On Trying Not to Fall

"Poster - A Dog's Life 01" by Employee(s) of First National Pictures Inc. - http://www.doctormacro.com/Movie%20Summaries/A/A%20Dog%27s%20Life.htm. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Poster_-_A_Dog%27s_Life_01.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Poster_-_A_Dog%27s_Life_01.jpgA long long time ago, I took a mime class with a wonderful teacher, Dan Kamin. I’d met Dan when I was in 8th grade. I was a volunteer (yes, this was the wild and wooly 70s when such things were possible in that unhelicopter parent era) at a summer day camp in Pittsburgh, and Dan was one of the teachers there.  He taught movement and acting to kids.  I saw him perform a couple of times, and I was captivated. I wrote him fan letters. He wrote back, which impressed the hell out of me. Dan was is an expert on Chaplin’s films and his movement, and later on, Robert Downey Jr. would hire him as a coach on the movie Chaplin.  Dan would go on to create the comedy scenes within the movie.

I was a terrible student, clumsy and self-conscious. I have a bad habit of bring my shoulders up almost to my ears, and I still have almost no idea where my core is.  I think it might be in Switzerland.  But Dan was a gentle, thoughtful teacher. He said one thing that has stuck with me through the decades. His baby daughter was learning to walk, and it fascinated him. The longer he watched her, though, the more he realized something: she wasn’t walking.

She was trying not to fall.

I suspect I have spent a lot of my life trying not to fall, literally, metaphorically.  Putting on weight to keep myself grounded.  Holding my breath.  Pulling myself back from an opportunity–or something dangerous. I don’t believe this is a bad way to live, or a good way. It’s just one way to approach–or distance yourself–from the world.

Or maybe I am stretching a metaphor until it snaps?  Let’s see.

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Wearing a hoodie doesn’t make you Eminem, Dude

Wearing a hoodie doesn’t make you Eminem, Dude.

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World Domination Through Code and Craft


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Names of My Imaginary Bands

Big Data and The Persistent Cookies.

Side project, a la Zooey Deschanel: The Quantified Elf.

Secret Super Group: The Sexist Subreddits.

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Using the Force…or not: what Fitbit could have done better while I waited for my product

New Fitbit Flex arrived yesterday. I lost my last Fitbit Ultra in, like, a minute. I am pretty sure that is actually part of Fitbit’s business plan: design great devices that people can lose really easily. 

So I decided to jump into the wristband future and ordered The Force. Which apparently they are not selling right now because it was irritating some folks’ skin. So Fitbit offered all of us disappointed Force-buyers 20 percent discounts on their other projects. So, welcome to my wrist, hot pink Flex. Hope you’ll stay a while.

Dear Fitbit, I do like your products even if they have a tendency to jump from my bra/waistband/pocket.  But I do think that you lost an opportunity while I waited to find out if you were going to ship me what I originally ordered. You didn’t write, you didn’t call. And yes, in the end, I still bought another Fitbit. This isn’t a rant–but I think you can see, as I have bought multiple Fitbit products–that I like you, I really like you.  You had an opportunity to stay in touch with me.  Why not email me in the interim while you were deciding what the hell to do with the scratchy Force? Why not encourage me to exercise, or reach out to other people in the Fitbit community? Why not send me my previous stats, to tell me to hang in there, champ? Why not admit you were having a problem? I actually would have understood.







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Digital skills at the very top

Martha Garvey:

It’s no secret I have a big crush on GDS, and what they’re doing to create truly digital government. Pluswhich, as we say in Pittsburgh, the site is really well-written.

Originally posted on Government Digital Service:

An important part of the work we are doing on capability building is making sure that people who will be leading public services in the future really understand what digital by default means; for policy-making and service delivery.

Civil Service Learning (CSL) run a one and a half day residential induction event, called a ‘Basecamp’, for newly appointed deputy directors and directors within the Civil Service a couple of times a year. A few weeks ago we helped CSL with one of these; for the first time it focused on a digital theme.

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How to World Dominate, per Chris Guillebeau, and How to Tell a Personal Story, by Donald Miller, as Sketchnoted by Mike Rohde



Sketchnote by Mike Rohde, covering a talk by Don Miller.

From Chris Guillebeau:

1)You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.
2)The world is waiting for you to figure out what only you can contribute. Take as much time as you need to find the answer, and then get started on it.

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