May 21, 2005

With Due Honors to Cyrus the Photographer on Flickr

You will read this.

Do you see what I'm saying?

You guys just don't get it...

This photo. It is the night sky above the condiments. Those are dark clouds rolling in from the west. The colors. This is the kind of photo that changes everything.

I'm not even kidding.

I have dibs on it. Cyrus, you'll have to let me use it. NO! I don't know what for.

thank you.

Ketchup and pepper
Originally uploaded by cyrus_.

Forget auto aggregator--what about AutoBlogger?

You will, as they say in emoticonese, roll on the floor laughing your ass off.

Hamster Charity Work

You should know that nine baby hamsters have healthily made it to weening age. We are so proud. They are so sweet. I didn't want the little buggers, but, you know what? Damn. They are something else.

I went to PetSmart two days ago and spent $140 I don't have on two rather nice cages that are going to my friend's kids (along with two of the babies!), bedding (we were out), food (we were out), and five $7.99 mini cages. George set the little cages up, and I took two babies in their little mini-cages (each cage with food and water, plus a ziplock bag of extra food to get them started) to pick up Jenna on the last day of school.

I am a smart woman. The school nurse took one for her daughter, then a father took one for his graduating fifth-grade daughter (insisting I take $10 in return). Then the nurse called me later in the day and came by to pick up another baby for her daughter's friend.

So, we've got five babies out of the nest.

And there are four babies left, three of which are pictured below. As you'll see by the names next to each, it looks like we're keeping two. Head examination welcome.

Baby Runt Sweet Thang (Mama's)

Baby Brown Head (Jenna's)

Baby Black Eyes Sweetie (Yours)

Hamster pregnancy and pre-natal supplies: $65

Cages, bedding, food and accessories to give away to good homes: $140

Helping the babies grow from popcorn shrimp into beautiful creatures: Priceless

Charles, by Steve Himmer

A sixty-second story.

A very good one. ;-)

-from here.


I know Dave has been participating online as long as there has been an online. Alright, before. Today I say, Dave Winer has found his medium. I've been listening for a while now to his many podcasts. In pixels, understanding Dave Winer as "Dave" has eluded me.

In mp3, I finally get him.

One more thing...

You know how I feel about lack of comments...

Test of Technorati

Patience running thin over here. Why is technorati not keeping up with the conversation? What's wrong? It's been a few days since my IBM Breathing post, which generated several folks linking to it (and probably 3000 hits from folks in and outside of IBM, which usually results in a link or two itself). I'm not saying I care. I'm not saying I'm obsessed. But for me this is a good test of Technorati and how it's keeping up because I actually know some of what should be showing up. And it's not. Not for days. That's not so good.

Don't make me go searchin' on RSS feeds, now.

Doc went to Mars?

Where hasn't Doc gone?
Originally uploaded by dsearls.

What do you know about SEO?

I've been reading up on search engine optimization, not from a weblog perspective but from a professional discipline perspective. I am well practiced yet unstudied on the topic (i.e., I don't know what others say on SEO--especially search engine folks). And frankly, I am trying to define how much SEO is a game or a technique, how much a nicety or a necessity. Is it using key words in key places without sacrificing meaning or intention in order to have your website noticed when search engines crawl? This is what I do. And do search engines appreciate it or do they try to dismiss sites who weave these techniques into copy? I fear so, hope not.

I know there is an art to optimizing website content so that it is finely tuned and appealing to search engines without 1) sounding stilted and 2) so obviously catering to search engines that they can toss you out for trying too hard. I do some of this naturally in developing content. Should we all be doing more of it for our clients?

Ladies, gentlemen, I need to know what you know about SEO. Then I'll research some more. Then I'll say what I think. What do you think?

Condiments at the Edge of Night

This is one of the most oddly seductive photographs I've ever seen.

To a museum wall with you!

Ketchup and pepper
Originally uploaded by cyrus_.

May 20, 2005

"The Secretive Monkey"

Apparently, we are de-evolving.


shouldn't be able to write little utility where it would go through your blogroll and grab RSS feeds from sites that have them which you could then import into the aggregator of your choice somehow?

I have the usual suspects in my bloglines aggregator thingy. I don't want them but I can't find all the lesser knowns in my blogroll without going through them one at a time and finding their feeds, can I? Or searching for them in the aggregator?

Hello, that's a hell of a lot of work.

I think I'll just keep surfing my blogroll and forget the aggregator thing.

Joi: Does an Interesting Life Make for a Boring Blog?

Joi gets down to it in this post where he asks his readers, essentially, if we are as bored by the stuff he's writing as he is.
...I find myself struggling with this bloggers block more and more these days. I find myself hanging out on the IRC channel chatting about things that in the past I would be blogging about. I definitely feel like my blog is going edgy to broad and boring.

I forget if I've talked to Joi on the phone or not--I believe I have a couple of times? With Locke maybe? Or IRC-ed while phoning simultaneously? I don't quite remember. But I know I have enjoyed the Joi Ito multi-channel experience.

Allow me to digress.

Before I ever read Joi, I read lots of people writing about what he wrote. Joi this, Joi that, stealth disco, emergent democracy, and so on. I wondered who the hell is this guy? That's when I started reading him. And I did so mainly to analyze for myself the rapidly-changing motivations of bloggers as the shift from amateurs to professionals began in earnest--and the sucking up was elevated to a fine art.

After I followed the brown noses to his blog, I became a pretty regular reader of joi.ito. Because Joi has an interesting life. In a nutshell, that's what it is.

I like reading about where he goes, who he meets, and why it matters. I like that he gets inside places that most of us never will. He could have waited and just written all this stuff at 45 and called it a book. But instead he posts it like a follow-along song. Follow the bouncing Joi.

Joi's place also gets some of the more lively comments/discussion/feedback. It can turn into a hotbed of criticism for its author. And the constant nit-picking is taking its toll on Joi's voice.
...As I read criticisms in the comments and on other blogs about what I write, I have become increasingly sensitive about what I say here. The criticism is often valid. "Check your facts before you post." "Read before you write." "Don't be so self-obsessed." "That was stupid." "The tone of your post was offensive to me." "So this guy posts every time he's 'off' to somewhere new. Is he boasting about his travel?" I know it shouldn't, but these voices yap at me in my head and cause a kind of chilling effect. I fear that my jokes will be misinterpreted and the irony lost. I fear that someone will take offense. I fear that a post will sound boastful.

Been there--still there, without the fame. I wrestle with topics I'd like to go back and write about. But I don't. Partly because this isn't the place it was. Whereas we once hung on each other's every (third) word, now we aggregate, skim, skip, and let the tools do half the work.

For me, that has changed things. It's the difference between ripping steak apart with your hands and using a razor sharp knife. Some things should be a little messy.

I have no advice on getting over it--especially for someone as "watched" as Joi. If it were me, I'd go over and write on Gonzo Engaged, which was my first blog, our team blog, our outrageous blog, the blog where there is never ever a mistake because worst practices are best.

That's where I go when I lose my voice. For me, it's going home, it's going back to that net-place where I turned over the first rock. I have to go back in to come out. There, I'm reminded why I started this nonsense in the first place.

Joi, the following statements are not diametrically opposed: (A) I admire you for the work you have done in front of us. (B) You literally couldn't pay me enough to be Joi Ito.

But if you want me to add you to the Gonzo Engaged team, just drop me an email.

Don't worry. You can mess on the carpet over there. Everybody does. ;-)

May 19, 2005

8 Rules for Creating Great White Papers

Are you one of those people who've secretly--or not so secretly--wondered what a white paper is, what it's for, what one should say (and not say), what topics are "the right" topics, and what might make your next white paper a must read?

Or, do you just want to see what we've been up to at The Content Factor?

Either way, here's our first free white paper in a series that will make you scream, "More!".

Eight Rules for Creating
Great White Papers

Download, read, and enjoy. Visit our blog. And if you have any questions or need advice, give us a shout.

Read This, Commented Thusly

Read this over at MOCC's Flackster.

A Reuters report in this morning’s Globe and Mail describes changes introduced by Morgan Stanley and their ad agency into the contracts they’re proposing to use in booking print advertising. “Under the policy, Morgan Stanley wants publishers to tell it about any objectionable stories that will be run in their newspaper or magazine,” according to Reuters’ sources.

The clear implication is that the mighty Morgan Stanley is threatening to pull lucrative advertising from any publications running stories critical of the firm.

Responded Thusly:

On one hand, I say, "Well the imaginary wall between editorial and advertising in MSM publications has just been outed as the less-than-pure facade it has been--and good." On the other hand, I say, "How dare Morgan Stanley apply editorial pressure through ad dollars." On the other hand, I wonder if these new policies/disclaimers are becoming more common than we know. On the other hand, how fun to work in Issues and Crisis on the PR side during a time when you can make such demands. On the same hand, I think this is representative of the undeniable loss of power of the mainstream media. In the end, these are corporations making demands upon one another that will wind up with them either doing business together or not.

If I were a Morgan Stanley competitor, I would write and publish my own OPEN AD POLICY right now that would read the exact oposite of this--stating that in no way do we tie our ad dollars to reporting/news stories, that we trust our customers and stakeholders to use their intelligence and judgment in what they read, that some things they read may be critical of our organization. Many more will testify to our success.

In other words--the best opportunity here is lies with the organizations competing with those making such demands.

And, if I were the publications in question, I'd say no. Opening the door to MORE Morgan Stanleys would forever rewrite my editorial policy.

Might as well have PR flacks write the news. (Oh, wait a minute!)

So, what would YOU do?

May 18, 2005

Send Water

What they don't put on the benecarHCT literature is that you get the biggest baddest case of cotton mouth you've had since that really big bowl you smoked back in the 70s.

Someone send water.

And brownies.

Where Are They Now?

I was thinking on my way to Group how far so many bloggers have come from where they were -- in style, substance, voice, even personally -- since we started ths little exercise. This now noisy bunch for the most part started out a little timid, whimsical, unfocused, then took the lid off and never shut up.

So, how did we sound back then, in the beginning?

Denise Howell: "...It's my blog and welcome to it (I can't be the only one around here with a latent Thurber fetish, can I?"

Frank Paynter: "tap-tap-tap. hello hello. can you hear me in the back of the room?"

Gary Turner: "It lives! If you find yourself reading this you are either: (a) Lost (b) Out of medication (c) Already clicking the Back button (d) I've become famous and you're tracing my rise to success."

RageBoy: "Finally finished the "review essay" for HBR. Look for it in the November-December issue. That is, if you're inclined to shell out for the paper edition or pay for it on the site. These guys don't seem to believe that ASCII wants to be free. And they wouldn't let me use the word "suck" -- can you fucking believe that?"

Andrea Roceal James: "There are two things that have interested me most about the diaries of others: the intimacy and familiarity of tone, and the fact that the diarist manages to find something to say about the smallest of everyday things. I find it a good writing exercise to attempt to come up with a unique perspective on my world on a daily basis."

Elaine: "My mother lives across the hall from me -- a situation I swore would never happen. But life happens, and death beckons, and sometimes the better parts of us win out after all. But she still drives me crazy."

Tom Matrullo: (estimated--probably earlier posts): " 'For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.' " -- Paul Valery, "La conquete de l'ubiquite"

Halley: "So what's the deal with THE STORY of the Ford Thunderbird with it's luxurious Nudo leather seats?"

Stavros (oldest one located): "As promised : I was in the toilet, from whence many of my best thoughts seem to emanate, and the phrase 'cultural cargo cult' sprang, fully formed, into my mind. It was early in the morning, and I see no real connection with my dream about the Irish Monk who required that I bring him the largest lettuce leaf I could in order for him to fashion a cloak from it, for me. The leaf I managed somehow to unwrap from a perfectly normal head of lettuce was not only purple, but approximately the size of a bedsheet."

For too many blogs--especially the old radio blogs--it's nearly impossible to find out how far back posts go. Add to that fact that too many of you have moved to new blog tools and homes without leaving a "from whence you came" link back to your old sites, means that we've lost the connection to the old-new you.

If I missed you and you don't want to be missed, leave a link to your first post from a few years back here, in my comments box.

We were a funny lot. Now we're just a lot.

Alright, let's rip off a few posts here

I don't have a lot of time. Therapy beckons. Listen, I have this summer cold thing and It's got my dander up. Not really, I just thought "dander up" would be a good search phrase for finding this blog. But it does have me off my feed, which is a good thing, given my blood pressure of late, and so I gave in and started taking those blood pressure pills today.

I woke up and thought, well I haven't taken my blood pressure in two days and I'm feeling pretty good--been exercising finally, dropped a couple of the dozens of pounds I'm looking to shed, have been swimming every day, am tan finally. It ought to be back down to the 120/8o it was six weeks ago before my surgery, when I was in far worse health.


176/110--HOLY! I was waiting for the stroke to hit on the way to the sink to take my first BenecarHCT. [[yes, I checked it three times. Yes it was up that high all morning.]]

Well I took it. People let me know I'd likely be hitting the bathroom more since it's a diuretic. SP? no time to check spelling. But I haven't noticed much difference.

I took it about six hours ago.

Hold on, I'll go check my BP right now.

Everyone--on the count of three, make me relax. Ready? ONE-TWO-THREE!


GOOD JOB everyone. Happily boarderline this afternoon.

Shades of Summer to Come...

"MOM-DAD! QUICK! OH MY GOSH! We have to order this NOW off the computer! You know those fortune cookies I like? On this website, YOU CAN GET ONE BILLION OF THEM FOR JUST $5.95! A BILLION OF THEM!!!"

"A billion? You're saying a billion fortune cookies? It can't be a billion. That'd fill the whole house, the whole neighborhood maybe."

"IT'S A BILLION, YES! FOR $5.95! It says '1 bl! For just $5.95--I have that in the bank!'"

"Are you sure it's not 1 lb.?"

"I don't know--I'LL GO LOOK!!!" [feet running through the house.] "MOM-DAD? Yah, it's 'lb.'

"That's a pound then, not a billion."

"So how big is a pound?"


"Okay, let's git-em!" [dancing off through the house.]

May 17, 2005

Tickling IBM's Big Blue Funny Bone

Right Back At Me: Responsible Engagement in Inhaling and Exhaling from James Snell. Man, I was going to write up the breathing guidelines, but James beat me to it!

Guidelines for IBM Breathers: Executive Summary

Know and follow IBM's Breathing Conduct Guidelines

  • Breathing, circulation and other forms of biological functions are individual processes.
  • IBMers are personally responsible for the air they inhale and exhale. Be mindful that the air you consume is being shared by others.
  • Identify yourself -- name and, when relevant, role at IBM -- when you breath.
  • Breathe in the first person. You must make it clear that you are breathing for yourself and not on behalf of IBM.
  • If any air you exhale has something to do with work you do or subjects associated with IBM, use a disclaimer such as this: "The air I exhale is my own
    and does not necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."
  • Respect polution, smoking and financial disclosure laws.
  • Do not disclose IBM's or another's confidential or other proprietary information while breathing.
  • Don't exhale on clients, partners or suppliers without their approval.
  • Show proper consideration for others right to breathe
  • Find out who else is breathing and exhale towards them
  • Don't pick fights, be the first to smell your own bad breath, and don't alter previously exhaled air without indicating that you have done so.
  • Try to add value, and for goodness sakes use a breath mint.

May 16, 2005

IBM Today Okayed Breathing. Set Guidlines for Air Suckers

For Immediate Release

ARMONK, NY -- May 16, 2005 -- As has been reported on a variety of blogs around the net, IBM today began encouraging all 320,000+ employees world wide to consider engaging actively in the practice of breathing.

This move follows several years of persistent grassroots efforts by an informal community of IBM employees who breathe. Aerobic leaders like Sam Ruby, Grady Booch, Robert Sutor, and anaerobic leaders like Ed Brill and Catherine Helzerman, have played a very significant role in this effort by providing excellent models for other IBMers to follow as they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

"With IBMers breathing both inside and outside our environment, the company recognized full well that it was time to formalize its support for what many of us had been doing for quite some time," said IBM's James Snell, exhaling as he finshed his sentence.

Okay, I'm just having some fun.

Men and their Moms

It's funny that when a discussion emerges about lackluster linking to women's voices, some guys never fail to bring their mothers. Theirs or someone else's.

It looks to me as though some men's way of getting defensive is to say--But I love my mom!

That's cool that you love mom. That's GREAT in fact. It is a wonderful thing when a child-parent relationship is healthy and loving. I hope my kid says the same thing when she's 30, 40, 50. If I make it that far.

But, I was thinking last week, that if it was the daughters of these men (Marc has one I think; Dave I don't know) coming to them as grown women, accomplished in technology or related feilds (just like Dad(s)), and who happened to also be great writers, saying: "They don't hear me, Dad; they don't even want to listen," THEN would these same men notice with just a bit more sincerity what really happens "out here"? What it looks like beyond their blogstep? If their own daughters told them how it feels, would they tell those same women to go be a mom so that one day their sons can link to them?

We are your moms. We are also your wives, your daughters, your grandmothers, your whores, your starletts, your nurses, your mistresses, your teachers, your proctologists, your politicians.


Goal #2

Let us never take commenting for granted, the act of which is but one inaliable blog right our foreparents gave their lives for.

(I dunno what's wrong with YACCS today. In my case, probably down due to lack of weekend use. het-hem.)

Goal of the day

As people, we must strive to become as interesting as our blogs.

May 15, 2005

A: They take Sunday off.

Q. How are Bloggers are like Baptists?

Get a handle on your native tongue

...and where commonly-used phrases come from.

Once Again, I get to say HA HA HA.

Dan Pink names the research that proves it:
Research to be published today in the journal Cognitive Brain Research suggests that we're more creative lying down than standing up. In a study conducted by a psychologist at the Australian National University, subjects solved anagrams faster in a prone position than while standing. What's behind these results? Noradrenaline. That's a neurotransmitter that enhances the more focused aspects of cognitive ability, but in the process may impair the symphonic thinking associated with creativity. When we lie down, however, we release less noradrenaline -- and therefore our creativity may encounter fewer impediments. If this is right, I see a huge market in adult-sized kindergarten nap mats. Posted on 05/11.

I write best in the prone position. Plain fact. All my life. From birth-through-40s. From homework to real work. From algebra to Noka. From Emerson to IBM.

So THERE, I say to all who make fun of me for working lying down on my bed. Yes indeed. My desk is a king-size mattress, my cubemate is a TV, and my bathroom is a mere six steps away. If I had the coffee maker up here, there's no telling what I could create.

When in Rome...

A post in which I rant about people

People that pretend to be who they aren't really chafe my scrote, in the words of the illustrious wonderpoultry. I am so fed up with people who pretend so often in their daily goings on that they don't even know they're pretending anymore. They don't know how rediculous they sound as they tell their secret stories to you--and you already know them--and they shove pretense down the throats of the unwary. I am so overwhelmed by them. I am so sick and tired of the up and the down and the be my friend, be mine not, let me be around you so I can chafe your scrote, just so you can let me know who I can shit on today. Well no way. I say no damn way. You know what, you motherfuckers? You go iritate and subjugate your own selves and the horses you rode your selfish asses in on. You chafe your own scrote. You listen to your own self for five fucking minutes and see if you can believe yourself without vomiting your very heart and soul--as if you HAD any heart and soul. And if I let them, OH people make me crazy. OHH they make me crazy. And they wonder why I shut down. What do you expect us to do--every one of us worth a damn? What do you think we're going to do--that's right, we're going to take your motherfucking cues and shut it down. I look at the hamsters. That's as complex as it needs to be. She takes care of them. They learn to take care of themselves. Their is compassion, concern, correction, respect, fun, play, eat, sleep. NO FUCKING HEADGAMES WITH HAMSTERS. You see? Sure their brains are the size of what, a seed?, but that's not the point. The point is that they are not pretending animals. They are real animals. They are instinctual not coniving. They know that survival is optional--they use their time and attention wisely. COULD YOU TAKE A CLUE? They eat their young for a reason.

Remember that, okay? They eat ther young for a damn reason.

If you don't get it now, I can't help you.


With My Penchant for Ramen...

It's no wonder I dig this post from The Black Table on How to Eat at the Dollar Store.
Since most dollar stores sell some form of food as well, can the same thing be said about their edibles? Can a person actually make a reasonable meal out of food bought at a dollar store? I decided to go to a couple and find out myself. Figuring that all I was going to find was No-Frills Corn Chips and cans of Shasta, I was quite surprised when I turned down the grocery aisle; there was a lot of stuff there. However, in order to make something that constitutes a filling, edible meal, some creativity is still needed.

Read on for all the dollar store gourmet treats you may never need.
Your edible meat choices at the dollar store pretty much come down to tuna, tuna and tuna. Sure, there are other options, but they consist of meat whose origin, both with regards to location on the planet and on the animal itself, is questionable. Besides the aforementioned corned beef hash, other meat-like products that I did not put in my basket included Vienna sausages, off-brand chili and turkey SPAM.

I did, however, throw some Dinty Moore Chicken Stew in the basket. When I look back on it, I have no idea why.

This post is NSS - Not Sodium Safe

Besides 4 stalks of Celery each day...

I need tips for bringing blood pressure down. Was previously 120-130/80-87. I went hypertensive during surgery five weeks ago and have been ever since. Can't get it down. Doc wants to put me on BenecarHCT. I'm trying to reinvent myself to avoid yet another drug. Tips welcome.

And yes, I'm already on top of the celery thing. Yum yum--it tastes better these days.


My sister and her husband have decided to move out of Georgia. They claim that the genesis ofthis decision comes from the increasing expense of living in the area, and the growing population/congestion issues. But I just don't see it. At least not in their rather limited travels around the area.

What I do see is property values on the rise still, and Cobb County wth some of the lowest taxes you'll find anyplace. We have a great house on 3/4 of an acre and our property tax is $800 a year. It was three times that in Rochester for a crap house on a postage-stamp-size lot.

Stores? got em. Entertainment? got it. Culture? Well, you have to drive a ways for that. Traffic/congestion? That too. But it seems to me the people who complain about traffic the most are the people who never venture past their local Publix.

Now retired, my sister and brother-in-law can live anywhere they can afford on a modest retirement income--there is no requirement to be near suitable employment. So where do they say they're moving?


May 20, last day of school.