the url larger and highlighted. This is what you want to copy and paste into the coding to make the web badge bring you directly to the post about you!

So if Frost Cupcake Factory wanted to use the "We were featured" badge below the code would read this way:

<a href="http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.com/2012/01/frost-cupcake-factory-my-new-favorite.html" target="_blank"><img src= "http://theflirtyguide.com//badges/the-flirty-blog-general-topics-we.jpg" border="0" alt="The Flirty Blog" height="200" width="140" /></a>

There are lots of badges to choose from. I created them in first person so if you have no employees you can say "I" or "My" was featured on The Flirty Blog. . .

And I made the same badges with a "We" and "Our" in case you have a partner or employees. Either way the code all works the same.

Click Here to go to the web badge page on The Flirty Guide. And let me know if you have any questions about how to link to a post about your company here on The Flirty Blog. I'd be happy to help you learn how to do this.

 If you want to make web badges for your own blog or website CLICK HERE for the tutorial
 "How to Design and Code Web Badges."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Still Searching: An important update from Janet

A video update to my blog post "I Am Desperate for Help" about my friend Janet Liang and her urgent search for a bone marrow match

Janet's latest video update. Though a match hasn't been found yet there is still hope :)

When her doctors told her a few weeks ago she only had eight weeks left to find a marrow match in time they thought that current rounds of chemo would knock the cancer back enough to allow a life saving bone marrow or stem cell transplant to happen by April. Unfortunately the chemo is proving to be less effective due to the Leukemia's heightened resistance so instead of a transplant by April, Janet must now undergo several more rounds of chemo delaying her chance for a transplant until June.

The additional chemo will weaken her body even more, but delay means she now has more time to find a match for her transplant. Even with many drives being held on her behalf nationwide and with the tremendous online drive effort many of you have helped with by forwarding emails, news stories and blog posts about her need, and asking others to join the donor registry at live drives and by ordering home test kits, a match for Janet has not been located.

This extra time means we can all continue to help Janet by spreading the word that it's easy and pain free to join the registry both here in the U.S. and abroad.

Cooperative Registries

You don't have to live in the United States to help Janet. If you live in a country with a cooperative registry your stem cells or bone marrow can be flown to California to save Janet.

From the Be the Match website:

"The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), which operates Be The Match®, has formal business relationships with donor registries in other countries. These donor registries are called NMDP cooperative registries.

When a doctor searches our Be The Match Registry® on behalf of a patient, we can search millions of additional volunteer donors through our cooperative agreements. And patients in other countries can access the volunteers listed on our registry.

These cooperative agreements play a significant role in helping patients find matching donors. Fifty-one percent of the transplants we facilitate involve either a U.S. patient receiving cells from an international donor or an international patient receiving cells from a U.S. donor."

Click on the name of the country to view contact details about your local cooperative registry:

Some countries have more than one program so look for this logo.

Czech Republic
Hong Kong
New Zeland
South Africa
United Kingdom

Sunday, February 26, 2012

24 hours riding "The Deuce" in Las Vegas #24holv

Special K riding and photographing on "The Deuce." Follow along at #24holv

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time when my my friend Special K and his friend b1-66er (who I've met once and had a lovely dinner conversation with but I don't think that really qualifies us as friends so I've decided to refer to him as my friend's friend) do their annual challenge for their blog 24 Hour Enterprises.

In the beginning they would watch TV for 24 hours changing the station (I think) at 15 minute intervals. Last year they went all out and decided to fly to NYC to ride the Staten Island Ferry for 24 hours straight. They even posted this picture of Manhattan at dawn. Gorgeous!

This year they decided to take on Las Vegas. Instead of blogging, they've been tweeting since after noon yesterday and have gambled the strip from the Venetian to an AM PM.
the plan is to flip a coin every 20 minutes. if we flip off-bus, we go to the nearest casino** (no repeats, thank you) and play 'til we win, then get back on the bus. we gamble in a window of 20 minutes. if we win, we get back on the bus. if after 20 minutes, we're behind, we play for 20 minutes more on a game that i consider to be more "winnable."***

there are dead spots on the ride where no casinos exist. during those moments, we're putting the timer on "pause," restarting when we get back in gaming territory.

whenever we get "meal hungry," we'll just put the timer on pause and dine leisurely ... but that can only happen in conjunction with off-bus.
For the most part they seem to be up on the winning, there are some odd photos that remind me of something you'd see on an episode of CSI, and when I woke up this morning I had a good laugh at two of their most recent, sleep deprived posts. There are a few hours left if you'd like to follow along or tweet them. Just CLICK HERE #24holv

Here are some of my favorite pictures and tweets since the challenge started yesterday afternoon:

After our 74º Thursday I thought a 59º Saturday would be cold

Then my mom sent me a photo of the blizzard that dropped a blanket of white over her neighborhood yesterday morning.

So, I sent back a photo of our weather here in Northern, California. LOL. OK, I admit it was kind of mean. But, I only did it because I've been trying to convince her and my dad to come visit but they hate to travel.

She kept telling me how much my dad loves to shovel snow. It's true. He does. So he must be pretty happy in this picture! The crazy thing is there was no snow on the ground the day before.

But there's no snow here in San Jose, only pink flowers. Every year the Bay Area goes pink when these ornamental plum trees begin blooming.

They're everywhere! You'll see them in yards, parking lots and even off the side of HWY 280 in Cupertino.

Their red/burgandy colored leaves emerge while or shortly after they're done blooming. If you're looking for a beautiful ornamental tree for your yard in zones 4-9 the Thundercloud Flowering Plum is a beauty.

The trees I've seen here in the Bay Area bear no fruit though I've read online some will.

I really love this picture. It's backlit. That's why the branches look so dark.

Hubby and I were driving down the street when we saw a row of them along the side of the road. So, we pulled over because that's how we roll.

And here's a photo hubby took of me with his phone showing my very bad form while taking pictures. I think you're supposed to hold your arms as close to your body as possible so you can brace the camera, which reduces camera shake. Busted. LOL

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eeeeeek! Guy Kawasaki linked to my blog!

My thanks to Ricardo Nuno Silva for letting me know that Guy had shared the post about the Ultimate Silicon Valley Geek Tour, Carl and I went on earlier this month, with his followers. This is quite exciting. To have my little post touched by the hand of Guy, well, technically touched via his keyboard, is quite an honor. Ricardo made my day by letting me know and it isn't even lunchtime yet :D

Updated to add:

My friend Richard Ford also messaged me that he saw Guy sharing the same post on Twitter.


Do you eat gelato in the winter?

What do you do when the temperature goes up to 74º (23ºC) two thirds of the way through winter? When it happened on Thursday I wanted to do something special to celebrate the unseasonably warm summer weather. . .

Carmello Chocolate Crunch + Caffé Moca Gelato + wafer cookie = Bliss

So that's what I did. I treated myself to one of my most favorite summertime desserts.

Today's forecast is actually 63º now that the day is upon us. What do you think? Is that warm enough for gelato?

If it is and you live near Downtown Campbell I'd suggest you head over to Gelato Classico (this location is now closed). If you don't live near Campbell you might be able to find a shop where you live using the Zip Code locator on the company's website.

There are so many choices!

Here's one more peek. If you love gelato and there's a Gelato Classico in your neighborhood this is a winning combination :D

Gelato Classico
191 E. Campbell Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008

Friday, February 24, 2012

George Takei's new musical asks us to "Never Forget"

(In this post is the first photo I've ever shared of my own family being held in the Heart Mountain Japanese American internment camp in Wyoming.)

Earlier this week the fun loving and comical George Takei's Facebook wall went from his typical hilarious posts to one of complete seriousness. It was Feb. 19th, the formal "Day of Remembrance" to acknowledge the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II.

George posted:
70 years ago today, the President signed a decree that sent me and my family to a prison camp. Hear my story, and learn how you can help fulfill our pledge: Never Forget. Never Again."

He also posted a link to a video about a new musical he is starring in so I watched the video, visited the website, and learned:

"Allegiance is an epic story of love, war and heroism set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, following the story of the Omura family in the weeks and years following Pearl Harbor, as they are relocated from their home in Salinas, California to the Heart Mountain internment camp in the wastelands of Wyoming. . .

. . .Allegiance sheds new light upon a dark chapter of American history. With its moving score, Allegiance connects the audience with universal themes of love, family and redemption."

How the Internment Affected My Family

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of American citizens with Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, he allowed military commanders to create and designate "exclusion zones," from which "any or all persons may be excluded." Anyone of Japanese ethnicity was then excluded from living along the Pacific coast of the United States from 1942-1945 for fear they might somehow help sabotage the security of our country during World War II.

My mother's family was forced to give up their home and business and were interned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming for over two years. The violation of Japanese American's civil rights during this time was un-American. That it took over 30 years for our government to formally acknowledge it was wrong is shameful. In 1988 Congress passed legislation that President Ronald Reagan signed that finally aplogized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government.

This was my family while being held in the Heart Mountain Wyoming Internment Camp. My uncles and aunties were all born in the United States and had been U.S. citizens all of their lives when this photo was taken. The little girl standing beside my grandmother is my mom.

What is left of one of the barracks that stood at the camp my mother's family was held at is now on display at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The bare wooden structures were uninsulated. They were dusty in the summer and drafty and cold in the winter. To think of my family living behind barbed wire, with guards with guns in watchtowers, in a wooden building with just tar paper covering the outside during the harsh Wyoming winters where temperatures could drop as low as 30ºF below zero is something that is hard to imagine.

And for what? For being of Japanese heritage. For looking Asian. It seems like in this day and age it would be unnecessary to say "Never Forget. Never Again." But I was shocked by how many people I heard after 9/11, both people I knew and people in the news and on tv, calling for "Middle Easterners" to be similarly rounded up and locked up. So I do believe there is a need for this message and this musical.

The Japanese Peruvians

I also suspect a lot of Americans don't realize, not only did we lock up our own citizens, the US Justice Dept. also agreed to accept and intern over 2000 Japanese Peruvians (and German and Italian Latin Americans) in our camps. (Click Here to read an excerpt from the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal)  The majority never returned to Peru. Some were sent back to Japan in exchange for captured Americans, others were sent back to Japan after the war because Peru refused to take them back and the United States refused to keep them.

Years ago I met a man whose family had been forced to relocate to the US during the Peruvian internment. He told me his family owned a successful shirt making factory and that the government wanted to be able to take it over and keep its profits so sending the Japanese-Peruvians away was an easy way for them to take successful companies away from them. I cannot verify the veracity of his statement (though these articles by the Texas State Historical Association and The Asia-Pacific Journal support it) but it is what was told to me and was the first time I'd ever heard of Peruvian and Latin American citizens being held in North American internment camps against their will.

Art Shibayama holding a portrait of his family taken in Peru before they were deported to an American internment camp. Photo by: Tyler Sipe

The Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal states:

"The United States' motivation for going to all of this trouble and expense, most of which violated both U.S. and international law, appears to have been a desire for hostages to be exchanged for Americans held in the Japanese-occupied territories. . .

. . .Over 500 Japanese Peruvians were in fact included in the two exchanges that took place in 1942 and 1943."

Civil Rights Attorney Wayne Collins
being honored by the
Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress
After the war, Peru allowed Japanese Peruvian citizens and those without citizenship who were married to a citizen to return to Peru. In the end 700 Japanese Peruvians without citizenship were "voluntarily" (meaning were forcibly) repatriated back to Japan as they had no other alternative. Peru refused to take them back and the U.S. refused to allow them to stay in this country.

The article states "There is no doubt that the kidnapping, deportation, incarceration, holding hostage, and forced repatriation of the Japanese Peruvians violated international law."

It was only the efforts of a civil rights attorney named Wayne Collins who was already fighting the forced repatriation of U.S. Japanese American citizens to Japan, who interceded on behalf of the 365 remaining Japanese Peruvians still caught in limbo in the United States, that they were not deported as well. Because of Wayne Collins those who wanted to stay in the U.S. were able to remain here and some were eventually offered citizenship.

Moving Forward

I feel sorry and outraged for my relatives who were forced to endure this humiliation and injustice just as I feel sorry and outraged for anyone of any ethnicity anywhere in the world who had been forced to endure racism and injustice. While many who had nothing to do with the internment will, to this day, offer apologies for what happened in the past, I think the best thing we can all do now is to think differently and do our best to not perpetuate hate and stereotypes in our day to day lives, to vote to end bigotry whenever possible, and to uphold the principle our country was founded upon that all men (and women) are created equal.

Because the internment happened to my own family I will definitely see Allegiance.

Thank you George Takei for bringing this musical to the stage and the message of remembrance to light. I, as do many others, appreciate that you are such an outspoken advocate of civil rights.

Watch the video of George Takei talking about why Allegiance is important to him, and should be to America, by clicking here: AllegianceMusical.com

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Overcoming common grammatical errors: your vs you're, their vs there vs they're, to vs too

Yesterday I saw this cartoon a friend had posted on Facebook. It's pretty funny but at the same time it can be embarrassing if you're the person online, in emails, or in handwritten notes who doesn't understand grammar and the correct word to use when you're faced with homonyms, two words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

I'm not ashamed to admit for years after I started blogging I would rewrite an entire sentence if I wasn't sure which homonym I should be using when confronted with words like to vs too. Or I would rewrite to avoid a punctuation issue, the most common of which was "Do periods go inside or outside of quotation marks?" By moving the quote to the beginning or middle of a sentence I didn't have to know the answer to that question. Then one day I realized that I could Google my grammar and punctuation questions and it was as if I'd seen the light.

It's so easy! I'd Google the words this way: your vs you're, to vs too, compliment vs complement. At first I'd have to Google the same searches over and over. Gradually, it all began to stick and I realized my writing was improving thanks to Google!

Your vs. You're at www.wikihow.com

Online the most common wrong word used is probably your vs. you're.

When you combine two words together to form one it's called a "contraction." So if you're not sure which way to spell a word like your or you're ask yourself this: Do I mean "you are" or do I mean the word "your"? If "you are" fits you're is the correct word and spelling to use.

You're going to be late = You are going to be late

That's you're piece of cake. "That's you are piece of cake" doesn't work so your is the correct spelling: That's your piece of cake.

The same can be said for its vs it's. If "it is" works you want to use the contraction form "it's." If it is doesn't work, use "its."

Their vs There vs They're at www.Planetoid.org

If you spend any time on social media websites or reading comments on news websites you'll see their, there and they're incorrectly used every day.

Here's the thing, I was never more than an average student when it came to grammar in school. In fact, if you go through the first few years of this blog you will find many instances where I used "then" instead of "than." My reason for pointing this out? It's never too late to improve your grammar and learn how to punctuate correctly.

As a blogger I run into lots of situations where I'm not quite sure how to spell or punctuate something. For instance, does a period go inside or outside of quotation marks at the end of a sentence? So I Googled my question and lots of results came back.

It's that easy!

Periods and Quotations Marks: Grammartips.homestead.com

In no way am I professing to be any kind of expert on grammar or punctuation. I am, and will always remain, a work in progress when it comes to becoming a better writer. I'm learning as I go and do my best. That's all I can do. But I wanted to share these tips with you in case you also struggle with words and punctation :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I don't have a cold!

For the past few weeks whenever I talk to people on the phone they ask me if I have a cold. I don't, I have allergies. I'm actually lucky that I didn't start experiencing allergies until just a few years ago. For the most part they are so mild I choose not to take antihistamines but sometimes they'll leave me sounding a bit scratchy and froggy.

I'm wondering if the culprits might be the gorgeous pink magnolias and ornamental plum trees blooming all around the Bay Area right now.

If they are, it's a small price to pay so don't worry about me, I'm not sick, I'm just enjoying the flowers :)

Stories from the Shoebox made me laugh

Oh the horror. As a blogger I can only imagine being a victim of the Picassa deletion phenomenon that's taken place across the internet ever since Google+ was launched. It's been a while so I thought Google had come up with a better warning system to let new Google+ users know that if they delete the Picasa web albums they see on Google+ they aren't deleting copies of their Picasa albums, even though they're logged into Google+, they are deleting their original albums over on Picasa where all of their blog photos are stored.

It's not until a blogger goes to their Blogspot blog and sees this that they realize something's amiss.

So, when I received comments from a reader on a post I wrote warning people about this phenomenon I felt so bad for her I went to her blog to read her post "An Open Letter to Google." And it was HILARIOUS! I felt bad laughing at her misfortune but I couldn't help it. After tweeting that she hated Google Adrienne says:
. . .But then? I got scared. Aside from being out of character and unprofessional of me. I was really second guessing my decision to tweet bash you. I got all worried you might take me out. I mean, I'm just some lowly mom who writes on Blogger. But, doesn't that pretty much mean you own me? So perhaps tweeting that I hate you wasn't the best move. SO? I deleted my tweet like a coward with no shame. . 
LOL. I love Adrienne's humor. Really love it. Plus her post contains a valuable warning for other Blogspot users.

In the hopes of cheering her up a bit I went ahead and signed up for her RSS feed to subscribe to her blog.

For anyone curious my favorite reader is NetNewsWire Lite.

Then I followed her on the friend connect feature on Google...

See, I did it!

Then I followed her on Twitter. I bet if you go check out her blog it'll cheer her up just a bit. Not enough to make up for losing all of her photos but new visitors always makes a blogger feel better :)