Things I learned this week…

  • I can still hit a pretty mean forehand
  • My serve is still impossible to hit, when I’m in the zone.
  • Throw me into the fire and hand me a set of ‘impossible’ tasks and I’ll whip them into shape faster than you can ‘ka-blam.’
  • That it feels like I’ve been in the midst of doing redesigns for colleges non-stop for the past three years.
  • I’m thankful that I had that experience, because it’s made what I’m doing now a million times easier.
  • That I can be pretty witty when I’m comfortable.
  • To stick to your convictions, to follow your gameplan and don’t let other people’s doubts deter you from pursuing what you want out of your life.
  • Wired says blogging is a blog

    In his piece in Wired, Paul Boutin says:

    Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

    And he’s right about the professionalization of amateur media, but that was an inevitable trend of where this was going to go anyway. So who are we kidding?

    As for feeling more comfortable on platforms like Twitter or Flickr or Facebook, I’m not buying. People who are seeking to learn more about you might want to waste countless hours trolling the interwebs to see who your other friends are, to look at your pictures and otherwise Googlestalk you to get a better snapshot of who you are. But blogging? There’s the definitive way to really get into someone’s head. It takes discipline and to develop a following, you need to do more than just exist, but actually draw people in.

    That takes work. I’ve been blogging for longer than it’s been called that, but the thing that’s changed were the reasons I felt compelled to do it. When I was younger, it was solely about expressing myself and capturing an audience of people who I knew well and who knew me both online and in real life.

    In the past, it was almost entirely about expression. Now? It’s about communicating, networking and branching out in more organized ways. I think the democratization of media has open doors to giving voices to people who previously were never heard and all mainstreaming of online media does is provide more people with the idea that they could do it too.

    To me, that’s not a bad thing. The tools to do it are easier than they were years ago, most are free and with broadband access more prevalent, it seems like the perfect time to get out there, not to shut down the doors.

    My favorite plugins for Firefox

    I should explain them all to you, but you’re either 1) using them or 2) will check and see what they’re all about if you’re curious. It’ll take you a few minutes, but I don’t really have the time to flesh them out. I mostly wanted to see what sort of indispensable tools everyone else was using that I need to get in on. These are just the ones I use most often.

    Adblock Plus
    Fast Dial

    Web Redesign and defining your college

    If you’ve ever moved someplace new after spending a significant period of time in a place where you were well known, it can be liberating when for the first time in a while no one knows who you are. In an era of networking profiles and google-me first penchants, it’s not as if folks have no context for who we are before we meet them, but there is usually a big difference between someone’s bio and the way they communicate at the water cooler.

    Well the same goes for a college or university. It’s easy to change the look and feel, the colors of a site and to say “we’ve got a new site.” But does that new look and feel extend to the attitude? Does it reflect your values and your identity as an institution?

    These might seem like strange questions, but they’re not.

    Because all of the time you can invest trying to redesign a web site, migrating content from an old site to a new site, obscures the fact that if your site fails to really speak to the vibrancy of your college or university, then you’re failing to capitalize on the opportunities that a redesign presents you.

    When you do a redesign, at least for a while, people’s eyes are on you. They might be lost at first, but what the changes say is “We’re trying to do things a different way.” And you’re asking your visitors to “take a second look at us, even if you’ve been here before.”

    That’s a unique chance that you might not get again (until the next redesign…) and so, it’s critical to make sure the planning process includes a top-down assessment of KNOWING your institution and ensuring that the web content you publish reflects that identity.

    Top Songs for 2008

    Here is a running list of the Top Songs of 2008. In some rare cases, the songs are older than that, but found a way back to prominence in 2008 and so I added them. I’ll do another one of things at the end of the year.

    You Don’t Understand Me – The Raconteurs
    If I Never See Your Face Again – Maroon 5 ft. Rhianna
    Chasing Pavements – Adele
    Our Darkest Days and Nights – Love is Chemicals
    Paris, Tokyo – Lupe Fiasco
    Gold Watch – Lupe Fiasco
    Rooks – Shearwater
    Coil – Opeth
    Hell No – Sondre Lerche & Regina Spektor
    Think of You – A Fine Frenzy
    Academia – Sia
    Love Thirst – Jean Grae
    Creator – Santogold
    Feet Asleep – Thao Nguyen
    I’m Making Eyes At You – Black Kids
    The Songs of National Freedom – Richard Swift
    Epic Last Song – Does It Offend You, Yeah
    Grapevine Fires – Death Cab for Cutie
    I See Lights – King Khan and The Shrines
    Anyone Else But You – The Moldy Peaches
    All I want – Darius Rucker
    Oceans & Streams – The Black Keys
    Sincerely, Jane – Janelle Monae
    Market Girl – Headlights
    Maybe Tonight – Nicole Atkins
    Say Goodbye To Love – Kenna
    Hot In Herre – Jenny Owen Youngs
    Two Daughters And A Wife – Drive-By Truckers
    A Second Opinion – Murder By Death
    Shake! Shake! – The Subways
    Not For The Bullshit – Black Spade
    Mansard Roof – Vampire Weekend
    The Waitress – Atmosphere
    Handlebars – The Flobots
    Hello, Vagina – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
    Vio Spilum Endalaust – Sigur Ros
    Family Tree – TV On The Radio
    17 – Kings of Leon
    Kim & Jessie – M83

    Top Songs of 2008

    Just start living

    They say you’re supposed to do start on a project if you actually want to get it done. Or else, you’ll think about it too much and nothing will ever happen. I’ve tried to employ this strategy in recent years, as I work on projects. But sometimes, you run into a situation where you don’t have the skills to get it as good as you want it, you don’t have the money to pay someone else to do it and as a result, the inertia you need to get it off the ground doesn’t materialize.

    So what do you do? Try to figure out something you can do and hope that’ll be the foundation for doing what it is you purport to want to do.

    But how many times do you keep doing that before you never get where you “thought” you wanted to be? Is it a matter of being tired of climbing the mountain and simply deciding to stay where you are, in the basecamp? Because even though you’re not going anywhere, at least you’re safe and you don’t have as much to worry about?

    Nope. Playing it safe hasn’t really gotten me anywhere. Using the mountain analogy, staying in the base of the mountain where it might be warm is great until there is an avalanche that buries your cabin. Or it snows so much that the only access road you have out is buried and you’re running out of food and wood for fuel.

    The point is, no matter how safe you try to play it, life is going to happen anyway. So you might as well be doing what you want. How you get there and how you go about accomplishing it, is up to your imagination. But over the past few days, I’ve come to a few critical realizations that I feel are worth sharing, as I imagine that other folks have arrived at similar conclusions.

    1. Your life is yours. Sharing it with those people who value it.
    Simply put, you can’t spend all of your time trying to impress people who won’t ever be impressed. You’re a great person and you do great things. So why waste your time trying to convince people who don’t know it, can’t see it or won’t say anything…about what you have to offer. You have better things to do.
    2. Stop worrying.
    It’s Saturday night, you’re going out with some friends and all you can think about is that meeting you’ve got on Thursday or that presentation you have in 10 days that’s contingent on this thing and that thing. If you’re sitting at home working on it, that’s one thing. But if you’re about to go out to unwind, decompress and enjoy life, then do that. Turn up the music and just chill out. The work will be there when you get back.
    3. You’ve waited your whole life to grow up. So do it.
    We wait our whole lives to get from under our parents thumb. Then we grow up and spend another twenty years trying to do things to please them, get their approval and to thrust people who are far less important than them into the role of approvers of what we do, how we do it and what we believe. Stop being ridiculous and start being real…with yourself. It’s your life. There is no such thing as a useless major and you’re only wasting your time living if you’re doing what you want. Be kind to others and start thriving.

    This post started off in a different direction, but melds the core ideas that have been floating around my head for the past week or so. It just occurs to me as I talk to people and even contemplate my own life, that we let so much stuff clog our brains that we make it so hard to truly thrive the way we want to, which is a shame.

    To summarize, you have the world at your fingertips and what you want is within your grasp. You owe it to yourself and those who’ve come before you, to reach for it.

    Atlantic Yards project suffer a setback


    “While the Appellate Division Second Department’s decision to hear the case may delay the project for approximately six months let me be clear that the project will go forward,” Mr. Ratner said in a statement. “Atlantic Yards will be built and it will create thousands of needed jobs and affordable homes. This is all the more important as our City and country confront one of the most difficult economic downturns in history. We are as committed as ever to the development of this project and will continue to work with the City, State and local leaders to ensure that it goes forward.”

    Plans for 16 skyscrapers, an 18,000-seat basketball arena for the Nets, and thousands of apartments at a site at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues has been affected by a string of legal challenges brought by residents and the ongoing credit crunch.

    Opponents to the project have objected to both its size and the use of eminent domain by the state.

    I don’t know how 16 skyscrapers and an arena will result in increased access to affordable housing. But what do I know?

    I hope the Rays are ready for Brooklyn…this basketball thing is simply never gonna happen. RATner will be selling the Nets by 2010 and they’ll be in Newark by 2010.