Enjoying the Inauguration with Twitter

I watched bits and pieces of the Inauguration today and caught much of Obama’s speech on NPR. But I really enjoyed much of the festivities through Twitter and the various reactions, comments and snippets. Apparently I wasn’t the only one enjoying Twitter: Traffic was up five fold.

The breadth of opinions was hilarious. One person would be euphoric about an Obama presidency and the next person would be taking potshots at hope and change. One person loved the inaugural poem and the very next tweet called it a flaming failure.

It was also great to see people’s personal reactions, what lines of speeches/prayers/poems stuck with them, what made them laugh, what made them cry (quite literally).

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The Radical Words of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.Last week I talked a bit about Martin Luther King Jr. being a radical. Today it seems appropriate to look at some of his radical words.

On love vs. hate:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

On nonviolence:

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” (Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1964)

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Get On Your U2: New Single & Pre-Order No Line on the Horizon

No Line on the Horizon by U2The first single from U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon, is now available. The song, “Get On Your Boots” is being streamed from U2’s web site and is available for purchase on iTunes. No Line on the Horizon comes out March 3, 2009.

You can buy just the single for 99 cents, or pre-order the album for $9.99 and you can download “Get On Your Boots” today. The pre-order version of No Line on the Horizon includes two bonus tracks (one is an iTunes exclusive, the other is a pre-order only, but no details on what either one is).

You can also pre-order the deluxe version of the album for $17.99 from iTunes, which includes the two bonus tracks, a film from Anton Corbijn and a digital collector’s magazine.

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I Survived Sesame Street Live

We planned to take Lexi to Sesame Street Live on Saturday night for her birthday, but a week of illness meant my wife couldn’t go. So Saturday comes along and I find myself taking Lexi and one of her friends to Sesame Street Live by myself. Either I’m super dad or an idiot. Maybe both.

In the end I survived. But I was ready for bed at 9:00 p.m.

The girls were good, for the most part. We had a minor run-in with the spring-loaded chairs and then I think Lexi was getting restless near the end. Both the girls enjoyed it, but I don’t think they were quite old enough to really enjoy it. Then again it was just Sesame Street dancers singing songs for an hour and a half. I think they’ve perfected the art of maximizing profit with as minimal production as possible.

Their favorite part of the evening was probably running down the long, empty corridor between the parking lot and the Target Center, which confirms my suspicion that a fun afternoon would be wandering the skyways.

Vaporizing Water in Minnesota

I’ve always heard stories about it being so cold you could throw water into the air and it would vaporize instantly. Since it was 20 degrees below zero in Minnesota today, I thought I’d give it a try:

Vaporizing Water in Minnesota from kevinhendricks on Vimeo.

Most of the water vaporized but some of it crystallized, turning to ice droplets (from the sound of it, I’d guess some of it still hit the ground as liquid). So some of it turned into a cloud that drifted off and some turned to ice that fell in a slow arc to the ground.

To really pull it off, it helps to boil the water and keep it as hot as possible. And, for the record, it didn’t feel that cold outside (granted I wasn’t out for very long). Here’s a better video of this experiment.

I Like Books

I strolled through Barnes & Noble tonight on my own. No kid, no distractions, no time table. I haven’t done that in a long time. We used to hang out at Barnes & Noble quite a lot. We had a book addiction, fueled by the used section at the B&N in Roseville (one of only a handful across the country).

Unfortunately I couldn’t get into it. The latest Buffy comic was tempting but fleeting, and even the gift card burning a hole in my pocket didn’t help. Maybe next time.

But just like every time I wander the books, I was reminded of the enormity of the publishing industry. The massive number of books that are published every year is staggering (something like 175,000). It’s hard for good stories to stand out.

Work is Slow but I’m Upbeat

I don’t talk about it much publicly, but work has been slow lately. Terribly slow. Income dropped in 2008, for the first time since I started working on my own (though honestly, the drop wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be). And 2009 looks to be worse.

But against all that, I’m upbeat about it. Certainly I have my moments of doubt when things get kind of scary, but I also know that God provides. He’s done it before and I know he’ll do it again. I’m not sitting back and waiting for cash to fall from heaven, but part of my faith involves relying on God. In reality I’m always reliant on God, but it’s times like this when it becomes so much more obvious. In the mean time I’ll tighten my belt, perhaps wean myself from Cherry Pepsi, and struggle through.

Maybe I’m a bit naive, but I think times like this can be an opportunity. A time of unemployment launched me on this freelance journey in the first place. And while work has been slow I’ve been working on other projects, such as the Billy Graham blog, Start Seeing Art, and my 2006 novel Turn Left at the Blacktop, among others (By the way, I printed off a 158-page copy of the novel today so my wife could read it and give me her assessment).

I’m confident that hard times like this can refocus us, can present new opportunities, can be good for us. Sometimes, frankly, it does suck. But recession or economic depression are not the end of the world.

Martin Luther King Jr. the Radical

Martin Luther King Jr.I’ve been reading The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House lately (can you guess why?) and have been fascinated by the perspective of history. Specifically Martin Luther King Jr.

Admittedly, my understanding of current history (say, the last 60 years) is weak at best. I blame my education when the textbooks crammed anything after World War II into a miniature chapter at the end of the book that we never covered. Of course that was a long time ago and any further lack of education is my own fault. I know the basics of the 1960s and 1970s, but I’m usually lacking context and an understanding of how events relate.

Martin Luther King Jr. is a prime example. I never realized what a radical he was.

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Breakfast Time Twitter Poem

Wow. That’s about all I can say. At least one person found poetry instead of weirdness in my daily digest of Twitter posts (which I’ve already deleted). And he turned it into a poem about breakfast and Billy Graham, among other things.

You can read the poem here or after the jump (poetry like that is too potent to not give you a little warning).

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Blog Housekeeping

I’ve been doing a bit of blog housekeeping around here lately. Among the things you may have noticed:

Daily Digest of Twitter Feeds
For a few days I was testing a tool to import my Twitter posts into my blog. It posted them once a day as a daily digest of everything I’d said on Twitter. After four days it seemed like too much. Too often and too out of context, so I just disabled it. For now we’ll stick with my most recent Twitter posts in the sidebar.

I liked the idea of having my Twitter posts archived, but I’m just not convinced this was a good approach. I think it would work better as a separate blog and then it’s really only good for a private archive, so I’m not sure anyone else would care.

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