Hello Old Friend

Dear Blog,

How have you been? As the days have grown longer, so have my absences. Having gone through the most stressful 12 months of my life has certainly contributed to the void. But even as Spring moves forward, renewing life, I feel you maturing in your own silence. Leafy green tendrils of posts are budding, waiting to cover your blue skeleton in thoughts sophomoric and serious. The urge to learn, share, and teach is unending.

Like an unruly shrub, you’ve resisted all attempts to be shaped. You even changed your tagline after a handful of posts. Avoiding the urge to divulge the personal, you preferred politics and punditry over the crimson cloak of raw emotion other more fashionable blogs sported. You’ve patiently tolerated my disappearance, and serenely welcome me back.

This post’s for you.

You Never Know What You’ll Hear

I wrote about candid communications before. You know, the explicit, stripped down things people say to each other when they want to be understood. Utterances, emotions, and comments that our internal “polite filters” usually stop us from releasing to the world at large. In a place as populated and diverse as New York those filters are tuned differently than say, Sims, NC, USA (population 128). Those differences are what make Overheard in New York such a great find.

The premise is simple. Take interesting snippets of overheard conversations, apply catchy headlines, post, giggle, repeat. The messages are delivered with New Yorkers’ unique perspectives and blend of profanity and candor. A couple of my favorites are below.

Torment Your Kids
Management Will Address Your Concerns
They’re Not Gonna Be One-Upped

Blogging Vs. Journalism

For some time now blogging and journalism have intersected in ways that complicate defining the relationship between the two disciplines. As bloggers, it’s increasingly important we play a more active role distinguishing what we do from journalism without diminishing blogging’s relevance. This notion has become even clearer since I started my own blog. A post at Blog Maverick made me think about this issue again.

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Just testing tracking code. No big shakes.

Goodbyes Make Life More Precious

I’ve been extraordinarily slack about posting lately. I wish it were simply my usual finickiness. Unfortunately, it’s more.

My Mom passed away last week, and I’ve been ensconced in all the details that event entails, namely planning, sighing, sleeping, planning some more, more sleep, and more sighing. Rather than rehash the usual platitudes, let me just say she was simply the best Mother. She taught us to trust God, not religion. She taught me to pray, cook, sew, crochet… the list is endless. Her light shines on in all of her children. And people who met her were truly blessed.

For a short while posts will be thin. But I endeavor to make it a short while, since life is for the living, and writing is Survival 101 for me.

Occupancy Does Not Equal Experience

I’ve been thinking about how the last Presidential election was won by an electorate who voted their fears. Fear of another terrorist attack was high on the list. Fear of liberals ruining a society built on Christian principles followed closely. Fear motivated those who voted left of center as well. Moderate to liberal voters envisioned a world of war without end, ecological devastation on a planetary scale, and a government-sanctioned return to tyrannical puritanism. Nearly four years later not much has changed. Or has it?

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David Frum Eat Your Heart Out

Speech Recognition is one of Microsoft Vista’s cooler aspects. It’s not quite up to Star Trek “Captain’s log” status yet, but is very promising. I’m certain it will behave better using a headset mic vs. the lappie’s built-in mic. The following is a portion of a conversation that Vista dictated. A colleague and I were discussing the impending Presidential election. We tend to have fairly opposing views regarding many things political and I think Speech Recognition captured the flavor of the convo well. While not entirely accurate, the dictation mimics the intensity and depth of our discussion with poetic fervor. Next stop, the campaign trail to write some speeches.

Previously all and I’ll have all of them signed the pledge by opening up the nomination on wall like all sewers role of a while select all do it now took a bite out of an eye on now and in Asia and the whole of the
Lot when wind up going to play whether their own a bus stop the Mac on recall that pay for all of your thought on an more eight bit soft is baths or can have led the a gala ball ballot grass leading on a sidewalk go on the island at home loading of june where I’m at a trial pack only,…

Embarq: Really Beginning to Suck!

Let’s see… how many ways can Embarq suck over Sprint.

  • no newsserver
  • more frequent slowdowns and outages… particularly weekends
  • my pet peeve… the non-existing website “landing page”

The last item is beginning to suck even harder. Just like it sounds, the landing page is where you end up if the URL you typed can not be resolved, or if it doesn’t exist. Normally (at least in Firefox) you’re fed a “server not found” page with some helpful hints. Check the spelling, check your connection, etc. Embarq now thinks it’s cute to serve lost surfers another impression of their stupid green paper airplane (misshapen dunce cap? anal trowel?) logo. The next logical step is sponsored ads.

Sorry, we can’t seem to locate Criscocoatedteens.com, perhaps you’d like to visit Viagracentral.com instead?

I’m hoping the answer is to start using my own DNS servers again. Meanwhile, Embarq is making opting out of this lame ass service much less obvious. The thumbnail below links to a screen grab of the FAQ page describing this service. Shortly after Embarq began this hijacking scheme, the landing page plainly showed you how to opt-out of the service. Now, rather than telling you how to turn this crazy thing off, they leave you to hunt through the footer and secondary nav links to find the “opt-out” link for yourself. It’s cute how they actually leave the “How do I opt-out” question unanswered in the FAQ. Of course by cute I mean Orwellian.


Presidential Predictions #1

McCain chooses Fred Thompson… There, I said it. Kinda leaves a nasty mouthfeel and I may be totally off base, but think about it.