Links roundup

Since I started adding things to my Delicious links that I thought other people might like--and not just stuff I wanted to refer to later--I find it's leaving an interesting trail. Here's a few.

How future musicians will earn a living. A popular current theory is that in the future, an artist will need about 1000 "true fans" (willing to spend $100 a year) to earn a living at music. This smart article examines some problems with that approach.

Authenticity is special now. A designer tells you how he did it: if it looks like the torn edge of a piece of paper, it probably is. Why do people keep asking? Head-spinningly meta.

Clients from Hell. More graphic designers (why is that?), this time telling you horror stories. Nobody thinks they can DIY their surgery, but the creative professions do have this problem. Begun in January, this example of user-generated literature glows with energy and originality. Although that might be my perspective--after a while I begin to see patterns in all these sites and they're not as funny.

Internet Vices. A short list of online timewasters, with analogies to real-world abusable substances. Terse, clever, and on target. I'm sure we can think of more!


The upwelling of support for Anissa Mayhew--I think next Thursday is going to be huge--made me think about bloggers, the people. I chose to start blogging more or less by accident: I was looking for a creative outlet and I'm most comfortable with writing. (You wouldn't want to see me dance.) Why have I stuck with it? Because I met some of my fellow bloggers.

At the first Moose meeting, Steve Cadwell introduced himself by saying that he blogs mainly to give him an excuse to hang out with bloggers. I can relate.

I don't know what it is about bloggers, but every time I'm in a room full of them, it's fun and crazy and smart and occasionally touching. Clearly I chose the right hobby, because these are my people. This is why I'm looking forward to next Thursday, when I'll get to meet a whole bunch of new ones.


I realize that the last several posts have been on the self-referential side and thin on "new content". I think soon I'll post a round-up of links from my delicious feed.

Blog It Forward: come to a benefit for a blogger

Anyssa Mayhew, of Aiming Low and other blogs, has suffered a stroke. She is a 35-year-old mother of three and fighting for her life. There is a happy hour benfit on Thursday the 3rd at The Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th Street. This post at Chef's Widow explains the details and has a larger version of the graphic I inserted below. (Chef's Widow is a blog by the wife of Jonathan Sawyer, the chef of Greenhouse.) I learned about it from this event. I'll be there - hope to see you!

A use for Fernet Branca: The Columbus Road

If these four bottles intrigue you, read on.

The First Avenue is one of my favorite drinks, and a great excuse to keep sherry around the house:
  • 1 1/2 oz oloroso or other good quality sweet sherry
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz soda water
  • Stir the above in a rocks glass half-filled with ice
  • Top with a spoonful (about 1/4 oz) Campari
I was drinking one last night, made using Rivesaltes Ambre (on the left in the photo) instead of sherry. Whereas sherry is made in Jerez, Spain, the Rivesaltes Ambre is a French fortified wine made similarly. It was good as usual, but halfway through, it struck me that this was one drink that might tolerate the addition of the hangover cure deterrent Fernet Branca.

I tried it. It worked. It was, in fact, incomparably more complex than the original drink. But: DO NOT OVERDO THE FERNET BRANCA. It is very powerful. You'd think you were drinking sherry out of an ashtray.

So I give you the Columbus Road, named for the location of the Velvet Tango Room, the only place in town I can imagine being served one of these:
  • 1 1/4 oz oloroso or other good quality sweet sherry
  • almost 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz soda water
  • 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
  • Stir the above in a rocks glass half-filled with ice
  • Top with a spoonful (about 1/4 oz) Campari

Blogging101: how to administer comments in Blogger

Over at the Lake Erie Moose Society site, I've posted a brief tutorial about allowing comments in the Blogger system.

I'm a firm believer in the power of commenting to build community, and I still wish I had an RSS reader that would at least display how many comments have been made on the posts I'm reading. But the workaround of subscribing to RSS feeds of comment streams I've posted in seems to be adequate.

A few new features here

Here at this blog, I've added some sidebar lists. They'll show you sites I've bookmarked recently, posts from other blogs I found interesting, and a more complete list of Cleveland blogs.

At the inaugural meeting of the Lake Erie Moose Society (the "not ready for mainstream media bloggers") I realized we needed a better way to keep track of each other. I read blogs in Google Reader, but there's no easy way to make that list of subscriptions public. As I thought about how to approach the blogroll problem--and what approach to recommend to my fellow Moose members--I found a couple other interesting options using Google Reader and the social bookmarking service Delicious. So there are three new sidebar items, not one. But first, a little background.
Delicious (formerly has been around a while. It allows you to maintain a list of bookmarks on the web, so you have access to them from any computer. It's in the cloud for you. I started using it for exactly that reason - I just uploaded my file of 1000-odd bookmarks going back to the late '90s, told Delicious to keep them all private, and went about my business. But Delicious is a social networking service; you can share bookmarks, find similar items, friend people, et cetera. I'm starting to use these features and I'm happy with it.
Now on to the new features. In the right hand column of this blog, below the Archive, About This Blog, and other sections, you'll see Recent Posts from the Blogroll. This has actually always been there, but I mention it because it pulls recent posts from a slightly different list than the new section below it: CLEblogs, my Incomplete Blogroll of Cleveland Blogs. The latter is the entire list of Cleveland blogs I read. I created it by bookmarking each Cleveland blog in Delicious and tagging each one "CLEblogs". The standard Blogger gadgets were unsatisfactory, but I discovered a Javascript gadget written by Delicious for this purpose. You can also see the list at Delicious itself. As for the content, it's an incomplete list because these are mostly blogs written by people I've actually met. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of active and important blogs here so this is just a slice of it.

Below CLEblogs, you'll see a short section entitled "Recently shared items in Google Reader." When you're using Reader, there's a line of options at the bottom of each post, including "Share" and "share with note". Google Reader is a social networking service in its own right (you can "follow" people and make comments within Reader) but I only use these features to make my shared items available to the whole Web. This short section shows the most recent items, and here's the whole page of them (my notes are in blue at the top of each item).

The final new item is "Recently shared bookmarks in Delicious". This is a short list of web pages I've bookmarked in Delicious; at the moment, it shows several Cleveland blogs because I used the service to create the blogroll above. Eventually it will fill in with whatever I find interesting. I used to use Facebook for this purpose, but after their recent redesign, a lot of people limited their Facebook usage to viewing and posting only status updates.

So there you have it. If you'd like more information about Reader, or Delicious, or how I implemented these features, just drop a comment.

Cultivating creativity: a 21st century industrial revolution

In this post I'll try to make connections between quiet, creativity, productivity, and marketing, and I'll propose a solution. Buckle your seatbelts!

Elsewhere, RossinDetroit has a pretty interesting point about cultivating creativity. To paraphrase him, the work he's currently doing is not mentally taxing, so he occupies his mind working out the details of his own projects. I responded, in part:
I know sometimes when I'm having trouble building something, I hit a wall just staring at the parts. I have to go do something else. But I have the sense that during that time I'm not actively working on it in my head, I'm just allowing all my assumptions to reset themselves. This allows me to re-ask important questions.
I suspect that these are two kinds of mental work - mine behind the scenes and Ross's more conscious. They each require their own kind of quiet. I mean quiet in a general sense - any distraction, not just noise, disturbs quiet.

So, freedom from distractions cultivates creativity. On the other hand, marketing is a branch of psychology that constantly evolves to capture the attention of the members of society. It is a science of distraction.

My next thought is that what you can measure, you can manage. I firmly believe that one's energy and drive is not a fixed resource: if you're doing the right things, you can do more of everything. This applies in both personal and professional spheres.

So I propose an industrial revolution for the early 21st century, to parallel the one of the late 19th. This new industrial revolution will measure, and manage, distraction (including marketing) for the benefit of productivity. As new tools for measuring productivity become available, the power of undistracted people will become irrefutable. This will rein in marketing, and personal creativity will flourish. When someone brings no passion to their job, it will be obvious, and there will be tools to help them find a way to make a living doing something they love. Since money will no longer be the only thing we get out of our jobs, it will be socially acceptable to choose to earn less. The year 2100 will look back on the gray bureaucrats of 2000 with the same sorrow that we now feel towards the poisoned and disease-ridden laborers of the Civil War.

It'll be a better world.