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Archive for the 'Just Bloggin’' Category

Sorry, Mom – I Tried

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

You guys are going to hate me.  Seriously.

I tried - for my Mom's sake I think more than anything.  No, no; that sounds like I'm putting it on her and it was fully my decision.  I was trying to "clean up" the blog - less cursing, more positive crap, and all of that (I thought) coincided with a more sophisticated and "pretty" blog layout and domain name/blog title.  I was wrong.  I have tried - oh gods I have tried - to fall in love with this layout and this name (La Vie Sans Limites); I cannot.

Don't get me wrong; this is a gorgeous layout; one of the prettiest I've ever seen or used.  And the name - which is French for "A Life Without Limits" - describes me and "works" in it's own way.  True, too, it got rid of that rather juvenile name "Sunshine and Farts" (which, in case you haven't figured out, my mother hated).  I was really trying to branch out and embrace a new, more positive, less cynical worldview and writing style.

Yet the more I looked at La Vie Sans Limites, the more I longed for Sunshine and Farts, and the more I gazed upon the lovely Forever Autumn layout theme, the more I pined for my carefully customized Sweetness theme.

When I bitch and gripe on the pretty blog with the sophisticated name, I feel...sort of malapropos.  It doesn't feel right.

Another point to bring up.  What's a more memorable blog title?  La Vie Sans Limites or Sunshine & Farts; come on, it's no contest.  My sister told me she has to keep laviesanslimites.com bookmarked to get to it - whereas she could always just type in sunshineandfarts.com; she remembered that.  And isn't that the goal of every blogger - to have a memorable name/domain name so that people can easily find and remember you?  Touche.

So here it is...I'm back.  I'm sorry, Mom; I did try.  But let's face it - I'm more a Sunshine and Farty kind of gal than a ooh-la-la Frenchy one.  To me, Sunshine & Farts sort of represtend my entire life - it's ups and downs, its stinky moments and its laughable ones; the joys and the sorrows, the highs and lows.  I realize that's a lot of emphasis to put on such a phrase, but there it is.

It's also a quote directly from one of the absolutely most amazing shows on television today; one that pinballs from being devishly cleverly cynical to embracing brilliantly hilarious buffoonery - Family Guy.  I'm not ashamed to admit I own every single season on DVD, as well as Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, and the special edition DVD-set of Blue Harvest.

The quote comes from Stewie Griffin in a scene where he is being interviewed by Bill Cosby for a spin-off on Kids Say the Darndest Things.

Bill Cosby: Stewie, what do you think candy is made out of?
Stewie Griffin: Sunshine and farts! What the hell kind of question is that?!

I laughed my ass off when I heard it and, later, thought it was just a hilarious and fun name that - as I said above - sort of represented me and this wild, wacky, often uconventional blog.

So there it is.  Hopefully this is the last change.  sunshineandfarts.com still works, always has - so you may resort back to that when ready.  The lavissanlimites.com will work 'til it expires sometime next year.

I apologize, but it had to be done.


Monday, June 9th, 2008


I love my name.

My mother blessed me with not only a beautiful and unique name, but with a name taken straight from the cover of a book; I can think of no greater gift a bookworm of a mother can betroth to her writer-bookworm of a daughter.

And in case you were wondering, since I've heard it pronounced a myriad of ways, mine sounds like "Anna".

THE Shanna & Those Other Shannas

I've always had this wild, unrealistic dream of being the top Shanna on the web - as in, the Shanna that is the #1 result when you type "shanna" into Google's search bar.

I'm fully aware this isn't possible (thanks, Ms. Moakler), though I have daydreamed of at least showing up on the first page of search results. Hey, it could happen.

I was always keeping tabs on the high-ranking Shannas - wondering how they did it. Honestly, when I was bored, I'd surf on over to google.com and search for "shanna" and see who was where and if anyone had moved (funny what amuses you when you're bored at work).

I got to know these Shannas, and watched with interest as they pin-palled up and down the search result ranks:

Bellydancing Shanna has been a top contender for years, usually trading back-and-forth spots with Country Singer Shanna and all of the other writing Shannas (yes, I'm not nearly the only one...in fact, most online Shannas are writers; perhaps the first time in my life I've been in a majority!) There's infamous Chick Lit Shanna (Ms. Swendson), as well as less known but often higher ranking Freelance-Writer Shanna and Published-Writer Shanna (Ms. Compton & Ms. Germain, respectively, who I am both highly respectful and insanely envious of). There's a Painter Shanna that's been there for awhile, and has pretty much taken up permanent residence on page 2.

Floating around in the first 5 pages (still a damn good place to be, imo) is, also, Photographer Shanna, Indie Rocker Shanna, Blogging Shanna, Artist Shanna, Bicycling Shanna, and Crafty Shanna. And let's not forget Dr. Shanna!

I'd say I 'm in pretty good company. Shannas seem to be, overall, pretty damn smart, creative ladies (the ones online, anyway). There are plenty of other Shannas online - other websites and quite a few social-networking profiles linked to a Shanna.

This Shanna's Story

So how are these Shannas - some that have been online not nearly as long as I - so high up in the Google ranks? How come I, who has been active online with a personal website since 1997, am nowhere near the high rank these newer Shannas have?

When I initially came online and started to establish a web presence, I made the mistake of not using my first name as my main identifier. My first Geocities and Yahoo! accounts (later combined) were as "vamp_lynx", and my first website was geocities.com/vamp_lynx. Though I said on the site that my name was Shanna, that wasn't enough to shoot me to the top of any search engine, much less even be noticed by them. My random, oft-changing website names rarely used my first name either - as most of my long-time fans will remember.

When I finally made the decision to purchase my own domain name, I wanted a unique identifier; something that would make me stand out online. I could've named my website, for example, "Slightly Off Kilter" and bought the according domain name (slightlyoffkilter.com). Yet, that was not unique. Someone searching for "kilter" wouldn't land on my site; even someone searching for "off kilter" probably wouldn't.

After much ardous inner debate, I decided upon the Greek word skatoulaki, which means "little shithead". It wasn't widely used online yet and was just unique enough to be a blanket identifier for all of my online work.

However, when I tried to use skatoulaki as my user name for some websites, it was sometimes taken. I then decided, to change the spelling up a little (something I hardly ever do) to make it more unique and easier to spell; thus, skatoolaki was born.

The unique identifer paid off - any and everything listed online under "skatoolaki" is my work; of which I'm quite proud.

This was great for establishing a unique, online persona. It was not so great for establishing myself as a known Shanna on the web.

Though I later bought shannariley.com to house all of my writing, my fate appears to have been sealed. I have not, despite now having shanna-ish domain names (shannariley.com and even shanna.ws), been able to climb the Google ranks.

I suppose you can list me, then, as the Unknown Shanna .


Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

I moved this blog over from Blogger to WordPress in March 2006 and it has taken me that long to finish fixing the old posts. Today, I am happy to report, it is done.

I did not use titles on blog posts on my blog, then named anima, when it was on Blogger. So when everything was deposited here on WordPress, those untitled posts just got slapped with a bunch of random numbers for names (like 107373855855). Blogger also didn't use nifty categories like WordPress does, so everything ended up being organized as "Uncategorized".

I always said I'd go and title and categorize those old posts - one day. Finally, I have - it took about two days of sitting down and just plugging away at it when I had time, but it is done. It makes the whole blog more "searchable" and readable.

I'm just pleased as punch.

More Like Writer’s Apathy

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Every day I wake up and want to write here in my blog, and every day I open up the WP dashboard and stare at a blank "Write Post" block.

It's not that there aren't things to write about. My life has been full and busy lately; just that I don't think anyone would care or I don't feel it worthy of a write somehow (which is odd, because some of it has been landmark stuff). I don't necessarily have "writer's block", it's more like "writer's apathy". I think about writing and then go, "Eh..."

I can't explain it. There's this burning desire inside of me to write - anything on any of my blogs. Yet when I set out to, it's "Eh...", and nothing gets written.

True, a lot of my creative output is going into two projects I'm working on (both Sims-related). I don't want to talk about them before they're done because that always seems to jinx it and then it will never be complete. I have been spending some idle time re-reading my Syls Empire stuff - thinking about doing something with it or even just expanding it. I know some of my websites, mainly skatoolaki.com and Skasimlaki, need some work & updating. I'd like to write some more on Trick Tracts, or even get back into researching and writing on The Brandon Children. I know I'm spreading myself thin in that respect, but it's like there is so much I want to do that I never actually can settle on any one thing to do.

Pretty much every spare second I've had since The Sims 2: Castaway for the Wii came in, I've been doing that - until I put the radio in my inventory and it disappeared. I've been so distraught (because all I've found online says it's a glitch and you must restart the game) that I haven't touched it since Friday.

And...eh. What else? I'm trying to be more diligent in updating my Twitter. I downloaded Google Desktop for my desktop pc and laptop last night and am (so far) pretty much loving it. I also spent some time customizing my iGoogle homepage; honestly trying to get away from Yahoo! as my homepage but I love the news updates. I love iGoogle and the way I can customize it, but I have this thing about getting all of my worldly & local news updates from Yahoo!. Yet, for whatever reason, I'm ready for a change. I've made Yahoo! my homepage on every computer I've used for the past 10+ years - just ready for something new.

[Sidenote: Cute YouTube vid about the ease of customizing iGoogle homepage]

To my sister and any other Magic 8-Ball fans - if you download Google Desktop (which I recommend), you have to get the AnswerBall gadget! It can be found here.

What else, what else? I finally cleaned out my Mozilla Thunderbird email today. I had, seriously, almost 6,000 messages. It had gotten so bad that I just stopped going to it. All of my email accounts (Yahoo!, Gmail, and any that are connected to my domain names) are all forwarded to my Thunderbird (which, btw, totally kicks MS Outlook's ass...make the switch today). Not only are all of these email accounts forwarded to Thunderbird, there is no organization to it; they just all simply end up in my Inbox. I need to sit and figure out a way to organize them - have different email accounts land in different folders or something, I just haven't sat down to do it. If any Thunderbird users have any ideas, please leave them in the comments.

Hey, this random writing thing isn't so bad...maybe I need to do this more often instead of feeling I have to have something to write about (like hot topics, what's in the news, major life events, so on & so forth).

I suppose that's enough rambling for now. There are some other important topics I want to cover - a graduation, a birth, a special birthday, but for now this will do.

A Pleasant Surprise, And Hope for the Future

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Due, no doubt to my own advancing age, I have become rather disillusioned with the future of the world; especially with those coming behind me that will be responsible for its care once we are gone. As a rule, much more than an exception, young people and children today...disappoint me. What I see is a burgeoning generation of self-absorbed, inconsiderate little cretins. Not all of them, naturally - but a good enough number to cause concern.

I can't say I ever feel encouraged concerning the future when I take time to notice what's going on in the world of television, music, and the Internet. While there are certainly bright spots, the up and coming youth of our world have a decided lack of quality entertainment and brain food at their disposal. Education, also, is a failing institution in these United States and the results are all too painfully obvious. The celebs that young people today look up to and emulate make my stomach turn, and the accepted illiteracy with which they conduct themselves via spoken and written communication are appalling. Common courtesy and common sense have long been abandoned, and young people today spend the majority of their lives with a one ear in a cell phone, the other in an iPod, and a mind on everything but what is actually going on around them - they especially pay no heed to the people in their vicinity. "Thank you" or "excuse me" are foreign words I rarely hear spoken by anyone under the age of thirty. They are too busy and preoccupied with self and their own goings-on to notice anyone else - much less to step around someone, hold a door open, or apologize for bumping into another person.

Again, I want to reiterate that this is not all of today's youth of which I am speaking. Certainly there are number of wonderful, bright, polite, and considerate teens and young adults in today's world. It just seems their less pleasant counterparts are the ones you run into more frequently.  In light of this, it's always a great pleasure for me to come into contact with some of the hopefuls.

This very thing happened to me on Friday evening, when I stopped by a local Best Buy in search of the The Sims 2 FreeTime  game guide.  As I was chatting up the very helpful Best Buy employee, Craig, as we searched - fruitlessly, I'm afraid - for the guide in question, I noted two young men with a The Sims box in their hands.  They queried Craig on whether the old game would work on a Vista-run machine, and I jumped at the chance to help out a possible future-Sims fan.

We struck up a conversation, as I told them about The Sims 2, the newer version that would definitely work on their computers running Windows Vista and extolled on the merits of the game, and how it was infinitely superior to its predecessor.

I would guess that the young brothers were around 18 and 10 or 11.  We ended up chatting about games, computers, and - of course - The Sims 2 for near an hour (in which time, the wonderful Craig was able to find my game guide - woot!).  I learned they were from a small town very near where I had grown up, and I gave the oldest my MySpace name so that we could stay in touch and I could help them if they had any further questions/problems about the game.

I left that store in the happiest of moods.  The two young men were polite, well-spoken, funny, and genuinely just all-around good people.  Me, the ultimate cynic and people-hater, was pleased to have my faith in humanity restored for a moment.  It was also nice to see two boys interested in such a creative, family-inspired game - rather than the usual violent, gory, or sports-only mindset that a lot of young men their age are into.  It isn't to say that they don't play these types of games (hell, I do as well) - but that they were interested in expanding their game-play into the realm of simulation and creative imaginings.  I found that impressive and endearing.

I suppose, then, I would just like to extend a small thanks to Brandon and Hayden for instilling a little renewed faith in our future, and in humanity in general, in this old cynic.  Thank you, guys - I see great things in both of your futures.

New Address

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

The address for this blog is now laviesanslimites.com.  I will be re-purchasing sunshineandfarts.com for one more year, to give everyone time to update their bookmarks.  In  the interim, please change your blogrolls and bookmarks to laviesanslimites.com.

Going All the Way

Monday, February 11th, 2008

I honestly had no idea that a new design would spur me into coming up with a new name for the blog! Yet, that is how it happened.

I fell madly in love with the Forever Autumn theme you see here, but "Sunshine and Farts" just really marred the beauty blazoned across the top in rich red and opulent gold. True, too, I never really felt the affinity I'd hoped for with "Sunshine and Farts"; I loved the name when I first came up with it, but after some time I found myself wishing I'd gone with something else.

So now I bring you the official - and I hope final - blog title of La Vie Sans Limites. It is French for "life without limits". Sans Limites, or "without limits", fits wild, passionate, no-holds-barred me and was also the favorite quote of my beloved idol, Isadora Duncan.

I had wanted the title to be just Sans Limites, but sanslimites.com was taken. I had considered Une Vie Sans Limites, which is "a life without limits", but preferred "la vie" to "une", and just left "a life without limits" as my blog-blurb.

I plan to purchase laviesanslimites.com and lavie-sanslimites.com. Of course, for some time to come, sunshineandfarts.com will still point here; so everyone has the chance to update their bookmarks and blogrolls.

And, so, ever-evolving me has now gone through three blog names and two blog locations. The original blog, anima, begun in June 2003 on Blogger became Sunshine and Farts on WordPress in March 2006. Now, in February 2008, still on WordPress, I am La Vie Sans Limites.

Welcome to the old but refreshed blog you've known and loved for the past five years.