Don’t miss Alec Baldwin’s latest Here’s The Thing, in which AB (that’s what those who work with him call him) discusses network news with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, whose self-portrait is humble and astute as it is charming and impressive. Williams is a natural-born newsman unintimidated (or unimpressed) by his own celebrity, confident in his traditional approach and unafraid to go off the book, too.
(Also, did you know Williams lived in Elmira, NY for a period of his youth? He’s practically one of our own! I’ve been to Elmira! We’re practically brothers! I digress…)
Anyway, I loved Williams’s insightful comment about social media, about the ego of self-broadcast and the way it’s changed our perspective on the world around us. It’s the smartest thing I’ve heard on the subject in a while. Kudos, too, for his observation that we don’t know a thing about social media’s impact on society, history, humanity, or anything else, yet. If social media is the internet’s second generation, then we’re barely old enough to be able to making broad statements about how we’re now dumber, or farther apart, or less verbal or whatever they’re saying. We won’t know for a few more generations, and even then it’ll just be speculation.
Reminds me to keep my own social media expectations in check. Welcome its advantages but put its innovations in perspective, especially where interpersonal communication is concerned.
Download this gem and press play while cutting your onions tonight. Just like I did last night. Made angel hair with lemon and ricotta. Delicious.
We recently had the pleasure of creating a new identity for Ristorante Lombardo––an institution in Buffalo. Here’s a peak at the new business cards. More to come soon!
Former stomping ground. #office #elmwood
So I’ve never been much of a fiction writer. I have trouble committing to a world in which I’d see my characters and situations exist; too many options to narrow down. I’m more stimulated by nonfiction, where I trust the parameters of truth and reality, and can use that to interpret it in a rich narrative.
(Fiction feels a little like a kid-tested, mom-approved lie, which is both enticing and scary to this journalist. Another reason to give it a whirl.)
But I’ve dug in, alas, thanks to changes to the magazine! And I’m so happy I did.
When we added a fiction section to Block Club last year, we did so because we wanted to expand on the way we interpret our issues’ themes. If we were going for something a little more abstract, a little less expected, why not delve into fictional territory? Surely there would be new textures and landscapes in the land of the infinite, right?
I’d never edited short fiction, and while nervous at the prospect of taking on a new medium—especially where seasoned, professional creative writers were concerned—I quickly realized how accessible it is to my frame of mind, someone who’s always preferred the challenge of making nonfiction sound compelling, captivating, story-like.
I started a blog (my 938,103rd, approximately), and I dump it all there. It’s kept me on my toes creatively, reminding me that I can and should find other ways to use my writing skills. It’s helped me heal, express, shout, scream, laugh and connect. My hindsight-resolution for this year: Find a new medium and take it on, head-first.
Next week, some friends and I will host our first creative writing club meeting. Still working on a name, though I’m hoping Who’s Bringing Cookies sticks. All we intend to do is share our writing and talk about it. I mean, that’s just the best.
I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, go write yourself a poem.
The quarterly tooth pull. #letter #editor #magazines #bcm31
Because Fridays at 3:21 p.m. were meant for distraction. Happy almost weekend everyone.
Quality/Quantity came across on a podcast I frequently listen to, which just happens to be the next theme of our upcoming issue of Block Club magazine. If you have the time, or are lucky enough to listen to music or the radio while you work, I would suggest to you to give the This American Life podcast a listen. Particularly the last two episodes 487 & 488 Harper High School. It talks about how these schools and the faculty that run them are more important to our communities than I think we give them credit for. It offers a different perspective on the importance of education.
My concept of quality has changed.
Block Club visioning session. #office
Transcribing is easier when it’s full of smart words. #bcm31
Still waiting. #office #miles
Email hasn’t changed much since I first started using it. It’s a vital business tool so there isn’t much wiggle room as to whether or not I choose to use it. With thousands of previous emails and a constant flow of new ones it can be overwhelming to keep up with everything.
There has been a new way of thinking recently as to how to handle email and help it evolve into something much more useful. The idea behind “inbox zero” is to keep your inbox completely empty as often as possible. A new application called Mailbox was recently released for the iPhone platform and integrates with your Gmail account to help you manage your email like never before.
The first step after getting setup with Mailbox is to archive everything. This moves all of your previous emails out of your inbox and into an archive folder. From this point on the beauty and functionality of the Mailbox app takes over.
But what happens to all of the emails that start to build up when you don’t have time to respond to them? Up until now I would flag these emails, essentially marking them with a red flag to remind me to get back to them later. As this number creeps up so does my anxiety level. Do I need to respond to all of these by the end of the day, or by the end of the week? Each email has a different response level.
With Mailbox you can put these emails off, and get them out of your inbox until whatever time you determine. Say for example you don’t need to respond to the request from a client about a website update until early next week as the update is about a sale they are running the following week. With Mailbox you could snooze that email with a swipe and a tap and have it return to your inbox a later time of your choosing.
It can be overwhelming to always keep up with every LinkedIn update, every tweet, every Facebook post and every email. I love the idea of having an empty inbox at the end of the day. That’s why I’m really happy with what the Mailbox team is doing and can’t wait to see where it evolves from there.
People ask us about the team here at Block Club all the time. (Most common: Who works there? What do you do every day? Do you take interns?) We have a world-class team here, but we also work with freelancers on a regular basis. The magazine has begun to work with more and more talented freelancers over the last year, publishing written and visual work from Buffalonians and those abroad.
I’m proud to share some recently published work by three contributors to the current Comfort issue of Block Club. Look for their names not only on our pages and on Clubhaus but out in our community. We’re proud to share our paper with these talented folks.
Max Collins, our contributing photographer for the Conversationalists column, continues on his trek to wheat paste the facades and corners of downtown Buffalo, most recently at Hardware on Allen. Check out photos on his blog and stop on down to see his work there. I’m sure you’ll spot more pieces by Max around town once you start looking.
E.R. Barry wrote our short fiction story in the current issue, New England Home Magazine, was recently published on Thought Catalog, a great creative nonfiction blog. Her piece is funny, progressive and enlightening to read. Plus, it includes a photo of Beyurnce. Read E.R.’s great blog and look for another story in the Spring issue of Block Club.
Mark Byrnes is a friend of ours who writes for the incredible urban planning and design blog, The Atlantic Cities, a subsidiary of The Atlantic magazine. Mark wrote a great story about urban renewal and sprawl in the current issue of Block Club, and recently published an article for The Atlantic Cities about Syracuse’s own urban resurrection. It’s a great read, check it out.
photo by Fiedler Marciano courtesy The Atlantic Cities