My first foray into Dramamine = disappointing

I used to be a nerve-free flyer.

I should still be a nerve-free flyer.

Over the past year, I have become a nervous flyer. Not quite a nervous wreck, mind you, but I definitely don’t “sit back and enjoy the flight” as instructed.

I’ve come to several explanations as to why this has occurred. First, my father, now retired, was an airline captain and a fighter pilot in the Air Force before that. Granted, this exposed me to much information about the scientific and technical aspects of flying. However, it also exposed me to “that was a close one” stories and “boy was my co-pilot inept” stories. If my father was in the captain’s seat every time I flew, I’d feel much better. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option.

My other explanation is turbulence. Last summer, while flying into Madison from Chicago with my boyfriend, we took off and flew into some turbulence caused by a nearby thunderstorm. This wasn’t just slight bumps. This was drastic altitude fluctuations + boyfriend hitting his head on the ceiling + me white-knuckling my seat turbulence. Ever since then, any slight bump during a flight gets my stomach churning.

I’ve given up trying to find a solution to my paranoia. None of this “imagine you’re floating on a sea of clouds” and “it’s just a bumpy day on the ocean of air” crap. (And yes, you can find these suggestions via Google if you’re interested.) I’m going to be a nervous flyer, and that’s that.

Therefore, my next logical step to get me through necessary flights has to be drugs. (OK, I’m exaggerating a bit here, and when I say “drugs,” I really mean over-the-counter drug store tablets that are supposed to induce drowsiness.) (more…)

July 11, 2009 at 2:24 am Leave a comment

U Street upgrade project site lacks Web two point oh-ness

ustreetimage

File this one in the annals of Web2., uh, sort of?

It appears as though a U Street upgrade project is underway in the District, and the D.C. DOT has created a nifty little Web site to involve the public in the process. Well, perhaps I should put the word “involve” in quotation marks.

Unfortunately, the site only includes broad descriptions of the project – currently in the “design” phase. (more…)

July 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

Nonprofit social networks: Is quantity trumping quality?

I recently completed an exhaustive clearing out of Facebook “friends,” and I have to admit, it was pretty refreshing. Refreshing like cleaning out an old pile of mail that includes expired coupons, already-paid bills and never-to-be-opened direct mail letters (don’t mention that to the rest of the development department at my non-profit). Refreshing like getting rid of piles of never-to-be-worn clothes. Refreshing like … getting rid of old clutter.

I have nothing against many of the people I defriended. Many were pretty nice individuals when they became my Facebook friends, and likely still are. But I realized over the past week that even though my friend total was pretty healthy, the value of my network wasn’t that great. As fun as it is to peek in on old dorm acquaintances and random classmates from high school, I realized I didn’t really want them in my network. I wanted my network to include people I actually corresponded with, people I wanted to follow because I was truly interested in their updates, people who added value to my network. (more…)

July 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

A long overdue update on the Real World DC house

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about the Real World DC house developments which, as I’ve lamented in previous posts, is painfully close to my apartment in Dupont Circle. A few things of note:

  • The show’s … what do I call them? contestants? victims? … have a hot tub right below sidewalk level. Keep in mind that near this corner is 1) a DC public charter school 2) a Safeway convenience store and 3) a hangout for well-meaning yet often outspoken members of DC’s homeless community. Luckily for us neighborhood residents, the hot tub has a privacy screen.
  • The house has a security guard. I was walking to the convenience store after dark one evening and noticed him attempting to quell several heckling gawkers. It seemed to me that he was sympathetic to the gawkers’ opinions.
  • There are currently chains on the entrance gate. Word is still out on whether this is to keep onlookers out or the Real World victims (yes, I’ve now chosen a word to identify them by) in.
  • The house glows at night. I’m serious. Let me explain. The windows have a special coating over them that gives them a dark appearance and presumably prevents people like me from seeing what’s going on inside. However, when film crews turn studio lights on in the house, it creates a disturbing glowing effect. It’s very “Doctor Who,” except without the awesomeness of David Tennant or a Dalek.

So there you have it. More updates on the pointless, soulless business that is reality TV. You may now return to your regularly scheduled, likely more important, Internet activities.

June 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm Leave a comment

My(dwindling)Space

This just in from Mashable, via the New York Times: MySpace is slashing 30% of its staff, bringing it to a total of 1,000 U.S. employees (Facebook has 850).

Which brings up the already much-asked question: Is MySpace peaking? (Or … has MySpace peaked?)

From a nonprofit and advocacy perspective, I’ve found that MySpace just isn’t as useful as Facebook. During a session at the recent Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in DC, many commented that what make those Facebook newsfeeds so pesky and annoying  – the applications and widgets – are precisely what make the platform useful for organizing and advocacy. (The benefits of organizing events, house parties, Causes, etc. seemed to outweigh the main drawback of Facebook: nonprofit group and fan pages cannot “friend” other users, but have to attract users to their pages). (more…)

June 16, 2009 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

Social media quote of the day

“The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what make it so powerful.” – Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School professor

Taken from a New York Times piece on the power of social media in the Iran elections.

June 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Avoiding the wonk

This morning, I read a good piece on Care2’s “Frogloop” blog about engaging new online activists and came across one of the best phrases I’ve heard in awhile:

“Avoid the wonk.”

A lot of organizations that “get” online communications are keeping this in mind. Some recent examples from my inbox:

“Improving women’s health is fundamental to improving our nation’s health care system — and that means that Planned Parenthood must be an essential part of health care reform.” – Planned Parenthood, tying their organization’s mission into the health care debate with one sentence

“Your generosity today enables Greenpeace to take on in-depth and global research that ties the Brazilian cattle industry to huge multinational corporations. More than that, it allows Greenpeace to take action against corporations and the governments that shield them and to show them that we will expose and hold them accountable.” – Greenpeace explains why a donation matters

“By deploying a fisheries management program called “catch shares,” we can make fish more abundant and fisheries more profitable — for generations to come.” – Care2 summarizes scientific studies

“If King Coal lobbyists get their way, communities close to these toxic coal ash sites will be left vulnerable to arsenic, mercury, selenium, and other coal toxins, and they will continue to face a very high, 1 in 50, risk of cancer.” – The Sierra Club details the dangers of toxic coal ash

Of course, saying you’re going to avoid the wonk and actually doing it are two very different things. (more…)

June 12, 2009 at 5:52 pm 1 comment

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