January 27, 2006

just wanted to sneak in before midnight to announce...

the hamster cages are cleaned.

did I mention that Blue, the beta that "santa" brought died last week?

Yes, let's explain THAT one. ("Well, it was probably a rough trip.") And we don't even really DO santa. That'll teach us.

Pets, they come and they go around here.

George has become a beta expert, with way too much knowledge about the water levels and rock composition. New tools include a turkey baster, salt, filtered water in a Brita pitcher, and one beta in one little beta holder to enjoy the attention: Speedy.

On the canine front, Bando's been shaved and doesn't stink AS much. He escapes every day now. George puts up a plank, bando digs or pounces or jumps. George lays chicken wire, Bando finds a new hole. It's endless. I bought the dog a glow-in-the-dark collar so at least when he gets out at night, he'll hopefully avoid being run over.

And to think I used to be a member of Peta. (Shut up. It was 15 years ago.)

meanwhile, as you were.

It's ALL TRUE!!!

A little birdie hipped me to the news around the blogworld... don't know where it came from, but it sounds right to me.

I was so sorry to hear the news about Web 2.0! (we hardly knew ye.)

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Good to Know?

Fidel Castro has a pool. I guess you'd figure. So does one of the shooting locations for Back to the Future Trilogy. I think if you had a fetish for pools, you could scan Google Earth finding the pools you like best, then fly out there and sneek in a swim. Anyone calls the police, blame it on Google.
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Henry Copeland Remains Smart

Blogads worked a deal with the Netherlands Board of Tourism to send 25 fitting bloggers to Amsterdam dam dam, and they don't even have to blog about the trip if they don't want to. AS IF.  I know Shakespierce is going and stoked to have the opportunity. Can't wait to see some posts from his second favorite city in the world!
And I think as a three-way hook up (blogads/the bloggers/board of tourism) what a SUPER SUPER idea -- a kind of "let us show you" link up between those with things to show and those of us who can show things to others. Weee! Bring it on.
Henry when you get Disney World/Land or the new Nick Hotel on board, please remember me and mine. I'll even agree to blog my ass off.
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January 26, 2006

Food gum?

The Sneeze has a funny post about frustration and the old bait and switch. You know, when that thing you want A LOT isn't what it seems to be?

Except here, we're talking about gum that acts like food you don't get to swallow. Apparently, Skittles has a new gum out that looks and tastes like, well, Skittles, except that the gum version of Skittles, unlike the candy version, is for chewing and tossing in the garbage can rather than down your cakehole.

Turning candy into an exact replica of itself in gum form is a pretty stupid marketing idea. Unless the gum-that-tastes-like-
the-candy is half the price of the real box of candy, WTF? Get the candy and keep the goo off your shoe is what I say.

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Tomorrow is Hamster Cleaning Day

Tomorrow I get to enjoy the hour-long process that is hamster cage cleaning. Joy. I've put it off so long that I'm embarrassed for anyone to walk into the house. Honestly, the entire downstairs smells like pee-soaked hamster shavings. George likes to attribute the stench to a leaky water bottle. He will generally find an explanation for things that doesn't have an immediate solution. I think that's a guy thing.
I know better. The horrible smell that IS our living room is due to a combination of not having changed the cages in three weeks and the new brand of shavings we used. Ironically, George selected the new shavings specially because they have some sort of "ordor eliminating" enhanced feature. In hindsight, I think that means these special shavings remove any pleasant odors from your home.
Fortunately, my friend's neighbor is a woodworker. His garage is full of wood shavings from his lathe. And sure, if you're a hamster enthusiast, you may want to warn me not to use just any shavings since some woods are harmful to the little buggers. But I assure you, these shavings are certified FREE from a reputable garage. And as for removing dust, George has developed a process for shaking out the sawdust that is a marvel to behold. It involves 1 rake, 1 wheelbarrow, an old window screen and acouple of garbage bags. BADABOOM, we're in the shavings business.
The last time we used wood chips from the woodworker's house, our living room smelled fresh, like a newly-constructed home. I felt warm and tingly when I'd go look at the hamsters, amazed by their cuteness.
Now I avoid the living room altogether.
And that's what I want back. My house. My shavings. Call it aromatherapy. Call it urinalysis. Call it whatever. I can't take this stench another day.
Three cages. Three water bottles. Lots of hamster piss. What do you have planned for Friday?
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I Mean Wow.

Just wow.
Originally uploaded by Burningbird.

January 25, 2006


BubbleShare's still doing cool things, even though you don't see me posting every fifteen minutes about how much fun we're having. You know. Because I'm being shy and sly--hipster sly--tickling the fun out of you against your better judgment, don't you see.

Let me just say this about that, cryptically speaking: Get your digital camera ready and your memory cards emptied and your microphone in front of your face because something nifty's coming your way.... and it wouldn't be fair if I told you yet, because Albert The Swamped hasn't said I can, so shhhh. ....soon.....fun. yucks. not exactly blonde jokes. but still. you know. more. soon.

In the mean time, just know that I Love BS. And if you haven't used www.bubbleshare.com to email photos to your aunt in Michigan, would you give it a try please? Not for me, but for your Aunt Betsy. It's so cold there this time of year. How some pictures of little Bethany warm auntie's heart!

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Clicking My Own Ad

It's been a while since the Antique Roadshow Ad went up on my sidebar, and today I clicked it and saw that you can enter a contest to have Antique Roadshow make a house call to check out your valuables. Now that's cool. I used to watch the show a lot. I'd marvel at what kind of effort it must have taken to bring in great-great-grandma's old dining room suit or bronze life-size statue of a buffalo. Not something you can load into the family minivan.

I read about a therapist recently who is making house calls. What a good idea for folks who sometimes have issues with getting one foot out the front door.

My old pediatrician used to make house calls. I still remember his visits; my mom would put out the best hand towels and special new soaps. It was an occasion when he came, and his coming made me feel instantly cured.

When it was time, my sister had her 16-year-old dog put to sleep on her living room floor, in the spot he'd relaxed in for years, by a vet who made house calls. My aunt uses that same vet 20 years later to care for her cat.

Something to be said for house calls.


Naked Conversations Review: The Prequel

How have I managed NOT to review Naked Conversations yet? (get a copy, get a copy.) Well, the problem is, like lots of people, I don't have a copy yet. But I'm going to get one. And when I do I'm going to read it and give my review or at least stream-of-consciousness report. I am completely STOKED to get it, glad it's out, and if I don't get a chance to post about it here, then I'll talk about it in another blogging forum I'm participating in, coming your way soon...

(Okay, you want the real scoop? The naked scoop? Secretly, a while back, when I knew the book was being released, I'd hoped that I'd receive a copy in my mailbox -- exactly how I don't know, I was thinking Maryam might have slipped one out of Robert's hands -- signed by Robert and Shel, saying how much I'd inspired them with my talk of nakedity, conversation, and public relations over these oh-so many years. Suggesting that I start a GonzoEngaged-Type group blog for Naked Conversations, like I did for Gonzo Marketing back in 2001, where practitioners and hecklers can get together in one place and jam til they sweat, take it out, WAY out, and bring it back home again.)

But then I woke up and giggled, realizing they must have mistook Steve Rubel for me. Obviously the hair. ;- )

What I MEAN to say is that I'm excited there is finally a "legitimate" and representative work (which I think it is from reading the blog evolution of the book) that we can point clients to, those interested in blogging and those who don't yet understand, that echoes the cluetrainian school of thought. That underscores the importance of talking with people, and how companies might actually GET there.

I hope this book gives the good business people ammunition and the bad business people acid reflux.

I hope that the message to companies is that you can (yay--cost savings and revenue gains!) and must (wooo, scary: risk) strip down to engage us in our own land.

And to lend proof that we've been naked here for a long time, consider:

2002, blogging is opening the door:
It's nice to close the door sometimes, to hide within walls you can see and touch. But as the hours, days pass, you find yourself looking at that door, staring at the knob, wondering what would happen if you unlocked it. You wonder, is it hot out or cold? Who's driving by? Did I get any mail? Well, maybe I'll just peek out the door and see. Stick a finger out there, find out what the weather's like. That's all. Then I'll come back in.

No sooner is the door open than you're running through the grass with your shoes off, half naked, grabbing leaves from the trees and flowers from the earthy, celebrating the unending expanse that is the blog universe. See me? Hear Me? I'm here!

2002: When you think of bloggers you would describe as "generous," several come to mind--to my mind anyway. They are the bloggers who dare to get personal: Golby, Halley, Marek, Locke, Shelley. They are generous because they dare to lay themselves down naked in front of us: "Here I am. Fuck with me if you want. Or decide you love me. I'm laying down either way."

2002, about Blogsprogs: This is a moving and intimate extension of the human experience -- these guys are blogging about as close to naked as you can get. There is huge vulnerability and risk here.

2003: ByeBye BigPR

You tell me.... Why would anyone pay it in a tight economy when they can get smart, senior level people out on their own for around $100 an hour. And thanks to the Web, the same clients who are paying inflated rates to BigPR can tap into an entire network of loosely joined ex-agency talent that shares leads, news, and really cool gossip I wouldn't even tell you about here. We're self organizing, and it ought to scare the pants off of them.

But it doesn't.

Because they can't afford to see that the emperor is walking around butt naked.
With no camouflage left
Naked I stand shaking
Waiting for rebirth.

January 24, 2006

Yahoo, Anne!

Anne 2.0 nails it in her post "Good for You, Yahoo," in which she gives Yahoo a blog high-five for telling the truth and takes Steve Rubel to task for his absolute refusal to use Yahoo search upon hearing the announcement in which Yahoo says the #1 Search Spot's not for them. Maintaining their market share in search is apparently good 'nuf for now. Anne sees it this way:
Sometimes you need to excise something stupid and add something cool. Personals are definitely cool. Now there's a use of technology that improves people's lives. Is search stupid? Well, Google is having a hard time squeezing all the revenue they need out of it. Maybe it is stupid for Yahoo to spend extra time and money on a space that they won't be able to own and that might not be so profitable anyway.
Steve's so apalled he takes his search ball and goes home:
That's it, I am no longer using Yahoo Search. I have no interest in using a product that the company doesn't aspire to make best of breed. If search is no longer hip to Yahoo, then Yahoo Search is no longer hip with me.
Steve, shouldn't you salute them for telling the truth? Do you really believe every mission statement you hear? Mostly, they're obligatory half-truths if not outright smokeblowing.
I'm with Anne. I love it--It's a page out of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices. It's like DAMN, why didn't Ford say this kind of thing a long time ago: "Listen, we're not going to try lead the market with a four-door sedan or even a mini-van. We know we're nothing really special when it comes to that. We'll be happy not to take a bath. But HEY now, when it comes to pick-em-up trucks--that's where we rock."
Things might be different.
Do we know what Yahoo's pick-up truck is yet? Well, as Anne notes, they're moving more toward community-social stuff as Google sticks to metrics and algorithms. Me? I'm happy to watch what unfolds.
And, holy cow if this isn't a copywriter's dream come true. No more "we're a leading search engine"; rather "we hold our own, you know, not great, not awful."
Kiss me, Yahoo! You're my new Google!
And Anne is right again--there is value in writing and reading beyond the lists. I'm getting out of the A-List space and rolling a Yahoo. I'll be happy to maintain my share of the C market. ;-)
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George podcasts, I heckle from peanut gallery.

I didn't know it was Odeo like rodeo. I thought it was pronounced OhDayO.

Have fun. Hear how annoying I can be? Him too?

I'm off in the distance like some snurdley engineer on the rush limbaugh show.

It's kind of fun.

Don't Get Me Started

Shelley took Adam Green to task for (I guess--the words aren't on his post now) talking about how linking to chick-blogs and saying nice things got him links back.

I think Shelley has done a good job pointing out to Adam that this is not such an amazing thing. It happens sometimes when you join a conversation and say something interesting, and often enough. Even when the conversation is mostly men or mostly women. And Shelley's right: some of the best conversations tend to come out of those environments. But not all the best.

Shelley also uses the opportunity to call for the end of terms (and groups?) like BlogHer that "differentiate" women.

I disagree. That differentiation's been done for us. That same argument that we should blur the lines is used by some of my least favorite people when it comes to race, as though the race card's "being played" -- notice the PASSIVE VOICE -- when in fact, it's DONE BEEN played.

BlogHer is simply this: An answer to the oft-stated and oft-stated and oft-stated -- then stupidly stated again -- fallacy: "There just aren't any women bloggers out there." Yah, well shut up, yes there are. They're here and here and there and there and here and there.

BlogHer isn't THE women's thang. It's A woman's thang. Just like Blog Sisters and other groups of women writing/speaking/laughing/arguing together. It doesn't take us away from our individual presences; it augments them.

BlogHer is how one group of women is choosing to answer an erroneous assertion--and take it from there. They are answering it by speaking and by writing, podcasting and photocasting. Often and everywhere. Loudly. With Passion. With other women, with men, by ourselves. However the fuck we want to do it. Just do it. Or don't.

The thing that keeps me at arms length with the term "feminism" is feminism's common inconsistency with itself. Women want to embrace their differentiation, but don't want anyone to point it out. And at the risk of sounding like Dave Winer, it's annoying.

BlogHer is a good thing. Women blogging on their own blogs is a good thing. Men blogging is a good thing. Children blogging is a good thing. Seniors blogging is a good thing. CEOs blogging is a good thing. Employees blogging is a good thing. EVERY THING IS A GOOD THING and none of it means anything = all at the same time!

It's NOT black and white. It's as shady gray as it gets.

Except for spam. Spammers are a bad thing.

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Meet Father Doctor Matt K.

A family friend, Father Matt, is taking to the blogworld with a little help from yours truly. He could use advice, experience, some warm hands to help him along, to give an "awe, it's not so hard; you're gonna love it!"

Father Matt's a therapist, a Catholic priest, a talkative and brilliant man who has been writing online for years without knowing that he was actually sort of blogging.

He has had someone maintaining his professional site but can't afford to continue to add to it as he'd like to.

He is also a gifted photographer -- these are all scans of real-live photos he has taken over the years. He says he has 100 more ready to go online but he has been at a loss with what to do with them.

Basically he is ALL hub, no network.

So I said, Father Matt, you gotta BLOG, man! (and yes, I told him about flickr and BubbleShare too.) This is the cheapest, easiest, and best way for you to have control over your stuff, when it goes up, how it goes up, how it looks, etc.

I think I've about got him hooked

Father Matt doesn't own a digital camera yet, but he's hoping to sell the china a parishioner left him and buy a digital camera so he can join the online revolution.

This is the coolest thing about Web 2.0: Some ordinary folks who weren't really savvy about computers the last time we rushed headlong onto the net -- the AOL folks, the "email-only" folks, the dial-upers -- now know enough about the Internet to believe that maybe they really can get online and run their own sites. Maybe their words and thoughts and creations have a place online.

And maybe it won't cost thousands of dollars--just a pocket full of passion.


The Improper One Returns

...with some nazis and a latte. venti, please.
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Savory Hamster Bits

Stu Savory sent me a GREAT article about one of nature's little miracles--a snake making friends with his dinner. I read it to our little guys down in the living room, and you should have seen them Spin Their Wheels!
Thanks Stu. Send a snake, kay? We have some gohan here. We'll try it out and see if they become best friends. ;-)
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both ends of the line

AAAAH I know. I haven't been blogging fuckall. Well at least you did that. Did you pay your estimated taxes? oh good. don't bite the hand that screws you--ha ha! So how's that project going? Only a week left? YAY! How are the kids? oh good--she's a hoot. Yes I know, that bug is going around here too. Did what? Well that sounds like the grossest thing I've heard in two weeks. NO! She did? GET OUT! Who with? HIM? Man, what won't she do. No he didn't tell me about that one. They did? On the backchannel? Doh! Right. IM this! Yah, I know. It's just that I'm used to getting a lot done and it's been slow going because I've been helping some folks out. Right. Oh SURE, t-i-m-e o-f-f ? what planet are u from? ha ha ha. Yah really. No, not only that, but because he always says those things. Right--what does he expect, open arms? Because why exactly--oh right, we should kneel before him and give thanks for his inovaaaashuns. puhlease. cry me a river of millions of dollars. please? YOUR DOG? No! I didn't know. When did that happen? I'm so sorry. What was it? Oh that happened to my best friend's dog. No, really. You could have spend thousands and ended up with the same result. Oh that's so sad. I bet. Damn. Well look if you want to cheer up, there's a frigging PLAY of Get Your War On in Austin. How fucking funny is THAT? A play of a cartoon. I KNOW! Okay, well me too. DEFINITELY--call me later. Okay. I'll talk to you soon. YOU TOO!  -click-
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I don't want to sound like some whiny a-lister or anything, like those guys who start boo-hooing because so many people are contacting them and how are they supposed to speak to the masses if they're busy answering emails from plebians like us -- because i'm only a c-lister (cripes you'd think blog age would count for something) -- but jeesh i've been swamped with requests from folks to help them start blogs. So I'm helping them for fun and profit. Mostly fun. And listen, I want to know, speaking of c-listers, how Frank got to be a B-lister -- how do you move over a column already, because shelley and frank and ponzi are all over on the B-list and I'm getting kinda perturbed.
I request a full accounting of the criteria and methodology used for selection to each list, or in kind, I'll take a bump to the left.
I care. So shoot me.
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