Archive for November, 2009

Stupidest thing I have ever done

I would like to open up this blog post by asking a question to the viewers of this blog… What is the stupidest thing you have ever done?

Well my answer to this question happened yesterday from 8:15 in the morning to around 1:30 in the afternoon. You may be wondering what kind of stupid thing lasted 5+ hours. I thought that running a marathon would be a good decision. I was horribly wrong.

I originally signed up for the Seattle marathon in March when I was in semi-good shape. I was working out a few times a week and thought it would be a good challenge. Also I saw the people of “Biggest Loser” do it and was motivated to beat their times. Especially Tara’s time of 4 hours and 55 minutes which ended up being my target goal.

I have always wanted to do a marathon, it was on my bucket list. I started training pretty seriously in May and blew out my knee finals week in June. This sidelined me for all of summer. I had almost forgot about the marathon until my dad went into the hospital after a stroke. He used to run marathons when I was little and gave me inspiration to train again. Did I mention that this was less than two weeks ago?

After spending the night watching my dad sleep in the hospital I started to train Thursday of last week. I ran two miles in 19 minutes and felt very winded afterwords. On Friday I ran four miles. On Saturday I did six miles and wished I had more time to train. Sunday I rested my body and then ran 8 miles on Monday. Once again, having 10 days to train for a marathon is not the smartest things ever.

Tuesday I ran four and a half miles because my legs felt like Jello. Wednesday I ran from UW to Bothell or 12 miles in the pouring down rain. Thursday was Thanksgiving and I ate way too much to try and run. Friday I had to get up for the deals at Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and other places so I napped the day away. Saturday was tailgating at the Apple Cup, once again not smart and yesterday was a day that I will remember forever.

Miles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were a piece of cake. I was running in the 11 minute per mile group and had a good pace going. Miles 8 and 9 I hit the wall hard. I lost the group and had to walk a bit to gain more energy. Most of miles 10, 11, 12 and 13 were spent trying to find ways to quit. I had my bus pass in my pocket and I was thinking of routes that were in the Mount Baker neighborhood that would take me to downtown Seattle. Miles 14, 15 and 16 had a lot of people on the sidewalk cheering. I can’t walk in front of cheering people so they picked me up. Mile 17 was ugly. Barefoot Todd passed me and I lost all will to run. This guy has no shoes on and is motoring passed me. Mile 18 had a water/ Gatorade area which I happily took four cups. Miles 19, 20 and 21 were half walk and half jog. Mile 22 was straight uphill which drained my energy just walking up it. Miles 23 and 24 were downhill and I zoomed down them just glad to be almost over. Mile 25 I saw Barefoot Todd in my sites a minute ahead of me and convinced myself I would pass him. Mile 26 started out with a long 1/2 mile downhill stretch where I breezed passed Todd, two guys in reindeer outfits and a giant lobster. As I ran into the stadium with 100 yards to go all I could think of was don’t stop and don’t fall down. To do both was a minor miracle. The announcer said my name and my girlfriend was cheering me on. I crossed the finish line 5 hours 17 minutes and 14 seconds after I started and my legs were on fire. I did not stop, although I walked quite a bit, during the race. I wanted to stretch and rest from mile 9 on. Barefoot Todd finished 4 minutes behind me and I still feel sore at 8:43 the next morning.

So once again this was the stupidest thing I have ever done but at least I can say I ran a marathon and have a medal to prove it.


Last Project Update

I have reached my goal of 100 hits on the HUMV blog/website and I am aiming for 150 by next week. So far there are six posts. My original goal was ten. I am going to put pictures of the group as one of the tabs and update the the weekly goings on of the group two more times before the project is due. I am still searching for a better free theme right now but at least the one I have is functional. More links will be added to the side that are military related. My main goal for the site was for people of the group to have a place to visit that they could view on their own time which would cause less emails to be sent for the listserv.

The next to last week of readings

The media monopoly article got me riled up at 6:42 in the morning. Television, apparently, is supposed to serve the people and include education in its content. Besides a few channels that are dedicated to education most stations “efforts” at this are laughable at best. Each station is mandated a certain number of hours of education for the week. Most of these from my experience are on Sunday when less people are watching TV. It also collides with one of my favorite programs, NFL coverage. I really like educational things on the history channel and some of the non-commercial shows on PBS. I feel better once I get information on a topic that I had no previous knowledge. This happens rarely because of the 200 or so channels that Comcast gives me for $20.

The Henry Jenkins reading suggested eight traits of new media. The one that resonated with me the most was number three. That one said that the media is with us everyday and now can be taken everywhere. I think that some people are too plugged in to the point that it creates an addiction. I have friends who got Blackberry’s when they first came out. There is a reason why people call them Crackberry’s, it’s because they are so addictive. I have always been the last to get on the technology bandwagon but I got an early Christmas gift of an iPod Touch and now I see why everyone is playing with their little portable media devices all the time. This new media entertains us and can act as a barrier, for better or worse, to the outside world. Many times when I ride the bus I put my headphones on which is a universal signal for don’t talk to me.

The Michael Skoler article went a step further than the first two and proclaimed that news media was irrelevant. I haven’t bought a newspaper in years. I don’t listen to the radio outside of my car. I can’t stand local news reports on channels 4, 5, 7 and 13. This argument resonates with me. Sometimes I want to see what happened on a given Thursday but for that I can just use the Internet to find out information that I find important. I feel like “news” on TV is geared towards ratings. The health care debate in Washington D.C. will get 15 seconds of coverage while a girl who was kidnapped in Maine might be a lead story. Health care will impact more people but violence always wins out. “If it bleeds it leads” is a phrase I heard that applies to news coverage. I believe it fits.


1.) How has the iPod/mp3 player changed the way you do things?

2.) What are some ways that advertising can have a positive effect on your life?

3.) If you ran a local TV station like King 5 or Komo 4, what would you cover for local news?

What wiki and delicious think about organizational blogs

Wikipedia is not known for any how to’s but it does give user-generated facts. It discusses the history of blogging and goes into a little depth about the uses of organizational blogging. Delicious on the other hand has many tips for setting up a successful blog. I typed in Lifehacker blogs into the search box and it returned these results. I found a few good tips scrolling through the results. If anyone is doing a blog for their project I would highly suggest using delicious.

We know too much already

News used to mean that the reporter would dig up information after hours of searching and report what they found to the audience. This is no longer the case with such sites as The site gathers information that would take days to find and aggregates it all for people to use how they want. I love learning more about politics and this is one way to follow the money trail. Having the information alone would be great but this site has an open API, application programming interface, that allows people to take information a step further. I don’t have to wait for the next Michael Moore movie to find out how much each politician is taking. The site only collects information that is available to the public. I believe that the campaign contributions that are shown are a mere fraction of what politicians get. Either way it is a step in the right direction. Knowing for example that Dave Reichert (R) WA-8 repeatedly gets money from Aflac to vote against health bills can inform my decision when it comes time to vote.

I poked around Maplight for a while and found an old bill that has impacted many people in the United States. House Resolution 4411 which is more commonly known as the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act. Jim McDermott (D) WA-7 was given over $20,000 by professional poker players and others to vote no. Astonishingly guess which way he voted. Why no of course. Had I not read the article that said to check out Maplight I would not have known about the legislator that used to represent me (Reichert) and currently represents me (McDermott).

The article about Newsmixer got me excited about the evolution of journalism. The premise of more user-generated content had my attention. When visiting the site I felt a little overwhelmed. There seemed to be too much content. Paragraphs in the article had questions and answers linked to a comment bubble on the side which was quite distracting. On the other side there was a long list of “quips” about the article. At the bottom there was a space for comments on the article as a whole. I felt bombarded with words, words and more words. I think the smart people at Northwestern outsmarted themselves here. I like user-generated content but not when it takes away from the original article or news story.

Newsmixer and Maplight are just two sites out of millions that are coming up with new ways to serve up content. Good or bad, the Internet is changing our perceptions of journalism and politics. User-generated content and the use of open API’s will become the norm in the future.


1) What are your thoughts on sites like that show voting records and campaign contributions?

2) How would you change Newsmixer to be more user-friendly?

3) What are your thoughts about politics being more transparent?

TBTL: the best thing on earth

As I said earlier this week in my podcasting lecture, TBTL is my favorite podcast. TBTL stands for Too Beautiful To Live. It used to be on radio from 7-10pm on 97.3. It got kicked off the air for low ratings. Now it can be heard Monday through Friday and high noon. It is supposed to be an hour-long podcast but most of them are longer than that. If you like people talking about their everyday lives and have a sense of humor, you will like this podcast. They are on iTunes under TBTL and they also have a website/blog that is still affiliated with KIRO. I was even mentioned on the Veteran’s Day podcast (11/11 easy to remember). So hopefully I have convinced you to listen to at least one episode. Click here to go to the TBTL blog.

Reflection of sorts

Nothing like a five-mile run to clear your head in the pouring down rain at 6:30 in the morning.

Anyways, this blog post is a reflection on my awesome but also flawed presentation. It took me about three whole seconds to decide on the premise for the discussion but about 3 million seconds trying to get the powerpoint and the audio to match up. This is not good for a presentation on podcasting.

Slideshare has a neat tool that makes it so you can sync a slideshow/presentation/powerpoint to audio. After fiddling with it for 4 hours I decided that it would be better to leave that to the experts. I also wished that Zamzar was a little quicker in sending files that need to be converted. It took five hours to get an email back but it was free so I’m not complaining too much. My presentation works perfect on my computer but when transferring it to Slideshare the audio drops I put in were lost. Slideshare also only accepts mp3’s for their slidecast feature just as a heads up for anyone looking to do an audio presentation.

I thought besides all the screwups (mainly that girl saying AVS media) the presentation went pretty well. About half of the class knew a little about podcasting before and afterwords the other half had a little overview on what it can do for them. The discussion part didn’t go how I planned it because I was looking at advertising on podcasts as annoying. It seems to be catching hold and is a way for both parties to win. The grammar girl ad was boring but if only lasts a few seconds, I can live with that. I’m just partial to the casual non-scripted mentions of a product like when Levis is mentioned in an email that is read.

I am not the best public speaker but I didn’t mind standing up in front of a lot of people this time. I actually enjoyed talking about podcasting so I think its different than if I were talking about Twitter lists (something I know nothing about and would rather hear about it from someone else). Maybe I can use this tactic in different speeches.

I dont know what the best way to embed the presentation but here is the link to where it lives on Slideshare. I used the embed code for WordPress but it might be weird because it has audio enabled on it. Sorry for the confusion.

As a side not I got an iPod touch as an early Christmas gift and it may be the best thing that has happened to me since I got a flat-screen TV on black friday last year.