Sunday Reading: 9 May 2010

Here’s your Sunday reading for today:

Sunday Reading: 2 May 2010

So, what I’ve decided to do is not close down my linkdumps; enough people find value in them to keep it going. I guess this question was raised, in part, by my desire to have something that enriched my readers a bit more. Well, I think I’ve come across what I’ll do: a Sunday linkdump of longer-form reading. These are the really interesting things I’ve found on the Web this week, powered by Instapaper, which I use to digest long-form Web reading for later perusal.

The Button Club

I’d like to introduce you to The Button Club.

All the members of The Button Club are acquaintances of mine. Many of them are friends. A couple of them are confidants. They came together because of a community I help curate. They’re taking Erin Bried’s book and making a lot of awesome with it as they tackle the challenges therein.

This is where I hear my mother, a home economics education teacher by training, asking me two things: “Are you going to follow along with them?” and “Are any of them single?” The answer to both questions, Mom, is yes. 😉

I figure my craft-minded friends [you know who you are, local ladies] will get a kick out of this. I will, too, because I really love these women and can’t wait to see what they make of this project.

DIY = Responsibility

The downside to doing-it-yourself is, of course, responsibility. I am comfortable with this responsibility—I administrate a few dozen WordPress installations [one of which was minorly hacked in the latest worm].

There’s a freedom with free software—customizations, etc. But you are also enslaving yourself to the upkeep. If you’re not committed to that, then don’t do it.

[And I let people pay me to keep up with WP installations. It pays for a server that I lease that lets me do lots of wacky things for free.]


Most of us have used URL-shortening systems: TinyURL is the canonical one. Twitter, of course, has accelerated this use. I’ve used them, too, but I worry about things like link rot. After all, URL-shortening systems do die. [And yes, I know that is going to try to live on. That’s beside the point.]

So now on, I’m using YOURLS. If you see a link from me that’s[something], it’s generated by YOURLS.

What kind of things am I linking to? Well, lots of things, but … usually, goalie fights.

I could watch goalie fights all day long…

I am my own worst heat sink.

I took some time at lunch and watched/listened to Clay Shirky’s talk about the cognitive surplus, which I’d seen linked a lot of places, but today by Jeremy Zawodny.

I was reminded of a pledge to use time-shifting for awesome. I then sent myself to the penalty box for a ten-minute misconduct.

Okay, off to watch some Law & Order. 😉 :sigh:

Andy Baio is likely to be eaten by a grue.

Watching the comments on Andy Baio’s post on Infocom is endlessly fascinating for me, as I’m the Web host for the Interactive Fiction Competition, which is organized by my good friend Stephen Granade. Just earlier this week [or was it last week? They’re running together], I had been telling Dr. Boom at lunch that he needed to check out Waxy. Heh.

I think my favorite thing is how Stephen just matter-of-factly points to Baio’s entry, too … me, I wouldn’t have been able to resist discussing how I would be freaking out if internal emails were getting posted on the Internet. Of course, I realized long ago that I was only one forward away from any of my emails being read by the one person I least wanted to see them, privacy disclaimers I might make to the contrary.

An aside, because I think it’s worth considering: email from 25 years ago was far more likely to be for-the-record, memo-style stuff than what you typically see today in business. There certainly was a lot less of it sent [as we were less used to it as a communication medium], and so everything was more focused—and, sometimes, strident. I think this accounts for some of the tone you see in some of the emails that Andy reproduced, and I think the following quotation makes my point:

I just wanted to clarify in writing what we discussed about “Restaurant” last Tuesday — what I will and will not agree to.

I will not sign a blank sheet of paper: I refuse to take responsibility for “Restaurant” in the state it presently is in — not knowing who is creatively in charge, how much thinking has actually been done, or how much of a script is written. …

— Amy Briggs

Consider the difference between this opening and most of the business email you send and receive. Do you write stuff like this from time to time? Sure, we all do. But those are the emails that we stay after hours to write—or, better, sleep on and write first thing the next morning. But it would be a mistake to not recognize that many of these emails were of a for-the-record nature, the kinds of things that make positional statements, and as such sound more assertive than we’re used to.

Madison Mayor Mania!?

In the drive-thru line at Hardee’s this morning [I know, I know], I was behind a large Toyota SUV with a “Paul Finley for Mayor” set of stickers. So I whipped out the iPhone and pulled up the URL to see if this was a Madison thing or not. It is.

Made me realize that, other than incumbent Sandy Kirkindall, I had no idea who was even running for mayor, and I have no idea what any of them really stand for. Oh, there’s Finley’s “A Fresh Approach”, and I’m sure that Kirkindall’s slogan will be “Proven Leadership” like any good incumbent. But it occurs to me that I maybe should get involved and blog about this, because it means something to us here in the L:35758.

Would this be interesting to any of the locals?

“I play the ones from yesterday”

When you perform
It’s so intense
When the critics pan
I write in your defense

I understand I am just a fan
I’m just a fan

Wilco, “The Lonely 1“, Being There

Andrew wrote about going to see Sixpence None the Richer play on Sunday night in Nashville, and a good chunk of what he wrote resonated with me.

I’ve lived here for eleven years and I’ve had the real honor of working with just about everybody I listened to in high school who’s not dead or in U2, Pink Floyd or the Beatles. It’s shocking and amazing at first, but it wears off and you realize they’re just dudes like you, and the magic fades away a little bit.

Except for this band Sixpence. I don’t care. I just freaking love them. They’re one of my favorites. They always have been and they always will be. I’ve played a few things with Matt, mostly at Andy P’s Christmas shows, and Leigh sang on the first Normals record. But somehow, they never faded to me. I’m a fan. And I love it.

Despite it all, Caedmon’s Call is still that way for me. [Derek or Andy solo? Not so much. Both of those are very much old hat, to the point that if either asked me to sing BGVs or something during a show, I wouldn’t be intimidated.] Every show is still pretty special for me, because the music takes me back to a far more formative period of my life. I connect to it in ways that really only I know about, because I’ve never talked about with anyone in the band. [Unlike, say, some of Andrew’s stuff.]

Another thing I want to note here: I try to maintain a certain distance with Over the Rhine. I freaking love them, and while I guess there are chances for me to get to know them—and they’re certainly inviting of those opportunities—I really just want to remain a fan. Unlike most of the shows of bands I attend whenever they’re in my area, I go to those shows, make my recording, take my photos, and go the hell home. No waiting for two hours after the show to talk to the band [because we want to talk to each other, but I’m willing to wait out the other fans] or anything. I just watch the show, capture it, go home, and revel in the remembrance later. I like that.

I think I set the trend with OtR when, at the first show I attended, Rick and I sat right along the walkway from the green room to the stage. Didn’t talk to them then … probably won’t in the future.