Hey there Geek Girl Blogger readers. This week we are featuring mandyvan as our Geek Girl Blogger.
Name: Mandy Van Cleave
Screen Name: mandyvan
Personal Blog: http://blog.myspace.com/mandyvan
Social Networks: MySpace, Twitter, Ning, Pownce.
Other websites she is active in at times: Youtube, Digg, blog.tv.
Current Employment: Job Searching!
I blog to stay sane. In grade school, we journaled so much and I began to miss that. Sharing a journal with the rest of the world sounds like a pretty neat concept to me, so you can gear what you are writing about to interest others but still be random and personal. Even though blogging is a release, I think there's also that underlying possibility of being "discovered" with blogging, whether its someone wanting you to blog more because they like your writing style, or finding a job where your brand of creativity would be appreciated.
I found many geek t-shirts in my closet, so that encouraged me to pick up blogging. I have a corresponding G33k shirTz album on MySpace.
My blog topics have varied, depending on what is going on in my life. I was so busy with my previous job that there was a Winter Break I blogged over, making me think my blogs would be about domestic godessness. Sometimes I see something random and funny and don't want to forget about it, I can look back on my stories and laugh, so I blog.
If you really want to know, I honestly think that finding a dirty sock on my kitchen table inspired the winter break blog "Another day, another load of laundry..." which was my first blog. Recently, being out of work coaxed my inner blogger back out. I think what held me back from blogging is just not really having anything to say that I thought would be of interest to anyone else and the whole Internet safety aspect. Then I began to realize I might read something someone wrote 2 days ago or 2 years ago and it's still that person, time is not always relevant if it's someone's feelings.
My bloggings (my spell checker thinks I mean floggings!) of late have been short and definitely infrequent, but I am easing in to the idea of a more regularly scheduled appearance of my wit and wisdom, but generally if I get an overwhelming urge to blog, I hop online. I would like to start a Podcast, I'm just in the process of thinking of what content I'd like to present.
I returned home from Girl Scout camp the summer before 6th grade and there was a desktop machine in the kitchen. My father had purchased a Tandy at Radio Shack. Since we didn't really have much software for it, it collected dust until Dad installed a modem. The world wide web hadn't invaded homes yet, but you could call Bulletin Board Systems and read Usenet Newsgroups, share files, chat online, post in forums, and have your own personal messages (like today's e-mail). My computer's modem called another computer's modem, limited by number and availability of phone lines, and then I would log in using my handle and password. The BBSs were creatively named and some had themes that reflected the interests of the owners of the BBS. AmiBase, The Outpost, The Home On-Line Exchange (The Hole), The Bear's Den, Casino Royale, and Head East are a few local BBSs I remember calling as a young teenager. We had frequent picnics to meet fellow users. Depending on the graphics of your computer, most of this was all text based with not a whole lot of colors for the background and text.
Those days, computer modems were optional, varying in speed and expense, and not many people had home or work computers, so those that logged in were this close knit group of people with common interests in technology and the knowledge to keep a computer running with the ability to call a bulletin board system. There was no Internet Service Provider customer service helping you over the phone, so you had to rely on having a friend or relative to show you how, and world of mouth advertising to find the phone numbers of the BBSs to call. I can recall about 3 students in my high school graduating class of 600 students that I was aware of being BBS users, so we hung out because we had similar interests, also having to branch out to BBS friends that attended other high schools. The BBSs definitely met my social needs, so I do like to say they are the precursors to social networking as we know it today.
The forums were the greatest. Imagine a very crude version of what you see today of the forums with moderators, original posters, and replies. I consider these to be an early form of blogging. People would use them to vent, to ask for advice, just to type whatever they feel, definitely sounds like blogging to me, except we called it "posting".
Some interesting facts from the BBS days are that most people my age at the time that called them only called local #'s and you would actually call multiple BBS's (with different "themes" and users) for a different experience. Rather than "username" we called it a "handle" and mine was Brunhilda. My middle school math teacher made up weird story problems and Brunhilda was a name that turned up frequently on my Algebra homework. I was nicknamed Bruny and people began to think it was my real name.
Another BBS fact many people don't know about me is that out of the 2 boyfriends I ever had in my life, I met them both through BBSs. The 2nd BBS download is now my husband of 13 years. (He was my boyfriend but we joke that we "downloaded eachother" because we met over the BBS that he ran. Now how cute is that?). His boss (tech company that provides networking service, equipment rentals, and website design CSN1.com) encourages employees to blog and digg. He made wooden 3-D letter B's and passed them out two Christmas's ago, so that employees could place them on top of their monitors if they blogged a tech article that day. He goes around and looks to see who has blogged and randomly gives $50 bonuses.
Naturally, I chose IT as a career field. Recently my position as Technology Coordinator with my local school district was cut for financial reasons, so I am currently hitting the virtual pavement, looking at all the job posts online until I feel nauseous. My job duties entailed supporting the network of 20+ servers, Cisco IP phones, 200 teacher laptops, and 600 student PCs and thin clients in the district. I was super busy there, bringing work home on many an evening and weekend. I didn't blog much while there because airing personal laundry was not encouraged and I was always working.
There was a recent job posting stating "Epic experience preferred," I just had to laugh at that one! (Epic is actually a type of hospital software, but to gamers it means something different.)
I was glad to find more time for blogging. I updated my MySpace and found and that my daughter and her friends were all on it. I like what Tom has done with the place.
Some of Mandy's Geek T-Shirts, see more! - G33K shirTz
Stay tuned for our next Geek Girl Blogger profile, next week.