Skyfall

A new teaser trailer came out today for Skyfall, the next Bond movie coming this November:

Looks good, or at least much better than Quantum of Solace. I really liked Craig in Casino Royale, but the last one was pretty bad, even considering that it was shot and partially re-written during the writer’s strike of 2007-2008. The story was just not very coherent.

Skyfall, on the other hand, has the right ingredients at least: Craig is back, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, and a favorite of mine: Away We Go) is directing, and Javier Bardem is the villain.

Can’t wait to see the next trailer.

Fact checking has jumped the shark

“Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” he said. The fact-checkers — whose institutional rise has been a feature of the cycle — have “jumped the shark,” he added after the panel. – Romney pollster Neil Newhouse

Reason #1 I’ve tuned out politics this time around: the blatant disregard of facts. You have to give the Romney team credit for coming out and saying it, though.

There are no redeeming qualities about Mr. Romney, especially when it comes to truthiness. Politifact judged 43% of his statements to be Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire False. (Obama came in at 27%.) Nearly 10% of Romney’s statements fall in the Pants on Fire category. 

If you raise the standards a little to Mostly True and True categories, Romney scores 29% to Obama’s 46%. To put it another way, 71% of Romney’s statements are Half True or worse.

It’s really not surprising, given how fast he’s turned away from his more moderate past as governor of Massachusetts, his past as a private equity/venture capitalist (which requires a do-what-it-takes-to-make-a-profit attitude), and his frequent use of the racist dog whistle (birtherism, the full out welfare ad lie, etc.) See more on race and the election, here from Ezra Klein. And here, from Andrew Sullivan.

And if you want to know why Romney is doing it, look no further than the Ezra Klein article linked above:

Stephens-Davidowitz found that Obama had lost 3 percent to 5 percent of the popular vote compared to what you would have expected. Or as he put it, Obama’s race, gave “his opponent the equivalent of a home-state advantage countrywide.”

And that’s from 2008 against a fairly benign McCain campaign. Imagine if you could energize that sentiment? Well, it looks like Romney wants to see if the Southern Strategy still works.

I know you may not like Obama (that’s fine and no, of course I don’t think you’re racist), but how can you possibly like someone (Romney) who shows complete disregard for the truth, facts, and moderate leadership to get elected? Is that the kind of standard you want to set for the presidency?

I think the answer is obvious and that’s the reason this is my last political post of the election season.

Update: added a link from Andrew Sullivan above.

Update #2: Here’s a link to Ezra Klein’s post on Paul Ryan’s convention speech. Looks like Ryan fits in well with the Romney campaign.

That time of the year…

When it’s either incredibly exciting or frustrating to be interested in Apple and tech: iPhone rumor/leak time.

Yes, it technically started earlier in the year (or more likely never stopped in the first place), but the weeks leading up to a new iPhone launch are always the worst.

Case in point, the 9to5Mac RSS feed, which just posted two contradicting stories within the span of two minutes.

Sometimes I long for a slow web, when there wasn’t a rush to break news or post a hundred “stories” a day, strictly for pageviews.

Any other RSS/news/info addicts out there? How do you balance that interest with the overwhelming amount of over-publishing on the web today?

Stella & Jolie

Stella is so great with animals. She absolutely adores our cat Jolie. She was literally hugging the goats at the county fair. She even loves bugs! 

Stella has been comfortable with animals for as long as I can remember — she’s never really shown any fear — just curiosity and compassion. She was speech delayed and has two very talkative sisters, so I wonder if she felt more comfortable with and could relate better to animals and bugs? Regardless, I think we have a future vet on our hands!

I love this picture (even though it kind of looks like she is strangling Jolie!)

Too Much

I came across these three tips on living with less via the NY Times Bucks blog post, You Probably Have Too Much Stuff.

1. Fewer choices are freeing. 

2. If you have fewer things, make them good. 

3. Sometimes you will not be prepared…and it’s okay. 

I particularly like this quote regarding number three, which reminds me of the Just In Case syndrome I’ve mentioned in previous posts:

Americans in particular like to be prepared for the worst-case-scenario, having separate cookie cutters for Christmas and Halloween. We seldom consider how negligible the consequences are when we run out of something or are unprepared. Nor do we consider how high the consequences are for being over-prepared: creating more money, space, upkeep and mental clutter.

I’ve been working toward applying these basic principles to my life this year, through my Love List goal Less in 2012. So far, we’ve had two garage sales and donated a large quantity of “stuff” to charity. There is a lot more to do, however.

Carl Richards, in the Bucks blog post I link to above, recommends these questions when looking at your stuff:

  • Why exactly do you own what you own?
  • What could you get rid of and not miss?
  • Do I really still need that?
  • What is it costing me to own that?

I’d go even farther, by asking yourself these questions before you even get to that point — when you want to buy things:

  1. Do I really need this?
  2. If I do buy this, will it last? Is it high quality?
  3. If I end up not needing it any longer, what is the re-sale value? If it’s not sellable, would a charity take it? If not, what kind of impact does throwing it out have on the environment?

I’m pretty confident these three questions will help you buy quality, needed things and have a minimal impact on the environment. None of these questions will work, though, if you aren’t completely honest with yourself.

Are you working toward a more minimalist lifestyle? If so, share your experience in the comments.

Connecting the dots

When you look back on events, it’s pretty incredible how things come together. Nothing happens independently. Everything is tied to something before it. Sometimes the links are more obvious than others, but it’s healthy to take a few moments to reflect on how many things – and people – had to come together in order for another thing to happen.

Jason Fried of 37signals took a look back at how he came to be asked to write an opinion piece for today’s New York Times paper.

A couple things instantly came to mind:

  • The key Buddhist concept of dependent arising (or, in Pali: paticcasamuppāda), which is basically cause and effect. Everything and everyone is interconnected.
  • It shows how important it is to build relationships. Not only do you meet cool, interesting people along the way, but great opportunities arise as well.

Such a great example of both.

Be More Productive. Shorten the Workweek. – NYTimes

When there’s less time to work, you waste less time. When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time.

Here is the Jason Fried NY Times opinion piece I mentioned in an earlier update.

I love how progressive 37signals is as a company:

  • Four day work weeks (32 hours) between May and October
  • Fully covered CSA (community supported agriculture) shares
  • One month to work on what ever you want (only essential work during the month, then a pitch day at the end of the month to show off work)

Click through for more.

via Shawn Blanc

Offline: how's it going? | The Verge

The other day I was at my coffee shop, about to make an order, when I got into a conversation with another regular. And then, a few minutes in, I felt a familiar internal tug. A chime inside said it was “time to get back.” It’s one of the last vestiges of my former mental patterns. I get a vague feeling on occasion that it’s been a little while since I’ve looked at my instant messages, checked my email, scrolled through Twitter, or refreshed The Verge front page. “Someone on my computer must miss me,” it seems to say. It’s a combination of a fear of missing out, and a hope of being missed.

Paul Miller, writer for the tech site The Verge, is taking a year off from the Internet and sending in updates to be posted to the site.

He’s currently three months into the experiment, with the latest update posted on the 13th. I love the glimpse into his life and that FOMO is still hitting strong, even after 90+ days away from the web.

It shows us that everyone, deep down, has that fear in the back of their mind. Social networking has amplified that fear and given us both the largest, most accessible and easy-to-use soapbox in history to share (and receive back those tidbits of reassurance and positive reinforcement) and a porthole view into a large number of lives. It hits on our narcissistic, exhibitionist, and voyeuristic tendencies like nothing else we’ve experienced. It’s also what makes the Internet so awesome and so crappy, all at the same time.

I am not busy

So the final piece I have been working on is never telling people I am busy. Because no, I am not busy. Yes, I have a lot of stuff to do, but I leave it at the office after work and on the weekends. I have many things I am interested in, but I can always make room for something if it is worth doing.

Rather than say: “I am too busy, I don’t have any time for X.” I realize I can be honest and say I am not interested enough in X to do it.

EVERYONE has a lot of stuff to do because there IS a lot of stuff to do. Some of it is work. Some of it is hanging out with your family. Some of it is just laying on the couch reading a book.

Andre Torrez (co-founder of Simpleform and MLKSHK) has a great, honest approach to directing his time and attention. It’s the same approach I’ve been taking over the last few months. It’s hard to do when there is money involved, but it’s been a refreshing change for me.

The Great Discontent: Seth Godin

I think “creativity” is better described as failing repeatedly until you get something right. I was encouraged by both my parents—my mom, who had a background in the arts, and my dad, who comes from both business and the arts—to always be putting on a show, doing an experiment, or trying something new, so I was failing from a very early age.

 So many great quotes in this interview. A must read.