Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Technology Regression

Clearly, months into this and reverse culture shock pain is still an issue.

You see, after living in South Korea for so long, I adjusted to the incredibly high level of technology that was there and adjusted to how people used that technology. In some ways that means my habits have changed. I remember sitting on the Seoul subway watching TV. Here in Manhattan you can't even get a phone signal on the subway. IT.IS.TRAGIC.

I was the teenager who was on the phone forever. Now you're only going to catch me on the phone for a long time if I'm talking to a close friend or something like that. I still have those conversations, but they're much more rare. Who has the time? I'm not going to get on the phone just to give someone a brief message. I'll send you a text or an email, but I'm not calling. I actually think it's less intrusive to send a text or an email. Why make someone pick up the receiver or have to dial into their voicemail? (BTW, Google Voice is awesome...they transcribe voicemails!)

However, I am still very communicative. It's just that you can bet that you're probably going to get a text or an email rather than a phone call.

Anyway, I have an appointment to meet someone tomorrow for a project I might help him with. He emailed me, and I replied. I honestly didn't even think to give him my number. However, he asked for it, so my bad.

His assistant writes me back pretty much stressing that before they'll can lock down a time that they need a number. That's fine. I'm not holding on to it because I don't take phone calls. It just didn't click as I'd just woken up. However, it didn't click for a much deeper reason. It didn't click because talking on the phone for anything isn't my first instinct anymore.

He had my email. For me THAT'S how you find me these days.

I've got a Blackberry and that thing is always on. In fact, I've learned the hard way to always keep it plugged in. I've had nights where I've come in and not taken it out of my purse. I wake up the next morning to a phone completely out of power. I guess there is so much data coming in that the power just drains completely. That little red light is always flashing. (I also heard they're pretty notorious power, it's what I have, so I deal.)

I just thought it odd that for this person having a phone number was so important that before making an appointment he had to have my number.

It led me to think of a recent freelance job I was on. One day the woman who hired me and I were talking. I said I'm not the type to be on the phone when someone can just send me a quick text message or email. That way I don't have to stop what I'm doing for long. I just check it and keep working. She took that as me saying I don't like to talk on the phone. No, I just don't talk on the phone unless it's important. However, for her, she's still very much in the calling people up mode. It works for what she does: sales. Therefore, I get it. But, for me, I see no reason to make a phone call when all I have to say is something I can send to you by text or email.

If this graph is right, and it sure feels right, I'm stuck between "missing other culture" and "adaptation". I'm still much closer to "missing other culture" right now. I'll admit as much.

There is a new age. It's weird being back in a place where they've not caught up, so I've got to recallibrate. I think kids have. I see the shows where they lament the kid who sends text messages all the time or shake their heads over some kid setting a record for sending the quickest text message. I kind of understand those kids more than I want to admit.

Now I have to see how I can get back to using the phone as my primary means of communication.

Do I HAVE to?

Well, I had to adjust when I was abroad, so I'm going to have to readjust. I'm surprised that it's sort of difficult for me to do.

(no more to read, the "read more" is a code glitch that I, clearly, refuse to fix.)


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Excellent! "Drinking Like Mad Women" from SlateV

I've never seen Mad Men. Remember I've been away, so cut me some slack. However, I get the concept and, because the show is so good, people talk about it all the time.

However, I regularly listen to Slate's Political Gabfest. A couple of weeks ago Emily Bazelon, a Gabfest co-host and their legal expert, was in the middle of an experiment. She also is an editor for Slate's Double X blog. That blog focuses on news and issues from a women's perspective. Well, they love Mad Men and simply wondered how on Earth the characters on the show got through a full day of productive work drinking the whole time. Therefore, they tried it.

That day Emily had to record the Slate's Political Gabfest. They later titled The Pie-Eyed Gabfest. Emily was amazingly thoughtful and well-spoken. If politics is your thing, check it out: The Pie-Eyed Gabfest (this link is going to try to open iTunes, just so you know.) I was listening to it while running errands, so I was standing in the post office and sitting on the subway giggling. She came off really great. I, in contrast, came off as yet another weirdo laughing to themselves in NYC.

Here is the video covering their Mad Men experiment.

I wonder if they're hiring?

(disregard that "read more" - I've not gone in the fix the code.)


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William Safire's Rules for Writers

This is the best way for me to give a nod to William Safire. Safire was a conservative columnist and speechwriter. He was also the writer of the On Language column in the New York Times.

I didn't agree with his political views. For me, he's an example of how someone can be skilled with one thing but not be skilled with something else.

His skills with the English language were incredible. I only hope to one day come close. I make mistakes more than I want to admit. It's really humbling to find something that I didn't proofread carefully and then have to change it.

To that end, RIP William Safire.

Here are his Rules for Writers:

Remember to never split an infinitive.

The passive voice should never be used.

Do not put statements in the negative form.

Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

Proof read carefully to see if you words out.

If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

A writer must not shift your point of view.

And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

(Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)

Don't overuse exclamation marks!!

Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.

Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

Always pick on the correct idiom.

The adverb always follows the verb.

Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

("read more" - nope...I still need to fix the code.)


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Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm a geek!

Anyone who has stuck around over the years, knows I'm a Star Wars geek: older posts tagged with "Star Wars".

I saw this video on the site and had to share it.

In it Darth Vader gets down to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This. Funny...

Okay, I'm in a Starbucks near Grand Central Station and I'm freezing. It's time to head home.

(the code is buggy, still.)


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jimmy Fallon and The Roots Make Healthcare Sexy With a SlowJam


(coding sucks...ignore the "read more" link)


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Alicia Keys' New Song - "Doesn't Mean Anything"

I was out and about in my new neighborhood of Harlem tonight. Alicia sent out this tweet:

Here is the track!

I just hope Lil Mama doesn't pop up from behind my stereo ;)

Update...the video:

Alicia Keys - Doesn't Mean Anything

Alicia Keys | MySpace Video

I had to add the video code from the VMAs. It's just so random that Lil Mama was so inspired she jumped up on stage at the end. After that show I say aspiring celebs and a lot of their fans seriously need finishing school.

(code still needs fixin' but who has the time?)


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Beyonce At The VMAs: A Class Act

I'm not going to focus on the ridiculousness of what a certain person did. I called him out for his stupidity awhile back in 2006.

Instead, I want to focus on the grace that Beyonce showed by choosing to give Taylor Swift a chance to accept the VMA she was given.

It was a class act Beyonce!

Thank you.

My write up on it for Compassion Is Always In Fashion

Check it out.

David A. Arnold clowning Kanye - funny:

(as had been the case for the last few posts, the code is off and there is nothing after "read more"...)


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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maia Campbell and My Community

I'm so behind the curve on this one. I've got to admit it's because I'm doing what people do in a new situation. I'm adjusting to life in my new big city and trying to figure out where I fit. What that means, however, is that I completely missed a story about Maia Campbell, daughter of the writer Bebe Moore Campbell. She's all grown up. She is a famous beauty and, thus, is a target for people who want to take advantage of her.

It looks like that's exactly what someone did. I'm not linking to the video. However, within the community of black bloggers and websites, the mockery is shameful. It really does seem that all of the hate that we perceive coming at us from society we've managed to take and make our own. Now we turn on, mock and deride each other with the same level of hate.

This morning I read Tara L. Conely's take on what's happened, and I agree. Also, for me, the fight against the Black Superwoman myth is something I hold dear. We're strong. We've had to be. However, both mainstream and black culture seems to be blind to the challenges black women face.

And in saying that black women face challenges I'm not implying that other women don' please, don't be simple.

I also empathize because I lost my parents five weeks apart. I mention it because after it happened, people seemed to think I'd just bounce back. I did on the outside. I moved to a new city, got into a top law school and kept it moving. However, it's disturbing that society expected that of me. I don't think that's tied to race but just a general insensitivity to loss in our society. I'm glad Tara brought it up that Maia's mother is dead and gone. Tara mentioned her own loss. I know that my loss touches me pretty much daily. I can function and even thrive, but there is always the reality that I can't call my mom like I used to and have her guidance, advice and love wash over me.

I'm posting what Tara had to say here, turning comments off and hoping you'll head over there to leave a comment for her.

Maia Campbell & The Curious Case of Social Blogging

I suspect that many women of color suffer quietly or at best receive inadequate attention from family practitioners, internists, or clergy when afflicted by even the most commonplace maladies, such as mood and anxiety disorders . . . With educational efforts of the past decade, mood, anxiety, eating, and substance-abuse disorders are being increasingly recognized in the general population, and larger numbers of women of color are seeking and receiving treatment for the first time. Paradoxically however, women of color may still be less likely to receive adequate evaluation for psychotropic medications, even when their presenting symptoms are recognized (or recognizable) by health providers . . . It is not uncommon, for example, that African American, Latinas, and Native American women feel patronized by a health care system that tends to portray them as either ‘victims’ or ‘perpetrators’ of societal ills such as drug abuse, crime, and so on, rather than as individuals. On the other hand, some groups–such as Asian Americans–have a tendency to ‘delay and underutilized’ psychiatric care (Lin, Innui, Kleinman, & Womack, 1982) leading to an ‘invisibility’ of their problems.”

Frederick M. Jacobsen, MD, MPH in Women of Color – Integrating Ethnic & Gender Identities in Psychotherapy (Lillian Comas-Diaz and Beverly Greene, Eds. 1994).


With the recent viral video of actress Maia Campbell appearing disoriented and detached, it’s time our virtual communities, particularly communities of color, recognize that mental illness, whether brought on by genetics, trauma, or drug abuse, most certainly should not warrant exploitative and childish mockery in the name of increasing YouTube and blog hits. I’m sickened by some of my fellow gossip bloggers, and bloggers of color that chose to distribute this video without providing context, but instead posted cheeky bylines to attract viewers, or otherwise, start shit. YouTube users that posted the video on their channels with links to their websites, record labels, and blogs, are just as pathetic. Campbell’s recent video is not the first of its kind to surface. About a year ago, Campbell appeared withdrawn yet again while being video taped by some guy who thought it would be a cool idea to record her engaging in sexual acts.

For obvious reasons I refuse to post or link to any of the videos currently being distributed virally. I also refuse to link or track back to certain bloggers that choose to use their medium as means of speculating about Maia Campbell’s mental state and circumstance.

While other sites continue to propagate Campbell’s tragedy for hits, a few bloggers, listed below, chose the grown-up route to discuss the Campbell controversy. Among some of them include:

I going to assume there are plenty more out there blogging responsibly (I hope), but these few above were among the top searches via Google.

To those bloggers and Tweeters that choose the dickhead route:

Stop speculating that “word-on-the-street-is” bullshit as a form of ‘reporting’ on an obviously serious social issue. Stop insinuating Campbell’s condition is based on her lack of integrity, particularly when you post headlines or Tweet updates like “Cracked out Prostitute” to describe Campbell’s behavior. And by all means, at the very least, search Google before you run with a story or post a Tweet. Trend with truth, as Robin Caldwell asserts in her post above. To bloggers specifically, you simply cannot hide behind your computer screens and relish in your “I’ma blogger not a journalist” shtick, when the truth is that a large majority of people get their news from urban sites, including gossip and blog sites. Blog responsibly, and grow the fuck up.

While I’m not 100% certain Maia Campbell suffers from a specifically diagnosed mental illness, I got a sense from her late mother, Bebe Moore Campbell’s, biography that the Campbell family struggled with mental health issues. Ms. Campbell, a notable journalist, wrote several books, including Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, and one play, “Even with the Madness,” both of which highlight issues stemming from mental illness. Likewise, Bebe Moore Campbell is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and founding member of NAMI-Inglewood. As a long-time advocate for mental health, supposedly inspired by a close relative’s battle with schizophrenia, Ms. Campbell’s book was recognized by The National Alliance on Mental Illness for Outstanding Literature in 2003. Bebe Moore Campbell, Maia’s mother, died in 2003 from brain cancer.

With Campbell’s mother gone, I imagine that it only intensifies her day-to-day struggles. Not knowing Maia Campbell personally puts me in a position of observer, so I in no way want to speak for her, narrate her story, or define her womanhood by what I’ve only seen in a 5-minute video. I simply want to acknowledge Maia in a way that folks within our own virtual communities have obviously failed to do overall.

I empathize with Maia’s battle. On a personal note, I lost my father only several months ago. Since then I’ve been struggling with learning how to cope with losing a significant piece of my identity. It wasn’t until recently when I finally sought help that I realized I’ve been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, for some time. In addition to the trauma of losing my father, I’ve experienced a series of of other traumatic events since childhood, namely death. And at 28-years-old, I’m just now learning how to cope with it all.

This, my friends, is why we cannot publicly speculate, assume, and for god-sakes condescend those of us who continually deal with mental illness on a daily basis. For bloggers and journalists to say to Maia via their written posts, “Maia, you are too beautiful to be doing this” – (yes, I’m talking to you,, you have completely marginalize an entire segment of people who quietly suffer because they’d rather not feel, as Dr. Jacobsen writes above, “patronized” by the rest of society. To equate someone’s “beauty” (a socially constructed ideal, at that) with an obviously self-destructive illness not only shows your lack of brevity as a writer, but also your dearth of intellectual capacity and moral code as one with a public platform to disseminate ideas. Again, grow the fuck up.

But unfortunately this type of virtual behavior is no surprise, when considering that who we are as virtual people tend to mirror who we are and how we believe as people living in the offline world. Stereotypes, misjudging, mockery, and all out inane sensibility permeate through our social networks and web-based platforms. Instead of utilizing our new media platforms to progress as a collective, we’ve chosen to mimic regressive public behaviors online, thereby stymieing our growth and progress as a culture conscious of itself. In the case of Maia Campbell’s recent video tragedy, bloggers of color, in particular, really dropped the ball this time around. Instead of researching, folks posted without context. Instead of respecting a life, folks chose to demean and exploit. Instead of calling out others in the virtual media who got all their facts wrong, folks eagerly posted their own publicly damaging blog based on a 5-minute video clip. And instead of supporting a woman of color, who obviously appears to be suffering quietly (like so many of us have been for years), you – the folks – chose to promote your own self-serving cause; a fucking makeshift blog or record label.

#epic fail.

To Maia,

You, my dear, have my support in sisterhood and in love.

“You’re only as sick as your secrets.” (Anonymous)

Code is still buggy. I'm still busy. "read more" leads to nothing...just skip it.


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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Intervention ;)

I'm getting back into the swing of the American holiday cycles. Since I've been back, I celebrated Memorial Day with a friend from college by staying on the Avalon area of the Jersey Shore and ended up in the emergency room (no need to worry, it was major but diabetes-related, so nothing new). I didn't celebrate the 4th, outside of just enjoying having some time alone. I was staying with a friend who was off on vacation and I was enjoying the benefits of just being alone. However, being near Valley Forge, PA meant I saw some great fireworks and didn't have to go very far. This was Labor Day weekend. Between work and resuming my search for work, I planned to lay low again.

However, I'm officially living in Manhattan now, and work is only one part of life. A good friend whom I went to both college and law school with had a different idea on how I'd spend my weekend. I'll admit that more often than probably is good, I like being alone. Out of habit and, I'm sure, because coping habits I developed as an only child, I just don't like going out much when things get stressful. It makes sense within the context of my life. I've had to cope with stress alone. I also find that people can be more trouble than not when you're stressed out. With having life-rocking events like my parents dying five weeks apart, I'm most comfortable coping with retreating, getting centered and, eventually, reemerging.

Right now, things are stressful: new city; new job (well, more accurately lots of freelancing); new apartment which means new neighbors and a new neighborhood to adjust to; and just a lot of searching and little tweaks adjusting to make.

What's missing there? The social element and sometimes an intervention is necessary. Thanks to my friend's peer pressure, I gave in and decided to attend a party thrown for her. I took the train up to Westchester county instead, and spent part of my Labor Day weekend with my friend, her husband and their friends. I've got to say being new to a big city like NYC, it was nice to be around people I've known for years while meeting new people too. It's out of character for me to change course, but I'm glad I did.

So those of you with solitary friends? Give them a bit of a nudge from time to time. They might not say it, but they'll appreciate it.

(I've really got to go in and fix the HTML code on this blog, but, again, I'm too busy to worry about tweaking the code right now. Just ignore the "read more" link.)


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

OMG! OMG! What a great Seoul promo!!! Finally!

It looks like after the disastrous Korea Sparkling madness of last year, they've truly listened to the feedback and got it right.

Now, you still have to know who Rain is to care, but you might get curious.

This has what others lacked. A taste of Korea - you hear Korean language and you have English subtitles. Then you get a bit of English at the end. I felt a little bit of homesickness because I'd made Seoul my home for a few years. So a lot of those lights and sights I've walked past at night. I can't say I feel half as safe here in Manhattan, but I did in Seoul and had a blast most of the time too. (Don't take that as a put down of NYC. You probably have to be slightly crazy to feel safe in NYC...)

Check it out: CNN Vignette | Seoul City Promo

Comments are off. Take the discussion there please ;)

(the "read more" link is out of order, it leads you nowhere)


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