Bear Droppings
Saturday, January 31, 2004
New Word
Well not new, but new to English language...

orkut - (verb) to recruit someone to orkut network, especially to try to build your network in the process. Example: "Did you orkut Jim?" "No I tried but he doesn't understand social software"

Friday, January 30, 2004
Friday Five
Too tired to do a real post funny the shortest work day of the week, but I am dead, but saw Friday Five I haven't done one in a while so here.

You have just won one million dollars:
1. Who do you call first?
Hmmm either my Mom or El Jeffe.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself? G4 Powerbook full decked out and with an Ipod.

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else? Hmm a million ain't that much so probably just a good dinner for a bunch of my friends.

4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom? I'd probably start a sponsorship to Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference for non-traditional attendees and put some money into research for mental health issues for non drug related treatment.

5. Do you invest any? If so, how? Biotech and internet technologies.

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Tired, been making it home around midnight the last two nights. Work is a mix of frustration and joy, often within meer moments of one another. I have to learn to build something rather complicated and while I hear encouragement from my trainer as I joked with him today "I am ready for you to look it over then tell me to take it apart", I basically build the same thing over and over again. I see I am improving and know it is not something you do overnight, but frustration hides inside on me.
Poetry Wednesday
Couple hours late, but here goes...

I travelled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.

'Tis past, that melancholy dream!
Nor will I quit thy shore
A second time; for still I seem
To love thee more and more.

Among thy mountains did I feel
The joy of my desire;
And she I cherished turned her wheel
Beside an English fire.

Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed
The bowers where Lucy played;
And thine too is the last green field
That Lucy's eyes surveyed.
- William Wordsworth

Monday, January 26, 2004
I start a new path today, far a field thus far from the political fields I have known. Not saying it is better, nor that it will last as long. Frankly I am a career cynic, but anything that prepares my interest in the future of people will be a valuable study of my time. I started work for a bio-med-company. Meer factory cog in the wheel, although from what I gather the path from applicant to production employee may take many months. The Writer in Me values this experience, though the pragmatist wishes the bankroll were stronger. Due to the many confidential thoughts my employer entails I don't know how much I'll really impart, but I yet look forward to the process. A friend was hired by the same employer not so long ago and spoke ill of the firm, if I had not worked for an IT association and seen the regular trade secret issues agreements they keep as part of daily discussion I might seem offended, but it doesn't bother me and might in fact provide writing fodder. For now I see opportunity and job growth, but decent benefits is enough for me now, only time will tell.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
His words echo to me, even now...

He sings to me.

Alone, tired, fingers bleeding..
I hear him.

I look up, blind to the world.
My senses dulled by complacency.
Yet he still sings to me.

I've lost hope,
his song brings me life.

I stumble.
No hands to pick me up.
A light breeze lifts me,
a rustle in the black
of my sightless eyes.

I hold him like a lost lover.
We begin to dance.

We move through the currents of emotion,
through the waves of perception,
crashing all around.

Nothing can stop the dance.
The song has become a roar.

There is only the dance.
One moment of perfect beauty.

All moments end.
He drifts away, a cloud in the sky.

Now i sing to him.

I miss you old friend.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Wonkette is neither the Gawker of DC nor Wonkish...discuss
Nick Denton owner of the blogging empire Gawker and numerous our sites has a new blog Wonkette, on politics and DC, aspiring to be the next Gawker. The problem is the new site doesn't read authentic and that can be deadly on the web.

Gawker succeeded because it looked at the media industry with a cynical, funny eye and played to that audience discussing New York City life.

First off Wonkette is written by a media person, which is fine there are many political blogs written by media people, but it claims to be a Wonk. A Wonk or Wonkette is a policy expert in some regard. Me I am a tech policy wonk, but I have known them in all shades and colors Cancer health wonk, environmental wonk, I even knew a woman who loved the intricacies waste management policies (I wish I was kidding). The problem is she doesn't read like a Wonk, she plays off spelling mistakes in this post but an early truth in political life is this NEVER spell a Member's name wrong. A Member is a Member of Congress a generic term for Senator or Representative for non-politicos.

Next according to the author it is "a guide to DC politics and culture, sort of." The problem is it doesn't read like someone who attends the receptions, social life, and quirkiness that makes up the DC experience. I don't hold it against Ana Marie Cox that she lives in the suburbs I did as well, but it doesn't read to me that she knows DC life. Gawker discusses SoHo Club and various media receptions, as I noted earlier this week the SOTU address is a major social event but Wonkette reads like someone who didn't watch it live but checked a few websites the next morning, not a gossip site dishing on a big social night.

In the end it reads like formulatic duplication of Gawker. If Nick Denton had hired someone who actually was a policy Wonk who had a couple of years government experience I think it would come off better, someone like Carrie Jean Langdon who worked for HillZoo and on Capitol Hill. I knew her socially, not real well but enough that she strikes me as someone that combines the perfect amount of DC insider and snarkiness to pull off the site Wonkette.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Funny thing seeing all the online pundits and bloggers talking up the SOTU (State of the Union to non-politicos) last night, the speech was always a prime night of social culture when I lived in DC. Everyone watched it, if you could from someplace with perks, if not a bar. I think only election night and inauguration events were held in higher regard. Well save the super-elite who get invited to White House dinners.

A year out of the DC it doesn't seem nearly as important, though frankly I thought getting hyped over an hour long speech was a bit silly regardless of who made it. It was amazing who much of a social events, yet they don't necessarily connect with the man on the street I don't know anyone who did watch it in Sedona.

While the speech does serve to lay out certain policy goals for the next year and a 'gut check' of the country often times it is just flowery rhetoric to a tv audience. TV broadcast media for all it's faults is still the dominate medium in this country. In that role I suppose it has a valid purpose to communicate to the masses.

But as my generation gets older and future generations grow up online, for instance my brother jokes his 4 years old knows how to find her favorite website, I wonder how important this presentation will remain. It wasn't until radio and television came along that it became a major political event to the common man. People like the Vodkapundit blogged the whole thing and then there are SOTU drinking games how long can it be with the advancing state of media until there are live interactive games and rebuttals with real live time audio, video, and links based on it by both Presidential supporters and detractors? Will these cheapen the speech or strengthen it's role in society? Tough to say while part of me thinks it will make the speech less relevant, but at the same time this media will increase people's participation and that may ultimately strengthen democracy in ways we can hardly envision.
Poetry Wednesday
Every month I scour Flagstaff around this time hunting for one of my favorite current magazines the Mountain Gazette. It was first published in 1972 for 7 years then took a 21 year break. It returned to publication in 2000 and has been a favorite of mine ever since. This month they hit the big 100th Issue mark, congrats guys! In honor of their accomplishment a poem from the latest edition.

Full Circle
To come full circle
In the blink of an eye
Staring while the sky turns purple
Amazed not wondering why
Inspiration in forms
Listening to the river
Or weathering out storms
Each day a little older
As time stops for none
Some days the wind blows colder
But today there shines the sun
- David Black, Mountain Gazette Issue 100

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Heavy, wet, white flakes fall quickly around the cabin. I don't know how long it will continue, but if it does for a few more hours Sedona will be covered in a thick wintery blanket. I can't wait until morning to see the contrast of white on red rock and the bright green brush that is across the landscape. Winter has finally arrived in Sedona.
Job front I had some good news, it looks like I'll be commuting back up to Flagstaff starting next week. I have been hired by a company that regularly ranks in Fortune's Top 10 companies to work for survey. The job will not be great, but it's a start gets my foot in the door and there is plenty of room to grow. In addition, it means I won't be living the life of a vampire anymore I'll working the second shift after my initial training. Also the writer in me looks forward to the experience of working in a clean room just as an new experience that may pay off for ideas down the road.
As a friend noted in the comments I have been discussing Dean a fair bit, mostly because of the contradiction while I like his internet policy and use of it as a campaign resource I have been very disappointed with his angry swing left since September. I think tonight showed that while his anger does resonate well within the party activists and anti-Bush crowd it doesn't sell within Middle America.

Jeff Jarvis notes
I have said earlier that the Dean blog was a two-way street in terms of organization but not in terms of substance. And so I can't blog with forked tongue now and say that the grass roots bent the tree above and changed Dean. No, Dean is Dean. I'm not blaming the blog for what he has done wrong so far -- being so negative, focusing on the war as his one visible issue -- and Dean can't blame anyone else either. He's the boss. It's his loss.

But we all live online and we know how this is a self-confirming medium. You can find others' opinions but you have do be willing to click and link to find them; you can't live inside your own club or you'll hear only what your fellow club members say to you.

The Dean blog was a strong tool for the campaign's organization. But it was a club. It was really all about the comments. It wasn't so much a blog as a forum, a place where people who agree can agree. And, again, that's fine. But it's not what blogs are really about.

If Dean survives the nomination process, and I think he likely will, he'll have to remember the political axiom that it's not attacking others that wins elections, it's convincing them you can do a better job than the incumbent.

Tonight just confirms to me while his campaign is making powerful advancements in internet use, his policies and anger will cost him the White House in November.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Back in AZ, it was a good trip considering the circumstances and heard some positive details on the job front, more to follow later, right now there is a puppy that has not seen me in a week and is in dire need of attention.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
On the Road...
In Ohio so posting will be sporatic and likely light. Have a good week.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Further proof that the current education system does not effectively work in the modern technological society. Educators should be assisting the learning process and not suspending students for learning. Teachers, especially computer teachers, should know the difference between hacking and using system tools. I don't have the answers, but this is a prime example of what NOT to do.
Generunner Version .1
For those of you expressed interest you should see the raw draft of Generunner, my National Novel Writing Month story in your inboxes this morning. If you don't get it let me know and I'll send you a copy, I have a mental list of people who expressed interest and may have missed someone. It's the verbatium text I wrote in November after going through formating and spell checking. It is very much a first draft and now the real work begins, editing and redrafts.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Informative article on music industry and busking from a Musician. Like I have been saying for a while it's musicians I support, not companies suing 12 year old girls and retired people. It has forced me to stretch a bit I have been downloading Russian folk-rock, supporting local bands, and when I do buy an album I make sure it's not from an RIAA label for the most part. I am happier for the effort, because before I was more passive in my musical taste, sure I had my favorite artists like Warren Zevon, but otherwise I often just listened to the radio. It just seems a bit more fulfilling to search a little deeper for people following their passions and as I am trying to do that with my writing I can relate to their passion.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Poetry Wednesday
Another entry from the Sunday's writing group, kind of a whimsical piece on the lost traveler to Mars.

Beagle, oh little lost beagle
just last month you seemed so regal.
Lost in a Martian desert
your barking cry
we strain to hear
but silence is the only thing clear.

Oh little barking Beagle
where can you be

Oh little barking Beagle
have you been distracted by a Martian tree.

Lost, lost little explorer
filled with promise of revealing Mars complexity.
Reality never burned so bright
a plethora of researches await your cry
and wait
and wait.

Millions of miles from home you have traveled
to distant lands discover.
But your electronic leash has broken
perhaps next time we should teach you to play fetch and come back home
before releasing you to the stars.
- Thomas Vincent 2004

A word of advice to a friend...
Don't play skeptical scientist making a dispassioned argument when you conclude a judgement before all the facts are in. If your are going to state a partisan opinion, simply state it, don't pretend to have come to this opinion through scientific research when you wear your political biases on your sleeve. It weakens my opinion of you as a scientist.
Only Kucinich would bring a visual aid to a radio debate. And people wonder why he has .001% support of the American populace. I suppose he is good for comic relief.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Apple has the new mini-iPod out, frankly I am not very impressed, I'd rather spend an extra $50 and get a ton more memory with the 15gig model, but perhaps that is the intent from the beginning.If it was closer to $200 or just under maybe I'd consider it, but at $249 I hold off until I get my laptop in the distant future, hopefully 6 months, but probably a year.
Writing about writing, as opposed to blogging about blogging...
Last night I headed up to the writing group in Flagstaff, I enjoyed it as always and intend to make it a more regular habit. It is a free form writing style based on topic of the day, hour, or what every idea strikes someone in discussion. While most of my interest is in technology or science fiction, I try to stretch and try other things there. Last night one of the topics was to write about our writing experience or thoughts about writing, I ended up writing about my experience with National Novel Writing Month. Here is what I wrote...

50,000 words in November
One month
One novel
One idea
I started late
a Halloween party in Phoenix and broken laptop
means two days gone
*phfft*, flash in the pan, up in smoke, all the cliches.

Late night at work
paid to work on my story
900 words here,
752 words there,
1508 words
they keep piling and piling up,
will I make the goal?
One night I am distracted by a coworker,
another night 4000 words float through the night
and my voice leads it's merry way.

Last weekend
and I start it 14,000 words in a (spider)hole,
staring at the damn ergonomic keyboard
I hate it so, I want my laptop.
I brew another pot of coffee
and start typing away,
Perhaps my mind makes a mountain out of a wordhill.

The clock strikes 12 on December 1st,
50,063 words are done.
Scared at the near finish,
the story 35 words shy and having nothing left to write.
I found another 100 words,
a waste of hundred words,
I'll trash them when the editing comes.
But I made it and I am so alive.

I lock away the story for December,
in the New Year the editing begins,
in 11 months another 50,000 words await me,
- Thomas Vincent 2004

Monday, January 05, 2004
I wish I could recall who pointed this out, please let me know in the comments if you have seen it, but someone wrote a blog piece on the overuse of the word interesting. Even before I saw the post I had recognized I was tired of using the word it gets used far too often in blogs.

This article is interesting...

BloggerX makes an interesting point...

Just looking around blogosphere I saw the word 5 times in two sites. I am as guilty as anyone but with the diversity of language we ought to figure out better descriptive terms.
The last PromoGuy's Monday Mission 4.0
1. In the last week, what happened that made you feel loved beyond your wildest dreams?
[ from MM 1.0] Nope, but I got a pleasant surprise from my Mother that I hadn't expected and that is always nice.

2. What was the last audio CD you paid money for? [ from MM 1.3] Warsaw Poland Bros - Pimpin' on Crutches, listened to them since college, but back then they were just known as Warsaw (or War-ska)

3. Has someone you know ever told you they had a terminal illness? What was it like for you when you found out. How did that change your relationship with them? [ from MM 2.45] Had two friends tell me it thus far, I would say it made me value the time I did get to spend with them more valued, but otherwise no other signifcant change.

4. Do you have an accent? Are there any phrases or words you say that tip folks that you aren't from around these parts? [ from MM 2.38] Your standard American accent, but I do have a tendency to pick up accents if I am around them for any length of time.

5. What's the difference between being a Father, and being a Daddy? [ from MM 3.25] I don't suppose I can fully know until I have a child.

6. What is the most recent thing guilt has motivated you to do?
[ from MM 2.50] Nothing.

7. How do you feel about tips and tipping? Do you feel obligated to tip even if your service is bad because you know the servers don't get paid much? If you've ever relied on tips for your income, how do you feel when you don't get any? [This is a new one, had to throw in at least one more hot topic before I sign off] Up until college I was a very bad tipper, with age and learning how folks made their living I became a better tipper, some friends would say it was due in part to an exgirlfriend I don't if that is true.

BONUS: Will you still love me for the rest of my life? Only time will tell...
Sunday, January 04, 2004
I am not a major space freak, we might establish distant colonies in my lifetime, but right now I frankly more interested in terrestrial cultures. That all said the name of the url is partially geist, German for spirit and ghost. In the spirit of today's news, a link.
Saturday, January 03, 2004
The Times They are a Changing...
Ten years ago I was in Model United Nations in college, in it we represented various countries at a mock UN to discuss the issues. Our group always seemed to do well, we knew how to debate, we knew the facts and probably most importantly we had fun. In preparation for conferences we dug deep for research material, newspapers, magazines, books, I even wrote to the UN delegation from Germany once to get a copy of their policy statements, we dubbed it Der Bible (Der Bib-le). We tried to know our countries forwards and backward to understand their motivations, historical behaviours and ultimately accurately predict reactions to the problems and other nations opinions we encountered.

One of the texts we nearly always at least read over once and often photocopied portions was the CIA Factbook. It always had a factual groundwork to provide structure to our background. So I suppose that is why I found it so amusing when Jessica posted (may have to scroll down a little) a link to the online version and noted how useful it is, the more things change, the more references stay the same. Also it struck me how we had to walk down to Cline library to make use of it, but now a few years later it's accessible from your own desktop. It can't help but make me wonder how many resources that I had to dig around for growing up will be available to future generations at a click of a mouse.
Friday Five
What one thing are you most looking forward to . . .

1. My day off

2. ...over the next week? Finishing up the new website

3. ...this year? Publishing my first book

4. ...over the next five years? Get paid to do what I enjoy...

5. ...for the rest of your life? Be happy, simple, but true.
Leave it to the Crocodile Hunter to make Michael Jackson to look sane. That is just stupid and dangerous. I hope the Australian equivalent of child protective services gets involved.

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