Archive - Jul 2007

July 24th

Wordless Wednesday


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The latest meme

Yesterday, Shine With Grace tagged me with the latest meme from JohnCow.Com.

It is the typical mailing list, ponzi scheme type meme. Copy the original list, which should include your blog already, if you’ve been tagged, and then add five more people to the list.

As I noted in a different list, if you get in early, your in good shape, but the meme can only go around six or seven deep before everyone in MyBlogLogs is reached. Also, as I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m not a big fan of copying the instructions. The more text that you have which is the same as on other websites, the more likely you are to be tagged as some sort of spammer and have your links denigrated.

Another thought about these sort of memes. Not only will this would increase your subscriber rate, which is probably a good bragging right, but doesn’t do much else for you, but it is also likely to raise your Technorati rank. My Technorati rank climbed considerably when I participated in the viral tags meme. However, the downside is that when you try to find who is linking to your site, all you find are the meme related posts, and you don’t find a lot of valuable content. Some people think this helps Google Page Ranks, but I don’t really think it does.

That said, I’ve been tagged and I want to honor that. So, here is the original list:

With that, here are the five people that I’m tagging:

I would encourage you to copy the list of sites and add your own five sites. That said, write your own thoughts about the meme. You will probably find it easiest to copy the source of the html and paste that in. If you have questions, let me know.

July 23rd

The Cult of the Amateur and the Democratic Debates

This evening will be the Youtube/CNN debate. The pundits are all weighing in on how important this debate will be. TechPresident has a summary of views here.

It seems as if there are two determining factors. The first is whether you are a new or old media sort of person. New media people generally think it will be important. Old media people think it won’t be. People who want to see ‘professionals’ handling our political discourse, those who like Keen’s Cult of the Amateur think it won’t be. Those who believe in Jeffersonian democracy think it will be important.

That is, of course, leads to the second factor. Will CNN gatekeep the debate too closely? That is the factor that causes some new media fans to worry that the event won’t be successful. Yet for people that want a more democratic democracy, to poke a little further fun at Mr. Keen, two candidates will open the gates a little wider, no matter how well or poorly CNN does.

Sen. Edwards and Sen. Dodd are both going to be answering questions from supporters and the Community Counts website. After the televised debate is over Sen. Edwards will answer additional questions on his website, while Sen. Dodd will do the same on his.

As an aside, I read Dodd’s email immediately after I read one of those endless spam emails telling me where I could buy medications that would make me “the most confident man in town”. Dodd’s email was entitled “Sometimes sixty seconds isn’t enough”. I almost skipped it, thinking it was more of the same.

So, is democracy something that we should leave to the professionals, or do we believe that all citizens should have a voice in the political process? After seeing the way the mainstream media is covering the election so far, with its focus on fundraising, haircuts, polls and not on issues, it will be pretty hard for the amateurs to do a worse job than we’ve seen so far.

(Categories: )

Lots of stuff

Health

I had another appointment with the allergist today. In a nutshell, I’m allergic to shrimp and dust and should avoid them. If I have a strong reaction, antihistamines should be fine. Kim’s Lyme disease has been acting up and she’s back on antibiotics. Miranda sprained her ankle playing ultimate Frisbee at camp. Fortunately, it was the day after the first dance. I spoke with her last night and her arms are sore from the crutches, but she is in good spirits. My mother will have knee surgery in about a week. One of my friends has a bad infection which she had a year ago, and it has returned. Another is going in for a hysterectomy in a week. A third friend lost her mother to cancer this week.

With many of these cases, there have been issues one way or another with insurance and how things get paid for. All of this provides a good setting for me to go see Sicko. The Working Family Party in Connecticut has a great idea. Ask your State Legislators to go see Sicko with you. It would be good to get more of the Legislators to see the movie. At the same time, it would be good for more people simply to learn who their State Legislators are. I remember when Kim ran for State Rep and I heard a statistic that 85% of Americans don’t know who their State Rep is. Do you? Have you ever gone to a movie your State Rep?

Technology and the move

Most people get in touch with me via an email address that comes as part of my Internet service from my cable company. I’ve had this email address for many years. I’m on many mailing lists and in many address books with this email address. I’ve also used it for signing up for many social networks. We expect to move during the month of August, probably to an area served by a different cable company, so my email address of many years is about to go away. So, I’m starting to change as many subscriptions ahead of time as possible, and get as many people using a new email address.

I’ve had email addresses at Google and Yahoo! for years and I check them from time to time. You can use those addresses by simply changing the name of my ISP to yahoo.com or gmail.com in email address. The college I went to provides email addresses for alumni and I check that address from time to time. For that, you can use my first initial, my last name and the year I would have graduated at alumni.wooster.edu

However, I am encouraging most people to contact me at an email address I’ve set up to go with this blog. Simply use the domain name of the blog, and add my firstname, a dot, and my last name as the beginning of the address.

Unfortunately, this morning, my domain was down because of a hosting problem. It has since been resolved, but it gave me a scare.

Technology and social networks

As part of the email address transition, I updated my profile at Plaxo. I was pleased to see that they now include OpenID. I’ll see what I can do with that a little later.

I’ve also added my new email address as a contributor to my ”blogger” blog. At some point, I’ll update that blog to use the new templates.

I’ve also started kicking around new, at least to me, social networks. One is Blogcave. You’ll see my recent readers widget on the right near the bottom. So far, I haven’t seen anything that Blogcave does that MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog and BumpZee doesn’t already do. I figure sometime soon we will see a shake out in this space similar to what we saw with click exchanges.

I’ve also added OthersOnline. Again, it is similar to MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog, BumpZee as well as BlogCave and Criteo. It works primarily on tagging, so is a little closer to having something unique. I’ll search some of the links they come up with.

Lijit is an interesting site that I’ve stumbled across. It does web searches based on what you’ve found interesting in social networks. Think Rapleaf for searches. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get their widget to work properly. I’ll kick that around more later.

Travels

On top of trying to figure out my next job and moving, I’ve got a bunch of traveling coming up. This Thursday, we’ll be going up to Falcon Ridge for the weekend. It is a folk festival we’ve gone to for years. The following Thursday is whenYearlyKos starts. Like Falcon Ridge, it will go from Thursday through Sunday. I’ll probably attend it in Second Life.

However, starting on that Sunday, is the National Conference of State Legislatures annual conference. It is up in Boston and I’ve applied for press credentials. It goes through Thursday. However, Wednesday I am planning to speak in Connecticut about blogging. Once that is all done, it is back home to deal with packing and moving. I’m hoping we’ll have some friends and relatives around to help with that.

Getting rid of stuff

As we prepare to move, we are going to be getting rid of a lot of stuff through many different venues. Some stuff we will give to charities. Other stuff we will try to sell online, perhaps through sites like eBay and Craigslist, as well as some specialized lists. Some stuff we’ll give away through Freecycle, and in the end we may have an estate sale, and/or just get some junk removal company to come take things. So, if you’re interested things from the house, let us know.

Other Stuff

My latest graph of MyBlogLog surfing is up on Flickr. Stop by if you’re interested.

I’ve also recently added a bunch of sermons that I’ve received via email to the Stamford Independent site that got set up a long time ago, but never really gained traction. There’s some good stuff there if you like reading sermons.

So, that’s it right now at the Hynes household. Lots of stuff.

July 21st

The connection has timed out

It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago

One of Random Magus’s favorite books is Siddhartha. She has a great blog post pondering the metaphor of the river in Siddhartha and her own struggles against the tide.

She writes:

Yet I have always found myself opposing the river, maybe some of the disquietude in my soul can be blamed to not relinquishing myself to the the flow of things and letting things happen the way they are supposed to be.

I added a comment there, which I’m incorporating into this blog post. Siddhartha has long been a favorite book of mine as well. I've read just about everything Hesse has written as well as authors that were influential to Hesse, like Gottfried Keller.

I remember reading somewhere, but I don't remember where, that Hesse said you should not read anything he wrote before he was fifty, and you should only read it after you were fifty.

Siddhartha comes close. He wrote it when he was 45. I'm now 48 and I understand the longing to stop striving.

Against the wind
We were runnin' against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin'
Against the wind

It's interesting, just before reading this, I was over at Kellyology's blog where she did one of those online quizzes about burnout. She scored 74%. I hit 90%.

I'm sure that plays in there somewhere.

Back to the image of the river, I've found that there are times that I feel like flotsam on a river. Tossed about, sometimes getting stuck in an eddy behind a rock, sometimes drifting through slow water, but always moving.

The years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
I found myself further and further from my home
And I guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was living to run and running to live

As I read Random Magus’ post, Bob Seger’s song, “Against the wind” wound its way into my thinking.

Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind

Today, we are going back for a second look at a house about three minutes from Kim’s father’s house. It is a small house in the woods. It is a family house. The family had lived their since probably the fifties, and it still has a lot of a fifties feel to it. Both Kim and I saw things in and around the house that reminded us of the houses we grew up in.

Well those drifter's days are past me now
I've got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

Against the wind
I'm still runnin' against the wind
I'm older now but still runnin' against the wind
Well I'm older now and still runnin'
Against the wind

When this move is all done with and we are settled in where ever we end up settling in, hopefully the stress will decrease. Perhaps I will be more like Siddhartha. At the beginning of the book, we find him In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the
Boats
.

After all of his travels Siddhartha finds his way back to his childhood friend. Siddhartha tells him, "I'm travelling. I was a rich man and am no rich man any more, and what I'll be tomorrow, I don't know."

Siddhartha settles by a river ferrying people across. Where will the river lead me? Random Magus? Kellyology? Others that I’ve met in the blogosphere? How does this relate to parenting? How does this apply to the political process in our country today? What will we be tomorrow?

It was getting late into the night and time to head off to bed. But before I did that, I followed one more link.

Firefox responded with its message, “The connection has timed out”