And in the just too cool category, Fundrace is a site that tracks the percentage of Republican vs. Democratic contributes "totalling more than $200 (and some totalling less than $200) to a single Republican or Democratic presidential campaign or national committee between January 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004." The cool part is that Fundrace then maps this data onto city maps, so that you can see the geographical distribution of contributors. In Manhattan, for example, the majority of Republican contributors live on the East Side (no big surprise). Want to go deeper? The neighbor search shows the names, addresses, occupations, and contributions amounts of the folks in your zip code. Hey! Garry Trudeau lives in my neighborhood!
July 2004 Archives
I recently made a couple of minor changes to design of this site. I'm viewing it on a PC for the first time, and in IE the text is quite small, and fairly difficult to read. I'm wondering if it's just the screen that I'm on. If there are any PC users out there who read this (Steve) can you let me know if it's readable or just painful? Thanks!
Some random thoughts on the convention season:
I was at the gym on Saturday morning, watching CNN with the sound off (language pledge, you know) while sweating profusely on the elliptical machine. Closed captioning was on, so I managed to catch the following exchange regarding media coverage of the convention. The gist of the exchange: reporter - do you think that 3 hours is enough time for the major TV networks to spend on coverage of the convention? Is it enough time to help people pick a president? CBS network executive: Of course it is. We'll show the major newsworthy events, Kerry's speech and Edwards' speech. My big problem is that American politics are no longer participatory. Let's go back to smoke-filled rooms.
Arg! Arg! I almost threw myself off the elliptical when I saw that. For crying out loud, Edwards' speech and Kerry's speech will probably take about 2 out of the 3 hours that NBC, CBS and ABC are planning to devote to coverage. Granted, the conventions are a whole lot of pomp and circumstance and little content, but the fact of the matter, Mr. CBS Network Executive, is that we don't live in a participatory democracy, and the only way that the majority of the country is going to "participate" at all in this process is through the media coverage! And if that's the case, 3 hours doesn't come close to cutting it. Sure, the cable networks will offer more coverage, and will have web content to supplement the network broadcasts, but that won't help those without it. Jackass.
On another related topic, we've heard a whole lot about bloggers being granted press passes to the DNC. The Times is reporting today that the RNC will grant between 10-20 passes to bloggers as well. The same Times article lists the three criteria with which bloggers were chosen for the DNC: "readership, professionalism and originality". Among those who were accepted, a 16 year old from NJ and Jessamyn. I was wondering whether or not they'd granted all the blogger credentials to folks who blog for more conventional media outlets (no pun intended), but it seems as though that's not the case. I'm more hopeful that we'll get an unfiltered, on the ground, what matters to real people view from these folks. One way of keeping track of the convention blogger coverage is conventionbloggers.com, aggregated by Dave Winer. You can also find aggregated feeds at Feedster and Technorati. (via metafilter)
Speaking of blog research, these aggregated feeds would be a great place to do some data mining, to get an idea of what bloggers write about and how they do it. For example, how many of the posts on the conventionbloggers.com page are self-promotional? How many describe the convention scene? How many refer to other bloggers? etc.
Yah, I suck. I'm a bad blogger, if infrequency of posting = bad (and it does, generally). I have excuses, though!
1. I'm really busy, and at the end of the day (around 10 pm or so) blogging is not high on my list of priorities. Also I'm too lazy to get up early and blog.
2. I'm boring as hell. B-O-R-I-N-G. Life in Vermont can be summed up in 10 words or less: work. eat. sleep. movies. gym. offroading. Burlington. Yah, see? Less than 10. Lame. Seriously, I just talked to a friend yesterday who I haven't spoken to since I got here a month ago, and when she asked me what's new, I really couldn't come up with a single thing. (except for the fact that Dana, Gus and I had a conference proposal accepted. We'll be talking about blogging at NRC in San Antonio in December. Very cool and nerve-racking. Speaking blog research, Kaye Trammell is pretty cool. Will definitely have to spend some time at her site.)
3. Aside from work, school reading, and the study I'm doing, I've turned my brain off.
So you see, I really have no content. It's not my fault!
(ok. i'm lying. i'm just lazy. sigh.)
Starting the second intensive summer program, the Advanced Student Technology Program. 10 undergraduate participants moved into the dorm last night, which I've had mostly to myself for the last couple of weeks (why am I so possessive of my personal space?). Anyway, we're in the middle of introductions, seems like a good group, lots of interest in art, film. In addition to my usual duties, I'm also hoping that the group will agree to participate in my first research study. Kind of nervous starting out, but hey, trial by fire seems to be the only way to go.
Speaking of finding my way with research, I'm not even sure that I should be mentioning it here, in a public space on the web - when can I talk about it with others? Before, during... certainly after. But only after the final draft has been turned in? (hopefully) published? Clearly privacy issues demand that pseudonyms be used in any discussion of ongoing work.
We've all been just waiting for this to happen since Guv Schwarzenegger landed in politics: "Schwarzenegger Calls Budget Opponents 'Girlie Men'" In a world of bad news, Arnie continues to provide light moments. Thanks, Arnie!
Ok, so it's been a while since I've posted. In my defense, I've been in the Great White North of Perth, Ontario, Canada (eh), at a family wedding for the past 6 days. I got online once, using my aunt's dial-up 28.8 k modem. Did you know that such a thing still exists? It does. And it's slow. Anyway, I had a lovely time seeing my Canadian relatives (eh), whom I rarely get a chance to visit with. The wedding itself was held in a park, with a pig roast under a tent in my aunt's yard for the reception. I neglected to get a pic of the pig, rotating on a spit over the fire, but just use your imagination. Mmm, tasty. Anyway, it was a lovely time, and if you really have nothing else to do, check out some pictures. Now I'm back in the U.S. of A. (though not without being pulled over and searched at the border), getting caught up on communication and work. Normal communication will hopefully resume soon.
In the meantime, 5 things I love about Canada (eh) (or at least, Perth), in no particular order:
1. signs in French and English
2. Montreal meat
3. pop ( = soda)
4. people are really friendly, eh?
5. bug spray with 30% DEET
Spent the weekend chilling out with Gus and others in the village of West Topsham, home of Jessamyn's annual weekend bash. Lovely weather, interesting conversation, and much grilled food was had by all. Highlights of the weekend included a turn as a croquet referee (though I don't think I was terribly successful at fulfilling my duties, the beer and warm seat on the deck distracted me), a fun mesh trucker hat (see photos), and roman candles. Although I was the stranger among the group, it turns out that Jessamyn also knows Bryan, which in retrospect is not surprising given their mutual interests.
What did you do for the holiday?
Today I bought three new books, purchased with a gift certificate given to me by our workshop participants on their last day: Dry, by Augusten Burroughs; The Known World, by Edward Jones; and A Bend in the River, by V.S. Naipaul. Should be enough to get me through the upcoming family trip to Canada for my cousin's wedding!
I have no other witty or interesting ancedotes to share, given that I'm so tired my head hurts. I think I'll go sit on my ass and read.