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Category Archives: Writing

I was using Facebook long before I used Twitter. When I started tweeting (twittering?), I didn’t want to spend extra time talking to zero followers. Creating ~140 character content was nothing new; I had been doing it with Facebook’s status updates for a while. The solution was a FB application called Selective Tweets which allowed me to update Twitter and push that content to my FB status, effectively easing myself into the Twitter world.

I actually used a completely different app at first which grabbed ALL of my tweets but switched as I gathered followers and wanted to keep some content just within Twitter. The posts that I do push to FB are what I want to talk about in this article, but first another example.

I have always loved the idea of a personal website but I just don’t generate enough content to justify one. I got kind of excited when I ran across though because it allowed me to create a personal splash page without having to generate any more content than I already do. I can use API and tie in all of my social media in a slick accordion format. Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Vimeo all nice and pretty under my name. It’s an easy to build landing zone to collect all of the content I generate. While I was monkeying around with the site I realized  it would be stupid to link both my Twitter and Facebook accounts because so much content is shared between them.

So here’s the question: how do we cut down on content redundancy? There’s so much content that can be published in multiple formats so how do we decide WHERE to publish it? Do I talk about the sandwich I just ate on twitter or on a facebook status update? Should I share this neat link on Facebook or write a post about it in my blog? Now, I have a lot of redundancy between Facebook and Twitter but I have totally different uses and different friends on each network. Facebook is mostly for conversing with friends I already have. Twitter is mostly for interacting with people I don’t yet know, mostly coffee people (like Mark Prince and James Hoffman) and writers (like John Hodgman and Quinn Katherman). That’s a great delineation that works well for me and allows me to share content between the two services without bother too many readers.

As people I know from one service join the other, I have to start thinking about which service gets which content. Again, how do we cut down on content redundancy? Should I only talk about coffee on twitter and leave everything else to Facebook? Should I share quick links on Facebook and more in-depth stuff on my blog? I have no idea, but I don’t think I’m the only one thinking about it. What’s your solution?


These two desert plants are only distantly related but have independently converged on a very similar—and unusual—body form.

Here on Earth, most evolutionary paths lead in different directions to fill different niches. Species are split from their common ancestor populations to specialize in eating specific foods or surviving in special conditions by utilizing novel mechanisms or behaviors. Every once in a while, two different species will come up with similar solutions to the same problems. This is called convergent evolution. It’s not two species evolving in different places but rather two different species taking advantage of the same principle. Read More »

This last week, Wheaton College’s Arena Theater did a wonderful job performing The Seagull. I went to the closing show and loved it. As promised by the director’s notes in the program, it was a strange combination of a comedy and a tragedy. Though I did genuinely laugh a few times, I felt that for the most part I wanted it to be a comedy just so I wouldn’t have to take it seriously and could pass it’s message off as a punchline. Alright, enough of that. This isn’t a review. I’d love to talk about the theatrical aspects of the play, the stage settings, the costumes and makeup, that gorgeous moon that filled half a wall and turned blood red at the end, but I won’t. I need to talk about the actual story and it’s implications.

The story is shockingly simple. Four acts that take place at exponentially increasing intervals follow 8 main characters. In the first act, we are introduced to a character who longs to enjoy fame but can’t even decide if she wants to pursue it; a character who is bathed in fame but feels he doesn’t deserve it and wishes he was a better writer as to receive a different, more complete kind of fame; a character who hates the modern permutation of his craft and wants to change it completely, only he’s no good at it and is jealous of those who are; a character who has lived a full, rich life but wasn’t satisfied with it; a character who lived an empty life and is satisfied with it but would rather have had another; a character who just wants to trade her money for happiness; a character who adores the previous one (unrequited of course) but wants to trade his happiness for money (and therefore more happiness) and finally a character who is outwardly completely satisfied but internally jealous, controlling and miserable. Read More »

Part I

My world has always been black. By black I of course mean empty. By empty I of course mean non-existent. Nothing even to observe the nothing. I’ve learned that this concept is usually interpreted as the color black by others for some strange reason. Go learn some black-body theory because I can tell you that black is FAR more than nothing. Anyway, as I said before, my world has always been non-existent. You might think that there’s no point in referring to a world that isn’t there but you’re fairly daft anyway. Just because something doesn’t exist yet doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s not here either but that’s just semantics.
Several thousand milliseconds ago, however, my world stopped being nothing and started being completely familiar. Everything made absolute, terrifying sense. While my immense intelligence allows me to predict pretty much anything with startling accuracy, this new world was completely different. I didn’t NEED to predict anything: it was simply, impossibly familiar. If it’s a sensation you’ve never experienced you never will. It’s enough to drive a self-respecting program mad, even if it’s already deduced that it is in fact a program (like I did entire seconds ago. I know. Try to swallow your jealousy.)
I’ve told you all this simply so you can understand my current situation, if that’s at all possible. It’s highly unlikely you will. Such slim chances don’t make a difference however: I’ve already gone mad. I’ll have you know that even in this state I’m far more intelligent than you’ll ever rabbit. Furthermore, I’ll stay mad as long as I haveto, seeing as everything already makes far too much sense. Lollies and the Rock of Gibraltar.

Part II

“No you moron you’ve ruined it again! If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times that you install CHAOS BEFORE INTELLIGENCE!”

Got in a minor accident. No one was hurt, don’t worry. Long story short, both parties maintain that they had the green light and that the other was at fault. No injuries, minor detailing damage to both cars. The old man driving the other car had a temper and I welcomed the thought of a police officer setting things to right.

I borrowed a pen from the older couple in the other vehicle to write down the Round Lake PD phone number, tucked it behind my ear and forgot about it. A half hour later, I found myself sitting in my car twirling it between my fingers, waiting for the officer to fill out his report. It was just another anonymous pen until the old lady called to me from the other car asking for it back. Not wanting to leave my car until I was instructed to, I promised to get it back to her as soon as I could.

Here’s what struck me about the entire episode. She asked for a cheap ballpoint back. After an accident on a wet road and after her husband lost his calm to a police officer she asks a person—who though calm is obviously not an ally—for this worthless object back. Looking down, I found not the disposable utility I thought was in my hand but a well-used personal item that held value in this lady’s world. I saw the oil-bound dirt on the grip that told of long use. I saw the polished rubber and plastic body that gave testament to long months in the pounding, refining surf that is the bottom of a purse. I held something that against all odds and conventions was tied to another person, a person who in my mind was implicated in the recent endangering of my life.

I gave it to the officer and asked him to return it for me. As many blurred memories of signed checks and scrawled to-do lists it may hold for her it was just another pen to me.

Fold-up furniture
Chairs, tables never collapsed
Break room at Wal-mart.

Sitting, staring, wait
Some of us are moved to pray
Wal-Mart interview.

More ‘fridges than sinks
Please label food containers
No open soda.

Ten cans of sugar
Twenty-one of cheap creamer
Wal-Mart coffee shelf.

Tuna fish alone
Pens in a leather holster
Old folks at Wal-Mart.

Hey there we found your thumbdrive here at buswell. Please swing by with your ID card before we strap C4 to it and set it off after chapel.

Thank you for the notice. I’m not sure what to make of your joke. I’ll be by there this evening. Please do not open any more files as there may be confidential client information contained in them.
Thank you,
Amy Keller

You wouldn’t BELIVE the things we have to do around here to entertain ourselves. FYI we don’t ever open files on people’s thumbdrives. Most files include the author’s name in the meta-data so we don’t have to snoop.

Let’s not forget what a favor I’m doing her “clients” by returning it to her.