A whole bunch of the updating

Storify for work
I discovered Storify a few weeks ago, and  found that it was a pretty nice tool for assembling bits and pieces of stuff from all over the web into something that was easy to follow. In other words, it’s proving to be a very effective rear-view window for what has happened on the Internet related to a single topic. People have been doing amazing things with it to track reactions to events taking place in real time all around the world. I’ve been using it to gather and put in order art from various places around the web to support the G.I. Joe comic book reviews I have been writing for The Terrordrome. But I have had this sense that there were scenarios where it would be a valuable tool for work. I didn’t immediately see what those were; I just knew those uses had to be there if I would look hard enough.

I have found the first one — I have found Storify to be a fantastic way to keep track of coverage of a story. I’ve been using it to record the mentions I find of a story on a $3 million National Science Foundation grant that our manufacturing and applied engineering center of excellence has received. There are a lot of things to like about using Storify this way: it’s very easy to compile mentions from a variety of different outlets into one place, and I don’t have to send out an update to interested people every time I find a new mention. I just tell them “hey, I’m tracking mentions in Storify — any time you want to know what coverage I’ve found for the grant, here’s the link.” Then I just dump new links into the story as I find them.

There’s more I can do with this; social media use on and around campus is starting to increase to the point that I may be able to do some basic event coverage with this for things like the fall startup convocation. That will be an interesting experiment. I’ll come up with some other uses for this over the course of the year too, I think; we just need to get the academic year going. I tend to not ideate very well in a vacuum; I find that I work best when there are things going on around me that can help to spark something in my brain.

Mythbusters with Megan
Last night, I stayed up with Megan until almost 1 a.m. watching Mythbusters on Netflix. It was an absolute blast, and it’s one of the very few things that have been “us” since she got back this summer. It’s been incredibly busy; Mel’s done a great job of keeping her entertained with a lot of different things, and we’ve done quite a bit of family stuff, but last night was the first time this summer it just felt like she and I (and, really, it was, since by the time we started watching the show everybody except Millie was asleep. The last three hours we had just the two of us after Millie finally went to sleep were just fantastic. It was just us.

Art, oh my
Tess Fowler is selling some original art from Zenescope’s Wonderland 2010 of a character she designed called The Red Knight. The character reminds me a lot of Warduke from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon in the 1980s; I kinda want to buy this.

June Birchbox
Birchbox launching a monthly goody box for dudes just happened to fall around the time that I had birthday money to spend; so I took some of it and bought a three-month gift subscription… for myself, from myself.

It’s been really fun. I’m not sure if it’s been $20 a month fun, but I’ve enjoyed getting them in the mail. It’s fun to try products that I never in a million years would have tried — or even heard of really — otherwise. And it’s kindof cool that I got the first three of them that they ever put together for guys. This month’s box came with a couple of neat cord organizers from Quirky – one for iPhone/iPod headphones that doubles as a stand, and one that I will absolutely use on my desk at work to keep up to five cords for a laptop organized (coincidentally, I plug exactly five cables into my Macbook Pro at work every morning. It’s like this was made for me…).

It also had some pre-shave oil; I’ve used Zirh’s pre-shave oil for a long time, and have never even tried anything else. The box came with John Allan’s Slick Water, which is quite a bit different from the Zirh oil; it’s thicker and creamier, whereas the Zirh stuff is just oil. It seems like I need a bit more of the Slick Water to cover my face, but it works really, really well. I’m tempted to get a full-size bottle.

Other stuff in the box: Benta Berry super-moisturizing face cream (used it this morning; love it); supersmile tooth whitening system (haven’t used it yet).

Comic catch-up
I finally got around to picking up last Wednesday’s Saga #4 on the good ol’ iPad; it’s an absolutely brilliant comic. Every issue is better than the last, which is saying something since the first issue is fantastic. Brian Wood is building a very compelling and completely bat-shit crazy universe, and Fiona Staples’ art is panel-to-panel brilliance.

I also picked up the first issue of DC’s preview series for Masters of the Universe; it’s a prequel to the storyline of the 1908s MOTU toy line, taking place a few hundred years before He-Man took possession of the Sword of Power. It’s got that typical Geoff Johns “why is this comic book so incredibly violent?” tinge to it, bu the art is pretty decent and the final-page cliffhanger brings in the bad guys we know and love from the ’80s. It’s 99 cents; there’s no harm whatsoever in continuing to buy it just to see how it turns out, but the first issue wasn’t particularly compelling.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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