EXPAND Duck Race

It was a bit crushing to leave Boulder on Monday before the EXPAND Duck Race in Boulder Creek.  The annual race is in its 23rd year to benefit the Exciting Programs Adventures and New Dimensions (EXPAND) program that

Helps people who have disabilities improve and gain new recreation and leisure skills that will enhanceparticipants’ overall well being and their quality of life.

Click through for adorable pictures from the race with over 7,000 “contestants.”  While I did miss out on the actual race, there was no way that I was leaving the city without a souvenir for myself and my friends.  There was a wonderfully  cheery  woman selling all varieties of rubber duckies, so I was able to pick out ones with features distinctly relating to friends.

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Boulderdash!

Spent Memorial Day in Boulder, CO… oh so pretty.

[Wi]Fi in the Sky, lack of.

[note: this post was written somewhere over the middle of the country at 33,000 ft just after the beverage cart passed by, so let’s go with Virginia.]

Yes, I believe that I have decided to continue blogging.  Much like a new fad diet or exercise regime, we shall see if this lasts beyond the typical span of a New Years resolution.  I’ll endeavor to continue posting beyond grad school class assignments (as this blog started out as) with musings, rants, and anecdotes, which will be of interest to probably no one but myself.  Perhaps it is telling that the day I decide to continue self-publishing is a day of firsts – first time visiting Colorado and first time flying on Frontier airlines.

Frankly, before this trip I had never even heard of Frontier Airlines, but here I am at 33,000 ft. making friends with the flight attendant so that he’ll bring me some extra coffee.  So far, they’ve offered as good of customer service as any other airline I’ve flown and the plane has those awesome slightly larger leather seats.

Here’s my issue: no internet connection. No Frontier doesn’t advertise WiFi in flight, nor was I really expecting to be able to connect, however, I know there’s a way to do it.   Virgin, you have spoilt in-flight computer usage for me.  If travelers on Virgin flights can access their Google Reader while in the air, why can’t I right now?  I’m thoroughly regretting signing up for those new RSS feeds yesterday – my Reader is going to explode.

So, did my decision to take up the keystroke again on one of the few days my network connections are nil stem from a subconscious belief that this is a limited spurt of publishing?  Nien!  Expatinexile shall survive.  Should I run out of long-form (tangent: amusing that a 1,000 words-or-less blog post constitutes “long-form” in Web 2.0 terms) inspiration, I seem to have no problem with tweeting while waiting for topics to strike my fancy.

33,000 ft and no internet connection. boo.

[note: after post was written, Google told me that Gogo, the WiFi offering on Virgin flights, will soon be available on Frontier.]

To blog, or not to blog

Haven’t updated since the conclusion of Social Media and the Digital Disruption.. but I have been tweeting quite actively due to Blackberry upgrade following a tragic loss of the old one post-Thanksgiving.

With Twitter and Facebook… is there a need for me to continue blogging?  We shall see, I guess.  Until then, signing off with #jumpstyle:

Foodie Fight, gluten-free style

Who doesn’t like to eat? Really!!

Both Glorymar and Ryan have offered some wonderful suggestions for dining in the Washington metro area and I’d like to add mine but with a twist – a gluten-free twist.  I have a gluten intolerance which does not allow me food containing gluten – anything containing wheat, rye, and barley.  It was a sad day when I had to say goodbye to pizza, pasta, beer (though I never really liked the taste of it), cupcakes, bread, etc.

While living in London, I stumbled upon a blog about eating gluten-free in the city.  Through the author’s posts, I discovered gluten-free muffins, pizza, and even fish and chips.  Brilliant!  However, the transition back to Washington after my time in London was less than all quiet on the gluten-free front.  Little by little, I’ve been able to build up by Stateside g-f black book to include:

By no means exhaustive of the g-f options in the District, I have tried each of these and have gone back for second helpings.  For nights in, Whole Foods and Trader Joes have continuously growing g-f options and labeling of products safe for us Glutards to consume.  Viable g-f business ventures seem to be popping up abroad … it’s time for the niche Stateside gluten-free community to move closer to the center of The Long Tail.

And finally, I’ve recently become a new champion for Hill’s Kitchen after attending a g-f baking class there in November.  Now if only I could find the time to actually bake…

Rage, actually

Yesterday I was invited by a London friend to join the Facebook group, Rage Against the Machine for Christmas No.1. The group’s purpose?  To thwart Simon Cowell’s “latest karaoke act” from claiming the top spot by promoting the mass purchase of Rage’s “Killing in the Name.”

This year’s viral revolt is in reaction to last year’s top spot being claimed by Alexandra Burke, winner of the 5th season of top Brit talent show X-Factor, with her cover of Leonard Cohen’sHallelujah.”  The four previous #1 were also claimed by Cowell’s X-Factor winners.

The group has called for its close 200,000 members to Tweet the cause.  It will be interesting to see if  #ratm4xmas will becoming a top trending topic on December 13th, the date supporters are instructed to begin purchasing the song on iTunes, 7Digital, and play.com until 19th of December.

This is not the first time the race has been hijacked—though fictionally in 2003’s Love Actually with Bill Nighy’s character, Billy Mack’s Christmas-themed version of The Trogg’s “Love is All Around.”  Ironically, the parody song was placed on Billboard’s Top 40 in 2004.

In true viral grassroots fashion, the troops are marshaling to take the No.1 spot this year – it will be far more interesting to track their progress than Tiger Wood’s love life—or imploding one, rather.

RESPONSE #12: 2012, game on.

For your final blog post, please predict, based on what you’ve learned and what your *imagination* says, what you think will be key to winning the 2012 election online.

In 2012, will we have moved on to Web 3.0 yet?  The tools used by Barack Obama in the 2008 election will no doubt seem archaic in direct comparison, but the key to winning the 2012 election online to have begun yesterday.

As the web evolves and takes social media along with it, the new media teams of each political candidate must be active participants in the conversation.  In particular, they must be aware of the conversations taking place in the smaller, niche communities and have the ability to enter into the discussion.  As with Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon.com, there is a long tail of political commentary online.  Those within the 2012 campaigns must tailor their strategies to converse under the mainstream spotlight as well as to reach targeted communities and foster that connection as the technology evolves.

With early voter courtship online, campaigns can then stimulate offline action closer to Election Day 2010.  By extending the campaigns’ reach from the mainstream to the niche early, candidates will have the access to convey wide or targeted messages to the appropriate voter groups.  The winner of the 2012 online campaign will have to make the decision to enter the Wild Wild Web with content blazing.

In the footsteps of Obamaize-yourself, Barack Roll, and the infamous “I can see Russia from my house!” SNL skit, I look forward to the viral highlights of 2012.

Tired of Tiger

Anyway, maybe it’s time to put Tiger to rest, or maybe back on the cereal box.

Well said, Angie.  In the era of 24/7 cable news networks and TMZ, I’m not surprised by the amount of attention this story has received.  While flooded with stories from The Washington Post, The Times, and all over celebrity gossip sites, I’ve grown accustomed to the need to put on blinders during the publicity storms.

What has been most annoying about this situation was when a friend visiting from London commented to me, “So I hear that there’s a second mistress coming forward!”  This is a gentleman who was in the States for three days on business working very long hours… yet he still had the latest gossip before I had even read an article about the fiasco.

Celebrity obsession is nothing new, but I had hoped in vain that with the circus over Michael Jackson’s death that there would be backlash against the flood of coverage.  Jim Fusilli of The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog wondered “When will the sudden, unexpected death of Michael Jackson no longer be front-page news?”  Answer: when there is a new target for the viral water cooler to focus on.

And focused the water cooler has.

Exhibit A: a CGI reenactment of Tiger’s accident:

Exhibit B: Tiger Woods’ Voicemail Slow Jam Remix

Exhibit C: Leaked Tiger Abuse Photo [via BuzzFeed]

Let’s move on, people.  There are so many important things happening within our own city that have been overshadowed by this debacle.

How much is that doggie in the browser window?

I don’t have a dog, but I’ve been thinking about getting one.  If it got lost, I’d probably be pretty sad.  Can crowdsourcing help?  [via Cynthia’s blog]

Having grown up with yellow labs who liked to wander to the nearby lake for a swim and rudely not giving any warning, I’d be very sad also if my dog went missing.  FidoFinder.com seems to be a great idea – especially the shelter alerts, allowing shelters to be notified if a dog is reported missing in their area code.  What I wonder though, is that with the reward system in place, does the site become akin to eBay with the highest attention being paid to the highest offered reward?

This new social network of sorts was not needed, however, this spring with the saga of Molly the Dog’s dognapping in at the Whole Foods in Dupont.  District blogs rallied around the case of the missing dog, until she was found in Cleveland Park by MPD officers.  I wonder, had Molly’s owners been aware of FidoFinder.com, would they have bothered or would they have used pre-established new media platforms regarless?

RESPONSE #11 A is for Apples… also Afghanistan

Pick a country that begins with the same letter as your name (to get the country listing click on countries in the upper right-hand corner). Explore that country’s blogosphere and write your blog post of the week about your findings

Judging by recent blog topics, the blogosphere of Austria was my first decision to explore via Global Voices, alas that would be too predictable.  Let’s go with Afghanistan.  It is a country that has faded in and out of my consciousness and attention since September 12th, 2009, but has now become a more dominant news story with the announcement of a troop surge.

International attention has again focused on the country, but what of those Afghans on the ground?  Blogger Sailani is concerned with the movement of another group of internationals, the UN; Sikander Hayat wonders about the Afghanistan-Pakistan divide; and Dafydd brings news that UK public opinion has swayed against the war in Afghanistan.

The visual representation of the news in Afghanistan is quite striking, as Hamid Tehraini brings a global voice to Fardin Waezi’s photos of the August 2009 presidential elections.

I am quite grateful for the introduction to GlobalVoices – it is a great resource to gauge the “on the ground” thoughts of fellow bloggers abroad (and yes, I’m now following their twitter feed).  It is a great tool to find bloggers aggregated by country when one wishes to look beyond the headlines of the mainstream media to see what individuals are independently publishing .