Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse Debuts Tonight

Joss Whedon, the creative mind behind such compelling TV as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog has a new show debuting tonight. It’s called Dollhouse and is about these secret agent types who sign up to have their memory wiped and reinstalled with whatever scenario a client pays for. Or something like that. It all sounds kind of sinister and creepy.

Which sounds just like Joss Whedon (who told NPR, “I believe the best way to examine anything is to go to a dark place.”).

I’m eager to see the new show, but I’m keeping my expectations low. Primarily because it shares more than a few similarities with another Whedon show that got canceled after half a season. Firefly also aired on Friday nights, also on Fox, and also had the pilot episode mucked with. But I’m also keeping expectations low because this is TV and good TV often takes a little time to find its footing. The first season of Buffy (yet another half season) is pretty rocky. The Firefly pilot had wonderful moments, but also feels like its entire two-hour run time. Pilot episodes are rarely perfect.

But I’m more than willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Update: My 140-character or less Twitter review: “Dollhouse was good. Intense & a little creepy (Joss trademarks), but not much funny. Not much of a pilot ep either, felt like a normal ep.”

25 Things About Billy Graham

The ’25 Things’ note has been spreading on Facebook like a computer virus. Or one of those lame forwards from 1998 about Microsoft charging a fee for every e-mail sent. An estimated five million people have taken part, and it’s made some people more than a little annoyed and they show their determination not to take part in it by taking part in it (in mockery, of course).

I find the whole thing kind of funny.

Unlike an annoying e-mail forward, the notes in Facebook are much easier to ignore and they don’t gum up my inbox. Nobody is forcing you to read them. I can understand annoyance if people are harassing or threatening you to list your own ’25 Things,’ but that’s just stupid.

Who cares if people want to tell their friends 25 random things? It it narcissistic? Yeah, but blogging and twittering can be just as narcissistic. In many ways the general Facebook crowd is made up of relative web newbies who don’t have blogs or Twitter accounts. This is a new platform for them to talk about themselves. In that sense it’s like explaining to people what blogging is all over again and as always you get people who whine and complain.

Live and let live, people. I’ve completely ignored some ’25 Things’ lists and others I’ve read with curiosity and interest. Some were insightful, others were stupid. It’s just like anything else in life.

I’ve decided to deal with it (aside from blogging about it) by writing my own list of 25 Things—about Billy Graham. I think that’d be an awesome new trend. Let’s all write 25 things about someone else.

You Can Change the World: Saving Kids from Poverty

Shaun Groves spray-painting a rock at Northwestern: 163 kids sponsored!Last week indie rock star (wait, is that an oxymoron?) Shaun Groves came to town.

I’ve tried to keep up with Shaun since his debut album came out back when I was just getting started at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. We interviewed him at GMA and he played at the our offices and I think we talked him into writing for us. I was always struck by how genuine he seemed. A few years ago he launched a blog, but it wasn’t a typical rock star blog. For starters he called it a “Shlog” (which is where that ‘shlog envy’ comment came from), but more importantly he blogged about the real stuff of life and not just ‘hey look, I’ve got an album coming out’ or ‘we’re rocking in Georgia!’ and then no posts until the next album. Plus, he tried to kick Amy Grant’s ass (OK, not really).

Lately Shaun’s been doing this whole Compassion blogger thing and actually comments on people’s blogs. He still does some music in there somewhere, but he gives it all away for free.

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You Have To Be Obsessive To Be Successful

I’ve been reminded lately that in order to be successful you have to be a little obsessive. There are examples like Thomas Edison’s 10,000 failed prototypes for the light bulb (according to the legend) or this story of a family raking in $1,000 in change since 2005 (they blog their daily take) or this story of a guy making a living as a dumpster-diver. OK, so maybe you have to be a lot obsessive.

The point is that success is never easy. You don’t make $1,000 by picking up a few pennies. You have to be obsessed with picking up change. You don’t bankroll your own business ideas by trash picking on the weekend. You have to know what’s worth something and what isn’t, be relentless and methodical, and stick to it even in a Canadian blizzard. In short, you have to be obsessed.

That’s how novels are written, amazing albums created, great works of art brought to life. That’s how professional bloggers make money, how techies build incredible applications, how an evangelist can speak to more people in live audiences than anyone in history. Persistence trumps talent.

My question then becomes am I obsessive enough?

Sometimes I think I’m obsessed with too many different things, I dabble too broadly to truly be obsessively successful. And I guess that’s the hard part. You can’t hedge your bets by dabbling, you have to dive in. It’s kind of scary. And that’s what makes it worthwhile.

Adoption Court Date: Feb. 20, 2009

It’s about time for an adoption update around here. Not much has happened since we got our court date and referral. We do receive monthly updates, but they only consist of height and weight measurements. It’s kind of hard looking at the photo of my boy and the sheet of paper telling me how much he weighs. All I know is he’s growing, and that’s a good thing (duh).

Our court date is coming up on February 20. This happens in Ethiopia and we don’t have to be present. We’ve signed over power of attorney and someone else will be present for us as a judge reviews the case and, if everything goes smoothly, transfers guardianship of our boy to us. This paves the way for a birth certificate that lists us as parents. Once we get a correct copy of that birth certificate things start moving. We can start filing more paperwork to get a visa, we’re given a travel date and we’re given permission to book our tickets. It’s a flurry of activity. We’ve been told that travel dates generally come 5-6 weeks after a successful court date, which means late March or early April.

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You Can Change the World: Help People Find a Job

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The economy’s in the crapper. The list of people I know who are unemployed (or under-employed, like me) continues to grow. But what can we do about it? Help each other out, for starters. At the Minneapolis-St. Paul Social Media Breakfast event on Friday, local recruiter Paul DeBettignies said it best: “For the love of God help somebody else.”

So let’s try doing that. I’ve come across a number of resources to help job seekers lately, so let’s share.

The Online Job Hunt
First up, is the presentation Paul DeBettignies gave at the Social Media Breakfast. You can actually check out three of his recent presentations on using social media in the job search, getting the most out of Linked In and what to do after you have a “killer” resume. I’ve only seen the social media presentation, but I gleaned some good stuff:

  • “It’s not the size of your network that matters, but how you use it.”
  • Using Google to find people on Linked In you can’t find with Linked In’s search.
  • What to do once you get a job (thank people, tell people, ask if your company has other job openings, keep up with your network, look for your next job).
  • Ask why you didn’t get the job. Nine times out of ten they won’t tell you, but when they do it can be huge.

You miss out on a lot by not seeing the presentation live, but hopefully you can find a few nuggets.

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