Steve’s Update 4/20/2014

Hey gang.  Sorry for the slow response, but it’s been one insanely busy week.

What’s up?

  • Still promoting the new Fan To Pro.  Let me know if you want a review copy, to do an interview, or more!
  • 50 Shades of Resume, my “celebratory” review series at Muse Hack is going well.  I’ve got a lot more coming, so stay tuned!
  • When I’ve been needing to relax from all the business, I’ve been playing One Finger Death Punch.
  • I’m not planning any new “official” books for awhile.  I’m considering what my next efforts will be.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

 

 

Black Bean Veggie Soup

Been awhile since I posted recipes!  This one is a wonderful soup that’s sweet, tasty, and has a tough of spice to it. This is a go-to soup for me because it’s always worth making.

Makes 4 servings.

1 Tbs. olive oil
About 1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
About 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 small)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1 TBSP chili powder
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
11/2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup green peas (frozen or fresh)
1 cup finely chopped carrots/grated
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp dried cilantro or 1/4 cup chopped.
2 Tbs. lime juice

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in the pot you plan to cook in (you can also use a BIG wok or frying pan to make the whole thing). Sautee onion and red pepper until softened.
  2. Add garlic and chili powder to pan, sautee for 3 minutes.
  3. Add broth, beans, peas, carrots, corn, and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook for 20 minutes to heat through.
  4. Remove bay leaf. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Bring to simmer while stirring, serve.

This soup really is good any time of the year, and acts as a light main course, and could also be a good side dish. As a main course, I find it goes excellent with a salad that has a good dressing.

Notes:

  • The amount of chili powder may seem a lot for a mild soup, but it blends in well.
  • The sautéed onion and bell pepper actually add a kind of sweet taste, further amplified by the carrots and corn.
  • The key to this recipes taste is the order you cook things in. Note how things are cooked in different orders and added at different phases.

Steve’s Updates 4/7/2014

  • Well as noted, the new edition of Fan To Pro is out.  So go promote it and buy it ;)
  • To celebrate the book I’m doing a series called “50 Shades Of Resume” at Muse Hack to analyze 50 interesting resumes for your resume-creating development!
  • As you noticed, I’m returning to writing here more.  I missed doing that and like the personal contact.
  • Otherwise, kind of taking it easy post-book.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

 

No Mystery On The Science Of Political Theater

One of the groups protesting (counterprotesting?) the genetrification and changes in Silicon Valley* protested at the home of Kevin Rose of Digg and Google Ventures fame.  They also apparently asked for $3 billion to establish anarchist communes, which will doubtlessly lead to many sarcastic analyses of investments.

Kevin Roose (not Rose, but boy he’s apparently had problems with parties over the names) referred to this as political theater.  Indeed, political theater is something the Bay Area** is used to, usually from the left and in this case anarchists, unless that’s also part of the joke.  Except, the more I think about it, it seems that who uses political theater has changed, and I think this is where the protestors are going to experience backfire.

Political theater in America is now the domain of the Right.

The right is the realm of elaborate Tea Party costumes***.  It’s the realm of Glen Beck’s blackboard.  It’s where Clint Eastwood does performance art talking to an empty chair.

I don’t know about you, but I associate political theater with the Right in America, not the Left or Anarchists.  As Roose (not Rose) notes, the more “mainstream” protestors are involved in anti-eviction, city planning comissions, and the likes.  Those prone to political theater are in the realm of the Right at this point, and that may hurt their cause, whatever it is (one guy even suggests it’s a false flag), since the traditional Left won’t be sympathetic, the Right isn’t sympathetic, and others may just be confused.

* I should note that the exact geography of Silicon Valley is up for debate.

** Not necessarily the same as Silicon Valley, but let the debate begin.

*** Cosplay for people into politics.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Brendan Eich And The Unspoken Origin

Looking over the departure of Brendan Eich, I have the feel we’ve just seen something historical happen.  A CEO of a Silicon Valley company was compelled to leave (apparently at his own choice) after protests over his support of Proposition 8.  I’ll be analyzing this for awhile, knowing me.

Right now there’s a roundup of unhappy people who are anti-gay rights who are obviously unhappy about this.  I’m seeing the words “homofascism” thrown around (possibly to recall the infamous Pink Swasticka), talk of the Gaystopo, weird ranting, and so on.   Mozilla is target of several boycot calls, including one aping the OK Cupid call.  There’s the usual parade of anti-gay groups like NOM, which to note seems to be the only group actually calling for a boycott.

I didn’t see any LGBT rights groups involved in the call for Brendan Eich’s resignation.  I saw various individuals, a company in protest, and frankly a lot of unhappiness here in Silicon Valley.  It was grassroots displeasure.

Allow me to postulate a theory.

What is really upsetting to people against the LGBT population is this was spontaneous.  There was no one group involved, nothing from GLAAD, no big campaign.  It was a bunch of different people and then one company saying they didn’t want this guy.

That’s upsetting to the anti-LGBT activists because it suggests that this behavior – their behavior – is simply not acceptable.  It’s something people are viscerally disgusted with and won’t put up with.

The anti-LGBT groups target people, let us make no bones about it.  They target a small population for ridicule and persecution and worse.  They are bullies – they’re big groups (funded by people glad to or ignorantly donating to such groups), and like bullies, they punch down.  The people supposedly below just punched back – hard – without an organizing group.

That suggests a fundamental shift.  People aren’t taking anti-LGBT stances and laws lying down.  If first Eich (who, frankly, handled this poorly and probably could have saved his job) what’s next?

I think they’re angry people are fighting back and there’s no one person to target, no one to take revenge on.

However, let me end that for supporters of LGBT rights this is just one thing.  It made a statement, threw down the gauntlet, and called out the rather foul Prop 8.  But if you want to help, go get involved.  Donate to the Al Forney Center or a similar group to help LGBT youth.  Join GLAAD or Lambda Legal.  Vote.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Brendan Eich And The Years To Come

As you may have read, Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO of Mozilla over controversy around his support of Proposition 8.  His support did not endear him to people, from employees to OK Cupid – which seems to have had a big influence.

Now, to be open up front I am a supporter of marriage equality.  I want a national law on it.  I see no reason not to have one.  I like to jokingly note that marriage equality could help us get all our marriage in order, because we’d have more people getting married and having a chance to get it right.

I confess to not being sympathetic to Eich.  I found Prop 8 to be an act of bigotry, and Eich’s blog post didn’t address the issue he needed to address, but instead he seemed to take the tact he was the victim.  He needed to address it head on – and did not.  Worst, he was in Silicon Valley in California, showing some tone-deafness.

His later post on inclusiveness at Mozilla was much better, but the damage was done.  Also, I think his initial post showed cowardice – inappropriate to the issue or to a leader, which bigotry aside, I think called his leadership into account.  Also he didn’t address the bigotry.

Watching reactions to his stepping down is interesting.  Triumph, claims of bigotry/reverse-bigotry,wonders about backlash, etc.  I suspect he won’t get much sympathy overall.

So a few things as I analyze this:

  • The idea that this was somehow wrong or fascism (the gay rights/issues blog Joe My God has some Tweet roudups) seems hypocritical as this was the result of protest and public pressure.  Having seen many calls for boycotts for shows with gay couples, having heard many vile lies told about gay people, it seems rather odd to see people who complain about gay rights complain about someone being treated poorly.
  • Seeing claims that he was punished for his belief leads me to answer “in part, yes.”  Yet as noted above, I find too often people are ready to protest other things they don’t like – and not liking it when it happens to them.  I prefer civil protests about such things.
  • On the subject of being punished for his beliefs, I would note his beliefs had an effect on his fellow citizens on an issue that did not harm him.  Two gay people getting married doesn’t harm him, and he put money towards stopping that.  Here I am not sympathetic.
  • Politics has always had a personal element – and vice versa.  In an age of social media and increased awareness, we’re just far, far more aware of it.  Frankly, we haven’t adjusted to it.
  • The involvement of OK Cupid came out of nowhere.  This makes me wonder how other companies and organizations can raise awareness that we’re not thinking about.  Also Silicon Valley could get involved in other pressing issues like, say, Climate Change.
  • People are getting more and more open to gay marriage.  Some of these people will have once been biased towards gay people but changed their minds.  I’m wondering what this means in the future – will people start pre-emptively apologizing for their homophobic activities of the past?  That’s something he could have done had his beliefs changed – and he may have set an admirable example.
  • Eventually there will be national recognition of marriage equality.  I could see a federal law proposed within the next five years (and I have some theories it could come much faster).  That will make such activities as having donated to Prop 8 look even more inappropriate – and backwards.  It’s like that Daily Show parody “It Gets Worse.”

I’ve been amazed how acceptance of marriage equality has skyrocketed.  I’m literally watching a formerly acceptable bigotry rot away at higher speeds than I expected.

But nothing is ever as simple as it seems, is it?  There’s always more questions. There’s a lot to consider.

If you have any thoughts please share them.  I feel I’ve got a lot to learn from all of this.  I want to learn.

- Steven Savage

 

Meet My Next Book: (Not Quite) The Same As The Old Book

FTPV2WebAnd my next book is out.

Introducing Fan To Pro’s second edition: “Fan To Pro: Leveling Up Your Career Through Your Hobbies.”

This is a huge update of the original book (which, yes, is going out of print). Huge chunks were rewritten or expanded. A lot of new information gained over the four (!) years since I wrote it were included. Resources were updated. Chapters were newly organized and categories, and helpful checklists were added. Bigger, more focused, and going into more depth than it’s predecessor, it’s my way to help you in your geek careers.

Frankly, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written. I really had to think it over, restructure my advice, apply knowledge, and question myself. I’m glad it’s done so people can use it to advance their careers – especially in this not-so-hot economy.

(Come to think of it, it was not-so-hot when I wrote the first book. Which is one reason some of my current writing focuses on Geek Citizenship since we got bigger problems).

The best part of it, in my opinion, is how the book is organized. Each chapter sums up what you’re going to learn, follows that rough pattern, then gives you a list of takeaways and resources/next steps. Each chapter is almost standalone, and I think it’ll let people take away the right lessons and apply them. I’m very curious how these lessons can be applied in other writing – and some of it has found its way into my current blogging.

So go on, take a look, spread the word, pester me for a review copy, and enjoy. I hope it helps you and yours in the years to come.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Update 3/23/2014

Well this is a bit behind.

I got hit with a cold, then my allergies kicked in, then work got busy, then the allergies came back.  Not the greatest few weeks to say the least.

So where am I?

  • I have one more print of the book coming.  If that’s good, then I can get it out.  If not . . . probably one more week.  Side note, covers quality and technique varies among POD book companies, just saying.
  • Seventh Sanctum-wise, we do have a new columnist, but I am behind on new generators.  Need to put some of my notes together to refire my ideas – but the real complex ones I wanted to do, well, I haven’t even started.  Maybe in Spring/Summer.
  • Muse Hack has two new columnists, one run, one coming, so pay attention.
  • I’m going to be doing even more cons, so pay attention to the schedule.
  • I have also thought of branching out to do panels on my Japanese Curry.  Let me know if you think that may be a good idea!

Signing off for now!

 

Lost In Catharsis

(By the way if you think Catharsis is a city in Egypt, I am ashamed for you.)

So I’m hoping to get back to posting more than updates here, now that the book is moving forward (final draft coming, I hope . . .) and I wanted to discuss some of my recent observations on culture.

We witness a screaming match among friends, watch an internet discussion degenerate into (or start at) rage and bigotry, a friend or family member appears to start a conversation and then just rant about someone or something. Everyone seems to be busy shouting, yelling, and venting, and you’d kind of like them to shut the hell up (but don’t want to yell about it and add to the problem).

Lately, I’ve been wondering about the state of communication in America, originally centering on the internet and its notorious lack of dialogues and overabundance of flame wars. Having heard how Popular Science cut comments, witnessing sleazy click bait tactics to cause controversy, watching online conversations not be conversations, I began asking, basically, what the hell is wrong with people.  Where’s all the yelling coming from?

Then as I continued, I began noticing similar behaviors outside of internet discussions. Sure there’s the screaming on television, but there’s also the screaming face-to-face, politicians who appear to have their mouths wired to a random idiocy generator, emo posturing that’s more performance art, and columns that are just rants published “professionally.”

It made me wonder is anyone actually talking? Conversing, communicating, interfacing, changing, growing, something? Anything?

Well, of course they are, but it’s sort of easy to note when it’s not happening. So of course, I began developing a theory. A kind of theory.

The internet, and a lot of people and cultures have a catharsis problem.  I think America definitely does.  Here’s the conclusions I’ve come to:

  • First, a lot of people are seeking catharsis. They don’t want to talk, they want to vent their spleen, get it out of their system, and possibly get some attention to boot.  This is normal.
  • Secondly, catharsis is sort of enshrined in our culture, there’s supposedly something admirable about going on a rant/rampage/etc. (as long as it’s on the RIGHT subjects of course).  I think this may relate to anti-intellectualism, that somehow ranty anger is superior to thinking.
  • Third, catharsis is rewarded in attention – including ad hits, power over others people congregate around their own grievances, and even election to judge by some of our more insane politicians.
  • Fourth, catharsis tends to attract confirmation, so it just gets reinforced. Because the people disgusted with you either give up on you or begin venting themselves.
  • Fifth, catharsis is rarely challenged and is hard to challenge, so the mere act of ranting may confirm people’s own biases as no one “calls them” on it (or just calls them an idiot).

So, basically we’re in a society that encourages and even rewards venting over conversation.  A sort of Moral Hazard issue of a**sholeness.

Adopting that viewpoint has made things a lot clearer to me – asking when someone or some group is really talking versus just having emotional flatulence. It explains why many comments sections end up being depressing and unhelpful, or why I enjoyed my experiments in cross-blog communication because they were.  This is a pretty useful theory.

Ultimately this enshrining of catharsis is, obviously, destructive and self-amplifying. We’ve seen many an online meltdown I’m sure, and at times when we watch crazy politicians, pundits, and preachers, we wonder what real-life meltdowns are to come (or have occurred and will only pop up in an embarrassing and traumatic investigation).

But also catharsis occupies the mental and personal space that can be used to do something constructive. Yes, we need catharsis, but catharsis is lancing the wound or opening the door – it doesn’t actually achieve anything beyond the immediate moment. Beyond the moment is when we need to actually do things.

Enshrining catharsis pushes out getting s*it done.

Catharsis’ use in the realm of actually doing stuff is perhaps a purge or a warning sign that you better fix things, but it’s rarely productive.  When it’s encouraged and rewarded, it gets in the way of actually achieving something – like, say, fixing the things that make people so worked up they need cathartic moments.

Now when I look at internet arguments and the like I ask “what’s going to get done here” or “what solutions are proposed” or “what solution can I propose.”  It’s an interesting – and at times depressing – viewpoint.

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Steve’s Update 3/9/2014

Another busy week and recovering from the illness.  Be careful folks, wash your hands, and if you get sick do not freaking go into work – or anywhere else.

  • So the next book is still in editing, and I found some uncaught formatting standardization errors.  I think I got them all but it took hours of work.  So the next print is make or break, if there’s anything bad it could throw me off by a week or so.  Fortunately, the issues really are bits and tweaks – the content is fine (after looking over the book constantly for two days I found maybe 3 issues of content, and that was odd phrasings or a weird capitalization).
  • As noted the next book is a ways off, and I haven’t decided what it is.  But I definitely want to wrap up and bundle the Way With Worlds posts so I can give people a nice “handbook” of my work.  I ASSUME it’ll be after I’m done, but if it appears that my mojo is really going and I’ll be doing this more than a year, well . . . maybe two books . . .
  • We’ve got more content coming at MuseHack so be sure to sign in!  I haven’t had many interviews laterly, so Mondays may be intermittent, but we’ve got one new writer on communities, and I’ve auditioned another that’s going to bring a really unique view on math, education, and statistics to geekery!
  • The illness kicked me right off my Seventh Sanctum plans since the next generator moved down the hierarchy there.  I have some humorous/more fun ones to try that I may do since they’re easier.

And that’s it here.  Let me know how you’re doing!

Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.