Friday, December 4, 2009

CRAFT SHOWS!!!

Holla! I'll be at Crafty Wonderland AND Handmade Bazaar next weekend- selling my goods and being surrounded by a bajillion lovely handmade things by other craft artsits! If you're in the 5-0-3, these are the places to be!

✂ Handmade Bazaar ✂
Saturday, December 12th
11am-4pm
@ Mississippi Studios
3939 N Mississippi Ave.

❉ Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale ❉
Sunday December 13th 11am-7pm
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Hall D
❉200+ vendors, crafty workshops & goodie bags to the first 200 shoppers!


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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Unfriendly Skies of United Airlines!

Several years ago, I nursed a United Airlines wound when they refused to honor my 9/11 ticket. I was supposed to go to Boston on that day, and United told me that I'd have a mulligan for life. A couple of years later, they told me they had changed their system and deleted any record of it. And, ultimately it was my fault for not going to Boston sooner. (Incidentally, haven't been back there since 2000.)

So, I avoided flying with them. I so regret not taking Frontier when I went to Nashville! Earlier this week, I was left, with several other passengers, stranded at O'Hare airport over night, with no assistance from customer service. In fact, we received insults and I really thought they were going to yawn while talking to us. They almost mimed boredom and apathy.

Basically, what happened to us is:
  • Our flight from Nashville to O'Hare was running late
  • no one at United made any attempt to to help customers get from one gate to another (it was the
    same airline both flights)
  • In fact, gate crew told us to "run for it" when it was already too late
  • no one at United even tried to contact gates for connecting flights
  • We missed the doors closing by 3 minutes- and the flight left early (In fact, it arrived early in PDX that night!)
  • it was speculated that the flight left early becuase there were a lot of employees flying stand-by
  • customer service reps told us to shut up and move along after denying us help with hotel, meals and even denied overnight toiletry bags
  • some customers were offered flight vouchers, first-class upgrades and miles, others, including myself were offered nothing!
  • United desk agents tried to cajole us into booking later flights than the first one out the next day
I tweeted my pain, called one of my best friends in the world who happens to live in Chicago, and bid farewell for the evening to my fellow strandees that would be sleeping in the airport, or maybe staring angrily at United employees!

I have lost a full day's wages due to this, missed meetings and scheduled time prepping for my craft sales, and had to pay ground travel, lodging, and meals for that night in Chicago. It was only made worse by the poor customer care I received. I wasn't even treated well on the flight that I finally made home! I feel overwhelmingly wronged, and I feel very strongly that United Airlines needs to extend an apology to me and my fellow strandees as well as some sort of compensation. I am not naive enough to ask for cash- I know full well that many of these policies and poor customer service experiences are related to the poor economic state of the airlines. I never even received any form of apology- not even a fake one from the horribly rude employees!


So, I wrote them an email (they have no option to speak to people in person anymore) and hope to hear back from them. I'm not holding my breath after looking around the internet at other people's grief!


And, is it just because I re-read Asimov's  Foundation, or is it true that the airlines are backsliding into barbarism? United- you are the harbinger of the decline of society!!!


if you tweet, please send @untiedairlines a message like : hey @unitedairlines, please apologize to my friend @superphoebe for bad service when you stranded her at O'Hare!

Update- thanks for this Lauree- LOLz!



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Monday, November 30, 2009

Nashvegas!

Went to visit the family in Nashville, TN for the Thanksgiving holiday. It appears I may have been the only person there with pink hair-- such a commonplace silliness in PDX!

Thank god the New York Times had a great "36 Hours in Nashville" article just a few weeks ago for us to refer to, as our relatives have been either too busy working or too busy being a toddler to get out for much exploring beyond parks and kiddie places. We did really love the parks, though!

We spent the first couple of days lounging around the house and getting periodic doses of Dora the Explorer. (Toddler meth- she MUST be stopped!) After a lot of delicious food made by Kim, we ventured out and explored the town.

We hit the up-and-coming 12-south neighborhood, strolled along in 68 degree weather, and cooled off with delicious hand-made posicles at Las Paletas. Absolutely worth trying, these delicious treats had many many custard flavors like caramel and avocado, but I couldn't resist fresh raspberries with yogurt and hibiscus. The swings in Sevier park are also most fantastic for the toddling type!

Other highlights were Belle Meade Plantation, Southern Bred family restaurant (nicest waiter EVER), Noshville- the NY style deli, and downtown of course! My biggest disappointment was the Grand Ole Opry tour, which was cheesy on account of us coming at the wrong time of year- when they don't show you the backstage and the country shows are all downtown at the Ryman Auditorium. I got some good CDs though, and nothing about it was painful. Also, that place is basically a huge freakin' mall.

On the very last day, today, we visited the wonderful, delightful Hatch Show Print on Broadway, where I got to peruse some of the best letter-pressed show posters made over the last 100 years! We had lunch at the Hermitage Hotel- empty, lovely, and well-priced. The, we finished out the trip by getting some pretty fabulous cowgirl boots!

If you find yourself headed to music city for the first time, that NYT article I mentioned will steer you right. If you've already been, tell me what you loved most!

see more pics at my flickr set.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Fantastic Mr Fox- reviewed and chewed


Erin Donovan from Steady Diet of Film and A Million Movies a Minute took me to see an early morning screening of Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox on a Monday a couple of weeks ago.  I was very happy and intrigued to finally see this movie that has generated so much gossip over the years. I went in with mixed bag of mistrust of Anderson (due to his preciousness and apparent fondness for the trappings/culture of colonial rule- like servants and complete disregard for others, women etc.) and thrill for the amazing team of animators that got to make a lovely feature using old-school flocked puppets and hand-crafted sets. Also, I used to be a big fan of Anderson's- all the way through Royal Tenenbaums- which I loved in spite of myself and my feminism.

So, it seems, in other reviews that everyone just LOVED this movie, but I still have mixed feelings. I was thoroughly entertained, only annoyed a little bit by the things I expected to be annoyed by- I'm so over those yellow titles and other played-out gimmicks. But, maybe I'd have enjoyed them or at least forgiven them if I wasn't still so irritated by Anderson just thinking about him, before a cell of film rolled.

The animation was flawless, rich, lovely and a testament to the possible genius of directing a stop motion feature via email. (Would Coraline have been done on time if Selick had been to precious and neurotic/whatever to come to Hilsboro, Oregon?) The puppet work, sets, and motion was exemplary, and I never tired of watching that perfect work.

I'll hand this to Anderson- the direction of the actors was refreshingly perfect. I have often wondered when watching animated films if the voice work was even directed. Sorry, but you can almost hear Terri Hatcher turning the pages as she reads, rather than acts, for Coraline. And, it's only made worse by Dakota Fanning's excellent work- resulting in a large cast of voices that are all performing in different films. I'm using Coraline as an example here, but this could be said easily of many, many animated films and short programs of the last 70 years or so. All of the brilliant performers in Mr. Fox were clearly well directed, not just good performers. They were in the same film, the same story, and performed at the same level and quality- which was high.

You can hear Erin and I discuss this film in greater detail here.

Go see it in the theater if you love stop-motion, wait for rental/cable/library if you love Roald Dahl and/or kids movies. Or see it in the theater because there really is little else of any apparent quality in the theaters right now!
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Line-Up 2009


Oh man! I love my DVR so much! I feel I really am getting the most out of a season that brings so so so many new shows. The writers' strike definitely had a lasting impact on the refresh cycle, right? Also, it is so nice to see so much less reality TV taking up good prime time space. (Don't get me wrong- I'll be the first to admit- I LOVE Project Runway, and occasionally get sucked into the Biggest Loser...)

So, back to the DVR, and, it's worth mentioning that I also got a brand new, shiny HD TV at the same time! This was a huge deal for me. Even though I've been an admitted lover of television for over a decade, I've never owned a TV that I paid more than $50 for, and I've had the same one for years now- with a broken remote and a strange, intermittent AC hum. I still love that TV. But, I really really love this new one. It's a a Toshiba, and it's fantastic!

Oh right, the DVR. These are the shows I've started to check out this fall:
  • The Soup- I love Joel McHale, and this is a great digest of the week's total crap. 
  • Bones-  I just started getting into this show, and I really enjoy the performances. The stories are pretty formulaic, and I'm creeped out to know it's based on a real woman- Kathy Reichs. The ensemble cast is fantastic, and it is wonderful to watch them work together and make their characters into interesting and lovable people.
  • Mad Men- I don't know why I like Mad Men sometimes. I love Joan. She's interesting and I've never seen anyone like her- male or female- hot or not- that is anything like her.
  • Dollhouse- I hope it doesn't get canceled, but I'm fairly sure it will. I hated this series initially, because Eliza Dushku's performance was just too much for me to take. By the end of the first season, I was loving it, and totally enjoying her development of the character. I've also noticed that they've changed the ditzy and annoying way she says "Did I fall asleep?" this season. Srsly, thank god. It was awful!
  • FlashForward  I've only seen the first episode of this show. It's pretty, has great actors, and a great premise.  In it, everyone on earth blacks out at the exact same time and sees their future for just a few minutes. Unfortunately, the dialogue is painfully bad, and the story construction leaves a lot plot holes and implausible red flags. The actors are good, but struggling with bad material.
  • Life and Times of Tim This is a wonderful and adorable animated show on HBO. It's really funny and simple in a refreshing way. Even though it follows the now typical formula of a selfish guy who gets into trouble and everything is uncomfortable, it is done right. Take notice Larry Daivd! You kind of invented this genre, but you've lost your way and I find your show unwatchable.
  • Leverage Oh man, what a drag this show is not so good, but at least it's fun. Because this show is shot in Portland, and hires my friends, I really really really want it to be good. Unfortunately, it's kind of the A-Team for dummies, and without the fun characters. The dialogue is horrendous, and the plot holes are canyons of stupid. Also, Timothy Hutton looks like a creepy old lesbian with really awful hair. I really hope they tone down his makeup and cut his hair before next season.
  • Warehouse 13 Cute, kinda dumb, but exactly what it promises, and the actors keep surprising me with better performances each episode.  The female characters are strong. This is a good one for when you're falling asleep and want to be lightly entertained in a nerdy way. It's also great for steampunk geeks and general sci-fi dorks.
  • Project Runway This show and Kathy Griffin were the only reason I wanted Bravo. And, now this show is on Lifetime- which has the most annoying TV ads on earth! So, thank god for the DVR and the ability to fast forward through all the crap. Also, the show itself is so filled with product endorsements, I get really bored with the lack of actual content. They do the straight interviews really poorly, but the design work is great to watch.
  • Glee Cute, silly, pretty good. Very light, very trendy & topical writing. Sometimes I get sick of the musical numbers, funny enough. The cast is delightful, and I'll never get too much of the fabulous Jane Lynch!
  • Community Did I mention I love Joel Mchale? I do. I remember him from Almost Live! in Seattle, and it's great to see him taking TV comedyland by storm. This is a fun, smart, original show.
  • Bored to Death OMG, this show bored me too death. It's so fucking precious and ironically humorless. What a waste of some pretty good actors and an HBO time slot! Barf
  • The Office Still going strong, not done with it yet...
  • Heroes Um, getting pretty bored. This show really hasn't been that intriguing since season 1. I save it for when there is really nothing else on.
  • Modern Family This show is adorable! A bit of an Arrested Development knock-off, but really fun characters, plots and bits woven together with a good sense of humor, timing and refreshing sweetness I miss in comedy.
  • The New Adventures of Old Christine I'm just getting into this one, too. Mainly because I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Wanda Sykes. They're both geniuses that have changed the game in TV for women. Well, so far, it's a pretty good watch! Funny, smart, and the characters are great. It's nice to see such good actors who are obviously in a flow with each other. The show seems to be made with love.
  • Stargate Universe Well, the ads for this already hinted that this is a Stargate series made to look like Battlestar, and once I watched the premiere, I saw how much they're really going for it. True Stargate fans should be disappointed, as well as truer Battlestar fans.  I fit into both of those categories. It was interesting enough, though, and looked good enough, that I will probably watch again. Ultimately, though, it was pretty empty.

Is there anything I'm missing and should be watching? What are your faves this fall?



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Sunday, September 27, 2009

F-Bombs for everyone!



I think "keep fucking that chicken" will be the new "keep on keepin' on!"



I have a hard time actually watching SNL while it airs. I hate waiting in total boredom through the combination of bad ad spots and bad skits for the few gems. It's like panning for faux gold. maybe I'll start saving it now that I have a DVR- we'll see...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Madmen is so clever!

And funny, and pretty...

This absolutely brilliant ad campaign for Madmen swept facebook and twitter like a pretty pretty virus just in time for the season 3 premiere. I loved that, just like Joan, I could make myself curvy!

(of course I had to pink up my hair myself!)
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

"ADULTS" ONLY: A benefit for The Adults In The Room


Join me & director Andy Blubaugh (Sundance selections Hello Thanks, Scaredycat) as well as the cast and crew of his debut feature The Adults In The Room, for an intimate evening of food, drink, and debate benefiting the production. Get a first look at rough cuts from the documentary portion of the film, bid on one-of-a-kind art items in our silent auction, and engage in a lively debate about this genre-defying and controversial film.

Admission is free, but a suggested donation of $20.00 will be rewarded with a limited edition signed and numbered DVD of Andy Blubaugh's award-winning shorts.

Sunday, August 9th, 7:00 PM
La Merde (at Le Bistro Montage)
301 SE Morrison, under the Morrison Bridge

For more information, visit theadultsintheroommovie.com

I'll be featuring the work of artists that are contributing here- stay posted!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Adults In The Room



I am super happy to be joining forces with Portland Director Andy Blubaugh to help produce his first feature film!

I've been itchin' to work on a feature again for awhile, and this film is really giving me the opportunity to throw a lot of the knowledge and experience I gained from making Tammytown and working on other projects into something extremely worthwhile. Several people kept suggesting that I join the film, but I wasn't sure I could do it. Then, the opportunity for the 4-day work week presented itself, and next thing you know...

I was compelled to start working on it after I read up on it, then fell in love with the script, and have similar warm fuzzies for Andy. It's his very personal story about his secret relationship as a teenager with a man twice his age. The unfolding stories (a present-day documentary mixed with a dramatic retelling of the past) is intriguing, tender, painful, raw, complicated and loving. I was pretty much enthralled from the moment he said "well, it's more Harold & Maude than 'To Catch a Predator'!"

Follow the film: Facebook Twitter Vimeo

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hot Tub Dance Remix Video!!!

Hot Tub Dance Remix from Sugar Shapiro on Vimeo.



Director Sarah Shapiro introduces us to the amazing world of Sugar Shapiro and her sexy thug cat! (I produced it, and I'm so thrilled with how it turned out and how fun it has been to work with Sarah & the whole Hot Tub team!)

New Builders and the Butchers Video



So, I very minorly pitched in on this video directed by Alicia J. Rose, and I am so impressed by how fabulous it looks! It premiered on spinner.com today! Congratulations, Alicia!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sugar Shapiro! My New Favorite Artist!

Yes, that's a cat!

So, I recently decided to dive back into the producing world- but only for things that really get me excited, of course! And, I am just THRILLED to have worked on this video for Sugar Shapiro's dance remix of the hypnotic and ass-shaking song "Hot Tub."

And, we get to premiere the video next Wednesday, July 15th at Doug Fir with amazing art collective Men and super fun band Boyjoy!

I hand screenprinted merch for the show, and I'm just tickled pink that I got to be so creative with this. Come join us! wil be totes mega fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

awesome free event!

7-16-09 6:30 PM downtown PDX- oldtown
"Interested in how copyright law affects creative work? Itching to write your own version of copyright law? Curious to know how musicians and artists might talk to an entertainment attorney, and vice versa?

Join the UO Portland Library and Learning Commons at 6:30 pm on Thursday, July 16 for “Free Culture: Creating Copyright and Copyrighting Creation,” a lively discussion of copyright and the arts. UO alum and entertainment lawyer Peter Shaver will talk with Portland-based electropop trio YACHT, and will engage the audience in a real-time redraft of copyright law. We’ll also enjoy great local food and great drinks from local brewery New Old Lompoc.

This event is co-sponsored by the UO Portland Library and Learning Commons and UO Academic Affairs. It’s part of a larger series of summer events around themes of creativity, sustainability, and urban culture. To learn more about the series, please visit http://pdx.uoregon.edu/index.php?p=news_summer_spotlight. "

I became familiar with attorney Peter Shaver through my old coworker, friend & all around awesome PDX rocker Todd Morrissey when I really needed help working out the licensing for Tammytown. He was so delightfully un-lawerly and very helpful. And, after working in a law library with big fancy shmancy expensive lawyers who couldn't give a crap about the intellectual property issues of us small time artists, I was very impressed. I tihnk he's the best thing going in Portland for musicians, filmmakers, and most artists in our area.

Also, YACHT is AWESOME!!!



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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cutest Store EVAR!

POPPY & IVY!
There are an outrageous amount of fabulous little stores in Portland that I love to wander into and get lost in. Lately, I've been thinking about how important it is that I shop at and support the wants that I want to survive these bullshit times. Poppy & Ivy is just about as delightful as it gets, and conveniently right around the corner from my house!

I recently bought some antique wooden snack bowls, an exquisite ceramic light chain pull, some lovely little tree stump picture holders, a miniature alphabet stamp set and a great tote bag. It was so hard not to snatch up the vintage embroidery & cross stitch patterns, fun toys, vintage ephemera, and more. This is the place that you could find a very unique gift at almost any price level, and it is also the place where you could get unique craft supplies and fun fascinations! And, don't even get me started on the jewelry!


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

09NTC Notes From 04/28/09 PM: The Rational Pursuit of Change

The Rational Pursuit of Change: How the Web requires new tactics, not the evolution of current ones
04/28/09 PM

description:
The Internet has a proven ability to shift the balance of power between individuals and organizations. But for online activism to reach its full potential, we – and our constituents and supporters – need to go beyond low-hanging, traditional online tactics. It’s time to go back to basics and figure out how to effectively organize. This session will revisit the challenges of collective action in an era of “open source activism,” and highlight how the Web can help overcome those hurdles. It's up to us to redefine how people can participate in movements that actually do something. Takeaways: 1. Engagement: The paradox of tactics (such as "easy petitions") with a low barrier to entry – they don't drive engagement or long-term relationships. Learn how to engage people that stick around to support your mission. 2. Action: Giving people the right tools at the right time only matters if you ask them to do the right thing. Learn solutions for moving your audiences forward on a unified front towards a shared goal. 3. Togetherness: The dream of the Web is a model maps our influence and values to appropriate collective action that has reached its tipping point. Learn the best ways to crowdsource your mission and measure progress toward your goals.

Twitter hashtags (the internet went down about 1/2 way through session, so this is limited):
#change#09ntc

panelists:
Qi Diaz, Ben Ratcher, Amy Sample Ward, Jake, Joe

this is a fun and lively group
-digital advocacy, civics 101 is just not cutting it anymore

Ben:
the history of online activism is the history of petitions

ladder of engagement, getting the right data, encouraging deeper engagement, recognizing the psychological impact of getting involved

from Amy:
insights on individual engagement, she's been paying attention to how individually powered/centered tools are impacting organizations and informing the way they engage with their members and peeps

sms and text messaging used for service delivery. for example, a short code for contacting an AIDS nonprofit for information

open source community need- the good gym, won the social innovation camp in December in the UK

really focus on the "how do you want us to engage with you?" model

Joe:
orgs can really be empowering to change-makers around the world. take the wiki model for example- gets that one guy going strong, coordinates the community so that we have the strength of a crowd and a groundswell

"the world is on fire, there are 7 billion people, we all need some help, and we are all in this together"
started the social actions, change the web contest for/with techsoup

they used polldaddy to listen as they worked on their project, and they had a volunteer wiki- simple tools, useyourvoice.com - you can create a feedback button in a snap for your website, very cool

Jake (from idealist)
he loves Larry Lessig & Vince Cerf
Vince: "power corrupts, and powerpoint corrupts absolutely"

too many nonprofits, and too many actions going on- especially a bunch that kind of suck to engage with
think like a movement- lose control of your brand- send it and see what folks do with it

US Marines ethos: "everyman a rifle man" as in you have evangelists and advocates you don't even know about yet, top-down, bottom up emerges when you let your control go

ignore the online and offline divide, look at all of the programs together, and get the staff in the same rooms together.

email and videos still rule

"fail harder" (he credits W+K's lobby poster)

09NTC Notes From 04/28/09: New Video Platform for Nonprofits

This was awesome, but I only caught the tail end of the session:

session description:
New Video Platform for Nonprofits
See3 will unveil its partnership with Kaltura to address the video needs of nonprofits and social causes. Join Michael Hoffman, See3 CEO, and Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura CEO, for a discussion and demo of the cutting-edge open-source video platform. This new platform integrates with Drupal and other content management systems , allows users to upload video directly from other sources such as YouTube, and has increased viral distribution capabilities. We’ll also walk through the web-based video editor and other advanced functionalities that help organizations connect to constituents. Come share your video needs , give feedback, and witness a hands-on demonstration of this exciting video opportunity.

See3 video stuff

um, rad!

online video editing
Kaltura: http://corp.kaltura.com/
"open source video solutions"

remixamerica.org, dogooderTV, See3 communications,

dogooderTV player

customized playlist module, creates a widget you can make

highly customizable, many applications being built and developed,

quality goes to HD, total flexibility, compress down to FLD after uploading by FTP

you could create an FTP option! you could RSS videos that are already uploaded at other sites, and even have it auto grab from feeds

webcam capture quality is pretty good- on par with youtube

integrate in Drupal & Wordpress- and can configure to have users be able to post both text and video responses!

this also allows a good way to restrict content

internal audiences solutions

creating a private space is successful here

Kaltura has enlisted See3 to be their big channel to the nonprofit world- ambassador, service that gets it to the folks. they specialize in nonprofit video production

09NTC Notes From 04/28/09: Multivariate Testing

When you want your buttons pushed: How to optimize your site with multivariate testing
04/28/09

session description:
Ever wonder if your site’s landing pages are too long, donate button is too small, or images are sending just the right message? This session will provide key insights to help you decide whether it’s time for your organization to begin optimizing key action pages with multivariate testing. Stop making decisions by committee or letting the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) lead the way and start making choices through solid evidence based on your own users’ actual behavior – the results might surprise you! Takeaways: 1. MVT can help you dramatically improve conversion rates. 2. MVT takes the guesswork out of copy, color, location, headline, format, and other key decisions. 3. MVT tests range from fairly simple to highly complex.


-multivariate testing is for when you have many questions about different elements on your page
-ask users in real tim
-generate evidence-driven results based on your users' behavior
-share sample size (get answers more quickly)

Survey of possibilities

-A/B concept testing: better than no testing. problems arise because you have to make assumptions about why users favor something or not

multivariable testing looks at multiple areas on a page at the same time. not just flipping things around, but being able to completely move things around. layout changes, types of content, content itself

content & design are all in the same process

elemental concept testing at Delta
asks: Did we do harm? (with new content)

stop wasting design time, ask does it matter which icon we use? more features or more simple?

offer the beta for people to peruse before launching, may reduce actual changes. you get to understand what matters to your core peeps

the order of copy blocks has substantial impact

moving something like search boxes around the page- does the left-hand side top work best? typically, yes

condense forms by removing non-essential fields (fax #?) always look for opportunities of simplification

sometimes "assurance language" fails (it reminds folks spam exists for example)

images of people tend to have a positive effect when associated with org branding, but some images do not add any value or brand equity to a product.

PHOTOS REALLY REALLY need to be tested.

again, remove distractions (especially on home pages)

some rich media is too much of a distraction, and will carry people off of your site

make a button look like a button. use obvious image metaphors

help people engage, and be very clear about it

interesting & subtle point- understand the interactions- sometimes it's the combination of things on a page that make the difference. if you don't test the items together, then you miss out on good insight

getting started:

1. choose a goal
2. Identify conversion pages
3. select the right tool

lots of different testing tools. google website optimizer is free, starting with free can be really great

case study: ACLU
their goal was grow their list and increase donations, increasing traffic
internal considerations, resourcing, ID highest priorities, IT considerations

design dilemma, when can they use testing to prove out key design concepts
she learned you really have to keep tweaking, changing

09NTC Notes From 04/28/09 AM: Liveblogging Website Usability Testing for Small Orgs



this was really a great tool, but problems arose as the wifi kept failing throughout the entire conference, boooo

Monday, April 27, 2009

09NTC Notes From 04/27/09: Cloud Computing 101

Cloud Computing 101 04/27/09

"Cloud computing is the “new” new wave of information technology. It promises lower costs, faster “time to market,” greater flexibility, and improved efficiency. Some claim it will also help you win friends, lose weight, and freshen your breath. What’s hype versus true value for nonprofits? How much can cloud computing actually deliver? Leading cloud computing experts will lay out the basics, wring fact from fiction, discuss cloud computing’s impact on mission-based organizations, and show how it can work for you. Takeaways: 1. What is cloud computing? 2. Why should nonprofits care about cloud computing? 3. Who are the premier cloud computing vendors? 4. How should nonprofits make the leap into the clouds?"

idealist guys

the term is used and abused quite a bit, and it has it's own meaning in the context on npo's

cloud computing: dynamically scalable resources provided as a service over the internet

"like owning a car vs. leasing a car"

applications, platform, service

context: moving into this environment, so many benefits came up from mainframe to client servers to the cloud platforms
amazon, google, force.com, windowsAzure, facebook, (um wikis)

particularly good cloud services offer open APIs that can be customized and used by others. these APIs act as as doorways between the platforms
successful cloud computing involves APIs, customization

Cloud Computing Costs less because:
-data back ups not required
-access anywhere in the world
-intermingle hardware (mac, PC, linux, etc.)
-intermingle software
-upgrades are automated

Flexibility- scale up & down with mission and org needs, staff needs (pricing models really accommodate this)
Choice- a la carte style service packages
Capacity- skills needed are closer to your mission
Security- more is putting into these platforms to have state-of-the-art security (think like gmail's spam filter)
Upgrades- automated, driven
Ongoing Investment- R&D is driven by many many clients

do your research on a solution and read reviews from objective sources like nten, techsoup, idealware

Does cloud computing replace custom VPN solutions? time to re-evaluate whether or not you own the responsibility for your own server... the whole point is that you don't have to manage, own, or fix the problems with your hardware, software, whole systems really

thousands of nonprofits are already in the cloud. they see a lot using google products

getting into the cloud:

strategic planning
understand your business process
assess your capacity, budget & must-haves
review options, trials, nten, techsoup, idealweare
engage with a partner if/as necessary

business process is really key

cloud-based backup. people love mozy a lot

helps you leverage your IT staff better, put them onto better projects, training, etc. (don't most IT guys hate being sysadmins?) so true that npos are already bare bones when it comes to IT staff & resources

this makes me think about questions about medical health records- HIPPA and security. this will be a huuuuuge issue, especially with current administration wanting to streamline HRE's
so, do we suggest to npo's that they join the cloud rather than invest in their own solutions? start to look at major cloud computing vendors, not sure open source is really getting into this at a fast enough pace: http://www.openhre.org/

cloud vs. outsourcing, hmmmmmm

seems interesting that we haven't talked about open source platforms in the cloud, very product-based? what does this reflect on the open source field?

I think of wikis as ultimate clouds

http://www.salon.com/tech/giga_om/tech_insider/2009/04/12/the_enterprise_impact_of_cloud_computing/index.html

09NTC Notes From 04/27/09: Nonprofit Careers workshop

04/27/09 Advancing your career & earning what you deserve
James Weinberg- CEO of commongood careers
cgcareers.org


went to this as a response to all of the unemployment issues we've seen & discussed at work-

Oregon has one of the highest unemployment rates, and the nonprofit sector is going to suffer further jobwise

looking for resources to pass along & add to connectipedia's growing employment section

specific to non profit career information

Agenda:

  • short goals, long aspirations
  • core competency inventory
  • ID & remove common obstacles
  • pursue professional dev
  • moving up internally
  • information interviews to new positions
  • defining market worth & negotiating compensation


and moving from volunteer/intern to employee

short goals/long aspirations:
define your ideal role, where, what X2, when, how, why?

short term:
-challenges: clear, achievable, compelling
-Support: management, resources, staff
-Colleagues: especially in nonprofits, this is key- (um, word!)

long term:

-nature of the work: time, management, area, etc.
-work/life balance: support to life outside the office, family, etc.
-Epitaph: in the end, what do you want to have done? what is your desired impact?

compensation- further discussion later

books participants like: "What Color is your Parachute" Bolles


Core Competencies:
major tenant of HR & hiring- elements that affect your ability to function in a role- as in functionally and behavioral capacity based on 4 factors:
-Skills: technical skills
-Experience: what have you done
-personality: how do you fit with teams and cultures?
-potential: where are you still growing?

create an inventory map for each area, group into categories, prioritize, refine to 3/4 major elements, have friends review & discuss

conclusion- what are the trends, common threads and where are the gaps vs. goals

make sure this is relevant to the job you are going for as well as the career goal

one IT director/HR attendee says that she comes up against too much exaggerated technical skills, and that someone who is humble about skills can show a core personality skill that is more attractive

Obstacles:
ID & remove these in your career and short term job issues
what are the common obstacles?
lack of understanding from the org you're in, lack of value in professional dev. don't rely on your org- be the change, flip it, etc.

-planning: failure to identify goals is #1 obstacle
goals usually fall short, shoot higher, push yourself- it breeds success
-confidence: take your goal & triple it
-skills: get through ed or experience
-experience: be proactive in and out of your org
-family: work/life balance
-boss: if not being developed, speak up or move on
(identify needing a mentor or needing to be a leader for me)
-money: ed expensive, next step may require a cut
-networks: broad/deep essential to advancement
-resolve: keep advancing, but stay flexible

seeking out growth experiences could help break down obstacles
(but, sometimes you just have to suck it up and be patient)

professional Dev:
-Grad Programs: expensive, wide range of quality, be careful (too expensive to pursue just for making more $$$)
-workshops: can be expensive, look for certifications, ratings
this can be better than grad school
-self ed: books, online courses, depends on type of learner (I love lynda.com)
"combined with volunteering can help you produce something demonstrable"
-In-house mentors: find colleagues & supervisors that can teach
(this is something I ask for in interviews now) this can be really simple-

-Outside mentors: structured relationships work best
this can be better because they aren't caught up in the culture & drama
-Peer networks: organize colleagues in similar roles
gr8 way to meet folks in the same boat with new ideas
-Management: free interns can be a way to start
#1 looked-for skill for folks considered for advancement. I have found grad interns to be fantastic for projects as well
-Consulting: side project experiential learning
-Volunteering: easier and more flexible alternatives
the point isn't to get a job, but to build experience, core competencies. project-based volunteering can lead to having something demonstrable

Moving Up within an Org
-Valued competencies: management capacity (people, projects, process, budget), performance, passion, initiative, team playing/leading/strengthening
-Being essential: try to understand your org's strategic priorities and align your work directly- move your job in the direction of your org's goals
-Connections: id decision makers and influencers, cultivate relationships, don't be shy- look externally too
-BE DIRECT! communicate your aspirations, build your case, work with your supervisor on a plan for advancement, find horizontal career ladders- which are very possible in small orgs

my personal reflections on this:
have a personal plan and be transparent about it with your company- have a personal mission and vision plan that reflects the org's, and/or develop these for your dept.

Informational Interviewing to New Positions
-systematize: track who you meet, when, who they connect you to
-network mapping: list out folks you know, who they know, who you want to know, cross-section of your industry (social media can be helpful for tracking)
-Outreach: email introduction, with resume, clear that you're not asking for a job, but for information, requesting short phone calls, follow-up if needed
"mini-mentoring" 15-minute mentoring are approaches that can be less intimidating, stressful
-The conversation: research, prepare several smart questions, be engaging, fun, and deferential
never ask, "so, what do you do?"
convo should definitely display critical thinking skills. your Qs say more about you than your answers
-Follow-ups: discuss next steps, ask for others to meet

my reflections:
be comfortable, organic, find that balance so you're not a lame-$@*, watch out for being an email dork


Compensation
- 3 salary numbers: absolute minimum, market worth, and reasonable aspiration
- Info Interviews: best way to determine market value (ask), highly specific by role, experience, location
- Public Salary Data: industry surveys, guidestar's 990's
- Perspective: for individuals, comp is about respect; for orgs it's about equity & balance (so good to understand)
- Alternatives/x-factors: non-slaray options include benefits, expenses, vacation time, flex time, flex location, flex schedule, other things that matter to you, work-week hours, sabbaticals, perks
understand that compensation is a broad package of values, and know what matters to you
-Approach: honest, clear, logical, supportive data

what to do when asked for salary information:
be honest, but you can frame it in a variety of ways.

how important is the job title you have?
depends on where you are and what you actually do

what to do with bouncy resumes:
use what is relevant, use the other stuff to tell a narrative that could relate

good compensation sites:
glassdoor.org, salary.com, professional organization sites

social networking has opened up the networks- increases competition for the individual, ups the game

Notes From 04/27/09 AM: Social media metrics- mapping social media

04/27/09 Beth Kanter's session
social media metrics- mapping social media

success stories, specialized listening

check out David Armano- his blog

Listen, Learn & Adapt: Insight must happen before investment, track & reap insight


Listening:
use monitoring tools, RSS, etc.
value- know what people think of and expect of your org
feed hashtag rss to your reader, keywords, etc. real-time search is awesome!
do folks share with others? "not rocket science, just practice."
they create a digest of information for their org & chapters, contact experts about relevant information
Amy uses a delicious account & tags relevant searched articles with key words- helpful to program people
google alerts with keywords, keeps an internal page with those searches in rss
media citation reports- clippings, digests
technorati authority

how much time listening?

2-3 hrs AM concentrated listening, then constant background monitoring
even small npo's should have a half-time person who spends 1/2 of their time just listening/monitoring (10 hrs)
15-20 hrs for a largely online org (concentrated)
Amy uses netvibes- engagejoe- feed digest- ning for dummies- workflow

Learning:
If you don't try, fail, you don't learn. think like a rocket scientist, document your learnings, sift through qualitative data like an anthropologist.
document on the fly
test & tweak
pick the right metrics
harvest insights
look at what others are doing

*Pick the right social media metric
page views are dead- (HITS- how idiots track success)
engagement metrics: critic, recreating, commenting, connecting, clicking

The Social Organization- Rachel Happe- good resource for lists of social media metrics collecting data with purpose is important, tracking takes time
some folks keep a spreadsheet of data
Yammer- twitter for groups, rather than sharing with one, sharing with many
Amy uses (to share) delicious- send tags to each other, tag "to amy"

story time- using the right metrics to track:
important to measure based on a goal. offer real-time info to the public during a disaster. are people getting info they need? not about $ raised.
-checking for retweets
-ask people to use hashtags, spread stories, engage folks, track mentions & hashtags using hashtags.org
bitly, popurl
Laura Lee Dooley? sp?

url shorteners for metrics?

gradient6, pretty graphics, but manual research is best
boardtracker, icerocket, twitter search, technorati
web stats, FB stats (handmade)
more resources- wearemedia.org, beths blog (listening techniques)
look for ideas that pop up from your peeps, and find the right internal channels to hear about what you are listening to
internal resistance to new tools takes patience, persistence, education

good to ask- how many hours per week do you spend listening? Is this a part of your social media plan?
co-creation networks
ladder of engagement- number of views & engagement
what are people really engaging in? what are they clicking on? when they click, make sure there is really good engagement, fun & reward on the other end of that click- tighten it up, and revisit it periodically

offline data? how to report offline influences, events, components. wildlife has an offline component for everything, and there are mobile components as well, look for blogs that report on related offline events and things

Adapting:
(most stated: tweak constantly!)
Beth recommends- carrie lewis- go friend on FB
of course, be nimble, fail formally, then document that- what worked, what didn't?
you can use APIs very well to integrate to your own sites, campaigns, events
don't keep doing what worked over and over, forever, always evolve, be committed to innovation
explore multiple channels for people to engage & don't think something doesn't work ever just because it wasn't the biggest draw for one instance
although, streamlining your channels can also streamline your investment of time- it's all about finding a balance
LinkedIn turned out to be a time waster for one group, so they dropped it. always tweak your program
"you can't be satisfied, ever!"
there is no secret sauce here either. no one plan fits everyone, duh
Robin from Oregon trail chapter of Red Cross is a great person to watch and learn from
everything can be scaled for global and/or geographically-based groups
if you have internal resistance, find ways around it, but don't try to force people to use tools when it doesn't feel natural for them.
bell curve of adoption in technology is a good thing to be sensitive to. Beth has been writing about it a lot on her blog.

great links:

Beth's blog: http://beth.typepad.com/

Rachel Happe: http://www.thesocialorganization.com/

Yammer: https://www.yammer.com/

Amy Sample Ward's blog/her notes from this session: http://www.amysampleward.org/2009/04/27/live-blogging-09ntc-mapping-your-social-media-strategy/

Twitter real time search results for #09ntc: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%2309ntc

09NTC Notes From 04/27/09: Clay Shirky

4/27/09 Clay Shirky

group action just got easier

"once the problem is solved once for one, it gets solved for all" (FB example of HSBC problem)

the hive mind idea for wikis

here's how it works: not an anthill, there are a few or one super active users, then a few who do extremely little. a huge number of folks who care a little, a few people who care a lot

(I hope Clay Shriky & BJ Fogg are friends)

the ability to consume is the ability to produce is a big big change- democratizing the media, tools, and channels

"we wanna be an internet org, so we'll just take our org and add some internet"

there's no metaphor that fits the particularity-

(FB is like FB, not like other situations, and not "the round")

flash mobs as a critique of hipster culture- Bill from NY/Harper's Magazine

"nothing says dictatorship like arresting people for eating ice cream"

only took 3 years to turn it from a mockery into a real political tool

it's when the tech gets boring that the use gets interesting- when we start to take the tools for granted

thinking your brand is sacred is 20th century mentality in a world of 21st century tools

your members, users, can talk to & connect with each other, without you

the loss of control that your fear is already in the past-

commitment to failure

failure and scale

small and good, then grow, not big and awful to make it better
trying to be too much, not grown organically from the roots up

a control-freak approach makes too much of a framework, hierarchy- implies too many restrictions, so the ability to grow organically, have fun, and learn is all restricted

(side note- google moderator is very cool)

experts really have to create their own value- be relevant, you cant just know most anymore
staying power- how do you stick, and last. convening power plus continuity

sometimes its just a bit mysterious what takes off and what doesn't

hire true enthusiasts, talk to your own employees, your own 23 year olds and actually listen- they are assets (w+k is smart about that, obviously)

OK- so If I'm not the decider, how do I get my org to listen to the younger folks, the hidden assets?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bacon Apple Pie: the Recipe

Michael and I first saw this recipe on the internet. When Easter rolled around, we decided this would be the perfect dish to bring to our friends' annual gluttonous Easter brunch. We loosely followed the recipe from the EliCooks blog(http://elicooks.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/bacon-really-does-make-everything-better/ ), and our modifications are posted below.


Serves:

many people, especially because you really have to be a champion eater to make it through a whole piece!

Ingredients:

1 9″ pie crust (we used two premade pie crusts rolled together in a smaller pan so that we could make a large rim of dough to tuck the bacon into)
5-6 medium to large tart apples, cored and sliced (peeled, if you prefer, will make it more like traditional pie filling.)

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp cloves

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2.5 Tbsp cornstarch

  • 1 Tbsp Scotch (You want something noticeably smoky.)

  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (fake would be extra gross)

  • 6-8 slices bacon, depending on how thick. (best to just buy a package or full pound- you know you'll eat the rest anyway!)

Preparation:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the pie crust in a 8 or 9″ pie pan and leave the overhanging edges.
  • Mix together the apple slices, brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cornstarch and scotch. Spread over the pie crust.
  • Pour the maple syrup evenly over the apples.
  • Arrange the strips of bacon over the top of the pie crust in a lattice, then fold the edges of the pie crust over the bacon and crimp.
  • note: The bacon lattice really doesn’t want to stay tucked in around the edges of the pie. We left alot of bacon hanging off the edge. And, we tried to tuck it down the inside of the crust to help keep it together. This is where using extra pie dough to wrap it over the edges of the bacon lattice really came in handy! There is a LOT of, er, shrinkage.

  • Bake for about an hour, until the bacon on top is nicely crisp, the crust is browned and a knife pushes easily into an apple slice. (Happily, these should all happen at roughly the same time.)

Thanks so much to the EliCooks blog for pioneering this disgusting and amazing awesomeness!

Up next: another gym report/repentance!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Depression Cooking comes to DVD!



I just adore watching Clara Cannucciari cook and talk about her life and simple recipes in webisodes called Great Depression Cooking with Clara. I'll be pressuring my local library to order a copy, you should too! Not only is she completely inspiring, but the production value of the show's episodes is really fantastic.I believe the creator is her grandson?
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Acclaimed documentary FOOD FIGHT opens February 28th at the Hollywood Theatre


"When we walk into a supermarket, we assume that we have the widest possible choice of healthy foods. But in fact, over the course of the 20th century, our food system was co-opted by corporate entities whose interests do not lie in providing the public with fresh, healthy, delicious food.

Fortunately for America, an alternative emerged from the counter-culture of California in the late 1960s and early 1970s, where a group of political anti-corporate protesters--led by Alice Waters--voiced their dissent by creating a food chain outside of the conventional system. The unintended result was the birth of a vital local-sustainable-organic food movement which has brought back taste and variety to our tables. Food Fight is a fascinating look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the Californian food movement has created a counterrevolution against big agribusiness. "

For more info visit (warning, lots of obnoxious flash intros) www.foodfightthedoc.com

The Hollywood Theatre is located at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland. General admission is $6.50, $4.50 for seniors 65+ and children 4-12. Monday night all shows are just $4.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Coraline!

Man, Focus Features really outdid themselves with http://www.coraline.com/

You can "button your eyes," view trailers, and it looks wonderful! I'm starting to think this is totally going to be a really big movie. I really can't wait to see it, but I will make sure (wait if I have to) I see it in 3D. I saw about 1/3 of the film in 3D while making those dang ol' Scotty dogs, and it was stunning.

Opens Feb 6th! (Also opening PIFF)

20 days later

I had my check-in tonight with Lea. OK, just about 3 weeks in, after working out six days a week: I'm pleased to report that I have lost 5 lbs and 1 full BMI unit. The calipers also indicated a good .75% drop in bodyfat. And yes, I know all these measurement systems are pretty bullshitty, so...

My pants are fitting very differently- the baggy ones are now too big. Basically, my weight loss is not too significant in the very typical way that I am experiencing fat-muscle conversion. My thighs and heart feel the most affected. (And frankly, that is what matters most!)It's pretty remarkable how quickly you can feel reassuring results, even though it takes a while to see really healthful results. I also found that turning the corner from hate & pain to feeling good happened very quickly. I was hating it like poison last Monday, and craving it Tuesday. My legs are now hungry for action, and it's great! Now, we're off to Cozumel for 5 days or so!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gym Follow-Up: My First (official) Trainer Session

Muscles of the trunkImage via Wikipedia I had my first official trainer session since becoming a member at the gym last night. Lea started me off by getting all of my deets and I made sure to have the old "seriously, I don't care about numbers and other misc. bullshit- I just wanna be healthy" talk with her. It's so disturbing to me that I've had to defend that common-sense position many times over the years, but she was totally down with it, even if she thought I was at least a little full of shit. She was extremely patient and gracious throughout our session- even when I forgot to turn off my foul-mouth switch and proclaimed that "my gunt hurts!"

I have to say, this arrangement makes me feel completely set-up for success. Having appointments to make forces me to be accountable, and my only current homework is to drag my butt in there at least once a week on my own to do 45 mins of cardio work. I find this and the general way Lea works to have such a basic logic and simplicity to it that I can't resist complying. The way she managed the counts on my workout moves made it sound absurd to not just do 5 or 10 more of whatever, or hold for 15 more seconds. This week, that has been the best motivator, with a lil bit of not wanting to be the biggest wuss in the place coming in second.

ps- my abs totally hurt today, and this is really good!
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Portland Gym Search is Over

bacon_n_eggsImage by superphoebe via FlickrSo, I used to have a bunch of health problems. Basically, I think that high stress, a bad diet, and a lifetime of sleep problems manifested as all kinds of mess from pancreatic issues to fibromyalgia to even being misdiagnosed with MS!

My only real problems that remain are annoying allergies to just about anything indoors and outdoors as well as food allergies to poultry and eggs. These things are controlled well by allergy pills and avoiding poultry and egg, so everything is pretty hunky dory.

I got on the road to wellness by getting care at Nature Cures clinic in Portland. They are seriously the only ones that ever helped me make lasting changes in my health and comfort. My treatment worked so well that I went from testing horribly to having textbook perfect results on my bloodwork at the UW medical center. It was there that the Doctor said, "Well, you're really very healthy. Just fat- that's really the only thing you have left." (OK, he probavbly didn't use the word "fat," but whatever...) And, sadly, or happily, this is true.

So, with a new-found spring in my step, I embark on my next health journey: fitness! It's true that I've put on a buncha weight since moving back to Portland, but that is really just the physical evidence of poor cardiovascular health and overall fitness resulting from too much computer sitting, a poor diet, and not enough running around and getting awesome on a physical level. Work & graduate school are my ass' enemy.

I have spent the last month investigating gyms in the Portland area to see where I will be getting awesome on a physical level. After much deliberating and comparison, I have chosen the big, somewhat douchey 24 hr Fitness in the Pearl. Why? Well, it came down to locations/convenience, a saltwater pool, price, and the personal trainer I met- Lea.

I plan to continue with at least one more blog post, maybe upload my little spreadsheet to compare and contrast Portland gyms for anyone interested, but I would also love to hear from y'all about your gyms and your workout preferences in the comments.

Do you use a gym?

Which one?

What is your favorite workout?

Do you use/have you used a personal trainer?

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superphoebe