Category Archives: Everything Else

I believe crash reports should be worth reading (13)

Crash report: At 02:32 hours, an unidentified object was identified in low Earth orbit and tracked by NORAD. At 02:58, the object broke orbit and entered the atmosphere. Consistent with the Janus Protocol, a squadron of three pursuit aircraft (US and Russian) were scrambled to intercept. Radio and radar contact were lost at 03:11, and JCS authorized Status Verdant. The Epsilon Device was deployed, successfully disabling the target. A recovery team is now en route to the crash site and no resistance is expec

At 02:32 hours, an unidentified object was identified in low Earth orbit and tracked by NORAD. At 02:58, the object broke orbit and entered the atmosphere. Consistent with the Janus Protocol, a squadron of three pursuit aircraft (US and Russian) were scrambled to intercept. Radio and radar contact were lost at 03:11, and JCS authorized Status Verdant. The Epsilon Device was deployed, successfully disabling the target. A recovery team is now en route to the crash site and no resistance is expec—

Photo of books on a staircase

What should aspiring communicators study?

Someone asked one of the LinkedIn groups I’m in what courses an aspiring public relations practitioner should take in college. There was some good advice about writing and so on; others suggested related disciplines like marketing, or specific skills.

I came at it slightly out of left field with this:

Data-based story-telling is becoming an increasingly significant part of our practice… as is recognizing the flaws, inconsistencies and logical gaps in the data-based stories told by others. You don’t have to hold a math PhD, but I’d bet good money that in another 10 years, some fluency in statistical inference will be table stakes for communicators hoping for a strategic role.

There were a few other non-obvious answers: public administration and business, for example. That’s smart: building a foundation for understanding an organization’s strategic objectives means you can better position your communications work to support them.

What other courses would you suggest a fledgling communicator consider?

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart’s second-last moment of Zen

Jon Stewart’s farewell episode of The Daily Show wrapped with a fantastic Bruce Springsteen performance, which Stewart introduced with “Here it is, my moment of Zen.”

Twitter lit up, and rightly so; Springsteen’s song and the mass assembly of current and former TDS correspondents will probably be the most talked-about parts of the finale in the next several days.

But it’s the segment before Springsteen’s valediction that I hope has some lasting impact, because it got at the heart of what Jon Stewart seemed to me to be aiming to do for the last decade and a half. Continue reading

Meet “Things of the Internet”… the first Noise to Signal collection!

Things of the Internet coverSo you know that thing where you take the very best of the six-hundred-plus cartoons you’ve drawn over the past eight years and put them in a book?

That’s what I’ve done.

Things of the Internet is the first-ever Noise to Signal collection. In fact, this is more like a prototype, created in a tiny, tiny batch for the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. Really, you’re getting in on the beta. And because there are only a handful of copies left, it’s like getting into a closed, invitation-only beta.

It includes over 77 cartoons! (“Soooo… 78 cartoons?” “That would be correct.”) An emotionally evocative conclusion! A highly educational (mostly fictitious) colophon!

I also have a few prints left over from the festival, which are also on sale at the festival price of $10. I’ll be putting the remainder up over the next few days, but you can check them out now at the brand-spankin’-new Noise to Signal store.

• • •

I built the new store using Shopify, which was both pretty easy and surprisingly fun to configure. Plus it’s headquartered in my hometown of Ottawa.

I believe crash reports should be worth reading (12)

Every morning, I pray I'll wake up in my own bed. But no: I'm back in that forest, pelted by rain, condemned to live the same day over and over until I can atone for my sin. Behind me a beast snarls; to my right, a twig snaps. And I'm running. On cue, the rumble of thunder—but this time, I whirl and swing up, and catch the beast between its armoured plates. I'm winning, oh god, at last, winning, and my world shimmers almost into reality before my eyes... and the dialog box pops up: "OnePassword Helper Unexpectedly Quit." Blackness... and then rain, wet leaves, and the forest again.Every morning, I pray I’ll wake up in my own bed. But no: I’m back in that forest, pelted by rain, condemned to live the same day over and over until I can atone for my sin. Behind me a beast snarls; to my right, a twig snaps. And I’m running. On cue, the rumble of thunder—but this time, I whirl and swing up, and catch the beast between its armoured plates. I’m winning, oh god, at last, winning, and my world shimmers almost into reality before my eyes… and the dialog box pops up: “OnePassword Helper Unexpectedly Quit.” Blackness… and then rain, wet leaves, and the forest again.

Tangles, the movie

I’m really excited about this:

I kind of reel every time I read even a little of Tangles. Sarah Leavitt‘s graphic memoir of her relationship with her mother in the growing shadow of Alzheimer’s Disease never fails to slide past my defences.

So the news that Giant Ant is working with Sarah to turn Tangles into a feature film is just thrilling. The trailer looks really promising, and I can’t wait to see it brought to the screen. I think Sarah’s the cat’s (or small dog’s) pyjamas, of course. And I’ve long thought her illustrations want to move—and now they’re going to.

I believe crash reports should be worth reading (12)

Problem_Report_for_Coda_2

So Coda 2 and me is workin’ the late shift. Good money, y’know, if ya can handle the smell and all. An’ suddenly Coda turns to me, and I’ll never forget the look on her face, and she says, “Rob,” she says, “I ain’t shovellin’ no pig guts into no Zamboni to more.” And I’m floored! When you got a BA in Political Science, you count yerself frikkin’ lucky to get a grade-A job like shovellin’ pig guts into a frikkin’ Zamboni. But Coda says, “I need to have a job with some meanin’.” I asks her, what the hell do ya need meanin’ for? Meanin’ ain’t gonna pay no bills. She don’t listen. She asks me, “You ever wonder why they’re payin’ us to shovel pig guts into a Zamboni? Like, what in hell their business model is?” Like I give two craps what their business model is. Me, I’ve always figured this place is probably wired to the gills with webcams for guys who get their jollies watchin’ people shovel pig guts into Zambonis. But that’s a theory. Anyways, she ups and quits, and goddamn if the frikkin’ Zamboni doesn’t jam up two minutes later. Just my goddamn luck.

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