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Friday, October 31, 2008

Evening Thoughts

Night blogging isn't so good for traffic reasons, but I figure I'll close the week out with some interesting contradictions that have arisen within me.

First, a friend told me I shouldn't spend so much time blogging. Basically the idea was that I should read as much as possible and work on fiction most of the time as that's probably where most of my potential lies.

Sometime I feel that way too, but as the topic by Jenny Frazier pointed out, blogging can be beneficial to your career if you are tact and precise in your subject matter and character. A loose or offensive online image can hurt you too. Right now, I feel like blogging is the easiest way for me to flush out my voice and ideas on a regular basis. I've started up a fiction piece this week and will try to finish it or at least get it moving rather than stopping on the first page like I do most of my short stories. Either way, I'd like to keep blogging as I feel it could help me develop a network of people who are interested in my ideas and whom are interesting to me as well.

Another person I knew told me I shouldn't pursue PR. I respect this person's opinion very much as she's quite successful and extremely good at what she does. Basically she's told me I'm too smart to get an entry level position in a PR firm. I've thought about this and while I know some very smart people who are in the PR business, I don't think that making a lateral, or more like a reverse move, into PR would satisfy me. Right now I'm developing a lot of brain function in the technical side of marketing and PR measurement. I am really challenged most of the time and an additional benefit is I like the people I work with. I think the fact that I am so adept at thinking and writing creatively coupled with my ability to learn and apply technical knowledge will help me develop my career niche down the road. Either way, I have the ability to learn a whole lot of business disciplines in my current role and I feel as if I should definitely exploit that as long as I can. Plus I feel like I am wanted here, which feels good, to be honest.

Anyways, I feel a little under the weather. Today has been pretty weird and unproductive. I've got an editorial piece going out tonight about central MA and it's place in the renewable energy market. Hopefully I can rest this weekend and give some new brain project of mine hell next week.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend and a safe and happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mad Consumers Can Go Green Too!

Came across Real Goods Solar Living and I really like the ideas and products this online retailer is pushing. The products seem pricey compared to places like Wal-Mart or Target, but it's safe to assume the quality and conscience are in everything they're pushing.

Even though I'm a defiant Pagan and hate the traditional aspects of what Christmas represents (selfishness), I really like giving loved ones gifts. I want to find something for everyone that a buy for on this website and others like it. I'm going to be truly conscious about what I purchase this holiday and I hope it shows in what I give as gifts. Maybe the gift will pay itself forward into whomever receives it and that person will become a conscientious shopper as well.

Real Goods Solar, Inc.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Intent with Content: Punches in Bunches

I like to consider myself to be more than just a half-hearted blogger. I do quite a bit of driving and extracurricular in my life and I still feel like I put out some quality content whenever I make the time. There are certain avenues of which I get paid for my writing. None of them are particularly lucrative, but they do help in assuaging the feeling that I'm doing this just for my own pleasure. However, the stipulation ussually presents itself that I keep my rights to whatever content I produce, but that whomever is paying me for it gets to print it first on their website.

This is fine except for the fact that these websites that pay me take a long time to review what I've written and post payment. In which time my piece may not be timely anymore. Therefor I have resolved myself to writing blog posts in bunches so that I can submit them whenever finished and queue them up for my blog posts once the payment and publishing happens on the other end.

I think this solution will help me to keep my creative flow going and allow me to write whenever I want. As long as I write often, I should have a steady stream of paid for blog posts ready to go.

Next step: finding a fairer wage for my articles and blog posts.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Acer Aspire One Shows Ittie Bittie Genius

Friday night I sent my old dog of a laptop out via UPS to Cash for Laptops
and will hopefully be receiving the $350 they quoted me for on my particular model in about a week. I was planning on coughing up another $300 to $500 on a nice, light laptop with accessories that would allow me to be portable when on the go and then dock that baby to a big screen monitor when I get home. That WAS my plan, but then...

Strolling around a local shopping center I stopped at Staples, recalling that a few people I know have found dirt cheap deals randomly at Staples when they're trying to get rid of old stock. I didn't find anything that was on clearance, but I instead I saw the Acer Aspire One. Originally I saw this computer a while ago on a list of best priced laptops. I sort of wrote it off after thinking about the size of it. Regardless of the price which starts around $350.00, I figured the small screen would prove to be an annoyance in the long run. I came to this conclusion without actually seeing or feeling the laptop in person.

Upon playing around with the machine in the store and talking to a knowledgeable and down to earth sales clerk, I think I've become quite close to purchasing the Acer Aspire One. I'm going to shop around a bit this week and read as many reviews and product specs as I can before I make my decision.

I find the downsizing trend of electronics incredible and I'm not sure where it's going to stop. There are some damn supercomputer desktop models spec'd to the hilt that you can buy for $800. Now I can buy a computer that weights 8 lbs. less than my old machine and has twice the operating capacity in every aspect.

Technology is scary and groovy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Empathy versus Sympathy

"No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S. Thompson

Everybody has dreams and aspirations and everyone has had an experience where they fell short of those dreams. In the larger application of this idea, people take chances to become something bigger and better. Choices are made that have consequences. Some consequences are good and others are bad and long lasting.

I'm so fascinated by the concept of risk taking. It's exhilarating.

Does a hero or an admirable person emerge from a high risk situation successfully? Or is the hero a person who is able and willing to accept and address the consequences?

Blind risk taking can be done by any old idiot (e.g. financial CEO's) but risk coupled with accountability. Risk and automatic reward (golden parachutes, high severance pay) is a recipe for disaster.

Here's to building a vision and seeing it through until the end. Here's to sustainability.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Fast Lane Electronic Toll Pass is Useless

So, I've found that my "Fast Lane" pass gets me on the highway somewhat quicker than if I'd have to stop and pay the MassPike toll collectors. But, this point is completely muted by the traffic jams that seem to be a result of "Fast" lanes placed at the Weston and Boston tolls. When one heads North into New Hampshire or Maine, every single lane has an electric payment system installed so traffic can be distributed evenly across the tolls. On the Massachusetts Turnpike, all of the "Fast Lane" traffic is routed to 2-5 (out of 4-10) lanes causing a much worse bottleneck effect than even the tolls alone could cause.

At one point, fewer people had the Fast Lane pass and it was actually of benefit to use it at the toll plazas. Now every morning I see the non-electronic tolls sitting empty for entire minutes while traffic waiting to get through the "Fast Lanes" backs up for hundreds and hundreds of yards.

I know that volume going into Boston is an issue. I know I'm not the smartest duck in the pond when it comes to my commuting choices, but at the moment I need to live outside of Boston for a cheaper cost of living. So, when my only route to my daily destination is clogged to the brim, I'm feeling forced to either look for a job with an easier commute or move back to Boston again (that's not going to happen ANY time soon).

Urban sprawl and inflation are ridiculous. I wish I could afford to live in the city where I work.

AND to top that off, my car insurance went up 30 dollars a month due to living in Worcester. Must be the high rate of homicide, car jackings and terrorist attacks that the insurance adjusters take into consideration.

At least my Toyota Yaris gets great gas mileage and the cost of gasoline is getting better.

That's my gripe post for the week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Email From Seth RE: Gloucester Talk

--My buddy Seth just sent this email out. This is Wednesday night (NOT TUESDAY), if any of you were interested or in the area. If you need a ride or have any questions let me know. Thanks!--

Hi All,

Jim Laurie and myself will be giving a public talk tomorrow (Wednesday) in Gloucester, titled:

"Soils, Fish, Climate and the Gulf of Maine - Strategies for a Sustainable Future".

Please feel free to come and to invite others.

What: Public lecture, "Soils, Fish, Climate and the Gulf of Maine - Strategies for a Sustainable Future".
Where: Sawyer Free Library, 2 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA
When: 7 PM
Who: Jim Laurie & Seth Itzkan
Sponsor: Schooner Adventure Lecture Series.

Sending Out An S.O.S.

Can somebody please sent Saint Bernards and a Swiss search party? I'm completely buried under piles of work!

The title just stuck out in my head, even though I hate The Police like the The Dude (Big Lebowski) hates The Eagles.

I'm going to try to make it to Gloucester tonight for Seth and Jim's presentation. I was only able to contribute a few hours of research due to recent work obligations, but I really want to be there for support and networking reasons. I'm really pumped to hear them put some radical ideas about biology and global warming into peoples heads. So, at 5PM, unless the roof collapses I'm leaving my desk and heading north. I'm well on my way to having everything done already, so it shouldn't be a problem.

I want to write a bit about Hunter S. Thompson's last article for the Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004. It would be interesting to write what he would think (a theoretical interpretation, of course). I also want to share thoughts on new consulting/job angles and making the best of my current situation.

Also, for the record: although I didn't get the job in Chicago that I truly and badly wanted to get, I understand their decision. I learned a lot about the industry and the type of person that is best suited for marketing, sales, PR and advertising of renewable energies and sustainable technologies. I'm not just saying this because I'm hurt or in denial. The next time around, or the time after that (and so fourth) I'll be able to hone in on the exact jobs I want and assert myself correctly to get that job.

I shall try to update when the dust settles. I know this blog is all over the place today. Also, I can't wait to get my other blogs up and running!

Until then, much love.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I <3 Democracy

So, I got a letter yesterday stating that my voting address has been changed and that I am now registered to vote in at my new address. Sweet! I am so happy that I get to vote!

I am going to bring this piece of paper just in case anything shady happens and some angry Republican starts babbling about ACORN.

Also, The Sole Proprietor gave Caitlin and I the best seafood meal that either of us have had in recent memory. Wow! Dijon horseradish Mako is just delicious. I thought to myself, "I am eating something that could just as easily eat me." Maple scallops? Forget about it! Not cheap, but absolutely worth it. Especially when you consider that this seafood is so good and we're in Worcester!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I've Decided My New Blog(s) and Will Be At A Speaking Engagement Next Wednesday

I figure I have two real passions that I can articulate in daily copywriting; green (stuff) and food. As of now, I write and read about both these topics daily and feel I can learn a lot and write a lot about them.

Please stay tuned for an update on the names and addresses of these blogs. I am debating whether I want to use Blogger or Wordpress.

Does anyone have any suggestions for blogging templates? Should I think about getting my own domain name eventually?

I also thought on my drive home last night, wouldn't it be fun to venture into a little video blogging? Especially with cooking and exposes on green (stuff).

If you're wondering what the (stuff) means, it's a work-around way of saying that I haven't narrowed down the green things I want to talk about yet. I'm leaning towards green media and/or green small businesses. I'll also get back to y'all on that matter too!

Also, I'm working on a speaking engagement on the Soil or Broil topic I blogged about last week in Gloucester. Jim and Seth are giving the talk and I'm helping them with researching figures. Seth wants me to talk about the part about Menhaden in Maine... I feel so unprepared! We'll see what I can come up with. I can't wait to meet all these people who are interested in finding new and exciting ways to solve global warming and other environmental issues. I'll try to link to or post up details of the event if anyone is in the area and interested in going.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Won't Be Voting. How Embarassing!

I'm a dummie. Seriously. Maybe even a f*cking @sshole. I moved recently moved and my paperwork for registering to vote got jumbled.

I can't vote. Crap!

Ugh. I have no excuse. I wish bureaucracy wasn't so rigid in its inefficiency, though.

I won't complain about anything that happens after this election. I have no right.

Please make up for my idiocy, MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT!!!

Juggling Blogs- For Good or Bad?

Reading a Twitter post on my account FarAndSavage, a woman posed the question if she should start a food blog to justify her obsession with food. This got me thinking, should JR's Not So Literal Logging stay a generalist blog, or should I figure out what the hell I'm trying to say (and what I'm good at saying) and start pumping out quality, focused content?

I'd really appreciate some input on this subject. I will keep this blog open as a general pool for my thoughts, but I think (and hope others think) that I have produced some decent content along the way and will continue to do so and therefor should be able to put that content to better use in a subject-specific blog.

On a separate note, I wasn't offered the job in Chicago. The reasons why were as I suspected; lack of trade show and technical experience. We'll see how the engineer they hired does as a creative sales and marketing person. I wish him/her the best. I still plan on pursuing a similar position in a "green" business or will attempt to venture into my own business. Whether I stay up local or far off, the pursuit has been tiring but rewarding thus far.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Curry and Computers

I've got plenty on the brain today, but what I find most compelling is the absolutely delicious Potato Curry dish Seth's housemate Rich made at the Sputnik party and the new MacBook Pro that is being blabbered about today.

I always challenge myself to cook new and exciting things that at one point I felt were out of my grasp. In that respect, I feel like cooking is much like life. You get all the right ingredients together one way or another then you start the alchemy with a little bit of heat and hard work. I'm going to purchase a good ol' cast iron pot and cook a curry one of these coming weekends. I really hope I can get my family to eat it, but if they don't I'll have no trouble working the finished product over in a week. Here are some cool links to curry recipes. Not sure which one I'll use yet. If you want to come over and eat, feel free! I'll save some for you ;-)

That reminds me, I want to cook with and for friends more. I feel like if I wind up in my own apartment with my cousin Nick I'll want to make it as homey as possible. Do any of you have interesting recipes I should try to make? Maybe you can make it first and I'll sample it. I'm very open minded, so bring on all challengers!

On the technology side, I've officially sold my old laptop. The beast will serve an immobile person well, but right now I need something lighter. On this live weblog reviewing the new, amazing and expensive Macbook Pro, there is also a section highlighting the best priced laptops on the market. I'll probably for one of them seeing as I don't want to spend too much out of pocket compared to what I got for my elephant laptop.

Are there any hardcore Mac heads reading this? Are there any tangible benefits to owning one? Is it the quality, image, processing power, etc? Or just the coolness of owning high priced machinery? Let me in on your secrets!

On a side note, I have two blips I don't feel like elaborating on too much.

One: why are non-work meetings and conferences scheduled during work hours during work weeks? For someone who doesn't have clout to pull flextime at will, I wish there would be more evening events or weekend events for those of use who simply have to be in the office.

Secondly: I don't think I got the Chicago job. I've just got a feeling. I haven't heard anything and I was supposed to know over a week ago. They're either really torn or so busy with the person they hired that sending my rejection letter is an afterthought. I know I shouldn't be negative, but waiting for an answer makes me miserable. Like I've said before, no matter what happens I'm going to kick, punch and scream my way forward into a career involving sustainability.

That is all for now. Happy Monday on a Tuesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

American Divisive Politik; Ne Pravda

Divide and conquering works, right? This election's politics have been so perplexing in the last year. I'm becoming so terrified with the state of our country and the world surrounding it, the choice of candidates has almost paled to the choices I'll have to make in the coming years, decades and lifetime. I cannot foresee too much major positive change being made in the next four years or maybe even eight years. I think the next president needs to concede his relative powerlessness to the overwhelming financial and national security circumstances that we face and bring the country together rather than invent and demonize a new segment of the world or even our own population to raise fervor and aggression. I don't want anymore war in my lifetime. I never want to kill another person for a made-up cause fabricated by my government. I want to watch people in my community succeed. I want to succeed.

I need something to believe in. I'm so convinced that John McCain is going to lead us to another war if elected president. I don't think he's a terrible person, but all he really knows and loves is the military and I think he truly finds war to be a glorious endeavor. Fighting terrorism and foreign aggression is necessary, but preemptive aggression is unacceptable. I'm voting for Barack Obama because I *hope* he will lead us towards peace. I know nothing is a surefire bet, but I absolutely must vote and I won't let my fears dictate my decisions towards a future filled with war and economic hardship, which is all I have truly known in my adult life under McCain's party.

Obama '08. That's how it has to be. I don't want to, and cannot imagine it any different. May whatever God help us if we cannot get through these tough times.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can't State A Whole Lot Right Now

I logged onto my account yesterday for the first time in about a month and the money I had invested through their website was worth about 1/3 of it's original value. This isn't even as bad as most of the stocks in the market right now. I'm glad I stuck mostly to renewables and steered away from all financials (except for Annaly (NLY)). If the entire economy tanks, I'll probably suffer a little. I won't be able to buy much and I may have trouble staying employed, but we'll all come out of it better off eventually. I'm sort of rooting for the big downfall lately. When we hit bottom we'll be cleansed.

Haven't heard too much regarding my job prospect. Angst and frustration are the words of the day for me. I really hope I hear something by COB today or at least before the weekend. No matter what the outcome is, I just want to know so I can start planning for my immediate future which has been a toss up for quite some time now. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soil or Broil: Thinking Outside of the Greenhouse Effect

Two friends and colleagues of mine, Jim Laurie and Seth Itzkan have compiled a paper entitled: Soil Restoration, Ocean Anoxia, & Menhaden Reduction - New Considerations for Climate Change Dynamics and Mitigation.

I am extremely satisfied with this work as it represents years of research and dialog that have taken place about problems that affect every living being on this planet. Climate change is just one of the many scary events that are happening in this particular point in human existence. War, economic meltdown and social turmoil are all matters that we as a people can look at with a frame of reference to recent history. Dramatic climate change, on the other hand is not.

Until recently, most of the data surrounding carbon levels in the air in relation to planet temperature and atmospheric make-up have been purely speculative. However, recent scientific research has uncovered telltale signs of similar carbon levels as requisite signs of previous extinction episodes.

What other signs are pointing in the direction of an extinction episode related to carbon and it's sequestration? Are humans responsible for this situation, and if so, to what extent? Most importantly, what can be done if it's already not too late?

Please take a few minutes to visit the Soil Age Group on Google Groups, sign up, download the paper and please leave any feedback you have here with me or contact Jim and Seth directly through their emails listed in the document.

New Considerations for Climate Change Dynamics and Mitigation (PDF Format)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just Stop and Listen for a Second

This weekend I got to reconvene with friends and colleagues whom I seemed to have lost touch with in the past months of frenzied self-exploration and development. Despite a lot of work being done on everyone's end to stay afloat in this nasty storm of economic hardship, there are still devoted individuals who toil after some sort of ecologically sustainable alternative to how Americans and the rest of the world live.

It is too easy at times to become shortsighted and deterred from the greater good. Wherever one's moral compass points them towards, the status quo in our every day lives must be maintained through hard work and perseverance. A balanced approach to improving your own life and the lives of others around you is the only way.

I'm looking forward to writing more in the future about the collaborative efforts of some of the friends I have that are making a difference in their every day actions and extracurricular efforts. They're both models for the type of life I try to live and I'm excited to see their ideas fleshing out and becoming tangible as so I can present them to readers of this blog.

Please stay tuned for more information on Seth and Jim's dynamic take on triggers of and solutions to high atmosphere carbon and other global warming events.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quick Before and After Recap of My Day in Chicago

Pre Interview Sitting in a Cafeteria:
Not an entirely bad day thus far. I got up at 5:30 am as planned and found it kind of difficult to get myself in gear. I knew and pained over the fact that today was going to be such a long day. After a good breakfast I got my suit on and headed out the door at 7:00 am. Leaving this early in the past I encountered little to no traffic. Today was different. The ride to Logan took about an hour and forty-five minutes. I kept my cool and didn’t get too upset because I knew if I started my day off angry it wasn’t going to help my interview.
I found parking easily and made it through security with no hang ups. When I made it to my gate they were finishing boarding and I didn’t have to wait in line at all. My layover was in Philadelphia which wasn’t the best airport in recent memory. After looking around in vain for food I decided to head for my gate and find better fare in Chicago. That didn’t exactly work either. I would up paying over $18 dollars for a sandwich, coffee and bottled water. Ridiculous! At this point I was really hungry and thirsty because US Air doesn’t give complementary anything on their flights, so I just sucked It up along with my overpriced sandwich and beverages.

Post Interview Waiting to Board my Plane:

It went well. My flight is boarding so I can’t elaborate too much. They drilled some hard questions, but I fielded them nicely and I don’t feel like I would have said or done anything differently. I was told I’ll hear next week. I really hope I get this job. The people there seem really nice and dedicated to what they do. It could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

The office is literally located ten minutes from the airport. Super easy for getting to. I could live anywhere and have direct access. The company is growing fast. I think I have a good chance of getting a job offer. We'll see.

Wish me luck. No matter what happens I am so happy I went!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Internet Addicted Tree Hugger

Time for a new computer? Quite possibly! This guide gave me a few more interesting things to think about before buying.

Having a work laptop computer is a nice perk. I am allowed to work at home a couple times a week if I really want to and I can finish up work that I don't complete during office hours at home if the pressure is on. I currently use an IBM ThinkPad that is quite a workhorse. I think the actual machine is four years old but it has had memory upgrades to handle the applications and software that I use regularly. Also, it's really light! I'd be surprised if my work laptop weighed more than 5 pounds.

Then there is the big baby that I use at home. She weighs upwards of 10 lbs. A Hewlett Packard Pavilion, it has served me very well and has never had a hardware problem in the four years I've owned it. I originally bought it as a replacement for my laptop that was stolen in Prague. It was big, fast and badass and the best laptop on the market at the time. Now there are laptops at half the weight with double the features for 2/3 of the price! What a world, huh?

Either way, I debated getting a desktop, but I'd like to conserve energy and also stay as mobile as possible. Carrying my current home compy around is terrible. I want something much lighter and not too pricey. I miss being able to carry around my older, yet much lighter laptop to cafes and bookstores and doing geeky things no matter where I was! I'll also probably get a docking station that will allow me to hook up to a large monitor with extra USB ports and such when I come home and want to login.

Hopefully my purchase as an American consumer goes to a company that actually cares about the environment AND economy!

Please leave a comment if you have any advice on which of the computers in the Green Buying Guide are good or not. I'd appreciate it!