I’m Karoli.

Married mom of 3, policy wonk, activist, and wrangler of The Pug who rules the house with an iron paw. I love politics, computers, the Internet (at its best), jazz, photography and gadgets.

In my first career, I administered retirement plans for small business, taught classes in retirement plan administration and design, and worked with professional societies on their education and certification programs for employee benefit administrators.

My second career has centered around the care and feeding of online communities, including the original CNN community as well as the WebMD communities and blogs. As the tools for community management matured and evolved toward community self-moderation, there has been less demand for actual people to participate in the moderation process. I am now making a transition to writing about politics, policy, and world affairs.

If you’re wondering why I go by my first name only, it’s because my politics are mine alone, and shouldn’t belong to family members who may not share my views nor should have to wear them because of their relationship with me. This has not stopped some characters out there on the web from publishing all of those different names, from the one I was born with to the one I have now, and a couple in between. Still, I think there should be some line where my family doesn’t wear my politics, and so this blog bears my first name which is also the one that identifies me best.

In the pages of this site you will discover who I am, warts and all. I’ve experimented with separating the political from the personal, the personal from the passionate, the passionate from the photography, and it just didn’t work. I am an amalgamation of many interests, gifts, passions and opinions, and you’ll find them all here. For better or for worse.

You can find me on Twitter, Flickr, Friendfeed and Facebook.

Contact Me:

If you’d rather send an email, send it to drumsnwhistlesATgmailDOTcom.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michele December 12, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Hi Karoli,

Just wanted to thank you for your wise words and good reading skills! My little stalker doesn't seem to have much in common with you. Sad.

2 Laurin January 5, 2008 at 6:33 am

do you have bipolar disorder?? i have something interesting to share with you

3 Karoli January 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Hi Laurin,

I don't have bipolar disorder, but I had relatives with bipolar disorder. ADHD is my disorder of choice. ;-)

4 Paul February 7, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Tried to add a comment (from my Mac) on your article about MSJ breaking up but the blog entry wouldn't let me. Couldn't see a closed sign (for the post).

Just a quick point. I'm a designer and Mac user for 14+ years now and MSJ member 4+ years. Not a Mod or anything. Despite the website title this wasn't a forum full of hackers and software pirateers – a great deal of us went for the community and Mac support. I used to post help for all sorts of issues, fonts, design, best type of peripherals, postscript issues. When I had an issue myself I could go there with confidence and get a realistic and honest response normally within an hour day or night.

These responses were kind you cannot get from official forums like Apple or Adobe because they have their own agenda and policy rules. Take audio as an example. I'm not talking about circumventing software or hacking iPods. A very common problem are audio codecs if you try to play a music file made on Windows (as many audio files are) through your Mac. Ask an Apple forum for advice on Windows codecs and you will get a nil response even though its a completely legal and reasonable request…. the codecs are free.

On MSJ, more than not you would be pointed straight to the free codec source or information without any judgement or bias because there were no big company politics or market share to worry about. People are entitled to this free market information.

So, I'm not having a dig at you article at all, I just think the picture painted of anarchic personalities, pirates and lifelong hackers huddled up in a commune together is inaccurate. I've never been one in my life, I'm on the radar professionally, have licensed software and I still felt comfortable on the site as did many others.

I'm not going to get judgemental about software piracy or hacking or say whether its right or wrong. There are good and bad on both sides. If Adobe and Microsoft took Apple's example and made software more affordable people wouldn't have a reason to steal it in the first place. The success of iTunes has proved that for music downloads and since the cost of DVD's has fallen there is no point spending all night downloading a poor quality ripped film, converting it (slowly), finding the codes, burning to disc. I've never done that and I have better equipment than some small TV stations.

Its fairer to say that MSJ filled the gap for Mac technical support for YEARS where Apple and other corporates left glaring holes and it should be remembered as much for that legacy as the hacker tag that above the line references continue to give it unfortunately.

Just a thought and thanks for the article.


5 Tiffany February 29, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Response to “Bipolar Britney” from 2/18
For some reason I wasn't able to leave a comment on that posting.
What a beautifully and thoughtfully written blog – I was equally impressed with the replies from your readers. Thank you for enriching this important dialogue. Mental illness is too often misunderstood and misrepresented in our society.
-Diagnosed Bipolar 1 age 23
-Hospitalized age 25
-Living a successful, stable, happily married life as a teacher and coach and above all trying to be a POSITIVE example of someone who is living with and sucessfully managing manic-depression / Bipolar disorder.
I believe there are many of us out there.
Dr. Sara Russell's book “A Lifelong Journey” (very difficult to find) provides many positive examples of people living with Bipolar Disorder.

6 daynamarcum May 14, 2008 at 10:21 am

great to see your blog, I have a child with some neuro imbalances and I'm so confused half the time, he's so great in a one-one session that they feel it's more behavioral–which could be the case, however, that makes me want to discipline the behaviour vs. care for his condition with more compassion, kindness and gentle TLC. I really didn't even know he may have some neuro issues until I started to doing some research (and found your blog) for Heal Sick Children (http://www.healsickchildren.org) a campaign to let others know about what's going on to help our kids. The coolest thing is that there is a neurological research center being built by Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston, Texas. I really would love them to research more natural and holistic ways we can heal our kids vs treatment through synthetic medications. My thought is, if we can get we parents to speak up on our blogs about how we would support this type of research, it might help them take a further step in that direction. What do you think? I think a neuro research facility is desperately needed, but only if it heals the issue, vs treating the symptoms by researching which drugs work best. As a parent of ADHD kids, how could this facility help you? Feel free to email me (I put the healsickchildren address …this feedback will go directly to the research facility.

7 Ann May 18, 2008 at 9:47 am

Dear Karoli,
My husband and I are very interested in purchasing a home in Lakeside Village. I appreciate your info about the area. Is there more we could learn. I have so many questions such as: is there a play area for children, how large can the boats be on the lake, is there docking for boats on the lake, is there a area to launch a boat if one is not lakeside. I have 2 grandchildren. Being an elementary school teacher, I am just interested in children in general. Are the home owners kind to children or are they considered a nuisance? I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Ann

8 Karoli May 18, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Hi Ann,

The lake is a man-made lake, and as such is only able to accommodate small paddle-type boats or sailboats. Because of the ecosystem, which includes fish and turtles and has become a summer home to shore birds like the great blue heron, great egret, green heron and white egret, motor-powered boats are not allowed on the lake. There are docks for small boats.

My kids have grown up here, and over the years, I've seen it become more kid friendly. We are on the east side of the lake, where there are large greenbelts for kids to play, as well as the pool area, which always has lots of kids on the weekends. With that said, I will add that child safety is first, so the lake is fenced and locked, as is the pool area. Supervision of kids is also expected.

Overall, we consider Lakeside a great place to live, with or without kids.

I hope that helps, and good luck with the househunt!

9 Karoli May 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Hi daynamarcum,

I appreciate your thoughts on the behavioral versus biological. In our case, we had to start with the biological before turning to the behavioral issues. I'm concerned that we're living in a time where there's such an anti-pharma bent that kids who are well-served with medication are not receiving it and instead being put through behavioral therapy without a biologically stable environment with which to receive it. That makes for lousy results, in my opinion.

I struggled for a long time with the idea of medication, and looking back, would do it exactly the same way if I had it to do again.

10 C July 27, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for this blog. Had a Mr. Papa show up at my door wanting to install a “simon Xt” for free. Said he worked for a company called “Siren” Wasn't able to find anything online about siren, but when I started search the name I came across your blog. I am assuming that Siren is just an evolution of Firstline

11 Mahalia August 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Hi, I stumbled on your site thru bloghopping and thought it was interesting.

12 Mike Hayward September 15, 2008 at 12:04 am

Hi, Karoli -
I was Googlin' area Roller Derby teams and ran across your blog (?) post about (what was it) “What does Irish Dance and Roller Derby Have in Common?” Your bio says West Coast and I'm wondering if the Dance/Derby combo was in Camarillo – and if you have any further info. I think I'd like to photo shoot a derby match but I'm unsure where they're happening.
- Mike Hayward

13 phaedral November 4, 2008 at 8:52 pm

I keep trying to convince myself you're in SoCal so we can meet up, but, well, eventually reality sets in…

14 Karoli November 6, 2008 at 6:19 pm

I am in southern cal! We'll have to do it

15 Janice December 21, 2008 at 3:23 am

Hi Karoli,

Really nice website!

I came to this site from identi.ca …

I am trying to create an automatically updating identi.ca site when I publish my blogs. I am not sure how to do this. I tried to add my twitter account with in identi.ca, but no luck. Perhaps, I need to add a plugin to my wordpress blog?

Could you kindly help?

16 Karoli December 21, 2008 at 9:36 am

Hi Janice,

The plug-in is called Laconica Tools. I can’t get to the link from my BlackBerry right now but a google search should get you the download page.

Hope that helps!

17 Janice December 21, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Thank you so much, Karoli.

I will search for this plugin.

Best wishes.

18 willconley777 January 26, 2009 at 2:24 am

Life in 19/7 time, now that's one hot beat. Can I beak that up into three sets of five and a one-measure waltz?

19 Karoli January 26, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Hey, the beauty of odd times is that you can break it up any way you want as long as everything adds up. ;-)

20 Tre March 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm

okay i gotta know what version of disqus this is. love that you can do video comments. love that you see the comment area before the comment. love that the comment areas stay visible.

i added a plugin for disqus comments…still very new to plug ins. do you know the specific code for this style or how i can find it? love it. very now. ;)

21 Karoli March 14, 2009 at 9:35 pm

to turn on video comments, go to the Disqus site and you can turn it on under settings. You can also turn on Facebook connect (a little more complex process), so people can comment using their Facebook persona. I'm assuming you're using Wordpress? There's also a setting there to put the comment box at the top of your comments rather than the bottom. I'm torn about that setting, because it probably squelches the conversation if people write a comment before reading the others, but my own preference is to have it at the top. There's also style settings and other tweaks you can make. All really intuitive and easy….Disqus definitely rocks in that regard.

22 Iworkfor a Securitycompany March 31, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Firstline is Bankrupt… any affiliates are ripoff's

23 Jim Karolik May 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Posted a comment and disappeared. My name is Jim KaroliK and have a former wife named Chloe (like your pug). How did you select tjhe name Karoli? and the K at end stands for…?
Karolik in TX

24 Jim Karolik May 24, 2009 at 12:22 am
25 Karoli May 24, 2009 at 9:14 pm

It's the name my mom gave me. :) The K at the end is the first initial of my
husband's last name. Thanks for dropping by.

26 Dr David Black May 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Your thoughts are interesting.
Did Black

27 Keith Miller October 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Love your blog .

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