Delayed Departure

I didn’t sleep well last night. I think it is because I got some bug bites on my feet. Whatever it was, my feet were horribly itchy and I couldn’t sleep. Kim says that itchy feet mean your going to be traveling soon. Well, current travel plans include Falcon Ridge, the NCSL conference in Boston, and a teacher’s union conference at the other end of Connecticut. Kim thinks it is something job related, perhaps a trip to California, Colorado or North Carolina. We’ll see. If only my palms would start itching.

So, I rested a little later this morning than I otherwise would have, only to be awoken by Fiona running into the bedroom saying, there’s a strange dog in our living room. “This is Serious,” she said in a sing song Wonder Pets sort of way.

Yes, a beautiful Australian shepherd had found its way into our living room, probably following our Chocolate Lab, Barley. Wilson had a collar on, identifying him as being from Limerick, Maine. Attached to his collar was a leash. Kim called the number on the collar and got no answer. Kim called the number on the rabies tag and spoke with the vet who would try to trace down Wilson. Then, a car drove slowly down the cul-de-saq calling “Wilson”. We rushed after it and re-united Wilson with his mommy, who was visiting her mommy on a trip down from Maine.

Around the same time, Kim noticed that her IV was bleeding. She is back on IV antibiotics in her ongoing battle with Lyme disease. We called the doctors and someone has come out to check the IV. Meanwhile, I whittled down the backlog of unread emails, checked a few blogs, helped pack, and got ready to go. We shall leave shortly.

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Random Stuff

In a few hours, we will be heading up to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. This is a yearly festival that I’ve gone to just about every year since 1994. I think I missed one or two years because of conflicts. Usually, we camp, but last year we could really only take time for the day. Many of my old favorites will be there and we’re really looking forward to the event. Fiona was practicing her contra dancing in the family room yesterday in anticipation.

Kim went out to a political dinner last night, so Fiona and I stayed home for some father-daughter time. First, we made a quick movie. People have been talking about Obama Girl and stuff like that. One person suggested that we need an Edwards Girl, but others thought it sent the wrong message. My thought is that the Edwards campaign is focused much more on the stuff of everyday life, so Fiona has made a video which I think better reflects what the Edwards campaign is about. That said, I believe that Fiona played with Grace Dodd at some campaign event back in 2004 when Sen. Dodd was running for re-election and Kim was running for State Rep. So, Grace got added to the list of people for the playdate.

This video was originally shared on by ahynes1 with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Besides making the video, we put the bubble on top of the car to carry our camping gear up to Falcon Ridge. We picked more berries, watched the fireflies light up the yard as the bats flitted about overhead. Then we got out the telescope and looked at the moon and Jupiter and its moons. One of these days, I get things so I can hook up a digital camera on my telescope so I can share the images here.

This morning, I checked my email, probably for the last time until next Monday. A friend from my college days, whom I haven’t heard from in about 25 years added me as a friend on Facebook. It is great to be back in touch with him. One email pointed me to a very funny post on DailyKos about Elizabeth Edwards swearing off tangerines and the right going bananas. While it is enjoyable for its excessive puns, it also has a great message about the importance of eating locally grown food. Those who have read my farmers’ market posts will see why I consider it such a great post.

Another topic that I’ve been meaning to write about, and hopefully I’ll write about in more detail, is how we view movies. I’m particularly interested in various groups where people gather to watch movies for political reasons. Have you asked your state representative to go see Sicko with you yet? Kim has asked ours.

I’m on a mailing list of group psychotherapists. (Yeah, I’ve got a pretty wide range of interests). A psychiatrist on the list leads an outpatient group where people gather and watch movies and then related it back to their own experiences. He has published a book, Movie Therapy, Moving Therapy!. There have been some wonderful discussions about movie therapy on the mailing list and it would be interesting to see this melded together with some of the political discussions about movies.

So, that wraps up the random thoughts for this morning. I’m likely to be gone until Sunday.

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NCSL Pregame

Last year, Bill Hobbs, who is a fellow member of the Media Bloggers Association (MBA), convinced the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to cover their annual convention in Nashville. He wrote several posts, including one about a session where State Legislators explored “the role blogs and other Internet technologies have in the policymaking process”.

He included an email that he sent to the NCSL pressroom suggesting that the MBA and NCSL work together to get more bloggers covering the 2007 convention in Boston. I haven’t heard anything recently from the MBA about this, but on a mailing list of progressive bloggers interested in regional issues, one person asked if anyone was going to the convention. Since Boston isn’t far from here, I figured it would be a good trip for me. So, I signed up as a member of the press and communicated with their Public Affairs Staff to confirm my attendance.

In Bill’s post last year, he spoke about how only around 100 people showed up for the session on E-Legislatures: Technology and the Policymaking Process. A staffer for NCSL commented that with the packed agenda that NCSL has, 100 people showing up to a session is actually pretty impressive.

As I look through the agenda for the 2007 convention, I have to agree with the staffer. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading through the agenda trying to decide which sessions to attend. It is going to be very hard to choose.

I posted on a mailing list that I’m going to the convention and asked what sessions they would like to see covered, and I’m getting some suggestions there. If you have any thoughts about what sessions you would like to see me cover, please let me know.

Next week I hope to post more about the different sessions I plan on attending as well as other thoughts about the convention. Stay tuned.

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Online Community Organizing

Last Thursday, Seth Godin wrote a post, Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer. It is a pretty good description some of the stuff that I’ve done for political campaigns and other organizations. One person, reading Seth’s post sent me an email suggesting that I “write to him and ask him for suggestions for who may be looking for a community organizer. perfect for you”

Apparently, the reaction was typical of reactions that Seth got. He has written subsequent post talking about the response he got and his plans to put a bunch of job leads up on Thursday. I hope he gets them up in time for me to respond before I hit the road for our annual trip to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

He describes this as a job of the future, but others write about having done online organizing for years. Seth ends his first post with, “If you were great at this, I'd imagine you'd never ever have trouble finding good work.”

The problem is, that I’ve done too much of this sort of work on a pro-bono basis. So much so, that a person well acquainted with my current situation wrote me a note starting off “Dear Mr. Pro-Bono:” Right now, it seems that the only people who really get the importance of online organizing are non-profits, a few political campaigns, and assorted under-funded startups.

So, I’ve been looking around for other places where I can work these skills into the job. I’ve heard of one organization looking for a communications director that can think out of the box. I’m actively pursuing that position, along with many other people. I’ve been talking with a few tech startups about doing IT management or engineering as part of a segue to a focus on online community organizing.

On my own blog, I’ve been contacted by two technology evangelists. Tara Anderson, from Lijit sent me an email saying that she had seen that I had signed up for Lijit and wanted to get my reactions. Then Brandon Watts from Criteo left a comment on my blog thanking me for installing and blogging about Criteo and also asking for feedback. Lijit and Criteo are doing the right sort of thing.

So, if any of you know of people looking for a social media guru, a director of technology evangelism, or some related position that gets the importance of online community organizing, please let me know.

Keen and Kafka

Being the web 2.0 aficionado that I am, Andrew Keen’s book, “The Cult of the Amateur: How today's Internet is killing our culture” has bothered me. To a certain extent, I felt that it was because of his fundamental lack of understanding about the nature of authority and credentials. Yet I have just read the interchange between Mr. Keen and David Weinberger as posted on the web by the Wall Street Journal.

Tom Guarriello sums it up nicely here. Yet as I read the interchange a different thought occurred to me. Keen asks the question, “Is Web 2.0 a dream or a nightmare? Is it a remix of Disney's "Cinderella" or of Kafka's "Metamorphosis"?” He continues this metaphor, holding up Disney as the sought after cultural icon and Kafka as that which should be avoided.

If today’s Internet is killing our culture by causing content creators to be more like Kafka then like the Disney Corporation, then I dedicate this blog post to all the Kevorkianesque bloggers out there.

Or, to do my own Kafkaesque mashup, “Someone must have traduced Andrew K…”

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