Take Your Blog to Work Day

Take your blog to work day


[work in progress- updates through the day - they're added to the bottom of this post - yes my mind wanders and yes, you'll need to scroll - no, it won't kill you ... right away.. ]

ock, gawd, I'm sorry. Just keep walking nothing to see here move along you'll NEVER GET THE TIME BACK!

Welcome to my workplace. Today you'll be seeing what it is that I do during the day while you're at home waiting for me to get there and not pay enough attention to you.

It's so nice to have you here!

I've just bought a coffee so we can sit down and get started. I've already responded to a few emails, taken a call from the printer who is working on the presentation folders I'm having done, I've organised a fire alarm inspection for home (not work related but these things still need doing) and I'm checking off these tasks on my "to do" list.

Lately (for the last 6 months?) I've been quite unhappy and feeling a large amount of stress at work - this is due entirely to my Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), what they are, how I feel about them (and KPIs in general - god I hate the idea of them so much I have a rant bubbling up about to spill over threatening to flood pixelkin.com) and the workload that forces itself upon and between me and my KPIs - including a few peripheral stresses around having a manager/not having a manager/having a manager etc, having a million 'priority 1' tasks and a bunch of other issues, ranging from 'big deals' to 'petty annoyances' - and as I write this I wonder if this is how Heather Armstrong started on her road to being fired from her job for blogging about work...

This morning though, I feel I can be a bit indulgent and push all that aside - including the fear of being fired - this morning I have an island of calm as all the managers are at their meeting all morning, and my pod-mates are both out on tasks - not that they're stressful, or noisy, but them not being here creates a pocket of unreality and cubby-hole-lid-ness - where I can attend to some of the writing I have on my task list in this relative quiet space I've found myself in. That's right, it's time to write!

There are a butt-load of things I have to write: content that needs creating, article submissions that need editing etc - but right now, I feel the time is best for writing that speech I need to deliver next Tuesday.

While I like the idea of being a good speaker - I am not. I do know, however, that I could be if I put the work in. Given that I grew up with such rolemodels as Samantha Stevens and Jeannie, I still have this idea that if I wiggle some part of my body hard enough and long enough I won't need to work and the thing I desire will just appear. Funnily enough, if I had ever just "wiggled some part of my body hard enough and long enough" it probably would have made my pot belly disappear! But look, now is not the time for home-truths.

Things I need to remember when writing

  1. Determine the message of the piece.
  2. Write.
  3. Keep writing until finished.
  4. When finished writing: stop.
  5. Edit every single line and word that doesn't directly give value to the message of the piece.

Number 5 may come as a surprise to you - given you've been storing my waffle since 1998 - but it is something I do know, if not always apply.

I make this list at this time because the 10 minute talk I am preparing seems to be becoming a 2 hour lecture - which isn't unusual for me - so I needed to remind myself that I'll be cutting ruthlessly to end up with all the right words to fit the time available. There is also a need to create some whiz-bang visuals to in part keep my audience entertained, and in part to out-do my whiz-bang visuals from last time.

NOTE TO SELF: see if you can get some video of people (with their permission - or not..) at work..

NOTE TO READERS: I'm not a firefighter, today won't be very exciting reading - consider yourself warned.

NOTE UPDATE: I just video-ambushed one of my favourite co-workers who said he'd let me put the footage up for you to see but I suddenly got a bout of nerves thinking, it's all very well me flying in the face of danger but I couldn't in truth expose him to the chance of being accused of being reckless and irresponsible with work equipment - I just know how that stuff can come back to bite a person in the bum (given the infamous 'webcam' incident of 2007).

Oh god I'm rambling - I either need more coffee, blog, or I need some food. An hour until lunch time I shall put this nervous hyperactive energy to work with more writing.

Introduction to my presentation (still in 'Number 2 : Write' phase)

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference / festival called South By South West.

SXSW is an annual event that brings many of the nerds of this world to Austin Texas. There are film nerds, and music nerds and me and my tribe: the interactive media nerds.

17,000 internet nerds broke with tradition, grabbed their laptops, left their couches, logged out of their multi-player games to descend on Austin for the five days of the SXSW Interactive Festival.

During my 5 day SXSW week I attended 25 x hour-long talks - and for the mathematicians amongst you, that may not sound like very hard work given most work weeks consist of 40 hours - I can assure you that I spent the balance of my time power-walking between rooms navigating a sea of nerds at the enormous Austin Convention Centre - I sure felt like I'd put in a very physical week.. Some of the talks I attended included "How science fiction has shaped the internet", "Expression Engine: total world domination" and "Design for the Dark Side". Many of the topics won't be of interest to most people off-world, but today I'd like to share with you "5 things I learned at SXSW that I thought YOU might be interested in".

  1. <= space to let - what will i open with?=>
  2. Paper isn't dead
  3. Video is for everyone
  4. The digital divide
  5. Karaoke is the new black

Ideas for Number 1 : What to open with?

  • OMG the parties were so cool!
  • Oh god I was so drunk every night/day/morning
  • How to rawk the Hilton Austin's foyer
  • Budget Advice: Surviving SouthBy on 2 dozen free beers a day

Halfway Mark

Well, blog, you're doing okay - managing to keep up and not get in the way. It's nearly lunchtime (1-2pm) - I'll take you up to the bakery for a Thai pork roll - I am currently addicted to this lunch item which combines a short walk with a lack of imagination which suits me perfectly.

Afternoon Push

So that was lunch, blog. A bread roll, some protein and salad; a little bit of a read and back to it.

I am currently reading 'the Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century with zombies' - no no no zombies, thank goodness. This is a proper grown-up book about geopolitical fault lines, commerce and trade, shifts of power and who will be on top for the next century.

I don't think there is anything more to be said about that, indicated by your silence, blog, and that tumbleweed that just tumbled through.

Work this afternoon will include more writing - collating potential content for a website, and updating some text on an online form. I wonder if you've noticed, blog, I don't seem to do very much 'internetty' stuff, (I mean I'm 'on' the internet now but I still have a few moments of my lunch hour left, but that's not what I mean) no design, no marking up, not really creating stuff so much as collating stuff.. yeh, I noticed that too.

Why don't you sit there, blog, and tear some paper until I've finished my next task.

All downhill from here

You've been neglecting your hydration, blog: time for a cup of tea. Are you beginning to see my work life is not quite as glamorous as the papers would have you believe? You know how much I would prefer to stay home with you all day, tweaking your settings, refining your styles - oh I didn't mean to make you blush but you know how much I'd rather be with you than almost anywhere else. Domain hosting and databases don't pay for themselves you know and so, for now, this is how it must be.

Did you notice how I skillfully changed my one presentation into two? Yes, that's probably one advantage of being a wind-bag - when I get going I have a hellova lot of words to play with (looking back up this long blog post) they may not be good words, but the quantity is astonishing. As it happens, I even needed two different presentations.

As a member of our Speakers' Bureau, I needed a five minute talk (on the topic of my choice) for Monday and a ten minute talk (on the topic of SouthBy) for Tuesday - so that seems to have worked out nicely and, by getting them both (mostly) done today, I give myself some time (the weekend) to prepare.

In case you didn't know yet, the secret to controlling nerves and giving a reasonable talk is to allow time for preparation and then, this is the secretty part - actually prepare. That means practice. That means all that ghastly stuff I hate like speaking out loud to yourself, watching yourself in the mirror or video-taping yourself then seeing and listening to what your speech actually looks and sounds like - then refining it.

I say this as if that's what I do - when in fact I say this because I believe it works, which is exactly why I don't do it. I figure it's much easier to bitch and moan about how lousy I am at speaking in front of large groups and then give a mediocre, underwhelming performance.

Maybe this time will be different...

Vlog Every Day in April

I forgot about VEDA this year - might do it in August so the acronym still stands - but maybe that's just as well. You don't know this, blog, but I've been kinda, well, stepping out behind your back. Less of an affair, and more of an experiment or testing ground.

Now before you get too upset - let me assure you I have every intention of video blogging here - it's just that by vlogging over at youtube.com I can be well, more crap and be okay about it.

My sister and I have been communicating through short videos. She makes one and uploads it on a Tuesday. I make one and upload it on a Friday. Initially we trialed it for 6 weeks - and I totally screwed up all my deadlines as I was traveling and am generally a bit useless on a Friday night. But I loved it, and she didn't seem to hate it - I am so looking forward to seeing if she uploads anything tonight and am constantly thinking of what I want to talk to her about for Friday.

It's so great to see her facial expressions as she talks to me; tells me things; tells me off.

The really best thing about it is, neither of us make it precious. The camera goes on, we talk, we upload. Well mine are edited a bit - mostly chopping great rambles out because we agreed to keep the videos around four minutes long and my last one went for seven - it took a lot of cutting to get it within the ballpark.

The other lovely thing is, my boys have ambushed the channel and sometimes upload their own messages - and they're lovely surprises. I'm hoping Jo's girls might do the same too - a regular family yabberfest and it's awesome.

I am not sure that you, blog, would enjoy the videos as much as we do. What do you think?

Okay, it's time for me to leave work. Don't wait up for me I'm not going home first - Gregor is presenting his lecture at Melbourne Uni so I thought I'd pop along. I'd kinda like to video it but I might just take notes instead.

Thanks for sharing my day - friend David on Facebook and take a look at his bald photos - he, of course, suits the look because he's entirely handsome and can wear anything.


We interrupt this transmission to remind you that David is shaving his head today - in fact, due to the time difference - probably already has. News as it comes to hand.

PS: for those readers who have just tuned in, or, for those readers who never knew: David is my youngest son.