Friday, January 19, 2007

Noro, the Drama Queen of Viruses
With just slightly over a week to go before the World's Largest Gay Cruise casts off from Miami into the Eastern Caribbean, the Norovirus is commanding about as much media attention here in DC as the battle on Capitol Hill over the President's troop escalation desires for Iraq.

Noro struck the Freedom of the Seas back in December. Not content with making its sufferers absolutely miserable, this DNA-in-protein-coating has gone on to grab the spotlight at the Dulles Airport Hilton, stowed away aboard QE2, gone to prison in San Quentin, and according to the Contra Costa Times is rampaging across the US (probably in a pimped-out Hummer.)

The Dulles outbreak is interesting, in that approximately 100 Hilton guests were struck down, and 20 hotel staffers. The QE2, according to Cruise Critic, saw "6 percent of the ship's 1,652 passengers and 2.7 percent of its 1,002 crewmembers" afflicted." And I seem to remember that the Freedom outbreak felled a couple of hundred passengers, but only about 30 or so crew. So, how come more crew aren't affected? Maybe they're trained thoroughly in washing their hands, as well as using rubber gloves in meal preparation and stateroom maintenance...

"Norovirus outbreaks aboard cruise ships generally are less a problem caused by the ship and more a problem caused by ill passengers who don't want to miss their long-planned vacation," according to a January 6 article in the Atlanta Journal-Consitution.

Come on people, let's start buying some travel insurance! That way, if you have to cancel because you're sick before you depart on vacation, you'll get your money back!

As for the upcoming cruise, I haven't seen any special dispatches from Atlantis addressing the outbreaks. Hopefully the ship will take extra precautions. Royal Caribbean has signs all around about it, as well as hand sanitizers everywhere you go. But as I can tell you from first-hand experience, there's really no way to tell you've got that kind of bug until it's right on top of you - or cascading right out in front of you, as the case may be.

P.S. Here's a link to my post on preventing this nasty thing from climbing aboard...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

There Is No A-List

Fort Lauderdude and I engaged in a spirited conversation last night, in which he asked me "how does one make money from a blog." I launched into a dissertation on publishing, traditional barriers to entry for writers, blog ranking and marketing, A-List and Z-List bloggers and on and on. Then I pointed him to the most excellent writings of Hugh McLeod over at Gaping Void, especially three of his Random Notes on Blogging:

24. You think A-Listers are arrogant bastards? You should meet the B-List.
25. There is no A-List. If you think there is, you’ve missed the whole point.
26. There is an A-List. Fuck with us and we’ll have you destroyed like stray dogs.

I think Hugh really has a good point with #25. I tell myself that over and over. Because with the barriers to entry for publishing now at an all time low, it's not about being in the top 10 of anything. Google Analytics shows me that people are cruising "krooz." The "Long Tail" tells me small niches are good. "The splattering buckshot method of marketing," I told Fort Lauderdude, "is finally getting its comeuppance."

Who cares if I'm the fifty-billionth person to link to something. It's about creativity. It's about communication. It's about the human need to connect at some level.

That's what I tell myself. Even though my blog is worth $0.

Monday, January 15, 2007

More From "This Passion Thing Is Way Overrated"
I found another blog posting about passion - more of a quote really, although it generated some great explanations - on Bob Sutton's Work Matters. The quote is #2 on his "Ten Things I Believe" list:

Indifference is as important as passion.

Someone else believes the same as me!

I've believed for years that even if you love something (the way I love music, movies, theatre and a bunch of other things) then it's ok, if not totally necessary, to have a good dose of healthy disregard for it also. You need to be able to see the parts that don't work, that are dumb, boring, "not all that," and you need to get away from it too.

Any really cool thing I've done in the past (Philadelphia-DC AIDS Ride, performing at Carnegie Hall or at the Kennedy Center Honors, writing a full-length play and seeing it performed onstage) has always been followed by a feeling of having to get far away from it. I always thought this was a negative quality in me - some sort of laziness inherent in my immoral being - but now I'm really seeing that it's a necessary part. The trick is to come back to it at some point, because there may be new things that have come up in the interim that'll take me to the next step.

In other words, I've had to become indifferent to some things I'm passionate about in order to continue that passion further.

Plus, that indifference may have kept me from pursuing a course of action that I thought I needed to pursue (writing another play, even though I didn't have an idea for one), instead of the action I wanted to pursue (starting to write screenplays that were actually there in my head).
Do What You Love? How Do I Do That?
I feel a kinship to the people who submitted questions for a podcast (on Escape from Cubicle Nation) centered on Finding What You Are Supposed To Do With Your Life.

The questions others asked that I ask too:

- Given the choice between idea that you're passionate about that might take forever to make you any money, or an idea that just came to you one day, that you kinda sorta like, that looks like an easy money maker, which do you pursue?

- ask Martha if she has any new insight or ideas related to making the plunge without hitting bottom...

- How do I start to execute on what I know is my real calling? More do I execute when I have a househould to support, without risking the cardboard box under a bridge scenario?

and my personal favorite:

- Do you have to be willing to do something 24/7 for no money in order to conclude you're "passionate"?

I'm going to have to listen to this podcast, when I get a few minutes - or more like 60 of them, as I'll have to figure out how to listen to a podcast in the first place.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Maybe they could spend a little less money on advertising?
Had an epiphany the other day. I realized that television advertising does nothing to influence what products I buy, what vacations I take, what services I purchase, and what I eat. I took a look at an earlier list I posted - the brands I pay into for goods and services and/or associate myself with - and found I could not remember a single advertising spot they've produced. Nor could I say that TV ads influenced my decisions to purchase from them. I've even been paying more attention to commercials over the past couple of days, to find one spot that is either for something I buy, or would make me buy something. And while there are Comcast and Enterprise and Disney commercials, they never swayed my opinion and made me search them out.

So, maybe some of that money spent on producing ads and buying time and researching viewers could be spent on something a bit less fleeting.