Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dear Advertisers

Having your ads blare out of my TV at two to three times the volume of the show I'm watching does not endear you to me. When you're annoying enough I write you on my list of Things-I-Will-Never-Buy. The list is getting very long.

Please stop it.

Sue London

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is Your Modern Communication Style?

Broadcaster: You love blogging because it gives you a chance to really get your stuff out there for others to see. It might be opinion, expertise, or just things you find interesting. Now you love Twitter because you can bark out 140 character info bites whenever you feel like it. More than anything else you just have the need to express yourself. Sometimes you notice the reactions that are flowing back but other times you don't.

Connector: If you blog, your favorite part is that you and your peeps (meaning your closest friends and family) can keep up with and tease each other. You have probably fallen in love with Facebook because it has all the best parts that you liked about blogging without all those trolls and other world-wide-web creatures. You watch YouTube videos that people in your circle recommend and probably have a Flickr account because even if you don't post things yourself you like to be able to leave comments for those you love.

Explorer: You might have a blog but it would look a lot like a Broadcaster's. You spend your internet time finding new things and sharing them with like-minded people who will feed their explorations to you... so that you can go explore those things. Primarily you Digg, Stumble around, and find the internet You have your fingers in everything but don't feel the need to bond via the web like your Connector friends do. You enjoy because investigating how people interact is sometimes more satisfying for you than interacting.

Gamer: You've probably never blogged, nor are you likely to tweet or facebook. You're here for one very serious purpose and that is maximum fun - whether it be measured in kills, points, quests, or some other scoring system. You use things like Vent,  message boards or your game consoles to keep in touch and your gamer group may bond over game-themed videos. You don't have to hide it, we know you watch The Guild

Info-Junkie: Why have a blog? There's no time to write anything when there are all these wonderful things to READ on the internet. You enjoy Fark, Slashdot, Scribd, and various blogs and news sites that you've discovered. You mastered RSS readers early and have a hard time understanding people who don't want to enjoy everything the web has to offer (meaning information, of course). For you, internet communication is incidental: sharing must occur because that is the most efficient way to parse information.

Networker: If you have a blog or Twitter account they are associated with your business. You are a member of LinkedIn, have a profile on if you freelance, and may have explored Facebook because of all those articles that came out about how it was the best place to connect for job opportunities. You RSS articles from key trade journals and receive filtered news from major business sources like WSJ or FastCompany. For you the internet is not a toy, it is very serious business.

Shopper: For you the internet was the solution you had been looking for to accommodate your shopping needs and your communication is focused around that. Your particular interest might be designers, saving money, or general style, and when you use a social website you optimize it for your shopping needs. You probably connect to other shoppers through lists and reviews, like on If you are a saver you might be disappointed that Froogle never took off (fyi, they are trying again with Google Product Search) and you check sites like the Yahoo! Shopping deals. If you are a style guru you probably enjoy things like Kaboodle, StyleHive, and Wists. You're not particularly likely to have a blog unless you've got a solid circle of like-minded shoppers that you need to connect with on a regular basis. Even so, you are more likely to use message boards and shopping sites to share information.

Do you have just one of these modern communication styles or are you some kind of hybrid?

*Updated 11/30/09 to correct the oversight of Gamer. They are a particular brand of communicator.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lyrics for "The First Mate is a Monkey" from Disney's Swashbuckling Sea Songs! I'm not the only person who loves this song from Swashbuckling Sea Songs because every few days someone comes by searching for the lyrics. Since no one else has posted them let me perform that public service. You can thank me in the comments.

5/20/10 Update: Posted the song from YouTube.

Quick link to get someone back here?
The First Mate Is A Monkey (mp3 on Amazon)
The first mate is a monkey
The leader of the crew
He was born to pirate the seas
He'd rather sail on the wild ocean blue
Than to swing in the coconut trees
Oh how that monkey climbs
Up in record time
So we call him Prime Mate

The ship's cook is a parrot
What a chatty bird
He's always fast with a quip
Each morning he'd ask him,
"Monkey what's the word?"
Oh they had the greatest friendship
He made banana stew
For the Cap n' crew
I think you'd like a taste, too

The first mate is a monkey
Say "aye, aye sir!"
He was born in the jungle
With big ears and a long, long tail

The first mate is a monkey
Tell you why, sir
The monkey is a pirate
Who was made to live on the seas
And always sail

Well, we docked down in Rio on a windy day
The monkey was keeping an eye
Parrot said, "Monkey, there's nothing more to say
So it's time for this parrot to fly."
The monkey shed a tear for his old buccaneer
And said, "Let's sail out of here."

The first mate is a monkey
Say "aye, aye sir!"
He was born in the jungle
With big ears and a long, long tail

The first mate is a monkey
Tell you why, sir
The monkey is a pirate
Who was made to live on the seas
And always sail

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cookie Monster: Vindicated

After three years of being forced to express a public preference for fruit and eggplant, the Cookie Monster was vindicated by the weight loss success of followers of The Cookie Diet.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Couldn't George Lucas Explain it Like This?

What a great way to round out a sci-fi and bureaucracy Monday, with an analysis of how the key agents of the rebellion were really R2-D2 and Chewbacca. In A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope: Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III Keith does a great job of not only explaining how the movies flow, but making me almost like the whole thing. Because of these healing abilities I'm guessing that he is either a Jedi himself or a level 30 cleric.

Props to @jonrog1 from Kung Fu Monkey and Leverage fame for bringing this excellent essay to our attention.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Quest for Content!

Another page in the book of "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

The Quest for Content! Kev and Kell

Note that the year on this is 1996. Wonder how many zeros we should add to the end now?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Princess and the Frog

Oh, how I love, love, LOVE Disney movies. Waiting for The Princess and the Frog has been hard, because there is a wee bit of concern that it could suck and I don't want it suck, especially since it is centered on beloved New Orleans.

Now Disney, knowing my addiction well, has emailed me about the release. It will be nationwide on December 11th and there will be a limited release on November 25th in NY & LA.

I stared at that a long time.

Don't you, I thought, want to include New Orleans in that early release? For a moment my brain even saw it as NOLA (abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana if ya'll don't know). But alas, no.

Thank you for the email addressed to me and signed by you, Mr. Lasseter, but come closer, closer. Yes, lean over here and I will grab hold of your funky Hawaiian shirt and we will have words. Are you listening?

THE RIGHT PLACE FOR AN EARLY RELEASE IS NEW ORLEANS. You should have involved yourself in renovating the Saenger (damaged in Katrina) and made the premier of The Princess and the Frog it's grand reopening. Failing that, find a nice theater and make a big deal out of it opening there and put that lovely city all over the news. Make it an event. Make it mean something. This is the first movie we've really had the opportunity to do that with so it amazes me that you didn't think of it yourself.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Knight

Wil Wheaton shows off his uber-geek chops with is post that is ultimately about character death in role-playing games, I'm saying this for the last time: HIS. NAME. IS. AEOFEL! Don't miss the "nerd-grief" text messaging portion. DND+ST=WIN.

By the way, the title of this post is half tribute to Dylan Thomas and half tribute to an explosive multi-character-death end to one of my husband's old games. The lingering quote from that session is,"What was the last thing to go through the paladin's mind? The gnome..."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I Learned From the Balloon Boy Episode

When you got in trouble as a kid wasn't the first thing your mom said, "So what have you learned from this?" Hopefully Falcon learned... something. I certainly learned a lot.
  1. We don't have news on news channels anymore. Although long suspected, this was the tipping point of confirmation. What we have are clucky knitting circles that sit in studios with cameras on them, babbling reflexively to the latest chaos to cross their line of sight, while being slightly less informed, intelligent, and/or savvy than the majority of people we run into on a daily basis. No, I wasn't watching The View. Yes, some of them had (or were capable of growing) beards. That didn't make them any less clucky. Sometimes more so. Honestly, my barista has more gravitas and better information.
  2. Be careful what you hear from your news source. Because they aren't careful what they read on the internet. They kept throwing out rumor and speculation by citing "some websites suggest." Turning to my husband I said, "I need to blog that the kids is actually a 2,000 year old vampire and although he fell from the balloon he's fine, he just needed the blood of twenty cows to heal his wounds. Very messy." You know, just to see if the news channels would bite. The only reason I didn't was because at that point we weren't sure the kid was ok and it would have been callous to disregard the family's feelings in an attempt to speculate. Obviously I don't have it in me to be a TV news anchor.
  3. Being a kid is harder now. Let's be honest, we all did really stupid things when we were kids. But the chance for us to be fodder and spectacle for a drama-hungry 24-hour news network was dramatically lower in the 80s or even the 90s. Before the 80s those networks didn't even exist and you REALLY had to do something to get on the sedate, stately nightly news - either local or national. I'm now a little scared to have kids because they will be growing up in the roaring 2010s where.. there will be roving cameras zipping around trying to catch something interesting happening? I don't know how it can get worse from here, I just assume that it will.
Maybe I'm the last one who should be reviewing the news networks since I actually don't watch them often anymore (or maybe that's the point). My primary news source? Kind of... ambient. Information is pretty much omnipresent in our lives and when I hear/see/sense something that interests me I follow up on it, usually with Google. (Usually on my Blackberry, so my learning is 24/7 and location-independent.) After that I would list Daily Show and Colbert Report (affectionately dubbed "the boys" in our house) and I read the Late Night Political Jokes list pretty consistently. Last, but not least, is checking in on my blogging circle periodically to see what's up.

All that makes me question: perhaps it isn't just the newspapers that are becoming irrelevant.

Oh, Balloon Boy, what have you done?

That Special Time of Year

For @JWOcker, a small sample of our Halloween decor stored away. Yes we put everything back in its box, including lights with those wicked little plastic trays you have to pop them back into. That's what makes us extra creepy. Time to decorate!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Email is Dead? I Think It Was Just In Nebraska

New! Now! Different!

That sort of sentiment is always entertaining because it's the same feeling people have always had (how's that for a paradox?), and supports the basic premise that the more things change the more they stay the same. Certainly there have been eras that are more "innovative" than others. But from where they stood in the mid-1920s, young Americans were every bit as smugly confident of their modernism as we are today (women's independence! cars! planes!). And don't get me started on the Enlightenment. But in another hundred years, probably less, others will be looking back on us and indulgently thinking how cute it was that we thought we were really cutting edge.

Which brings us to the concept of email and the exaggerated reports of its death. Rob Preston (InfoWeek) argues in E-Mail is Dead, Long Live E-Mail that email remains king because, quite frankly, people need to be prodded.

But for business communication there is really a simple analog between how we were doing business then (offices circa 1950-1995) and how we are doing it now.
Email = Memo
Chat = Phone Call
Feeds/Blogs/Tweets = Watercooler/Grapevine/Cocktail Party
Perhaps you've already noted that, egads, we are still using the items on the right side of the equations! We will probably never leave anything behind, we will just continue to expand our repertoire of communication options. Twenty years from now nothing will be quite as impressive as a REAL memo on REAL letterhead. Something that in 1961 we might have used to order office supplies. But in 1961, little excited monkeys that we are, we were extremely excited that we could keep a copy of that order due to our brand new Xerox machine. New! Now! Different! Or, as I like to call it: Same ol' same old.

Update: Just noticed that BlogThings recently added a What Email Function Are You? quiz. How timely. I'm "Archive."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Addicted to Immediacy

This year I tried Amazon Prime because I needed to ship a gift fast and two day shipping went from $20 to free...with an annual fee charged in two months. I worried that when the $60 charge hit I would be filled with regret. But now instead of regretting the impulse I consider Prime to be awesome with a side of awesome sauce. It pretty much guarantees that I will do all of my gift shopping on Amazon because it conquers my two problems - timeliness and shipping.

I love the 21st Century.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Malawi's MacGyver

If you missed William Kamkwamba on The Daily Show you can watch it over on his blog. I wouldn't be able to do justice to his story (primarily about a boy and his windmill) by trying to tell it here in an abbreviated form so just go check it out. He's brilliant.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck...

To start off, I'm going to say something unpopular in my circles. Brace yourself.

I hated the new Battlestar Galactica.

Hated to the extent that the hissing, spitting, venomous creature I became when made to watch it meant everyone around me learned to keep me away from it.

On the other hand, I loved SG-1. And learned to become fond of Stargate: Atlantis.

So when the ads for SGU started and it looked like some bastard child of BSG and SG-1, well, I didn't expect the best...

Live blogging of reaction:
9:15pm - Thus far I've detected both the gentle humor of SG-1 (yea!) and 'night-time drama' of BSG (meh). I'm hopeful about the fact that one of my favorite actresses, Ming-Na, has a leading role. (You rock Ming-Na!)

10:00pm - For my taste there is way too much BSG and not nearly enough SG-1. There are also hints of Voyager which was not my favorite ST option.

10:15 - Got lost in reading the tweets and blog post comments over at Scalzi's. Stopped paying any real attention to the show.

Conclusion: Sorry guys, I will probably sit this one out. But at least I don't hate it with the visceral pain of acid eating my flesh like with BSG. I just didn't much care for it.

However, if my husband likes it and leaves it on all the time, which he will only do if it is good, I will eventually like it. Maybe.