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December 31, 2004

Good Riddance!

I am thrilled to see 2004 end! It has been the longest year of my life. If only the good years will seem to last as long.

We've got no major plans for the evening. We're going to see a movie this afternoon. We went to Central Market yesterday - along with half of Austin - and picked up some steaks and champaign. We'll cook dinner, watch our new Invader Zim dvd, drink, and snuggle. It's nice just being together this New Year's. The last time we were both home on New Year's was back in 1999.

So here's to a fantastic 2005 for all of us. Less tragedy, less drama, more fun.

Posted by Beth at 02:07 PM
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December 30, 2004

I hate iTunes

I love the ipod, but I hate iTunes. I purchased a four song mini album by Asylum Street Spankers yesterday. But first they had me do an update to my iTunes. Ok fine. Because I'm cheap and we're still on dial up, that took a couple of hours. Then, it took forever to download the four songs, because of course it timed out. I finally read thru their instructions on what to do when a download just stops, figured it out, and let the computer take another hour to download the other three songs. Fine.

Today I go to actually transfer the songs to the ipod from my iTunes library - no can do. WFT?? It says I need another upgrade. Umm, what didn't get upgraded in the huge upgrade yesterday? Who knows. So now it's doing the upgrade again. If that doesn't work I'll write off the $4 and never, ever use iTunes again.

Nerdstar is all set to get our XM hooked back up in her car anyway. I'd wanted a new car stereo for Christmas, but everything I want would probably run close to $900 installed. I'm too cheap for that at this time, but maybe soon. I might go ahead and get the XM receiver with the auxilary hook up for the ipod. That would be cool.

But, Apple will not get any more $$ from me if it keeps being this difficult.

Posted by Beth at 04:59 PM
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Leaving Again

As Nerdstar wrote yesterday, she has orders to go to Ft. Leavenworth, KS for a month to do some linguist work. She flies up there Monday. It's pretty cool. Back when she was at Ft. Lewis before leaving for Iraq she was in contact with one of the men at Ft. Leavenworth about this job, then she was deployed to Iraq. Once she came home she contacted him again, and thankfully they still need her.

What's cool is that this is a 30 day trial. She gets to see if she likes the job and the area, and they get to see if they like her work. At the end of this 30 days she can walk away or they can say no thanks. But, if everyone is happy, then they'll extend her orders for that job for a year.

Neither of us are really thinking past the next couple of weeks. I'll go up and visit her and see how I like the area at the end of week three.

As I've said before, it would be really hard to leave Austin, but it's certainly a possibility.

Posted by Beth at 04:52 PM
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December 29, 2004

Asylum Street Spankers

We're winding down this horrible year with good food and a little fun. Well, actually, we always have good food - hence the round shaped bodies.

Last night we went to the Saxon Pub to hear the Asylum Street Spankers. Their website said the show would start at 9, which is about right in Austin. I knew they haven't played here in a while, that the Saxon Pub is a tiny venue for such a popular band, and it would be crowded. Thank God I'm anal and like to get to places early. We got there just before 8, got in and the place was already jam packed. Turns out the show actually started a little after 8.

The band started here in Austin and has been playing for over ten years, with various members coming and going. You really have to go to their site and hear a sample to know just how fun they were to see. Nerdstar said it was like mixing NPR type music with Prairie Home Companion and having them take acid! They play upright bass, fiddle, banjo, steel guitar, kazoos, and washboard. The female vocalist can sound like you just stepped back into the 20s and 30s. Oh, and she played a saw - how cool is that?

But even more fun than the musical abilities are the lyrics. They sing about drugs, the drug war, a sweet little cat - aka pussy, a tribute to beer and did a cover of Nine Inch Nails Closer that means I'll never hear the original the same way again. Let's just say he introducted it as a song about besteality and at appropriate spots the band broke into farm animal noises.

It's just such a shame that adults who are drunk have no concept of manners. But that's a rant for another time.

They're going to be in Houston tomorrow night, other than that I didn't check their show listings. But I'd totally recommend going to see them

Posted by Beth at 12:26 PM
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December 28, 2004

Nice Reminder

David is celebrating his one year blog anniversary and writes a great post that reminds me why I do this.

I can't tell you how often I'm tempted to just quit blogging. I run out of things to write about, things to care about. I get into funks and don't want this to be a depression blog. I look at my sitemeter and wonder why bother.

But David gets it right. I write this blog for the same reason I read blogs, because it's fun to read about other people's lives.

Let others see the world through your eyes.

Since you were a child you've secretly suspected that you were special... that you could see things in a way that nobody else could. Well guess what? You were right!

This very day your brain processed a thousand unique signals... chewing up each one like sticks of cheap gum, and spitting them out as the flavor quickly faded. Your job as a blogger / journaler is to make note of those things... to document those people... catalog those experiences... before the flavors have faded beyond your ability to recall and describe them.

Some time today... maybe even just a few minutes ago... you thought about something that had never occurred to me. You had a meal or drinks with people I will likely never get to meet. You saw places and events that I will probably never visit or experience. .. unless, of course, you think to write them down.

To you, all of these things seemed perfectly commonplace... but to me (or anyone else, for that matter) they could be wildly interesting or entertaining.

Thanks, David!!

Posted by Beth at 05:04 PM
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December 26, 2004

Unbelievably Tragic

The Command Post has a ton of links and information and first hand accounts about the earthquake and tsunamis devastating parts of the world over night.

I can't imagine any of it, I'm pretty speechless.

Posted by Beth at 11:23 AM
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December 24, 2004

How Cute

It's 1 pm and we're pretty done for the day. I really should have brought the digital camera, but I forgot. There's the cutest little boy and his grandpa in the floor with a big new train. You know, because the four or five other trains he has just weren't enough! Zach is such a good kid. He woke up about 9 this morning. I was sleeping with him in his bed and when he realized I was awake he looked at me and said, "Santa came!" I said, "Well, let's go see!" He came in and looked and saw the train in it's big box and was all excited, but didn't tear into it or the other presents. My parent's were already up, so Zach went and woke his daddy up and waited until he was up to start opening presents. He didn't even rip them all up and was excited to open even the clothes.

Later, when it was all done, after lunch, he said he wanted to see Santa again so he could hug and kiss him and tell him he loved him! How sweet is that?

Now my only hope is that Nerdstar and I have a little baby close to this time next year!!

Posted by Beth at 01:06 PM
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December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas

Nerdstar and I both got up early this morning and hit the road. Unfortunately, she drove to Houston and I drove to Dallas. Zach is mad at me and her because she's not here! Well, and because Ramen isn't here either.

We're doing Christmas tomorrow because Zach's evil mom is picking him up that evening. So I've been convinced all week that tomorrow is actually Christmas.

It's a nice, simple one here. Sleep until the kid wakes up. Make him wake up his daddy. Open gifts. Eat lunch. Probably nap. Eat dinner. Watch dvds. Back to bed!

Nerdstar and I will exchange gifts Sunday night when we're both back in Austin. I'm looking forward to that!

In the meantime. I'd love for all of my regular readers to leave comments as a Christmas present :-) You guys keep me doing this. I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, comments and encouragement this past year while Nerdstar was in Iraq. So again, Merry Christmas to you all!!

Posted by Beth at 10:03 PM
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December 21, 2004

Mosul Attack

I didn't cry today, but when I heard the news this morning about the mortar attacks on the base in Mosul, my heart broke. I can imagine what the families of soldiers in Mosul were feeling and fearing today. How horrible so close to Christmas.

I'm not usually a big fan of CNN, but the stories we saw early this afternoon, and the people they interviewed, seemed to have a pretty good idea of what was and wasn't going on in this situation.

I read some speculation about how the insurgents could have such an accurate hit. I don't think it's anything suprising. That base has been there close to two years, as well as several other bases around the city of Mosul. Mortars are lobbed onto those bases on a very regular basis. Of course something of this size was only a matter of time. The more surprising aspect is that after almost two years the chow hall, a known target, was still a tent and not a much, much more safe facility.

The other topic discussed was that of Iraqi's having access to US military bases over there. I guess because I knew it was a regular event, and not necessarily a big deal, I took it for granted most people knew this. People from Iraq, Turkey, Fiji, the Phillipines, South Africa, from all over the world, work on the bases as cooks, they run laundry services, they sell trinkets, stolen goods, bootleg dvds, food, you name it. Is this safe? Mostly. Nerdstar was extremely grateful to have a stand that sold Turkish food in her last weeks there.

I don't begin to know the ins and outs of the economics of having local contractors for some services as opposed to only using military personnel. Nerdstar thinks it's a political move - helping the locals out economically.

I guess what I'm rambling about is that while today was a heart wrenching tragedy, it's not an unusual event. Unfortunately, in war there is no safe place.

Nerdstar wrote an entry about it all as well.

Posted by Beth at 11:32 PM
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Food Semantics

Yesterday, Nerdstar and I went to a little Christmas Bazaar at a little Arabic store. It was one of those things like the psychic fair where we saw an ad in the weekly rag and thought, sounds cool. At noon there was supposed to be a brunch, then at two and four there were supposed to be belly dancers, and of course, cool gift items from the middle east. Nerdstar came back from Iraq with a new appreciation for middle eastern food and we've been wanting to see some belly dancers.

We got there just after noon and there was no brunch. The store sells pretty cool stuff, including hookahs, so we looked around for a while. Nerdstar told me she could have mailed home stuff like that, but didn't. She really should have! We didn't stay long enough to check out the belly dancers. There are a couple of restaurants that have them on Saturday nights.

We were both getting hungry, so we went down the street to this vegetarian restaurant here in Austin, Mother's. Now, let me explain that I do not eat vegetables. You read it right. Basically none. Yes, I eat french fries - but we all know those don't count. No salads, no baked potatoes, no veggies. My mother will swear on my life it's not her fault! (I could write a whole different post on dining with others throughout my life.) But, I know Nerdstar likes the place and hasn't been there in ages. I figure, ok, how hard can it be to get some breakfast, eggs, toast, maybe some pancakes, at least a muffin.

We are seated and check out the menu. I read it over and then looked at Nerdstar and said, "Nothing on here is real." The french toast wasn't even made out of real bread. I have no idea what they made the pancakes out of. Hell, if there's a way to make fake eggs, I'm sure they did.

We left and went to another Austin institution for breakfast, The Omelettry.

Nerdstar wasn't thrilled about leaving Mother's, but didn't say much so I thought it was ok. Later, we're talking about it and I find she's frustrated with me for saying the food wasn't real.

What I mean by that is that I'm sure that the food is good, for what it is. But don't call tofu soaked in some sort of sauce BBQ. BBQ means something - usually something involving meat. Don't call something that's not even bread french toast. French toast means big white bread soaked in eggs and milk and cinnamon and toasted.

It's as much about semantics as the food itself. Nerdstar just said it's an ideological problem.

Posted by Beth at 12:06 AM
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December 19, 2004

Good Weekend

Although being unemployed for so long often means we don't always know what day it is, this was a good weekend. We rented several videos the other day because tv, even with over 100 channels, sucks. We finally watched Spellbound. Nerdstar is now convinced she wants our kids to at least start out as nerds - go figure! Those kids really are amazing, though. Then we watched A Home At The End of the World, with Collin Farrell and Robin Wright Penn and some other dude. It was decent. Better than a lot of movies I've seen this past year.

Then last night we watched a Swedish film Kitchen Stories. I usually enjoy foreign films and this was no exception. A very simple story about this company is Sweden that researches kitchen habits and walking patterns by having someone sit on a high platform in the corner of someone's kitchen and take notes. The older man regrets signing up to be observed before the observer ever gets there, and so of course, he causes him trouble. Naturally, they become friends over time. There are less than ten characters in the whole movie, and they're all men. Yet, it's a very sweet film.

Last night was also Wanda Sykes in concert. Nerdstar wrote her review here. It was actually a lot of fun! Watching the audience before she even came on stage was entertaining. I swear there were more gay people than black people in the audience. But that's probably Austin for you. She has a good routine and seemed really relaxed and happy to be doing it. There was even once when someone in the audience yelled out an addition to her joke that really was very funny and she laughed and clapped for them and then elaborated on it. I'd bet $100 she uses it in her routine next time.

The weather has been colder here in Austin than I remember from last winter, but maybe my memory is just bad. But last night was a nice night to be out and around downtown.

Posted by Beth at 10:28 PM
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December 18, 2004

Easy Information

What I love about the internet, and blogs in particular, is how very easy it is to get information with so little effort.

Yesterday I ran across this post by Mark Cuban on the move to privatize social security. I thought there were way too many assumptions by him and Kinsley, but then thought, well, maybe they just know more than I do. I assume that the privatized accounts would be a lot like a 401K where the participant has limited choices - but at least choices - on investing a percentage of their social security contributions.

Today on Instapundit I click a link to this rebuttal of what Mark and Michael wrote.

I know it's all rather boring reading, especially on a weekend, but you should check them both out.

Posted by Beth at 10:44 AM
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December 16, 2004

HR versus Marketing

What I'm finding as I do google searches and read other sites talking about business blogging is that it's all about marketing. Marketing people trying to sell blogs as a marketing tool. I'm finding I tend to put marketing people just below lawyers and politicians.

So what's going to make me any different? I don't have an ass-kissing, smoozing, suck-up bone in my body. Maybe that will be my downfall. Or maybe I'll find the business owners who feel like I do about marketing and we'll find someway to do things differently.

The other difference is that I see business blogs to be more useful as an HR tool. I keep thinking you put the receptionist in charge of the blog and replace water cooler talk.

I'm still thinking thru some of this. We'll see where it all leads.

Posted by Beth at 10:45 PM
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Apprentice Finale

As the idea of transparency is sinking in for me in this business venture, I pay a little more attention to when there is a complete lack of it.

Now, I realize that reality tv is mostly anything but. But tonight's The Apprenctice finale was bad. You can't tell me that every moment and detail wasn't completely scripted. The telepromters were rolling as Regis was asking people in the audience what they thought. Even the three regular audience members appeared to have memorized their lines. There's just no reason for that, and that's what annoys me the most. We don't care if it's staged or not. So why lie to us?

As for Kelly winning, I figured he would. I believe Jenn will be thanking her lucky stars she didn't win within a month. Does she really want to oversee construction? I don't think so.

Posted by Beth at 10:01 PM
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December 15, 2004

Habitat

I've written before about my volunteering with Austin Habitat and doing oral history interviews and helping with the documentary. I finally set up a blogspot blog site for them, check it out, so far it's got an explanation of the project and some experts from the interviews. Hopefully it'll grow as the project continues.

Posted by Beth at 09:51 AM
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Favorite Show

I love Inside the Actor's Studio, even if James Lipton looks creepy. This season has been especially cool, Salma Hayek, Martin Scorcese, William Macy, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lopez. Sometimes I'll see the preview of who's going to be on there, like Jennifer Lopez, and think, why them, they're too young, not enough films, etc. Then I'll watch the episode and hear their love of acting and the process and the job. It's fun to hear stories of how they got a certain role, where they grew up, what working with other people was like.

Posted by Beth at 09:15 AM
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I'll probably be watching

I suppose this type of reality show was inevitable. Wickedly Perfect. Emmy Award-winning journalist Joan Lunden hosts WICKEDLY PERFECT, a new reality show that pits 12 people with a creative knack for the finer things in life in a no-holds-barred competition to crown the country's new authority on at-home living. These perfection-obsessed contestants, whose motto is "anything you can do, I can do better," will compete in different areas of beautifying the home and entertaining, including party planning, gardening, cooking, baking, sewing, crafts, floral arranging and decorating.

Posted by Beth at 09:08 AM
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December 14, 2004

Antidote

I picked up a new Chuck Palahniuk book today - Diary. I love his stuff because it's so dark and deep, but find it hard to read for the same reason. My brain has been totally obsessed with two things for too long, poker and business. I figure if Chuck can't distract me, no one can. The bonus prize is that his work will make a great antidote to all this damn good holiday cheer!

Posted by Beth at 04:09 PM
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Don't Reinvent the Wheel

While being a stubbornly independent person, I'm trying to not get caught up in reinventing the wheel when it comes to this business endeavor.

I finally made it to Barnes and Noble today to read some books on consulting. It's encouraging to read the ideas I've intuitively known, such as keeping the business cards simple, but it's also daunting all the things I don't know. So, thank God for the internet and bookstores!

I'm realizing all the things I didn't anticipate having to do, like networking and marketing, in order to do the things I want to do, help companies set up blogs. It looks like my job is going to start off being a lot more about education. It's hard to sell someone on something they don't know exists.

The cool part of this is that it's still all falling under those ideas of things that I listed over a year ago that would be cool to do in an ideal job. Before this idea came up, I was thinking about trying to move into HR and doing training and such. In every job I've ever had I've trained all of my fellow employees. I like doing that, and I'm good at it.

The one good thing about all the things I don't know is that I won't get stuck in "the way things are done". If what I'm ultimately trying to get people to do, blog, is new and innovative, why get stuck in the old ways of selling it? Know what I mean?

Posted by Beth at 03:58 PM
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December 12, 2004

Envy and Thanks

I found a great list of CEO blogs over on The Big Blog Company's site.

I'm in total envy of The Big Blog Company's site. To say they are light years ahead of me could actually be an understatement. Thank God they're in England and not here in the states! But it's also cool to see a group of people with pretty much the same vision for how blogs can improve a company's communcations. It's reassuring that this venture isn't just plain nuts. I just have to keep plugging away one step at a time.

I'm so lucky to be in a position to have the time to try this. Nerdstar has been so supportive in her encouragement, and by being a great sounding board. She's also letting me continue to put off having to get a normal job for a while longer. Thanks, baby!!

Posted by Beth at 03:06 PM
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December 11, 2004

I can be a little slow

Nerdstar and I actually had another social engagement last night. We're not sure we can handle all this socializing! We met up with a couple of people from her 351st Unit who are living in San Antonio. It was fun!

During the hour and a half drive down there my brain was back to obsessing over this new blog business venture. I was debating if the site should be a blog and what the content would be and how to make it a blog and that I don't know how to make it a blog technically. Which led to a lot of thinking about exactly what all services I'm offering, if I should expand that list, and a fee structure. Some of that will be a little more clear when I get a few clients and see what "web presence" they already have, if they have a web person already, and so on. I'm starting to see that my target client might be businesses who don't even have a website yet.

Maxine left a comment saying step one is to get a DBA. I read that and said, "what's a DBA?" About thirty minutes into the drive my brain was thinking that there's probably somewhere I should register this little business venture, it struck me "doing business as" DUH! I laughed and then left her a voicemail saying that yes, I'm a little slow on the uptake, but at least I'm not totally daft.

Other than this obsession draining my energy, I'm enjoying this venture. Because some part of me sees it as an experiment and not a real business it's fun to do these little steps.

Now I drive by businesses and think, hmmm, what could they blog about? I saw a billboard for a locally owned and operated funeral home and thought, "now that would be an interesting blog." We parked next to a car that had one of those magnetic signs on the door advertising personal chef services. They would have a totally cool blog. And so on.

After figuring out this DBA stuff and getting the business cards I'll be looking into how to reach out to the small businesses in Austin.

Posted by Beth at 10:19 AM
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December 10, 2004

Blogs and the World

Jeff Jarvis has long been writing about blogs in Iran and Iraq and the impact this form of free speech is having in those countries. Hoder, the Iranian blogger spoke at Harvard last night.

A couple of days earlier he also got to meet Omar and Mohamed, the blogging brothers behind IraqTheModel.com, and I can't tell you what a wonderful moment it was. It was magical, even miraculous. For this could never have happened in a world without the internet and citizens' media.

Does it get any more exciting than that? Go read both entries, then scroll around and read all the writing he's doing about the FCC.

Posted by Beth at 10:12 AM
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December 09, 2004

Differing Reactions

Ann Althouse has a good post about the reaction different gay rights groups are having to the push for gay marriage and the votes against gay marriage in so many states in the past election.

While I certainly wish we were at the tipping point she mentions, we're just not. And in retrospect, I have to admit I think the efforts in Mass. and S.F. and such might have been just too much, too soon. As I've written before, I don't think every vote to define marriage as a man and a woman is a vote to keep gays oppressed forever.

Here's to hoping the tipping point comes soon.

Posted by Beth at 04:03 PM
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Learning Curve

Iím not really a business person. Owning a business and being my own boss has always been something I was interested in, but probably more in a theoretical sense. I have no illusions that being your own boss means work is any easier or even more fun. Iíve never attended a business class. I donít read business magazines or websites.

So why am I giving this new venture a try? Three weeks ago I didnít really see it as a business. I saw it as a way to meet great people and help them improve their business communication. I have a couple of skills that I think could be beneficial to businesses, communication and problem solving, and I think blogs are revolutionary at this point in time. Blogs have certainly been revolutionary in politics and media in the past year. I believe they can be just as revolutionary for businesses.

Now I find myself with a little business and up against a steep learning curve. But I still donít want to become a ďbusiness personĒ. Iím taking this in baby steps, which is probably an accurate phrase because I see this as something Iím growing.

The two or three weeks leading up to Christmas isnít a great time to try to get business done. Thatís a good thing for me. Itís giving me a cushion to feel things out, figure out the next little step and hopefully be more ready once the new year is here.

Small steps one and two, just to show how small they are: get business cards, make a list of five or ten business here in Austin I think could have really cool blogs and their contact info.

Posted by Beth at 09:23 AM
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December 08, 2004

Dialogue

Elizabeth left these comments, which I really, really appreciate, and here are my thoughts...

You need more color on your site and pictures. You need to tell the story quickly as well and in detail.

What I really dislike about so many websites, especially business sites, is that they are too busy and ugly. I'm not selling looks, I'm selling me and my ideas - both of which are plain and simple. I wanted my site to reflect that.


Also, if you're selling a blog then why don't you make a blog within the business site? Instead of going to your personal blog, which can turn off customers if they don't like what you are saying, you have a blog right there. Encourage them to respond to your posts. Make it interactive because that is what you are selling them, interactivity.

I thought about making it a blog, but I want a static site, again that is very simple, to put the idea out there. Even if that site were a blog, the front page wouldn't be and there would still be a link to the blog part. Since I'm trying to convince people to be transparent, that's what I decided to do - BE transparent - hence the link to my blog. Again, I'm selling me as much as the service of starting a blog, if you're turned off by my site then are you really someone who would be a good client for me? The link to the business category is what the blog content that would be in the business blog, it's a link one way or the other.

Hope this helps. I think it's a good idea but you need to advertise, advertise, advertise. People won't know you're there unless you shout it out.

Plus you have to figure out what your market is. Most big companies have tech people who can do what you are proposing to do. The company I work for has 10 people but I can do what you're proposing. You could pitch this to us and my boss would turn to me and say, 'Elizabeth, you can do this, right?'

You have to walk a fine line between convincing a company they need a blog and convincing them that no one in their company can do it so they need you.

The advertising will come in time, I'm still figuring out how to achieve that without feeling like a complete networking whore.

At this point I think my market is just about any business out there. Just because a company has tech people doesn't mean they have found the person within the company who can be that company's voice.

I'm not looking to be their blogger (unless some absolutely fantastic company wants to pay me a lot of money to do that), I'm looking to explain to the 95% of companies out there who don't have a blog why they need one and help them find the right people to write it.

I'm sure the business site will evolve over time, and I'll probably do some editing and clarification in the next week or so. It might even become a blog at some time. So again, I really appreciate the feedback!

Posted by Beth at 07:32 PM
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This and That

Nerdstar is laughing at me for talking to my computer, which I've done a lot in the past couple of days! As you can see, the site is back to normal, and even slightly improved. Big thanks to Jenna and Gianna! They also upgraded my version of MT - WOW. Integrated blacklist, AND now in Firefox the bold, italic, link and so forth buttons are back - woohoo! Although I was just getting good at actually typing out the stuff necessary to add links in posts.

I've been to the mall three or four of the past ten days. Way too much. After I got home last time I realized I should have taken the ipod and headphones with me - drowned out the damnably cheerful Christmas music piped into our souls. At least I'm almost done with the christmas shopping.

I'm convinced that Christmas is just ritualized mass hysteria.

I finally found a place to play poker. There's an Amature Poker League and they have a branch here in Austin that plays on Monday and Wednesday nights very near our house. And it's FREE! It's tournament style and I've played in three so far and steadily improved. I'd say there's one woman playing for every eight men. Most of the people are pretty nice. It's funny though, there are two sessions each night, six and nine. The nine o'clock one had a lot more drunk people so it was fun to watch them get beat pretty early!

Posted by Beth at 03:44 PM
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December 07, 2004

*&#$*&%)#@

On the off chance you haven't seen this site being redone every few minutes today, I'm doing one of my least favorite things in the world - trying to change the code for this site. I finally got the new business logo on the sidebar - which is a good thing. But as you can tell it altered a couple of other things in the process. Bear with me, it'll all be back to normal eventually!

I can't express enough how much I admire people who have the knowledge AND patience to do coding!

Posted by Beth at 02:35 PM
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Feedback

I'm serious in asking for feedback about the new business website and venture. Especially from my regular readers. Is there something more I need to say on that website? Is there some way I need to try to market this, to get more traffic to the site?

Posted by Beth at 12:27 PM
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December 06, 2004

Good Comments

Adriana left this comment below:

Good luck! We have been a UK blog consultancy for a good part of two years and our role so far has been mostly educational. Yes, we have done a few groovy blogs but there is a big difference between the US and the UK where most people don't even know what a blog is yet...

We find that getting any decent payment for consulting on, designing and building a blog is very difficult. Lots of people will say, let's have a blog, but because the real potential of blogs hasn't sunk in yet, they are not willing to treat it as a serious business proposition.

But things seem to be getting better, so onwards and forwards.

Part of what made it hard for me to even consider this as a business is that it all seems so obvious to me, mostly because of the writing of several other bloggers. It took someone else telling me that the benefits of blogging aren't readily apparent to most business people. I do agree, and hope, that this is a good time to start this up.

A lot of articles about making money blogging are like this one and talk about how bloggers make money but don't talk about how a good blog for your business can make that business more money.

This artilce in the WSJ really caught my attention. Why are businesses putting all this effort into finding out what's being said about them online when they could very simply have their own blog and have a lot more control over those conversations.

So yes, a lot of it will be educational, but I'm hoping to get paid to educate them. I intend to be the person explaining the benefits and helping them find their voice for those conversations.

Posted by Beth at 11:14 AM
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No Chocolate Cake

We had a really nice evening yesterday. It was Murray's birthday and Lisa invited Nerdstar and I and a couple of other people over for dinner. I made a chocolate cake from scratch to take. It's a really good chocolate cake - I'm talking mouth orgasm good. With only eight people at the dinner I was all happy thinking there'd be a decent amount of cake left to bring home and have for breakfast.

There is no chocolate cake left. It's just not right!

It was so fun to hang out and listen to people's stories. It was also nice being the youngest couple there.

Posted by Beth at 10:39 AM
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December 05, 2004

Go Read

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is up. Some more great ideas and reading out there, check it out!!

Posted by Beth at 10:26 PM
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I'm So Excited

Presenting my new business blog:

blmbusinessblogs.com

One of the best things to come out of working on the Habitat documentary was hanging out with Murray and talking about blogging and films and business. He gave me the kick in the butt I needed to take a chance.

Iíve started a consulting business to help businesses set up a blog. It sounds way more involved than it is. For now itís simply a website putting the idea out there. In trying to write the content for this simple site Iíve realized some pretty cool things.

I remembered that back while Nerdstar was still in Iraq I started writing some things Iíd be looking for if I ever got to look for that ideal job. Ideal for me is sitting around with smart, enthusiastic people talking about ways to improve communication. Iíve long daydreamed about being a consultant, but Iíve never thought I knew enough about any one thing to be a consultant, and I havenít been all that interested in going back to school.

The one thing from my last job that Iím proudest of is that I got an internal website started that was part blog, part information warehouse. There were only about fifteen people in a small office that needed constantly updated information to do good customer service, but it was all a mess until we got that website going. Iíve always thought it would be cool to go into any business and do the same thing. I just couldnít imagine anyone being willing to pay me for it! (And it remains to be seen if they will!)

The other big lesson is that transparency is hard. I want the business website to be simple, and I didnít want to invest in blog software and such when Iíve already got a blog. The obvious answer is to simply link to my current blog and set up a business category. But wait, that meant that any potential business client could also read about the rest of my life. YIKES!

Bingo, thatís the whole point. If someone is going to be doing business with me, then I have to trust them. Especially if what Iím selling is a way for them to be transparent.

I have no idea what will happen from this new site. Maybe a dream come true, maybe nothing. I have no expectations, Iím just putting it out there.

That said, I would appreciate more than anything any feedback you have!!

Posted by Beth at 10:19 AM
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December 02, 2004

Bad Memory

My girl has such a bad memory I could tell her what I got her for Christmas and she'd still be surprised when she opened it Christmas day!

She says it's good to have a bad memory - it makes every time feel like the first time :-)

Posted by Beth at 10:21 PM
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Not Playing Nice

This news blurb didn't make me happy. But I'm too sick and tired (literally) to write any good commentary. Feel free to write some for me in the comments.

Lansing, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Jennifer Granholm will remove same-sex partner benefits from contracts negotiated with state workers, said an aide, citing a voter-approved amendment to the Michigan Constitution that bans gay marriage "and similar unions."

Michigan voters approved the amendment Nov. 2. On Wednesday, Granholm aide David Fink said that negotiated contracts scheduled for adoption by the state Civil Service Commission on Dec. 15 will be stripped of the same-sex domestic partner benefits.

Fink said the Granholm administration decided to eliminate the benefits because of the passage of Proposal 2, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and bans same-sex marriage and "similar unions for any purpose."

"We're about following the law and honoring the intent of the voters," Fink said.

He said the benefits could be restored before the contracts take effect on Oct. 1, 2005, if the courts have resolved the issue by then.

Republican legislators have been pressing the Democratic governor to strip the same-sex benefits from the contracts, which cover about 30,000 employees, or most of the state's union work force.

UAW lobbyist Alan Kilar said earlier this week that the union reached an agreement with the state in good faith and expected the state to stick with it.

"They agreed to this," Kilar said. "It's a contract and an agreement is an agreement."

Posted by Beth at 12:48 AM
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December 01, 2004

I hate being sick!

I hate being sick! Almost every year at this time I get some sort of sinus crud. I hate the taste of snot. I hate that every muscle in my torso gets sore from coughing day and night. I hate the taste of cough syrup. I hate the weird side effects of medications. I hate that the meds never fully do what they say they do so I have to keep trying different ones. I hate that when I'm sick I can barely remember what it feels like to be well. I hate that it feels like I'll never be well again.

Posted by Beth at 01:17 PM
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