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Tell a friend index card philosophy


I spotted Indexed, another blog-turned-book success story, in the Chronicle Books store the other day. Indexed represents two great ideas: first, it’s a novel use for index cards (other than, say, Getting Things Done with a Hipster PDA or other office applications), and it’s also an inspired concept for a blog. is one of those brilliant ideas, like the Million Dollar Homepage — simple, clever, and enviably unique (which translates into lucrative).

Every weekday, author Jessica Hagy — copywriter, doodler, and philosophical statistician — publishes a diagram or an equation that succinctly captures an insight into modern life. The index card doodles range from the trivial to the thought-provoking, most often amusing and challenging in terms of how fast you can "get it." Hagy covers topics as diverse as shelter-versus-purebred canines, drifter cuisine, the boggling math of emotion, and undergoing water torture (both voluntary and involuntary). Hagy includes larger, more complex figures in the 5×7 section.

Kindred spirit Hugh MacLeod, author of gapingvoid, also admires Indexed. Chronicle Books published a couple of companion products, the Indexed book of postcards — (because, go figure, index cards are the perfect size for postcards!) — as well as the Indexed notebook.

Posted August 13, 2009 by Mariva in arts, blog-turned-book, books, business, entertainment, fun, gifts, humor, innovations, media

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Tell a friend The Point: leveraging tipping points to achieve Big Goals

The Point

Got vision? Ready to inspire others to do something big? If you’ve got an idea, what you need to do next is build a powerful network of like-minded enthusiasts to achieve a common goal. Yeah, you could create yet another Facebook group or Twitter hash tag — or you could try The Point, which has developed software technology that allows organizers to leverage tipping points. Specifically, you can use The Point to start a campaign to raise money (minus five percent for The Point — if the campaign successfully reaches a minimum threshold that you decide) or to enlist volunteers for a cause, such as eliminating high fructose corn syrup from soda or developing wind farms. Once you’ve launched your campaign, you can embed a widget on your site to publicize it.

Current campaigns are organized into channels, like Education, Music, Politics, Technology, and so on. The "Social Experiments" channel hosts some interesting and amusing campaigns, and compelling public dares and calls to action are filed under "Challenges". You’ll find the best organized campaigns in the "Popular" section, along with many Groupon deals (because Groupon, a successful commercial project, is The Point’s biggest and most successful "campaign").

Posted August 11, 2009 by Mariva in community, deals, innovations, media, resources, shopping, social, technology

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Tell a friend Dear Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki book signing poster in Microsoft Booth at Macworld 2009

To: Mr. Guy Kawasaki
c/o Garage Technology Ventures

Dear Mr. Kawasaki,

The manager of the Microsoft booth at Macworld was going to throw this away after you were finished with your book signing for Reality Check, and I couldn’t bear to see it go into the garbage, so I rescued it.

Then, at the GTD Summit, David Allen inspired me to go through my Inbox (a big pile of random papers) and do a Mind Wipe or a Mind Sweep or whatever he calls it, and I realized that as much as I enjoy looking at a photo of you — (who doesn’t?) — I simply have no use for this.

Again, though, I hate to see it thrown into the trash, so I’m sending it to you care of Garage. Perhaps you can add it to your souvenir collection of professional engagements.

Posted March 23, 2009 by Mariva in audio, books, business, celebrities, media, social, technology

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk,’ the movie about Harvey Milk

Milk: The Harvey Milk Story casting poster
(photo: Steve Rhodes)

Update: Now that the much-awaited film Milk has premiered, many politically astute observers have noted the parallels between the recent marriage equality demonstrations and the Gay Rights movement of the 1970s that Harvey Milk had come to represent. I will be seeing Milk at the Castro Theatre this weekend, but having participated in both the making of the movie and many of the recent anti-Proposition 8 demonstrations, I feel as though I’ve already seen it. What follows is my story of being one of many extras during the riotous crowd scenes.

* * *

The Castro District in San Francisco, just down the hill from where I live, is abuzz. It’s the most exciting time for the neighborhood since the annual Halloween street party (before it was recently banned) or LGBT Pride weekend, when tourists from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the famous "Gay Mecca." It’s as if the 1970s — when the Castro emerged as the world’s epicenter of the gay liberation movement — is coming alive again. And, in a sense, it is.

Filmmaker Gus Van Sant is in the middle of realizing his long-time dream of directing a biopic of Harvey Milk, a political activist instrumental in creating the gay community and culture of the Castro, as well as the first openly gay man to serve in a substantial political office as San Francisco city supervisor.

Posted November 25, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend election toys & info


Really? There’s an election? Gee, I had no idea.

For anyone living under a rock, the United States is approaching the decision that initiates the peaceful transfer of power (or the Quadrennial Showdown between Good and Evil, take your pick). Some elections are more contentious than others; the race for the impending presidential election on November 4, 2008 may be one of the most heated.

MSNBC produced a slideshow of voter portraits. After viewing just a few photos, though, I could accurately guess the voter’s allegiance. For example, every single African American pictured is voting for Barack Obama. The lobbyist in a business suit is supporting John McCain. The hip young people tend to lean Democratic. The older rural white men are all Republicans. (Well, duh.) While I appreciate the diversity of American citizens featured, the voting populace is full of surprises, and I wish the slideshow reflected some of those instead of reinforcing stereotypes according to the conventional wisdom of demographics.

Tangentially, speaking of demographics, do you know about Generation Jones? Born between 1954 and 1965, “Jonesers” occupy the recently acknowledged generation between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. For decades, Jonesers had been imprecisely lumped in with Baby Boomers, but their life experiences have been very different from those of Boomers. Instead of worrying about getting drafted into the Vietnam War or dancing in mud at Woodstock, Jonesers were listening to punk rock on their way to the unemployment office in the late ’70s and wondering when Ronald Reagan would get around to mentioning AIDS in the ’80s. (The name Generation Jones, according to Wikipedia, “derives from the slang term jonesing, referring to the unrequited cravings felt by this generation of unfulfilled expectations.”) Both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are members of Generation Jones, and the Jonesers bloc comprises a potentially large number of swing voters.

Posted October 10, 2008 by Mariva in community, education, media, news, resources

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk’: being an extra in the crowd scenes

Making Milk: crowd of extras in the Castro
photo: Eric Nielson (TroublePup, Observd)

[previous: Making ‘Milk’]

When a big crowd amasses on the street in the Castro District of San Francisco, it’s often to protest something. But last night, instead of actually protesting, a big crowd pretended to protest. And, let me tell you, there’s nothing more fun than pretending, especially when a professional film crew is there to capture the make believe.

Because it’s so difficult to assemble and manage a large crowd of enthusiastic, costumed extras, directors and crew will often reuse the same crowd, albeit with a few position and prop changes, to create and film different scenes. Last night’s crowd was used to film a rally, a march, and a riot for the Harvey Milk biopic, currently in production.

The Castro Theatre, perhaps in gratitude for refurbishing its decrepit sign and marquee, loaned "Milk Productions" (the working name for filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s production company) the use of its space for the day. In the afternoon, the production company hosted a free screening of The Times of Harvey Milk, which was introduced by documentary filmmaker Rob Epstein and attended by local gay politicos and key members of Milk cast and crew.

Posted February 5, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk’: Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

Milk movie, Sean Penn addressing crowd, photo by Eric Nielson
Sean Penn (as Harvey Milk) addresses the crowd during the making of Milk
photo: Eric Nielson (TroublePup, Observd)

[previous: being an extra in the crowd scenes]

Sean Penn — now clean-shaven and dapper compared to his earlier incarnation of Harvey Milk during Milk’s scruffier, hippie years — jumped onto the platform, and we all cheered and hooted. Facing the crowd, Penn/Milk yelled through a vintage bullhorn, "Are you angry?!"

Well, in reality, we weren’t angry at all. We were thrilled and giddy, but what the heck? We furrowed our brows, punched our fists into the air, and yelled, "Yeah!"

"Well, I’m angry!" Penn/Milk responded, drawing another round of punched fists, punctuated by a collective Yeah!.

Penn continued, "Let’s march to City Hall and share that anger with San Francisco!" We cheered and applauded, and the extras with signs shook them. We then chanted, "Gay rights now!"

Webb yelled, "Cut!" We buzzed and congratulated ourselves on a realistic performance.

Posted February 5, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk’: Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones

Making Milk: Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones
photo: Eric Nielson (TroublePup, Observd)

[previous: Sean Penn as Harvey Milk]

After Sean Penn’s big crowd-rousing scene, principle actor Emile Hirsch, playing a young activist Cleve Jones, took his turn performing on the platform. I couldn’t take my eyes off little Emile, so petite that he could be stashed in a coat pocket, mouthing his lines into the vintage bullhorn before his first take. He angled the bullhorn to his right side and practiced smoothly turning his head as he spoke. For those of us who have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, this seemed vaguely impressive.

"Do you want me to be in the frame?" he quietly asked the director. I thought, Why wouldn’t you be in the frame? Why are you up on the platform if you’re not going to be in the frame? But what do I know, I’m not a filmmaker.

Posted February 5, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk’: laughing while acting

Making Milk: view of Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro
photo: Eric Nielson (TroublePup, Observd)

[previous: Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones]

During one take, I marched past two extras dressed as macho riot cops in vintage police uniforms and white helmets. (Tangentially, as a sign of how times have changed, the actual San Francisco police officers guarding the set were two women with butch hairstyles.) One of the extras was perfect as an obnoxious cop, raising one eyebrow and sneering at us — as if he were thinking, Look at all these queers. What are these criminals planning? We need some law and order to protect decent society from these freaks! (Many of the protestor extras were convinced that these were actual police officers — probably because of their realistic portrayals.) Another cop, however, was smiling and looked as though he was about to burst out laughing.

At the end of the take, on the way back to ‘One,’ I said to the obnoxious cop, "You’re perfect! I’m scared of you!" He smiled at me, demonstrating that he was indeed an actor and not a homophobic cop.

Posted February 5, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk’: friends, Anita Bryant, Carrie Fisher

Making Milk: prop flyers on backdrop
photo: Steve Rhodes

[previous: laughing while acting]

Actors and extras took breaks while waiting for cameras and equipment to be repositioned. Production assistants wandered through the crowd, instructing us to put away our cell phones and digital cameras before upcoming scenes. Steve Rhodes remarked that this was a thankless and never-ending task. The extras couldn’t resist capturing the once-in-a-lifetime experience of making a movie in the Castro with Hollywood celebrities — but even just one single digital device spotted in the crowd would have betrayed the period on film. (The citizens of the ’70s might have felt ripped off if they had known that thirty years into the future would only bring handheld gadgets instead of, say, ubiquitous flying cars.)

The community of LGBTs and allies is a small world: during the many breaks, I caught up with old friends and acquaintances who were participating as extras in the crowd scenes. I ran into Joey Cain, former president of the board of San Francisco Pride, as well as a member of the Glide Memorial Church choir carrying a giant Gay Teachers stand up! sign. John Lewis of Marriage Equality USA carried a big white sign with Committee for Homosexual Law Reform in blue letters. His partner Stuart Gaffney recounted the romantic story of their first drinks over two decades ago at the bar formerly known as The Elephant Walk, a block away at 18th and Castro Streets, now appropriately named Harvey’s.

Posted February 5, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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