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Simon Owens
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in nomissnewo's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
10:01 pm
interview me harder
a journalist from Forbes Magazine emailed me the other day to get my number, not because he wanted to interview me for a specific story but so he can call me up when he needs a quick quote about new media. does that mean i've entered the punditocracy, in which i can bloviate at whim without any particular connection to the story at hand?

i would like to get on tv again sometime soon only because my last appearance was so dismally atrocious that i want to prove that it was just because it was my first time. you always assume that pundits can see the people interviewing them but in reality you have an ear piece and you just have to stare into the camera and pretend someone is there. as a result my eyes were darting all over the place. i stuttered, while the other journalist who was brought on (from wired magazine) was a seasoned pro. after the interview was over the producer came in my ear and said something like "we'll be sure to bring you on again" while his tone said "you reeked." now that i've seen myself though i know i can do it. just smile like you assume they're always cutting to you and do. not. break. eye. contact.

ah and the other rule i learned was don't look like a pasty white blowhard. might need to practice a few times to nail that one.
1:28 pm
on my way to get coffee
just spotted an emo girl with pink hair writing a poem in a notebook, possibly on some 15 minute break. the title was in big letters: "Ugly"
Monday, February 9th, 2009
11:00 pm
It's not about the bike
god i almost forgot how wonderful it is to ride my bike at night. however creepy it may be i like riding down residential roads and catching glimpses of people washing their dishes or watching tv. tonight i rode down to the cvs to pick up some fish oil pills and always i get that weird image of me skidding down on the road and a car running over my melon because it doesn't have time to stop.

i started practicing my piano again tonight, the plan being to get into the routine of three half hour practice sessions a week. the notes to the music i'm relearning are so fuzzy; my hands have a vague memory of where they are and if i don't think about it too intensely I can get through several measures before i remember that i don't really remember -- it's like Wile E. Coyote suspended in midair right before he looks down and realizes he has gone over a cliff and plummets.
Sunday, February 8th, 2009
10:15 pm
9:45 pm
An insightful quote from a throwaway QandA I found on a blog
Sarah: How do you get over someone?

get to know them better
10:33 am
What is this
ira glassLast night I went to see This American Life's Ira Glass speak in Charlottesville with some friends and god it is uncanny how deftly he can manipulate and bend you to feeling anything he wants you to feel. His speech was beautiful and sad and funny and insightful, his hands running fluidly over his sound board using it to interweave clips and music into his dialog, as if he were sitting there performing an actual episode of This American Life. Is it possible to go to that theater and hear him speak and -- gay or straight -- not fall in love with the person, this 50-year-old man with the odd voice?

What is this? What is this. In instances like these I see the subtle quirkiness of my own personality and my ambition and talent and I realize how silly it is that I get hung up on things. That I get sad about relationships gone sour or the minute problems that sometimes sprinkle my life like weeds. Because in many ways I am in the position to transcend that, move past it and only focus on being creative, fun, and, well, powerful. Ira spoke of the ways that over time he had perfected the narrative techniques that make him so successful on radio, and in that same way I have uncovered the machinations of social media and the narrative flow of journalism in such a way that I have gained growing clout within the online sphere. And in the same sense I live in DC, a city where it's possible to discard one failed relationship or social situation and try on a new one.

Which is all to say that speeches like Ira's give you those brief moments of clarity that you hope you can hold onto the next morning. And maybe this journal entry is a way of capturing it here, so whenever I'm staring down the barrel of mediocrity I can look back here, gain some perspective, and then move onto the next trinket, the next quirky, creative bubble of insight.
Monday, February 2nd, 2009
10:52 pm
I've gone on looks alone forever now when trying to gauge whether I looked thin or overweight, and now that I have a scale and can quantitatively measure how much I weigh it's interesting how one-sided the self-perception has become. In the past any given time I looked in a mirror I could perceive myself as overweight or normal depending on the mirror, the angle, what I was wearing, the last time I had exercised, or all of the above. But now that I step on my ultra-accurate $70 scale every morning my mind has permanently readjusted to note that yes, I am heavier than I want to be, and so when I do catch a glance of myself in the mirror I see what the scale sees and nothing more.

Either way, the scale or something else has become the definitive point of resistance, the wall of chiseled-pecs in that shitty 300 movie, not letting the weird foreigners -- i.e., bad eating habits -- past. This has happened before, and almost always it takes some low point before the rage becomes too much and the cold and calculated dieter takes rank and consumption discipline previously alien to me suddenly rears its head.

Now I stick to a dietary regime and a hunger that would have had me dropping everything to eat a week ago can now be relegated to a slight annoyance that barely registers on my radar. Not only is my calorie consumption down, but my fruit and vegetable ratio has skyrocketed, I'm almost never eating out at all and I'm once again making my own meals. It's hard to say exactly how steep my calorie cut has been, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's between 500 and 1,000 calories a day. I just did back of the envelope calculations -- literally it was on the back of an envelope, carefully writing the calorie count for each food item -- and I consumed only 1,740 calories today. Not only that, but I probably burned at least another 600 with an intense workout.

The progress will be measured by week, so though I'm no stranger to the scale the only number that really counts is the one that will be displayed on Friday morning when I roll out of bed. I'm hoping to reach a significant part of my goal by the end of this month, and maybe then I'll be closer to looking into any mirror, at any angle, wearing any clothes and uniformly see a thin person staring back at me.
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
5:10 pm
New PBS article by me
For my latest PBS article I tracked down several independent bloggers who have become powerful voices in their local communities, in some cases being able to far out-perform traditional news outlets when covering their niches: How Niche Bloggers Fill Gaps Left by Local Newspapers, Alt-Weeklies
Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
10:30 am
My PBS article for this week
For my PBS article this week, I attended a DC screening of about a dozen mini-documentaries shot by finalists for Project Report, a contest for non-professional journalists that was sponsored by YouTube and the Pulitzer Center. With all the questions as to what sites like Craigslist and Google can do to aid the struggling journalism industry, I thought it worth analyzing what part YouTube can play in the discussion.
Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
11:09 pm
The math, it just doesn't add up
Let me walk you through a day of my physical activity.

Every morning I walk to my bus stop, then ride the bus to the metro and then after taking the metro walk from it to work, and then at the end of the day walk back to the metro.

This adds up to at least 3/10s of a mile

I then get off at my metro stop and rather than waiting for a bus I walk all the way home.

My metro stop is 1.7 miles from home.

By now I've walked 2 miles, and the calculations I've found online say that a person of my size and weight burns about 100 calories a mile. That's 200 calories.

When I get home, I eventually get changed and work out. For 40 minutes straight I ride my stationary bike at its highest setting. Not on a program where it gets easy for a few minutes and then spikes up to a higher setting for a few minutes. It's on the hardest setting for all 40 of those minutes. Not to be gross, but I'm pretty sweaty by the end of that work out.

I then get off the bike and do 225 crunches. The hard kind that involve my legs swinging out as I'm doing the crunches, no hands behind my head.

I then get on my total gym and do 170 chest presses at about half my body weight, so a little over 100 pounds.

Then, depending on what day it is, I either do 35 curls (same weight) on the total gym or 55 of these tricep freestyle reps (which is really freaking hard).

All told, I've spent about 50 minutes doing a pretty intense work out. By conservative estimates between the walking and the workout I've burned a minimum of 700 calories.

I repeat the workout at least four times a week and walk 2 to 3 miles a day 7 days a week (pretty much anytime I go to the metro I'm walking to and from, plus all the walking I do in the city)

And what do I eat? I'm not the healthiest eater in the world but it's not like I go to McDonald's three times a day. For breakfast I had a blueberry muffin. For lunch some pizza with shrimp on it. For dinner eggs, potatoes and toast.

Given all this, I can't for the life of me understand why I always feel like I'm constantly battling my weight. Don't get me wrong, I'm not fat at all. But at the same time I'm definitely not thin. I definitely have a small but noticeable layer of fat around my torso. I don't necessarily have a gut but at the same time I don't have a flat stomach either.

I just don't understand, the calorie intake versus the calorie burn just doesn't seem to add up. In DC I pass and work with tons of people who are thinner than me all the time. And while I'm sure at least a few of them may eat less and actually exercise more than me, I highly doubt there are that many that do.

Could my metabolism really be that slow? I've read lots of articles that not only does your body continue to burn calories after you work out, but your body also burns more calories a day for every pounds of muscle you put on.

Yet I work out every day and I'm not seeing a lot of progress, even though my workouts have been getting increasingly harder. Six months ago I was only doing 25 minutes on the bike, 125 crunches, fewer than 100 chest presses and 25 tricep thingies. The length and difficulty has almost doubled in that time period.

Am I missing something. Is it just a matter of perspective and I look healthier than I feel? This is so frustrating.
12:33 am
My latest PBS article
Long time readers of Bloggasm know that I don't hold most of today's blog awards in high regard. Well, for my latest PBS article I decided to call up the administrators of the awards and several of the nominees and let them argue out their side: Can Blog Awards Identify Quality Online Content?

I met the news that my blog, Bloggasm, had been nominated for a 2008 Weblog Award with a mixture of amusement and apathy.

I had watched last year as my RSS feeds became clogged with the incestuous link trolling common with such contests. The Weblog Awards, like others of its kind, are based on a popular vote, guaranteeing that most of the hundreds of blogs nominated will campaign almost daily to squeeze every available vote out of their readerships. Inevitably, entire factions would take up arms and do battle across several award categories. In truly heroic fashion, bloggers would sacrifice their own votes and direct their readers to vote for another blog in their category to head off others in the opposite faction.

So other than simply noting that I had been nominated, I promised my readers that I wouldn't campaign for my award. Judging from a blog search, I'm in the minority.
Monday, January 12th, 2009
12:04 am
I'm a nappy headed schmoe
Sapna loved her fucking naps; she took them all the time and sometimes I played along and napped with her but often I'd lie there till she fell asleep and went and surfed the internet. But lately I've been telling everyone who will listen my bizarre sob story about how I've been taking naps almost every day and it's kind of weirding me out because I don't know *why*. And it's not even like I think I have mono or anything because I'm not tired all the time, it just hits me at about 7 p.m. on weekdays or mid afternoon on weekends and I just tell myself I'll take an hour nap and then it's two hours later and I'm having to force myself out of bed.

So I don't have mono.

I don't think that I'm depressed

I seem to be drinking a lot less coffee than I used to (I think this has something to do with me enjoying my job a lot more) and my workout has been getting increasingly harder every few weeks. Perhaps these two are working in tandem and putting me down for the count.

Either way, it's annoying. By day I'm a mild mannered blog reader but by night I'm supposed to be a Super PBS Journalist and a Fitness Superstar -- not to mention an aspiring social butterfly and ladies man, snort -- but this is pretty hard to do when your precious evening hours are getting eaten up by naps.


Anyway, speaking of PBS tonight I went to a screening put on by Youtube, which sponsored a lot of aspiring filmmakers who made a series of short documentaries. Many of them were competent yet boring but there were a few -- particularly the ones made by the person who ended up winning the contest -- that were fairly interesting. It was neat to chat with Youtube people and wonder where they fall on the hipsterdom scale when compared to their Google colleagues. Is it cooler to say you work for Google or at Youtube (yes, technically the same, but you know what I mean)? Youtube still has that new-startup smell to it while Google is becoming old hat, but then again it's almost become a journalistic cliche to have stories about how hip and new age Google's work environment is.
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
9:36 pm
Honors I don't deserve
So in the span of like 24 hours Bloggasm was chosen as one of PC Magazine's favorite blogs and it was nominated for a Weblog Award, which is completely weird because ever since I started writing for PBS my time spent on the Bloggasm has been minimal. I haven't published a feature article there in months and I consider it a good week if I can put up one tiny pithy post a day.

After finding out about the news my mom called me up and told me I should be investing more time in Bloggasm, but really I don't feel any guilt. By writing for PBS it's much easier for me to get sources to call me back and it's not as if I've let Bloggasm go dormant; it's updated enough so that if I ever did want to go all gung ho again it wouldn't be like starting from scratch.

I also now have twitter, which is sucking out even more blogging time. But like PBS, I don't feel guilty about that either. The micro blogging service has actually improved my work in some ways because I'm able to constantly network and utilize crowd sourcing when I'm working on an article.

Also I use twitter to flirt with Aja. I think I'm visiting her and New York in February.
Friday, December 26th, 2008
11:09 pm
My parents and sister left this morning to visit family in New Jersey. It's just my brother and me down here in Richmond. He's working a night shift tonight at his winter break job and so I'm here alone. Just about every night I'm alone in my apartment but in this spacious house you can really feel the emptiness, so much so that the clocks are just metronomes, each tick an accent in a slow methodical song.

A year ago I was so far away from where I am now and the year before that another gigantic leap down the ladder. Despite my steady tumble toward mediocrity I have somehow been plucked from the conveyor belt. There was this implicit waltz I had been apparently dancing, and though my method was sometimes lazy I managed to step into a life I wanted to live - a still imperfect life, one in which I still fall victim to the melodrama that I commonly embrace - but one that is quickly transforming into something ideal.

A year ago I had been a newspaper journalist, I had been involved in a serious relationship that kept me living out of a weekend suitcase. Not long after that I developed a terrifying case of ulcerative colitis that I have since recovered from. I can't for the life of me remember how happy I was a year ago, but I think a part of me must have known that I couldn't settle for what I had, not for long. That though I loved journalism and writing and likely always will, newspapers just weren't my calling.

Now, just a year later I live in DC and have a full-time job that has me immersed in online media. My hobby has become my life.And what's more I moved on to a much more fulfilling kind of journalism when I accepted a job as an associate editor for PBS. I can slip into first person and interview fascinating people and promote my own work; I'm in my element.

A few days from now it will be 2009. I'm not where I want to be but I'm so much closer. I don't believe in luck or divine intervention, but if every year before has been any indication, then I can only wonder what lies ahead.
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
5:09 pm
12:20 am
My latest PBS article
For my latest PBS article I had the opportunity to speak to representatives from both Technorati and Google blog search engines in order to piece together the blog search engine wars and the problems that still plague it: Can Technorati Beat Google at Blog Search?

"It doesn't matter what Internet business you're in," Richard Jalichandra, the CEO of blog search engine Technorati told me recently. "You're either going to have direct or indirect competition with Google and that's just the way it is...[Google is] not the 800 pound gorilla, it's the 80,000 pound gorilla."

But unlike most competitors to Google, Technorati still seems to have a legitimate shot at beating Google in its niche. Though Google's main search engine has been dominant, its Google Blog Search, launched in 2005, has failed to gain similar market share. And though some traffic analysis sites have reported that Google Blog Search is edging out Technorati in terms of search traffic, they also note that more than half of that traffic stems from links on Google News.
Friday, December 19th, 2008
3:13 pm
Monday, December 8th, 2008
5:25 pm
Another PBS article by me
My latest PBS article deals with the huge number of friend requests that we must assess every day and the methodology that power users employ when deciding whether to friend someone back on Twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc... : Dealing with Friend Inflation on Twitter, Digg
Friday, November 21st, 2008
6:01 pm
New PBS article by me
I have a new article published at PBS, this one analyzing Six Apart's journalist bailout program: Is Six Apart's 'TypePad Journalist Bailout Program' a Gimmick?
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
2:17 pm
This just isn't my month.

Where's the reboot button?
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