Ignite Boulder 7: Ponderings

Ignite Boulder 7 was our most successful and feverish outing yet. If you aren’t aware, I’m one of a small group of organizers of the event. We work absurdly hard to keep the whole thing in one piece so that everyone can have a nice night of listening, learning and laughing.

Here are a few thoughts. If you were there, I hope you had fun. If you were not there and live nearby, please explain why you would hurt me so in the comments.

Ignite Boulder 7 (10 of 50)

Artful heckling is rad; Clumsy heckling is bad
Not everyone is cut out to be a heckler. If you are clever and witty in real-life, you stand a good chance of being a good heckler. Bruce Wyman springs to mind. If you are only clever and witty online, odds are you’re going to be a lame heckler. Drinking exacerbates your shortcomings. So keep that in mind.

People need stimuli
I work in public relations. As a consequence, I think about people all day long. Audiences, demographics, consumers. I am paid to unearth ways to reach humans with something that will trigger a positive reaction. So it’s pretty apt that I regularly open Ignite Boulder with a blast of jolly nonsense (known as “The Sacrificial Deck”) that sets the tone for the evening – expectation, curiosity and surprise.

Powerpoint is poison
Whenever I describe the event to people, I see them get apprehensive the moment I mention Powerpoint. Yes, the event is essentially comprised of 15 or so Powerpoint presentations (for the record, we convert them to Keynote because it’s oodles cooler), but I really must stop describing it that way. I fear that many people don’t give Ignite a chance because Powerpoint is innately boring and there’s no way they would pay $10 for something like that. Can anyone think of a better way to sell someone on Ignite?

(Photo credit: Jason Janelle)


New York City in 140 Characters

I returned from my first trip to NYC last week and have been sluggish about documenting it. Even while I was there, I was pretty bad at capturing the occasion. With the exception of a handful of ponderous tweets and a few iPhone pics of my hotel room, I was too busy with work to narrate my time there.

So I summed it up in 140 characters instead:

New York City’s variety is only exceeded by its capacity for people, hubbub and opportunity. Hailing cabs was difficult for me. Sandwiches!!

There were so many people. It felt like a concert had just let out, but it appears to be that way all the time. And nearly everyone I talked to absolutely loved it – the energy and the optimism it affords. That kind of spirit is contagious, though I confess I longed for my delightful Boulder, Colo. I don’t think I was made for big cities.

I also suck at hailing cabs. I ended up asking the concierge to do it for me. It was awkward. I couldn’t decide if I should be using my thumb or not. I felt like an absurdly motivated hitchhiker.

In all, I had some tasty sandwiches and reconnected with one of my most treasured friends (and her shrewd new husband). Wonderful trip. I didn’t see any of the major stuff (Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, etc.), but with my dear friend George G Smith Jr. having recently moved there, I’ll have plenty reason to return.

P.S. - They totally have a combination Taco Bell/Dunkin' Donuts in NYC. Holy smokes!

Meeting Grammar Girl in Boulder

Last night, I attended a reading at the Boulder Book Store that I heard about on Twitter via their well-run @BoulderBooks account.

Mignon Fogarty, the creator and host of the Grammar Girl podcast, was promoting her second book, "The Grammar Devotional," with a book tour. Given my huge crush on both Fogarty and grammar, I was powerless to resist her visit to Boulder.

She talked about all the usual stuff - how she got started, writing and grammar, her future projects - but she truly came alive during Q&A. She fielded specific questions about grammar, as well as some behind-the-scenes stuff. Throughout, Mignon was a witty wonder and very obliging - even when my dumb self asked for a photo:

I asked her about the impact of social media on the quality of writing and grammar, since more people are writing (whether on Facebook, Twitter, blogs), but not everyone is pausing to proofread.

She replied with a thoughtful answer about how over time, such writing can make teens stronger writers, but with adults can be a mixed bag, given the less-is-more ethos behind the more dominant social platforms. While it's good to see so many people generating written content and sharing it with others, she is horrified to hear that LOL and emoticons are creeping into school essays.

I picked up her new book (which she gracefully signed) and highly recommend you do the same. Good grammar is better than good gravy.

Oh, and I finally met Michael Fraietta from one of my favorite local companies, Filtrbox. There were loads of people at the event - I'm kicking myself for not having met more fellow grammar goons.

Going to New York for the First Time

I am flying to NYC for the first time tomorrow. I'm not wild about big cities. Denver kinda gives me the creeps, and Dallas (near where I grew up) was always a little too dirty for my tastes.

But I'm still pretty excited for my trip. I'll be there from Wednesday (11/4) to Saturday (11/7), visiting my agency's NY office and getting a bunch of work done.

So if anyone wants to hang out in the evening, I'd be up for it. Just as long as I don't have to trek far. I might end up playing World of Warcraft in my hotel room. Not kidding. I just hit level 50 on my paladin and I'm eager to start questing in the Plaguelands.

I'll be staying in Midtown. So, yeah. I don't know what that means, but that's where I can be found. I just hope the weather's cooperative. I get cold fast.

Teletubbie Halloween Dancing

I dressed up as a Teletubbie for Halloween 2009. I flew to Texas to visit my family. They were weirded out.

Here is a video of me dancing at Medieval Times in Dallas.

I might add some ultra fresh music to it at a later date. (iMovie was being a jerk and I'm too busy.)

It has now been REMIX'D. DIG:

Mission: Shrim-possible

I thought this was hysterical.

Mission Shrimpossible

(Taken at the Safeway in Cherry Creek - Denver, Colorado.)

World of Warcraft = Yay

I haven't written about World of Warcraft lately, which is a shame because my interest in the game has been rejuvenated as a result of Molly, my glistening new MacBook Pro. She makes the game look powerfully better than the computer I was gaming on before. Thus, I've been spending much more time prancing around Azeroth, the game's titular world.

My main character is a vastly under-utilized level 80 Undead warlock. While he's potent and always a gas to play, I have lately been spending more time on a different server playing a new level 28 Draenei paladin named Hips, which is the first Alliance character I've played since I began playing WoW in the summer of 2007.

Honestly, I was loathe to create an Alliance character, as all my previous ones had been Horde, but my dear Denver friends Mimi and Patch encouraged me to join them on their server - and they happen to prefer the Alliance.

(If you're new to the game, there are two essential "sides" to the war - the Alliance and the Horde. Both have committed atrocities, so there's no real good or bad side. But the Horde is way cooler because you can play as a zombie.)

I'm actually surprised I don't play with more Colorado folks. In social situations, I often mention that I play WoW, but thus far I've only met people who no longer play. So it's delightful and encouraging two folks in Colorado who are always ready to rock the sword & shield.

If you've ever thought about playing WoW, the server I'm currently playing on is named Eonar. I'd love for you to come kill things with me. I'm definitely not the best gamer around (I'm likely pretty horrible), but I always wear a smile in addition to my enchanted armor.

(If you're an experienced WoW freak, you probably noticed that I didn't use words like roll, toon, etc. I just didn't want this entry to be indecipherable to the general populace. Zug-zug.)


Ignite Boulder 6: Video Evidence + Voice Cracking

My performance from Ignite Boulder 6 has been posted to the Internets. You can view it below. My voice cracks. I forget my lyrics. I look a little dizzy.

In short, I am a deeply flawed, deeply silly boy.

Big thanks to Craig Kendall for editing the video and adding the sweet graphics.

The next Ignite Boulder is on December 10 - mark yo' calendars!

Thoughts on boco, Boulder's First Tech Conference

I helped organize a local tech conference called boco last week. Held at the Boulder Public Library with an attendance cap of 175, it wasn't as large as other tech conferences to be sure. However, I think our focus on tech, music and food set us apart from the rest and ensured a variety of subject matter that gave boco a distinctive flava. (Big ups to my towering comrade Andrew Hyde for dreaming it all up and to Ryan Cook for simply existing.)

Here are a few observations that I, um, observed:

Technically, boco stands for "Beyond Our Creative Origins"
From my experience, a similarly good representation would be "Befriending Others Creates Opportunity." I'm a big fan of online social networking. I'll give any network a try (see my foray into Coathangr, which I have been sadly absent from lately). I love seeing people with disparate interests connect over something that had been unknown before - especially in real life. I saw that all over the place at boco, and it warmed all four chambers of my cold, wintry heart.

People love free t-shirts

The lovely lads over at VC Wear provided free apparel (of the t-shirt variety) for all attendees. Furthermore, official boco shirts were handed out at the conclusion of the conference. I have seldom seen so many smiles. It was like that "The Candyman can!" scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - except far less creepy.

Everything can be improved, fortified and strengthened
I'd be the silliest of geese to think that boco was absolutely perfect. I learned barrels of stuff about how conferences are put together, the expectations of attendees, scheduling dynamics and how a bulleted list of offerings equates to ticket price.

We will host boco again next year, and it will be just as amazing as its inaugural outing. If it runs better, if we are slightly more organized, if my hair is a little shinier, if you notice these things at all - then it's a testament to all the great feedback I received.

If you attended, thanks for being there. If you didn't, I hope to see you next year. I'll be the one doing "the electric slide" next to the check-in table.


Meet Molly, My New MacBook Pro

I'm in love, y'all. The spring in my step's got me bouncing around like a Latino Inspector Gadget.

I bought a new MacBook Pro. Her name is Molly:

I've never felt this way before. She makes everything possible. She empowers my mind and makes my digital dreams come true. If you see us together at a coffeeshop, please ignore our public displays of affection. We can't help it. 

It's not puppy love.

It's Leopard love.

Snow Leopard love.