i am sitting on the starboard
of your only way
back home


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Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Nite Movie: Four Eyed Monsters

This is awesome for a variety of reasons...one being that it is the first feature film available for free on Youtube and various other sites online. FREE. MOVIE. And it's doing well, and the filmmakers are rocking it, and this is the future of Web 2.0. Check it.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

America's Characters No. 1: Richardson, Texas

J and I are sitting in a parking lot in Richardson, Texas waiting to embark on our tour to New Mexico and mooching some wifi when this lady walks out of the building and says hello. We ask her how her day is going, and you can tell...maybe it's starting a little slowly (even though it's about 2 in the afternoon). We say hey, it's the weekend...take it easy! She mentioned perhaps feeling the need to imbibe in an alcoholic beverage, and in the spirit of cameraderie, we nod in agreement.

Then she tips her hypothetical hat to us, says, "Hey, it's the Sabbath...keep it holy," and gets in the car and it drives away.

Cheers, friend.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No TV Project: I'm Not Alone?

Check out this little factoid: 2.5 million LESS people are tuning in to the major networks this year compared to last year. Now, I'd like to say that act of putting my TV in the closet a month ago accounted for a nice chunk of that statistic, but really it wasn't that bad.

I am enjoying the choice, though. It was a little weird at first. I was used to eating meals with Diane Sawyer or Charlie Gibson, getting my daily dose of catastrophe news and troop casualty counting in with my morning fiber twigs. Then I'd flip the tube on when I was just home, and inevitably get sucked into the latest episode of Trading Spouses which...come on, we all know they're completely freakishly opposite families maybe with a couple of jerky, lazy family members who see the light and everyone leaves understanding a little more about the world but really happy their mom is their mom. And that's cute, but if you need to go live with an Amish family to realize that, you've got bigger issues than I care to see on screen. I digress. My point was, I was used to the noise.

I figured I would supplement my lack of TV noise with increased amounts of music...but that's not even the case. These days I wake up, I do my Morning Pages, and I eat breakfast...in silence. I can hear the birds chirping outside, the cars going by. I CAN HEAR MY OWN THOUGHTS. Creepy, huh? It's kind of ok. Plus, if I want to take a walk, the Simpsons re-run isn't going to distract me. (Ok, I do miss the Simpsons, but they exist on DVD without commercials anyway so it's not a huge deal either).

I have gotten a Netflix membership, because one can't deprive oneself of the form of visual art entirely. I just like to think I've narrowed it down to watching actual art as opposed to...complete schlock. Sorry, network TV...you're not even missed.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TribVid: Chris Nolan

Chris Nolan was my first guitar teacher, and taught me...well, a good chunk of everything. He's just fabulous. If I had started with the wrong teacher, I might have given up and taken up glass blowing as a hobby (which actually would be kinda cool but that is so NOT THE POINT). Chris did a couple of tunes for TribVid (which I filmed back in May...my episode will appear soon, I think). Enjoy!

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Odd Jobs/Good Lessons

So...I like to say I've got a "varied" work experience, which basically translates into...I took what came along. Luckily, for the most part, I've fallen into some really good things.

Talking to our host while filming..."oh. my. gawd.
Did you SEE what he was wearing? I know.
Oh there's a sale at GAP? Let's go after we're done taping."

As I've mentioned, I was an intern and eventually associate producer at KNME-TV in Albuquerque for a year. I also taught political science labs to intro poli sci students, gave study strategies workshops, and tutored writing at UNM at a little place I like to call The Center for Academic Program Support. Actually, I like to call it CAPS because I'm lazy. I even wrote a song about CAPS once. I call it "The CAPS Song." If you get hired there, they'll play it for you. Don't all rush the application process at once.

I learned a lot at CAPS, and took a lot of learning style/personality tests. I am an INT...something on the Myers Briggs test, a "4" on some other (ask me about it and I'll tell you what a 4 does), and neither left nor right brained. (It's not called whole-brained, sadly. More like..."Confused"). I ate a lot of muffins and bagels at CAPS, too.

The coolest photo I have ever taken...and it's of a MUFFIN???

I sold pizza for a summer, and never really got the hang of explaining to people what pesto was, and I never got over the copious amount of pronunciations people have for marinara. (My favorite was "maryann.") I have a good appreciation for a nice crust and every slice of pie tastes better with green chile on it, I promise.

When I moved to Texas and was, well...bumming for 4 months, I had a one-day stint picking cucumbers and zucchini on an organic farm outside of town. I accepted the job with a doe-eyed wonderment, thinking, "YES. My family comes from a long line of Midwestern farmers. My uncles farm. My parents grew up on farms. It's in my BLOOD. I will be so artist-like in my Bohemian pursuits of the land and put true meaning in my life."

Well yeah. One day of hacking cukes off vines and "watching out for rattlers" and I really just...well, I didn't return. I felt like a wimp, but I couldn't physically move without intense pain for 5 days after. I know I would have worked through the soreness eventually, but...as a kid raised in a not-big-but-big-enough sized city...I decided to save my tanning efforts for outdoor gigs only. Your ashamed folkie has faults, ladies and gentlemen.

"Um. Maybe even zucchini won't grow here, huh?"

I did ultimately enjoy the farm and the thought of eating something I knew I had picked hours earlier...and that it was grown without chemicals and pesticides seeping into its little cuke-y pores...well I like that. So I guess the lesson learned from that...one day I'll have a big garden and you all can come over and eat zucchini bread. Stacks of it.

Just watch out for rattlers.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

All Fall Down

My statement of independence for the day...live at the Santa Fe Brewing Company in New Mexico with Susan Gibson. Sweet.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Perfect Albums No. 3 :: Failer

Kathleen Edwards: Failer

No no no. I am not running out of albums already, nor am I stuck in a rut. This woman is just that good. If you will recall, Perfect Album No. 2 was Back to Me also by Kathleen. I am so enamoured with both records that I have to make Failer the next installment.

Failer is Kathleen's first. If every artist put out a first album like this...well, I guess I don't know. There would be a lot of legendary first albums. Every song is not just good, it is SOGOOOOD!!! Say that in a gushy kinda way and you'll get where I'm going.

We start off with a ditty every folk-rock record should start out with...something about someone ending up dead. "Six O'Clock News" was one Ben and I frequently covered, and it's subtle enough that you really have to pay attention to know it's about a SWAT situation gone wrong. Otherwise it's just catchy.

Kathleen EdwardsSix O'Clock News

Tracks 5 - 9 are perhaps the most brilliant succession of songs on any album I own. We start off with current favorite 12 Bellevue, with its horn section and crunchy guitar riff. And the guitars even sound like...bells. It's amazing. "I'm not gonna truce...cause in the end either way I still lose. And I'm not gonna wait, I was thinking about drinking my way through the day." Tell us how you really feel, Kathleen.

Kathleen Edwards12 Bellevue

Next up we have sweet, sad "Mercury." The first line is..."Wanna go get high? Mercury's parked outside under the light." But Kathleen does her job as commissioned by Nancy Reagan and points out, "It's like you said...woulda turned up dead in the car." Whoa. Ponder it while you hum.

Kathleen EdwardsMercury

My, that's a perky "NO!"

Moving right along we have "Westby," a jaunty little ditty that has perhaps the best hook ever. That's right, I'll put it on the line right now. This song contains


What is it?

"If you weren't so old I would probably keep you. If you weren't so old I'd tell my friends...but I don't think your wife would like my friends."

I can't say anything else, I just can't.

Kathleen EdwardsWestby

And to round out this song grouping we have "Maria" which...I'm not sure what it's about but it rocks. More genius electric guitar and some killer background vocals. And then Failer takes you out nice and sweetly with a couple of mournful tracks in the form of "National Steel" and "Sweet Little Duck." Then you press "play" again and start all over.

The best news?? The absolute BEST? Kathleen's got a blog. Heck yeahs. Props to Canada.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Nite Movie: From Curandera to Chupacabra...The Stories of Rudolfo Anaya

I first had to read Rudolfo Anaya in high school. We were assigned "Bless Me Ultima" and I remember thinking something along the lines of, "Why are we reading this dude if he lives in our state? Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Anaya?" (Did I mention maybe I was a stupid high schooler?)

I got "skooled" quickly and was taken in by Anaya's way with words and fascinating ability to tell a good story while weaving in tradition, history, and folklore. It remains one of my favorite reading assignments of all time. Here's a doc from KNME about one of the best authors in America, right from my backyard.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


All right kids. The migration over to a dedicated host for janapochop.com means the RSS feed for the blog has changed. Click that fabulous orange...thing over there on the right to make sure you're subscribed in your RSS reader. Or click this giant one:
I can't make that any easier.

But Jana, what is an RSS feed? What is this reader thing? Watch this highly creative and entertaining video from Common Craft (which is just a great company all around), and learn all about this crazy thing we call the internets. Vast amounts of information are at your fingertips!

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More Notebook Thoughts...

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I (heart) Moleskine

A peek. Just a peek.

I'm kind of a nerd. I have a thing for paper and pens, in a way that is probably unhealthy. I will browse the aisles of Borders, Barnes and Noble, Book People, and wherever else I need to be to find just the right songwriting notebook. No ruled paper, please. Spiral bound for easy flexibility. A nice, stiffish paper that takes ink well. Preferably free of anything on the cover or title page that would imply anyone had any ideas for what the notebook should be before I opened it.

I've transferred this love over to my To Do system, as I am a great believer in productivity via what are called "lifehacks" -- which are simply smart ways of doing things so that I have more time to focus on important things like writing and locating the nearest retailer of Red Velvet Bingles. While I love the internet and use it for just about everything, I can't give up my pen and paper. Carrying my lists with me makes me feel put together. When I found the Moleskine brand of pocket notebooks, I was skeptical of their magical powers. "The legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, Chatwin," they say. Oh, really.

But you crack one of these leather-bound babies and you are unstoppable. They are the perfect size to carry anywhere, they handle a nice inky pen well, they have a fabulous elastic band around them for safe-keeping...everything is perfection. I get the "Squared Notebook" which is good for note-taking as well as sketching out diagrams or charts. A good half of my Moleskine is used for my daily To Do list, but I tab it off into other sections (see those colorful little dealies in the photo) for phone numbers, song lines that come to me in the grocery store, what have you.

Moleskines are quite popular and there's even a Moleskinerie blog dedicated to their uses. It's lovely to see how people implement such a simple thing in so many ways. Just a tool of the trade...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Mexico Boy Live in...New Mexico.

Live at the Santa Fe Brewing Company...for your listening (I hope) pleasure. Susan Gibson sings, too. Thank you, Ms. G! It's always nice to hear 2 voices instead of one, I think. That's why Simon and Garfunkle do so well with the kids these days.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

j.Po Thots: Get in Line

Yep, this is still the Official j.Po Thots photo. Deal.

Tonight I walked up the stairs to my apartment and noticed there's some interesting arrangement of planet-moon-star-star in the sky -- all in one perfect line. I literally slept through astronomy in college (I know, I know...it's interesting, cool stuff...but the last class of the day coupled with a dark room and cushy chairs...I was zonked the whole semester and still got an A). Hence, I have no clue what the planet is or if the stars are really just more planets...but I'm pretty sure the sickle shaped thing is the moon. Pretty sure I got that much out of class.

It references how a lot of things in life align, even when you're not trying. Those stars and planets weren't coasting around space thinking, "Man! If we could just line up with the moon right now!" It just happened, if only from our vantage point on Earth at the moment.

The point? Keep making connections and going places, because you will be amazed at what aligns from those seemingly random connections down the line. I'm proof. Ask me about it some day.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Excuse the Funk...Enjoy Some Red Bull

We're migrating web hosts, folks! Soon jp.com will be a dedicated site and not cross-hosted and all that jazz...in case you cared.

I don't foresee it being an ordeal but if you find some broken links in the next few days...don't panic. Just step back from the internet, grab a cup of coffee, maybe a Red Bull, and sit tight.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Things Are Shifting

It's kind of like that. Poor Pedestrian Ahead Man.

There's a lot going on behind the scenes that does not make for interesting blog fodder at the moment. Not like some musicians who type that and it really means Virgin Records is going to sign them. No, not THAT type of behind the scenes. More of a hibernation, wait-and-see type thing...and I HATE waiting. Haaaaaate it. But it's good for me.

One thing I started two weeks ago and have successfully held up for the duration so far is a course called The Artist's Way. It was recommended to me by a fellow, well....artist (who has a way, apparently), and it's all about breaking down barriers and opening up creativity. One of the main tenants of the program is the Morning Pages. Every morning, you get up early (or forsake things like breakfast if you hate getting up early, haha) and write 3 pages on anything. Your list of things to do, how much you hate the loud stereo outside, your toes...whatever. You're supposed to write and write until those 3 pages are done. Then you go about your day.

I find that it frees up my writing brain for more important things (like blogging, right? Anyone?) and I can focus more. Is that a result of the Morning Pages? Who knows, but I figure it's good for me and me showing some discipline about something can't be all that bad. 3 pages each day times 14 days is...carry the one...130 miles to Albuquerque...42 pages? That's kind of prolific for me. It's probably nothing for some people, but when you eek out a 3 verse song every other month, that's kind of ok. Nice. Now if it just said something more interesting than, "I forgot to take out the trash. I like coffee. Is it really this early?" No, good things will come. Try it, you might like it.

I call this one, "The Last Thing The Marigold Ever Saw"

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Night Movie: The Water Haulers

My business partner J and I worked as interns/associate producers at KNME-TV in Albuquerque for a year. We did cool stuff. We met the governor (or at least I met his makeup person and watched the governor walk by), produced some shows, got people water in cute little mugs. One of my bosses was Tish Bravo, a fantastic producer and all around good spirit to boot. Tish is off seeing the world in a VW van now, but before she left KNME, she produced this documentary that will make you go, "What. The. Crap." Did you know United States citizens still go without water hookups in a certain part of our country? Yeah. No water. They haul it themselves. They feed livestock, cook, bathe, and irrigate with water they haul themselves, because there is no infrastructure where they live. Even though the government has been promising to get crackin' on that for oh...30 years. I know. Take a look.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Explaining the History...

behind the Very Large Array. From our trip to Socorro...Susan Gibson interviews history "expert" Jana with cousin Rochelle looking on.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Music I Like

Ooo. It's been a while since I've gotten a CD I was all "YAY!" about.

Number Uno: Terri Hendrix is taking pre-orders for her new CD "The Spiritual Kind." If you're in Austin, you can come to the release party on August 7th at Waterloo Records. You get free beer and free music AND a new CD. Tops? Oh yes, tops. IN THE MEANTIME...because Terri loves us...listen to 4 (yes, FOUR!) new tracks on her Myspace page. Amen. I'm a total fan of "Acre of Land" at the moment. Woman is wise, so wise. (And how Frida Kahlo is that artwork, eh?)

Number Dos: Adrienne Young - Room to Grow. I like Adrienne. I don't know much about her. I keep stumbling on her CDs in used stores, and this new one found me at Waterloo tonight. The sticker on the front says, "Purchasing this CD directly benefits sustainable agriculture. See saveaseed.org for details." How cool is that? I am totally down with sustainable ag. Especially when I can get a new CD out of the deal, hehheh.

If you like it, always buy, don't steal or burn, folks. The more artists I meet and the more I try to make a living, the more I realize this. Please keep us in mind. :)


Monday, June 11, 2007

Get Ready for the Big Show

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

What I look like...

when I am trying to come up with an interesting blog post. And perhaps fail, and decide to just post a photo instead.

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Tools of the Trade: no more guitars?

I managed this shot with hours of set up. Actually, it was an accident, but we like it.

The New York Times just published an article about guitar makers and how it is increasingly difficult for them to find wood to make the instruments so many of us rely on to make our way in the world. (Link: Saving Trees Is Music To Guitar Makers' Ears)

Both C.F. Martin and Bob Taylor are interviewed...and since I play a Martin and a Taylor (one day I'll post about how certain enthusiasts would have me beaten for doing so), I am of course proud that these two luthiers are congnizant of the issue and making moves to improve the situation before we're all plunking around on wash tubs with broom handles (not that there's anything wrong with that). Even more interestingly, they've been talking to Greenpeace to try and raise awareness and find solutions. Totally better than just hoarding Brazilian rosewood in the basement until the nuclear winter is over, much like I am doing with Red Velvet Bingles. (Don't come knocking on my door when there's a Bingles shortage and you can't even get them at the Sack 'n Pack!)

Here's a podcast my business partner J was part of during his time on a Greenpeace mission in Europe...they did all kinds of cool stuff, including see U2 in Amsterdam. J would tell you he did all kinds of ACTUAL useful, environment-saving stuff, which is great...but he saw frickin' U2 in AMSTERDAM. That is kick butt.

Podcast Part One

Podcast Part Two

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Friday, June 8, 2007

The Vault: Poster No. 1

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j.Po Thots: Songs Are Like Pants

The new "j.Po thots" photo. Because I look like I might be thinking. Deal with it.

Work with me here. Everyone's got a favorite pair of pants. Mine happen to be some I wear for pajamas with a big "LOBOS" down the side...one of the few ways I exhibit some alumnus spirit, and only then with utmost decorum. However, they haven't always been my favorite pair and judging by the fact that they are sweats and it is summer again (translation: HOTT), I'm going to shift my pants allegiances pretty quickly. That's fine. It was nice while it lasted, right?

Some songs are like that. They get outgrown, or the circumstances in which you began singing them (or wearing them...in winter...with school pride) change. Your POV shifts, and sometimes...the songs don't shift with you. That's when I begin that process of eliminating things from my set list. Some songs just don't fit anymore. On the flipside, some seem to grow and adapt with me without me having to change the words. That's how I generally tell the keepers from the "nice try's".

I have a friend who is very easy to get to know on the outset...she's great with people and easy to talk to. I was shocked to learn one day that she doesn't really consider you a "Friend" until you've been through a whole year together as acquaintances, because she realizes she changes with the seasons and her friend group does too. I thought that was very wise. Some friends are just summer friends...your moods align for a while and it's good, but it was never meant to last. Some are there for the long haul, even when it's the most depressing day in January ever because the holidays are over and the snow is gone and it's just grey and April is SO. FAR. AWAY. (That's just me and January, though).

So maybe I have "keepers" and "nice try's" and "after Labor Day" songs? I guess the only solution is for you, dear readers, to come to every show, track every set list in excruciating detail, run some numbers, and get back to me. I'll be shopping for summer PJs.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

90 Days

I like time frames. I will talk endlessly about one year plans and five year plans and my To Do list for the day outlines nicely in my Moleskine notebook, complete with checkboxes waiting to be X’ed through with quiet satisfaction from an inky Pilot pen. This, of course, is dependent upon me actually looking at my list and then feeling motivated enough to do the things on it. Some days are better than others, is all I’ll say.

However, in the world of scheming, I’ve found a most invaluable tool is the 90 day time frame. It’s not too short to be irrelevant, and it’s not too long that my brain shuts it out. I’ve embarked on a few projects using this 90 day reference, one of them being a 90 Day Vegan.

My buddy Jamie and I grew up omnivores, but curious ones. Jamie announced over Christmas vacation last year that she was going to be a vegan for 90 days. I am such a tag-along that I begged in on the deal, and we did it. We made it, too. There were some harrowing times. I hang out in coffeehouses, where there are giant cases full of baked goods ripe for the picking. Jamie went to Oklahoma and lived on vegan road food for a week. Vegan road food, as you will discover if you try it, does not really exist. I think Jamie lived on air and told herself it was salad. Mmm.

Anyway, we survived and I did a crappy job of it while touring around New Mexico, but I still eat (mostly) vegan. The 90 days allowed me to go through the initial “This is neato! I’m a vegan!” phase, the “Uh oh...what did I do?” phase, the “I CAN’T EVEN GROCERY SHOP I QUIT” phase, and then the last month and a half...blissful flow and acceptance. I felt good as a vegan. Things operated correctly in the J-Po digestive track. Vegetables are great. So are french fries. What more does one need?

Now I look back and 3 months seems like a long time, but it went quickly. My new project is...TV in the closet for 90 days. It’s been so easy because I’ve been so busy I lost count of the days. I suspect this might just be a permanent arrangement. Does anyone want to buy a year-old television? Rarely used except for Seinfeld re-runs. Email me. I don’t deliver, unless you live a 90-day’s walk away. Then I just might try it.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Backstage Pass to Democracy

Rock Star gets off stage after pouring heart and soul out to a collection of thousands of followers...proceeds to tour bus and sits down at the computer. Rock Star blogs about what happened that night, uploads a video clip from the evening that was just imported in, and clicks "Publish." Instantly, not only can those followers who were there re-live that night and pass it around...but the entire globe can be there, too. The entire population of the planet now has a chance to see what occurred on stage in New Hampshire...via text from the performer and video of it happening...via a link to a Flickr profile with accompanying photos...via a friend request on Myspace or Facebook. Instantly.

The life of a musician? Of course.

But I was actually talking about Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico who is running for President. Bill's got some hilarious campaign ads up on Youtube. And a Myspace profile. And a Flickr photo pool. And a blog.

Welcome to Campaign 2008, Web 2.0 Style.

This is true democracy, people. Sure, America has always been a republic. We elect our leaders. (Well, some of us do). But there's always a been a bit of a wall between us -- the voters -- and them...those who do the actual decision-making. Sure, we give input. We write our letters to our Congresspeople and we get a form letter back from an aide and we hope that our opinion was tallied in a memo that the representative maybe read before going to vote on some issue. And if they vote against our views on an issue? We write another letter, or maybe an email...and maybe our dissent gets tallied again in the next memo.

But what about this internet thing? Could it be that all of these crazy tools musicians use -- and lots of other people in lots of other fields -- are finally breaking into that stodgy, long-curtained-off backroom of politics? The inner workings of our nation...up on Youtube? The guy who might be in the Oval Office...in a Flickr pool?

This is your backstage pass, America. And guess what? We control our VIP status. The more feed subscriptions Bill gets? The more he'll blog! The more Facebook friend requests he has, the more interactive his campaign will be. That translates into...the more input you have on your Presidential candidate...in real, immediate time.

Remember that news story last week about how Digg almost collapsed under a revolt brought on by its own users, doing the very thing Digg is designed to do? (When people like an article/think it is informative/whatever...they can Digg it...and the articles with the most Diggs rank higher. Very democratic). That's an example of the population being able to actually sway the usually behind-closed-doors-type company into changing policy...in MERE HOURS.

It did not take a board meeting, a bylaws re-write, a vote, an addendum, another vote, ad nauseum to get Digg to change its policy. It knew what its constituents wanted immediately, and reacted in kind.

Apply this to our politicians...put them in the light, shine the warm glow of Web 2.0 on them...and see how they operate when they can actually see all of the voter's faces looking right at them and paying attention.

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Oh NOW You Tell Me

Waxing poetic to J on the road to Dallas, probably about how AC is money-sucking.

One thing about Austin...it gets hot. As in...HOTT. As in you walk outside at midnight and it's 85 degrees out and you want a shower. And this is just June.

I moved here in summertime and a couple of things dictated my lifestyle a year ago:

1. No job = poor
2. The commonly passed around wisdom that not using AC saves gas.

I am frugal, and I am stubborn. If you know nothing else about me, know those 2 things. (Oh, and I make good scones but that's not really topic-relevant, is it?) So I drove around Austin last summer with a lot less AC use than I wanted. Rolled down windows can only do so much when your car is about 189 degrees and the outside air is 114...but I was not filling up my tank more than I had to, dangit. Dollahs in the bank were worth more than hydration in the pores...or something.

So now? NOW THEY TELL ME. Thank you, CNN-Money, for your year-late article:

4 Gas-saving Myths

Myths? Whatever could they mean? Oh...they mean that if I am driving on the highway (which is all I do around here, usually)...I CAN USE THE AC. Thanks for the memo. One year late.

At least it's only June and I just read this and I have a good 6 months to roll up the windows and crank the freon. Hallelujah!

Happy Summer, all...

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