Sunday, April 26, 2009

Busy weekend

On Friday, I performed in Sketchy Comedy night with Indyprov. (My roles: guard #3 and Passive-Aggressive Flyer Poster #2). Fun times, and got to see special guest Wilhelm Scream from Cincinnati share the stage and do their sketches also. Raucous good times!

Saturday was Indyprov caffeinated at the Beancup - thanks to my pals who came to see me, I saw you in the crowd!

Sunday was Mutt Strut; the family and I volunteered at the Humane Society table to promote foster volunteering. We also managed to squeeze in a turn around the track.

For her part acting as program ambassadress, Perl got herself a new toy. I'm hoping we recruited a few more volunteers - if you are interested, check out

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Alt punk MP3 player

Following is a selection of Mp3s from my alt-punk collection - many of which are now avalable on Amazon too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

100 free songs

Indie Rock Celebration

In April Amazon is celebrating indie rock with 100 Greatest Indie Rock albums of all time and is giving away > 100 free songs from 12 Indie Label Samplers that are available only at Amazon MP3. The free label samplers and discounted MP3 albums are from various indie labels. These are available only through April 30, 2009, and only at Amazon MP3.
My top pick from the freebies is the Barsuk records sampler, which includes Death Cab For Cutie.

Get your Free Indy Rock MP3s from Amazon or if you like old-school CDs, check out Ejly's Amazon storefront for CD deals.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A fax? you seriously want a fax?

Just when I feel I've culled all the technophobes and Luddites from my life, I get blindsided by a request I can't refuse - a government request for a response by fax. Seriously, a fax? I hate faxes. They're nearly illegible and non-OCRable. I can't search the content via google desktop, like I can a pdf's content. And even though I've got the iMac set up to send and receive faxes, I network wirelessly so when I actually have to deal with a fax it involves tracking down a phone cord somewhere. So frustrating.

And so unnecessary. I found out recently from Momfluence that there is a great service available - Packetel’s Online Fax Service allows you to receive unlimited incoming faxes in your e-mail inbox for only $3.95 a month. This will suit me just fine (at least until my beloved Google Voice includes fax services).

Packtel is running a contest now, and 2 people will be eligible to win Packetel's service free for one year (entries are not just from my blog but from all participants, sorry this isn't an exclusive deal). To enter the contest, follow the instructions on the Packetel contest at Momfluence. The contest is open to all U.S. residents. The contest runs from Sunday, April 12th to Friday, May 1st. Two winners will be chosen by random number generator.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Can we still be friends? An open letter to yahoo mail.

A Terrible Break UpImage by This Is A Wake Up Call via Flickr
Dear Yahoo,

I remember the day I got my own free Yahoo mail account. I was working in a dismal windowless office, I was pregnant with my firstborn, and it was the roaring nineties. I was excited to have an email address I could use during my upcoming maternity leave. I owe you one for that gift of adult companionship during the early days after childbirth and the ability to stay in touch with my coworkers and keep my career perking along.

I'll admit, at first I was unfaithful to you. I was seeing Excite regularly then, too. But Excite couldn't compare to you. Excite just didn't have your staying power, your endurance. So I left Excite and we started to spend more time together. I had work emails, but those come and go - and a girl's got to make a living. I always came back to you.

10 years later, I've matured and you have regressed. Each day I notice more and more flashy bling, childish distractions, animated annoyances and, heaven for-fend, intrusive fly-overs and peel-backs. I came to you for your mail-ness, the sweet and simple way you delivered on your promises and catered to my needs. Lately, your friends are trying to butt into our intimate relationship. I get emails, badly misspelled and terribly misdirected, from people I've never met nor want to. I get chat requests, badly misspelled and terribly misdirected, on topics that would make a hardcore Vegas professional shudder in disgust.

You tried to change. You renewed your commitment to me with a fresh new ymail address and it was good for a while. But your new friends showed up again - the spammers and the chat-vixens - and ruined it again. And as much as I've asked, you won't stop being with your new friends.

I know you'll ask so I'll just answer here. The last straw for me was when you asked me to pack up my stuff at your place. I just kept a few things there, I can't see how they were in your way or bothering you. And it was nice to have a toothbrush and comb with me if we were hooking up for that night. But you asked, so I packed up My Briefcase and left.

So it is over. We're just in different places now. I'll still see you around, it is a small social scene so I know I'll run into you. You'll know how to reach me, and if things change for you - truly change, and you can show me - then let me know. So for now, I'm updating my facebook page to let everyone know we're No Longer In a Relationship.

Can we still be friends?
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Brazen hater

I get Penelope Trunk's updates from Brazen Careerist on an RSS feed normally, and one yesterday caught me off guard. RSS subscriptions have a way of being de-contextualized and somehow sapped of their emotional overlay at times, and without the context of the usual background colors and imagery it is easy to slide from one perspective to another. Yesterday as I was stepping through my updates, moving from my Daily Lit subscription to Dracula to Voices on Project Management and then to Penelope's post, I was blindsided by the - how shall I put this? - brazenness of Penelope's post "I hate David Dellifield. The one from Ada, Ohio". But what else should one expect from the brazen careerist I suppose? It isn't like she didn't warn me who she was when I subscribed.

I found her writing to be insightful, and to speak truths that some are uncomfortable hearing. (No one wants to admit that their own mother may have been bored with her job, after all.) I'm not an apologist for Trunk nor do I feel she needs one; but some of the backlash criticism of her is unfounded.

First off, some took umbrage with the author's method of handling the criticism by attempting to reach Dellifield by phone. There was much discussion about the privacy of phone information vs. the public nature of twitter (see, for example, Brazen Faith). But I assert that this notion of privacy is faulty. Neither your twitter feed nor your phone number are private; get used to it. Privacy in this minute and hour (let's not even consider longer archives such as day and age) are expensive; and if you haven't gone through the expense of scrubbing your number out of the directories and hiring someone to be your front to the DMV and the utility companies your contact info is not just public it is very public. So this response by Trunk to the critic isn't unmerited; instead it calls attention to the fact that our lives have, while most weren't paying attention, become increasingly networked and interlinked and accessible in a very public way. And if you aren't prepared to live that way, you need to be very considered of who you chose to engage with online. Which really shouldn't be news to anyone; we've been hearing how dangerous it is to talk to strangers online since AOL chat room days.

Some critics wondered what will happen when the kids find out what Trunk has written - "If her kids knew she thought they were boring, what would they think of their mother?" Again, I doubt Trunk has an unreasonable expectation of privacy online. Her kids will find out someday, hopefully they find out before she's a grandmother and can thus partake of some of her wisdom. But to ask what would happen if the kids found out - well, that's as silly as wondering what Leta will think of Heather Armstrong someday - of course the kids will find out, and these mothers both write with that foreknowledge. The kids will find out what you have done online, if they care to look. Your kids will find out, and your bosses and your clients. Count on it.

I did look askance at the use of a strong term as 'hate' in response to the criticism that was offered. Upon first glance, Dellifield's comment seems a very mild if backhanded insult - the reader's inference is that Trunk doesn't love her children for who they are - and as Dellifield doesn't seem to be a repeat-offender troll I personally might have let that slide. But upon reflection, I can see why the complaint engenders such a strong response from Trunk - her modus operandi on her blog is to address gender inequality where she finds it, and Dellifield's tweet wasn't something she had to go out and look for, it was sent right @ her. The comment does represent a subtle form of a gender inequality perspective that is grating to live with, day in and day out. I think most of the structural barriers to gender equality have been addressed nowadays - the best colleges are open to women, there is no restriction for women to practice as attorneys or doctors any longer, women can serve in all combat positions in the military, etc. But there still exist many other cultural barriers, for example a sense that all women should be delighted to stay home with their children when that only suits a few women. People like Trunk don't hesitate to call them out and I for one am glad for that.

Finally, let's consider Dellifield. Again, from what I'm reading online he's not necessarily a bad guy. But we don't know, because he's locked down his twitter account under the apparent assumption that this will make his tweets private (which isn't correct by the way: even locked twitter accounts tweets will show up in search). It seems like Dellifield just started tweeting last month so I'm willing to cut him some slack. But I need to hear his side of things, and understand some context to his comments before I would judge. And that's the wonderful thing about the transparency and interconnectedness of the internet: the opportunity is there to respond to your critics. I look forward to hearing your side, Mr. Dellifield.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Indyrave and the bean cup

I started visiting the bean cup coffeehouse on Indy's South side after I saw some fellow twitterers mention it as a great place for a cup of joe, networking, or just to hang out and relax. The place indeed scores well for all 3 criteria. The coffee is fresh and not the usual brew found in the local chain stores. For such a hidden location, the place has a lot of clientele and usually a few folks hanging around to socialize with or network. Or, it is a good place to grab a comfortable chair and read a book. Here's info and location details: Also check out my review at Indyrave! And note - they have performances on Saturday nights by groups like Indyprov.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guitar Heroine

Guitar Hero 3 Stat ImageRecently, I was noticing all the product placement in Guitar Hero III while waiting for a turn on the wii and saw a rather obvious Pontiac logo pointing at me. Hm, thought I, that is going to turn out to be a rather anachronistic piece of product placement if GM doesn't manage their economic situation very well. How much more sensible would that have been to be variable content that could have been sold to the highest bidder by the game manufacturers?

While mulling over this economic news, perhaps you'd like to shred a few licks as well? Drop me a challenge - as you can see, I need the cash earning opportunities.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A bad process is like a flat tire

Does doing it wrong quickly mean going slowly? I don't think so. Instead, apply the get-'er-done mentality to the sources of drag on your project to make your projects successful.

I know someone once got a flat tire on the way home from work in a blizzard, back in the days before cell phones and roadside help. Considering the options, the driver decided to slow down and drive on home. Stopping would have required doing the work in low visibility on the gravel hard pack of a busy 2-lane roadside with a great deal of discomfort and possibly frostbite. Home was minutes away, and road conditions required slow travel anyway. The driver arrived home in about twice the time it normally took for the commute. Sometimes, driving on a flat tire does make sense: when the risks of stopping are great and when the route to your destination is clearly ahead.

In business, sometimes a bad process acts like a flat tire. No one wants to take the time to stop and fix it, so instead the length of time for the project stretches out interminably ahead. A car needs four good tires otherwise steering and direction changes are limited - plus you could damage the car by driving on a flat. Similarly, a faulty business process limits agility for a project and may damage the team's functioning. In a car, with that flat tire to worry about, suddenly your destination may change. Should you head into the dealership, or your friend's uncle's garage, or keep heading home? With a faulty business process, the project direction may also suffer from unclear direction.

Used Tires
I say if you find yourself dealing with a bad process, advocate fixing it. If you can, fix it yourself. You don't need a permanent solution although setting a precedent is nice. Call the project team together and move on with the 'fix-a-flat' approach - take half a day and figure out how, for this project, a temporary but workable process can be created.

And if your project succeeds, then you've got an especially good case to make for making your improvised process permanent.
Image courtesy of via Flickr

Monday, April 6, 2009

Family calendar

How many calendars do you manage for your family? Many people have one for themselves, one for work, one for the spouse, another for the spouse's work calendar, one for each kid, another for an organization you're part of... it can be overwhelming to coordinate these schedules!
Calendar: Month View by pouwerkerk.

Image by pouwerkerk via Flickr

I come to the challenge equipped with my experience as a project manager, where I'm used to juggling multiple schedules. Even so, the calendar offering from Google was a breath of fresh air.

I use Google calendar already for my personal calendar and to see both public performance events for Indyprov and our separate private rehearsal schedule. (Sorry fanboys, no peekies.)

Next on my list was adding my work calendar in to the google calendar I'd created for myself. Google provides 3 options: 2-way, 1-way to Outlook and 1 way to Google. I opted for the 2 way; during the work day, I'm in the Outlook calendar exclusively. I also wanted to make my personal events private on my work calendar; I did want free/busy info to show, but not all the details of doctor's appointments and any other nefarious activities I may schedule. Note, the Google Calendar Sync only works with Outlook(TM) 2003 and 2007. Here's the instructions for syncing outlook to google calendar:

To set up Google Calendar Sync:

  1. Make sure you're using a supported operating system and Outlook version.
  2. Download Google Calendar Sync (version at
  3. Once a dialog box appears, click Save File. The downloaded file should open automatically. If it doesn't, manually open it from your browser's download window.
  4. Click OK to confirm that you're aware this is an executable file.
  5. Read through the Google Calendar Sync Terms of Service, and click I Agree.
  6. Follow through the Installation Options and click Install to finish the set-up process.
Facebook calendars can be added to Google calendar by URL too. Unfortunately, the event details aren't provided but at least the time is blocked off. I also eagerly anticipate some kind of sync solution for Yahoo Calendar integrating with Google calendar. Sadly, none seems to be available yet.

After all the setup, I end up with an integrated outlook-google calendar that shows kid(s), spouse, and organization schedules in one place.

Hopefully, in the future there will be an affordable wall mounted electronic calendar which can support family planning. In the meantime, I could holster an ipod touch on the fridge.