Fittting in

One of the odd things about working at a new place is trying to balance enthusiasm. Obviously, you want to show that you give a shit about the job and that you’re a good worker. But that has to be balanced with the fact that it is, after all, work. And everyone there would much rather be doing at least 50 different things a helluva lot more than being at the office. So, you can’t be all that enthusiastic or enjoying yourself that much because, really, no one else is. And acting that way (understandably) strikes people, especially those who have been at their jobs for a few years, as weird and off-putting.

Not the easiest line to walk. But I think I’m getting better at it.

Shadowy Silk land has been silent because I’ve been working about 45 hours a week and I am not used to doing that. More blogging in bit, time-permitting. Dana Milbank nearly brought me back with a stupendously idiotic piece a few days ago but I was too lazy. Hopefully, soon, though.


Popping the bubble

Going off my last post, I’d do better to remember that most people spend their time thinking about stuff other than what I think about. I’m aware of that politically and my writing references that a bunch but I guess it’s just as true for marketing stuff.

When you read about marketing or PR, you quickly gain a level of familiarity with basic concepts and techniques that show up in every other post. Advice on how to write good headlines, craft engaging content, deal with your stakeholders in a respectful way, all of that stuff is repeated so often that it needs no saying among PR folks. Or at most, it needs only a casual reminder every once in a while.

But when you step outside of that echo chamber, in which everyone is talking to everyone else and they all work in the same industry and deal with the same client problems and use the same acronyms, you have to reset pretty quickly. Lots of people don’t have much of an idea how to define ‘public relations,’ let alone have developed thoughts on content marketing or the efficacy of automated email outreach. If you stay in the bubble too long, it’s easy to forget that, or at least it is for me.

Stop it

I remember once reading a KSK draft of English language phrases to kill (too lazy to look it up). In other words, if you could banish one linguistic convention from the English language, what would it be?

Someone selected the suffix ‘gate,’ which is now attached to every minor, insipid, transient, inconsequential event. Whoever selected that gets a gold star from me for the day.

Bullying on Big Brother is not Watergate. If the event doesn’t cause the President of the United States to resign or precipitate something else equally earth-shattering, don’t. use. -gate.

Of JetBlue and tennis rackets

WARNING: This post is going to complain about ponder a business practice that doesn’t make sense to me. Didn’t think my bitching would ever extend to aviation luggage policies but here we are.

On my trip to Puerto Rico, I planned to bring tennis rackets so I could play some tennis. I’ve got a bag that carries three rackets and I figured I’d bring that as one of my carry on items for my JetBlue flight to San Juan.

Last time I flew over water, though, I was instructed that my tennis rackets constituted a potentially deadly weapon and I had to check them at a cost of $200 (damn you, Qantas!). Because of that, I figured I’d better check with the folks at JetBlue to see whether bringing my rackets on board was kosher. Because I was too lazy to call, I used Twitter:

To which they responded:

The Twitter people at JetBlue, very thoughtfully, sent me this tweet to follow up:

If you click on the link to the section about rackets, it reads:

A tennis racket may be carried on the aircraft and counts as one carry-on item.

Easy enough, eh? But there was a problem. I wanted to bring more than one racket, so that at least one friend could play. The lit says I can only bring one. So, I inquired:

To which JetBlue responded:


If the size of the bag is the same… then what does it matter how many rackets are in the bag? One is OK but three will cause the next 9/11? Maybe I wasn’t clear enough about the bag size being the same regardless of the number of rackets. But I think, from the lit, that my interpretation is right. I’ll wrap this up by saying that the service was excellent on JetBlue, the pilot did extremely well to overcome some crazy-ass turbulence as we were leaving Boston and that I never even got around to playing tennis in San Juan.

So yes, while the main point of this story may be that I’m an idiot who spent time asking about bringing accessories only to never use them on the trip, I still can’t see how this policy make sense. Not mad or anything. Just bemused.

Also, H/T to Hubspot for teaching me how to embed tweets, which really isn’t very hard, but I still needed the help.


I’ve been sitting on this item for a while. It was something that I read a while back and held onto because it was one of those pieces that affected my thinking for at least the next half hour (which is an eternity in Internet time, let’s not kid ourselves). Takes about 15 minutes to read. Give it a look.

More than anything, it drove me further into my tie-die-decorated cave of public service worship made me grateful for all the amenities that I take for granted pretty much every day. There have been two instances during my time in college where my laptop broke. First was freshman year and the second was junior year. Those two time periods combined, I was without a computer for about a month.

All I had to do was head to Mugar, which is BU’s library, where I can use a computer free of charge for as long as I like. Such are the benefits of attending an expensive-ass private college. And yet it was still a titanic pain in the ass. I was absolutely thrilled to have my computer back.

What would life be like if I didn’t have access to Mugar, the ability to borrow my Dad’s spare laptop and the knowledge that my laptop would return in due time? Very, very different. You don’t always have to read article about the LRA (more on them in a later post) to be grateful for 21st century America’s niceties. And yes, it’s very hard to keep all this in perspective when the concierge at your hotel is charging you money for your not attending a trip or bilking you $25 (!!!!) for a breakfast buffet (more on that in a later post, too) but we should all try.

..and that’s just Internet. Ever been really hungry for eight or ten hours? Hard to think about anything else, isn’t it?

No, this post isn’t any groundbreaking stuff you haven’t heard a shmillion times (are any of my posts?). But it bears repeating, I think, every so often, when it crosses my mind again.

Freedom is beautiful

Oh yes.

I worked at Quebrada, a coffee shop/bakery/dessert place for three or four years. One of the things Quebrada makes is cakes, which are delicious (especially the chocolate tort w/ raspberry filling). Not all the cakes were made to order, so we’d have some in store in case anyone wanted to pick one up for an event that day.

When those display cakes got older than a few days, we couldn’t sell them anymore but they were still good to eat. So, we’d sample them. Put ’em on a nice tray and give everyone a piece. And people went absolutely crazy. I’m still amused remembering how customers would have a slightly suspicious look, wondering what the catch was, and then how their expression would change when we explained that no, really, it was a free sample. People went over the moon.

It was a very small thing. No more than a few bites. But the psychological effect was pretty outsized. Getting stuff for free just makes us all really happy.

Props to Boloco. I’ve never been to Boloco before but I’ll be going at least a few times in the next month. And I’ll give ’em money, too, because I appreciate free stuff enough to pony up. I think this will work out well for them.