December 31, 2004
Stephin Merritt's Car Commercial
Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields wrote a song for a car company's online ad campaign. The New York Times published an article yesterday about the campaign's short movies ("or long commercials, depending on your perspective").
December 30, 2004
Peter Caputa compiled a list of things he'd like to accomplish with his WhizSpark business in 2005. A similar "aspirations list" has been percolating inside my brain, too.
Here's a list of things I'd like to accomplish during the first half of 2005.
- Update sooz.com daily.
- Update Exploit Boston! daily
- Publish my Marqui entries on Wednesdays until my involvement with the program wraps up at the end of February.
- Acquire interns for Free Agent Boston and Exploit Boston!.
- Hire a web designer to give Exploit Boston! a proper makeover.
- Host at least one social event each month.
- Organize additional Free Agent Boston events including an annual conference and seminar series.
- Find shared office space to use 3+ days a week. I found an interesting space near South Boston that a designer is sharing with 5-6 other people and another shared studio space in Somerville. There's also the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square.
December 13, 2004
Jennifer Traig's "Devil in the Details" and the Virtual Book Tour
Kevin Smokler's Virtual Book Tour is making its way around the web today. The latest installment of the tour features Jennifer Traig's memoir Devil in the Details: scenes from an obsessive girlhood. She chronicles her adventures and missadventures with scruplosity, a hyper-religious form of obsessive compulsive disorder. Jenny's book is equal parts disturbing and downright hilarious. She describes her family's humorous approach to routines such as kissing the floor and swatting bookcases. She didn't want her family to know that she was keeping kosher so when her mom inquires "Is there a reason you're hiding that pork chop under your plate?", Jenny replies, "Oh, I'm just tenderizing it."
The book includes several intersitial's describing some of her routines including "Musical Chairs: A Game." In ten steps she describes the process of playing musical chairs by yourself.
10. Players may not sit on any of the toilets. This goes without saying. Don't think about toilets. Don't think about toilets. Don't think about toilets. Oh, now you're going to have to go wash. Game over.
This book is for anyone who might have thought they had an odd childhood. Read Devil in the Details and you'll quickly discover there's always someone out there who goes beyond anything you could have imagined.
December 11, 2004
More words and photos about the Pixies
Shannon Okey (photos) and Mike Grasso (words) joined forces for an experience review of the Pixies' homecoming show at the Avalon on Landsowne Street Thursday night. Their words and photos are at Exploit Boston!. Shannon also wrote a fun entry on her weblog about her experience interacting with the other photographers.
December 10, 2004
Thinking about a switch from Movable Type to Word Press
I've been thinking about switching some or all of my websites' mini content management system from Movable Type to Word Press for at least a year. Dreamhost recently set up some sort of "one click" Word Press install that works very well. And yesterday, Christine linked to a huge amount of Word Press resources, plugins, etcetera. It'll be pretty easy to move this site over; but I'm not sure about Exploit Boston! since the calendar plugins I use that Brad Choate and Kevin Shay wrote are specifically for Movable Type. I recently moved Exploit Boston! over to Textdrive; but I doubt I'd have too much trouble setting up Word Press from scratch.
Live review of the LimoLiner from Boston to New York City
I'm on my way (as I type this) to New York City for this month's in-person conspiring with Josh Darden. He's a long-time friend and newish client. I usually take the cheap Fung Wah Bus to and from NYC but this time I decided to try out the LimoLiner for the trip to NYC and then take the Fung Wah bus ($15) back home. The biggest perk with LimoLiner is that they have internet access (ethernet and WiFi) included with the $69 (each way) ticket price. It's $10 less than Amtrak, too. I was going to take a photo of the setup at my seat and upload it but I put the USB cable for Michael's camera in the bag that's under the bus. Oops!
They just served lunch which was actually edible: ham and cheese sandwich (other choices were turkey and veggie), pasta salad and a chocolate chip coookie. The sticker on the outside of the bag said Boston Cafe and Catering. The beverage choices were the typical juice, sodas, iced tea and coffee served in a plastic medium-sized cup.
We stopped at the Hilton in Framingham where they picked up additional passengers. A small television in front of me is playing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I can't remember what the second movie is going to be.
There's a small meeting room in the back where a handful of people are seated at a table and the comfy chairs we've got in the rest of the bus.
It's pretty damn amazing to be able to do work while online enroute to New York. I'm surprised that no one around me has a computer in front of them. The age range of most people on the bus seems to be 40-60. There might be one or two people closer to my age (31). I'll upload a few photos tonight.
Photos from dinner at Casablanca
I took a few photos at Thursday night's dinner party at Casablanca. The full photoset is at flickr. Someone asked me how we'd characterize the overall group because it seemed like a mix of people with different backgrounds. How about interesting people? That seems good enough to me.
December 08, 2004
Which "C" word is it? Content, Communications or Campaign?
I've been poking around the Marqui demo so that I can write something at least reasonably intelligent (we can always hope) about their communications management system. Unfortunately I can't use Firefox so I have to dust off IE. Just when I was hoping I could delete that application from my computer once and for all.
They've got a Jetson's style Flash demo linked off their homepage that illustrates what they claim the product can do to help organizations manage their marketing campaigns. On the main page for the demo, I noticed that "campaign management systems" is in the title of the demo; but everywhere else, Marqui is referred to as "communications management systems." And as The Head Lemer pointed out, the "c" in CMS usually refers to "content." Maybe they need a new acronym.
December 02, 2004
You're Invited: Join us for Dinner at Casablanca in Harvard Square on Thursday, December 9, 2004 at 8:30 PM
Gregor Rothfuss and I are hosting a dinner party on the evening of Thursday, December 9, 2004 at Casablanca, a Mediterranean restaurant in Harvard Square located at 40 Brattle Street next to the Brattle Theater and under Cafe Algiers. The gathering is being held after the Berkman Center for Internet & Society's kick-off event for their "Votes, Bits & Bytes" conference and the first meeting of the Boston Cocoon & Lenya User Group. Dinner starts at 8:30 PM and is dutch treat. You can expect to pay $25-$40 (meal, drinks, gratuity). For directions and more information about the restaurant, visit Casablanca's website or the local-i page of reviews and related tidbits. Please RSVP in the comments of this entry or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This dinner replaces the sushi party which is being rescheduled for February 2005 in Boston.
Taking photographs up front at the Pixies show last night at the Tsongas Arena
Where do I even begin?
Last night Yves Etheart and I attended the Pixies sold-out show at the Tsongas Arena. We were there on behalf of Exploit Boston!, my event calendar website. It was amazing. I had a photo pass which allowed me to go up front with the photographers from The Improper Bostonian, Boston Metro and The Boston Phoenix. There were 3-4 more photographers but I didn't have a chance to meet them. Eric Barry was there for The Boston Phoenix. He does freelance photojournalism and wedding photography.
When we first arrived at the Tsongas Arena we discovered that they were seperating men and women into different lines and doing semi-thorough checks to see if you had cigarettes, cameras, etc. When I got to the front of my line, I mentioned that I had a camera and needed to pick up my photo pass. They directed me to leave the building and go around to a side entrance. Once I got there, one of the security guys greeted me but had no info about the photo pass/comp tickets. He called one of his cohorts and then directed me back to the main lobby. Instead of leaving the building and going back through the main entrance, he pointed out an elevator around the corner. Once we got back up to the main floor we picked up our tickets and my photo pass.
At 9:35 I wandered back down to the lower level to meet up with the other photographers and the Pixies' manager who would escort us through the crowd up to the front. So there was a stage, a dozen security people, the photographers, a baracade and a sea of fans. Unbelievable.
While we were upfront waiting for the band to take the stage, a guy who was probably in his mid-40s asked if he could have my photo pass sticker. I said probably not. And then I think he mumbled something about offering me drugs after the show in exchange for the pass. Needless to say, I declined. I need to stop by Michael's and get it (and the ticket) scanned. The pass is bright yellow with black words that says "Pixies worldtour 2004" with "Low 1 Photo" written along the bottom. And for some unkown reason, it smells like kerosine.
I took photos during the first three songs and then we were escorted out of the building to remove our camera equipment. I then wandered back into the arena and enjoyed the rest of a kick ass rock concert. This is definitely inspiring me to get a snazzier camera next year and take Beth up on her offer to teach me about how to use a camera more effectively. Amusingly enough, I was using a little Sony Cybershot camera at the show while all the other photographers had fancy digital SLR cameras with mega zoom lens.
I posted tidbits about the photos over at Exploit Boston!. Yves' article will be up in a day or two.