"When you wake up from your nap, mama will be here," I said to Oliver.

"Where will you be?" he asked.

"I'll be at work," I said.

"How does the world change like that?" he asked.

"It's a mystery," I answered.

08/30/13; 01:41:55 PM

I had a dream the other night that I wanted to write about.

  • Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I didn't do much to mark the occasion, partly because when I was in Washington recently, I climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and pondered the meaning of that speech, and Lincoln's inaugural addresses so many years before.

In my dream, I was attending a big Duke communicators meeting, and my friend David asked me to talk about blogging. I start telling my entire story (journalism, Peace Corps, Zuiker Chronicles), but also heard myself thinking 'It's not about me'. It was a dream, but in my dream I was having an out-of-body experience, seeing myself standing and talking, trying to get myself to stop and talk instead about my helicopter ride on Paama, when the pilot explained that he pictured the air flowing like a river and guided his aircraft along those streams of air.

In my dream, and in my waking consciousness, I realized that that was a perfect metaphor for the type of blogging I've been promoting at Duke Medicine, where I spend a lot of time meeting with colleagues to talk about how to use blogs and social media to communicate the research and education and clinical care provided by the departments in the School of Medicine. We talk a lot about the 'river of news', both the concept of flowing information and the reverse chronological display of discrete items of information.

The Department of Medicine, where I work, is about to begin the process of a major web redesign. I'd written an RFP, but my dream has helped me to see that I need to explain that our goal is for the new site to display some permanent information that exists like the rocks in a river or summits in a mountain range, but that mostly we want a site to reflect the flow of information like the flowing water in the river or the rushing air through the valley.

My other blogging strategy - small just, just ahead - will also be important.

I'm in the noisy new food pavilion at Duke, so probably haven't written the most coherent post above. More on it to come later.

08/29/13; 01:17:22 PM

In conversations about the web, I often remark that it's kinda hard to actually get past the routine sites I visit and get to a site operated by someone beyond my own country. It's the world wide web, after all, and I know I need to make a concerted effort to get the global perspective.

So when I do think about broadening my online borders, I often head to Global Voices - "an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world."

In November 2006, when I was in Boston for a conference, I got a chance to meet one of the Global Voices founders, Ethan Zuckerman. I told him about my Story Blogging idea (oral history plus blogging, which didn't go anywhere at the time but has been reborn as the Voices of Medicine initiative with my friend, Jeff Polish, who runs the fabulous The Monti storytelling organization), and probably mentioned the first science blogging conference that Bora and I were planning for a couple of months later. Ethan's work on Global Voices was an inspiration to me as I worked to build the ScienceOnline community.

This afternoon, while I prepared the regular Sunday roasted chicken, I listened to On the Media, which featured this interview with Ethan:

08/25/13; 07:13:28 PM

I woke up in Washington, D.C. this morning, pumped up by the success of the ScienceOnline Climate conference that convened Thursday and Friday. I laced up my shoes and went running, over to the mall, around the scaffolded Washington Monument and then up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to read the Second Inaugural and the Gettysburg Address. By the time I got back to my hotel, I wanted to record a short message about how satisfied and inspired -- and also challenged -- I felt.

08/17/13; 10:17:29 PM

I've been thinking for the last year about getting the mistersugar pig tattooed on my arm, although recently I did wonder if the tamtam illustration would be better.

Now, I'm not so sure.

At John Carroll University early in my freshman year (this was 1988), I walked to the nearby May Company department store in University Heights, Ohio. I usually started downstairs in the small electronics area. I'd peer in the glass cases at the Walkman cassette players and the CD boom boxes. This one day, I then walked over the elevator to go upstairs to the men's clothing section on the second floor. The elevator stopped on one, and an older woman stepped in. As the doors closed, I glanced over and noticed a number tattooed on her arm.

I instantly knew what the number meant. While JCU is a Jesuit (read Roman Catholic) institution, University Heights is heavily Jewish (hence the delicious bagels I wrote about in June). I'd recently read Exodus, by Leon Uris, and I was trying to learn more about the Holocaust. Later during college, I'd go to Washington and visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has a detailed webpage explaining the tattoos the Nazis put on their Jewish and Roma prisoners at the Auschwitz camp.

My Italian grandpa, Louis Sisco, also had a tattoo on his arm. It was a horseshoe he chose to put there when he was in his teens. He often told me that he regretted it, and urged me never to get a tattoo myself.

Here's a photo my mother recently sent me, showing grandma and grandpa holding my daughter, Anna. You can see grandpa's tattoo, and also his wristwatch, which he wore every single day.

When I lived in Hawaii, I saw some amazing Polynesian tattoos, especially on the Samoan men. I didn't get a tattoo then, but I did get my ear pierced, and I wore a hoop for 10 years.

Now, I think I've decided not to get a permanent tattoo, for no specific reason or strong feeling.

But I did just order temporary tattoos of the mistersugar purple pig.

08/10/13; 12:30:17 PM

In the NYTimes today, Tom Hanks waxes eloquent about manual typewriters: I Am TOM. I Like to TYPE. Hear That?

As it happens, I brought an old Royal typewriter with me to this Rhode Island cottage. I'm returning it to my stepmother, Dorothy, who lent it to me nearly 10 years ago. I used to have it in my UNC and Duke offices to serve as a reminder of writing technology of the past.

So, I typed Mr. Hanks a note:

08/04/13; 10:13:23 AM

We made it to Jerusalem, Rhode Island late last night, having inched along I-95 for hours and hours, the rain and congestion and NYC rush hour and occasional construction project making for one long ordeal.

Earlier, we'd woken in Philadelphia, to rain, but still got to visit the Liberty Bell and U.S. Mint.

Glory! The sun has just broken out.

08/02/13; 09:18:53 AM

Last built: Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 1:50 PM

By Anton Zuiker, Friday, August 2, 2013 at 9:18 AM.