Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beef or chicken, tell me what you want

The correct answer may be "none of the above."

Janean and I went out last night at the wonderful Indian restaurant Palace at the Ben in Center City. For starters we had the Murg Malai Kabab, a tandoor cooked chicken dish. Janean had a vegetarian curry and I had a lamb curry for the main course. It was phenomenal! I found myself recanting my recent musings on becoming vegetarian. Between meals like last night's and Texas BBQ like Rudy's or County Line, I'm not sure I could keep that commitment. 

And now this...143 Million pounds of beef recalled because of a facility in California that was forcing downer cows into the slaughterhouse. There are so many words in that last sentence that just make me sick. 


Dream out loud

Andrew Wyeth. (American, born 1917). Christina's World. 1948. MoMA Collection.

I recently came across a noteworthy Bono quote from an anti-fascism event in Germany in early 1992.

"As much as we need to describe the kind of world we live in, we need to dream up the kind of world we want to live in. In the case of a rock & roll band that is to dream out loud, at high volume, to turn it up to eleven. Because we have fallen asleep in the comfort of our freedom.

Rock & roll is for some of us a kind of alarm clock. It wakes us up to dream! It has stopped me from becoming cynical in cynical times. Surely it is the inherited cynicism of our political and economic thinking that contributes so much to the despair of the 1990s."

I like the image of dreaming out loud. That sentiment found its way into the title track of the album U2 was recording at the time, Zooropa. And rock & roll can be an alarm clock, but can it be a cure for cynicism? I think in U2's music, it often is. There were some moments in U23D that my cynical side wasn't so sure about, but Bono is a sincere optimist -- something I admire. It takes great courage to not be a cynic. It takes a willingness to look like a rube or a simpleton in order to stick to one's principles or ideals. And for those of us who take great pleasure in the comedy of Jon Stewart and The Onion, entertaining the viewpoint of an optimist who is full of sincerity serves a refreshing balancing function. 


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Knowing it is half the battle

I live and breathe web analytics at work so I don't know why it took so long for me to think of putting Google Analytics code on Faraway, So Close, but as of yesterday, we're fully tagged! Comcast Interactive is an Omniture shop, but Google Analytics, somewhat simplistic though it may be, is free and oh so easy to set up.

I was surprised at how excited I was to see it working. I remember feeling the same way when we transitioned to Omniture's SiteCatalyst platform last year. It is very gratifying to see these tools tell us about the people who visit our sites.

Since last night, Faraway, So Close has a respectable bounce rate of 50%! I would think that's especially good for a blog. Of course we've only logged three visits and three page views. So much for engagement. Guess I better keep posting fresh content. Got to build that readership so I can kick the monetization strategy into high gear.

One surprise: in terms of referring traffic, 50% of our traffic today has come from organic search. Someone visited the Tom Turkey's Disguise post from a Google search results page. Sure enough, we rank fourth in Google's organic search for the term "Tom Turkey's Disguise."

If you are interested in learning more about how people are responding to your blog, click here. It's as simple as signing up for an account, having their site generate some code and pasting it into your HTML template. Then go back to the GA site, login and start generating reports, analysis and insight! Fun stuff!


Did you ever know that you're my hero?

Ok, enough of that sap. There's a mild chance I'll get to meet Lance Armstrong at a conference I'll be attending in a few weeks. I'm a big fan of Lance. In fact it is fair to say that he played a big part in why I started cycling in 2004. And in five years of living in Austin, I never had the chance to meet him.

I met Michael Dell at an MBA recruiting event in Austin in 2000. I don't remember what I said, but I do remember thinking after the fact that it was pretty stupid. So in the spirit of tapping the wisdom of crowds (you), I could use some help.

In case I do get to meet Lance, what should I say to him? Some possibilities:

- Uh, do you remember when you beat Jan Ullrich on Alpe d'Huez in 2001? That was awesome!
- Hey Lance, will you autograph a copy of Sheryl Crow's new album for me?
- Lance, did you know that I dressed up as you for Halloween once? How about you dress up as me next year?
- So, Ashley Olsen, eh? What's up with that?

As you can see, I'm in need of some suggestions. Any help you could provide would be very, um, helpful.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Yes We Can

The boy and I went to see Barack Obama at a rally in Wilmington, DE yesterday. There were 20,000 people there. Very impressive. Senator Obama was impressive as well. The boy asked lots of appropriate questions like, "why does he keep talking about change?" and "why is everyone clapping?" 

And as further testament to Obama fever, the following video is making waves. You're probably only going to be inspired by this stuff if you're an Obama supporter. I like the guy, so I find it moving. Check it out. 

I like's description of the creation of the song and the video. 48 hours start to finish. Very impressive!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Faraway, So Close is officially endorsing the candidacy of Barack Obama for President of the United States in 2008. There may not be much distance between Obama and Clinton in terms of policy, but I believe he'll be able to get more done. Both are solid on the "what" but Obama has won me over on the "how." Besides, do we need another chapter in the Bush-Clinton-Bush rotation? End the cycle!


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hmmmmmm...... Big Tomy's

Favorite breakfast dive in LA. Responsible for at least 15 pound of
weight gain during my two years in LA.

Santa Monica

Spent a few days in LA this past week. Got Huevos Rancheros at Big
Tomy's and ate breakfast at the beach. Very nice.

Kids in the Mall