Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Amaryllis series 3/31/09 AM

Amaryllis series 3/31/09 AM, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Dolores took the plant back into school today so her kindergarten friends can observe the bloom process directly.

The next day or so will be dramatic. I can just imagine the look on their faces as they come into the classroom in the morning to see what has occurred since they left.

Such joy in learning!

PCWM -> the total experience - priceless!

"Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions." - William Allin

As a life long learning, I am always on the lookout for good opportunities. So when PodCamp Western Mass popped up on the radar, I volunteered to help with the Welcome/Registration Desk. @mmpartee asked if I could set up the EventBrite registration and I said yes. I set about learning how to do so and it was relatively easy. I double checked my info, ensuring I had covered all the spelling and grammatical areas that I could and sent it out into the world. I registered myself and it worked nicely. Woot! Woot!

Spreading the word about PodCamp was next on the agenda. I set up posts on Steve's 2 Cents and Franklin Matters to run a couple of times each before the event.

I tweeted a few times. @writerjax set up a social media press release which made it easy to use. EventBrite also has a Twitter and Facebook function built in so you can post to those areas under your account.

The registrations started accumulating and closed the night before the event at 35. Pretty good for a first time event!

A few more registrations on the day off and the event was off and running. Lots of buzz in the main gathering spot. More buzz in each session room. Even more buzz as all came back for lunch.

@mmpartee @tishgrier @writerjax and others set up a nice event. The facility, Open Square, was a rehabilitated old paper mill. How cool is that? The rooms were abuzz with talk of new media where once paper was made!

The sharing and learning continues as folks are posting their reflections, their videos, their pictures.

My quick summary would paraphrase the MasterCard commercial:
  • Registration fee to attend PodCamp Western Mass - $20
  • Tolls on the MA Pike - FASTLane
  • Drive to Holyoke – 90 minutes
  • Learning and sharing about blogging, Twitter, and the other social media tools – priceless!

My photo slide show from PodCamp Western Mass can he seen here

Little Red Riding Hood - updated version

This is a good experience!

SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

Thanks to the tip from the Very Short List

Monday, March 30, 2009

Slide Show: Podcamp Western Mass

My slide show of the photos I took on Saturday in Holyoke at the initial PodCamp Western Mass.



sheep herding is art!

What is a good experience? Sometimes, it is hard to define but when you see it, you can recognize it as such. This video is creative in so many ways.


Thanks to @valeriestevens for the tip!

PCWM Video

While I get my thoughts and pictures together, here is a good video recap put together by Leslie Lambert (@leslielambert) on PodCamp Western Mass held in Holyoke on Saturday, March 28th.

Yes, anytime a podcamp happens, it is a great time!


National Poetry Month - April

National Poetry Month arrives April 1st.

I will be challenging myself to do a sherku daily.

What is a sherku?

Click over to quiet poet to read and find out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The tri-corner hat story

At PodCamp Western Mass, my brief tri-corner hat story got recorded for all to hear.

Thanks to agawam68 for sharing!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

lunch time at #pcwm

lunch time at #pcwm, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Talking about social media builds up your appetite. Getting food only helps to further the conversation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Incredible fins

With these Lunocet fins you can be more fish-like in water motion and according to the product info achieve speeds faster than Michael Phelps!

Looks like this might be an item for the wish list.
Only might, because have you checked out the price for these?

job search notes: the exchange zone

Are you prepared to deliver your pitch to the next person you meet?

"Hello, Steve Sherlock here. How may I help you?"
This was a line I used countless times in my first technology role more than 20 years ago.

Since that time, I have expanded the customer service skills I learned into pulling together a group of people, focusing on the objective at hand, working smartly, trying to have a little fun along the way, to deliver the project on time, within budget and with high customer satisfaction.

Now I am about to find the next audacious opportunity to create a win/win. For me, I gain a modest income. For the company, they obtain the use of all my skills to create a sustainable positive improvement to the bottom line.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in pursuing this opportunity, please let me know.

My LinkedIn profile can be found here

Do U Know TXT?

Do you know what ROTFL means? Or LOL?
Now you can find out.

What to translate your message into hip texting terms?
Now you can do that.

Back in the fall of 2008 at BlogHer's Reach Out Tour when it came to Boston, I signed up to receive early notice when LG's DTXTR site was going live. I just received word that the site has JUST launched at http://www.lgdtxtr.com, and promotion of it will begin later today.

The site features include:
  • DTXTR Translator: An interactive tool that allows you to translate your “plain English” text messages into shorter, more hip texts at the push of a button.
  • DTXTR Glossary: An alphabetical, searchable list of over a thousand of the most popular text terms - including the ones submitted at the BlogHer Reach Out Tour.
  • Do U Know TXT: An ever changing interactive quiz that challenges you to translate popular text phrases into text slang.
  • Texting Tips: Everything you need to know about texting, managing a texting teen, and thinking smart about text plans.
  • Sweepstakes: Monthly opportunities to win an LG enV2 or LG Lotus phone

Please check out the site. It may very well your solve your texting problems/questions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

job search notes: use introductions

I don't want to sound like I am beating a dead horse but here is a good re-enforcement of leveraging your network. The LinkedIn feature of "Introductions" avoids the problem referenced here.

MYTH: A great way to network for a job is to contact people who work at your target companies, and ask them to get your resume into HR.
Here's the scenario: You're sitting at your desk. You're doing your job. The phone rings, and on the other end is a person you don't know, who wants you to hand his resume into your HR department. This random, bizarre scene replays itself every day. Calling strangers to ask for help -- and worse, an introduction to the HR department, notwithstanding the fact that the "conduit" doesn't know you from Adam -- is not networking, it's telephone spam.

Reality: Your own friends, friends-of-friends, and friends-of-friends-of-friends can make introductions for you. Leave everyone else alone.

Read the full article by Liz Ryan, The Savvy Networker here on Yahoo.

The short story on the use of LinkedIn.
  • build your network
  • leverage your network via Company search
  • leverage your network via "Introductions"
  • and when landed, don't forget to tell your network how you did it, especially thanking them for their help along the way
If you would like more specifics on any of these steps, reach out and ask me.

Reflections from the Social Media Jungle/Boston

It is about time, that I complete my reflections from the Social Media Jungle held in Boston (Waltham) on March 10th. #SMJBOS

Social media jungle – the word, jungle conjures up images of tropical heat, long creeping vines, the chattering and squeaking of wild life. The event was far from this picture. SMJBOS was held in a corporate complex carved out of the side of a hill overlooking a multi-lane highway. Specifically held in a room with the straight back chairs arrayed in rows facing the projection screen. Coffee and refreshments located on a table in the back

Indeed the jungle really is more like the woods Dorothy and friends entered on their way to the Emerald City chanting “Lions, tigers and bears, oh my. Lions, tigers and bears, oh my.” You see going into the woods or jungle together is one of the best practices to follow. Whether you use Twitter or LinkedIn, or any number of the social media tools, you need to remember that they are just that, tools! The connections they enable are amongst real people with like interests.

Social media should emphasize the social part of bringing people together in a community. Leah Busque (@RunMyErrand) picks up on this. She puts errand requests together with people who offer to fulfill the errands. She creates “service networking” with her application RunMyErrand.com/.

Jason Jacobs (@runkeeper) taps into peer pressure and builds a fitness community by making it easy, indeed seemless. His application uses the 3G iPhone to track and update your running or biking workout. The results mapped provide more data that you normally would provide by hand in a log book, if you used one. The 3G iPhone makes it so easy, you won't need the manual log. Jason says, “I started a fitness company and nine months later, I am on a social media panel discussion.”

Laura Fitton (@Pistachio) made the comparison of Twitter as the stone in the stone soup story. The story goes back to the Brothers Grimm. While there are many variations, a stranger generally comes to town looking for food. The natives decline to provide him any. He picks up a good size stone and asks to borrow a pot to make some stone soup. He fills it with water, builds a fire and starts cooking. As he tastes the soup as it cooks, he remarks that it would taste better if the soup had some carrots. A carrot or two appears. And so on, he asks for something miraculously, the items appear and eventually he has a real soup. Started with a stone. Twitter is a communication stream, that's all. But look at what has developed around it.

Justin Levy (@justinlevy) put his passion for grilling to the test. His acronym HELP outlines this keys to success. Hustle (there is no easy way but hard work). Engagement (in conversation, building community and credibility). Learning (continuous learning, trial and error is required). Passion (bottom line, this drives it all).

Christopher S Penn (@cspenn) puts his analytic mastery to use. The two keys, knowing what metrics you use and how do you adjust the process/operations to meet or change the metrics.

Steven Dill (@srdill) talked about writers having an advantage in social media. They already have the “idea translator to words” working for them. Yes, they should.

Matthew Mamet (@msmamet) talked of the use of video to augment the story. Start with a healthy mix of scripted and unscripted lines. Gradually move from the heavily scripted lines to be more courageous by mixing in unscripted lines. Makes a whole lot of sense. Heavily scripted reduces the fear factor. As time goes along and the video recording experience becomes more comfortable, more natural, then you can go with less scripted lines and be more unscripted but still on target.

Maria Thurrell (@MaThurrell) and Alexa Scordato (@Alexa) together told the story of how they met via social media. The best idea from their session was to use reverse mentoring to help the elders “get it”. Pair elders with millenials. The pairing can help share the social media knowledge the millenials have picked up naturally and help the elders continue to maintain and foster the relationships they already have but may loose as they loose mobility. “We can't solve the world's problems by segmenting ourselves”, together we can succeed.

Mike Langford (@MikeLangford) raised a good question: “Are the frames of reference the same for each group coming into social media?” When you think about it, the answer should be “no, they are not”. So how to deliver one application to have the ability to adjust for elders, for millenials, for boomers? Very interesting question. Some sites today have a text enlargement capability. That is only one step. What about other usability factors?

Thanks to Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) for taking the lead to put this together. I enjoyed going into the jungle. This was a great group of folks to enter the social media jungle with.

PodCamp Western Mass - March 28th - Holyoke

It's time to bring the PodCamp concept to Western Mass. We have a thriving community here of some truly amazing people. This is a chance for Western Mass bloggers, business people, artists, and academics, to get together, make connections, and for everyone to learn how social media can enhance their business, cause or organization. This is also a chance to celebrate the cornucopia of Western Mass. culture, a joyous blend of urban and rural; business, artistic and academic; near enough to other large metro areas, but small enough to hear yourself think.

When: Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where: Open Square in Holyoke, Second Floor

(Open Square is the mill building across the street from The Wherehouse. Entrance to parking is from either Lyman Street or Dwight Street. Open Square is located between the first and second level canals, which are bordered by Race St and Front St. The nearest entrance to the stairs and elevator is marked with a very large white "4".)

  • Please use the tag PodCampWesternMass or hashtag #pcwm or #pcwm09 for content related to this event

Rough Schedule:

Looking to set up 3 breakouts for each session time after the Opening Remarks

8:30 to 9:00 - Welcome desk and coffee (?)
9:00 to 9:30 - Opening Remarks: Explanation of Unconference Format.
9:30 to 10:30 - Session 1
Break (1/2 hr.)
11:00 to Noon - Session 2
Noon to 2:00 - Lunch
2:00 to 3:00 - Session 3
Break (1/2 hr)
3:30 to 4:30 Session 4
4:30 to 5:00 Closing Remarks

You can register for PodCamp Western Mass here


I will be traveling out to Holyoke to run the Welcome Desk, if anyone would like to join drive from Franklin with me, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"goal is to inspire action"

From my good PodCamp friend, Chris Brogan:
Do you know why Christopher S. Penn and I started PodCamp? Because we both felt that these tools like podcasting, blogging, video, and social networking were really going to have a huge impact on how business gets done, and how people can communicate. We felt deeply within our hearts and minds that educating people on a peer level, and spreading the model far and wide would be a way to inspire action from passionate minds with a desire to build new kinds of relationships.
Have you been to a PodCamp yet?

Why not consider PodCamp Western Mass? Holyoke is a good day trip for a Saturday!

Let's go fly a kite

One fun summer and spring activity of youth was to fly a kite. Here is a brief 5 minute video on how the next generation of kites can provide electricity.

Ben are you listening?


job search notes: Catalysts drive action

the private sector in America needs buoyancy. At this dark hour, I commend the audacity of three writers, Jeanne Liedtka,[1] Robert Rosen, and Robert Wiltbank, whose new book, The Catalyst: How You Can Become an Extraordinary Growth Leader might just help to spark a return to growth as a topic of daily conversation about business strategy and government policy. Based on extensive field research and interviews of managers who have led their enterprises through extended periods of rapid growth, the book highlights a range of very accessible insights for leaders of firms that want to grow. I have watched the research for this book swell over the past five years and am pleased to find that the resulting presentation is fresh, bracing, and at many points, counterintuitive. Best of all, the book is relevant: rather than a scholarly discussion that is lofty and detached from the realities of business, the authors offer actionable recommendations, give intuitively appealing arguments, illustrate with inspiring real-world examples, and even lend advice on how to train growth leaders.

They write, “We chose the word
catalyst carefully in looking for a good way to describe our leaders. Catalysts drive action. But there’s more. In science, the term catalyst refers specifically to an agent that is required to activate a particular chemical reaction. In other words, chemical catalysts don’t just make things happen; they make things happen that wouldn’t happen at all without them. They accomplish this by reducing the barriers that would, under normal circumstances, prevent a reaction. That is exactly how the growth leaders—our corporate Catalysts—overcame growth gridlock and the terror of the plug in their organizations.”
I recommend clicking through to read the full article by Dean Robert Bruner on his blog here

This kind of leadership is applicable to searching for work. Be a catalyst!

"why the economic crisis is bigger than we yet know"

From Ronni Bennett writing at Time Goes By

John K. Galbraith's wide-ranging Washington Monthly story, titled No Return to Normal, is about why the economic crisis is bigger than we yet know and will last longer than the cable pundits, eager to sugarcoat our problems, report - and maybe even, according to Galbraith, it is bigger and will be longer than the Obama administration understands so far.

When Ronni makes a recommendation to read the full article, trust me, follow it and read the full article. Well worth the few minutes to do so.

Monday, March 23, 2009

job search notes: phone interview

Good tips on how to do a phone interview

Telephone interviews can be trying. There are no visual cues, no body language to read and, in some cases, you've got to answer questions posed by a panel of voices over conference lines or speaker phones. Here are some tips on engaging successfully - long-distance or local. By Leslie Stevens-Huffman
Read the full article here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Amaryllis series 3/22/09 AM

Amaryllis series 3/22/09 AM, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The new shoot appeared to really begin to grow on Saturday.

I did take a picture but it failed to upload the first time. By the time I noticed, I was in the middle of my St Pat's 5K preparations (and posting pictures from that.)

Stay tuned for more growth in the next couple of days!

job search notes: Set apart?

SetApart, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Is your chair set apart from the others?

Move it closer, join the conversation.

Someone there may be just the connection you are looking for.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

PodCamp Boston 4

Start thinking about coming back to Boston for PodCamp Boston 4.

We’d like to know when you’d like to have PodCamp Boston 4 - vote here!

Originally posted on the PodCamp Boston page here

job search notes: subscription

To make it easier for my fellow job seekers to subscribe to just those posts where I share my job search notes, I have created a special RSS Feed for you.

You can subscribe to this feed and get only those posts with "job search notes" in the headline.

You can choose to use whatever RSS Reader you prefer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Billy Collins - 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival

From the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival, Billy Collins reads three poems. This was from the Friday afternoon "sampler" where all the major poets got up to do 2 or 3 poems right after one another. It was an orgy of words and images in different voices.

Thankfully, the Dodge Foundation is now making the video available. Viewing this, I can step back in time, sit under the tent and get lost again.

For those who were not able to attend, picture walking across lush green lawns, crossing a dirt path, entering a large white tent. There is no circus. No animals. No one hawking "Peanuts, popcorn, candy!"

Just chairs arranged in rows facing the stage. Other folks are entering from left and right, all moving to find a seat close to the stage. There is a buzz not unlike church service, for we are gathering to hear great words from wonderful voices.

Take a seat. Relax. Enjoy!

job search notes: focus on the inside track

Are you going to stagger to the start today?

Or take the inside track with focus and determination?

Your choice. Go for it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

job search notes: watch your language

When crafting your resume, it is easy to watch your language. You have a few people review it. You can get their advice and then craft it to be the best possible representation of yourself.

When you are networking, and most important, get to the interview, the language you use to explain your situation, what you can do for Company X, becomes critical. Christine Kane has some great advice here. Read through it. Then reflect on this with your language in mind. Do you use these words?

If you do, the action choice is yours.


Watch Your Language
by Christine Kane


A few years ago, I was in a car with the promoter of one of my performances. He had picked me up at the airport and was driving me to my hotel. On the way, we talked guitars. We got onto the subject of Olson Guitars, arguably the best guitar in the whole world. At one point, the promoter said, "Yea, well, in my entire life I'll never own an Olson guitar."

There was a time when I'd let a remark like this slide on by, even adding my own "me either" to the mix.

Now, I can't. Yoda steps into my head and says, (in his Yoda voice) "So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done."

So, I turned to the promoter and said, "You are NOT allowed to say that!"

This is because I know the power of language. When you know that words become things, it's hard to let language slide.

I can't help it. I have a rule:

Friends don't let friends speak crappily.

Language is powerful. Words can create reality. Even if my promoter friend doesn't know how on earth he'd ever get his guitar, it doesn't mean he should cut off the possibility with his own words.

If you're wondering how to begin watching your words, here are 7 practical language principles for becoming a better creator of your life.

1 - Eliminate "never" and "always."

Never and always are words of hysteria. "I always mess everything up!" "I'll never figure this out!" "I'll never get an Olson Guitar."

First off, it's not true. If you always messed everything up, you wouldn't have made it out of the womb.

And second off, extreme words are designed to hook you. It's just your emotions taking a joyride. You're more powerful than that.

2 - Use AND instead of BUT.

"But" dismisses the statement before it. "And" includes it. For instance, "That's a good article, but it needs some editing" isn't nearly as encouraging as "That's a good article, AND it needs some editing."

"I love you, but..." is another great example of the dismissive power of "but."

3 - Avoid "Should."

Should is a heinous word for many reasons. It is victim-speak. It disempowers its object. It negates desires, thereby making it harder to make choices. It adds a nebulous energy to the decision making process. Use empowered language instead: "I could..." "I would..." "I am choosing to," "I would like to," "I don't want to," or "You might consider..."

4 - Stop calling yourself depressed.

Also stop allowing anyone to tell you that you are depressed. When you call yourself "depressed" or "obsessive compulsive" or "ADHD" or whatever - you're claiming this thing. You're calling it forth with the most powerful two words in our language: "I am." That creates very little option for the transformation of this condition.

5 - Delete the word "hate" from your vocabulary.

"Hate" has lots of energy. When you use it, you send lots of energy out into the very thing you "hate." Even if it's negative energy, it's still a powerful force, adding its charge to that thing. You're also depleting this energy from your own spirit as you say it.

6 - Be "great." Or "wonderful."

A disease of the creative temperament is a belief that we must be authentic at all costs. So we can't answer a simple "How are you?" without delving into an in-depth scan of our emotional temperature.

Try this instead: When people ask you how you're doing, just say, "I'm great!"

I used to think if said this, then I better have a good reason for saying it, like I just won the lottery or something. I thought it would make me look suspicious, and people would start to wonder if something was wrong with me. But then I did it. And you know what? Most people don't care why you're great. You're saying it for you.

7 - Pay attention to the music of your speech.

You know how some people? They talk in question marks? And you have no idea why? But it makes you think you shouldn't really rely on them? And it makes you not want to hire them?

The music of your language says a lot about you. If you let your sentences droop like Eeyore, ("Thanks for noticing me.") or if you do the uncertain question mark language, take note of what attitudes are causing this. These patterns are created for a reason. Even if it feels like faking it at first, generate confidence as you speak.

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.

See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at ChristineKane.com/blog.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PodCamp Western Mass - March 28th - Holyoke

It's time to bring the PodCamp concept to Western Mass. We have a thriving community here of some truly amazing people. This is a chance for Western Mass bloggers, business people, artists, and academics, to get together, make connections, and for everyone to learn how social media can enhance their business, cause or organization. This is also a chance to celebrate the cornucopia of Western Mass. culture, a joyous blend of urban and rural; business, artistic and academic; near enough to other large metro areas, but small enough to hear yourself think.

When: Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where: Open Square in Holyoke, Second Floor

(Open Square is the mill building across the street from The Wherehouse. Entrance to parking is from either Lyman Street or Dwight Street. Open Square is located between the first and second level canals, which are bordered by Race St and Front St. The nearest entrance to the stairs and elevator is marked with a very large white "4".)

  • Please use the tag PodCampWesternMass or hashtag #pcwm or #pcwm09 for content related to this event

Rough Schedule:

Looking to set up 3 breakouts for each session time after the Opening Remarks

8:30 to 9:00 - Welcome desk and coffee (?)
9:00 to 9:30 - Opening Remarks: Explanation of Unconference Format.
9:30 to 10:30 - Session 1
Break (1/2 hr.)
11:00 to Noon - Session 2
Noon to 2:00 - Lunch
2:00 to 3:00 - Session 3
Break (1/2 hr)
3:30 to 4:30 Session 4
4:30 to 5:00 Closing Remarks

You can register for PodCamp Western Mass here


I will be traveling out to Holyoke to run the Welcome Desk, if anyone would like to join drive from Franklin with me, please let me know.

Monday, March 16, 2009

job search notes: presentation zen for your resume

Wonderful presentation on presentations by Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen. This does take time (a little over an hour) but engaging and well worth it.

Since your presentation is primarily your resume, what tips from this can you use?

Thanks to CS Penn for the tip to view this video

Twitter based Wordle

For what is may be worth, this is a wordle created from my twitter stats:

Wordle: Twitter Wordle Shersteve


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring is such a hopeful time

for beginning anew!

What are you doing different this spring?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Breaded sea scallops ready for the broiler

I divided the sea scallops into three portions, three only to ensure a single level in each baking dish.

To each baking dish, I added a couple of tablespoons of white wine, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and topped it off with some Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

In the broiler for about 6-8 minutes and served directly to the plate.

Nicely done!

How do you like your scallops?

Friday, March 13, 2009

job search notes: the power of connections

There is a group on LinkedIn called "Social Networking to Get Work"

One of the members posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article about how the resume goes into a "black hole" when submitted. So this is where social networking tools come into play and we can take charge instead of waiting.

Current event: I attended a social media event on Tuesday. I had heard about it before but on Monday picked up through Twitter that someone had free passes. I happened to know that person, asked for a pass, received one and was there on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I saw another Twitter from one of the people I talked with on Tuesday about a job with company x. It sounded good so I applied via the company website form.

Right after applying, I came to LinkedIn, looked up company x and found that I had two connections, all indirect (#2) through four of my contacts. I sent each of them an email describing my interest in the position, a copy of my resume, and a note that it appeared that they knew so and so at company x. Anything they could do would be appreciated.

I heard back from all four contacts on Thursday. The one who had provided the original tip also confirmed that they had in fact received my resume.

Later on Thursday, I got a notice of being followed in Twitter by a person who just happens to work at company x. Coincidence?

Stay tuned to find out what happens from here.

In the meantime, take charge of what you do when you submit a resume.

Use your network to let folks know of your interest.

It is better than sitting and waiting!

Hold the date - NewBCamp - April 19th

Yes, the next one is rapidly approaching.

Hold the date for April 19th for the next NewBCamp to be held at Providence College

BTW - this is an update, the original hold the date notice was the 5th. That has been changed.

Amaryllis series 3/13/09 AM

Amaryllis series 3/13/09 AM, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The daily changes are subtle. Two blossoms are down and continuing to dry up. The remaining one is beginning to close up and dry up as well.

What is harder to pick out in this view, but maybe will show better in another, is that two new blossoms are just beginning to come up. Their green points are rising. How soon they'll bloom will be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Take a walk on the wild side

many of us can go through an entire day and not have more than a handshake
Has this happened to you?

Do you know that this lack of touch can contribute to what is now being called nature-deficit disorder?

You can read more about this in my review of the book, "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv. The review is part of A Love Affair with Books that takes place each March over on the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog.

Please click through to read and discuss the book.


Social Media Jungle Boston - March 10, 2009

The "brand" was in full regalia for Jeff Pulver's Social Media Jungle event on Tuesday.

When asked, "Why the hat?" I willingly told the story. I'll need to write it up so everyone will know.

Oh, it is a revolutionary hat and not a pirate hat. I ave nothing against pirates, some are good friends but there is a difference.

More later!

Many thanks to CC Chapman for the free pass to the event, without which I could not have been there!

Monday, March 09, 2009

job search notes: withhold your salary history

Very interesting discussion in this article and the associated comments. Be sure to read them all the way through. Well worth it.

One of the most popular articles on asktheheadhunter.com is Keep Your Salary Under Wraps. The advice is simple: Don’t disclose your current salary or your salary history when a prospective employer asks you for it.

The reason is also simple: When you disclose your salary information, your negotiating leverage is gone. Your salary history is not any employer’s business. Always decline to disclose, politely but firmly. No matter what they say, no matter what they threaten. In fact, be ready to walk away if they don’t back off. It’s not worth talking to a company that insists on having your salary info.

You have permission to go and review the full article and comments. Please come back and let me know if you agree with Nick.

job search notes: Become a real insider

Why does using your network work? This Ask the Headhunter article tells the story:

The reality is that in the same week I get an e-mail from a stranger, I'm probably going to get a couple of e-mails from a FOAF (friend-of-a-friend). These are all known entities to me. I know how the person got my name. I know that if the friend gave out my contact info, the friend also did at least a nominal screening, since my friends don't just dish leads for fun. I know that I can follow up with my friend to get information on the applicant (although many times, a friend has contacted me first to ask permission or even to promote the candidate).

The simple fact that the candidate has passed these barriers has eliminated many questions. The candidates I talk to have been filtered. This saves me time and increases my chances of hiring a great worker.
Bold applied for my emphasis.

I suggest you click through to read the full article here There are other good tips in the remainder of the article.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'm featured as Friend of Simplicity

Trevor Gay, my good blogging buddy from across the pond in the UK, has posted an interview with me on his Simplicity blog today.

Yes, by all means, you have my permission to click over and read it!

Thanks, Trevor. That was fun!

BTW - The Love Affair with Books this month can be found on the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog

Spring forward?

I trust you turned your clocks ahead one hour to stay current on Daylight Savings Time

Saturday, March 07, 2009

X marks the spot for good weather today

Out for our morning walk, found this sky writing opportunity as we turned the corner in our neighborhood.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bay scallops dressed and ready for the broiler

The portions seemed skimpy so before going into the broiler, I removed one of the dishes and redistributed the contents amongst the other three remaining dishes. Much better.

The ladies were pleased! (Except there still wasn't enough)

The scallops were dressed with lemon juice, white wine, olive oil and some fresh ground pepper.

They needed only about 7 minutes under the broiler and went directly to the plate. I had prepared oven baked onion potatoes, steamed green beans and steamed baby carrots to go along with the scallops.

I do have another batch of scallops to do this way. This did come out very well, if I must say so myself.

Lunch with Dad at Pepino's in Lincoln RI

- Posted using Mobypicture.com

T, can you hear me?

Facebook has a group collecting membership to help direct the MBTA to use Google Transit and improve the information available on the T operations.

Google has a site called Google Transit, that acts as a Google Maps of sorts for buses and trains in rural and urban areas of the United States. If you've never seen it before, go check it out on the link posted below. The program has been adopted by the New York City transit authority (Metro), among many others. More importantly, for those of you with iPhones, if you go to the maps application, you can get transit (bus, train) directions to your destinations. This feature uses Google Transit data and maps.

Unfortunately, for some reason the MBTA is still not on the program. All that needs to happen is for the MBTA to get in touch with Google to list their buses and trains on the website.

I've created this group to raise support, interest, and awareness for the fact that people want the MBTA on Google Transit. It seems so simple and frankly, the Boston area as a whole looks a little silly for not having their transit authority's buses and trains listed on the website.

So... invite all your friends, anyone who rides the T, or simply someone who feels that this is a logical and simple step to more accessibility for the MBTA and Boston.
If you have a Facebook account and would like to join the group, click through here

If you don't have a Facebook account but would still like to join the group, click through and you can create an account quickly.

To view the info on Google Transit, click here

5 for Friday

This week let's take a walk amongst the RSS Reader and find some folks to share with you. This will be a diverse listing, something for each of you hopefully that will be worthwhile reading today and adding to your daily list, or favorite RSS Reader.

1 - Christina Rosalie writes at My Topography. A wonderful photography, writer and mother of her second son just recently, you can catch up on their daily life:

Today, sun. Today water droplets falling steadily from icicles along the eaves. Today, fat buds on the forsythia, neighbors running lines for sugaring, the sky the color of a bluebird’s back. Today I am less tired. Still, it is an adjustment, a translation, a prayer.

Sprout is eleven days old. He sleeps in his bouncy seat dappled with sunlight, making porpoise noises. Under the table Bean builds with blocks and talks to himself, his fingers still sticky with mango from lunch.

Check out Christina at my topography

2 - John Medina wrote Brain Rules and his blog is a recent find.

Using the metaphor of a fishing net, I discussed 2 overall research strategies that geneticists commonly use to catch these elusive sequences of interest. One strategy is to cast nets that act like large purse seiners to collect many sequences in a single (and usually quite expensive) effort. The other strategy is akin to dropping a single fishing line into the genetic waters to see if anything “bites.”

If you have interest in how the gray matter works and what physical things we can do to help it do its thing better, then the book website with videos would be a good and easy place to see if it makes sense to pursue further. One of his brain rules is that it is impossible to multi-task. Need to check that one!

3 - You know when something has reached its peak when the articles start coming out about how much a waste of time it is. Such with Twitter, which while I use it and do find some uses for, can very well be a time sink. Leonard Pitts Jr thinks so too. I point him out more because he is a good writer than for his views on Twitter which he happened to write about this week.

Take it as one more example of the medium becoming its own message. After all, every new advance in communications from telegraphs to Twitter has been sold as a means of perfecting human relationships, allowing us to interact more easily, understand one another more readily. But it hasn't happened yet.

Indeed, you have to wonder if, as communication becomes ever easier, we have not gone in the opposite direction, crossing the point of diminishing returns as we did. More people have more ways to reach more people than at any point in history. But it turns out -- read a message board or an unsolicited email, if you don't believe me -- many of us don't have a whole lot to say.
So while Leonard may not have a lot to say to Twitter about, he does write well on the topics he does have something to say about. You can read him here

4 - Robert Fulghum, whom I have quoted regularly writes a thoughtful piece here
My final reason: The process of considering one’s legacy is instructive.

Every time I’ve undertaken the task of reviewing and revising my will I’ve been glad. It’s made me reconsider the life I live, what’s really important, and what’s really not. And reminded me that the most valuable thing left behind to others is good memories.

It’s this existential experience that makes the effort worthwhile.
Thinking about what will happen after you die makes you think about what happens before you die. Thinking about dying well makes you concentrate more on living well. It’s why I visit my cemetery lot every once in awhile, just to keep perspective.

Every time I do this I manage to put down the trivial, call up some friends to spend an evening together - like tonight - at St. Cloud’s - where Tom Bennett and the Rolling Blackouts are playing stomping good roadhouse music, the laughter is loud, the dancing spontaneous, and for awhile everybody there forgets about death for an evening because joy always trumps the darkness.

While he prepares his last will and testament, I have been working on my resume; laying out the objectives for what's next.

5 - Finally for today, we'll close by visiting with Paul Graham who write succinctly good essays. In this one, he opens with the following:

About twenty years ago people noticed computers and TV were on a collision course and started to speculate about what they'd produce when they converged. We now know the answer: computers. It's clear now that even by using the word "convergence" we were giving TV too much credit. This won't be convergence so much as replacement. People may still watch things they call "TV shows," but they'll watch them mostly on computers.

What decided the contest for computers? Four forces, three of which one could have predicted, and one that would have been harder to.

What were the forces to decide the battle between computers and TV? You'll need to click through to find out but it will be better in Paul's telling than in my re-telling.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

what lever can move education forward?

Dr Scott McLeod
has a series of posts underway on addressing the educational future for Iowa's students. You could substitute Franklin, MA for Iowa, or your community for Iowa and these posts would be just as relevant if not more so.

This video clip is from the first in the series. I do recommend reading each of them. How does your community measure up to meeting the needs of developing your children to live in the new world of technology?

Dr Scott McLeod's web site can be found here

Have faith

My cousin, Peter Joyal, got up to speak at the funeral mass of his father on Monday. I'll paraphrase but he said something very much like the following:
My father would not want a eulogy so I will be brief, I have one story to tell.

(Turning to Father Morse.) You mentioned faith earlier. This story is about faith.

I do not recall exactly how the conversation started. Dad and I were sitting at the table talking. You know he had always been self-employed. There were five of us kids, all less than 10 years old at the time. He did not have work at the moment. It was Tuesday. He did not have another job lined up to paint for someone or do carpentry. The rent was due on Friday. We needed to eat. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a quarter. That's all I have, he said.

What are we going to do? What is going to happen? I said.

I have faith, he said. It will work out. Not sure how, but I have faith it will.

On Wednesday he got a call to do some work. That work provided the money for the rent and food.

He had faith. A quarter, and faith.

I have put a bunch of quarters in a jar at the door to the church. Please take one as you leave. Think of my father, Jean Joyal, and how he had faith. May the quarter remind you to have faith.

Thank you!
Peter told a simple and effective story. As we filed out of the church, both Dolores and I left with a quarter. A reminder to have faith.

Note this was originally posted on Jerry's Story, the site of my father's oral history.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

job search notes: Millenniunm Pharmaceuticals

Millenniunm Pharmaceuticals is hosting a Career Fair in Bridgewater, NJ on Tuesday, March 17th at the Bridgewater Marriott. Details can be found by following the links below.

They are targeting Non-Clinical Development Sciences and Medical professionals (R&D) at this event. They expect this to be a great event.

They are encouraging folks to RSVP to the event on their website – www.millennium.com/careerfair2009 as well as asking folks to post their resume to 5817BR – Millennium New Jersey Career Fair.

Take a close look at their website and if any of the positions are of interest, apply online at www.millennium.com/careers

Don't decide at the last minute, registration is required by March 13th.

making connections

I frequently wonder how connections are made. What is it that suddenly makes a connection? Being in the right spot at the right time, more importantly, being open to receive and understand what is around you has a good deal to do with it I think. Elizabeth Gilbert talks at TED about creativity. There is a connection between creativity and making connections. Listen for yourself.

What do you think?

Is there a connection?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

job search notes: pink slip party video

I went to the PinkSlipParty at betahouse in Cambridge last Friday night. Here is the segment that WBZ used on their news. Paul Burton was the reporter. I was not interviewed directly but do appear a few times in the background.

There will be more of these to help the networking effort.

Thanks to David Fisher for the link


job search notes: personal brand advice

Rosa Say has some great advice on improving your personal brand:
Here’s another way to think of that question of who you’ve become: What makes you interesting? What’s your attraction? Why will people still be attracted to connecting with you and what you offer, no matter what job you’ll be doing next? You have a personal brand: Are you aware that you do? Can you improve upon it now as the first ‘job’ you next take?

Click through to read the full posting here

Monday, March 02, 2009

All a twitter

Tweet_90228_atwitter, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The thistle seed feeder was an active place on Saturday. While these six occupied their spots, others were waiting nearby for their turn.

Some other day with a little time, I'll record some video of the action. It really is quite fascinating to see so many birds coming and going.

They all come for the thistle and leave quickly.

The activity on Twitter is similar, the major difference is that the folks coming into the Twitter stream are bringing bits to leave for others to take. It is a give and take world in Twitter.

What can you bring to Twitter?
What do you take away?

Love affair revealed

There is a love affair going on.

A real one.

With interesting things happening between the covers.

Yes, it is March and the annual Love Affair with Books opens at the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog.

You have my permission to click over there to check out the books lined up for the month. If you haven't already subscribed, you can still do so easily and freely.


BTW - I am in the line up to do "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv

Hold the date -> NewBCamp - April 19, Providence College

Yes, the next one is rapidly approaching.

Hold the date for April 19th for the next NewBCamp to be held at Providence College

Updated 3/13/09 - yes, the date changed from the 5th to the 19th!