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Blueprint for a Social Network

These are some notes I wrote on a piece of paper today:

* Don’t bother integrating with social media — make a destination, not a portal.
* Make actual college-level classes on how to use the network, focused on fostering independent learning.
* Mainstream everything, including religion, holy wars, homosexuality, etc., excluding illegal or pseudocriminal activity.
* Branch out — scale out, not up. Use multiple TLDs like .com, .net, .org, .me, .us, .biz, and different brand names to avoid copyright claims ending the network, and make them all entry points.
* Make a non-profit, not a C-corp. or LLC.
* Ignore “practicality” — make concepts identities by making networks based on ideas, not institutions or locations.
* Don’t let anyone bad in — screen all users, like border patrol, make the network an “in” thing.
* Jealously guard your users — deal with federal agencies, not state agencies, put servers up on multiple continents in non-central areas to survive HAARP-quakes, Al-CIA-da, tsunamis, nuke “meltdowns,” etc.; require feds to use subpoenas, enforce the U.S. Constitution.
* Have one employee per 500 users. Keep real users only.
* Build hardware to match PHP/MySQL/Apache/CentOS, or other software/programming languages you like.
* Don’t be afraid to spend money.
* Get donations! Constantly have your hand out and use purpose-based reasons.
* Always be good and don’t be evil; use personal vision, not social, political, legal, traditional, or economic.
* Always personify and personalize everything, but don’t make a talking paperclip for a word processor.

Review of “9 Steps to Work Less” by Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins' Book

9 Steps to Work Less and Do More serves up hundreds of practical suggestions. Robbins gives you advice on everything—from how to leave a voicemail to how many umbrellas you should own (pg. 150). After reading “always leave your phone number twice” and “speak slowly and clearly” (64-65), I knew Stever was being really thorough.

Why is it 9 steps? I really don’t know. 10 is a more popular number. 7 is a lucky number. Stever Get-It-Done Guy Robbins could even have called it “12 Steps for Workaholics,” but it’s been done before.

If you’ve read other books on time management or personal growth, there isn’t much new material here. This book may be a waste of time for anyone but the casually committed, because only they are likely to find new advice here. But, considering I was provided this review copy for free and never heard of Robbins before being contacted by his secretary, I should not be so harsh. “9 Steps” is a nice read with good tips. Stever also has a good sense of humor which you will find on every page of the book. I was more anxious to write this review than to actually read the book, but had I picked this up several years ago, before discovering personal development, I would have been engrossed.

“Stever Robbins” is a weird name. Everyone who reads it thinks “Steven” has been misprinted. “Robbins” as in Tony Robbins? I thought this was a pen name at first.

I started reading this book six weeks ago, and after 40 pages I quit and lost interest. I stopped reading on “daily action packs” in the procrastination chapter. However, I do need to write this review eventually, so I’m just going on what I read and skimming through the rest. This review is going to be short.

PAGE 69: Just ignore it: “Another way to deal with a full inbox? Ignore it.” — Stever has a lot of guts to say this, and he’s right. Most email should just be archived because it never needs a reply.

PAGE 77: Example of a bad email: “We need to gather all the articles by February 1st. Speaking of which, I was thinking… do you think we should fire Sandy?” — This is an awesome example of a bad email. I might have to use this myself.

PAGE 86: Learning how to say no: “Too many yeses overcommit us.” — This is also awesome. I can’t believe St. Martin’s Griffin let Stever use “yeses.”

PAGE 90: “Stop multitasking and start focusing.” I like this advice. More often than not, writers tell you to develop your multitasking skills, when in truth, you should develop your monotasking skills. Do one thing at a time, and do it well.

PAGE 101: “A Sample Stever week.” This is a wonderful chart, and very simple. I like “Tuesday: 2 PM – 6 PM: write.” Only Stever could write for four hours non-stop. I find myself taking breaks every fifteen minutes.

PAGE 110: “When in doubt, throw it away.” I’m starting to do this all the time. When I’m done reading a magazine or a letter, I burn it. No reason to let it laze around the house.

PAGE 120: “Someday when I can afford an entourage, I’ll have a perky assistant named Okra who will keep track of everything for me. Until then, I use crutches to manage the complexities of twentieth-century life.” Sure, assistants are sexy, but 20th century life? Don’t you mean 21st century life, Stever? Perhaps you count from zero, or maybe this book was written in 1999?

PAGE 131: “The best ideas happen in the shower, because your brain is built to think when you’re doing something else.” This is why going for walks, playing music, and washing the dishes are such great hobbies. Whenever I’m stuck writing or programming, I find inspiration by setting the project aside for a while.

PAGE 143: “Movies the group absolutely does not want to see: Starring anyone whose last name is the name of a hotel chain.” But Paris Hilton is such a fine actor! I laughed at this joke.

PAGE 153: “Settle for ‘good enough” rather than wasting time on unnecessary perfection.” This is so true. Nobody cares how perfect your work is anyway. Most people don’t even examine it closely. Cutting corners is the best policy.

PAGE 166: “TIP: Hold an anteater by the hindquarters when combing its snout. KEYWORDS: anteater, comb, grooming, snout, thumb-reattachment incident.” Anteaters are so vicious…

PAGE 179: “Cut out the small talk. Let’s face it: we don’t have time for superficial relationships.” I disagree, small talk is the foundation of human relationships. As Data on Star Trek TNG noted, it fills awkward conversational gaps and aids in human bonding.

PAGE 195: “Get on someone’s radar screen by having frequent, though not necessarily lengthy or deep, contact.” Do you mean small talk, Stever? I thought you hate small talk? Perhaps you are confused.

PAGE 206: “Access to people is valuable…” This is so true. You can’t make babies alone.

PAGE 216: “Come visit me on the Web at…” — He wanted to say “it’s ten times better than!”

PAGE 218: “ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Case Princes provided his apartment and his computer with amazing 2560×1600 monitor.” I love big monitors too. I have a Samsung 24″ widescreen LCD with 1920×1200 pixels. But 2560×1600 doesn’t actually tell us anything. The monitor could be a 19″ CRT with the resolution set extremely high. Please consider these technicalities in your next book!

If you wanted a proper review, I don’t have one. I’m just passing off a bunch of scribbled notes as a review. Now go buy this 5-star book. I know it’s only been two months, but we are expecting many more books from you, Stever!

Non-Actionable Feedback

Actionable feedback prompts the recipient to take an action outside the framework of the conversation, but most feedback appearing to be actionable is in fact non-actionable. Let’s look at some examples and analyze why they do not warrant any action by the recipient.

1. “This is a really great article, but I think it could use some more examples!”

The problem with this one is “I think.” Everyone has an opinion. Replace “I think” with “I know” and you have something actionable. The action is to add more examples to the article, but the writer is unlikely to do this unless the feedback is more forceful.

2. “I really enjoy your photography.”

Completely worthless. I am getting to the point where I just press the delete button on comments like this. Obviously, any praise besides “keep it up” is basically non-actionable, but at least give me specific feedback rather than wasting my time. “I enjoy your photographs of (flowers | sunsets | raindrops | people) because of their (color | perspective | uniqueness | emotions)” is better.

3. “Tweet This is a good plugin, but I’d like to see integration with Tumblr.”

Again, this one applies to the commenter only so it is basically worthless. Replace “I’d like to see” with “it should have” or “I will not use it until it has” and you will have something actionable.

4. “I hope you get well soon!”

This also does nothing because hoping is ineffective and does not provoke action. “You should take a zinc supplement” would be better.

5. “Have you considered changing your religion?”

While the may look majorly actionable, in fact it only prompts a yes or no response with no action. Feedback like “Your religion sucks because *some reason*” would be more likely to provoke an action.

6. “Could you take less for this item?”

This could also be answered with a no or simply ignored. It would be better to offer a specific amount, because then you are showing initiative.

7. “You are a moron!”

This kind of feedback is useless. If it’s true, it’s a statement of fact, which is never actionable. If it’s false, it’s a lie, which is also non-actionable.

8. “There is no point in arguing with someone like you.”

People who write this type of comment have superiority complexes and are trying to prove their time is more valuable than yours. But their very response proves that they are not above you. Completely non-actionable.

9. “What’s your phone number and a good time to call you?”

This is an edge case, but it’s actually non-actionable because the recipient stays in the frame of the conversation without taking action (i.e. calling you) outside the conversation. The recipient is liable to respond with his phone number but not answer your call. An actionable message would in fact be “My phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX―please call me at 9pm.” This way, you put the burden of action on the recipient rather than yourself.

10. “If you don’t log in within 72 hours, your account will be deleted!”

If the user is concerned about his account being deleted, he will certainly log in anyway, and if he isn’t, he may as well not even receive this message, because he won’t visit your site again. Completely non-actionable.

While you may think providing actionable feedback is best, there are many times when you are talking to someone unpleasant and want to end the conversation. In this case, it’s better to provide non-actionable feedback. If the recipient keeps responding to your non-actionable feedback, you will sense his desperation. Desperate people are never good friends or business contacts, so you should cut them out of your life.

Here is a hypothetical conversation with a desperate person:

Blue: How would you like to establish an affiliate partnership between our websites?
Red: Your blog has potential, but I’m really not interested in linking to it.

Realistically, the conversation should end here, but Blue is desperate and continues despite the obvious futility.

Blue: Are you sure? How about if I link to you only and you pay me?
Red: Like I said on my contact page, I don’t accept solicitations nor affiliate with websites that get no traffic.

Blue is becoming very anxious―the more he is rejected the more he pushes forward. He thinks he’s persevering, but in fact he’s just being a needy nuisance.

Blue: But you should see my traffic logs! My site gets over 100 visitors this month!
Red: I do offer consulting to increase your traffic. 100 visitors per month is nothing.

Red has made a serious mistake―he should have terminated the conversation right here. Blue has continuously provided desperate, non-actionable feedback, so this would have been a perfect time to stop replying.

Blue: How much do you charge?
Red: $100 an hour, $100 minimum.
Blue: That’s ridiculous! $100 for some measly consulting work that should only take you twenty minutes? What kind of consultant are you anyway? A scam artist, that’s what!
Red: I can assure you that my clients would say otherwise. Many of them are very successful and place a high value on my services.

Blue has gained the upper hand, and Red has succumbed to an energy vampire. Red is now on the defensive.

Blue: I don’t care what you are, I’m reporting you to *some agency* for trying to defraud me.
Red: I’m sure we can work this out without the authorities.
Blue: I’ll tell you what. If you help me to market *new worthless service*, I’ll overlook this and allow you to continue your business.
Red: Okay…

This is the price for taking non-actionable feedback seriously. Blue is a desperate, passive-aggressive wimp who can only resort to begging and threats. Red is a person who lets wimps take advantage of him. Both are losers, but both could become winners by harnessing the power of non-actionable feedback.

At the start of the conversation, Red should have said “I’ll look into your blog and get back to you.” With one non-actionable reply, Red could have avoided conversation for weeks, but instead, he engaged the sender in a pointless argument which ended in self-capitulation. Ridiculous, but stuff like this happens every day.

100 Ways to Tell You’re a Follower

1. Your Twitter name has your birthday in it.

2. Your car has a “My child is an honor student” bumper sticker on it… and you don’t even have kids.

3. You bought an iPhone for the camera.

4. You’re a Roman Catholic because “that’s where the power is.”

5. You bleach your jeans to make them look old.

6. You registered and you think it has value (it’s available… 3 a’s and 3 o’s).

7. Your computer’s desktop background is a picture of Barack Obama.

8. You buy Girl Scout cookies.

9. You have a tattoo where nobody can see it.

10. Your car’s rear-view mirror has teddy bears hanging from it.

11. You’re a straight gay-rights activist.

12. You believe the capital of Montana is Hannah.

13. You registered your first MySpace account in 2010.

14. You wear a fake diamond ring… and keep the real one in a safe.

15. You have a Mac because all artists have Macs, right?

16. You are a Unitarian Universalist.

17. You say age is “just a number.”

18. You believe Al Gore invented the Internet.

19. You started a blog on Viagra to make money.

20. You put your career before your family.

21. You go to the gym. (There are so many better ways to exercise… like mowing the lawn or building something. And you just know the exercise machines are hooked up to a generator and the owner of the gym is selling electricity back to the power company.)

22. You use “Scotch Magic” tape for good luck.

23. Your cell phone’s ringtone is “Für Elise.”

24. You bought General Motors stock in 2008 for “the long term.”

25. You believe the U.S. healthcare system is “the free market at work.”

26. You think Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

27. You just bought a new xD Picture Card for your digital camera.

28. You pay to download music.

29. You have an unlisted phone number.

30. You have the electric company average your bill out over the year. (What are you, a baby?)

31. Your office is at “Panera Bread.”

32. You live in “Vancouver, Canada.” (And I live in “Ormond Beach, United States of America.”)

33. You believe 2000 was the beginning of the millennium.

34. You believe “free download” means what it’s supposed to mean.

35. You have cable Internet but you pay $15 a month for dial-up just to keep your old email address.

36. You believe all websites start with “www.”

37. Your answering machine message is a popular song.

38. You constantly refer to “The Matrix” when talking about everything.

39. You believe the square root of 2 is 1.5.

40. You started smoking at 18 and drinking at 21. (Actually, this might make you a leader because most people start at 8.)

41. You believe cancer is cured by radiation. (Hahahahahaha…. sucker! NOW YOU DIE!!! Google is your friend.)

42. You believe “42” is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

43. You think the IRS must be constitutional. (OMG EPIC LOLZ :big-grin: )

44. You believe in unconditional love. (All love is conditional. “Unconditional love” is called “being a doormat.”)

45. When you want to eat something American, you get a pizza. (Thank you Archie Bunker.)

46. You believe “you get what you pay for.” (OH GOD WILL THE LAUGHS NEVER STOP :big-grin: )

47. You’re offended by the word “nigger.” (“Nigger” stopped being offensive in 1999… the same year THE MATRIX was released… free your mind!)

48. You believe the 1st amendment lets you take pictures at Walmart.

49. You read “The New York Times” (herein referred to as “The Nazi Times”).

50. You still hyphenate “email”… and you use “Micro-Soft” products.

51. You go to college to get a good job. (There are plenty of good reasons to go to college… scholarships, fraternities, Pell grants, networking, dating, student employment, getting out of the house, discounted movie tickets… But you’ll need a lot more than a 4-year degree to get a good job. Something called EXPERIENCE.)

52. You write about personal development. (OH NOES self-deprecating humor.)

53. You believe Judaism is a race. (It’s a RELIGION. If we call it a race HITLER wins.)

54. Your favorite website is LOLcats. (I CAN HAZ CHEEZEBURGER?)

55. You sent your CASH to Haiti, just like George W. Bush told you to.

56. You’re fat because you had kids… or you have bad genes. (It’s called GLUTTONY, and it’s a mortal sin… join the club.)

57. You believe Barack Obama (Barry Soetoro, citizen of Kenya) is making the economy recover.

58. You follow Scobleizer on Twitter.

59. You’re still using Tweet This even though I haven’t updated it in a year and it’s broken in WordPress 3.0 (I’LL GET AROUND TO IT EVENTUALLY).

60. You quit your job after reading The Secret.

61. You believe in THE POWER OF INTENTION. (Note to Wayne Dyer: next time listen to your publisher and call it THE POWER OF ACTION.)

62. You believe there is a lot of money in selling clothes on eBay… hand-made clothes.

63. You have a Nintendo DS, a DS Lite, a DSi, a DSi XL, and you’ve pre-ordered the 3DS.

64. You believe “When I’m 64” will never apply to you. (SURPRISE SIR PAUL YOU DID NOT DIE YOUNG.)

65. You believe hard drives last 10 years. (You’re lucky to get 2.)

66. You judge cameras based on the number of megapixels.

67. You pay for satellite radio.

68. You pray out loud.

69. You wrote an article on your blog titled “69 ways to improve your love life.”

70. You believe 70 mph is the MINIMUM speed on I-95.

71. You refer to the ‘net as “the Internets”… and it’s not a joke.

72. Your nest egg consists of paper Confederate money.

73. You have a Wii and it’s the funniest thing ever. (Thanks Nintendo.)

74. You believe children in Africa are starving because they’re UNMOTIVATED… if you had a million dollars, you’d send them all a copy of The Secret in Swahili.

75. You believe in global warming. (SUCKER!!!)

76. You are “emo.”

77. You believe “The Simpsons” will never get old.

78. You give people cash for their birthday and then get the same amount back for your birthday.

79. You have a vanity license plate.

80. You have a SoHo in SoCal.

81. You believe ZIP codes are meaningless.

82. You have a .me domain name. (Yes I know is available, but I have enough crappy domains already. Besides, I don’t want “Thripp Me” to become a meme.)

83. You talk about memes…


85. You use Adobe Photoshop because “that’s what everyone does.”

86. You live in New York or London because “that’s where the power is.” (Repeat of #4, I know.)

87. You run for president every four years… and you’re 27.

88. If you could just get your car up to 88 miles per hour…

89. You identify as bisexual because it doubles your opportunities.

90. You replaced all your lightbulbs with CFLs. (Enjoy your mercury poisoning, SUCKER!!!)

91. You do background checks on your friends.

92. You use Parcel Post when mailing blank CDs because Media Mail is for pre-recorded media only. (SUCKER!!!)

93. You have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide.

94. You believe that the best thing to do when arrested is to talk to the police. (SUCKER!!!)

95. Your chihuahua is named PRINCE TACO and you make residuals on stud service.

96. You believe diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

97. You laugh at any measurement of distance from 4 inches to 10 inches.

98. Your ass has its own Congressman.

99. You think 99 is as funny a number as 69.

100. You think you can write a list of 100 things without a sex joke and without calling your readers suckers. (It’s really hard because you’re all suckers… it’s so difficult to come up with original ideas. :smile: )

10 Reasons Why All Bloggers are Gay

1. Bloggers share their FEELINGS with the world. Who does this? Women and men pretending to be women (gays). MEN do not share their feelings because they do not want to appear gay. Women are already gay, so it doesn’t matter for them.

2. Blogs can be commented on because bloggers love feedback and discussion of their sad lives. REAL publishers don’t get a f*ck what anyone thinks of them (besides maybe the New York Times). They don’t need feedback because feedback is for wimps.

3. Bloggers are self-involved and like to talk about themselves. They derive their identities from their blogs, just like gays derive their identities from gay sex.

4. Bloggers install plugins because they enjoy have widgets inserted into their blogs… Just like gays enjoy having carrots inserted into their holes. Bloggers and gays both want to be penetrated.

5. A blog is a public diary. Bloggers, therefore, enjoy sharing intimacy with loads of strangers, without commitment. JUST LIKE FAGS. Normal people are private and open themselves up to only a few other people. Normal people guard themselves against rape. Bloggers and gays invite rape and dream about being raped because they all have rape fantasies and Daddy issues.

6. All blogs look and act the same, just like all fags and all women look and act the same. Normal people (straight men) are interesting, varied, deep, passionate, conscious humans. Gays and bloggers are dull, simplistic, shallow, apathetic drones. You’ll never see a blogger criticize another blogger, just like you’ll never see a gay criticize another gay. They stick up for each other like weak hive-minded ants. Real men are just that: real. Gays and bloggers are fake.

7. While real men value quality over quantity, gays and bloggers are the ultimate measurbators. Whether it’s pageviews, RSS subscribers, in-links, penis size, or Twitter followers, you can bet there is a metric and a community for it. “Sites” (or should I say, piles of crap) like Technorati are a blogger’s ultimate wet dream. Normal people look at Technorati and say “eww, gross,” just like normal people look at gay anal sex and say “eww, gross.” Blogging is so gay.

8. Gays have Gay Days, just like bloggers have Blog Carnivals. Both are sickening displays of peacocking and indiscretion.

9., LiveJournal, and other blogging service providers give their members (yes, members) SUBdomains under the main DOMain, just like gay relationships involve and DOMinant partner and a SUBserviant slave. Compare this to a normal website, which is owned by one person with a TOP LEVEL DOMAIN. Normal people OWN their websites. They are not sharecroppers.

10. Bloggers and gays have no souls. A blogger or a gay’s entire life is a series of hedonistic debaucheries. They have no connection to God. They are proud “atheists” who believe in the magical tooth fairy known as “evolution.” All bloggers and all gays love feeling superior. They put on a mask of power to LOOK superior when in fact they want to be controlled like children. Bloggers and gays believe they were abused as children. They hate children while secretly coveting their freedom and power. BLOGGERS AND GAYS ACCOUNT FOR 99% OF THE WORLD’S PEDOPHILES. Michael Jackson wanted to start a blog but his attorneys said no. He was going to call it “Pikachu, I CHOOSE YOU.”

Dumb People, Smart People, and Smarter People

2009-12-20 Update: I revoke this article because it is negative and condescending. Read it anyway if you want.

Dumb people ignore the rules.
Smart people follow the rules.
Smarter people make the rules.

Dumb people live below their potential.
Smart people live up to their potential.
Smarter people live beyond their potential.

Dumb people can’t focus.
Smart people multi-task.
Smarter people obsess.

Dumb people eat meat.
Smart people never eat meat.
Smarter people eat meat when they’re starving to death.

Dumb people don’t go to college.
Smart people go to college.
Smarter people think college is a joke.

Dumb people become lazy and fat.
Smart people stay fit by going to the gym.
Smarter people don’t pay others to lift weights.

Dumb people can’t keep to a budget.
Smart people set a budget and stick to it.
Smarter people don’t need budgets.

Dumb people don’t know.
Smart people know.
Smarter people don’t care.

Dumb people follow trends.
Smart people set trends.
Smarter people transcend trends.

Dumb people fail IQ tests.
Smart people ace IQ tests.
Smarter people don’t take IQ tests.

Dumb people are angry.
Smart people are tolerant.
Smarter people take action.

Dumb people buy cheap stuff.
Smart people buy good stuff.
Smarter people buy stuff for free.

Dumb people are emotional.
Smart people are analytical.
Smarter people are intelligent.

Dumb people read magazines.
Smart people read books.
Smarter people read books, magazines, blogs, and more.

Dumb people rent.
Smart people buy.
Smarter people sell.

Dumb people don’t read.
Smart people read.
Smarter people write.

Dumb people go with the flow.
Smart people go against the flow.
Smarter people get out of the water.

Dumb people text message.
Smart people telephone.
Smarter people shout.

Dumb people are afraid.
Smart people are courageous.
Smarter people are contagious.

Dumb people disappoint.
Smart people impress.
Smarter people confuse.

Dumb people have jobs.
Smart people have careers.
Smarter people do what they want.

Dumb people take video.
Smart people take photos.
Smarter people draw sketches.

Dumb people hate.
Smart people love.
Smarter people care.

Dumb people waste.
Smart people save.
Smarter people create.

Dumb people make enemies.
Smart people make friends.
Smarter people are friends.

Dumb people run.
Smart people jump.
Smarter people laugh.

Dumb people want the money.
Smart people have the money.
Smarter people print the money.

Dumb people live for no one.
Smart people live for others.
Smarter people live for themselves.

Dumb people don’t think.
Smart people think.
Smarter people act.

Dumb people use MySpace.
Smart people use Facebook.
Smarter people go outside.

Dumb people talk.
Smart people listen.
Smarter people connect.

Dumb people know what they want.
Smart people get what they want.
Smarter people have what they want.

Dumb people follow.
Smart people lead.
Smarter people convert.

Dumb people guess.
Smart people assume.
Smarter people ask.

Dumb people date.
Smart people get married.
Smarter people go canoeing.

Dumb people wait for true love.
Smart people look for true love.
Smarter people create true love.

Dumb people take.
Smart people give.
Smarter people share.

Dumb people join religion.
Smart people make religion.
Smarter people are religion.

Dumb people forget.
Smart people remember.
Smarter people make you remember.

Dumb people live beyond their means.
Smart people live within their means.
Smarter people live beneath their means.

Dumb people repeat their mistakes.
Smarter people learn from their mistakes.
Smarter people learn from the mistakes of others.

Dumb people value work.
Smart people value ideas.
Smarter people value implementations.

Dumb people have guns.
Smart people don’t have guns.
Smarter people have lots of guns.

Dumb people are dumb.
Smart people are smart.
Smarter people are both.

17 Lessons from 17 Years

This is my first post as a 17 year old. The pivotal birthday was 2008 August 17, a Sunday. My youth is just slipping away. :grin: I’ve written this list of seventeen things I’ve learned over the years.

1. Passion is fleeting.

I used to be fascinated with the color blue. Then when I was 6 I switched to red. Around 14 I switched back to blue again. Now I’m starting to like green (notice my website’s colors?).

Don’t count on being dedicated to writing, piano, blogging, or photography all your life. Don’t root yourself in material mediums, because it doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is how you do it, or more clearly, what purpose it is for. My purpose is to courageously inspire and facilitate the worthy endeavors of others. I’m going to have to polish that up into a mission statement someday, but it’s a good place to start. I can look at anything I do and ask “is this doing that?” If it’s not, I drop it.

2. Be humble, not because it’s safe, but because it’s courageous.

It takes courage to admit ignorance, and you will never know everything, so you should always have humility. Even if you could know everything, you should stay humble because arrogance is bad form. Let your brilliance be self-evident in your projects and by the voices of others. Oh yes, I completely contradicted this when I named my blog “Brilliant Photography.” But I remain humble in my writings (smack me upside the head if I don’t).

Don’t be humble out of fear. You know someone is humble out of fear because he abandons his humility as soon as he becomes rich or famous or college-educated. A man who is humble for safety transforms into an evil monster once he believes he is in a position of unassailable authority.

3. Do good always.

Dedicate your life to the service of others rather than the acquisition of widgets. When you’re friends obsess over the collection of widgets, turn them to the side of light which involves abandoning the love of widgets. You need widgets, but only to help you to do good. Just like a need a camera for my photography, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to dedicate my life to the collection of expensive lenses.

Doing good always has lots of perks. When you do evil you have to slyly connive good people into helping you. You have to convince them that you’re doing good. It’s hard to manage. You may have to keep two sets of books, two websites, two mission statements, and a disguise, and if anyone finds out you’re behind the evil deeds, they’ll leave you if they’re good. But if you’re doing good to start with, you don’t have to hide in the shadows.

4. Be selfish sometimes.

But only when it facilitates you to do more good for others. I could go out and give my computer to a bum who would really make good use of it. But then I wouldn’t be able to do good for others with the computer, like what I’m writing here. If you give up every resource you have for the benefit of others, you’re on the wrong path entirely. From a pragmatic stance you’re being selfish, because you’re crippling your capability to help others by giving up all your tools now. You may as well donate both of your kidneys to charity. :grin:

5. Live beneath your means.

It isn’t reasonable to buy a million dollar house if you earn $50,000 per year, even if you can pay the mortgage each month. Even if you have been saving money for decades, it still isn’t reasonable because of the tremendous property taxes and maintenance costs. If you’re working at a normal job, and losing that job means you lose your house, you’ve sold a piece of yourself. You have to put up with flak and you’re living for others. Even a dumb 17 year old can see this is a bad idea. So if you are going to be an employee, make twice what you need and have a year’s salary in the bank. Then you don’t have to fear walking away.

6. Eliminate negativity from your life.

I did this passively when I was fired from my job. I was planning on hanging on there forever if not for the sudden firing, despite it being pointless except for the occasional paychecks. It’s better to take the initiative and eliminate negativity from your life, rather than waiting for negativity to eliminate you from its life. But when you recognize negativity that left on its own accord, you gain the power to courageously pick the higher path in the future, which is to take the initiative yourself. This means if you have a friend who is constantly asking you which hair curlers to buy, and she refuses to stop despite your prodding, tell her it’s over because of the hair curlers. Or, even better, write an article about it on your blog and then share it with her, so you’re contributing to a wider audience who wants to benefit from your expertise on hair curlers.

7. Put inspiration first.

It’s okay to focus on little details to make part of your life perfect. I’ve been doing a ton of that in the last week at, which is why you haven’t heard much for me. But only focus on the details when you don’t have the motivation to work on the big picture. Inspiration strikes randomly, so be sure not to reject it for trivia. I used to do this with my photography, where I’d see a beautiful sunset or fascinating patterns of light outside my window, but I’d continue working on editing old photos. By the time I’d get up to go outside, the magic would disappear. Now, I drop what I’m doing and run outside instead. It’s more fun that way.

8. Your time is valuable, computer time is not.

Leverage automated systems to do work for you, or build them yourself if you have to. For example I use WordPress with plugins (the network variant) to manage everything on this blog. A particular thumbnailing plugin makes posting my photography and creating galleries a breeze, because it generates all the thumbnails and displays them automatically. I just have to add a photo in one post and it appears all over the site. When I changed the site’s design last week, I went for big thumbnails. I just changed the plugin’s settings and deleted the old thumbnails, and it made new ones automatically. This uses more computer time (processing power) than doing everything by hand, but my time is more important than my server’s.

9. Presentation is important, to a fault.

I just spent a lot of time redesigning this blog, as you already know. But remember that there is a happy medium between good design and good content. If you spend all your time on presentation, you have a cake that’s all icing. A cake that’s all icing is an ugly, sickening pile of crap. You need something to complement the sweet icing, and that is a starch-packed vision. Good presentation and good ideas go together; having one without the other does not work.

10. Make a choice and stick with it.

If you’re going to buy blue shoes, don’t spend three weeks considering black shoes. It’s better to take action and be wrong than wait and never go anywhere because you have no shoes to wear. If you can’t choose, just ask, “is this going to kill me?” If the answer is no, pick the option on the left. It’s not important enough to dilly-dally on. I dilly-dallied over using Drupal for a while before choosing WordPress. I could have no website and nothing written and still be analyzing charts. That would be completely stupid. Just pick already.

11. Have one system.

I used to write phone numbers with the area code in parenthesis. But I stopped because you shouldn’t do that in file names for computers (parentheses and spaces are a no-no, especially in URLs). Hyphens are unambiguous. When there’s an equally good way to do something that yields less complexity, especially mental complexity, pick it instead, and apply it consistently across the board. I do that for my photos’ file names and my computer’s clock. You can see it on my blog. I use Universal Coordinated Time all over the place, which is 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (my time zone now) and 5 hours ahead during standard time. But it’s better because it’s standardized, and it’s become natural to me. (I look at 07:39:39 on my clock now and I instantly know it’s nearing 4 A.M. :cool: ).

12. Do it now.

It’s taking me a while to learn this one. It’s better to do things that are going to have to be done now than later. Especially stuff with rigid deadlines, like work and school assignments. When I go back to college on Monday (5 days away), I’m going to apply this lesson. Instead of putting off assignments till the last minute, I’m going to do them as soon as possible even if they aren’t due for months. I know already that even if it takes the same amount of time to do the projects, it will feel like I have more free time because my free time won’t be filled with the burden of worry. But it won’t take as long, because there is a significant loss of focus in shifting tasks and coming back to a project multiple times. This is multitasking’s downfall. Just do it already!

13. Don’t work pre-emptively.

This sounds contradictory to the above, but it means you should not take actions that you think you’re going to need later but you aren’t sure of yet. I could buy a new computer now, but then if I realize I’m perfectly happy with the computer I have now and keep the new machine in the box for three years, it’s a waste because in three years computers will be faster and cheaper. Or I could start writing my will now, but I’m probably going to be around for a long time. By the time I’m old and decrepit, my life’s mission will be so far evolved that the old will would be of no relevance. It would have to be rewritten from scratch. So by working pre-emptively, I’d end up doing double the work.

14. Stand for something.

Don’t live by the dogma of others, be it religious or organizational. Create your own dogma, because only you can know what’s right for you. I am not a feel-good writer. That’s what I said “can know.” Most people don’t know what’s right for them. That’s why they go with a dogma. They’re weaker and less clear-minded than the makers of the dogma, so it possesses them. If you’re living by the dogma of others, you’re standing for nothing. Man is not designed to live by a book. The ultimate purpose of a dogma is to crush your spirit, brainwash your mind, and transform you into a money-producing dogma-promoting drone. But no matter who you are, you can break free and expand your mind if you work hard enough at it.

15. Don’t write for the critics.

If you have a concept, and it has holes, but it’s so sharp and provoking that it has great merits despite the holes, and you can’t think of a way to patch the holes while keeping the edge, and you know it will inspire thought and analysis in the minds of others, then by all means, make the statement anyway, unabashedly and without shame. Don’t even mention the holes. Pretend it’s perfect. To 99% of your readers it will be. Don’t write for the poisonous 1%.

The mere fact that people are willing to read your writing means you have a captive audience. Your audience wants to hear your clear thoughts, and they’re predisposed to find the good in your writing. They are not hecklers nor critics. Hecklers cannot derive any value from your thoughts, because they refuse to open their mind to them before tearing them down. They will find fault, even if they have to create it.

People who write or speak for the critics use statements like “in my opinion,” “as far as I know,” “I think,” “almost,” and “some people” a lot. Instead, use “in fact,” “I know,” “everyone thinks,” “exactly,” and “all people.” Dare to make generalizations. Write and speak concisely. Even if you’re completely wrong, it’s a lot more interesting and you’re going to impact a lot more people.

16. Talk to everyone.

To borrow from The Simpsons, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met. You actually know everyone you don’t know, because there is an underlying connectedness between human spirits that transcends words. Most strangers won’t kill you. When I’m at the college campus, I generally have no fear of murder or bodily injury. In fact, I carry an $800 camera with me all the time, and nobody’s mugged me yet.

Dare to use your real and whole name, in person, on your blog, and on MySpace. Everything hides behind names like MrCool1234. When you get a comment from Richard X. Thripp, it cuts to the bone. You can’t make up names like that. Put your real identity behind your words. You’ll become so authentic, people will fear you.

While others live in their cozy shells, ignore the shells entirely and go right to the core. Ask a stranger about his life’s purpose, his story, and his accomplishments, and you’ll add to your own experience while raising his awareness.

17. Protect the sanctity of human life.

Human life is sacred and universally valuable. Animals are not people too. If my mother’s life was at stake, and I could kill a thousand cats to save her, I’d do it, because cats are worth nothing compared to humans. The value of the life of a cat pales next to a person. It’s not even a blip on the map.

Abortion is evil and any woman that kills her unborn child is a murderess. The highest purpose of a representative democracy is to protect the rights of man. [Note: direct democracies kill babies for the greater good. Jefferson hated them.] Our governments are openly destroying our rights, in an attempt to tear down 2000 years of Christian ethics. No, this is not dogma. If we don’t protect human life, then what do we have? We’re ants. Even ants take care of their young. Soon, we’ll be killing old people because they’re sick and bums because of their low quality of life.

If you campaign for animal rights, wake up. The rights of man are more important. Make a great impact, not a frivolous one. Start campaigning for human rights today. We shouldn’t have to campaign for them. They’re God-given; they should be recognized de facto. But “should of’s” get nothing done, so campaign anyway.

The final lesson: offend everyone.

Some of my readers will find point 17 quite offensive. Good. You can’t offend someone who knows the truth. The truth is that human life (and only human life) is sacred, and the only reason you’re offended is because you’re afraid of the truth, having lived under a dogma of death and lies.

If you offend someone, count it as a blessing. You’re making progress, huge progress. Obviously, don’t put your life in danger. But if your statement didn’t have an echo of truth, it would offend no one. No one can get an angry response from me by saying “you’re not on the right path with photography.” I love it and I know it’s a great talent to share. I can inspire others, I can change lives. I’m so secure in this knowledge, I can even write articles that totally contradict it without flinching. Only people living in fear can be offended.

Be bold, even on sensitive subjects. Be humble, not wishy-washy. Aspire to go further. And finally, live with courage, the courage to better yourself and the world.

How Not to Be a Photographer

• Make sure everyone is smiling and pretending to be happy before taking the picture. Candid photography? Never heard of it.

• Don’t take photos of people; they don’t want you to take their photos anyway. Just stick to rocks and plants.

• Make your rocks blurry and your flowers over-exposed. Then claim it’s art.

• Pump up the saturation and contrast on that rose, so it’s just (255,0,0) all over. Then everyone will appreciate the beauty.

• Print your photos, then scan the prints at 600 pixels per inch. Now you have 48 megapixels!

• Never switch from auto mode. Only scary people use aperture priority. Manual mode is for the fully insane.

• Or, switch to manual mode, and refuse to use auto-focus. The camera doesn’t know how to focus. It’s just blocking your artistic vision.

• Always talk about your artistic vision, and the wonderful community of photographers your a part of. Maybe people will start believing it.

• Say a 12 megapixel camera is 20% better than a 10 megapixel camera.

• Buy a $2000 DSLR, then stick a cheap lens on it.

• Set your new $2000 camera down to go to the bathroom. Follow the advice in 10 Ways to Get Your Camera Stolen. Why would anyone want a camera?

• Refuse to use anything but a prime lens. Those zoom lenses are too modern and convenient. They’re not sharp enough either. It’s settled. You’re not a real photographer if you use a zoom lens.

• Constantly talk about “real photographers” versus the non-real photographers that are pervading your art form. Make sure some reference to film vs. digital is included.

• Say that film is useless, because digital is magical and does everything.

• Say that digital is useless, because film is the only true photographic medium.

• Assume you should always keep your camera zoomed out, because whenever you zoom in, you must be losing quality.

• Complain about the scary focal lengths on SLR lenses. 18-55mm? What’s that mean? 3.06x zoom? Why didn’t you just say so?

• Assume that 4x optical zoom is the same for all cameras, and that all cameras have equivalent focal lengths by default. You have no concept of wide-angle or telephoto.

• Keep your new DSLR at 18mm all the time, then wonder why everyone’s so fat and distorted.

• Use big words like barrel distortion, pincushioning, vignetting, chromatic aberration, etc. You have no idea what these mean, but they must make you look smart.

• Refuse to buy a camera that doesn’t use AA batteries.

• Use the flash all the time. If you have beautiful ambient lighting and a fast lens, kill it with a blinding strobe.

• Never use the flash. The flash is evil. Fill flash is eviler.

• Say that digital is no good because all print copies wither and turn green in three months. Chemical prints? For digital? That’s crazy talk.

• Ask if you need a lens to use the camera.

• Print your photos, then DELETE the digital source files. You don’t need them anymore, right?

• Assume anything with “digital” in it must be great. You need a “digital” lens, with which you should use digital “zoom,” because it must be the way to go.

• Keep calling your memory cards “disks” over and over. Windows does it; it must be right.

• Refuse to edit your photos. It’s just not true photography.

• Create a 20-page policy booklet before you snap any photos. You have to stay at 50mm all the time, because that’s most photographic. Certain menus on the camera are off-limits, because they’re too un-photographic. Those menus are: white balance, exposure bias, picture styles, color toning, sharpness and contrast, and several others. You can edit on the computer, but only to make the photo look more like the original scene. Contrast adjustments are okay, but cloning is not. Dodging and burning must be reviewed by a committee.

• RAW beats JPEG. If you use JPEG, you’re an idiot. Make sure to polarize all your friends on this, and then shun the ones who have ever used JPEG.

• JPEG does everything RAW does. The picture quality is identical. You only need RAW if you’re doing lots of editing, but if you need to do that, the photo is no good anyway!

• Plan out a sliding scale of quality settings to save space. 10MP RAW is just for special art photos. 10MP JPEG is for normal shooting, while 5MP JPEG is for birthdays and events (because of the volume of photos). Use the 0.3MP JPEG setting for anything you’ll post online. Heaven forbid you should accidentally shoot a special art photo when you’ve planned for something else.

• Keep no backups of anything. Just one copy of your photos in My Pictures. Or, make a backup copy… on the same hard drive.

• Catalog your photos by giving them descriptive file names. How to give file names to photos is bunk.

• Make eight copies of that photo: one for your flowers folder, one for macros, one for colors/red, etc. Nevermind that you’re wasting 70 megabytes.

• Complain that your DSLR’s LCD screen is broken.

• Complain that new digital cameras immediately become obsolete. I didn’t know they stopped making SD cards and batteries.

• Complain constantly. Be negative all the time. Photography is crap. Print articles like 10 Reasons Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form to prove it to everyone.

• When someone shares his photography with you, ask him if it’s Photoshopped. If he says anything like a yes, shun him. If it’s a no, accuse him of lying, then commence the shunning. We photographers are so good like that.

• Print 4×6 photos on an inkjet. You knew it was coming.

10 Reasons Why Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form

The wishing well

2009-12-20 Update: This article is #1 in Google for “photography sucks,” so I see why it gets so many comments. Don’t take me too seriously. Photography is really an art form and I am playing devil’s advocate here. :smile:

“I wish photography could be an art form. I love it so much, but it’s just too easy. If only there were some way to mentally cripple the majority of the population from being able to take beautiful photos, or if I could make the craft so needlessly difficult to only be accessible to a tiny few. Maybe then I can trick others into thinking I have talent where there is none. Oh photography, why must you be so simple and uncomplicated!”

We’ve been tricked—all of us—into believing that photography is an art form requiring skill, talent, patience, and “the eye,” when outside of fairy land, it requires no more skill or talent than driving a car, or pushing buttons on an elevator. What kind of art form would have these ten traits?

1. Anyone can do it. While we’ve not proven the infinite monkey theorem for reproducing Shakespeare’s Hamlet, surely a monkey could take a good, interesting photo. In fact, with today’s auto-focusing, auto-metering, easy-to-use cameras, I have no doubt that a monkey, with some practice, could take a photo as good as Sunrays or The Red-Brick House. Do you like doing the job of a monkey?

2. No talent involved. You’re in a good place, you take a good picture. You’re in a bad place; you get nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have passion or willpower. If someone else is in the right place at the right time, they can easily capture the moment just as well, even if they’ve been handed a camera for the first time. You can’t say the same about any real art form, like playing the piano, or drawing, or sculpting, which require years of experience and practice.

3. No creativity. When you take a photo, you’re using a tool to save a copy of a scene. You’re creating nothing and the camera’s creating nothing. If the camera does create something, it isn’t art—it’s a defect. The more you protest that your badly-composed, out-of-focus pictures bear your unique artistic sensibilities, the more you satisfy your own delusions. Photography is about as creative as mowing the lawn (and if you think that’s creative, then you have my sympathy).

4. It doesn’t help you to look at the world differently, no more than painting, or sketching, or kayaking, or any other hobby. If anything, your view of the world narrows, because you’re stuck looking at it through your narrow viewfinder.

5. It’s an art that’s not a science, and a science that’s not an art. If my five-year-old sister can cover my job on our vacation to Disney world, then what kind of science is that? Normal scientific processes are torturous and difficult to master, like constructing a high-rise bridge or installing an Olympic-size swimming pool. Scientific arts like performing a complex piano piece or crocheting a beautiful sweater require years of expertise and practice. Not photography. Photography is for dummies. Then on the other end, we have b.s. science touted by the “artists,” like megapixels, lens optics, and sensor reflectivity. They have no idea what this stuff means, nor do they need any understanding of it to take pretty pictures, but they pretend it makes the craft complex, and their jobs, difficult and valuable. Kudos to the engineers, sure, but I’m not scientific as a mere photographer, any more than I’d be an auto mechanic for driving a car.

6. No future. You can’t make money taking pictures. If you do, you’re not an artist, you’re a businessman. Nothing more.

7. Life as a technician. You can’t get a good photo unless you Photoshop the heck out of it, like going from this awful thing to Leafy Droplets 4. Is that creative? My 10-year-old cousin can add some contrast, sharpen, darken the corners, and shift the colors with ease. If you put yourself through hours of this drudgery, you’re no more of an artist than the lab operator at Wal-Mart. A computer can easily replace you. How does it feel wasting your talent?

8. Strokes of luck. If you do capture a great photo that needs no editing, it’s because of reason #3. No talent whatsoever; you were just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and disciplined enough to have your camera ready. So basically, your dependent on fate to bring you pretty pictures to photograph. Don’t you want to be in control of what you create, and when you create it? Do you like doing work that relies on luck, discipline, and drudgery, that you’re not even getting paid for? You may as well be digging ditches. At least then you’d be doing something useful for the world.

9. Join a community of morons. Maybe your smart and join a “camera club.” Then, you get to hear a dozen other people complain about the delay of Nikon’s latest DSLR and make excuses why they can never be a good photographer until they have *insert lens here*. Then they’ll complain about how they can’t attract any money. Maybe if they’d add something real to the world, they’d have the money to buy their toys. If you’re a photographer, you may as well be playing the latest World of Warcraft game.

Or perhaps you’re particularly dedicated and follow your passion to a photography university. Then you get to spend four years and thousands of dollars on the dead art of film, while hearing old codgers whining that the youngsters have it too easy nowadays. You may as well learn Latin. If you want to be a professional photographer, take a business class. But you’re condemning yourself to a lifetime of slave labor. If we had today’s photography before Lincoln’s time, then slaves would be photographing our children’s birthdays and recording our weddings. Why? Because slaves were forced to do tedious, boring, uncreative work.

10. You’re a dime a dozen. You’re building no legacy, you can’t pass your business on to your children, you work on assignment for pennies, and anyone can replace you at anytime. In what other artistic field can anyone do exactly the same work you do, with no talent nor experience? Read rubbish like Is Color Photography an Art? with any spirit of inquiry, and you can see what fools we are.

“Okay, so since photography is really nothing, we’ll give it some class. Only photography done on expensive, time-consuming film is art. No color nonsense—that’s too much like the real world. Digital doesn’t count—it’s missing the needless drudgery. 35mm? Are you crazy? That’s the easy way out.”

Can’t you see how dumb this is? If photography was an art form, we wouldn’t have millions of pages debating the subject. It would be plain and obvious. The very existence of a debate proves that photography as art is shaky ground to stand on. You don’t see anyone debating painting as an art form, or protesting the Mona Lisa as uncreative.

“The color photographer has many means of bringing expression into a scene; the selection of camera position, lens focal length, use of filters, depth of field, film type, exposure, composition, and shutter speed all figure into the image that is produced. During printing, the color photographer has control of contrast, density, color balance, and saturation to convey personal expression.”

Oh puh-lease. “The cashier has many ways of being creative at the check-out line. She can express herself by scanning your groceries swiftly, grouping them by color, double-bagging at her discretion, and suggesting candy bars and periodicals. She has control of the conversation, by making friendly chit-chat or working without delay. Through the artistic medium of words, she has the potential to positively influence hundreds of people every day.”

At least cashiers don’t delude themselves thinking they’re at the pinnacle of artistic expression and can change the world. Perhaps we aren’t so lucky.

Photography is fine for what it is: a pseudo art form for talentless hacks. But don’t give it more respect than it deserves.

10 Tips for Reference Dialogues

The reference dialogue: books and a question mark

A cornerstone of library work is the reference interview (or interrogation if you’d prefer), as it is the principle persona for the library knowledge-base, and is increasingly the domain of library assistants and para-professionals. These are the ideas I’ve picked up from working in the public library sector.

1. Use the encyclopedias. Many students come in wanting books on obscure subjects. Especially in smaller libraries, there are no books to be found, but an encyclopedia article will do in a pinch, and is an authoratative source.

2. Ask questions. If he asks where the nonfiction section is, don’t just point at it; ask if there is anything in particular he’s looking for. Often there is, but you need to break the ice. If you’re asked for “history books,” don’t ask interrogative questions like “why do you need history books?,” but cooperative ones like “what kind are you looking for?”

3. Quality over quantity. Don’t give the patron a good book on crocheting and then eight unrelated books on knitting; start with one, and then follow up if the resource proves inadequate. Overloading him with information is not much better than doing nothing at all, as it is our job to sift the wheat from the chaff.

4. Leverage Google for the author of a title, the jargon of a field, or even how to spell an elusive word (if the mis-spelling is common, Google will list it with the question, “did you mean?”). This can be useful if you can’t understand your patron’s mumblings; search what it sounds like, and often you’ll get your answer. You can then query your library’s catalog with the details you found online.

5. Keep it simple. When a patron comes in asking how to search jobs or phone numbers online, be sure to put in a good word for the Pennysaver and phone book; they are often the more relevant choice.

6. Be nice. The theory of participation inequality applies to reference requests too. Though we will never have accurate stats, we can assume that 90% of library users who would like to know about something don’t ask, be it because they lack a definite question, feel uncomfortable, or are just quiet in general. Do you want to drive away the 10% that do ask, or make the 90% grow even larger?

7. Take initiative. If that user is staring quizzically at your biographies, or struggling with your public catalog, ask him if there’s anything you can do to help. Often, this will be the catalyst for a question-and-answer discussion that will bring out what he’s looking for.

8. Defer gracefully. For the many patrons who ask genuine questions, there are a few who will bring page-long lists of items for you to find, or expect super-human expertise from you. Offer to find the items or show them how to use the OPAC (“teach them to fish”), but if there’s a line forming, stay firm that their involved requests must wait.

9. Ask for help. If you’re having trouble finding accounts from the Spanish-American War, ask the resident history buff, or go to a reference librarian or the Internet if need be. No librarian is an island.

10. Follow up. Ask if there’s anything else he wants, or if the information you’ve provided works or is off-target. He may be afraid of being a pest, not realizing the core of the library is patron inquiries. By being open to feedback, you make the public welcome and at ease.

When we strive to be genuinely helpful, we are supporting the perpetual education of our citizens, and the library as the heart of the community.

Continued reading:
The Reference Interview by William C. Robinson
Mock Refernce Interviews by Jimmy Ghaphery

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