Culture

I interviewed the Wiggles

The Wiggles. Kids go crazy for them, and until recently I had very little idea who the heck they were. That all changed last week when I sat down to interview them for my day job (yes, I was in the same room with them even though it might not look that way in the video).


They were nice guys, and I enjoyed chatting with them.

When I joined Comcast I wasn't expecting to interview anyone, but it turns out I quite enjoy it (I'll leave it up to you whether or not I'm any good at it!). Here's a link to the YouTube video if you're reading this in a newsreader or something.


What I've been reading on my Kindle

I heart my Kindle, and as many of you know I've in the process of writing a book about the Kindle for PeachPit (I only mention it now because I am fairly certain that it will, in fact, be published at some point next month).

After finishing my last book (which you really should buy, if you haven't already) I really didn't feel like writing much of anything, so I went on a reading binge. It seems like that is my natural reaction after writing a book because I did the exact same thing this time around (though the book isn't finished just yet, we're still in the editing process... but I'm such a fantastic writer that I need little editing. That sound you hear is my editor, Kathy, laughing her head off).

One of the unfortunate side effects of this is that Blankbaby lays fallow, so I thought why not write up a post about the books I've read in the last few weeks? Heck, I'll even link to them on Amazon so that if you want to read them yourself I'll get a little kickback (hey, I need to support my reading habit somehow!).

Currently reading:

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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.

I'm reading this at the moment (though I'm reading the Kindle edition, which Amazon won't allow me to link to with my associate link for some reason) and so far it has done a fantastic job of convincing me that no sane person would ever venture into the Amazon to look for anything. The word 'maggot' appears far too often for my comfort, and yet Grann has so far spun the tale of English explorer Percy Fawcett's obsessive search for the Lost City of Z in a truly fascinating way. Grann even goes as far as retracing Fawcett's route himself.

I haven't finished reading this one yet, but all signs point to it being one of the better books of non-fiction I have read in awhile. If you aren't squeamish I suggest you check this book out (I would lend you my copy, but sadly that is one of the areas in which buying the physical book is better than the Kindle version).

Recently Read:

These are the books that I have recently finished reading (all on my Kindle, of course, and the vast majority of them on the Kindle DX).

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How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

I had no idea who Steve Hely was before I started reading this book, but I so enjoyed it that I did a little looking into his history. Turns out he was a writer for the Late Night with David Letterman, which explains why I found his sense of humor to be so entertaining (though now he writes for American Dad, which I don't find to be all that funny).

This book tells the tale of guy who gets laid-off from his job writing college admission essays for wealthy kids and decides to write a Serious Work of Fiction. Here's the kicker: he thinks all the Serious Fiction writers are full of crap. He comes up with a list of rules that he follows while writing his book to appeal to the sort of person who looks for the Oprah Book Club sticker on a book's front cover, all in an effort to be a best selling author.

I won't ruin the book for it, but let's just say that it turns out getting on the New York Times Best Seller list doesn't solve all of life's problems.

There is a physical edition available, if you prefer your books to take up space.


The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam and The Good Thief's Guide to Paris both by Chris Ewan

ewanbooks.jpgThese two books (a third is on the way) make up the Charles Howard series of mystery novels. Charles Howard, the main character, is a mystery writer by day and an international thief by night (though he isn't as impressive as the thief character in his fictional series of mysteries. Confused? Don't worry, it isn't as confusing whilst you're actually reading the books).

These books are very entertaining, and very quick reads. I don't know why I don't read more mysteries, but the Good Thief Guides have shown me the error of my ways.

It doesn't hurt that Chris Ewan is a Mac user, has a blog, and uses TypePad just like me (makes me think that I might have a novel or 5 in me as well!). Pick up Amsterdam or Paris (though you should read Amsterdam first) if you're looking for a nice light read.

The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. Green

spywhohaunted.jpgOh, Simon R. Green. He is something of a guilty pleasure for me. I've read almost everything the man has written, and I buy every one of his new books without even glancing at the summary to see what they are about... and yet... he really doesn't write all that well. Don't get me wrong, he has some fantastic ideas and he presents them in a very interesting and entertaining way, however, his ideas are often much better than his prose. I will give him this, though, the man has lots and lots of imagination (he reminds me of Piers Anthony in that respect).

Anyway, I'm not going to bother explaining what this book is about since it is the third in a series and none of it will make sense unless you've read them. Suffice to say I enjoyed reading it, but this type of book is the perfect argument for the Kindle. It is fun to read, but you'll never re-read it again so why take up valuable space in your home storing it for who know how long? However, if you want to buy a hard copy don't let me stop you.

So, that's what I've been reading. What about you?


Americans love to shift the blame

hummer.jpgWe all know that American car companies (other than Ford) aren't doing so well nowadays. They seem to be baring the brunt of the American public's anger with this financial crisis for a simple reason: people understand what car makers do. They produce cars, it is pretty simple. If people buy those cars, the company makes a profit. Compare that to leveraged buyouts of bundled mortgages (if that's even a thing) and I can understand why people are blaming the car companies.

That being said, it is one thing to blame a faceless corporation and quite another to attack a model hired to look pretty next to said faceless corporation's product at a trade show and say this:

At Auto Show, Presenters Meet a Tough Crowd - NYTimes.com: "One G.M. presenter said a woman told her the company was responsible for the death of American soldiers in Iraq. The logic went like this: if G.M. made more fuel-efficient cars, the country would not need so much oil, and if the country did not need oil, United States troops would never have invaded."

That's pretty harsh, and downright stupid. The car companies kept pumping out gas guzzlers because that's what people wanted to buy (can you say Hummer?).

My point is this: get mad at the company all you want, just leave their models alone.


Comcast Voices: my new gig

ComcastVoices.jpg When I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be a scientist. I blame that on a healthy dose of Star Trek and Quantum Leap (plus a liberal dusting of popular science books). I went off to Lehigh with the intention of majoring in physics and then going to getting a PhD and then doing some hard science.

My dream was crushed in calculus class. Math always came easily to me, but I found calculus to be completely alien. I couldn't wrap my mind around it (though looking back at it, I'm pretty sure I was just too darned lazy to do the required work) and so I did what any red blooded college student would do: I gave up.

It was clear that the hard sciences weren't for me, and that meant I needed a new major. There were two lead contenders: Classical Studies (i.e. Ancient History) or English. Since I always enjoyed reading and writing (and I was fluent in English at the time; Latin was all Greek to me) I figured I would opt for English (though I ended up taking enough Ancient History classes to minor in Classics, but I didn't fill out the paperwork for the minor, so that isn't on my academic record). That turned out to be a great decision, even though for the last ten years or so it looked like writing would always be a sideline to my 'real' job (i.e. being an IT geek).

Over the last few years I've been lucky enough write about lots of stuff and get paid for it (first at TUAW, then at Macworld and MacUser, and then I wrote a book, which I still think is super cool), and as I was doing all that writing there was a voice in the back of my mind that kept saying, "gee, wouldn't it be fun if I did this full-time?"

I'm no John Gruber or Jason Kottke, so I knew that making a living off of Blankbaby would be difficult at best (the market of people who are intensely interested in what I am doing at any given point just isn't large enough to monetize... plus whenever I hear anyone use the word 'monetize' I want to punch them in the throat). Freelancing seemed like something that might work, but all my friends who are indies (mostly working over at Indy Hall) seem to be working all the time (on what I have no idea). Plus a large amount of your time as an indie is spent making sure your clients pay you. I hate paper work, and talking to people isn't really my forte so being a freelancer just doesn't appeal to me (though I would like to work from home and not wear pants).

My business cardAs you all know (if you're been paying attention) I am now a happy Comcast employee. When I wrote that post (has it already been 4 months? I've been telling people I've been at Comcast for a little over 2 months! I'm bad with dates) I wasn't at liberty to give out the URL for the blog I was working on. Now that it is public knowledge I can present to you Comcast Voices.

Yep, Comcast Voices is Comcast's corporate blog and I spend my days managing it, thinking about what we should post on it, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Check it out and let me know what you think (I hope you don't think it sucks... well, it sucks as little as any corporate blog can realistically not suck)!

It is pretty funny that while I was in college I wanted nothing to do with computers. I hand wrote all my term papers until my professors, one by one, refused to grade them unless I started typing them up (no one, including me, could read my handwriting). I didn't own a computer until a year after I graduated college, and now I spend most of my time (and make all of my money) on computers, thinking about them, and writing about them.

What a world.


Internet Curmudgeon

naughtyscott.jpgI remember when 'personal brands' were called 'personalities.'

I remember when cult leaders where the only people who had followers, and making friends was a littler harder than clicking a button.

I remember when conversations took place face to face.

I remember when 'user generated content' was just called 'making crap.'

Social media has changed all that, though. Now it is all about 'following your DNA,' and Digging your top ten list while rushing to get into the latest closed beta from yet another company that promises to help you manage your online interactions, or that let's you tag your workout schedules.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Internet. I blog like a maniac, I Twitter with the best of them... but lately the ratio of sensible talk to crap spewing has really gotten out of control.

Alex Hillman who I am a big fan of, is a passionate and smart fellow. I recall when I first met him (well, the second time I met him) all he could talk about was co-working. And then every subsequent time I saw him over the next year all he could talk about was co-working. His focus and drive is very impressive (and you can't argue with the results: I'm a huge Indy Hall booster even though I am a lame work a day dude myself).

Clearly, I wouldn't have said all these nice things unless I was leading up to something less than nice (that's a rhetorical device, kids). Alex recently penned his first post on Mashable (a site which I find almost as annoying as TechCrunch, but not quite) titled "How to Know if You Should Fire Your Social Media Consultant."

He missed one important sign, though: they use the term 'social capital exchange' without a hint of irony (what does it even mean?!). Call me old fashioned, I won't hear you over my phonograph anyway, but what the hell is a 'social media consultant' anyway? Is that like paying someone to find you friends? I'm all for people getting big corporations to give them lots of money for very little work, but when a whole class of people who seem to exist merely to go to conferences and talk about the same things over and over again, with the same people, crops up I know that the party is over.

But who am I to stop you from thinking that Gary Vaynerchuk is a genius for telling people to do what they like, and work hard? If you want to spend all your time making virtual friends rather than actually creating something be my guest. But I, for one, would like it if you did it quietly and without labeling yourself as an expert on anything.

Yep, I'm an Internet Curmudgeon. I can't be the only one out there. Someone else must have to resist rolling their eyes as much as I do when someone introduces themselves as a 'social media consultant,' or suggests that what your small business really needs is a CXO (that's 'Chief Experience Officer'), can I?


Neil Diamond concert report

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Or how I became 'that guy'

As you might recall, Marisa and I went to a Neil Diamond concert on Sunday. Through the magic of technology I was able to file a report live from the concert itself showing off my swanky new t-shirt. That post inspired both Geoff and Glenn to opine that I shouldn't be 'that guy,' you know... the guy that wears the t-shirt of the band to said band's concert.

There is one big assumption in that line of thinking though: that I wore said Neil Diamond t-shirt to the concert (which also assumes that I owned that shirt before the concert). Now, I'm a fan of Neil Diamond, I'm not ashamed to admit that. His music is catchy, upbeat, and entertaining. He enjoys being himself (no matter how schlocky or uncool his persona might be, which has had the effect of making him kind of cool once more. I like to call this the 'Shatner effect'). All of this is to say that Mr. Diamond is aces in my book. However, I never felt the need to own a Neil Diamond t-shirt and didn't own one before that fateful Sunday.

How then, you wonder, did I end up wearing a Neil Diamond t-shirt at his concert? I'll tell you:

Marisa and I are two very different people. I'm a bit neurotic about being on time and feel the need to leave for various events (movies, concerts, flights) several hours early. Marisa doesn't mind being a little late so she tends to leave later than I would like (a lot later, actually). Since this concert was my idea (though Marisa made it possible) we left when I wanted to leave (that's how we handle our incompatible time tables: if we are doing something that Marisa planned we leave when she wants, and if is something I planned we leave when I want to). That meant that we had to hurry out of the apartment (evidence to this fact: Marisa wore two different shoes). While we were leaving we noticed there was some light rain so we brought along Marisa's tiny umbrella.

We hopped onto public transit (because we're cool like that) and emerged to find that the area of Philadelphia in which the stadiums are situated, and in which the concert was being held, was being buffeted by some sort of monsoon. Rain, rain, and more rain was everywhere. We waited for a bit in hopes that the rain would slacken (we were 30 minutes early thanks to my mania) and we dashed out when it looked like the rain was letting up. As we walked across a large parking lot, huddled under a tiny cocktail umbrella, the skies opened up. Half of my Hawaiian shirt (washable silk, luckily) was soaked, as was my t-shirt underneath. Marisa also got a little damp, but thankfully she was better shielded than I.

We arrived at the concert venue (the Wachovia Center, for those in the know) and I had a choice to make as Marisa used the lady's room: I could sit through the whole concert wearing a very wet shirt and not have any fun or I could buy a new shirt. Luckily, when you're at a concert there are plenty of shirts to be had that are both concert appropriate and dry! I headed over to the t-shirt hut and looked at the offerings. I thought the 'So good. So good.' shirt was hilarious and my choice was made (though really, I think the t-shirt should say 'So good.' three times, but who am I to tell the Diamond people how to make their t-shirts). $35 later I was wearing a dry shirt, and letting the world know that Neil Diamond is, in fact, so good, so good.

I hope this clears up the matter of the t-shirt, and that this incident hasn't caused anyone undue stress.

How was the concert?

The concert itself was a hoot. Marisa had snagged some free tickets that happened to be in the last row of the upper deck. We were pretty far from the stage, but I figured you only really need to hear the music, and they had large screens set up so I wasn't concerned. The place wasn't sold out (though the concert on Saturday was) so there were lots of empty seat around us, which was nice too.

A few minutes before the concert was about to start some dude walked up to Marisa and myself and asked me, 'Is it just you two?' I said, 'umm.. yes.' and he said, 'Well, today's your lucky day!' And he handed us two tickets for seats in the 7th row of a section right off the side of the stage! It was pretty darned cool, and we had a great view (and you can't beat the price).

Marisa had fun too, though she told me that she didn't really get the rabid fanbase that Neil Diamond has. Oh, the unbelievers.

I did feel a little sorry for Neil Diamond though. Sure, he gets to sing his songs in front of lots of people and make a good living doing it which is great. That being said you go to a Neil Diamond concert wanting to hear songs that he wrote, and sang, for the first time 30 years ago. I am sure he's aware of this, and the concert was full of all the hits you would expect (and they sounded very good) but I got the sense that he enjoyed playing his new material more (though the crowd certainly didn't enjoy his new stuff as much as say... 'Cherry, Cherry').

I actually like his new album, and I enjoyed the 3 songs he played off of it... but I can't deny that the highlight of the evening was Sweet Caroline (which you haven't heard until you've heard it in a big stadium with 10,000 people singing along).


Neil Diamond, for a second time

neil_diamond.gifAlmost 3 years ago to the day, Julie made me a very happy boy by supplying me with both Neil Diamonds tickets (which were free) and a willing concert buddy (Becky and Eric went with us too but this was way back when Becky was blogging). Ah, Neil truly did rock my socks off.

Neil is making his way to Philly once more, but I forgot to buy tickets when I had the chance. I figured I would just forgo the Neil this time around, and just listen to his new album while other people were enjoying him live and in concert.

I was sitting at my desk at work today, trying to forget that I wouldn't be seeing Neil Diamond's concert this week when Barry asked me if I was going to the Neil Diamond concert. Sadly, I said, I would be Diamond-less this year. I was crestfallen, but determined to live my life to the fullest. Not an hour later I got an IM from a lovely young lady (with whom I happen to live). Marisa had some news to share: she managed to get two free tickets to the Neil Diamond concert this Sunday.

Clearly, the universe loves me.

Below you can see where we will be seated:

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Sure, we'll be a little far from the stage, but these tickets are free and hearing the music is the important thing. I can hardly wait!


Do you believe every word of the Bible?

These YouTube Debates are pretty interesting (the Republican one can be seen here and the Democrats version here), though I am not sure if they did what folks thought they would. The idea was that if you open the debates to anyone and let them ask the candidates a question it'll make the debates more open and more relevant. This, of course, discounts the fact that not every submitted question will be answered, just those picked by CNN. Furthermore not every candidate has to answer every question (which makes little sense to me). The debate moderator picks who has to answer a particular question, unless the YouTuber in question addressed his question to a particular candidate.

I've embedded above a question from calciumboy which I found interesting. The question, which he posed to all the candidates, was 'Do you believe every word in this book,' and he held up the Bible (though not just any Bible, but the King James Bible, which calciumboy believes is the best translation of the Bible). He further stated that 'your answer to this question tells us everything we need to know about you.' Clearly, he meant that if the candidate isn't a Biblical Literalist (i.e. the Bible is the Word of God, and as such everything in it is literally true. Jonah was in the belly of a great beast, Noah built an ark that has 2 of every animal in creation on it, the world was made in 6 days, and so are. These aren't allegories but facts.) then case closed, we shouldn't vote for you.

The question was posed to:

All three of those men (and all the candidates, both Democrat and Republican I do believe) have stated that they do, in fact, believe in God. It shouldn't be too shocking that they all said that the Bible is the Word of God, but it is interesting to me that both Guiliani and Huckabee said, 'No, not every word is the literal truth. Some things are allegorical,' while Romney seemed uncomfortable stating that he believes the Bible is the literal truth.

It would seem to me that if you wear your religion like a cloak around your shoulders to get votes you shouldn't be sheepish about those beliefs when asked about them directly. Come on, Romney, I may disagree with what you believe (and I do) but I think you should have the conviction to plainly state your viewpoint.

I was raised Roman Catholic, though I'm an unabashed Atheist these days, so I've read my fair share of the Bible. I went to a Jesuit high school in which I spent many hours poring over The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (just seeing the cover to that book dregs up many memories from high school) writing up numerous exegeses about various passages in the Bible. This was all done in an effort to make us think critically about our Faith, in hopes that it would strengthen it. In my case it had the opposite effect, but I think it is laudable of the Jesuits to teach kids about thinking first, and then let the facts speak for themselves. Politicians could learn a thing or two from the Jesuits, if you ask me (which you didn't, but it is my blog so I get to talk about whatever I want).


Blogging Heroes: there must have been some kind of mixup

bloggingheroes.jpgAnyone who has known me for any length of time can tell you I'm crazy about blogging. I've been blogging for a little over 7 years now, and I am sure that 7 years from now I'll still be blogging (and I bet I'll still be doing it right here at Blankbaby).

A few months ago I got an email from Michael A. Banks. He was doing a book about blogging, and he wanted to talk to me (thanks to my TUAW blogging duties). Never the one to turn down talking about two of my favorite subjects (myself and blogging) I gave Michael my details. He called me one Sunday afternoon, as I recall, and we spoke about blogging for awhile. I also took the chance to ask him about writing for 'Old Media,' i.e. in print. He gave me some things to think about, and I hoped I had given him something with which he could include in his book.

His book is called Blogging Heroes, and I am one of 30 interviews with the 'World's Top Bloggers' that make up the book (my interview is chapter 19) along side such bloggers as Steve Garfield, Robert Scoble, Gina Trapani, and Steve Rubel (to name only a few). If you want to read my interview Wiley said I could post it on my blog, so here is the PDF. I don't really say anything that should come as a shock to anyone. I only have two rules that are keys to success in blogging (or in anything, really):

  • Never say/write anything that you are uncomfortable standing behind.
  • Write about whatever you are passionate about, and success will follow.

Nothing earth-shattering there, but I said it with my rapier like wit. Plus, I'm a blogging hero so that means I am better than you are (but you knew that already).


New fall shirts for Scott

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People love it when I blog about my new clothes, right? Of course you do! I've lost lots of weight, as I continually remind people, so this winter I have significantly less fat than I did last winter. In practical terms this means that almost all my long sleeve shirts are way too big, so I need to get new ones because without that fat the winter is cold!

Above are the 5 new shirts I purchased from J.C. Penney (online, of course). I was going to be fancy and get some shirts from Macys but I got all 5 of these shirts for less than one shirt would have cost me (though, that one shirt would have been very fancy) and that's just sound fiscal planning folks (McNulty for President!).

Anyway, the nice thing about these shirts is that they are all XXL, which I know seems big but last winter I was wear 4XL shirts so by that math next winter I'll be a plain old L.

Here's to less of me!


Where will you be on September 1st?

September 1st, 2007 is shaping up to be quite a day. Colin, of Viddlerfame, asked Marisa and myself, of Fork You fame, if we would be up for doing some contest judging for Viddler. Since we are like BFF's with Viddler (like, totally) we said sure! Soon we learned that the man, the myth, the guy who is shorter than I thought he was: Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV would be judging with use. He's been on TV, and profiled in lots of magazines (even John Gruber watches Wine Library TV, something tells me Grubs doesn't watch Fork You), so we were pretty excited.

We then found out that not only would we be judging the MealToday Contest (best video wins an iPhone or a camera) but we would be doing it live at Indy Hall's grand opening on September 1st. If you aren't familiar with Indy Hall it is Philly's hot new coworking space and it is super cool (or so I have heard, I haven't actually had a chance to check it out myself, but watch Alex's tour).

I know what you're thinking, "How can I get in on all this fun?!" Head on over to Upcoming.org and RSVP (by the way, Upcoming.org sent me a tshirt many moons ago. When I got it, it didn't fit because it was a XXL and I was a XXXL kind guy. I now wear that shirt to the gym... yeah, I'm all kinds of awesome).

One final note, Colin asked Marisa and I if we would be up to filming some video for a promo for the event. Being the media whores that we are, we said sure! After the Philly Blogger meetup we set the camera up, sat on the stoop outside my building, and did whatever it is we do. Above you'll see the 1:40 minute highlight reel that I put together for Colin. Originally it was just meant for Colin's eye, but it would seem I can't hide anything from Alex and before I knew it the video was on Twitter. Luckily Marisa was OK with it, and so it is available for everyone to watch! We did many variations of this same promo over 30 minutes with no prep, because that's the kind of podcasters we are. It has been viewed 1113 times at the time of this writing. What is wrong with people?

Anyway, hope to see you on September 1st!


I'm glad I'm not a Chinese factory owner

Suicide isn't a good way to deal with recalls, if you ask me:



The head of a Chinese company that was behind the recall earlier this month of more than a million Mattel toys committed suicide over the weekend, China’s state-controlled media reported today.

Zhang Shuhong, a Hong Kong businessman and owner of the Lee Der Industrial Company, a company that made toys for Mattel for 15 years, hanged himself in a company warehouse in Foshan, in southern China, the Southern Metropolis Daily said today.



I get the sweetest emails

Notfatscott Someone, who shall remain nameless, posted on their blog about the trials and tribulations of online dating. I'm somewhat familiar with the process myself, so I can feel her pain (though from the other side of the gender aisle). She said something about the pickings being slim, while the men on those sites weren't (aka lots of fat dudes are looking for love on the Internets). I, of course, rose to the occasion to defend my hefty brethren (though she was talking about fat, stupid, toothless hicks of which I am not one) and said that not all fat dudes were bad. She emailed me a response, of which I shall quote the best part:

You're not even really fat anymore, so you're excluded from the category of men I eschew.

That might be the sweetest email I have received in a long, long time. And yes, I am aware of how sad that is. :)


8 Random Things about me

The latest meme is making the rounds on the Internet and I haven't been tagged once, or twice, but thrice! By the laws governing silly blog memes, I must participate now, and so here we go:

Rules:
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and that they should read your blog.

  1. I don't wear a watch, and I haven't for 3 years.
  2. People say I'm funny, but deep down I don't think I am.
  3. I am a little neurotic about being on time. I hate being late, and would much rather be an hour early (I am usually way, way too early for flights).
  4. If I need to think of a celebrity's name on the spur of the moment invariably the first one that pops to mind is 'Mary Tyler Moore.' Strange but true.
  5. I'm shy. Some might not believe that, but I am very shy by nature. I have gotten more outgoing as I have aged, but I'm still just a shy dude.
  6. I have always thought that I will die alone, just like Capt. Kirk (look! I can be depressing and geeky all at once!)
  7. I am starting to enjoy going to the gym (but don't tell anyone because that would ruin my whole,'I hate the gym' routine).
  8. I overthink everything: relationships, future plans, people's offhand remarks. You name it, I overthink it.

So there you have it! Now I need to pass this on to 8 (!) more people:



Oscar the cat knows when you're going to die

Oscarthecat

Lots of people prefer Google over Yahoo, this I know. However, I like going to Yahoo.com because they feature an offbeat story on their main page every day. It is how I stay in the know with crap that I really don't need to know. Take, for instance, the story of Oscar the death sensing cat. If I only used Google I wouldn't know about this little furry angel of Death, but thanks to those crazy kats (see what I did there?) at Yahoo I'm in the kitty death patrol know.


BlogPhiladelphia rocked, and rocked HARD

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The first time I heard about BlogPhiladelphia I was doubtful. This had nothing to do with the people behind it, rather I am just naturally a stick in the mud (which might explain why I am not an entrepreneur. I would have been the one friend of Henry Ford’s who would have said, ‘Eh. Who wants a mass assembled car?! The people want something hand man, sir!’). Luckily, despite my reservations and thanks to the charms of Alex and Annie I signed on to not only attend but to lead two sessions (give me a roomful of people and a microphone and I’m a happy man. I’m the most extroverted introvert you have ever met, I tells ya!).

As with most things in my life, it turned out to be a very good decision (I should always do the exact opposite of what I think I should do, but that’s another post entirely, and a Seinfeld episode to boot!).

Simply put: BlogPhiladelphia was a kick ass time, and I hope to do it again soon.

Annie, Alex, and the whole Uwishunu and the Philly Tourism Board did a fantastic job putting on this great unconference. The unconference format really highlights the best part of conferences: the conversations you have in the hallways. Instead of making people whisper during panels, the people in the audience are the real experts and they get fools (like me) to facilitate the conversation and try and keep it on point.

The thing that really surprised me was that people wanted to meet me. Me?! Why are these people interested in meeting me? Strikes me as a little odd, but hey I’m an egomaniac so I’ll take what I can get.

Rob Sandie, President of Viddler, has a great post up recapping all the reasons that BlogPhilly rocked (and I am not just saying that because he starts off with me and calls me the funniest person imaginable… though that doesn’t hurt. Thanks, Rob!). Check it out, and I’ll be posting another thing or two about BlogPhiladelphia in the coming days.

Yes, that's a picture of me leading a session. Thanks to Tony for taking it! Check out the BlogPhiladelphia Flickr pool for even more pictures from the event.


Where have you been, Blankbaby?

lotsofforkyou.jpg

I haven't been blogging here on Blankbaby much as of late, a fact which my mother brought to my attention this afternoon so I thought I would post an update of sorts.

This is what I have been up to as of late:

  • I registered for BlogPhiladelphia, the blogging unconference that will be taking place here in Philly on July 12th and 13th (I wonder if I have to take those days off of work, or if I can finagle them into letting me just go). Not only am I attending the unconference, but I am running two (that's right, two) sessions:

    • How To Deal With Negative Comments, or On the Internet no one can hear you cry

    • Blogging: Is It Better In Groups?

  • I decided to cancel my Match.com membership, and as soon as I did a few ladies contacted me. I went on a date the other night, and I'll be going on another one at some point this week (with a different lady). We'll see what happens.
  • I went to SF for WWDC, and I was on TV. The folks from work seemed to be impressed. I wonder what this means for my 'Influence' levels...
  • Filmed three episodes of Fork You on two different days. The above pic was snapped by Thad, whilst Marisa and I whipped up some pesto in his kitchen. Look for this episode on Tuesday.
  • I gained some weight while I was in San Francisco (damn you, Jack in the Box! I know that I should have went to In and Out Burger, but Jack in the Box was so very close to my hotel), but I've been working out like a mad man (I did 4.9 miles on the elliptical in 30 minutes, that's sooo close to 5 six minute miles in a row) and I managed to knock off 2 more pounds. I am now wondering what I should do to celebrate 100 pounds lost (which is only 7 pounds away). I'm thinking of arranging for a bunch of folks to go out to dinner with me to celebrate. Doesn't that sound like fun?
  • The Daily Scott has been suffering because of the new camera I got, and the fact that the built in camera on my MacBook is being flakey. I'll write more about the camera, but I really want to get back to posting on the Daily Scott.

Now you're all caught up!


Mike Gravel ain't going to be President

gravel.jpgI'm watching the Democratic Presidential Debate (odd, I know) on CNN, so I can feel engaged in the political discourse of our country (or at least what passes for it in our day and age). Wolf Blitzer, who has one of the best names in TV news, just asked the Democratic candidates, 'What would you do right now to lower gasoline prices as President?'

Most of the candidates say they would offer up rebates, look at the Big Oil companies, investigate alternative sources and such. That's pretty much the pat answer, and one that doesn't really address the real problem: American's over-dependence on gasoline.

Senator Mike Gravel had the best answer, and the least politically viable one (funny how that is often the case). His answer? I'll paraphrase it:

There's nothing I would do as President to lower the price of gasoline right now.We Aermicans have to grow up, if we want to get off the dependacy of the middle east we have to own up to the problem.

Mike, you're right... and you'll never be President.