What I Learned At Podcamp

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Saturday my friend Don and I got up bright and early to attend “podcamp Pittsburgh 7: build your digital toolbox”, at Point Park College in Downtown Pittsburgh. This was my first time going to podcamp. Don was teaching a portion on live streaming. We checked in and Don networked with some of his contacts while we had some fruit, waiting for the opening speaker. 

This year’s opening keynote speaker was the men behind Pittsburgh Dad. For those unfamiliar, they have a facebook page and can be found pretty easily on YouTube. Pittsburgh Dad is created by Curt Wootton and Chris Preksta. The main character, which they plan to leave unnamed until the final episode, is based on Curt’s dad, but he’s someone everyone who has lived in this city is very familiar with. Chris and Curt are the entirety of the cast and crew for these shows and they do all the shooting on an iPhone in an actual house. They talked a lot about how something that started as a gag to pass the afternoon became a full time job for the duo, even as far as the debate around accepting sponsorship from the local Pittsburgh favorite Turner’s Tea. 

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above: Curt telling a story about his dad meeting the mayor.

All of the sessions were streamed on the podcamp website for those who couldn’t make it. The first one I attended was Podcasting – The Behind the Scenes Look by Rob Walch. Rob talked about they myths and the real stats around podcasting. He discussed how consistency is important, meaning that you should post at about the same time be it day of week or time of day, because that is what people in the television generation have been trained to expect. Rob also says you shouldn’t feel beholden to preconceived notions like your podcast must be a half hour. Your podcast should be as long or short as the content allows. If you only have 17 minutes of content, produce a 17 minute show. I got a lot of good tips from this session, maybe more than I can process at the moment, but I found it quite helpful. 

The next session I attended was Old Media and New Media with David DeAngelo and Jon Delano. It was interesting to hear the perspective of how blogging is changing the landscape of journalistic media. Jon Delano was, as usual, very diplomatic and a congenial kind of guy. I’ve heard him compared to the kind of guy you wish was your uncle that would read you bedtime stories, and I can say I concur. I even added him on twitter, since I heard him say the word “tweeps”. 

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Then we went to lunch. They had a twitterfall on a large screen, and though they told us all what the hashtag was, it seemed only presenters and organizers showed up on the screen. (I’m, like, totally not bitter or anything.) 

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Also spotted during the break, this:

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Wish I had thought of that first.

After lunch I went to check out Social Media for Women Entrepreneurs. Another of my friends, Carrie Nardini, was one of the presenters with Emily Levenson and Kate Stoltzfus. I was also very happy to see 7 or 8 men in the sea of estrogen. Way to be progressive guy, even if you were likely dragged there by the woman sitting next to you. The presentation was really well put together, but I expected no less from such professionals. Carrie calls herself a “marketress”, she’s the founder and director of the I Made It! Market. The three of them together have a company called Propelle. 

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They encouraged the audience to think of their heroes and then related that back to good guidelines and tips. Emily talked about making sure your online presence is genuine and reflects your voice, from the way you communicate to the colors you choose and the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule is that you should provide at least 80 percent useful content, something the reader or viewer or listener can take away. Kate encouraged attendees to think about their audience, and appeal to them where you are getting the most response. Carrie talked about her experience being a master multi-tasker and using apps like Hootsuite to schedule some of your online posts. 

Then I went to see Don Carpenters class, Live Stream 101. Don’s live streaming venture began with Occupy but he’s expanded into bands and special local events and news. He’s also had the opportunity to go to summits and actions in other cities. He talked about the different live stream providers and their pitfalls and perks. Don told attendees how he works around those pitfalls and what he uses live stream to do. 

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(He looks like such a grown up behind a podium.. 😉 )

We missed the ending keynote speaker, but did make it to the after party at Alpha Labs, where we proceeded, after a beer or two, to start having fun with the twitterfall being broadcast there. I can neither confirm nor deny that anyone in my party may or may not have encouraged the repeated sightings of the word “penis” on the twitterfall.

So what did I take away? A lot. Starting with consistency. I’ve tried to make sure I post at least once a week, but I should either try to do it on a certain day or time. I also know I really need to make some time to customize my blog with a better theme, perhaps make up a logo. I had a great time at podcamp and I would suggest it to anyone; bloggers, podcasters, live streamers, and anyone with an online presence in one way or another. I’ll be keeping an ear out for the next one, that’s for sure.

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First Foray

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Today my friend, Jess, did some Halloween themed nail art for me. As I mentioned in my last entry, Jess is a “doodling pro”, but she’s never done nail art before. I brought in a variety of possible Halloween colors and an eyeliner brush, but I only have the Sally Hansen pens in black, silver, and gold. We used the pens and Jess says they’re like using Sharpies. I’m quite happy with the nails, very cute.

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right hand

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“accent nail” pumpkins w/gold on the thumbs.

I did the base coat with White Out by Spoiled Wet N Wild and used a matte top coat before she did the nail art. I put a quick dry top coat over it. We’re both so happy with the results, there may be a repeat for following holidays.

 

 

Fit For Print

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I’ve decided 30 days challenges are not my forte. I gave up on both the list and the photo challenge. Nanowrimo is coming up, and even though I’ve been progressing nicely with the outline for the story that’s been bouncing around my noggin for 2 years, I don’t think it’s ready to be written yet. For those unfamiliar with the project more info can be found here: www.nanowrimo.org . I recommend writer friends check it out.

Wednesday a friend and coworker is helping me with a manicure idea. She’s an accomplished doodler responsible for these masterpieces hanging in my cubicle at work:

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I was disheartened after the Great Ombre Failure of 2012, but I still have ideas. I even got supplies to attempt the “suede” and “caviar” looks I’ve seen. Also, I saw one done with loose powder that looks promising. I haven’t entirely given up on ombre either. Please forgive my shorty nails, as soon as the weather changes they refuse to behave past any length at all, chipping and peeling on a regular basis. I’ve thought about vitamins and special base coats or changing the remover I use, but so far I haven’t found the key. I’ve been contemplating acrylics, but I’ve never had them long term (I tend to abuse the crap out of my hands and they never last). I don’t know how easy it is to change polish on them with any kind of frequency.

Last night I managed to carve out some me time to accomplish a project. I did it from start to finish. Even though shopping traffic made me an hour late for my niece’s birthday party and putting it together had me up 2 and half hours past bedtime. The idea came from a Pinterest link to a Buzzfeed article. It turned out like this:

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Safety pins, elastic, and beads are the only supplies. It took me about 5 hours from start to finish. Next time I’d like to plan for more uniformity. 

I downloaded a tracker app for calories and exercise for my phone. My Fitness Pal, available for iPhone and Android (www.myfitnesspal.com). You and your friends can follow each other’s progress and it already has tons of foods entered in by users, so it’s pretty easy to find the calories of something you’re looking for and you get some back for activity (most of which is already in there as well). 

There are currently lot’s of things to blog about, even if I don’t always have the time to actually do so. As always, feel free to leave thoughts and suggestions. They really do make me feel like someone is paying attention. 

 

Fall Nails

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 This week I tried out the new Fantasy Makers “Once Upon A Time” by Wet n Wild. There’s a black base coat, and 2 coats of the polish. Which is a mix of large and small red glitter with a blackish base. The accent nail is “Honeymoon Red” by Sally Hansen with “What’s Your Poison?” from Sephora by OPI.

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 That’s after one coat of the glitter. Below is after 2 coats.

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 I like it. It reminds me of little blood drops. I couldn’t find this locally, it arrived as a birthday present from a friend after we had both admired it online. 

I also recently picked up one of those dark red/brown colors. This one is “Masquerade Ball” by Confetti. 

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 It feels pretty good to be settling into the fall season…

Zombiefest 2012

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On October 13th I went to my 3rd Zombiefest, here in Pittsburgh. The weather was perfect. It was a sunny day, which is very rare in these parts. The event started at noon, but it’s been my experience not to rush to be there at the start because it is a marathon, and not a sprint. Still, arriving 2 hours into the event, we had very little trouble finding parking. I bloodied up, having already done my make up at home, and we hit the fest.

Zombiefest is a day long event where there are bands, contests, and vendors. It’s part of World Zombie Day. The goal is to take back the world record for the zombie walk, which is an ongoing battle. At the registration, they were collecting canned goods for the The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, from those considerate zombies who realized they don’t need people food anymore. The day is finished off with a zombie walk. For those unfamiliar, we all dress up like the undead and the walk is were you lurch around a certain route, like a parade. It is organized by the It’s Alive Show folks. More info about them can be found on their website: www.theitsaliveshow.com.

The previous 2 years they held the event in Downtown Pittsburgh. This was a pretty popular location because of its easy accessibility to public transportation. The city was not interested in hosting the event this year, so it was in the West End. Aside from the transportation issues, it seemed to be a good move, in my opinion. The sanctioned area was about 2 blocks in one direction, and 2 blocks at the intersection, so I don’t think there was necessarily more square footage. It just seemed to be better utilized. There was a stage and bleachers to watch the bands and festivities. The vendors were decent, although I’d still like to see more. There were multiple places offering to do make up, which I was happy to see. The bars were open, and there multiple food vendors. The ones I was the most happy to see were Dozen, Pittsburgh Bites, and Silvi’s.

The consensus from the people I talked to seemed to be the actual “walk” could have been a bit longer. It took a while to organize the herd, and then the walk itself was only really around one large block.

The bands were diverse and entertaining. From psychobilly-esque bands like The Graveyard Rockers, to metal like The Motorpsychos, to the musket shooting metal pirate band The Bloody Seamen, who finished their set with a flaming broken guitar. There was a “surprise musical guest” after the walk. A voodoo priest brought out a coffin and Jim Morrison took the stage to preform as with the band The Next Doors.

The events were pretty good at getting some crowd participation going. There were the Zombie Olympics, my personal favorite the Brain Eating Competition (complete with gummy worms inside the jello brains), and the Ugly Pageant.

The event was livestreamed by Don Carpenter, and it was broadcast world wide. You can check out the youtube footage on his blog here:

http://talesfromajournalist.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/pittsburgh-zombie-fest-2012-pt-1/

http://talesfromajournalist.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/pittsburgh-zombie-fest-2012-pt-2/

http://talesfromajournalist.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/pittsburgh-zombie-fest-2012part-3/

You’ll catch glimpses of yours truly in the footage from time to time. And here are my photos, which I posted as the day went along.

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There were a thousand more I would have liked to have gotten, but my battery was quickly losing charge.

It was a very pet friendly, child friendly event, adult friendly event. I even sneaked away during the last act to finally purchase that Monroeville Zombies hoodie I had been lusting for for the last 3 years. So I would definitely call the day a success, even if it turns out we did not take the record. (Which at the time of posting, I don’t know for sure.)

State of The Union? Chaos. Always Chaos.

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Let’s touch base about life and the state of it, shall we? In the spirit of the annual meeting they just had at work for the trustee’s, let’s take stock of the things we wanted to accomplish, what we’ve done (and not done) thus far. And perhaps where we’d like to go from here. 

It’s the month of October. This is a time for DO ALL THE THINGS. There are haunted houses to go to, parties, and concerts. I need to plan costumes, and map out all the activities on the calendar. Here, briefly, is my attempt to organize the chaos that is in my head regarding the matter:

October 13th, Zombie Walk – It’s in a new location, not Downtown this year. I still plan on going. I don’t think I’m going for an elaborate costume. I’ll just generally be dead, maybe with a wig. My friend Don is coming with me, and will likely be livestreaming some part of the festivities. I’ll try to get some good photos as well, for a recap. There is the possibility of a haunted house afterwards, but I make no promises on this one. 

Concerts: I believe I’m going to see My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult on the 22nd and Morrissey on the 23rd, and I just found out that Everclear and Eve 6 are coming on the 30th, so I picked up a ticket for that.

There are likely to be 2 parties. I won’t mention dates or locations, just because you never know who is reading a public blog. But I have them in mind because I have to think about costumes. Also I need costume for work. For work, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to be Velma from Scooby Doo. I have the sweater (currently wearing, actually) and the skirt. I need socks, Mary Janes, and a wig. I have a wig that will do, but I’d like to get one closer to the actual character. My wig is black and she is more of a brunette. There is discussion of my going as  Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) for another party because the roomie is going as Dana and her date will be going as Venkman. Strangely enough, I think I’m perfectly suited for this character. 

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It’s an older picture, but I think you see the point. I’ll post about ideas and progress as things develop.

I started in August saying I wanted to take some time to complete projects I had started, and I’m sad to say I haven’t. My ability to finish what I start is still lacking. I haven’t finished that painting or any of my textile work. I haven’t converted any more of my tapes. I haven’t read anything, really. I crapped out of the 30 days of lists challenge. I tried a manicure the other day that failed, miserably. I haven’t been playing as much softball and haven’t made any exercise substitutions. Those are my failures. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about it.

Going forward, I have plans for others to try and colors to “swatch” (as I’m learning the “nail bloggers” do). I’m doing a 30 Days of Photos Challenge. I’m thinking of making a “reading list” and using the reading app on my phone. I’ve started Christmas shopping already, because I’m that jerk that likes to be done by the end of November. I’m also getting an awesome handmade tutu for my niece for her birthday from a friend (niece’s birthday is on the 20th). I’ve been playing around with Pinterest, and definitely getting some ideas from it. I’m still debating about my nephew’s birthday, the day after Christmas, and what I want to do. I will try my best to never do “combo” presents for him, at least not while he is little, unless it was a really cool idea. 

New Year’s will come up soon, and with it a renewal of my determination. A new attempt to maintain focus. I want to do something to move forward. I squawked all this talk about putting myself first and figuring out my life alone, but so far I’ve really just continued to drift and let myself be pulled along by the urgency of other’s needs. Habits are hard to break. I have poor time management skills and little willpower.

But I need to not focus on my negative attributes and keep trying to use my strength to build into bigger and better things. Whatever I finally zone in on when I learn to pick something, I will go at it like Rocky on those stairs, Eye of The Tiger and all. Or maybe more Karate Kid, “You’re The Best Around” style. Insert your favorite video montage of awesome here, I suppose. Regardless, I cannot and will not let my dysthymia and my low self esteem make me any less than the incredible vision that I have for myself. You don’t get awesome by moping around about not being awesome. And beating myself up about the negatives of my present moment denies me enjoying how fantastic I am. I do believe in faking it until you make it, but I’ll never literally be guilty of hubris. I just need to start, at the beginning, with one foot in front of the other, working toward being better, whatever that means at the moment. Eye on the prize and all that. 

And lastly, I appreciate anyone who is hanging in there with me. Whether blogs indulge our vanity is a topic for another day, but those who care enough to read my posts and maybe feel inspired to try something or motivated to comment, it means a lot to me. I hope I dole out all the love I get and you all feel it, too. If you ever have any ideas, or anything you’d like to see a post about, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m still feeling out my direction and I’d love to know what a passerby might see. We only know ourselves from one perspective. 

Here’s to the horizon and what lies beyond, kids…

30 Days of Photos, Part I

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Since this was the weekend of my birthday, I didn’t do much work on the 30 day photo challenge. But I’ve made up for it today. Here’s the current round up. 

Also my faux pas, I thought Day 5 was a low angle shot. That is, in fact, Day 6. Day 5 I can do whatever I want. So I’m sort of 2 days ahead, but not really. 

I’ve also included an alternate Day 1, just because I like it better than the actual picture I took for Day 1. (In girl terms, I look skinnier.) 

Day 1a and 1b: Picture of yourself

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Day 2: What I wore today

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Day 3: Favorite Places

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Day 4: From a High Angle

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Day *6* (formerly known as Day 5): From a Low Angle

 

 

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