First Democrat Debate in Orangeburg, SC


Just got through watching and digesting the first Democrat debate in Orangeburg, SC at SC State University.

Barack was on his A Game, Hillary seemed flustered and Edwards was great until the very last question.

When asked “Who Is Your Moral Leader?,” Edwards paused for an awkward ten seconds before stumbling out something about his personal lord.

Come on, John.  I’m a huge fan.  I supported you in ’04 and I’m supporting you in ’08, but that was embarrasing.  Why not something like…

“Well, there are many.  My dad was my first moral example who showed me that money isn’t everything but character is. Then, when I had the opportunity to go to college because of my dad’s hard work, I came into contact with the works of Gandhi and MLK, Jr who opened my eyes to the importance of morality in politics and public service.”

That would have won you the presidency… no contest.

We’re behind you and Elizabeth, John… now get on your A-Game and be the candidate that we know you can be.

Productivity Meme: Play More


(Photo from Freder1k on Flickr)

Andrew Wee has tagged me on the latest meme sweeping the interwebs…

Write a post on your best productivity tips. Challenge yourself by picking your single best productivity tip (although this isn’t a requirement; you can give us more if you want!)

Wow.  I am probably the most disorganized person in the world, yet find some way to manage all that I have on my plate.  Distilling my crazy practice of aggregating note taking, Blackberry checking, feed reading, project work and communications into a few tips is nearly impossible.

Running a full time blog, teaching two college courses, working on finishing my PhD in ancient near eastern history, being a husband (soon to be father), putting together PlanetBeta and actively managing four affiliate programs is downright crazy and not to be attempted.  However, I manage to do it all and still have time to sort through the 700 plus feeds I subscribe to everyday, watch my beloved Chicago Cubs on and have an active social life… and a clean inbox.

The secret is to play more.

My Productivity Tip: Only “work” 30 minutes out of every hour.  “Play” the other 30 minutes.  No matter what.

I have a countdown clock that I keep on my desktop that is set to 30 minute intervals.  Whatever I’m doing, at the end of those 30 minutes, I stop, stand up, breathe deep, make paper airplanes, play with my dogs, take a walk, browse YouTube, call my mom, eat, check in on the Cubs, attempt to hack up my blogs and Ubuntu boxes, go play basketball, or something “fun.”  Then, 30 minutes later I’m back to “work.”

This is not for everyone.  You certainly can’t do this in an office setting (unless you work for Dunder Mifflin).  However, I “work” from home and love what I do and I have worked myself into a situation where I have complete flexibility of how I want to live my life.

However, if you know me, you know that I only sleep about 4 or 5 hours a night and am usually in possession of a laptop within a wifi hotspot during my waking hours.  So, in those 20 or so hours that I’m awake, I easily get a “full day’s” work done and then some.  Working in an office 9-5 is not for me and not for most humans.  It’s unnatural!  It’s not worth it…quit your “job.”

Oddly enough, I get more “work” done than anyone I know (including my physician wife).  I’m certainly not to this level of productivity, delegation, automation and efficiency yet, but I’m working my way there!

So, there you have it… embrace your natural animal curiosities and don’t chain yourself to some desk with some plastic chair.  Life is short and time is long!

So now I have to tag five others.

Hmm… I tag:

Scott Jangro

Jeff Molander

Jeff Doak

Shawn Collins (guessing it will involve Diet Dr Pepper and a picture of Ronald Reagan)

Jonathan (Trust)

Stephanie Agresta 

My Mom is Using GMail

Yep, it’s true.

I’ve gotten my mom on GMail.  I think it will change her life and improve our communication as she is already taking advantage of GTalk within GMail.

Congrats, mom!

Teaching College

My first semester of teaching Intro to the Old Testament (Religion 101) at Gardner-Webb University is almost over.


What an experience.  I can’t tell you how quickly the semester has flown by and how much we still have left to do.  There’s one week of full classes yet and I’m just getting to Hezekiah and Josiah!  Yikes!

So, I’ve got to squeeze in the Exile and the post-Exilic periods in the span of a week.  Double YIKES!

I wish we didn’t have schedules and class meeting times, especially in a college environment.  It would make much more sense (in my Asperger’s clouded mind) to allow students to select their own schedules in a given week and select certain teachers or subjects they wanted to pursue in a much more fluid and non-constrained manner as our current rigid class system.  Pipe dreams.

After teaching 8th grade for two years, this has been a semester of wonder, enjoyment, frustration, bewilderment and learning.  I just hope my students have learned as much as I have and have grown to find a little bit of interest, or at least appreciation, for the Hebrew Bible.

Who is Jacob (on Lost)?


I am a complete Lost geek.

I can’t believe I just read through this entire thread with the same excitement as I have when reading a great book…

Baby Harrelson

Anna and I are more than proud, happy and excited to announce that we’ve got a baby on the way!

The due date (which you can follow by the awesome widget above) is around October 10, 2007. My dad’s birthday is October 5 and Schaefer (my beloved firstborn son and dog in the pic over on your right) has his birthday on October 12, so it looks like the baby will fall somewhere between those two.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a father. I can’t wait to toss the baseball, watch the Cubs, discuss Star Wars, camp out, cook breakfast, get ready for the prom, paddle a canoe, talk about justice and Gandhi, laugh, cry, hug, smile, and dream with this child.

My whole life has been a build up to this point.

I’m so excited.

Here are some pics…


Whoever you are and who ever you’ll be, I love you so much.

Whatever you do with your life and whoever you end up being, just please remember this…

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Be good, my baby. Change the world, and always (ALWAYS!) serve others. You are special, you are incredible and you are my life. Thank you for being you.

Buick Can’t Buy Marketing Like This


Say what you want about social media and social networks, but I think this is just one small example of how organic and non-induced marketing can seriously improve a brand, campaign or even offer.

This week, General Motors unveiled the new concept for the Buick Riviera model at the Shanghai Auto Show. Designed at the GM Pan Asia Technical Center, the car is yet another stylish Buick designed by GM’s China design team.  The Riveria is an older brand, and as the son of a car dealer, I’ve seen my share of ugly Riveria’s.

So, I was excited to see the new concept.

However, I found out about it on Digg.  The story (with hi-res pics) about the new concept for the Riveria was dugg yesterday and is now pushing 300 diggs and is on the front page.  While not signficant in terms of Detroit budget numbers, having that many diggs and being on the front page for an extended amount of time causes a ripple in the pond of influence.  Soon, these young tech geeks (like myself) who watch Digg will tell their young friends about the car and so on and so on.  It’s effective and you can’t buy or induce that sort of beneficial marketing.

The problem is that many large (and small) companies think they can find ways to game Digg or StumbleUpon.  Sure, you can get an offer on the front page, but the traffic is going to be junk.

Make your marketing human and stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes!