Saturday, February 2, 2013

My AltSummit business card doesn't have glitter--here's why

Before I went to AltSummit, I knew about the business cards.

There are roundups of business cards, a Kirtsy-curated slideshow of beautiful letterpress designs, even a class on the AltSummit Channel about them.

There was an underlying message that upon arrival, trading business cards was going to be some sort of blood sport, akin to sticker swapping or pog trades. Your business card is supposed to be unique, memorable, and coveted.

I was a bit nervous--I thought about what I should do, how I should tweak my business card in order to keep up with everyone else, but ultimately, I decided that simpler was better for me.

As soon as I got to Alt, the business card trade was on. I quickly tossed the cool vintage-French poster-inspired business card case I use in my professional life in favor of ziploc bags, one for yours, one for mine.

I got some fabulous cards--so many I am still sifting through them all. There were beautiful letterpress designs, colorful Moo cards, complicated packets of pom-poms and glitter, even a card with a slide attached to it. All fantastically creative, and I'm sure, strong aesthetic reflections of the blogs these cards represent.

At first, I was slightly embarrassed as I handed my card over, self-conscious at how distinctly uncreative they seemed. In phase two, I tried to explain why my card folds, as if the added design would contribute blogger credibility. ("I'm known for giving people all sorts of resources--like books to read or blogs to check out, Now I can write it down for you on my card on the blank spot on the top.")

During the last day of the conference, after listening to multiple panels espousing the value of authenticity, I decided to own my folded-so-I-can-write-notes-inside cards. They are exactly the cards that reflect me perfectly.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Science, technology, and the internet, oh my!

One of my favorite things about the internet is the limitless possibility for really interesting creative projects--particularly those that riff on characters people already know and love. Twitter, for example, is so cool for this--I love the accounts written from the perspective of various characters adapted for Twitter. @SesameStreet is a great example of this (remember when Cookie Monster referenced Carly Rae Jepsen and asked for cookies? Or for that matter, when Sesame Street Workshop did a music video to "You have cookie, share it maybe?") So clever. So creative. Modern Seinfeld is another great example.

It is a testament to the mass appeal of the original characters and their story that these sorts of mashups between character and technology (and often commentary on a current event) that these tweets (and videos and photos) just blow up in popularity.

I am a fan of cleverness in all its forms. Even if you aren't particularly interested in the original character, you can generally appreciate the art of the mashup. Take two examples that I came across this weekend. The first was what happens when an astronaut (Chris Hadfield) responds to a tweet from William Shatner. The entire Star Trek crew gets involved.  I love this. I especially love the fact that so many characters joined the conversation. To top it off, Buzz Aldrin--Buzz Aldrin!--chimed in. Brilliant. Clever. Wholesome, creative, and fun.

Coincidentally, the other amusing mashup of the playful and the serious I saw this weekend was also science related. The official White House response to this petition to secure funding to build a death star has been making its way around the internets. I just love how creative and humorous this is, while also accurately capturing the White House policy line. Why write something boring when you can at least be entertaining as you explain why constructing a death star isn't in the cards for our jobs and science policy future?

What clever, creative things have caught your attention recently?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My first tutorial

Tomorrow I have my first tutorial for the Certificate in Creative Writing program at the Graham School. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a bit nervous. This is my seventh quarter of the writing program, but previously, the classes have all been small group workshops. I am at the end of the program, trying to turn my 118-page jumble of words into a full-fledged manuscript. The due date is April 22, 2013. By then I’m supposed to have at least 75 (coherent) pages, which will then be reviewed by my tutor and another reader, who will decide together whether it’s worthy of the certificate, and then I will march in graduation in June.
Frankly, it’s about time. I have been working on this thing since November 2009, when I did NaNoWriMo and wrote the first 50,000 words. Since then, I’ve been adding and rewriting sections, and I have almost 150,000 words on this topic. Since starting the certificate program, I have been trying to rewrite sections of the book, but I haven’t made progress in adding much in the way of new material. The 118 pages I sent to my tutor last week represent the most coherent version of what I’ve been working on. I took the sections I have workshopped and pasted them in the right places, together with the most developed sections I have written but not workshopped. Then I have one-paragraph summaries of the other chapters (similar to those in the Sex Lives of Cannibals).

Hopefully I can use this tutorial section to really plow ahead with the project, adding in the sections that I know are missing, cutting out the redundancies, and getting the book finished. Then it’s on for the next phase—finding an agent and eventually a publisher and getting my work out there. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I like lists. Life lists. To-do lists (well, I don't like to-do lists, but I do like crossing things out.)

On Twitter this morning, Leslie tweeted a link to an NPR list of the 100 best YA books. Of course, I haven't been able to get this out of my head all day. I love young adult fiction, how many have I read?

Upon counting them up, the answer is: woefully few. I think I need to head over to the library ASAP...

Check out the list yourself. How many have you read?

Thanks so much to Leslie for this great idea! This is one to-do list I wouldn't mind crossing off.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Camp Mighty and Alt Summit

Last month (I really can't believe it's been so long already), I had the privilege of attending Camp Mighty. It was an amazing weekend, much different from what I had expected, yet I am very much glad that I went.

Unfortunately, I am glacially slow at processing these sorts of things, which is a bit of a liability in the blogging world. But the bottom line is that it reinforced my interest in blogging and bloggers, and I am approaching the goals I have set for myself this year with renewed gusto. I will likely do a post with all of the photos I took, but to be honest, they are all on my iPhone, which seems to make me a bit backward when compared to all of the other bloggers running around with their fancy Nikons and Canons. I just have to remind myself that I can only move so fast, and that given all of the other responsibilities in my life currently, I'm doing just fine.

So, without further ado, the five goals I've chosen to focus on this year are:

1. Teach a class on champagne (more on this soon!)
2. Learn how to code (this is in progress via Codecademy)
3. Create a gallery wall of picture frames
4. Start a foundation for the research of pediatric migraines
5. Publish a best-selling book.

Ambitious, yes, but what's the point of having a goals if they're not?

One other thing that was on my Life List was to attend AltSummit. Like someday. I wanted to be enough of a "real" blogger that someday attending AltSummit was just something I needed to do. Well, perhaps sometimes you just need a swift kick in the pants, because the folks at AltSummit read my Life List and saw that this was on it and they, with the help of Bing (#thanksbing), they gave me a ticket to AltSummit. Which is fantastic and slightly terrifying all at the same time. So with that, I now have an enormous incentive to get things in gear. Here's hoping I don't get laughed out of the conference!

Monday, December 3, 2012

House Hunters International

Confession: I've been watching way too much TV. Specifically: House Hunters International. Yes, I know it's all fake, but something about vicariously watching people choose a place to live as part of the larger life adventure on which they are embarking. I especially love the segment at the end of each episode where they show the family a few months or so after they have settled into their new home. You can see how they've redecorated and how they've dealt with that one part of the house they couldn't stand. Perhaps most importantly, the family often shares a few thoughts about how they are adjusting to the new culture, which is the part I find most interesting.

So naturally, I was fascinated by this promotion for Disney World's new Fantasyland. It features  Belle and the Beast on House Hunters International, searching for a new castle. What a clever idea! The spoof is spot-on--narrated by the same person as the rest of the series, the same over-enthusiastic, bubbly commentary on the house selection-process from the home-searcher, and same overly-specific requirements ("I need space for a library," says Belle).

While I'm not sure that the audiences for Disney World and House Hunters International overlap too much, I still think this was a brilliant way to market this addition to the theme park. This ad is brilliant--just perfectly clever. I love it.

What do you think?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

A dizzying array of photos

While searching Pinterest for images to associate with my goals on the new Go Mighty site, I came across two fantastic Tumblr sites whose collection of images was just fantastic. I really just wanted to tack each photo to my wall and stare at it forever (or just add **every photo** to a Pinterest board, but that's getting extreme). Instead, I'll link them here so I can share the wealth.