April 27th, 2006

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A few professional milestones

Wetmachine had more than 10,000 unique hits this month. A lot of that is due to my friend and co-blogger John Sundman releasing his novel The Pains (you can check out the first two chapters at www.wetmachine.com) But some of this is also due to the popularity of the speech I gave at the Second National Summit on Community Wireless, which I posted earlier in the month.

In the last two months, I got to give three key note speeches. Becky deserves much credit for surviving my ritual stage fright. No matter how often I do this, I always feel like I have no idea what to say and it's not going to come together and OH MY GOD WHY DID I AGREE TO DO THIS. Finally, as I'm walking up to the podium, it jells.

I also got to give my speech on "Kohelet and K St., Lessons from Ecclesiastes for Lobbying" over Pesach. Happily, it did not suck. Because I could not do my ritual frantic writing of bullet points before speaking, it was a bit more disjointed and disorganized than I like. But it worked itself out. Chiefly, I was glad to have my folks see me in professional mode. I don't think they grok what I actually do.

Because Harold in public speaking mode is not like Harold in regular conversation. It's more like Yaakov in storytelling mode. And, like with storytelling, when it clicks, there is a connection to the audience. The story merges with audence, draws energy from them, and reflects the energy back magnified.

On the personal side, I need to make arrangements to get to my Mom's retirement party on May 16. Also, about half the stuff in the freezer turned out to be salvagable.

I hate insomnia.
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Funny law of unintended consequences result

Cute piece today on All Things Considered about how an effort to reduce tree litter has driven up pollen counts in cities to ridiculous levels.

About 40 years ago, apparently, cities decided to resolve the problem of seeds and fruit falling from public trees by planting only male trees. Male trees don't produce seeds, and don't bear fruit.

They do, however, produce pollen. Massive amounts of pollen.

So now, unlike in the wild, where the plant population runs about 50/50, cities run nearly 100% male trees. So we now have higher pollen counts in some cities than we do in the woods.

Because I am one of those people whose immune system can tell the difference between a plant protien and a foreign disease invader (I am lazy, my immune system is lazy. It doesn't like to work unless it has to), I can laugh at this.

Becky, who lives in misery for about ten months out of the year, is much less amused.