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Showing posts from 2005

Love Beyond All Reason

It goes without saying that you love your kids... A friend of mine asked me in an email today how I was doing and my response stopped me short... I wrote "my girls are completely amazing, i could not be more in love with anything than i am with them. i'm gone, gone gone." Of course I love my kids you say. But in the midst of a completely insane day, without really thinking about my answer that's what my fingers typed.

What's Impossible?

Terrific post over on the Occupational Adventure blog talking about "sailing" through life. Sometimes I complain about how busy I am, working, being a father, husband, citizen etc... but then get jolted back by quotes like these: "The secret of life is to have a task, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is: It must be something you cannot possibly do." ~ Henry Moore My business isn't busy work - it's my life! The choices I make daily affect the direction I'm going in - and I get to make the choices that set me on my way. The quote of course begs the question - what is my task? What's yours?


Does having a personal web page and 2 blogs make me a narcissist? Maybe it makes me a Marcissist! nar·cis·sism (när's?-s?z'?m) pronunciation also nar·cism (-s?z'?m) n. 1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See synonyms at conceit. 2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem. 3. Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development. 4. The attribute of the human psyche charactized by admiration of oneself but within normal limits. Maybe.

Sheryl Crow

I wandered into the Virgin Megastore last night to find that Sheryl Crow w0uld be attending, playing songs and signing CDs.. very cool! I can't find any good pics from the event (I didn't have my camera), but man it was fun! BTW, her new CD is really terrific and she sounded amazing live at the store. While I was there I picked up the Family Guy DVD (my real reason for even going in...)

New Music

I'm sure you've all read the article in wired about "mashups" - if not - google "wired mashup gorillaz" and I'm sure you can find what I'm talking about. I'm too lazy to find the link right now... because I'm doing something of some novelty and rarity right now. I meandered over to Best Buy during a trip to Atlanta and picked up "Demon Days" - the Gorillaz new album. I cannot remember the last time I bought an album just for the hell of it in a long, long while. I'm beyond fascinated in the entire mash up thing and can't wait to hear the Kelly Clarkson song "Since U Been Gone" remix. Someone turned me on to "The Grey Album" but rap just isn't my fo-shizzle. In any case, the interesting thing about this post to me is that I actually bought CDs. I cannot stand buying songs online, becuase many sites have restrictions on what I can do with my musical property - let alone mash it up. The 2nd interesting t

Straight Line Thinking

I'm not sure how coherent these thoughts are but here goes. You know the saying that " the fastest path between two points is a straight line" right? For some reason, probably because of how busy I am, I keep thinking about this saying - or is it just a saying? Maybe it is a philosophy of life! I was talking to a co-worker this morning who has a long commute - she takes a round about route to get to work because there is less traffic. Personally, I've resisted trying this route because I subscribe to the above mentioned "straight line philosophy." I go less miles, but in the same amount of time (approximately) and go in a much more direct route. This of course, got me to thinking. Do I really believe that the right way to live is in a straight line? How far can I push this thinking? As I was killing brain cells (and time) thinking about this, I thought of an example and a litmus test. Do you think that walking the bases loaded with 2 out to get to the next b

John Rocker... fallen from grace

Johnny Rocker is back! My father's day present was tickets to a Bluefish game. We had 3 really nice surprises at the game today. The first (and best), was John Rocker coming in to pitch and getting no one out before being yanked. He was pissed - threw his glove, but none of it helped him get anyone out. The side note is that the guy can still bring major heat. Secondly, the son of Pete Rose played 1B in the game - you can click Rocker's pic to get to the Rose pic - nice bonus. Third, the Bluefish had a promotion where kids under 12 got to run the bases after the game and get some ice cream. It was fun to see my girls rounding third, heading for home!

Technology is our word for stuff that doesn't work yet

I was reading a very interesting article/posting on Always-On about "Grokking Technology" that got me thinking about the role technology is playing my personal and professional life, and in my kids lives. While I didn't come up with anything earth-shattering, I did like this chart which clearly shows what is going to happen demographically as we move into the future. The idea of "digital natives" is very compelling - my daughter for example is 7, has a Gameboy, understands that "binary" is a language and is familiar enough with email that she has one already. She's already owned 1 digital camera (and broken it), and can articulate what Google is better than her grandmother, who FINALLY got a working computer with an Internet connection. The kicker however to the article can be found in a comment way down at the bottom of the page left by Rich Seidner who quotes Douglas Adams. "Technology is our word for stuff that doesn't work yet."

Yankee Stadium... An Amazing Day

I spent the day at my favorite place in the world - my own personal sanctuary, watching the Yanks beat up on Seattle. You may have read about my dad and Yankee Stadium at some point... but if not, feel free find out what I'm talking about. My 7 year old daugther actually KEPT SCORE on her own, asking amazing questions, having a great time and becoming a baseball lover right in front of my eyes. I took this photo with my 400mm lens from way up in section 619 . What a day, what a day!

Her First Game

Dear Baseball, I've missed you a lot. You see, when I was a kid, I was a baseball freak-a-zoid. Baseball cards, Strat-o-matic, more Baseball cards, Little League, Micr-league Baseball, Yankees Opening Day, Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry, hating the Red Sox, Mets and Pete Rose and loving Reggie Jackson. I played a lot of baseball, against the back wall of any and all houses I could find, in leagues, in high school and even adult baseball when I was 25. I even worked for the Atlanta Braves in 1993 (and cried just a bit on my last day). But then I lost interest. Totally not interested in Bill James, WHIPs, Fantasy Baseball or Jose Canseco. I was lost. But things are different baseball, between you and me. You see, I have 2 kids who need to be properly introduced to you. They need to live off you for a while, breathe you in and let you light up their imagination with possibilities. I'm breeding some Yankees fans - and my house is again filled with the sounds of baseball - Derek

Harold Bice, My American Idol

This clinches it for me (and I think for Bice himself and for all Americans), this guys is going to be our new American Idol. What better commentary on our country could there be! Bice reported on the Idol Web site that his "most embarrassing moment" was when he once "fell off stage during a show." You mean his most embarrassing moment wasn't when pleaded guilty for a misdemeanor? In unrelated news, Bo's first name is Harold. Which is either funny to you, or happens to be the name of your own father (that's me).

Yes, I Am A Yankee - What The "F" Are You?

Found a link to this on my friend Lee's blog. It is interesting to me because I grew up in NY but lived in North Florida (Go Noles) and Atlanta for more than 10 years. Your Linguistic Profile: 55% General American English 25% Yankee 15% Dixie 5% Upper Midwestern 0% Midwestern What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Obnoxious Yankees Fan? Yes I am!

A week or so ago, my mom's boyfriend said to me in a very smug manner "How about those Mets?" - to which I looked at him blankly. He asked me if I wanted to come over to his side and what I said, I think is a true Yankee fan response. I told him that no matter what happens this season, even if the Mets win the series and the Yanks are in last place, that in the end, he's still a Mets fan. Doh. I was telling this story to someone on the phone the other day who was a Red Sox fan, and I realized I could have used it on him as well.

Earthcore - SciFi Podcast

I read about Earthcore , the first Podcast Novel while reading some blogs on bloglines (if you aren't a user, what the heck are you waiting for?) and downloaded to satisfy my curiosity. I tried to copy it over to my Creative Zen Xtra Jukebox MP3 player and had no luck - the files from the site were bad/invalid or something. I tried to convert the files with no luck using several different converters with no luck. Oddly, Scott posted his IM address on the site and I had a nice chat with him and found out that he may have encoded the files at an odd bitrate (or some such tech nonsense). I finally tried an MP3 plug in in Winamp and voila... it worked... I listened to the Prologue last night and was pretty impressed and am looking forward to listening to more. Tech issues aside... Scott put up a slick site with lots of feeds and is accessible to chat with directly. Great stuff.

My Little Secret

I don't think this guy has invaded the mainstream quite yet - but my god he is one fantastic writer... Cory Doctorow does it again. I just read several short stories from his collection "A Place So Foreign" and am blown away. The title story is so amazing, I was even telling my 7 year old about it (I had to talk to someone!). In any case, I feel like this guy is a secret to the world but not for long.

Awesome Interview Question...

I've heard stories about insane interview questions and tactics from the likes of Google (impossible programming tasks) and Microsoft . I flew to New Orleans this week and on the way up, I noticed how many baseball fields there are in the NY area from above. For example, I counted 28 baseball diamonds in Central park alone! The next time I interview someone, I'm going to ask them "How many baseball diamonds are there in the United States?" I've heard variations of this like "How many gas stations are there in the U.S." as well, but I like mine better. I did a google search for this but didn't come up with anything.

I Think I Stole a Wish

So our servers are finally up... and I hope I didn't (but I think I did) steal one of my daughters wishes to get it back. As I was leaving for work this morning, she showed me a "gold coin" she got from school and said that it was from a pot of gold. She told me you could wish on the coin and handed it to me. My mind immediately thought.. "Well, I'd wish for the servers to be back up." But what I said out loud to her was "Honey, I won't use one of your wishes." But it was too late. I did it. In a microsecond... I selfishly stole one of my daughters wishes to get a stupid server back online. By the time I got to work... the servers were back and my web sites up and running. So you know it was the coin that did it (well, that and 4 full days of consultants and geeks running around). I'm a horrible person!

Databases, Consultants, and Marketing, OH MY.

The Web sites that I'm responsible for marketing have been down for 4 days. We're almost back up as I type this - and as a marketing guy who is dangerous enough to fake his way through a conversation with techies, I'm about baked. Sunday at 3 am we crashed. Not an unusal occurance for our site but still a problem none-the-less. Monday comes and I find out we lost a (some?) hard drives in an array on a cluster. Blah blah blah. Monday night is here and I've managed to survive by sending emails to my entire company, thereby sealing my fate as the tech, web guy. Did I mention I'm a marketing guy yet? Never coded an original program, never loaded a database, never even saw an Oracle table. She was good in the Matrix though. Tuesday, still down. No relief in sight. An array controller is broken. Get a new one! Not good enough. Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, Wednesday night - still down. Can't sleep, can't breath. What's so hard? I hate technology. I'm i

My Vulture Gus

vulture Originally uploaded by msirkin . This is a photo of the turkey vulture that sits outside my window, perched at the top of my office building. I've named him Gus, mostly because that's a cool name for a turkey vulture. His lovely friend Constance is around too.. but I didn't get a pic of her. She was busy chasing down some dead meat for a snack.


Click the photo see more photos of crashes.. just like our database server did more than 2 days ago.. and is still down.

Library's, CD's, MP3's and Napster

I have no idea if Napster really hurt record sales, but I do have a significant observation. Lately, I've been getting CD's(and DVD's) out from the Library (they have all the new stuff the kids are listening to!). Here's the interesting thing - when I was using Napster/Grokster/Morpheus/Hotwire, IRC & etc...) I never downloaded an entire album. I'd grab the one song I wanted, then most likely go buy the album. In fact, this is exactly how I ended up buying Wallflowers & Green Day albums in particular. Over the past few months, I've gotten more than 20 CD's from the library and have totally stopped using any online music services. Is this smart? Dumb? Am I a thief? Not sure... but in my mind... I bought more music when I was using Napster than I'll ever buy now. Add the fact that most/all online services restrict how you can use your music and the scene continues to be frustrating for consumers. Why can't I listen to music I bought from

SCIFI.COM | Battlestar Galactica Podcast

I remember seeing a movie URL for the first time ( way back when. It felt sort of wierd and cool. I had the same feeling last night while watching Battlestar Galactica. I had heard that there was a BG podcast which I thought was a neat idea (real time director commentary) but when I saw it promo'd on the show I was blown away. How cool is that! While Podcasting really is just downloading MP3s, when it's attached to a TV show and done with this sort of immediacy - it feels like the beginnings of something very new and very cool. SCIFI.COM | Battlestar Galactica

Yes, I worked at iXL

ixl Originally uploaded by msirkin . You know you remember iXL... yea you do... we bought every company with a pulse, went public and went bust. I've worked in a bunch of places including a Burger King (the manager told me I can take this job ANYWHERE I wanted - I quit after 2 weeks on Fry duty). I also delivered Domino's Pizza, did 2 ad agency internships and worked at a college bookstore. See more of my bizcards ...

When Did "Starbucks" Turn into a Noun?

I flew from NY to San Diego this week and in between charging me for a crappy sandwich, the stewdaress came around serving coffee. What she said was interesting. She said "Starbucks... would anyone like Starbucks?" Then she said... "Coffee... would anyone like a Coffee?" It was odd was how she alternated between "Starbucks" and "Coffee" - like she was conducting some bizzare Pavlovian experiment. She litererally rotated back and forth between "Starbucks" and "Coffee" the entire way down the plane (or at least as far as I could hear). It made me wonder if she was actually scripted. Could Starbucks be trying to subliminally condition us or has it already happened? On the other hand.. here's Tivo's take.

My Turn on the Actor's Studio

I was watching Keifer Sutherland on "The Actor's Studio" and thought it would be fun to try to answer those silly questions that The Lipton asks at the end of the show... I found a link and haven't read them that closely and will answer them as honestly as possible... like you care (like anyone is really reading this... I think I'm alone now - never mind). 01. What is your favorite word? Hi 02. What is your least favorite word? No 03. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Great Design 04. What turns you off? Assholes 05. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck 06. What sound or noise do you love? My kids giggles 07. What sound or noise do you hate? My own voice yelling at me (again) for being an idiot 08. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Actor 09. What profession would you not like to do? Accounting 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Yes, I

Be Fearless - A new 43 things entry

When I am afraid of something, I want to force myself to do it… stand up comedy for example.. acting in a play for another example.. My friend Lee turned me on to a site called 43things which is sort neat in a Friendster way (you get obsessed then quickly bored). You can create different topics and link up with others who are trying to accomplish the same things. I added one today: Be fearless. This is similar to a page I created a while ago on my own web site called " Life is Hard " - what sort of stuff scares you? I read an article in Worthwhile magazine this week where the guy being interviewed basically said that whatever scares him most, he does first... sounds like a great way to live (assuming your wife doesn't get fed up with it!)

Close Up Ariel

Ariel Close Up Originally uploaded by msirkin . Inspired by some random browsing on Flickr, I busted out the macro lens and had a little fun with some toys around the house.

Small Things Are Important Things

When I leave for work each day, my kids run to the window and look out at me, waving and yelling and having a great time. For me, it's like leaving on a cruise every morning. For a while, they would hide under the window holding up these horses, the heads banging together - then jump up just as I was driving away. While it drove my wife crazy (they were supposed to be eating breakfast), it's the single moment of the day that makes me truly happy. Lately, the waving has started to wane. But I always look back as I drive off - and wave, even if no one is there. I went out early this past weekend, both kids were asleep - and I paused the car, looked toward the windows and waved... I started to think about the future - when my kids might not even talk to me, let alone wave with horses, yelling for their dad. I don't want that day to come. Small things always turn out to be the important things for some reason.

American Idol - you suck

Last nights American Idol really sunk to new lows. They showed a clip of that girl who sold her wedding rings THREE times during the show itself before actually getting to her audition. By the 3rd time, I was really annoyed and felt like they were hyping up something special. Instead. the woman gets sent home and we're left wondering why the f**k they bothered showing her crying clip 3 times in less than an hour of programming. Lame. In a related story , Ryan Seacrest said that Simon is pompous. That Ryan - he's sharp as a tack.

Don't Look Now.. the Web's Mission Critical

I started building Web strategies and sites back around 1993. Back then, a large site might have been 10 pages or so, and cost about $5k. Usually, the client was a rogue marketing guy, or an IT guy (aka the webmaster!) who thought this would be a neat toy to play with. I spent years with a vision of how the Web would/should/could tranform businesses productivity, profitability and image but because of where I worked, or my role, never really found my footing. I helped to build a web site building tool for one company, and we sold it to a few businesses who were close, but not quite there in thinking about the web as a business process tool, and not just a web site. Fast forward to my new gig at a very large non-profit and I'm faced with a dream situation. Not only am I in a senior role, the entire organization is primed and ready to be completely "made-over" (this is a real extreme makeover!) by utilizing the web in ways that I've only been able to dream about.

U2 Gets It...

I signed up and paid $40 to become a member so I could get tickets for their upcoming tour. I haven't seen them live since Joshua Tree, and my wife and I wanted tix bad to celebrate our 12th anniversary. Fast forward to the day that tickets went on "pre-sale" exclusively for members. Wouldn't you know it - we went online only to find out that there were no tix available. It appeared as if Madison Square Garden was sold out within 2 hours. I was pretty dismayed, but ended up getting tickets via ticketmaster online when they went onsale to the general public. That said, my wife stood outside a local Coconuts and I matched her online, clicking and refreshing as fast as I could to be able to snatch some tix. We ended up with behind the stage tix (hey, we're in!), but I had a pretty bad taste in my mouth. Lo and behold.. I get an open letter email from Larry Mullen, apologizing for treating their fans so badly, and basically taking the heat.


An ESPN interview w/Malcolm Gladwell talking about his new book "Blink" and how it relates to football. Fascinating article - especially about the Iraq wargames.
Sleigh riding after the big snow storm, January 2005!

Old Friends, New Lives

I met an OLD friend tonight - someone I hadn't seen in many years - in fact - hadn't seen him since after high school . Way back in 1988 or so. We were pretty good friends back then - we ran in very similar circles. It's funny though, how people seem to change so much, yet stay the same. My friend runs his own company, hangs out with famous faces and is doing his thing like no one I know. It's not just fantastic, it's astounding. The funny thing is, underneath it all, he's pretty much the same guy. Well, he's not "that guy" - not the jerky high school idiot like we all were back then - but it's still him underneath the hood. I do think that people can change. But after tonight, I'm feeling that no matter what happens in your life - some of core seems to remain intact, buried deep down. I know that for myself, I've changed dramatically since then (thank god), but deep down - way down deep, there is a bit of the high school me sti

Blizzard 2005

We spent an amazing weekend in NYC and got to fully enjoy the blizzard. Running in between snowflakes - we managed to do the NBC Studio tour, see Avenue Q, eat at Chevy's and wait in line for standby tickets to SNL (we didn't get them). NYC in the winter is pretty damn amazing!

Picasa: Free download from Google

Picasa 2!!! This thing is unreal. The timeline feature alone is amazing but get this... directly publish photos from Picasa to Tivo! Nice :) Other neat features include enhanced editing, color options, cropping and other stuff. It's so easy my wife can use it (god I hope she doesn't see this). Picasa: Free download from Google

Common Craft: Interview with Marc Sirkin

I did an "Instant Messenger" interview with Lee Lefever from CommonCraft a few weeks ago - talking about my experience in building an online community for the March of Dimes. There was a lot more we discussed, but the darn text got too long to publish it all. Common Craft: Interview with Marc Sirkin

Firefox Fun

Wow! I'm starting to be blown away by Firefox... I installed two extensions today in particular that are pretty incredible. The first is Sage This is an RSS/Atom aggregator which is pretty slick. Once installed, you can bookmark RSS feeds and bring them up in a sidebar toolbar. The other is FireFTP - a built in FTP client. Duhhhhh... M$FT are you watching? This is so simple and integrated it's amazing. I'm lovin it!

Thunderbird - initial thoughts

I made the switch to Thunderbird a week after switching to Firefox. The main reason was built in spam blocking (which I haven't really had a chance to use yet). The first thing I noticed about switching is that amazingly, the import process from Express to Thunderbird worked perfectly! I had 4 different accounts in Express pulling mail from 3 different email servers and with the exception of passwords, all my messages were properly sorted and each account was transferred perfectly! Wow! So far so good - spam blocking is next! Site Map

Bloglines and Corporate Firewalls

This is pretty elementary, but I'd bet that 9 of 10 corporate IT managers would have no idea how to deal with the fact that the sites they block (porn, gambling, games) access to would be readily accessible via RSS feeds. Several business blogs have been blocked to me via browser, but are easily added and viewed via Bloglines, Doppler and other RSS aggregators.

Get Firefox

Ok, I totally resisted but finally am making the switch. I downloaded Firefox at work, and am planning on updating my home browsers tonight. That's it - I've had enough of worrying about security crap w/IE. Done and done. If you use bloglines - there are some very cool extensions available for Firefox as well... install it and check it out for yourself! You can also add some neat search engines like IMDB and A9 directly to the Firefox toolbar which is pretty slick.

Just a Geek and Fast Moving Librarians!

I kept hearing about how great Wil's books "Just a Geek" and "Dancing Barefoot" were so I checked out the local library to see if I could get them there. Since the answer was no, I told the librarian all about the book and she told me she'd look into it. This in early December, 2004. I went home that day feeling like I did a good thing, but without Wil's books. I quickly bought them online and have since read them. Today, I'm in the library again looking at new releases and lo and behold - there's "Just a Geek" on display! Unreal. Who would have thought the local librarian could move so fast - or perhaps it's just a coincidence? Here's a screen shot from the library web site if you care:

TIVO Rules... but mine broke :)

I got a TIVO a month ago, but have only been able to use it for a few weeks because it BROKE! The customer service guy said my problem was not usual, and they'd send me a replacement. So I'm waiting... Meanwhile, I found this article from PVRBlog... The PVRBlog Interview: Ten Questions with TiVo's Director of User Experience, Margret Schmidt The PVRBlog Interview: Ten Questions with TiVo's Director of User Experience, Margret Schmidt | PVRblog Read on!

Picasa: Automated Digital Photo Organizer software

I downloaded Picasa a few weeks ago and continue to be blown away by this free software! I'm managing over 10,000 family photos with no effort at all. Best features: - it monitors whatever folders you want it to for new images - it's free - it has the absolute coolest timeline feature thingy ma-bob I've ever seen! Picasa: Automated Digital Photo Organizer software, instant photo albums, sharing & printing: Download

Flickr Rules

If you haven't tried Flickr yet, you should! Not only is it a free photo sharing service, it's easy to create some neat collaborative sharing groups, and to manage your online images. Flickr: Photos from msirkin

Bittorrent and RSS

Found this nice article/how to on downloading stuff using Bittorrent and RSS. I have it set up and am testing it - and although I'm getting a plug-in load error in Azureus, it seems to be working. I'm also messing around with another plug-in called RSSFeed which seems to do the same exact thing. Perhaps having them both loaded is why I'm having an error ;)