June 26, 2004

How ya feelin'?

This site can't be beat for emotive art. Thanks RB for the trip. I mean tip.

And the winner is:

Xanax 1993. T'was a very good year.

second runner up.

Why my child will never visit the Paynters


(shhh. no one tell her we live in tornado alley too.)

Dave Can't Shut Up

On Scripting today, Dave links to a comment he left at Shelley's place.

No matter how hard he tries to revise history--just one of his many endearing habits--I maintan that it was the OUTRAGE not the "outage" that moved things, that required MORE THAN that nice little request from Dave, which appeared on the homepage of all weblogs.com blogs one day, to simply "leave your URL and sometime in July I'll get you your files, if you don't whine about it."


If no outrage, those folks would still be waiting.

Plain and simple.

Not an Outage.

An Outrage.

A deliberate shutdown without a second thought.

One that is now all better thanks to the men of technology.

The outrage encouraged the solution.

The FOD (friends of Dave) responded.

None of them bothered to answer Shelley's technical questions.

And why should they?

'Cause as we all know, a woman blogger's place is behind the camera.

Bite me. Bite me. Bite me.

Dave, go pack a box, take in a movie, read a self-help book. ANYTHING.

I'm done.

The COACEOs Will Blog

Uh huh. Hmmmm. So the Chief of All CEOS is going to start blogging. This is interesting. It would be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Bill Gates blogs. Every CEO in God's Heaven will blog.

"And so if I do a trip report, say, and put that in a blog format, then all the employees at Microsoft who really want to look at that and who have keywords that connect to it or even people outside, they can find the information." -- Bill Gates

Note to all other CEOs: You are not Bill Gates. His trip reports might be interesting because he's the COACEOs. Your trip reports, we can do without. Stick with the stuff you care about. Then We'll see how Bill Does.

Gates also has a stable of writers and communications specialists who help produce material. It's unclear whether they would help keep his blog going.

Probably so.

June 25, 2004

Looked this up for a new blog friend - Corporate Weblogging Secrets...

Me on corporate blogging a year ago. I hope you can see the lump in the side of my cheek, where my tongue is. ;-)

Recommendations -- The JBMCSE Roadmap: At the end of the JBMCSE process, the team will present you with your tailored JBMCSE Roadmap, which serves as a blueprint for putting your weblogging strategy into action. Recommendations we’ve made to current and former blue chip clients, include:

1) Rip up your org chart, or forget that you’re on the top line, for at least eight weeks.

2) Read six weblogs a day for six months before you type anything.

3) Tear up 4 (four) of your own business cards and put the pieces in your coffee mug. Every time you think about blogging, try drinking them to remind youself you’re human first.

4) Don’t touch the computer until every one of your employees has been encouraged to blog freely.

5) Tell your counsel that you won’t blog a single controversial word, and then do the opposite. Be prepared to cut them a big check.

These are just a few samples from JBMCSE Roadmaps we’ve developed for organizations just like yours. Remember, weblogging strategies are dynamic and complex. What’s “in” today may not be the savvy approach next week. With JBMCSE, we’ll keep our finger on the pulse of weblogging so you don’t have to.


So it has a name. Good old Google.

Lilapsophobia, an abnormal and persistent fear of tornadoes and hurricanes.

Jenna's got it.

We're not talking curiosity, we're talking listening for sirens in the air on a partly cloudy day.

It started with watching a weather channel special on twisters. Educational, I thought. What could it hurt?

I have now heard the word twister or tornado approximately 139 times in the last five days. Most frequently as the last word before she falls asleep and the first word upon wakening. And then several times during the day.

"If a tornado comes, will it rip the top off our house?" -- she asked me that as I'm writing this. Just now. In the last three seconds.

As we reassure her and share with her our own fears at her age, I'm hoping that this is just a childhood phase that will wane in time.

But the look in her eyes--it's the look in her eyes and the biting of nails.

They spell Lilapsophobia.

Little girls... what makes them tick?

I should remember. I was one. And I'm not sure if it's that I don't remember, or I wasn't the way little girls are today.

Jenna has a best friend the same age. They met in dance class two years ago. We moms and the two girls started spending time together. A friendship blossomed. You'd think that would be good. But what was once a friendship of giving has turned into nothing but one argument after another, one "she said this, she said that, she did this, she did that." after another.

What I remember about being six and having a best friend is that her name was Debbie and she lived next door, and living out in the country, this was a good thing. We became best friends out of necessity--two girls, same age, next door, none other like us for a mile or so in either direction. Hence, the bond.

I don't ever remember having the kind of catty fights Jenna and her friend have. I've seen it at school too. The notorious: "I'm not your friend anymore." How many times did I see tears through the rearview mirror because Jenna got the word from missy-so-and-so: "I'm not your friend anymore," or the kissin' cousin, "I'm not your best friend."

"I don't want to play with you." tags along in third place, as little girls trade alliances like lunchtime snacks.

Anyway, all of this is to say, the difficulty we moms are having is untangling whatever mess of a fight they bring to us with the "she said, she did" NO "she said, she did" scenarios.

Which is where the baby monitor comes in. I just bought Mom number 2 a baby monitor for her shower. She's nine months pregnant. And 43. Surprise!

SO we've concocted a plan. Next time they play, we are going to straight out spy on them using the baby monitor. We will learn who starts what, how, why. We will trace the trends, examine the dynamics, and if we are lucky, learn more than we ever wanted to about the species known as the six-year-old girl.

Wish us luck, 'cause we're goin' in.

I can dance to it, I like the beat, I give it a 9.

Hee hee hee.

June 24, 2004

Schwartz Nearly Gets It.

Fascinating, isn't it, to explore the parallel and simultaneous nature of blogging. Just the other day, I happened upon the first really good weblog written by a guy, who happens to be the President of a tech company (that's a VIM - very important modifier, as it's not vice-versa), who really gets blogging. That guy is Phil Libin, whose company is Corestreet.

But Corestreet's name isn't all over his blog, he believes in separation of church and state when it comes to blogging, and he avoids the usual C-Suite pitfall of blogging from his business card title. He talks about his brother, his love for all that is gadgetry, and he's really damn funny. The unintended result, or maybe the entire point, is that he's *likeable*.

incidentally, the PR firm getting credit for spurring Phil to blog is Schwartz Communications, and according to the case study, specifically, Chuck Tanowitz.

Fascinating so far. I am now Phil's biggest fan, since he's doing exactly what I urge CEOs to consider doing when I get questions on, how can we incorporate this blogging thing into our PR strategy..." Wrong question. Phil got the right answer. Chuck, kudos.

Contrast the Corestreet experience with the discussion going on over at Media Guerrilla, which I found through Elizabeth Albrycht.

The item up for discussion is whether or not a company should issue a formal press release when it launches a weblog. So far, they have one no, one yes, and me--well, I'm thinking it out right here.

Far from hypothetical, the question popped up in response to this press release announcing the newly-launched Wifinally weblog, written by the CEO, CTO, and VP of Marketing for Propagate Networks.

My answer to the question at hand will take more than one post.

What interested me, is that Propagate Networks has the same PR company as Phil Libin -- Schwartz -- as noted in the Propagate Networks' release. They are most likely serviced by different account teams, and it shows.

Compare Propagate's Wifinally with Libin's Vastly Important. While incorporating some similar practices, the weblogs are yards apart. Only one, I think, is really even a weblog. Only one, I predict, will get traction because it has a voice for readers to hold on to during the ride. That one is Libin's. The other reads, looks, feels, and smells like a mainstream wi-fi publication written by some industry veterans within an industry that is full of veterans.

And issuing a formal press release sans personality doesn't do anything to help the matter.

I understand that every client is different. I truly understand that many CEOs can't cross the chasm Libin has now widened with a challenge by example. Some of my clients could very easily, if they dared, be themselves online. They are likeable people with opinions beyond their industry, with a life outside of their business, that informs who they are within their businesses.

At the same time, because I care about weblogging, I don't encourage clients who wouldn't do well writing a weblog. I save the secret for the select few I know could resonate in this medium. I know three I wish would take the dare. I know six I will never mention blogging to. For them, there are brochures, white papers, bylined and contributed articles, and formal press releases.

But for the ones who get it, the game's wide open.

So, going back to the question at hand, perhaps what is better asked is, "Should Propagate Networks have issued a formal press release about its newly launched weblog?"

Yes. It fits with the voice, the tone, and from what I can tell, the objectives. It is more a publication than a conversation, so formal PR tactics can be used to support it.

Now, if you'd asked should Corestreet issue a press release announcing Phil Libin's weblog? I would have said no. Let the readership evolve there as it does naturally within this medium. Build trust and genuine relationships through the links that power our conversations here. Talk, don't report.

If a press release were to be issued for Libin's blog, I would want it to be better than, more than, different than, the usual, hum-drum press release.

More later--I have to run outta here and fast.

Another Goodbye, Kinda

The Happy Tutor noticed what I think was one of my best in a long time.

Thanks, Happy.

June 23, 2004

A final goodbye

Since I was twelve, my sister has never been without a dog, and in that time, she's had only two dogs. I'm 42 now. That's 30 years, two dogs.

Her first mutt, Mac, lived to the ripe old age of 16. I used to baby sit Mac when I was a kid, because he was hell on wheels. She lived on a farm, and on one particularly dicey baby sitting stint, I was talking on the phone to my best friend, it was 11 at night, and she heard the phone wires go dead as I said "Oh no!"

Needless to say, probably, that my friend's parents called my mother, who called the snipers in, and before I knew it, five people were knocking on my sister's front door, expecting to find me dead.

I was eating a ham sandwich.

Mac, aside from ripping up a nice throw rug that night, had also chewed through the phone cord. He was always a hoot.

When Mac's kidneys failed, I was about to turn 28. Mac had seen my sister through three moves to three different states, a marriage, a baby, a divorce. She had him put to sleep at home, and her grief was so big. So big. She went up stairs, and I sat with Mac while he got his shots--one to relax, the other to rest. I laid next to him on her living room floor, told him what a good boy he was, patted his head until the vet whispered, as they do, "He's gone."

She didn't know, then, what to do with him. He was too big for the mobile vet to take, and that wasn't a service he liked much to offer. So he loaded Mac into the back of my station wagon for us, and I set off to find the crematorium, a 40 minute drive. I don't remember what I thought as I drove with Mac, dead in the back. But I remember I thought a lot of things.

About three months after Mac died, my sister fell in love with a puppy, a clumsy hound mix whom her son named Blitz. We put him to sleep yesterday at 14. Blitz saw my sister through four moves, her single parenting of an asthmatic (and often hospitalized) child, that child's graduation from college, and my sister's remarriage.

If dogs could talk.

But then, they do.

I didn't think my sister would be able to go with me yesterday. Our pasts are loaded when it comes to death and loss and the inability to grieve. But she did. She went. She stayed in the room for the first time during the letting go of life. She wept, as we stroked Blitz's head, we shared kleenex, and he went to sleep.

With his nose resting at the tip of her sneekers the whole time.

When death is beautiful, it really is.

This one was.

June 22, 2004

Such a Good Good Boy

And so It was.

In memory of Blitz, as sweet as they come.
December 1990 - June 2004

June 21, 2004

If a CEO Blog Could Talk... Hey, Wait!

A guy who likes gadgets, has a brother with a big screen TV, and even writes about his company. He's Phil Libin, the CEO of Corestreet, and this is his personal weblog.

He doesn't blog from his business card title. The fact that he's in the security biz informs his writing, but this is no mainstream column about the space. Even when Phil is talking about his company, it's far from preachy:

About two years ago, when CoreStreet was just over a dozen people, our offices were two adjacent rooms in a (not very recently) renovated 19th century commercial horse stable. It was an inconvenient setup because even though the two rooms shared an interior wall, to walk from one to the other required going out one door, down the long hallway and in through the other door. This added a couple of hundred feet to the walk and required fumbling with keys two times per trip. Among our neighbors on the floor was some sort of “training” center. We never figured out what they taught, but judging by the condition of the single common bathroom, it may well have been toilet training. We kept our doors locked at all times.

This is a good example of what a CEO blog should be.

This is the don't example.

Thanks to PR Opinions for pointing out Phil's blog.

Tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning I get to take old Blitz, my sister's 14-year-old 80-pound hound mix for his final ride to the vet. He's a good old dog. It's time. I'll sit with him, look him in the eye, tell him what a good good boy he is, and pat him goodbye.

What, Not Ladylike Enough for You?

Jump it, Jump it, Jump It!

I like this one best so far. Scott, not Gerry, Mulligan laid it down over on Waxy.

makin' me smile so big.

David on Voice and Authenticity

A discussion of note going on at David's place about Voice with a capital V. I've commented too. Go on now, git.

Gonzo Enraged

Listen, gonzo engaged participants, what is, is. Stop jumping up and down. Now, another new template is in place. Sorry the other one was so sucky, but I'm in the middle of 25 other things over here, and I gave it a shot.

If you wish to continue posting to Gonzo, please update your blogger profiles within the next week. Otherwise I'll assume you don't want to post to the blog anymore and will delete your ass completely. Reason being, it's kinda nice the way blogger has set up the "Contributors" section of the template to pull your blogger profile info, which shows ALL the blogs you post to, as well as things you probably don't want readers of gonzo engaged to know, like your email address and town of residence.

Ah well, another day...

cross posted here.

Another day, another posse

Jesus, Frank. I'm a person, not a company!

June 20, 2004

Gonzo Engaged Has A New Look Because I Felt Like It.

Gonzo Engaged has lost it's circa 2001 weblog look in favor of a shiny new blogger-2004 getup. But there's a little problem.

If you know what tag I have to add, and where, within the template to get the poster's name (or blogger profile link) to read out at the bottom of each post, can you leave a comment here, or email me?

It's a team blog, so there are several different posters. And I don't know what I did to the lil doodadder what shows who's who.


For Dads

It's been 36 years since you wrapped your arms around me, lifted me skyward, balanced me in the center of your broad chest, the buttons of a crisp, white cotton shirt pressing into my belly, getting stuck on the waistband of my shorts, carving a memory in my flesh.

There is something, isn't there, when a daddy lifts his baby girl above his own head and she looks down at him on high--to see the part of his hair, his eyebrows from the top, the way his nose forms a ball at the tip.

Little girls can't tell these things about their daddies when their party shoes are on the floor. But from a head above him, I can see everything. The roundness of his cheeks, their slight blush, the few hairs that wander from the rest.

Fathers, lift your daughters today. Spin them round if you can.

They will remember.

Amen, RB.

Can I get an Amen?

Look, I said this a long time ago, and I'll say it again... The sky is open to the stars. Clouds roll over us night and day. Oceans rise and fall. Whatever you may have heard, this is our world, our place to be. Whatever you've been told, our flags fly free. Our heart goes on forever.

People of Earth, remember.

And that had nothing to do with Business®. I spit on Business. Ptui! I spit on Science® and Religion® and Politics®. Ptui! Ptui! Ptui! They are abominations, abhorrent to The Holder of the MasterRemote®, The All Merciful MindBreaker®. Defile not thyselves with these loathsome heresies. Ptui! But rather goest thou and kill the Infidel deader than A Fucking Doornail®. Then bloggest thou in Peace® and let not the vile lying vermin cosksuckers disturbest thy rapt contemplation of My Works®...

Keep Voice Alive. Donate.

Just Thoughts...

It has been a strange few days. It feels like a few weeks, but days. Only days.

Anyone who has been to this place before, and everyone new, knows I stepped into a fray by speaking out soon after the weblogs.com fiasco began. I wouldn't change a word of what I said. Not a word. Yes, I struggled for a bit with "Psychosis," since this seemed to be a sticking point around the whole "ad hominem attack" debate. I toyed with posting an apology saying that I should have used the word "Neurosis." In the end, though, after all was said and done, I felt okay with "Psychosis."

I had a talk with a blogger friend today on some interesting issues around getting personal, being real, and resonance. These same issues have been giving me pause lately about blogging. As blogging beats the door of the mainstream, with more bloggers covering more mainstream events/issues/topics, and fewer bloggers getting personal, I see a dilution of voice--the kind of genuine voice that kicked blogging into gear in 2001/2002--and a spike in the boredom level of blog reading and writing. Until this past week, FOX News was more exciting to watch than surfing the top blogs on Technorati.

Part of it is that. Driven by the evolution of tools that categorize us--whether we want them to or not--by mainstream standards. Technorati now makes it so easy to search on discussions around current news and current hot topics, even current books. But what about current loss, current dreams, current cancer, current love affairs, and current babies being born. Show me the top images recently posted across blogs, like Shelley's flowers and Halley's new tan. This is the place where I don't want to care about what I'm told I'm supposed to care about. This is the place where I want to care about you--and me.

In that phone conversation today, we also wound around the blogworld's notions of flamers and trolls. I don't know when the use of these terms became standard license for shutting people up, but that's what has happened. What is a flamer and what is a flame war? It's like obscenity; I know it when I see it. But these words, you see, they are tricky.

They can be so easily used by others who would prefer you remain silent. Stake your claim, get personal, say, "You're full of shit," and you're a flamer. Stick around somebody's site and call them on inconsistencies, or alert them that they've wandered too far from home, and "you're a troll."

No no no.

It's okay,
Spark to flame,


If you do remember, you'll also remember that the use of the word "Flamer/Flame War" and "Troll" were once rare here. I think maybe non-existent. Go back through your archives and comments from 2001/2002, or go through mine. You won't find folks in blogspace who disagreed with one another, and got personal about it, called "flamers." You won't find the folks who showed up in your comments to keep you honest called "trolls." Just didn't happen that way. And there's a reason for that.

It goes back to that mainstream thing--standards and protocols not of technology, but of behavior and voice. Copy-catting the status quo. Taking the easy way out.

Now, more bloggers measure what they say, try to provide "balance" and "fairness." Both sides. Equal time. Please, no profanity and keep it at the 3,000 foot level.

To me, that sounds like old-school journalism. Reporting, not blogging. Methodology, not creativity.

Nothing to see here. Go on home.

THIS is the place that asked us to get biased. To have an opinion. To matter, to count, to speak--To speak in a genuine voice, not like contrived, carved-mouthed ventriloquist dummies. At the same time, of course, there was a familiarity--stronger threads and a smaller web--because the communities were smaller and tighter. As a result, we cared.

A lot.

I don't mind so much that this place has become large enough where we can't target our care and concern like a laser beam anymore. I DO care, as a student of voice, about the dilution of what feels real, the seeping of mainstream expectations and policies into this world.

To bring it back around to the last few days, I will say that I hit upon something today that absolutely floored me. It's about the rush. The rush I feel when I read someone who is writing from the gut, from that raw place that feels so good to scratch, the place we used to scratch a lot more often. In writing, being real doesn't have to mean being nice. Being real can mean writing from the brink, you're walking the beam between here and there between madness and the mayhem, trying to decide the best way to keep your footing, or how to tuck a shoulder in during the free fall.

If I can say nothing else, I can say that Dave Winer was himself in this. In his written voice and audio posts, Through all of it. Through the twisted explanations of what happened and why, through the threats and accusations that came after, to the call for the posse. And there's something about that, God forgive me, that resonated with me beyond what was being said. Even about me. There was something that felt just a tiny bit right.

Maybe it was the raw spontaneous outrage -- his and ours -- emitted with taste and smell and sound surround. Damn the consequences--this is who I am and what I think, and don't get in my way.

I'm not suggesting that what are now called flame wars should become the new or revised golden standard of blogging; I'm CERTAINLY not suggesting that what Dave did or said was right. In fact, I'd argue it was 90-percent wrong, and 5-percent nearly criminal.

But there was something, in the in-between space.

A twinge, an energy. We were lifted right before we fell. From that single point, there was more resonance than echo, and I recognized it just before we were plunged into the valley of the horrible.

It was before the flames. It was the crackle of kindling, when the smoke carves its first impression in the night sky.

And it reminded me.