Culture

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?

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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.


The Glass House | Press


 Users Smcnulty Library Application-Support Ecto Attachments GlasshouseMy good friend Glenn lives in Connecticut, however, something tells me he would have very little interest in visiting The Glass House, which is right up my alley. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is opening the Philip Johnson Glass House to the public on June 21st. For $40 you get a 2 hour guided tour of the house and the 47 acre grounds (and they encourage picture taking, though on the cheaper tour you can't take pictures).

Anyone interested in a summer roadtrip? What could be more fun than wondering around a beautifully designed house on 47 acres of lush scenery?


Quick Fork 6: Booze in your tort

I just realized I hadn't linked to our latest episode of Fork You here on Blankbaby! Watch as Marisa makes a chocolate flourless tort (and I even get to eat a crumb!).

We also are in the midst of reworking the Fork You website, so check it out and let us know what you think.

Plus, if you have any questions you would like answered on Fork You (about food, the show, or the hosts) just send it to us via the 'Ask Fork You' feature on the blog.


Does this mean I'm a socialite?

princey.jpgBoing Boing pointed out The List, which lists NYC socialites. I got to wondering if I had ever met/seen any of this really wealthy people in person. I assumed I might have been in the same room with some of them since my work history includes working at a few top business schools.

Sadly, it looks like I haven't been in the same room as any of them, but I have been close. Princess Michael of Kent is on the list, and I was totally standing next to her husband (HRH Prince Michael of Kent) one balmy night on the grounds of a palace in the suburbs of Moscow (and that is completely true). Here is a slightly larger version of the photo (I'll get around to uploading all of my Russia trip pictures to Flickr soon. Perhaps this weekend). Also featured in that picture are some of my former co-workers, but you can ignore them because they're poor.

The Prince has an impressive beard.


Times Select free for University folks

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At the blogger meetup I made the bold statement that the only newspaper I read is the New York Times. That didn't sit too well with the dude from Philly.com, but what can you do? I don't really care about the Eagles or Philly politics... so why should I read the Inquirer again (besides when I am in the paper)?

Anywho, after I made that statement I slandered the Times Select, which is the premium (read: you gots to pay to get to) content on the NYTimes.com. That's when Tamara said, “you dumb nerfherder (I'm paraphrasing), since you work at a University you can get the Times Select for free!”

Sure enough, you can! Just gohere and enter an email from an academic institution and you're all set, if is even smart enough to apply to your NY Time username.


Independents Hall

It is true that I have a boring old office job (though judging from last week my job isn't that boring), however, I also have lots of other projects stewing. I really should bit the bullet and cancel my cable so I can better focus my creative energies after work, but that is a different post entirely.

The internet has enabled a whole new category of professionals working out of their homes to spring up, and Philadelphia has its fair share of these folks. Sometimes it is tough to get stuff done at home. You have no one to bounce ideas off of, and you are surrounded by lots of cool stuff (I mean, you are surrounded by all your stuff, so I should hope you think it is cool). That's where the idea of coworking comes in.

Coworking is where you kind of buy into a space with some other folks and use it as a communal office. Such an effort is under way here in Philly and it is cleverly called Independents Hall. Three cheers for Independents Hall! I might even sign up for some space, depending on how much it costs and such.


Captain America Is Dead

captamerica.jpgMarvel killed off Captain America. I only have one thing to say to Marvel, WTF?

I'm sure Cap's (as those in the know call him) popularity was waning in this day and age of the anti-hero. Captain America was a square. He did what was right because it was right. And he had a neato shield.

Worst of all, they killed him off with an assassin's bullet. He wasn't even kicking ass, he was just walking up some courthouse steps.

Not cool, Marvel, not cool at all.


POTUS: good resume builder

Sure, this isn't all that original a thought, but I am reminded of it once more while reading this CNN article about Obama running for President.

It would seem that being President of the United States is one of the few jobs where inexperience is often thought of as a qualification for hopefuls. What's up with that? I can imagine few jobs that are more challenging, or have more of an impact on a larger number of people than being the President of the most advanced, wealthiest country on the planet, and yet most of the candidates go out of their way to promote the idea that they are 'outsiders'.

Think about that for a second. Let's say you're interviewing someone for a position at your office, or perhaps a hiring someone to perform a specific task for you (i.e. build an addition on your house, or perhaps fix your computer). You talk to them for a little while and get a feel for them (I don't care what people say, first impressions are very important during interviews, which sucks for me because often I give a very bad first impression). Once you are done feeling the person out, you turn to their experience.

'So, have you done many projects like this before?'

'Nope, this'll be my first one, but since I'm an outsider I can bring a new viewpoint to the situation.'

'Huh, I didn't realize my porch needed a new viewpoint. But clearly, you've been involved in things like this before. Maybe you've built a birdhouse, or something.'

'Let me tell you a little story about my family. You see, I come from good American stock. My father, he wasn't a great man. You'll never read about him in Porch Weekly, but he was a good man. A family man. He worked long hours, but managed to make time for my mother and my 14 brothers and sisters. You see, we think the family is core to any endeavor whether it be raising a child, or building a porch. I think that, together, you and I can build a porch into the 21st century. I eagerly await your answer. Thank you, and God bless.'


Sweep the Leg

Ryan sent me this link to the above video. It is 7 minutes long, but so worth it (especially if you are a child of the 80's and slightly obsessed with pop culture). No More Kings' album is available on iTunes, and I bought it. I mean come on, they have a song about the Karate Kid, Knight Rider, and Zombies! Clearly something I should own (and the songs are pretty good too), and clearly it ain't for everybody (though little of my music is).


My new desktop

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So, I'm sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to LA (I'm taking the 8:19pm to L.A. so I can catch the 11pm flight from L.A. to Philadelphia which means I get into Philly at 7am on Sunday. How crazy is that? Though I can't really complain since I literally did nothing to arrange for this travel other than tell AOL where and when I wanted to be, and they did everything else. Amount of paperwork to fill out: 0.) and what better way to spend the time than share my new desktop picture.

Pretty sweet, huh?

It is this photo, if you want to steal if for your very own computer.


3, 2, 1 Contact!

mimesoul.jpgI was walking back from lunch today with Joe and Kurt when the topic of television came up. I'm not sure how we arrived at the subject, but I started to sing the theme from 3, 2, 1 Contact as we were walking down the street (I sing in public, often and loudly). That got me thinking about watching 3, 2, 1 Contact as I was a child and for some reason a shiver ran up my spine. Why would 3, 2, 1 Contact freak me out?

Ohh, right... the mimes.

I don't know who thought it would be a great idea to have people dressed in black leotards with oversized heads and toilet paper rolls for eyes cavort around on a show about science, but it always creeped me out. Especially when the mimes were sad (they cried by pulling lots of toilet paper out of the rolls that were their eyes). I'm getting the chills just thinking about it.

Anyway, Youtube has the intro to the show. Be sure to turn up the volume and sing along. Let's make contact!


Dobbs: Our leaders are ducking reality on Iraq

Lou Dobbs on the Iraq war:


The half-trillion dollars that we have spent in precious capital to prosecute the war would have funded a massive alternative energy development program in this country or, failing that enlightened strategy, it would have at least paid for all of our oil imports for almost four years at current prices.

I never really thought of the war in economic terms (purely). Dobbs is right, though sadly I think we need to stay and clean up the very expensive mess we made.


Christmas is soon upon us

The Space Opera Renaissance by David G. Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer

Glenn and I have been exchanging Christmas presents for years, which makes sense since we have been friends for years (I forget how long, but I think I was in the 6th grade when I met him). Anyway, every year one of us calls the other (usually Glenn calls me, since I hate the phone and all) and says, 'So, what do you want for Christmas?' Invariably the other replies, 'Well, what do you want?'

It is even tougher on me because Glenn's birthday is also in December so I have to get him something that can cover both (see, having friends is tough!).

Anyway, Glenn you can get me The Space Opera Renaissance. Now, what the hell do you want?