Comparative Realities

@LibOCon, #RedefiningHistory April 14, 2010

Filed under: discussions,learnings,random — tbanda @ 11:21 pm
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The Declaration of Independence. A rare Gutenberg Bible. Millions of government publishings. Things that your old roommate’s new neighbor’s girlfriend says.

The Library of Congress would like to welcome our newest collection, Twitter.

Maybe I’m being too cynical, but adoption of updates you probably don’t care about from people you don’t know into the Library of Congress? Seems the government should have more pressing concerns – fixing a broken financial systemcreating a better education systemproviding tools for preventing health issues before they become issues, etc.

Then again, maybe it’s just a way for “the man” to stick it to the man.


Google Shares April 13, 2010

Filed under: creativity,discussions — tbanda @ 6:23 pm
Tags: ,

No, not purchased shares. The share that you’re taught to do when you are a kid. Well, Sergey Brin and the rest of the Googlers’ parents and caretakers all should have a pat on the back.

Not only have they revolutionized how we find and share info through the wonderworld Google, they have also created an entire library of resources and products for people to use to make even more new products.

Now, they have come one step closer towards the searcher person (like me), by creating an easy-to-use tool for users to tell a story. “Parisian Love” was a sensational commercial Google created long before the Super Bowl 2010 (but what a better time to air it to the masses?). Story-telling at it’s most raw and relatable fashion. And now, through the power of the Google and YouTube, you too, can create a Google Search Story.

You can watch one I made here.

So, go. Google your story, a story for a friend, a story for an enemy (censors in place…). And share.


Lyrics and Godin April 7, 2010

Filed under: inspiration,learnings,observations — tbanda @ 8:53 pm

Often times in songs do we find the most relative and, sometimes, inspirational lyrics.

It’s time to try defying gravity…
Don’t stop believing…
I’m OK, I’m alright, ain’t gonna face no defeat…

There are not many people in the world who when you listen or read what they have to say, make you say “That’s exactly what I feel/think/would say if I could get the words out!” I know of two. One, is my best friend James. There’s not very many conversations I hear him having that the person with whom he’s speaking (myself often included) doesn’t say “That’s so true.” Or “Exactly!”

He would beg to differ.

The other person is someone I don’t actually know, but sometimes feel like I do. In one of his recent posts, “Accepting Limits,” Seth Godin discusses how it is “absurd to focus so much energy on ‘practical’ skills that prep someone for a life of following instructions but relentlessly avoid the difficult work necessary to push someone to reinvent themselves into becoming someone who makes a difference?”
This made me think, do we not do this to ourselves as well sometimes? Are we sometimes the first to put ourselves down by telling ourselves we are a “dolt” who will “never amount to anything”?

Yes is occasionally the answer.
I speak for myself on this, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. “What could I have to say that already isn’t being said?” Maybe, not much. But maybe, more than I could expect. But, “isn’t it even worse to write off a person or an organization merely because of what they are instead of what they might become?”

So to all those who strive for something bigger and know in their hearts what they could become, you must keep holding on because if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need. (And if you can show the world that [you] can make it by doin’ hard work… it could be what you want, too.)


A list… because I like lists February 28, 2010

Filed under: observations,random,Uncategorized — tbanda @ 1:43 pm

1. There’s something timeless about mailboxes. I realized this today as I was driving home from work. There’s a line of street-facing houses (I would never buy a house on a street this busy, even with its “Safest Neighborhoods in Dallas” label) that all have classic, on the sidewalk mailboxes. Some are as simple as little black or green boxes on top of posts stuck in the ground. Others are meticulously designed miniature replicas of the house, or at least made to look better than the plain ones. But they all have one thing in common – those little red flags. And even now, in our gadget-filled days, there’s something sort of entertaining about seeing a post box with a flag flipped up. And even if you know it’s probably just junk mail or bills (yes, some people still get paper bills), it brings back a nostalgic feeling of the “I’m going to get the mail before you do” game.

2. I realized that once this road changes to Ohio street, all the side streets are named after cities. New Orléans Dr, Miami Dr, Denver, Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, to name a few.

3. Sprouts Farmer’s Market is great (I love it compared to fancier, $5-for-an-organic-red-bell-pepper markets). Where else can you get tons of the loveliest strawberries, plumpest peaches, freshest meats, crispest greens, qualifying etceteras, for under $30? Score.

4. Today I made what I consider to be some of the prettiest chocolate covered strawberries. Even the ones that looked chocosplochy as the chocolate ran out look pretty because I covered them in crushed graham crackers. I saved a few of the really pretty and fairly large strawberries to mix with some première chocolate, and boy, did those look pretty too. The melted chocolate, for some lame reason, was absolutely gorgeous; I wish I could have painted a picture displaying how nice it was. Dark, thick but not too thick, perfect for dipping, tasty but not too sweet… really just perfectly melted chocolate. And as I couldn’t let it go to waste, I took a from-the-tropics banana, and covered it in chocolate (a feat that was awkward, to say the very least).

What does this all mean?
1. We should all send someone some old-fashioned snail-mail so they can see their little flag go up and not be disappointed by only receiving bills.

2. I should pay more attention to the road when I drive.

3. Nothing beats fresh food, especially when it’s inexpensive.

4. Either I should be a chocolatier, or I like chocolate way too much.


Bio Fluorescents February 7, 2010

Filed under: observations — tbanda @ 11:42 pm

Sometimes there comes a point in life when the light is suddenly turned on and you can see things you’ve never really seen before. The dark is lifted and things become, different.

Working in a creative field, surrounded by designers, fluorescent lights become evil in the office. Everywhere, actually. At the grocery store, at the mall, at doctor’s office… it’s no wonder restaurants and bars have such low lighting as it generally keeps you focused on your company, your drunken interest, etc. (And nobody ever looks their best in fluorescent lighting.) So after working near a designer cave, the lack of lights tends to keep you focused on work. Like a moth sucked into a headlight, our attention rests on one thing – our computer screen.

So, naturally, when the light is switched on, we notice things we somehow didn’t before. (The color of someone’s eyes, the spots on the floor, “Eric, you’re black!”) We come out of our caves; we tell people “Hello” instead of just head nodding; we actually TALK, yes TALK, not IM or Facebook chat or email; we gather.

Much like real life. We often get buried underneath boring tasks, long commutes, broken economies, bad relationships, pushy societies, stubborn leaders, bad politics, etc. that these become the only thing we see. So often as well, we become involved in setting and defining goals and meticulously laying out ideas, that we never actually produce them. “It’s better to have a failed creation than a perfect idea.”

But when that light does come on, it opens up the lens on life. We begin to see the possibility in the things we want to do in life. Yeah, they may look difficult and the road may look ugly, as most things often do in fluorescent lighting, but the end is there. The change is an open invitation to get out of the dark. To do what you want. To say “Hi” to the future of possibilities.


The First Lesson

Filed under: learnings — tbanda @ 1:10 am
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Preface: I know I should be saving money, but I have talked about learning Flash for about 3 month, and I figured if I was really going to go through with it, I would need a proper machine to do so. So. I bought a Mac.

Now with that out of the way, I am learning Flash. Slowly… very slowly … but surely. After about an hour in a Barnes and Noble* looking through Flash instructional books, I finally found one I really meshed with. So I bought it**.

Point: It’s very important to remember the first step you learn. Like when first learning to walk—your first step changed your life. It allowed you to take another step. And after the first few, you became confident enough to continue walking, then walking slowly led to running (with a bit of falling), then maybe some jumping and a bit of dancing, etc. But that first step was pivotal. The same, I learned the hard way today***, is true when learning a new program.

Lesson 1, Step 1- “Choose File > Save As; the Save As dialog box appears. In the Name text field, type <name> and press Save.

It really couldn’t have been stated any simpler. But did I do it? No.

So when that beautiful message “Flash has experienced a problem. It will now close” popped up, I instantly lost about an hour and 20 minutes worth of work. This also prompted multiple feelings of frustration, sadness, anger and an unnatural urge to throw my mouse across the room. Instead, I took a few deep breaths****, and then I cleaned my bathroom and kitchen.

On my second attempt, I saved. Immediately. Thrice. Just to make sure. And then I realized that my failure to save was actually one of the best lessons I could have had. During the second attempt, I reduced my work time by about 50%. The first time around I’d make mistakes and redo work, only to wonder “why didn’t I do that the first time?” So luckily, these all became the ‘first times,’ on the second time.

And I realized that life is like this far too often. Yeah, we do things that are reaaaallly stupid sometimes, and sometimes we lose everything. But if you can learn from it, do it better the next time around, then you’ve made some progress.

Just remember, save.

*I feel a little bad as I didn’t actually buy it from here, but instead just previewed and looked them up on amazon. The mark-up on books is somewhat absurd.

** I eventually bought it at another bookstore, with a coupon, at the same price I would have paid for it online.

***”Today” was actually on 1/31/10. Internet has been ordered. (and installed!!!)

**** I did a fair 5 minutes of whining to the air.


The act of repetition January 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbanda @ 10:09 pm

It’s a Friday evening** I’m lounging the wrong way on a lounge chair, but I’ve already gotten used to the slight poking of the arm rest into my neck to actually move. I considered going to the gym, but I have no energy to go. And the warmth of my running computer on my lap is comfortable enough for me to sit here and continue writing. I will eventually have to get up and out into the cold to post this, seeing as I am still too cheap to pay for Internet.

I began to write this post a couple of days ago. And by begin, I really mean I wrote a title for it. I’ve yet to really decide what this blog will be about, and the more I try to think of a topic, the more I get irritated by the entire concept of blogging and want to just stop. There are two things that I think will keep me going.

1) I have a friend who I believe is one of the most brilliant people I know. Anything he discusses has potential to make you say “Wow!” at least once. Despite his amazing ability to so effortless divulge information on any topic he speaks of, he too was finding it difficult to write a public blog. Sure he writes for personal reasons, but when it comes to picking a topic and getting his ideas and thoughts out to the masses, he did not believe it was possible. I continuously told him “Just write, and eventually you will realize patterns. Then focus on those patterns, and you’ll eventually have your topic.”

I don’t want to be a hypocrite.

2) As I was* at work a couple of days ago, I was copying some content from a site to a document. After a couple of hours, I copied a few items without even thinking about it. I was in such a routine (and I’m sure everyone has experienced this at some point) that my hands literally worked without my brain actually communicating the tasks “Click, drag, highlight content, Ctrl+c, click in notepad, Ctrl+a, Ctrl+v, Ctrl+a, Ctrl+c, click in word, Ctrl+v.” I assume this is what everyone who tells me “Just keep doing it and it will become completely natural” means.

I am trusting that it does.

Because of these two things, I will keep writing. Try to at least. Hopefully one day, it will become clear.

*Not that it’s of great importance or any relevance, but I just realized when looking to see what time it was, that my electricity went out at 3:24, and I now have 3 different clocks to reset.

** The actual day of posting is Wednesday, afternoon. I procrastinate.