Category Archives: The Page

End of Reduced Technology February

Here we are! Ending the last full week of February. Posting should return to normal next week as I come back from the non-technology world – hopefully with exciting tales of adventures! Thanks for bearing with us during all these Pre-scheduled posts!


February is here! February is reduced technology month at the DiDonato household. Last year this was a successful experiment, so we’re trying it again.

The rules last time were as follows:

Cell phones:
Cell phones can be used as communication tools: phone calls, FaceTimes, texts, or emails.
Apps can be used only if the supplement some other activity. For example: logging our exercise or looking up a recipe

Our TV will be unplugged for all of February

All the same rules as cell phones
Laptops can be used for work
Laptops can further be used for errands like paying bills or ordering a water filter off Amazon

This year we’re adding three modifiers:
1. Online stuff is okay if we’re researching stuff for Baby D.
2. Exceptions are allowed if we are alone
3. Using technology as part of a social event is okay


#1 Baby comes first.
#2 is in response to February being a month that has school vacation for Jen. The goal with no-technology February is to make sure that technology doesn’t get between us. No time where we are both sitting around together, but completely engrossed in our own tiny world of cell phone usage. That’s dumb. We don’t want that. But, if Jen’s flying solo at home while I’m fully preoccupied at work, that has nothing to do with our goal of spending time together instead of with our devices.
#3 We will absolutely be using our television for the super bowl. This is a social event meant to bring people together, not to pull them apart.

And that’s it!

I’ll try to prep a few website posts so that this doesn’t turn into more of a barren landscape of disinterest.


Annnnnd we’re back!

This extended leave was brought to you by the WordPress 4.3.1 automatic update.

It’s almost comical. Every update that I do on WordPress seems to corrupt a file. The tragedy is that each of my attempts to fix the problem leaves small relics of disorganization inside my website’s organizational structure. My database is starting to look like those houses on the Horders TV show.

That said, I’m glad to be back. I have a few key posts in the works including THE SHED POST. Stay tuned.

A rose by any other name is still a noun

My sister is expecting another child! Woo! Congrats Sis!

In light of the thoughts of another tiny person in our extended family, Jen and I were playing a name game on a recent long car drive connecting names with parts of speech.

It started simply enough: go back and forth naming different names that were nouns or homophones for nouns: Rose, Sander, Ray, Grace, Skye, Mason, Penny

Then? Verbs or homophones for verbs:
Chase, Peter, Bill, Mark, Josh, Chuck

BUT! The real excitement came when we started looking for names that are also ADVERBS or homophones for verbs.
Reminder: an adverb describes a verb, like the words quickly or sneakily.

After two hours or so I came up with one such name. Can you think of it (or others?)


Another different look?

Okay. Theme attempt #2. I like the structure of this one a bit more, but I don’t think it’s as pleasing to look at. The fact that the comment count shows along with each full blog post (less photos) is kinda nice. I could toggle back so that each featured area only shows a snippet… the jury’s still out.

Also nice about this one is that the Favicon finally works (thank you Shamus).

So far, which one do you prefer?

If you didn’t get to see one or the other, let me know and I can switch back and forth between them.


A new look?

The recent trouble I had with was caused by a database issue. I exceeded the size of my database for what was allowable with the newest version of WordPress (4.0).

The frustrations surrounding this incident also led me to the realization that I’m well overdue for a new website theme.

Thus begins my experimentation with a few new themes. Please feel free to provide your feedback!


The Writing Prompt

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – or maybe just me. But still, I’m excited! It’s the first ever Mike DiDonato writing prompt.

Here are the rules:

1. When you’ve got 45 minutes to spare, please click on ‘more’ below to see the writing prompt. For RSS readers, you won’t see the ‘more’ button, so if you’re not ready to spend 45 minutes stop here and come back later.
2. Once you’re ready to go, read the prompt and…
3. Start the timer!
4. When you’ve completed your writing prompt email it over to me at MikeDiDonato AT gmail D0T com. The deadline will be Sunday, March 24th at midnight EST.

Try not to read the prompt in advance and try not to spend more than 45 minutes. We are all honors system here. Jen will be taking over from here so that I will have to obey the same rules as everyone else.

Click more when you’re ready!

Read More

Creative Writing Prompt

My girlfriend Jen aids with 3rd and 4th grade classes at a Connecticut School. At about this time of year she must participate in the miserable administration of standardized testing.

One part of Connecticut’s standardized testing methods are writing prompts. The students are given a brief scenario and are then encouraged to write per this prompt for 45 minutes. The younger students are given exciting fictional prompts like “Your friend gives you a pair of socks that will turn you into whomever you want when you put them on. Tell us what happens next!”

Older students are given really boring prompts like “Make an argument for or against extending the school year.”

No thanks on that last one.

All this led me to an idea: I thought it might be a fun exercise to give a writing prompt. I’ll have Jen pull out an exciting 3rd grade writing prompt from some past year and then I will post it. I encourage each of you to write for 45 minutes about this topic and submit it to me. I will post all submissions. The only rule is that you can only spend 45 minutes on your creative writing attempt.

I will do it for sure, and hopefully you will too! Let me know if you’d like to participate. I’ll probably have this happen next week some time.