Showing posts with label links. Show all posts
Showing posts with label links. Show all posts

Travel Plans Sometimes Change

For those of you who were worried about me after I posted that quote yesterday - don't be. I just thought it was beautiful but yes, a little intense.

Things here are good but a bit stressed. We are working on wrapping up about four projects and are just really looking forward to taking some time in December to relax. Having too much work is really a good thing for people in our situation (freelancers without a stable paycheck), but we're both feeling a little bit burned out. Also, we're half way through our last week in Tokyo and try as I might to stay calm, I always get a little tense as I begin to emotionally prepare to move on to a new apartment, a new city. We've gotten really comfortable here - we have our little corner store, our favorite local pub (Standing Bar Clover in Shinjuku - we love you!), our nightly ritual of ice cream - and as much as I love this vagabonding life style, you do give up that warm comfort of the familiar every time you move on. Occasionally it all feels very sweet and I begin to feel a little less like Kerouac in On the Road and a little more like the protagonist in Last Night in Montreal (a good book - go read it).

On Sunday we'll be taking the train south to Osaka and Kyoto where we'll intersperse working with taking in the stunning turning of the leaves and enough shrines to last a life time. I'm looking forward to it - but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things we're working to get done in the meantime.

In other news, today there was an escalation in the conflict between North and South Korea. North Korea bombed a small South Korean island and South Korea responded in kind. All is quiet at the moment but of course the international heavyweights (America, the UK and China) have all weighed in and it remains to be seen whether this is just a blip or something to be worried about. We are due to take the ferry to South Korea on December 10th where we were planning to stay, mostly in Seoul, until January 3rd. Now we're kind of second guessing ourselves and wondering if we shouldn't just spend the holidays somewhere cheap and cheerful like Laos. I'm going to sleep on it.

For those of you who are interested, we've been involved in a few interesting projects lately:

  • Last week the Groubal Customer Satisfaction Index website launched. It takes social media data from places like Facebook and Twitter and analyzes sentiment to determine how satisfied the customers of over 200 brands are. The data updates hourly. It's pretty cool. 
  • To complement the game, we also worked on a stock market like Facebook game that allows players to try to anticipate how companies will rank, earning or losing game currency depending on whether they make the right bets. 
  • Yesterday I published an article on Contentini called Micro Copy: Content Strategy and Writing the User Interface, which is getting quite a bit of web love. For the most part, I find the content strategy community really encouraging and connected. It feels like we're forging new territory and instead of fighting for a piece of a pie, we're working together to try and build the best knowledge base possible to do truly outstanding work. 
  • I try to update A Tramp Abroad once a week. My last three posts have gotten 18, 36 and 20 comments and it's great to be able to connect with such a great group of travelers over there. 
Good night Internet. 

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Wrestler Inspired by Tori Amos

I looked out the dressing room door and saw the Japanese preliminary wrestlers taking down the ropes, beginning the process of putting the barbed wire around the ring. The wire they used was the real stuff: cold and uncaring, capable of tearing flesh in a hurry. I knew I had about 30 minutes before the wiring process was completed—a half-hour to undergo a drastic mental transformation. I took out my battered Sony Walkman and, after great deliberation, bypassed the obvious hard-rock selections. Finding solitude in a far corner of the frigid backstage area, I saw a cloud of my own breath as I pressed the play button. "Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens/ Wipe my nose, get my new boots on."
... I'm thankful for everything Tori has motivated me to do inside, and especially outside, the wrestling ring. For many years, I had thought of the fight against sexual violence as one best waged by women and survivors of assault. But then I heard that voice one night, in my beat up Chevy minivan, on my way home from some other road trip I can't recall. "When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do?"
Excerpt from The Wrestler and the Cornflake Girl: Wrestling Legend Mick Foley Explains how Tori Amos Changed His Life

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You've Been Schooled

I am in love with The School of One. A girl from Cleveland, who graduated from university in 2001, has decided that in the face of a shitty economy and lack of inspiring prospects, she will spend her time learning about all the things she never had a chance to during her formal education. As a way of formalizing the process and sticking to her plan, she's created a syllabus, the above schedule and a blog to document her experiences and help her keep on track.

I think it's a beautiful idea and it makes me realize that maybe I should try to formalize some of the little projects and interests I'm cultivating during this year of travel. For so many people, the response to joblessness is to go back to school and spend a crap load more money. But it seems to me that the success of the endeavor really depends on what you're trying to get out of it. If the intention is to follow your interests and explore the world with curiosity, you don't need a professor or a piece of paper at the end; a library card, an Internet connection and a comfortable pair of shoes can be enough. The concept is totally non-elitist and it elevates a personal investment in learning into something tangible and meaningful. Creating and scheduling time for something makes it a priority, not just another hobby.

Formal education can be a wonderful thing if you are able to afford it, and it can provide the basis for a great community of people who are interested in similar subjects. But unless you have a specific vocation in mind that requires a certificate to prove your knowledge, I wonder if the bureaucracy of 'School' really feeds the desire to know and learn or whether it just stifles and tricks us into thinking that there's only one right way to understand the world, one 'valued' way of accumulating knowledge.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer. But I am already working on my own syllabus. :)

Image Credit: The School of One

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Links - June 6 to June 26

I've been a little lazy with the weekly link post, so here's an abbreviated catch up on some of my favourite things on the Internet over the past few weeks.
  • Best Travel Books for Laughs - Baltimore Sun: A nice list of fun, summery travel reads. 
  • 750 Words: Great online writing app that encourages and enables you to write 750 words per day, based on the idea of morning pages. Since starting, I've been on a seven day streak and have written well over 5,000 words. It's surprisingly motivating. 
  • Let the Pill Go Free - New York Times: A convincing argument for why the birth control pill should be available over the counter without a prescription, which I happen to agree wholeheartedly with.
  • Journalists Trash Palin Speech - Salon: Sarah Palin is truly a horrible person with a scary sense of entitlement. After student journalists found a copy of her contract to speak at their university in the rubbish and reported on her very high speaking fee, she banned them from her talk. Sounds like they didn't miss much though. 
  • Info Graphic: The True Cost of Home Ownership - Moolanomy: People always say that it's silly to rent if you can buy. This graphic lays things out pretty clearly and shows what each actually cost and when you are better doing one over the other. Not that we ever need to really worry about this given in London it's completely unaffordable to buy anything. :(
  • Inside a Wave: Epic Photography by Clark Little - Dark Roasted: Beautiful photos of the inside of giant waves - something most of us will never get to see in person. 
  • Are DJs, Rappers and Bloggers Curators? - American Association of Museums: An interesting perspective in the seemingly endless argument about who is and is not a curator that is going on in web-land right now.
  • When Good Things Happen to Bad People: Heart Advice for Difficult Times - The Rejectionist: We all like to believe that what goes around, comes around but that isn't always the case. This is a funny little post about how to cope when shitty people see great rewards. 
  • Wimbledon Live Blog (All Eleven Hours!) - The Guardian: This account turns hilarious as the reported is forced to continue blogging for the record breaking Wimbledon game on 23rd June.
  • Over 40 Mosquito Bite Itch Relief Tips - Tip Nut: Lots of good ideas here, including making use of things most people probably have lying around the house. I've tried a number of these in the past few weeks and tea tree oil works well. My favourite though, which is not on this list, is liquid aspirin.
  • The Beauty of Paper Art - Smashing Magazine: Despite my recent Kindle fixation (an evil necessary because we're traveling and books are heavy), there is nothing comparable to the tangible, weighty loveliness of paper. This post features some lovely eye candy of art made from paper. 
  • The Pantone Guide to Communicating With Colour - Apple: A great refresher for graphic designers, artists or anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of how we react to different colours.
  • Publishing Restrictions on Night Time Photos of the Eiffel Tower - Just another ridiculous example of copyright restrictions gone wild. Did you know that it's actually illegal to publish photos of the the ET taken at night? Why? Well, the lights on them are subject to copyright. Yeah, dumb. 
  • World Cup Planning App - Great online tool to help you plan all your World Cup watching activities and parties.
  • Glee vs. Copyright - Do As I Say, Not As I Do - Boing Boing: Highlighting the hypocrisy of the stringent and unrealistic copyright rules Murdoch would impose on people by examining Glee, which is shown on Murdoch's Fox.
  • The 10 Best Japanese Ghost Towns - Asylum: Beautiful pictures. Hard to believe these places exist in Japan, where most of us imagine wall to wall people a la Tokyo. We'll definitely try to visit some of these during our time in Japan this winter. 
  • Online Database of Social Media Policies - Social Media Governance: Great resource. Also searchable by industry.
  • How 'Old' Can a Young Writer Be? - New York Times: A bit depressing for those of us inching deeper into our thirties, it's an examination of the average age many of the great writers wrote their masterpieces.
  • Ignite London Venue and Date Announced: Very excited that Ignite London has announced the date and venue for their next event. Those of you who are in London will want to pencil in 28th September - it's sure to be a great event.
  • How Do They Get to Be That Way? - Roger Ebert: A thoughtful and touching response to the situation in Arizona where the face on a mural was painted white in response to a racist reaction.
Personal Links
Apart from here on Making Strange, I've been busy on Contentini, the Lost and Looking Project, I wrote an article for The Guardian, have some new posts up on The Januarist and put together a guest blog for Ignite London. In other self-serving news, check out (my partner in tourista stomach) and his other project Amorphous Blog for more genuinely good content.

Please feel free to leave links to content you've enjoyed in the comments section!

Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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Links - May 30 to June 5

June 5
June 4
June 1
May 31
May 30:
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser   

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Links - May 23 to 29

May 29

May 28
May 27
May 26
May 24
May 23
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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Links - Week of May 15 to 22

I've fallen a little behind in my weekly link post, but here's to getting things back on track. I'm afraid these links are a bit self-involved this week as I've been posting a lot on personal projects (both new ones and old ones that are being revitalised).

May 22
May 21
May 20
May 18
May 17
May 15
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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Links - Week of April 3 to April 10

Part of my ongoing weekly attempt to share my favourite web things, as bookmarked in Delicious.

April 10
April 9
April 8
April 7
April 6
April 5
Previous Related Making Strange Posts: 
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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Links - March 28 to April 4

I've started using , which automatically sends the links I share via Twitter to my Delicious bookmark set. It works great and it even transfers over tags so that everything remains nicely categorised. For more superfluous stuff that you don't actually care about bookmarking, you can set-up so that it doesn't transfer over Tweet links that use a pre-determined tag (i.e. #nd). works great so far and any issues I've had are my own (I've forgotten to tag tweets and so find myself going into Delicious to tag them after the fact). It's great to know that all the links I like will find their way into my inconsistently categorized pile of bookmarks in Delicious because it's so easy to loose things in Twitter, especially as their search functionality doesn't look any farther back than a week.

In honour of my exciting new bookmarking system, I thought I'd try to get in the habit of posting my weekly list of things I liked on here. Normally it will happen on Sundays, but today is a bank holiday, so same delio:

April 2
April 1
March 30
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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