Category Archives: Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday: I am a Real American


P.T. Barnum antics aside, I wanted to share this website with you.  As you may recall, I’m a fan of Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” campaign.  And I like web sites with user-generated content. So it’s only natural that I’d enjoy I’m a Real American

From the “Welcome” section:

This site was put together in response to some people thinking that there are two kinds of Americans: real Americans, and, uh … false Americans?

We’re here to disabuse them of that idea.

We are all real Americans. We are all here together. And we are here to face the issues of our times as a nation.

Yes, there’s a political bent to the site, but regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, the videos are pretty amusing.  The format of the clips is the same: “Hi, My name is _____.  I _______.  And I’m a Real American.”

My favorite so far is Shane.  “Hi, my name is Shane.  I like METAL…and PORN… And WEED.  And I’m a Real American.”  Rock on, Shane.

I’m considering contributing to the site… Drhuv already stole my “I hate tunafish” line, so what would mine say?

“Hi, I’m Cari.  I have a little dog.  And I’m a Real American”

“Hi, I’m Cari. I’m worried about education, the war, and the economy.  And I’m a Real American.”

“Hi, I’m Cari. I’m 29 years old and I still have a crush on Donnie Wahlberg.  And I’m a Real American.”

Any other thoughts? What would yours say??

Website Wednesday: From the Readers

A few weeks ago, I asked for Website Wednesday suggestions.   Since I couldn’t think of anything to profile, I figured I’d give these sites a try:

Internet Anagram Service (
Submitted by:  Scott

A site that gives you all the possible anagrams for a set of words.  Naturally, I chose my name.  Cari Selene Rich =  I Clean Cherries or In Lace Cherries. Although they sound vaguely dirty, they really don’t mean anything.  Honorable Mention:  Career Chile Sin, which I think means I need to find a new job in a South American country known for their wines!! 

Sorry I Missed Your Party (
Submitted by:  Jane, who warned me it’s not suitable for work

Basically, it’s a blog devoted to outrageous party photos (such as the one below).  The photos are great, but the commentary is even better.  FUNNY, FUNNY stuff!  

I bet they’d love to get their hands on some of our Bunco pix–ahahah!

It’s Lovely! I’ll Take It!

Submitted by:  Jane

Their tagline is:  A collection of poorly chosen photos from real estate listings.  It’s amazing that people not only live like this, but actually put the photos on the internet to try to sell their houses.  

Google Chrome

Submitted by:  Lisa

Okay, so it’s not technically a web SITE, it’s a web BROWSER, but whatever.  Google continues its quest for world domination by trying to usurp Firefox as the “indie” browser of choice.  Now, instead of installing the Google toolbar into your regular browser, you can browse/search/surf all from one place. 

Frankly, it’s a lot like Firefox, with one exception:  the landing/home page.  Instead of typing or using a drop-down for your favorites, it remembers where you’ve been and lets you choose from a menu.

Here’s mine:

No surprises here: MySpace, Facebook, WordPress, Hannah’s blog, Work e-mail, YouTube and  I’ve been weather-obsessed lately and it’s really weird.

So, there you have it… some suggestions from my small, yet faithful readership.  Let me know if there are any other sites I should check out and maybe, just maybe, I’ll write about them one of these days.

Website Wednesday: MySpace Music

Since I profiled Facebook last week, I figured I’d give some blog-space to its slightly older brother MySpace, specifically the newly revamped MySpace Music.

I kinda lost faith in MySpace a few months ago.  For me, the only advantages of MySpace over Facebook were the ability to blog and to add music to your profile.  Since I’ve been blogging here, I’ve pretty much abandoned MySpace for the greener, cleaner pastures of Facebook.  But MySpace Music just might bring me back. 

Although we hear a lot about MySpace vs. Facebook, MySpace Music is more like a contender for the iTunes throne.  So much so, in fact, that a big huge ad for the iPod Nano was literally splattered over my page when I logged in to get the screen grab above (more on that in a sec.)  In many ways, MySpace Music feels more like a hybrid of internet radio and iTunes than a traditional social networking site.  

The User Experience

The advantages to the user are enormous:  MySpace has partnered with all the major music labels so that artists’ entire collections are available online, instead of just a few select songs.  Like iTunes, you can create your own customizable playlists and share them with your friends.  You can add up to 100 songs and you can play them from anywhere using the stand-alone player.  There’s no limit to the number of computers you can have your music on and you don’t even have to have your MySpace page open all day.

Unlike iTunes, however, it’s all FREE!  To try it out, I added some songs by artists recommended on this blog and called it “blog recommendations.” (How’s that for user-generated content–ahha!)  I was able to listen to full length songs and decide whether or not I liked them without spending 99 cents.  

There were a few technical glitches (some songs wouldn’t play) and I was missing the “popularity” indicator feature from iTunes, but—all in all—it was really easy to search, navigate, and add songs. Of course, if I want to buy music (or download ringtones, or buy concert tickets), I can do it right there from MySpace Music.

Sound Business Model

Which makes MySpace Music not only a fun way to play music online, but also part of an interesting (and profitable) business model.  By upgrading the music platform, MySpace is getting back to their roots and positioning themselves as more than just a social network. They are partnering with big name businesses (including record companies and potential competitors) and are a Mecca for targeted marketing.  

Since their advertising model is based on the number of visitors stumbling upon new pages, more users discovering new music could mean increased ad revenue for MySpace and better targeting opportunities for advertisers.  Having another option in legal online music downloads could also help he faltering music industry, which is why they signed on in the first place.

Even if you haven’t logged into MySpace in a while, I recommend checking it out and playing around a bit.  Let me know what you think.

For Further Reading:  


Life has been getting in the way of blogging lately, so Website Wednesday was postponed a bit this week.  It’s technically still Wednesday here, so I hope you’re not too disappointed!

Website Wednesday: Facebook

Okay, okay, I know it’s no big surprise to anyone that I like facebook, especially since a great number of my blog hits come from my facebook and mySpace profiles.  But it wasn’t until last night that I realized the transformative power of social networking.

Just the other day, I was trying to write a post about how hard it is for me to “discover” music on my own.*  I need someone to introduce me to artists and force me to listen to stuff that is outside my comfort zone.  My musical tastes have been primarily shaped by two different groups– my family (most notably my brother) and my friends from college.

As I was writing the post, I was reflecting on my group of college girlfriends and how most of us have remained in touch over the years.  With the notable exception of one girl–Jess.

Stacy, Kelly, Cari, Jess

The girls of Hewett 6: Stacy, Kelly, Cari, Jess

Headbangers--the blonde, the brunette, the redhead

Headbanging? Me, Angie, Jess--the blonde, the brunette, the redhead

She was the musical genius of the group.  And the best athlete. And the most sensitive (believe it or not!).  Jess was everything the rest of us weren’t and she was truly one of a kind.  But we all lost touch with her early in our senior year of college. Inevitably when I’d talk to any of the other girls, we would always ask each other: “Have you heard anything from Jess?” even though we knew the answer.

I’ve searched for Jess on and off over the years, as recently as a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve Googled her.  I’ve Googled her parents.  Her brother.  I searched for her on mySpace, on facebook, on LinkedIn.  No dice.

Well, folks–last night it happened!  As I was walking home from the gym, I checked my email.  Sitting there in my Inbox was a friend request from Jess.   I had tears.  I couldn’t get home fast enough.  But, in the meantime I had to text my other friends and let them know that FINALLY Jess had resurfaced.

I immediately rushed to the computer and logged on. Within seconds I was looking at her photo.  She looks exactly the same and seems really happy and healthy. It’s cheesy, but I feel like I found a missing piece of myself when I saw her profile. 

So,  I dedicate this Website Wednesday to facebook.  We all know it’s fun.  And a great time-waster.  And a place where we can throw sheep and send each other fake plants.  But it’s also a place to connect old friends with one another.

God bless the Internet.


*It’s possible that I might actually finish this post eventually, so humor me if you read this part again.

Website Wednesday: Learning to Love You More

I first read about Learning to Love You More on Not So Plain Jane and have been addicted ever since.

Founded by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher, LTLYM is a participatory web site that is part self-discovery, part online art experiment, and pure voyeuristic fun. The premise is simple: July and Fletcher post assignments, regular people complete the assignments and send “reports” to the site for inclusion and posting.

Through these assignments, people are asked to create various types of artwork as documentation– drawings, photographs, written pieces, etc. Some of the work is absolutely amazing.

The site reminds me a bit of PostSecret in that it gives people a chance to “reveal” themselves through art, yet it allows for enough anonymity and creativity to truly make it like an ongoing, organic art exhibit.

The topics themselves range from deeply personal to downright silly, but participants can choose their own level of anonymity.  Some of my favorites:

Not Just a Lurker

I love this site so much I’ve even submitted a couple of things.  Ever since discovering Fridgewatcher, I’ve been fascinated by the notion of photographing everyday items, so I submitted this report for Assignment #50: Take a Flash Photo Under Your Bed

And I sent in this photo in for #27: Take a Picture of the Sun, but it hasn’t made it online yet.

I also started working on the write your life story in a day assignment, but I didn’t finish in the allotted time. Plus, it was already getting way too long and way too personal to post–and I only made it through grade school!

The other great thing about this site is that it introduced me to Miranda July. I had vaguely heard of  her before, but now I’m definitely going to have to check out more of her work.

Website Wednesday:

Or… proof that there really is a web site for everything!

Yet another PopCandy find, is a site where people around the world can upload pictures of their refrigerators. Why? I have no clue, but it becomes somewhat addicting looking at the foods people have in their fridges, especially in the international photos.

Of course, I had to snap a couple pix of my own.  Now, I could have waited until after I bought groceries or after I had tidied up a bit, but I wanted to keep this authentic:

Freezer: Note the THREE boxes of frozen lemonade, two pints of sorbet, Kashi meals and a lil bit of vodka!

Fridge: I like to stay hydrated: 3 different kinds of soft drinks, water, beer, wine, condiments and butter!

But I couldn’t stop there. I decided to snap a quick pic of my medicine cabinet while I was at it. Since I know everyone peeks in medicine cabinets, I was for sure I’d find a “medicine cabinet watcher” site on the internet. To my surprise, I couldn’t find one. Here’s the pic of my medicine cabinet anyway… scandalous stuff in there!!

Medicine cabinet: Apparently I like to be moisturized, too. And, no, I didn’t intentionally turn the labels on the medicines around.

The most embarrassing part of all these pictures is the messiness of all of them. I guess I need to get to organizing!

Website Wednesday: Ning

This week’s featured website is Ning is a site for setting up mini social networks.  Instead of creating a mySpace page or a facebook group around a given topic/subject, you can set up your own Ning.   I’m currently in a few different Nings, including one for work and one for boot camp.

Ning is Chinese for peace, in case you're wondering

Ning is Chinese for peace, in case you're wondering

Nings are great ways to keep in touch and to stay on topic. Like any social networking site, they allow for pictures, public posting, private messaging and “friending.”  Unlike the mega-sites, they’re centered around specific topics, interests or groups.   Since Nings are typically more specialized than groups on mySpace or facebook, they to have a greater sense of purpose and privacy.  

The most successful Nings I’ve seen so far are used as an online extention of  face-to-face relationships.  This makes them perfect for groups/clubs/activities where people want to continue to socialize and interact between sessions/meetings.

(BTW, I’m still looking for suggestions for Website Wednesday. It’s kinda sad when I’m blogging about work-related stuff from home, instead of the other way around!)

Website Wednesday: Yearbook Yourself

I’ve been dying to blog about Yearbook Yourself as soon as I saw it on Pop Candy, my very favorite pop culture blog.

The idea is simple: you upload a photo of yourself and it shows you what your yearbook photo might have looked like in various years from 1960-2000. Some of my favorite results:


1960-- cool specs, hip chick

1968-- Very Carol Brady, no?

1968-- Very Carol Brady, no?

1974-- Scary 'cuz this is the year my mom graduated HS and I look *exactly* like her!

1974-- Scary, 'cuz this is the year my mom graduated HS and this pic looks EXACTLY like her!

1990-- I wished my hair would feather like that back then!

1990-- I wished my hair would feather like that back then!

Here’s where it starts to get REALLY interesting. Compare the Yearbook Yourself results with my *actual* yearbook photos from the same era. Eerie!

The first set is the Yearbook Yourself pic from 1994 and my actual yearbook photo from the 1994-95 school year.

The second is Yearbook Yourself: 1996 and my school pic from 1995-96.  Yes, my hair is longer, but the style is similar.

The last set of pix are Yearbook Yourself: 1998 and my senior picture (1997). They are the least similar, but I can assure you that by 1998 I was able to do that hot roller look myself!

Freshman Year 1994-95

Website Wednesday: Typeracer

I’m still kinda tired from my New Orleans trip, but it’s Wednesday and y’all are expecting a website, right? To get over the mid-week hump (or, in my case, survive your first day back to work) visit

The idea is simple:  See how fast you can type.  You can race your friends or complete strangers.  The best part is that the passages you type are fun… they come from popular movies, songs, literature, etc.  

I spend a great deal of time typing–emails, IMs, actual work– so I thought I’d be pretty good at this.  I can sometimes win a race or two, but you’ll never see me on the leader board.  Turns out there are some SUPER quick typists out there…. like 200 words per minute.  Yikes!

Look, I won!

Look, I won!

WARNING: This site has a high addictive potential and may eat up valuable hours of productivity.  It is best if you play at home or during only approved breaks from work!

Website Wednesday: Wordle

First of all, I need to give credit where credit is due.   I first learned of from this blog post.  (Yes, it’s work-related, but also fun).  Whereas Traci goes to great lengths to describe how Wordle can be used for educational purposes, I’m using it for my own vanity and amusement.

Wordle is a fun tool for making text clouds.  The clouds represent the words used in any piece of writing–website, blog, poem, etc– so that the more often a word is used, the bigger the text.  Below is the Wordle for this blog (I think it’s just pulling the first page of text)

Carichblogs home page

Here’s one for my “things that suck” blog post:
Things that suck

Things that suck

And, for fun, here’s the Wordle for this very post:

Wordle of Wordle post

Wordle of Wordle post

As you can see, you can play around with the font, the colors, the layout, etc. You can even limit the number of words that show up on a Wordle (default is 150).   It’s really interesting to see how often different words show up in your writing.  I, for one, was a little embarrassed when I saw how often I used the word ‘like.’  It’s like I’m a valley girl or something!

The only downside is that you can’t easily save your Wordles.  You can publish them to the public gallery and get the HTML code or you can create a screen shot, but you can’t just right-click and save. 

Play around with it, anyway.  I guarantee you’ll have fun and want to share your Wordles, too!