Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blog Jog Day

Definitely easier than a real jog on a hot day that you realize you were absolutely not prepared for about 1/4 mile in, a Blog Jog!

What is it, you ask? Blog Jog Day is a one-day event where Bloggers are joining together for a pyramid effect promotional rally. We all post on the same day with each post leading the visitor to the next Blog, and so on full circle. That’s it! Visitors explore your Blog, and then click on to the next one bringing potentially thousands of unique visitors to your site. Nearly 2,000 joggers showed up last November!

The jog this summer will be happening on August 7th. If you'd like to participate, the paragraph above will bring you right to all the information you need.

See you at the finish line!

Friday, July 22, 2011

New York, Phew York

I saw this first on the illustrator's, Tim Probert, blog. I always knew his art would lend itself well to a children's picture book and what could be more fun that a New York City Scratch & Sniff!? The Proberts are a family I've known since the first day of kindergarten, so you can understand my delight when I caught the book on Gothamist.

Congratulations, Tim!

Borders Officially Closing Its Doors

I feel like this has been going on forever and a day, but now it's official.

I've never shopped at Borders because 1) I worked for B&N for so long and, 2) I always thought it was kind of dirty. And I'm not really the best when it comes to figuring out what this means for economy.

But the fall of Borders seems an omen for the fall of the giant brick & mortar stores, including B&N. If you've walked into any Barnes lately, you'll notice the large, large amount of floor space NOT dedicated to books. Toys, Games, Gifts for Readers, and DVDs claim more room than those things made up of a lot of paper.

Digital is the way things are headed. Not just e-books, but stores like Amazon & have really great online offerings that require you not having to leave your home in this heat as well as super fast delivery. If you live in NYC, bn can get you your book SAME DAY. That's just crazy.

Still - I don't think this spells the death of the print book and of book stores in general. There will always be those people who crave the bookstore experience. I think the recent surge in new independents is a good sign of what's to come. And these new independents focus on an expanded consumer experience. One amazing store here near where I live offers book clubs, writing classes and even writing retreats - not to mention rows upon rows of books that smell like books and not toys & games.

Imagine that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harry Potter - The End

Thank goodness for Pottermore. Shit must be seriously saving lives. Because without the anticipation of what's in store for J.K.'s newest initiative, this Friday would have been the saddest day in all the days of Potter fanatics.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 premieres.

I wish I could go see it Thursday at midnight, but as I'll be in Pheonix and as I'll have a 7am flight home the next day, I don't think I'll be able to. We'll see. Who needs sleep anyway? NOT ME.

I've been preparing, though. Have you?

- Listened to Deathly Hallows audio book not once, but TWICE in the last six months. It's no easy feat, let me tell you. Especially when you're trying to drive and sobbing all at the same time.

- Hit up abcFamily's Harry Potter weekend marathon. It was a slow, boring weekend because the boy is on a cruise. So I literally watched every movie except Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows 1. I even watched Goblet of Fire TWICE (once on Saturday, then again for the full sweep on Sunday).

- I might bring Sorcerer's Stone with me on my flight to Pheonix. I've got my re-read of Song of Ice and Fire to get through prior to Dances with Dragons (um. That comes out TOMORROW), but it might be nice to revisit the first book in the HP series as a nostalgia factor prior viewing the final movie.

Purchase Now from Amazon:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Skills USA

Last week, I attended a competition/conference known as Skills USA. If you know nothing about the organization, you should really go to their website and check them out. Skills USA events are annual and begin with state level championships in a multitude of vocational studies - from machining to cosmetology; masonry to crime scene investigation; welding to culinary. The state champions move on to compete in the national championship, which was held last week in Kansas City, MO.

It was, quite literally, one of the coolest things I've ever seen. The competition floor was upstairs in the conference hall and was pretty much just a three block long area of uninterrupted space - filled to the brim with vocational study after vocational study.

Photos of the event:

The convention hall is to the right. The competition took place on the top floor of that entire building.

A Diesel engine with the truck it came from in the background. Shit was huge.

Masonry competition. I stood and watched this kid for a good 20 minutes. I thought it was pretty amazing.

Culinary competition. I think this one gives you the best idea just how big each competition space was.


Collision Repair. Next to the this was Finishing - they had like 6 or 7 cars lined up. I couldn't get close enough to take a good picture, whatever they were using to finish the cars smelled too potent to get too close.

Machining. My machinists. Okay - well they aren't mine, per say, but most of them will be using the book I published next fall. Because of my relationship with the people running this competition, I was actually allowed inside this one. I have about a million pictures of these kids programming and of the CNC machines on the floor.

Next up: Pheonix for the HTEC conference. I'm a little nervous about this one because I won't know as many people as I did at Skills USA and I won't have anyone else from Cengage with me either. Also - it will be about 120 degrees and, apparently, if I forget eye drops my contacts are screwed.

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