Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Look Back at 2010

Being productive while traveling sans iPad can be a bit of a challenge, but thanks to Google's partnership with GoGoInFlight Internet we're all able to share a little bit of bandwidth while airborne. How did I use mine? Looking at the news of the day, exploring the iTunes store and creating this very post.

Gazing out into the night at the orange highway lights snaking across the dark landscape I realized 2010 is about to end and I haven't created my 2010's Favorite Music list. I hear you faithful readers (I think I might have one) and I've responded in force. This year – as every year – it's an eclectic mix of tunes. While not every track on the list dropped in 2010, they will forever be entrenched as the Soundtrack of 2010.

What does the last year mean to me? It was the end of graduate school, and the splitting of friendships with some of my favorite classmates. Some of those were maintained, while others are still sadly absent, however life continues. A plethora of internships from the J-Lab to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the end of an intense two-month search for employment that balanced my new education and my old excitement for media culminating in my employment at Discovery.  As my professional life blossomed , my social life did as well, with new and old friends growing and creating families of their own, marriages started and babies popped out. I even became a bit of a dancer at the clubs of DC. We can't forget the long distance relationship which became a close-quarters relationship as I stepped into the new frontier in living with a significant other. While the year was hard, everything I worked for made everything I won that much better. Now with out further ado, the 2010 Soundtrack!

Ke$ha – Tik Tok iTunes link
Weezer – I Want You To iTunes link
Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried iTunes link
Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody iTunes link
Bear McCreary – Battlestar Sonatica iTunes link
Lade Gaga – Telephone (feat. Beyonce) iTunes link
The Strange Boys – Be Brave iTunes link
Jay-Z – Run This Town (feat. Kanye West & Rihanna) iTunes link
Girls – Lust for Life iTunes link
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass iTunes link
LMFAO – I'm In Miami Bitch iTunes link
The Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love iTunes link
The Fratellis – For the Girl iTunes link
Brandtson – Earthquakes and Sharks iTunes link
Sex Bob-omb – We Are Sex Bob-omb iTunes link
Katy Perry – California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg) iTunes link
Cee Lo Green – Fuck You iTunes link
The Black Keys – Girl Is On My Mind
Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma iTunes link
Naughty by Nature – Feel Me Flow iTunes link
Daft Punk – Robot Rock iTunes link

Thanks for reading my blog, for some of you it's been since 2005 and for others there's lots of archives! See you in 2011!!

Auld Lang Syne,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Airline Humor: In-Flight to Michigan Edition

No items or high heels permitted in the twisty slide! This guy knows that with those kickin corduroys on he's gonna fly down this thing, thus the parachute he's obtrusively hidden under his sweater. Notice the boxiness at the shoulders.

Attn: Hipsters please grab your iPads before using the side door to "peace." ... Assholes... Stupid skinny jeans and white boat shoes...

And finally, don't jump out of the airplane when there is 1988 video game debris a.k.a. "Watch For Asteroids."

This has been a little airline in flight humor. Thank you.

I'm on my mobile, apologies for brevity.

Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Stop!

It'll be hard to fight against gay rights now.

America's open and free armed forces fight for our freedoms, are we not going to fight for theirs?

These men an women will die abroad for you. Try telling these brave souls they cant marry their love when they get home!

Huzzah for the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I tweeted it! I didn't tell anyone!

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Not long ago, a friend of my finally graduated from college and got her bachelors degree (congrats!), but the thing is, while we are close friends she neglected to mention it to me. Instead, I found out via Twitter. Now, finding information via Twitter is nothing new for someone as Tweeted out as myself, however this was one of those funny times when she'd been so excited she had actually forgot to tell me!

Later in the day, I sent her an IM and she spilled the news. I congratulated her and jokingly asked why I'd read it on Twitter hours before and she said, "I just tweeted it! I didn't tell anyone!"

That comment gave me pause right away. Is that really what she meant? Later she realized her mistake and said, not that I didn't tell anyone, but I didn't tell anyone.

Has our sharing become so autonomous that this girl didn't think twice in telling her Tweeps about her recent successes, yet didn't actually think of it as exclaiming to a public feed? Are wires crossed in our heads? Isn't Twitter a digital equivalent of shouting in a crowded square?

According to a Scientific American from 2008, we might have something crossed. "Public sharing of private lives has led to a rethinking of our current conceptions of privacy." We don't really think about privacy in the way that we used to. I sat with my Grandma recently, she was asking me what I was going to do now that I've got my MA in Public Communication and what that meant. I went on to talk about social media, new media, and how the world of information is growing and becoming more personalized. She shuddered and said, "It all sounds so narcissistic and petty to me. I'm glad I'm not involved in any of that... What happened to people's sense of privacy?"

Grandma's got it right. What did happen to our sense of privacy? YouTube is America's Funniest Home Video's run amok, Facebook and Twitter and Foursquare (of FB Places if you prefer) all want us to share all of our information with each other constantly... It's a barrage of personal data that we used to keep to our chests and now we're throwing into cyberspace (yep, remember that word?) on a daily, hourly, or minutely(?) basis! It's a little crazy if you think about it too much.

How can we not think of sharing as... well sharing? I'm not sure, maybe I'll tweet about it and see if I can get any responses...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Break Out Adventure

The Problem

I, like many of my fellows, love my iPhone, but sometimes I just wish it was a bit more convenient to use. For example, when in New York City or DC there are 10 million* WiFi networks. When walking around, my iPhone pops up with a little notification every time I use an app that accesses the Internet:

Stop! I don't want to join your network!

To turn off these pop-ups I can either disable WiFi or Disable the Notifications in the WiFi menu... However, either option requires me to go to Page 2 of my Home screen, tap Settings, scroll to and tap WiFi, then tap to toggle Notifications to Off or toggle WiFi to Off.

The whole process is simply arduous. Especially when an Android phone can put a toggle right on the home screen. This is just one example of the hoop-jumping iPhone users subjected to proprietary software. There are other examples, but I think we all get the point.

A Solution

JAILBREAK! Get that iPhone out of Apple's exclusive grip: now without legal ramifications (instead only violates Apple's terms and conditions).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Wayback Machine

As a kid, I watched Peabody and Sherman go back in time and check out twisted history, it was always entertaining, and while silly, the idea of twisted history similar to how we look at the Internet.

In the Internet sea there are few rocks. Have you ever been exploring the Internet in search of a page that you absolutely know exists and you just can't seem to find it?

The internet is constantly changing. It's in the Internet's DNA. Everything is updating and re-evaluating, deleting and adding. Google or Bing are really amazing resources to show you what the internet has now, but what about what the internet had back then? Do you even know how to look back in to Interwebs' past?

This week, I was auditing Bloom Grocery's social media and website, however, near the end of the week-long project, Bloom updated their outreach. This update, aside from adding exactly what I was recommending, changed their website. What does one do? How do we go back? This is where's Wayback Machine is useful.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is Twitter A Step Back?

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As social media becomes more and more accepted as "just plain media," there are more and more tools and platforms to use this new social mediascape. In July 2006, Twitter launched to lukewarm fanfare, and gradually increased in popularity. As Twitter becomes the half-brother of Facebook – often mentioned as an aside – we start to study it for societal influence and opinion formulation. I love Twitter, I use it every day, every hour even, but isn't Twitter a step backward?

What is Twitter about? It's kind of like conversing on a train. It's about sending information out into the public timeline and sharing that information with whomever wants to listen. You can talk to me, but random people chose to listen in, or shut you out, listening and creating their own conversation.

In comparison...

What is Facebook about? Facebook is like being invited to a private party. It's about connecting a real person who has added interests, information, photos, purchasing decisions and using this as a digital representation of their personality. It's like a suburban backyard BBQ, next to a shopping mall. I don't even see the next party over unless I'm out looking for it, networking style.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Augmented Reality is Simply, Simple.

One of my favorite programs of the rarely used pieces of Android or iPhone software is called Augmented Reality (AR). The idea is to use the devices' internal cameras to overlay digital information on real life video.

A popular example is the Yelp app. Yelp has been able to perform AR since the iPhone 3GS, but with the new iOS4 it's even quicker and more precise.

To use it, open Yelp and switch to the Map view of the nearby Yelp reviewed establishments, touch the Monocle button and simply hold up your phone as if to look through it. The map becomes a video display of what is "behind" the phone, with the Yelp reviewed establishments overlain complete with names and star ratings. Plus, if you turn, the phone knows the direction you're facing adjusting your "Monocle" accordingly.

Image courtesy

Having the "Employ Me" talk

Interns of the world hold many positions and have a variety of skills to learn, but inevitably there comes the day when you want to have "the talk" with your employer. I've been at Discovery for a couple of months now and I feel that it is about time to start considering ways to bring up the employment question. Is there a chance I could be working for them after August?

According there are a few tips for turning internships into jobs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

BP Might Care, But Probably Not

If you haven't heard of it by now you're probably living under a rock. BP Global PR on Twitter is an extremely popular parody account. Started by an anonymous person on May 19th, the account is definitely a parody, though it gives no indication of being so. Currently it has over 179,000 Followers and tweets rather humorous PR-like statements regarding the BP Oil Spill.

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This brings into question, as a PR professional, how can you control a message in this situation? Is it even possible?! The account has been up for a month now, is still active, and seems to be prospering. On the other hand, BP_America the official BP account on twitter (for… America… wanted to point that out just in case) has only 16,000 followers and is mostly an object of ridicule in the Twitterverse.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Facebook Fans, What Are They Worth?

So as Facebook updates again and again, constantly revitalizing its systems to try to keep up with the landscape of the internet, we all sit there and get pissed off.

Few things have remained constant, but the idea of Liking or "Being a Fan" of something has been around long enough that people have been able to academically study it.

Recently, a social media measurement firm called Syncapse has come up with an actual dollar value and published it in a report for all to read. You probably never thought Fanning something would be of interest to a brand, you just Like them. But Syncapse studied the Fans of the top brands on Facebook and came up with some interesting conclusions.

To break the suspense, a fan is worth about $136. How do they know you ask? Well, they broke it down and thought strategically. They considered Product Spending, Loyalty, Propensity to Recommend (word-of-mouth, very important), Brand Affinity, Media Value and Acquisition Cost.

They took these metrics and studied people who were Fans of products like Skittles, Oreos, Coca-cola, Adidas, Blackberry, Victoria's Secret or Starbucks (to name only a few) and compared them to those that were not Fans.

What did they discover when they studied these groups?

  • On average, fans spend an additional $71.84 on products for which they are fans compared to those who are not fans.

  • Fans are 28% more likely than non-fans to continue using the brand.

  • Fans are 41% more likely than non-fans to recommend a fanned product to their friends.

So what?

Well, this means Fans are more loyal, more likely to tell their friends about the brand (and more importantly recommend a purchase) and are more likely to buy something themselves!

Curious about more details? The must have Fan were those of McDonalds, who are frequent visitors to their establishments, are highly loyal, frequently refer others, and actively participate in the McDonald's Facebook community. Because of all these metrics and the Fan effort the average McDonald’s fan netted the organization a value of $259.82.


This is crazy! Why don't these brands pay people, Google style, for recommending their brands? Maybe someday they will, but for now, I am going to login into my girlfriend's Facebook account and Fan Victoria's Secret...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Generational Differences

Recently, I read Millennial Makeover by Winograd and Hais. The book describes how politics differs with today's younger generation, the Millennials. Millennials are positive and are likely to think they are unique and special (just like everyone else). They are likely to think they will not do as well as their parents, but are confident things will be okay. Millennials were born from 1982-2003. This generation is more liberal than conservative, supportive of gay rights (but not necessarily marriage) and are more sexually liberated than their parents – tho cognizant of the dangers. Reading the above you are probably thinking one of a few things.

  1. "Wow, that sounds just like me!"

  2. "Hey, that's not like me at all..."

  3. "Sheesh, those generalizations sure are serious."

I'm going to focus on the third, as that is the most relevant to my thoughts here. Reading this book, my thoughts are immediately conflicted. Firstly, I think of many of these as descriptions of my own character. After all, my mother told me I was special often, and I am confident everything will be okay, even if I know I will never get social security... However, the idea that we can be grouped into 20 year groups of similarity was distressing.

There are many differences to our upbringing over the others, and I've never been more conscious of this since starting internships and job hunting. Many months back, when I started my Masters program, classmates, professors and colleagues would ask me the seminal question, "What do you want to DO?"

This was my least favorite question. Ever. I was always confused. The job market isn't a prix fixe, it's a buffet. As far as I am concerned, the better question has always been, "What don't you want to do?"

For example, if people ask you your favorite food when you've only had one meal how could you give a proper answer? If one thing is holding us together as a generation, aside from the girl power and gay pride, its the guarantee that we will all have multiple careers. Gone are the days when an employee starts at the bottom and works up to CEO. Instead, we millennials will find careers that fit as we grow. When we've filled the box we're in, we'll move to a new box and begin to fill again.

My point? Lets define our generation with positivity and acceptance, but also recognize that we NEED our positivity. We need to believe that our careers do not define us, but through our career we can create definitions that keep us happy, learning, and excited.

Friday, June 11, 2010

OFA progress goes, “Oof!”

Since electing the most wired President in history – and I'm not talking about the coffee & nicotine –Obama for America Campaign has become Organizing for America (OFA) and subsequently lost its mojo. After Obama's victory lap and OFA's absorbtion into the DNC fundraising machine; it became just another mindless direct-mail system. Asking us to spend small amounts of money and sending us email after email after email after email after email. Which is why we all left in the first place.

The DNC took the OFA and transformed them into the Borg. For those of you that missed the cultural staple that is Star Trek the Next Generation (STNG): the Borg were not a Swedish rock band, but a race of beings that valued the collective over the individual. The Borg assimilated humans & aliens alike, implanting strange lasers, giant metal chest pieces and leg augmentations that looked painful and generally impeded their forward motion. The Borg were the symbol of synergy and collectivism to the point of degradation of any excitement and emotion. Your MBA professor would be thrilled. These part-man part-machine beings were emotionless, grey and did what was best for the collective, often sacrificing their own humanity (alienity?) to serve the hive-mind.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Facebook Sells Your Profile

Recently, a friend of mine graduated from college interviewed with a large DC tank. This girl is Facebook savvy and keeps out both "The Man" and "Strangers" using the strictest privacy settings possible. As she says, "If I'm not friends with you, then all you know is I exist."

For an aspiring job hunter in the nation's capitol, she's made the right online privacy decisions, right? Wrong.

My friend made three major mistakes. She friended her professional references on Facebook. She assumed her privacy settings actually protected her. And she didn't anticipate her Facebook security guards were looking for a little extra cash.

The Hint Caravan

Understanding the Internet is more than reading a book or playing Farmville. This, the five guys that wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto understand. While they admit they don't understand the true purpose of the web – "telephones are for talking to people... what's the web for."

This ten-year anniversary addition almost doubles the original book published in 2000. IT contains new information discovered since the before our Web 2.0 generation. Back in 2000, before the popularity of the social web, before Facebook, MySpace or Twitter had taken over the bandwidth this book said something outrageous. "Markets are conversations."

This simple idea was a revolution in 2000, and the Internet was the best driving force behind these conversations. Today, we take this idea for granted. The idea that outside of a barbershop or store aisle we the consumers can have a true conversation regarding the products or policies of our favorite providers.

Unlike some of my other posts, today I felt this book is too important to pick apart. It's an Eastern philosophy of the internet. The authors looked at the Internet how an Amish person might design an Internet scheme. I read earlier this month how the Web increases our hand-eye coordination but decreases our critical thinking. This book is fantastic for those who have never thought critically about webspace. For those of us that who have, it becomes more of a How-to-explain book. It's more of a crash course of more of an eastern school web.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Just Another Obama Campaign Commentary

In the 2008 election, Obama and the media had no love lost between them (practically speaking) in comparison to his opposition (both during the primary and the general elections). This was in part supported by Obama’s media-buy being twice as much as others. (Source: Edelman Digital, January 2009)

During the 2008 Obama’s internet communications strategy aimed at concrete, focused and measurable goals, this is something all communications campaigns must do. Measurement to ensures reproduction.

“Even with the relatively vast resources at hand, Obama’s internet communications staff built carefully, innovated only as needed, and invested in projects that seemed to have a real chance of paying off in time to win.” says Delany in Learning from Obama on ePolitics101.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We’ve Got Your Number: Mobile Campaign Strategy

These days, everyone has a shortcode and some type of bandwagon-style promotion, (Text PORK to 234O2 and get a free HAM!) But the question isn't availability, it's viability. Why should your company or your campaign go through the trouble of a mobile campaign? The short answer, because there are 4.6 billion mobile phones worldwide which means a potential for 4.6 billion impressions, donations or contacts.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mind Is Blown, Then Content-Aware Filled

Adobe Photoshop CS5 was recently made available to the public. After watching this video...

I downloaded the CS5 free trial and played with the new content-aware deletion and spot-brush features. Needless to say, I was absolutely excited and amazed.

I spent about 10 minutes playing with various photos and then downloaded a random Facebook photo from a friends feed and began to see what I could delete. 20 minutes later I had deleted 10 or 11 things from the photo below. Can you spot them all?!

Click on the image to zoom

The mind-blowing thing here is, I am not a Photoshop Expert. I've never taken a PS class. I've played with it for many years, but always considered myself at an Intermediate level. If a mid-level untrained photo editor can remove items from a low-quality Facebook photo, what kind of creations could a professional make?

Now thinking about the future... *KABLOOIE!* Mind. Is. Blown.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bai Bai Birdie

Reading The Argument by Matt Bai this week reminded me of reading another verbose publication. Then I realized Bai worked for the other, the New York Times. I enjoyed Bai's book, it was an interesting topic and is a relevant book for those interested in working with politics. It's important (and fun) to learn the behind-the-scenes of a political sphere, but when looking at the old democrats we can always find lots of interesting characters. Speaking of characters, I enjoyed how Bai often used literary designs usually relegated to the fictional writer to describe non-fiction characters; some of whom are still quite prominent in media and politics.

Bai's book was far from an eye opener, and closer to a narrative, but the book itself described many considerations sometimes readily apparent to the casual political observer. For example, people are more important that constituency. When asked who influences politicians, its not just the people of the district, state or country who elected the officials, but often other officials, lobbyists, friends and colleagues.

This comes as no surprise to many of us, but the reasoning behind it (while not surprising) is not often put forth. Insecurity. Doubt. Confusion. Not to say politicians are stupid, but they are people. In our society of strong media personalities, public relations, media relations and highly sensationalized and celebritized figures, it's strange to think that famous Americans are just another odd kid in a suit.

My favorite part of the book was the exposure of these celebrity leaders as not just politicians with talking points, but people who can be influenced by direct and purposeful information. People who can be spoken to like any other, befriended like any other, and argued with like any other.

As I like to tell my friends, "Even Obama has sit on the toilet to take a poop."

I’ll Be Creative In A Minute

"I jumped, the sound hit ting me like a ton of bricks, drop ping my hot cof fee on the cat’s tail who ceased curl ing on the floor by my desk. I stood up from my office chair think ing I was lucky to be work ing from home, and went to investigate…" is a recent discovery. My co-worker was using the StumbleUpon tool and literally stumbled upon this website. The site presents the user with a simple creative task. When you click the "Go" button, you’ll see one word at the top of the follow ing screen. A timer starts and you have only sixty seconds to write about it. The idea is not to think about what you're writing, but to just flow onto the page (er... screen?).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Facebook & Twitter Activism

Activism is an interesting monster. I once dated a girl who joined protest lines because she thought herself an activist. She believed in the protester's message, but was also looking to join in! Does joining up as you're walking make you an activist or something else?

Today we read about the activism using Facebook, Twitter and messaging for a specific group on USENET. From the readings (Facebook here and Twitter here) we discovered that activism using social networks is complex, but can e successful if done properly. The lessons focus on activism using social networking, specifically those launched via a social network.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Photo, Made Creepy

By now many of us have heard of DailyBooth, but for those that haven't... DailyBooth is a social networking/media site that allows users to upload a photo (similar to a visual status message).

With this in mind, were a Clark Kent impersonator to step into DailyBooth he would emerge not as superman, but as a strange/creepy version of DailyBooth.'s website self-describes it as gathering "the latest about you into a tiny, easy to update, video-enabled calling card." These calling cards can then be embedded and used in place of some photos you see around the blogosphere.

Verdict? Creepy? Cool? Or a bit of both? To view my go to:

Here Comes Shirky & Friends

My friend Becca recently moved to Australia to study. Before she left I asked a question that may have been ludicrous ten years ago, but no longer, "What is your blog?" What young-person moves to a new place without keeping a blog of their adventures? Becca updates her blog occasionally with short stories and insight about her experiences down under, but there was a catch. Becca asked me never to share her blog address, even with other co-workers. Becca was limiting her audience to only those she was interested in reaching - i.e. she filtered. Using one of Shirky's points, Becca is doing exactly what he said, writing for her friends, but posting in public view.

The fascinating thing is, Becca doesn't think of her blog as a public space. The question is, why? She grew up during not just the Internet age, but the Google age, where everything is searchable, and even posted her blog on Google's Blogger platform, instantly searchable via Google. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning here. Becca is using the same principle a spy in the movies would use... Speak freely in crowds. Perhaps Becca feels private, because there is so much else going around the Internet, who cares about one girl studying in Australia? She's lost in the murmur of the collective. Then again, perhaps she just doesn't care.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

No One Likes a Qwitter

While using the 'ol Twitter this week, I realized I've lost a follower. Now, I know it's no big deal to lose a follower... but when you only have 190, a single follower is 0.5% of my overall user base!

During my Internet Advocacy class this semester, Rosenblatt has promised we will learn how to gain in followers, but in order to understand how you gain (easy looking at the Stats of # of clicks – I use Hootsuite) it's not as obvious when people leave. For that, my social discovery of the week is Qwitter, an unfollow tracker for those who tie their self worth to their number of followers.

Qwitter is a free tool which sends you an email digest regarding your weekly unfollows you. It even gives you the exact tweet which might have possibly caused your fan-loss.

Simple and easy, my favorite kind of geekyness. I'll check it out, maybe you should too, but don't worry, it's not what you know its who you follow... or maybe it's who follows you? We need to update these old sayings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So, You Want to be a Successful Campaign?

Engaging the public in an Internet age is not necessarily more difficult than engaging the public previously. If anything according to Rosenblatt, Delany and Rigby, it would seem to be easier to reach, offer influence and recruit individuals. The problem is not access, but organization and strategy.

The days of driving the megaphone through the center of town are not gone, but the megaphone has evolved into a series of electronic pages. Instead of driving it through town you create the data on a server and shout your message into people's email inboxes and social networks. Additionally, the campaign cannot use the hypodermic needle theory, they need to engage and respect their audience (who are often NOT the general public, but subsets of that public known as publics). In the age of engaged publics who can communicate and search for your campaign, you need to respect and value their input from the ground level. If you don't care, then why are you even soliciting it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

DC's American Indian Museum is Not What You Expect

Today, I visited the Museum of the American Indian here in DC. I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the physical museum itself, as well as the thought put into the exhibits.

While the museum is not perfect, it was not at all what I'd expected. It has an interesting slant, but so do all museums. There was an exhibit on the top floor (where you are supposed to start) discussing how visitors are supposed to question the museum, discuss it, disagree with it, etc. They want you to engage in the museum, very cool stuff.

There was another bit about the lives of native peoples today and parts they play in modern society versus the continued connection with their ancient roots, a bit about the US Government regulating who "is" native and who "isn't," bits about native cultures, crafts, lifestyles, and many sorts of interesting things.

Regardless, the museum asking me to question it was something we never really are asked.

Most museums press their expertise upon their publics, asking them to listen and learn. We are supposed to accept them as the "Sage on the Stage" as one of my professors used to say. The MotAI was more of a "Guide on the Side" showing native culture from one view point or another and asking you to think critically.

We know history is based on primary sources, multiple secondary sources, oral traditions and whatnot, but really history is also based on the conjecture regarding that which is left behind. Conjecture, educated guesswork and theory conducts many things in the realm of history (as with other studies).

A Recent Personal Example: 150 years from now, if a historian were studying universities and halls of learning in Washington DC before the world changing insert event here and they dug up a primary source regarding my graduation ceremony yesterday: the Official American University 125th Commencement Program they would discover lists of names, majors, awards, honors, speakers and scholars. In it, were they looking for the famous Trace Dominguez, who supposedly attended American University around this year, they would never find me. My name is misspelled. History may forever be altered!

My point is, I think the museum is purposefully countering some points of American Indian history and emphasizing others, just like any museum, but it does so with transparency, unlike other museums.

Check it out!

The Museum of the American Indian's website is located here and is run by the Smithsonian Institute.
Open 10 AM–5:30 PM daily; closed December 25.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apple's New iPhone? iPhone 4.0 Found at a Bar

Beer is amazing, without it this never would have happened.

Someone dropped a prototype iPhone in a bar, it was picked up and found it's way into the hands of the kids over at Gizmodo (who may have even paid to get their mitts on it).

While it was active for a little while and able to be used, eventually it was remotely locked (possible via MobileMe). Gizmodo still took it apart and checked it out.

It has a removable battery and it's ugly, but then again it's just a prototype. Were it me, I would produce a product and improve the battery life simultaneously. This would mean, internally, the battery would be removable as the developers could be told, "Make the best battery for X-amount of space," and it could be tested in the prototype devices.

Form is important to customers, function is important to engineers, if the guy who lost it was an engineer, then this new iPhone 4 might be the new components in a 'temporary' casing.

Regardless the hardware is interesting, and my assumption is the WWDC (which has yet to be scheduled) will either come right away, or be postponed to let Apple pack a bit more into the soon-to-be continual best phone in the biz.

UPDATE: Gizmodo has since released an official letter from Apple requesting they return the device; basically admitting it was real all along. This is an amazing little tech story that you might just tell your little four-eyed grandchildren about, if you can meet a girl who agrees to hang out with you...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Liveblog of PRSA Event

Tom McMahon
Director Corporate and Government Relations

Press release
Talking pts - msging
Fact Sheets, Collateral - backgrounders, Message facts, bullet points
Coalitions - other groups together with us
3rd Party Endorsements
Radio/Satellite Media Tours - everyones looking for content
News Clips - holy grail. Take that clip, use it
Influential blogs, post,

Social media is not new.
BusinessWire, RSS, Blogs (press releases)
friends and followers are the same as subscribers and readers
Tweets, Statys Updates when a Release is filed (talking pts)
WebSites, Blogs are good for (op-eds)
Groups, fanpages, linkedin (coalitions)
Refs links retweets (endorsements)
Camcorder video, YouTube (media tours)
Retweets, comments, links, (news clips)

TweetBook - make a book of your Twitter history from a conference/event. Try it to get some analytics.


Leslie Aun
World Wildlife Fund

Accounting is for accountants, communication is for everyone.

Produced VNR at MCI and then the Internet came, the world changed

WWF is not about endangered species, but mostly about climate issues. People hijack their brand. An ad agency in Brazil used WWF and created ads with 9/11 compares it to Climate change, submitted it and got an award. Never asked WWF. They didn't know until it was already out there.

Sodexo (French company) provided meals to the troops. Coailiton of the willing? French = cheese eating surrender monkeys.

They PRed with Hill and talked how they are indeed supporting troops, they provide thousands of jobs to Americans. This is measurable, sort of.

Find ways to tell story w/o spending too much or committing too many resources.

Earth Hour = good example. Can't compete with climate legislation as nonprofit but promoted in a way to get people in the right head space. (100 million Americans participated)

Manage expectations, but dream big
PR is just one tool - think the old toolbox and new toolbox
Help people understand being quiet is just as important and being noisy
Taking small bites of a big enchilada (sic)
Chart out a path to the goal, milestones, etc
1st step: get Obama to go to copenhagen
2nd: get him there at the right TIME
3rd: get people on target
Stay FOCUSED, if you have money for 2 states but need 6. Just do the 2.


John DiBiase
National Association of Realtors

Integration is impt.
1.2 million members - difficult to make members understand
Has not made us a direct democracy
Social media = old wine in new bottles
Twitter, linkedin, vehicle??
W/o good, concise clear message you aren't going anywhere
It's more dangerous now.
My perogative? "Don't piss off the Hill." harder with these tools.
Let go a little bit. We can't control retweets, but we can control strength of our own msg before it was tweeted.
Manage expectations, just bc the op-Ed is amazing doesn't mean the world is on that topic.
For the House Financial Services Committee? Fannie/Freddie reconstruct is a big deal, for Stephanopolos (refrence mine) but is a huge deal for their publics.

Elected officials are busy, people on the ground need the right message, and the best message.

"Don't send me any more videos I'm on dialup" - that always happens.

Flip side: There are people with iPads and iPhones.

It's a new world, but it's not as scary or different... Get in the water. You don't have to dive in, but get your toes, the ankles and wade.

If is doesn't make sense at 140 words, it won't at 140 characters, or 140,000 characters.

Throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball. Fundamentals. Message is king. Keep your message in mind and even writing for 140chars you need to actually WRITE a message.

Sorry you had to leave Erica a.k.a. "Funsize"
At least you got your... moneys... worth...?

Trace Dominguez
Masters Candidate
American University

Sent from my iPhone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Who is House M.D.?

With all my Capstone work, homework, internship hunt, summer-y weather, library days (and nights), and then pesky ACTUAL work, I haven't been using my free time to blog. Instead, I've been using my free time to write down IDEAS blogs while watching a smattering of television shows.

*Aside: I've also been reading a lot, I have a new subscription to WIRED and another to GQ, on top of all the class readings, podcasts of various news stories, reading of actual news stories and the two or three books I'm juggling (I forget how many) I've been reading a lot. :End Aside

Recently, I decided to take up the popular House M.D. for my viewing pleasure.

While watching the show I experienced a nagging feeling I'd seen it before. It took me 7 episodes before realizing who this Gregory House actually is.

I was disappointed, because as is consistent in our American culture, we hadn't invented our own compelling character, but instead we borrowed from another culture.

I'm sure sociologists or cultural anthropologists would put our character kleptomania down to a lack of unique or distinct cultural history; that being a country of immigrants, our original culture were richer, blah, blah, blah, but I digress.

We are borrowers... We don't usually make up our own crap. We all know so, and just off the top of my head (I swear I didn't even have to wiki it!) here are some relevant examples:
So You Think You Can Dance was based on an older BBC show Strictly Come Dancing - similar concept, but the BBC show had a very funny - and somewhat perverted old man host. Made the show infinitely more entertaining. He was never without a P.Y.T. on his arm.
American Idol, also copied from Britannia though they called it the X-Factor. I think Simon was even part of this one too. Correct me if I'm wrong Hyperwebs (and while your at it list some more show copies - if you can put in the effort to be a jerk, you may as well put in a little more and be helpful too).
Deal or No Deal? Yep, Britain - same name, but no stupid banker as a character in a darkened room upstairs. Instead the goateed host just spoke into a phone - probably just enabling his schizophrenia. Also, the people with boxes weren't models, but your friends and relatives. Try telling Grandma you don't want her box versus telling some beautiful woman in a dress... on second thought...

House uses his powers of observation, powerful sense of confidence, specialized training and deductive reasoning to solves the problems of rich and poor alike. All the while he bounces his ideas and theories after his group of colleagues who he talks down to but thoroughly respects. He has a drug problem and enjoys interesting tweed hats. Had I not mentioned House, you might be (as Brain often said to Pinky) pondering what I'm pondering...

In my view, House is in fact the detective Sherlock Holmes! He may have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for that darn Hulu...

They share more than just a common peakyness , they have many similar characteristics, right down to a drug addiction; though Cocaine (similar to pain killers) wasn't considered a problem for the many users, but simply a tool to help the citizens of late 19th century London get through the day.

I just felt I should share this little cookie of realization, not for a particular purpose per se, but for my own amusement.

Deliciously, Hugh Laurie plays the sleuth in this picture and Watson was in fact a Medical Doctor, the allegory's abound...

Regardless of his honed American lispyness, he's still a Brit, playing an American, based on a Brit. Brilliant, Cheerio.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

iPhone Jailbait

The Problem

I, like many of my fellows, love my iPhone, but sometimes I just wish it was a bit more
convenient to use. For example, when in New York City or DC there are 10 million* wifi networks. When walking around, my iPhone pops up with a little notification every time I use an app that accesses the Internet:
Stop! I don't want to join your damn network!
* there are not really 10 million wifi networks, but there are a lot of them

To turn off these pop-ups I can either disable WiFi or Disable the Notifications. Either options requires me to go to Page 2 of my home screen, tap Settings, scroll to and WiFi, then tap to toggle Notifications to Off or toggle WiFi to Off.

The whole process is long and arduous. Especially when my brother's Android based phone has a toggle right on his home screen. This is just one example of the hoop-jumping iPhone users are subjected to by Apple. There are other examples, but I think we all get the point.

The Solution

JAILBREAK! Get that iPhone out of Apple's exclusive grip!

Jailbreaking your iPhone is a simple process. It does not damage your iPhone in any way, and is completely reversible. Think of it as a new case for your iPhone, you can try it out, and if you don't like it, take it off and you're back to normal.

Earlier this week I Jailbroke(?) my iPhone. I wanted to install a piece of software that would tackle a few specific problems. Turning Bluetooth or WiFi on and off to save battery, the ability to show a battery bar percentage (only available on the 3Gs) and a few other minor tweaks. Jailbreaking one's iPhone is the only viable solution.

The Breakout

As it turns out, Jailbreaking is even simpler than the last time I tried it (over a year ago). I downloaded a simple piece of software, ran it on my computer with my iPhone plugged in, and 15 minutes later the phone rebooted with my own custom boot screen:

Simple. Colorful. Apple-maddening, because it's not the "official" boot screen

I smiled to myself and began my new life with a Jailbroken iPhone. I was happy, for the moment...

Jailbreaking allows the iPhone to install Non-Apple-approved appls (that's a mouthful).

It installs Cydia, a gigantic hacker version of the app store. Users spend hours trolling the apps and checking all the things you can customize, but I was on a mission.

The first thing I did, was remove the bulky "AT&T" carrier name replacing it with "Crap," this was a bit of a debbie-downer but I fixed that later... I also made a few other tweaks. The battery percentage was a big one. I also installed SBSettings.

SBSettings comes in the form of a drop-down menu. It is always there, hidden at the top of your screen accessible without leaving a call or closing another app. It allows for the Toggling of WiFi (no more menu hoops), Bluetooth (no more draining battery), 3G (sometimes 3G service is buggy), and numerous others (SSH, Brightness adjust, etc).

SBSettings. Swipe the statue bar at the top and it drops down over whatever you are doing.
Touch the status bar again, and it disappears. It's always there... waiting...

Again, I was happy... for a while. I thought I had everything I wanted. I could see my battery percentage, knew knew the date and time at a glance, and when I wasn't using it, my Bluetooth was only a swipe away from Off.

The Madness

As it the week floated by, I came to realize the few trivial things I changed were great, but what about my SMS Tone? The iPhone comes with only six. There is no way to add a new tone (without Jailbreaking) and I had been using the only good one for 18 months! Unfortunately, so was everyone else...

I began to search for a way to alter the SMS Tone. I spent at least three hours on this endeavor finally having my own, custom SMS tone. FYI, I decided on the power up sound from Super Mario Bros. NES: the sound of little Mario becoming BIG Mario. Awesome, right?

Then, I said to myself, why not have a custom lock screen (the screen the iPhone shows when the phone is locked) I could have anything I want! THE POWER! The lock screen buttons, bars, text... everything can be customized!

Two hours later (@ 4AM) I had a customized lock screen with colorful sliders, custom text and a new wallpaper. I woke up the next morning and decided I didn't like any of the previous night's decisions.

Next, I thought, why not some fancy ringtones?! I can get any ringtone I want! This Cydia App Store has hundreds! Then, I could get a custom icon for the service level, replacing the boring lowercase "at&t." THEN, a custom background when the phone is NOT locked and then perhaps new icons, and THEN...

You get the idea.

The Conclusion

Today, exactly a week after Jailbreaking my iPhone, I am restoring it to factory settings. I spent this week with Jailbreak Madness only to realize, Jailbreaking is a waste of my time.

The first sign was when I hit the home button, and nothing happened for 3 or 4 seconds. The iPhone was starting to get bogged down running all these little tweaks. Next, was when I would spend an hour playing with settings, only to return the phone to how it had been at the beginning of the hour. My iPhone had become more than just a phone; more than a useful device; it had become an omnipresent distraction. A never-ending project of exploration into the various customizable interfaces, wallpapers, icons and sounds that a computer can replicate, but in the palm of my twitchy hand.

Today, I restored my iPhone and closed Pandora's box. Some things are better left under the regulation and control of Steve Jobs' minimalist regime.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

USA is Not Going to Win the Men's Biathlon

I just wanted to comment on how much I love the Olympics. Winter or Summer, they are both great. Today, while watching the Men's Biathlon (Sprint) which is a 10 kilometer race where you ski and then stop to shoot – once standing and once prone. There are five targets to shoot and depending on if you are standing or prone the athlete has to hit a grapefruit or golf ball sized target, respectively.

I know what you're thinking, what if they miss the target? I'm glad you asked. Depending on what round is being played (Sprint, Pursuit, Individual - et cetera) you either get a time penalty or you have to ski an extra 150 meter penalty lap. Harsh!

Men's Biathlon seems pretty interesting, this is one of my favorite parts about the Olympics, it's not about commercial time, it's not about bitchy millionaire professionals, it's about sports, and the people who are the best in the world.

Americans, by the way, are not so great at the Men's Biathlon. During the race, NBC commentator stated,"The biathlon has been part of the Winter Olympics since 1924." Thank's commentator man! Good historical lesson. He wasn't finished, he continued, "An American has never won a medal of any kind, and that is not gonna change today." Harsh, and funny.

Moral: I love the Olympics. You never get to see some of these competitions. People dedicate their lives to these pursuits and because they're not Football or Basketball they don't get the recognition. It's wonderful that the world can come together and fully appreciate these athletes for what they do, and not how much they get paid to do it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

50 States Movie Marathon! Success!

We did it!! Here it is. Any corrections? Debates? Someone should hold this marathon. Maybe we could get TBS to do it...

Alabama - Forrest Gump
Alaska - Mystery, Alaska
Arizona - Raising Arizona
Arkansas - Walk the Line
California - The Wizard
Colorado - Dumb and Dumber
Connecticut - Mystic Pizza
Delaware - Wayne's World
District of Columbia - Mr Smith Visits Something something...
Florida - The Birdcage
Georgia - Gone With The Wind
Hawaii - Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Idaho - Napoleon Dynamite
Illinois - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Indiana - Christmas Story
Iowa - Field of Dreams
Kansas - Wizard of Oz
Kentucky - Elizabethtown
Louisiana - Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Maine - Shawshank Redemption
Maryland - Blair Witch Project
Massachusetts - Boondock Saints
Michigan - Grosse Point Blank
Minnesota - Miracle
Mississippi - O' Brother Where Art Thou
Missouri - Meet Me in St. Louis
Montana - Legends of the Fall
Nebraska - Children of the Corn
Nevada - The Hangover
New Hampshire - What About Bob
New Jersey - Clerks
New Mexico - High School Musical
New York - Ghostbusters
North Carolina - Cape Fear
North Dakota - Fargo
Ohio - Major League
Oklahoma - Twister
Oregon - The Goonies
Pennsylvania - Groundhog Day
Rhode Island - Me, Myself and Irene
South Carolina - Glory
South Dakota - North by Northwest
Tennessee - The Blindside
Texas - Fandango
Utah - SLC Punk
Vermont - Super Troopers
Virginia - Bourne Identity
Washington - 10 Things I Hate About You
West Virginia - October Sky
Wisconsin - American Movie
Wyoming - Close Encounters of the Third Kind

50 States Movie Marathon - Can We Do It?

I am supposed to have an Endoscopy in a few hours (don't worry it's a relatively procedure), but I can't sleep. I was laying there, thinking about how to fall asleep when the idea popped in my head...

A 50 States Movie Marathon.

I couldn't help it, it just popped in there... Ghostbusters - New York, just thought of that now as I was typing!

I mean sure lets be honest with ourselves, Ghostbusters may not embody the entire state, but that's not the idea is it? The idea is every state has a movie who's main theme, their mantra, their setting or their goal is to get to, be in, talk about or refer to a state!

I mean, when I think of Illinois, I think of Chicago, and when I think of Chicago, I, like you, should be thinking of Ferris Beuller's Day Off.

When I think of an amazing, and I mean frickin' fantastic movie marathon. I usually think James Bond, but this is just... beyond amazing. Obviously, it would be spread out over weeks... maybe even a whole year... One movie a week for a year with two weeks off would be insane! But think of the pay off. Think of the geekery! You'd be a Nerdsation!

When I think of Alaska, I think of a town called Mystery.

But it's not always about cliché, for example, what prompted this whole thing was thinking about Grosse Point Blank - Michigan, not Escanaba in da Moonlight or 8 Mile. And then I started to think of other movies and even more outside the box...

California... CALIFORNIA! - The Wizard... The kid says California how many frickin' times!? Probably 38. That movie should be the movie for the marathon.

I don't know who follows this blog anymore, but I am sure that I have friends from most of the states of this union. Anyone have any other ideas? These are the ones that popped into my head, sometimes on accident... like Minnesota, weren't a lot of those boys from Lake Placid's Olympic Games in 1981's Miracle - (from) Minnesota?

Oregon, I couldn't think of anything but Oregon trail, then I remembered Orlando Bloom talking about being from Oregon, but that movie is about Elizabethtown - Tennessee.

Washington, when I thought of washington I thought of Seattle, and when I thought of Seattle I thought of grunge rock, which brought me to being Sleepless there... Sleepless in Seattle - Washington.

The point of my story is, think of some other states and post them in the comments! I will try and think of some too, but I have to say I might be out for a bit of the day tomorrow thanks to my procedure.

Note: Clichés are sometimes acceptable if the whole damn state is defined by it... Kansas for example, if you're not there anymore then you must be watching the Wizard of Oz - Kansas, and since we're in Twister country why not Twister? How do we connect em? Well the drama does center around Jo's auntie who lives in Wakita, Oklahoma! Twister - Oklahoma.

There are so few movies from Indiana that we'd have to watch Hoosiers or Rudy, that's pretty much all they have, the problem is Rudy sucks and so does Hoosiers, but what can you do. Hoosiers - Indiana.

Although sometimes, like in the case of Grosse Point Blank, it's important to completely defy the cliché, no one is denying the greatness of Leaving Las Vegas or Fear and Loathing, but perhaps these would be too obvious... how about a movie about Reno instead?

Then you get those weird states like Arizona, except that someone was obviously raised there, weren't they? Raising Arizona - Arizona

What about Virgina, where dozens of movies are set. Maybe there could be some kind of documentary or historical piece? I am not even sure... I open it up to you friends. Don't let me down. Lets get all the states!

Here's the states I listed so far in this post - Try not to duplicate, sorry if you don't like what I, or someone else posted, but this is just for fun so lets keep the intra-state rivalry to a minimum. I deftly avoided The-State-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named didn't I?

Alaska - Mystery, Alaska
Arizona - Raising Arizona
California - The Wizard
Indiana - Hoosiers
Illinois - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
New York - Ghostbusters
Michigan - Grosse Point Blank
Minnesota - Miracle
Oklahoma - Twister
Tennessee - Elizabethtown
Washington - Sleepless in Seattle

The object of the game is to name a movie that can be ascribed to the state you've paired it with. Be sure you give reason and try to avoid the obvious clichés! Good Luck!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Price Writes New Song That Only Vikings Can (Want to?) Hear

So, via Anna's Tumblr blog her roommate Kelly's genius is released.

in response to e-mailing my Prince-obsessed roommate the A.V. Club article on Mr. Purple Rain writing a song for the Minnesota Vikings:
?uestlove tweeted it a few hours ago and I retweeted, natch. I like that you sent this, it means I can add you to the list of people who will overwhelm me with text/facebook message IF he dies.

The song didn’t do much for me personally, but the fact that Prince decided to write a song about football definitely made me feel better.

In my fantasy, he is just straight-up chilling in his skybox with Larry Graham, drinking some Sanka and staring at the game with his hands steepled together.

Suddenly, he closes his eyes, and whispers:

“Children of earth. Don’t move. Jesus just sent me a blessing of the musical variety and I must investigate.”

He dashes out of the skybox, has his bodyguard carry him to his limo and races off to Paisley Park in record time.

A few hours later, a reporter at the local Fox affiliate hears a curious noise. A dove carrying a package is tapping its beak at a window. Surprised, he opens the window and the bird seemingly floats in, drops a CD on his desk and flits back out into the night sky.

Written on the CD in purple sharpie is the following phrase:

“A PrPl and GOLD Gift 4 U”

I think we all know what happens next. I have too much time on my hands.
Kelly Conniff, you are something else.
I wonder how many reblogs of this we can get. Kelly, you are my favorite."

And that my friends. Is amazing.

Here's the link to the video the screenshot is from. Yea. I love the circle... Looky here!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Conversation on Autism

T: autism
KKP: ...yes?
T: is it a disease? or just a different way to look at the human experience
KKP: well. the first thing to say is that people with autism don't want a cure, they want acceptance. That being said, living with autism in normal society is very difficult, so should it be possible to find a pre-natal cure (as likely the only potential cure would be pre-natal) then all resources should be exhausted to do so.
T: but, a cure implys a disease
KKP: no, you can cure "conditions" "abnormalities"
T: why cure it?
why not just accept it as a difference
like being black or asian
KKP: because the difficulties in being severely autistic are very different than the difficulties in being black.
where did this question originate?
T: i had honestly never once thought about it
but today someone on facebook posted a status update about how Autism wasn't a disease. IT wasn't a disorder that could or SHOULD be cured
Honestly, coming from a Behavioral Psychology background it never had occured to me that someone who was autistic wanted to be accepted as they were
KKP: well, take your own life as an example.
Was staying on ADD medications for the rest of your life an option, in your opinion?
T: if i had to, but i just didnt want to.
i wanted to be normal. I didn't want people to have to change for me. I wanted to be a better person. call it peer pressure, but really I just wanted to fit in.
KKP: well depending on the severity, people with autism don't necessarily have to, either.
T: i mean
thats like my ex-girlfriend
she has epilepsy and takes a medication that she says keeps her from remembering things
and she said to me once, "Someday i'll get a job where people accept the fact that i cant remember things, and they'll repeat things and be okay with it"
KKP: that's not likely.
T: thats what i told her
she got mad
KKP: i mean, unless she applies for a job openly stating she has a disability. then the employer would be aware and prepared to help
T: i advised her to "learn to write everything down. keep a planner! write things down as people tell you then you won't have to be told multiple times and you'll be self-sufficient."
she said i was mean and didnt understand.
she said she put stuff in her phone
i said your boss would have to accept you put it in your phone
but what if something happened?
you'll need to take care of yourself
she didnt like that
KKP: understandably.
T: a long story, but it comes back to this
how can a group of people claim to want acceptance, when they really want to fundamentally change how society looks at acceptance
acceptance is, "you're different, but we dont have to accomodate you"
acknowledging that someone is going to start self-stimulating in the middle of a meeting...
thats not acceptance thats accommodation.
Isn't it?
Another 'social issue'... gay marriage, for example
Isn't that acceptance? i don't have to change my life
if i had to watch people making out in Starbucks whereas I would have had before... that might be accommodation
KKP: haha
T: but who's to say there wont be an autistic person self-stimulating or a gay couple making out

This was a short conversation, and I really do not know my own opinion, but I would relish another crowd-sourcing experiment. My background is in the behavioral cure of autism. There was never a question, NEVER a question, about it being an accepted as an equal.

It is fascinating to me. I'm posting a link to Autism Speaks who I remember being an advocacy organization and the Autism Rights Movement page on Wikipedia. Let the discussion begin!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2009 Playlist

For the last few years I've created a set of songs that remind me of that year for one reason or another... Here is 2009s!

*yes i was listening to GaGa when I made the screenshot... what of it. Deal with it.


The recent days of public transportation activity have made me wonder. Why don't we give a damn?

Let me break it down for you. Our country has a low voter turnout, we don't volunteer our time to help people (unless we can donate on the internet), we text a friend in Seattle before talking to a stranger at the bar we're patronizing, we don't want to talk to others (so we put in our headphones), and we don't consider others when doing pretty much anything...


I can say these are just some of many things we could identify as "societal problems" or "social issues" but who are we really talking about? Aren't we just projecting these faults from individuals onto a faceless larger group? INDIVIDUALS who can make small adjustments and change the society or social or community or whatever-you-want-to-call-it-to-avoid-blame group?

New York City crime rates fell from record highs to record lows in the end of the last century. There have been many books written about why and many explanations offered; here is one more... Maybe people (individually) finally got fed up with crime? Maybe the culture of the city was no longer a petri dish for breeding crime. There's no proof, but then again many conjectures have been made so why not one more.

Long story short, when you're on an airplane next time, don't push people to get from the back to the front because you want to get off first. When you're on the train wait for people to exit before pushing past people to get the "best seat." When someone sneezes there's nothing wrong with saying, "bless you" or "gazunteit" or "salud" or "Damn! That was a good one!" When you're on the bus, don't block the aisle talking to your friend when people are standing in the cold waiting to get on.

Courtesy. Kindness. Friendly. Not Being An Asshole.

take your pick.

People may be assholes but like Red Green used to say, "I'm pullin' for ya'. We're all in this together."

Friday, January 01, 2010

Olde Friends

There's something to be said about new friends. I sat in a classroom and performed group work with dozens of new people over the last few months, but how does that compare with these people I worked with at the Fort?

I'm not really sure.

Here I am on Mackinac Island in the middle of a limestone rock draped in snow harboring barely two digit temperatures... But in this building I am surrounded by warmth and friendship. While mushy, it sure does feel good.

"I've missed you guys... Some of you..." Joe just said. I agree with that sentiment. I miss these people; not that I want to live with them at the Mission House again, but I am happy to not have lost them to the throws of history.