Serving in a “Me” Society

I received an email yesterday from my friend who left her job to become an emergency foster care giver for infants. She just took in her first baby, a one-week old boy. In her note she said, “It’s a little over 24 hours later, and all I can tell you is that we (and all who’ve met him so far) are in love!” To hear my friend speak about it sounds like she is the luckiest woman in the world to be able to provide such a service. From where I sit, I think that baby is lucky to have gone to such a loving home.

Sadly in this “me” society, it’s shocking to come across people that consider themselves blessed to be helping others. Everyone seems so caught up in how to get ahead at work, buying fancy cars, and generally playing keep up with the Joneses. I have to say, it all seems a bit silly. I would much rather try to keep up with my friend, who seems truly to know what life is all about. She is ecstatic: “I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to finally be doing what I’ve been waiting to do!”


Users Choose TV Shows

What do you want to watch on television? Networks have spent decades trying to push shows on to the viewers through pilots and short series in hopes of creating a winner. Now, some networks are finding value in trying new shows out on the Internet in specially formatted “webisodes.” Consider it the new pilot. The network can monitor feedback on the web. We all know news, good or bad, travels fast through blogs. If the buzz looks positive, the network may choose to air a few episodes. If not, they may scrap it altogether.

Jordan Levin, former CEO of the WB network explained, “we’re shifting to a user-empowered era in which audiences take ownership of content.” (See article: TV Pilots Crash, Fans Race to the Web for the Next Viral Hit .)

Consumers have always been savvy. The Internet places more control in the consumers’ hands, giving the users a venue to voice opinions on everything from television shows to politics. If the television networks can utilize the Internet to better viewer experiences, then why not try an online sneak peak?

If I Were a Superhero

Comic book characters have long been a source of entertainment in our culture. Personally, I’m partial to Catwoman and Batman. The success of Spider-Man 3 is proof that these superheroes and villains are as popular as ever. In honor of these timeless figures, I took The Superhero Quiz.

Here are my results:
You are Supergirl
Lean, muscular and feminine.
Honest and a defender of the innocent.

Superhero Results

Click here to take the “Which Superhero am I?” quiz…

Living a Web Life

You’ve probably noticed my lack of posts in recent weeks. I’ve been noticing the same phenomenon on other blogs as well. Must be Spring fever. I would say that life got in the way, but that sounds like life is a bad thing, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In the past month my non-work time has been consumed by hosting guests, moving, going to baseball games, and spending time with my family.

I am now caught up on my news feeds and it looks like the Internet is still the way of the world. People are still blogging and twittering and networking online. One guy (though I presume there are others) has managed to maintain an online presence while still living his life. is a perpetual video account of Justin Kan’s life as viewed from a camera strapped to his head. Interesting idea. It’s not for everyone. I’m pretty sure no one needs or wants to see my life in that much detail. It just goes to show that voyeurism will always provide some people entertainment.

That’s Why They Are Cute

They make them cute so you’ll bring them home. My little family got sucked in by this sneaky girl who has joined the menagerie. I have to say I’m a little excited that the count is evening out. There are now 3 girls and 4 boys, however, the animals now outnumber the humans. Hmmm…


1.8 Million Species, 1 Site

I have a lot of web projects going on at work right now that range in scope and scale. All of it, however, pales in comparison to an upcoming undertaking called the Encyclopedia of Life.

Over the course of the next decade, the Encyclopedia of Life will be loaded with all known information about every species on the planet- all 1.8 million of them. Rather than appealing to a niche audience, it is aiming to be accessible by the masses. Information will be accessible at a level for scientists and six-year-old children, educators and those that are simply curious. According to their website, EOL’s goal “is to create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the Internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike.”

We’ve changed a lot since the days of the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. Here’s a video to whet your appetite.

Whiskers Takes On Solar System

Don’t you hate complainers?  Those people that have something negative to say about everything.  When trapped by one, you often find yourself trying one of two things: 1) attempting to soothe them with generic phrases like “it’ll be ok,” while eyeing the nearest exit, or 2) one-upping their complaints with “you should have seen what happened to ME this morning,” then launching in to a diatribe about how the cat spent the morning batting the planets around on Junior’s school project and your morning commute came to a halt while the passing Tour de Whatever went peddling by. 

Yes, that was my morning today, but I’ve tried not to grumble since I found it somewhat amusing.  How is a cat supposed to resist a cluster of clay planets and rockets hung by dental floss from the inside of a box? 

Anyway, the rough moment comes when you realize you are now a complainer.  I found a fun blog called Blair Warren’s Crooked Wisdom, in which she referenced the article Pastor: Stop Complaining.  This Pastor from a Southern church has challenged his congregation to stop complaining, gossiping, or criticizing for 21 days, the time it takes to form a new habit.  He distributed 250 bracelets for them to wear and switch wrists each time they find themselves complaining.  The Pastor himself broke three bracelets while trying to develop his positive thinking. 

“Constructive Discontent” is a term I saw referenced in Problogger’s 9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People (thanks to deb owen for the lead).  It says, “Creative people often have an acute awareness of what’s wrong with the world around them – however they are constructive about this awareness and won’t allow themselves to get bogged down in grumbling about it – they take their discontent and let it be a motivation to doing something constructive.”

This is not a new theory and, in fact, is very similar to “The Secret” which is popular at the moment.  Some days, however, we all need a reminder to turn those gripes in to a practical application.  Take notice of your daily interactions.  Are you complaining too much?  If so, try thinking in a different way, or at least tell that poor soul across from you, “enough about me, did you enjoy that bike race?”

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