Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Happy New Year. Bring it on 2011!

OK, we all have a clean slate to which to begin 2011. I, like the other million or so, will make an asserted effort to do “good,” or “gooder” than last year.

2010 was a great year for me: finished graduate school, accepted to Italian Defense College, and I got to hang out a lot with my bella wife and kick-ass daughter.

2010 was not, however, the best year for me health-wise. I tore my meniscus in a race in April, and was generally a slug. I did put forth a great deal of effort during the Holidays…eating and drinking merrily. And it showed on the scale at 11:45 p.m. Dec. 31st: 217 lbs.

All OK though, because I have successfully dropped the same amount of weight before heading to Afghanistan in 2005. This time I am trying a new tactic. At an early Christmas party, my uncle and cousin both were raving about their results after trying the Primal Blueprint. My uncle has been at it for over a year. my cousin about four months. So when my wife got me a kindle for Christmas, the first book purchased was the Primal Blueprint.

I must say that I like the philosophy and since Jan. 1 I have have been following the “program.” Per previous posts from well over a year ago, I used to do CrossFit “regularly.” They recommend a similar diet to PB’s, but a little more regimented. I am going to dedicate three months to PB and then evaluate to see if I need to step it up.

It’s only been four days so far. More to follow.

Wish me luck!


CrossFit 01.31.10

Weight: 202


2 rounds, 10 ea. Ring Rows, Ring Dips, Hip Extensions, Air Squats

-used blue band on ring dips



Overhead Squat (22lbs.)

Push Press (45lbs.)


Got to really work hard on the OHS.  It will come, but feels such an awkward movement right now.

2012 Throwdown – Who’s Next?

Campaigns are conversations!

One thing that came through very clear in reading this, this, and this was that the Obama campaign reached out to every possible supporter they could.

“Our goal is to make sure that each supporter online, regardless of where they are, has a connection with Obama” – Scott Goodstein

“No shi$, Dillon!  Every campaign is supposed to do that!” Well, supposed to and doing it are a lot different.

It seems academic now: everyone’s connected, almost everyone uses the internet and web 2.0 platforms.  But it was not as clear when the run-up to the 2008 election began as it is now.  Obama was the first candidate I’d ever seen through iTunes.

It is crystal clear that social media is not a fad.  Its a way of life!  I don’t think I am alone in saying that I am ALWAYS “connected.”  Here’s a standard day:

  • Wake up, check time (on iPhone); check e-mail while at it;
  • Go to kitchen, make coffee, check news on computer (through Google Reader);
  • Go for a run (with iPod, listening to podcast);
  • Take shower
  • Out the door to bus stop (listening to something, checking FB)
  • Commute (chin on chest, both thumbs moving constantly)
  • Arrive to school/work (on computer…connected)

You get the drift.  There is very little getting away from it.  The Obama Camp must have read Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail because they were present in every little niche, providing access to the presidential hopeful and vice versa.  Obama was no longer just talking to the American people, but through them.  He leveraged the technologies available and used the tools that were giving everyday Americans a voice.

Campaigns are conversations.

So, who’ll take the cake in 2012?  It is hard to predict.  President Obama, after crossing the “finish line”, has not stopped using the social media tools that got him to the White House.  If we incorporate the logic of Moore’s Law, by 2012, we will see new innovations in technology that are 4x more advanced than this last campaign.  For example, by 2011 it is expected that wireless companies will launch 5G Broadband networks,

Campaign experts have said President Obama could NOT have won without the Internet.  If that is true, is it possible a new unlikely candidate could find the next new thing and ride to victory?  We’ll see.

Some things just ain’t right!

Medal of honor recipient ordered to remove his flagpole.

I saw this post this morning and it made my stomach turn.  I read it and thought, “this must be a huge, gaudy flagpole with a massive flag, in some exclusive neighborhood,” but after watching the video, it doesn’t stand out in anyway that would make me think twice about.

How can a man who was awarded the highest of country’s medals and sacrificed for his fellow citizens be treated like this?  A rule is a rule, but there can be exceptions.  This is one of them.

Response #11 – Running with Rezwan in the Republic of Congo

I spent about an hour this morning running with Rezwan, a blogger from Dhaka, Bangladesh.  I read his post, the first on the Republic of the Congo’s Global Voices page, before heading out into the crisp D.C. morning to reflect on his thoughts.

Rezwan’s post talked about how bloggers around the world are living AND writing about their experience living HIV positive.  It is no surprise that 3/6 posts on the Republic of Congo’s GV page are about HIV/AIDS.  Of the  33 million people in the world living with the disease,  22.4 million people are from the region, Sub-Sahara Africa – around two thirds of the global total.

After digging into the Global Voices Google map of HIV-positive bloggers, I found two more blog sites from Republic of the Congo also related to HIV/AIDS.  Unfortunately they are both written in French and my command of that language is non magnifique.

Returning to the Republic of the Congo page, the other posts referenced corruption: Disappointment with the Presidential Elections and Investigation of African Leaders.

Separated by the D.R.C. to the east, Rwanda had a post that was very relevant to our most recent class about how different parts of the world use technology differently, specifically Africa and mobile phone usage.  (Nish, here is the answer to your question.  There’s also more info here and here.)

With the sharp increase and steady incline of cell phone usage in Africa, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, and the Vodafone Foundation said that they will be encouraging projects (e.g. HIV/AIDS education to reminding people to get vaccinations) through the formation of the Mobile Health Alliance.

Looking across the Global Voices pages I saw several topics relevant to the country, but not necessarily by bloggers in that country, (hence “global voices”). I expected to see more home grown blogs featured on the site’s pages.

I enjoyed going from country to country, and having been to many of them, you do get a good idea of what is going on and what is important to those living there.

Getting a leg up!

My Last Days in Italia

Alright, I am getting a jump on all of you other slackers out there who are living up to our country’s obesity statistics.  I dialed back the typical New Year’s resolution clock and started my commitment yesterday, Dec. 1.

I have let the L.B.s stack up since July.  I have had pretty good reason though: we had our daughter July 1 and knowing that we were leaving Italy, I made a promise to eat as well and as much as I possibly could before departing…mission accomplished:  204+ lbs. is the result.  I am proud of myself!

So, to motivate me and keep me honest I signed up (and threw down the cash) for three races this coming year: The Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler, The Blue Ridge Marathon, and The Nation’s Triathlon.

And without haste, I got cranking…today.  I dusted off my iPod Shuffle and with some good advice from John, I loaded it with podcasts vs. the traditional music playlist I have had on it for the past two years.  As a budding Georgetown graduate student, I want to get more smarter, so I tuned into NPR‘s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! (Dude “Not my job” Edition) and All Things Considered.  Friday’s run I will change it up and go with John’s recommendation, The Bugle.

If you’ve got other recommendations for good podcasts or running playlists, let me know.  Or, if you prefer dialogue, let me know and we’ll ditch the iPods and hit the pavement/trails.

Much to be Thankful for

This morning’s long run helped me do two things:

  1. Feel no guilt for turning on the feed bag this afternoon.
  2. Think about everything I am thankful for.

I could list them all, but I will only put up what I feel are the most important.

First of all, the people I love and those who love me.  I am blessed to have a great family.

I am thankful to be American, to be free.  For one who has traveled extensively abroad and has seen what life can be like without freedom, I could see living no other way.  It reminds me of a saying I’ve once heard: To be born free is an accident.  To live free is a privilege.  To die free, an obligation.

I am thankful to be healthy.  To be able to walk, run, and swim, to be able to play with my daughter is something I do not take for granted.

I am thankful for having a purpose.  I have been very fortunate to work for inspiring leaders and with sharp, energetic Soldiers and civilians.

As you sit down for the big meal today, please keep our service members who are apart from their loved ones in your prayers.

Thank you.

P.S. God bless to my 173rd brethren, heading to Afghanistan now.

Wikipedia – I am sofa king we tall did!

There is good reason why only 1% of Wikipedia users have created or added any content to the site:

It’s fu@&n’ hard!

When Garrett told us to dabble and get familiar with Wikipedia, I didn’t listen very well (admittedly).  I thought I was dabbling, but when it came down to execution (in the last ‘hour’…admittedly), I was nowhere close to being a Wikipedia expert.

If Garrett had told us about this new thing called football and told us to dabble in it, my extent of dabbling would have been to click through a few channels on Sunday.   “OK!  Throwing, running, tackling–got it.  Easy!  Pass me another beer, please.”  Yeah, well, watching from the sidelines and playing are not the same.

Yes, I did the research on my topic;  I knew the structure and what I wanted to write about; I knew I was providing something that was not controversial; and my topic had a reason to be in there.

So why can’t my topic not be found right now? I can appreciate the simplicity of a blog.  Type in what I want, hit save, publish and BAM it’s there for the world to see.  Not so with Wikipedia.  And you know what?  – – – that is a Good Thing!

After having gone through this last assignment, I appreciate Wikipedia a little bit more…actually, a lot more.

As I have posted before, the ability to throw something up on Wikipedia that is false is too easy and there should be a mechanism to keep it from happening.  Now I know it’s not THAT easy.

Even though I will not do well on the assignment, it will not deter me from future ‘dabblings’ on Wikipedia.

I wanna be a 1%-kind-of-guy!

Spit or Swallow?

At Piovene Porto Godi

This post is about wine…vino, vin, wein, wijn, viini, vinul, wina.  Whatever the language, whatever the country, most have found ways to crush the grape and love it.

What prompted me to write this post is that it is Nouveau/Novello season.  Beaujoulais Nouveau was the first wine I tasted several years ago that I REALLY enjoyed.  From that point, sometime around Halloween 1996, I made the significant shift from predominantly drinking beer to vino.

Emily has a great post about the basic juice and how she has started to get into it.  Unlike Emily, though, I am not that good at deciphering the different qualities of wine.  I know if a wine is red or white, bubbly or still, sweet, or cold or hot.  Most important though, to me, I know if it is good or bad.  That, my friends is what it really comes down to, just listen to Gary with Kevin Rose: “If you like it, drink it.

Dave and I after Piovene buy

Even with my limited palette to distinguish a merlot from a cab sav, my track record is pretty good at selecting quality wines.  Having lived in Italy for the last 7 1/2 years, I have been very lucky.  Where I lived, it was as easy to find a local vineyard as it is to find a Starbucks here in D.C….and I visited them all.  My father-in-law and my Italian friends all applauded me and took my advice on my vineyard and wine selections.

Yes, studies show that people will buy a wine based on the price, thinking that the more expensive, the better it is (hell, I have done it…lots of times).  But now I am trying to be a little more budget conscious, now that I don’t have 30 vineyards within a 30-minute radius.  Vineyards where I can drive up (like a gas station) and have my 25-liter damijan filled up for about $3/liter.  Pretty cool, huh?

We’d go to the annual Vin’Italy in Verona for wine tasting.  This is where I really showed my colors.  Most Italians go to this event to taste all the new wines that will open for the year.  Professional sommeliers go from booth to booth rating all the different types of wine, swishing and swashing, gurgling, and spitting.  No Way!!!   I can’t see all the great nectar spit away. I am more like this guy and not like this guy.  These wines are all awesome.  That is why I do not spit.  AND this is why I am usually hammered by the end of the first aisle.  Typical American, right?

So go enjoy some good grape.  Go try a nouveau before they go bad (by the end of December).

In Vino Veritas!

Cin Cin! Salute!

Wiki Wiki Woo

My sage social media profs, my Obi-Wan and Yoda, have asked us to look at Wikipedia and other crowdsourced sites and ask whether or not we should trust them.

I touched on this in my previous post, but it is easy to dig deeper.  Wikipedia is the most prevalent and used encyclopedia-like source, period.   Anyone with an internet connection, using any of the various search engines, will likely get a Wikipedia hit in the top five of their search.

Regardless of Wikipedia’s high ranking and usage, it still does not answer the main question of whether or not to trust the information found within.  Several people have asked this same question.  Wikipedia gives compelling reasons “Why you should use Wikipedia” and there are studies that show Wikipedia is as accurate as traditional encyclopedias.  There is even a forum dedicated to Wikipedia review.

However, this is the problem: Wikipedia can never become a complete, accurate encyclopedia of human knowledge. Why? There are three simple reasons by a guy who sounds really smart.

Wikipedia lacks: (1) Accountability, (2) Reliability, and (3) Truth.

Even with all the props from the study mentioned above, there is still a dark side of Wikipedia.  So much so, that many teachers today prohibit students from using Wikipedia as a source in reports and research due to the anonymity and possibility for unconfirmed (or even falsified) information.

Red Team Journal suggests Wikipedia is already moving in the right direction. What crowdsourced reporting needs is a better (crowdsourced) means of controlling white noise and organizing information. Wikipedia, to some extent, has already done this through its gradual increase in the power of an core elite.

In the end, I’ll stick to my guns and with that of a fellow super-smart student and say that Wikipedia is just the beginning to one’s research.  In matters of importance, Wikipedia is a start to finding what you are looking for, not the end.