Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

image by - creator

This has been an amazing year for me.

I feel blessed.

I woke up late today after a very late night out. They'd already rung in the New Year in Asia. I had messages wishing me a Happy New Year. I really did feel very loved and blessed to have such thoughtful friends.

It's been hectic:

I had a ridiculous number of moves. I now know that's par for the course in the NYC area for many. I dread thinking about it, but I foresee, at least, one more move next year. That's why I've not really unpacked yet. :-/

It's been overwhelming:

I thought I'd be able to keep up my writing. I just haven't been able to between these moves and networking. I've got a few interviews from weeks past I need to write up and submit.  I also have a couple I need to rethink conceptually.

Networking is essential if you're working for yourself. If you factor in that I moved here not knowing a soul and having no family and less than a handful of friends here, well, I've had to hustle.  Also, networking is necessary for your sanity and social life if you're in a new place. 

I've had moments that have challenged my patience too. I've had to adjust to an urban culture that is very different, for better or for worse, than what I'm used to. I'm still trying to figure it out, but I'm getting there. 

It's been rewarding:

Working as a freelance social media manager and strategist and getting real results for my clients has been just INCREDIBLE.

I'll admit that sometimes there is that itch of uncertainty because this is a fairly new industry. There are a lot of people claiming to be a "guru" or an "expert".  My approach is to do the work and do it well.  I've created results for myself.  I'm now creating results for my clients. 

I'm in the most competitive pool in the USA, so having happy clients that recognize that I'm doing a great job makes me smile. Being able to have a viable freelance business with just over a year of work with no transition from the support blanket of full-time work or the name recognition of a company behind me, well, I'm proud that I'm doing it. 

It's just been great in so many ways:

I've met some great people. I've had some great moments.  I've also lost some important people due to growing apart or moving on, but, you know what?  That's okay. You learn from it all. 

It's forced me to be very introspective and to see what needs fixing:

I fancy myself as someone who is already quite introspective.  I've had a fair amount of loss and losing my parents early and in rapid succession made me tough.  My mom had already taught me to be resourceful. It's just that with them gone, I have to use it. When I moved abroad to South Korea I longed to see a bit of the world and learn. I did that in ways I never predicted. 

A weird effect of that, however, is even being a city like NYC now means I'm impressed with what I see here, but I'm not THAT impressed.  Why? Because I just know there is more out there.  I chuckle when I hear or see people here say "only in New York". We're more common than not.  NYC is a vibrant and special place, but, for me, that's not because it's necessarily the best place. It is, however, a city that attracts the best talent and the best creativity.  When you look at modern history and the lives of individuals who've made an impact a large number of them have spent, at least, some time in New York, NY.  That makes me feel like the odd person out because I hear that "only in New York" stuff so often that I do feel like the odd person out. It's great, but come on...

Resuloution time? Yes and no. I don't "do" resolutions. I do life changes or I don't bother:

I've got some chronic personality quirks - I tend to run late and that's bad.  It's also funny because I know it's a reaction to my mom ALWAYS being insanely early.  It was just so frustrating to get someplace and sit, sit, sit.  I hated it.  In L.A., San Francisco and South Korea, it was always something that was never ~that~ bad.  However, in NYC when things fail?  OMG, they fail in a big way.  Note to self: factor in a good 30 minutes lead time over how long you ~think~ it will take you to get there.  That seems to be working for me. 

Also, my diabetes factors into this. I've had times where my blood sugar goes dangerously low, hypoglycemia. I also have a side effect of diabetes called hypoglycemic unawareness. If my sugar crashes I'm just out of it. This can happen at anytime and I'm taking steps to reverse it and make sure it stops.

Wish me luck!

Feeling like the odd person out comes up again here. A side effect of having lost the two most important people in my life in my 20s, just when my life was starting made me very closed.  I have a big personality and I'm not shy around strangers. That's my acting background (yep, acting, which I don't talk about much anymore.) I was the little girl who hid behind her mother when strangers spoke to her. She's still there. I'm still bashful in some ways. With no mother to hide behind, I just close parts of me off.

I'm not open with what I'm really feeling and really thinking.  I often feel like people don't get me.  I also sometimes intentionally shut people out or block them from getting to know me. In fact, I was out last night and felt that way almost the whole night.  People size you up on what they see.  So when people see me, I know that most are putting me into some weird and probably stereotypical category.  I speak four languages. (Granted, I only speak my native language fluently.) I've traveled a lot. I've studied a lot.  I probably know way too much about politics and have a knack for being able to find information quickly.  I was a library nerd and I'm the same on the Internet. Having quick access to information is amazing.  My music taste and interests run eclectic. I love Van Halen almost as much as I love Prince.

So, I'm going to open up more because it's not just stereotypes guiding me being misunderstood. It's me wrapping myself up tight in a protective ball.  Life is just too short.  I've led a risky life in some ways but it's time to take some deeper risks with my soul, my feelings and my emotions.  I've kept them well-hidden. I've got to take more chances and be more vulnerable.  I'll admit, I'm just terrified of feeling the loss of grief. I really do hate it, so I've shut down in some ways. However, it's part of life. I can't hide from it. Some things that happened this year showed me that.

That's it.

It's been just an awesome 2010 and I expect that 2011 will be even better.

Here is wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year! All the best in 2011.


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Friday, November 19, 2010

I Interviewed Seth Godin!

This is pretty exciting.

One of my clients got invited to the NextGenCharity Conference here in NY, NY. That invite came via Twitter, which I manage for him. Score!

Anyway, Tony creates a lot of great content targeted to small to mid-sized nonprofits.

In fact, the tagline of his show is, "Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%."

One of those resources is a weekly radio show that he started around the time I started working with him.

Yesterday, he spent most of the day interviewing the NextGen speakers. He had to go to do a speaking engagement of his own around lunchtime.

Wouldn't you know that Seth Godin would be available when Tony was gone. It was either then or never, so I revved up my interview skills and stepped in. Here is the post from Tony's blog and the video.


NextGen:Charity Interview With Seth Godin

Me and Seth Godin at NextGenCharity 2010 in NYC.

Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio sat down with Seth Godin after he came off stage at today's NextGen:Charity Conference. But Tony Martignetti didn't. I had a commitment speaking (proudly) at Bernstein Global Wealth Management at the time Seth was available.

Regina Walton, principal of Organic Social Media, stepped in and talked to Seth so the opportunity was not lost.

He's a bright guy, so take a look at his advice for the nonprofit conversation.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Mourning Season

Last year, seven days after my birthday, I woke up and Kitty, my 19 year old cat, wasn't in her usual spot. That usual spot was actually many spots, but it was almost always somewhere near me.

I went to the living room and saw her there. I let out a sigh of relief because I knew she was old. I had spent the last few years making sure she was breathing when she was asleep and had other paranoid moments. I went back to the bedroom thinking all was fine. It wasn't. I guess she'd had a stroke during the night. She couldn't walk but was able to make it to my bedroom door.

I flipped out, grabbed my computer and found the number for 24 hour emergency pet clinics. I found one, but, at that time, I was up in Harlem, so it was a bit of a trek from where I was to the center. By the time we got there, she'd died. At least, it was in her travel bag (she got calm when I put her in that.) I donated her body to research (it was a teaching hospital). They then sent her off to be cremated. A few days later I got her remains back in a tin box. I won't get into it too much. I wrote about it the day she died. I miss her.

Although, it's my favorite season, the autumn is also a sad season for me. My mother died years ago in November. Then five weeks later when winter is in full swing, I remember that my father died just weeks after my mother. (Tends to happen that way in my family a lot.)

Nothing more to say except I miss all three of them so very much. I've learned most people mean well, but I'm about to become a mountain recluse. (Most people are morons.) I'm glad I've got loving memories of them all and realize I'm lucky. I feel these loses strongly but that's only because they lived and, because of that, I was blessed with tons of love and attention.


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Monday, September 20, 2010

Motorola Sucks, part 3 - Motorola Feedback Network

Okay, this is interesting. I got this email from Motorola a day or so ago.  I had a chance to read it now. 
Dear Motorola Forums member,

When you registered on the Motorola Owners’ Forums, you expressed interest in providing feedback to Motorola. Thank you!

Please click this link (removed) to take a short enrollment survey for our Motorola Feedback Network. As a member of the Motorola Feedback Network, you will be included in various studies and feedback opportunities. Registering is no guarantee that you will be asked to participate in benchmark studies or beta-test software, but we chose those people from the MFN.

If you have already received an invitation previously or signed up via a link on the Motorola Owners' Forum, please ignore this e-mail and accept my apologies for the duplication.

The survey takes only five or 10 minutes. It’s all private and none of it will ever be used to advertise or market to you. If you have any questions, please e-mail me here. (removed)

Thanks again, and we hope to be in contact with you soon.

Matt Greenberger
Consumer Experience Champion
Mobile Devices Consumer Support
It sounds good, right?  Granted maybe Motorola will find this blog along with the great graphic I used and toss me out of the network, but this email wasn't marked as confidential. 

I'm just hoping it's a sign that they realize they REALLY need some help and want to change future posts that people write from "Motorola Sucks" to "Motorola Rules". 

Thanks for the invite, Matt. I'm in.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Please Demand Healthier Food, Thanks...

You know things are a bit tight for an entrepreneur right now. Like seriously, the local 99 cent stores are my friends right now. Moving in the metro-NYC area is never cheap even if where you're moving is cheap.

Anyway, things will turn around soon and, since I'm not looking for a place to live, I can turn my focus back to my work and seeking out a new client or two or something else to supplement my income.  I'm pretty effective when I do that, so I'm not too worried.

However, with that said, food. OMG, food in NYC is ridiculous. It's expensive and things like fruits and veggies? Gah, exorbitant compared to what I'm used to in South Korea and in my native California. I'm doing okay because in law school I had to be frugal, so I can snap back into that really easily when I need to.  Good for me that there is a farmer's market that is nearby.  I'll make sure to stop by this week to pick up a few things.

However, I'm running low on this product, Applesnax's unsweetened applesauce, and I'm just irritated because it's not like I can skip over to the local market and replace it.

Why? It has no added sugar.

Why the hell is it so hard to find products with no added sugar when obesity is a major problem and type 2 diabetes (not what I have, BTW) is nearly damn epidemic here in the USA?

I ask this seriously.  I know that Mott's has one too.  However, it's really rare that you'll find me in a mainstream supermarket and that's where you'll find Mott's products.  It's rare that small corner markets will stock sugar-free products. There just isn't any room and probably not much demand. I am someone who will ask local merchants to start stocking things and, I think, it's time to start asking for more sugar-free stuff.  I just hope more people start doing it because it's pretty insane how much easier it is to get processed high-fructose corn syrup crap than simple foods.  


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring...Like seriously, it was pouring.

Just a bit of weather and architectural weirdness.

I actually think this is good because if the rain slides off the roof like that, someone did that on purpose. I'm hoping for a winter season of no leaks or snow weirdness.

Basically, I heard the thunder coming in and then boom, this deluge started. No problem as I'd seen them before, but with the heavy rain, I decided to check on the open windows and saw this:

Wow. That's A LOT of water. :)


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*Some* recruiters are morons...

Okay, when I first came back to the States, I completely denied any urges to freelance.  Too scary.

Honestly though?  I sort of saw myself doing this. I just wasn't sure how to do it or, honestly, what to do.  I knew the freelance writing market was being gutted due to the recession (economic slow down, my a$$, this is a recession).  Experienced writers were getting laid off and long-running magazines and papers were shutting down.  Not really the best time to come in as a newcomer only to have to compete against experienced writers.

I started looking for your typical 9 to 5.  I had almost no success.  That was jarring for me because I was always someone who could land something pretty fast. It brought home how very real this recession is if I couldn't find something.  What people told me and what I eventually noticed was all that time I'd spent online? That gave me a wealth of skills that some people are willing to pay for and to my clients and to a well-wired South Korea, THANK YOU.  Now I freelance and have been doing so for about a year.

Things are tight for sure, but it's rare that I'll apply for a job.  If I happen to scan the help wanted section and see something I think would be a good fit, I'll apply.  It's rare.  Why?  I'm convinced that most recruiters are just too conventional for their own good.  Most who talk to me are a bit baffled when they hear my background.  Honestly, I can understand it to a certain degree, but I look at it as "this is a candidate with a wealth of experience and tons of valuable transferable skills."  They, in contrast, don't get that I'm well-educated, well-traveled and haven't sold out to a law firm or something conventional like that. (God, no!)

Anyway, the inspiration behind this post are the recruiters who contact me.  I've not gone looking for them.  They're usually finding me from my LinkedIn profile.  (So it's good to see the site does have some value in that respect.)  I had a recruiter contact me last week. She requested a resume and I sent that to her. She said she'd follow-up with me.  I was going through my emails last night and remembered that I'd not heard from her, so I shot off a quick follow-up email.  Her reply?
Dense recruiter:  What kind of position are you looking for? 

Me: You contacted me, so nevermind. Good luck finding someone.

That was my measured reply which was actually code for this, "Pardon me? I wasn't looking at all. You contacted me; you fucktard!"
Honestly though...lately, I've been getting a few recruiters contacting me.  What I'm noticing is a lot don't do their homework.  If you find me via LinkedIn, maybe read the page and get a feel for my background before contacting me.  It's sort of insulting to know someone found you on a page where you've sat down and laid out your professional background, but then the person asks you to go through it. Instead, I want someone to show me they've read my info and ask me questions about it (questions being clarifying time lines or understanding my roles and experience). 

Basically, take the time to show you've read it and not just did a key word search.  It's lazy when I'm sitting there as the person who was contacted but I feel like I'm the one doing all the work.  It's lazy and I lose faith in you real fast.  Usually by the time you talk, a recruiter also has your resume. it.

I've also had recruiters who've come to me then flip the dynamic.  It suddenly feels like I've got to sell myself and, half of the time, they've not even bothered to give me specifics about the job. It's weird. I'll chalk it up to a lack of professionalism and maybe a general dislike of people or what they do.

I'd not put candidates I'd approached on the hotseat. Usually, that causes me to just end the conversation and get back to work thankful that I can work for myself.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Questions about living and working in South Korea...

I just got this request via comments:

"I was wondering if you could email me and just tell me a little about how you got started in Korea and what challenges you faced making new friends and getting established there."


This entire blog, especially, the earlier ones deal with that...well, sorta. 

I'll admit I did start this blog six years after I got there. There aren't any "well, here I am in South Korea!" posts.  However, there are ones that talk about moving, living there and my experiences. Also, there are a ton of other K-blogs where people are talking about moving there and adjusting to life in South Korea.

I answer specific questions but not general questions. Also, this blog IS a broad overview and it touches on many subjects.  Any I didn't write about? I probably didn't want to make that part of my life public and, in terms of topics, there are a few glaring omissions.

Take some time to run a few searches, click around and read what's already been written.  There is also just the feeling you've not read much I've written yet.  (I just ran a couple of searches to make sure posts come up, they do.  There is a search panel on the sidebar which allows you to run searches of my blog only.  I do try to make it easy.  Also, you should probably start with the podcast I did with another K-blogger in 2006.)

After that, ask me questions.

Good luck.


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Monday, September 13, 2010

Motorola Sucks, part 2 - The Factory Reset

There is only going to be a part 2, and that's great because I don't want this to drag out any longer.  If you slogged through my first rant, Motorola Sucks, part 1, you know that I was lucky and got a free Android phone from Motorola a few weeks ago. Yeah! (And, seriously, thanks...)

However, you also know that after a few weeks the phone went buggy on me.  I called Motorola customer service. They kicked me to T-mo.  T-mo kicked me back to them because it was a free phone. The problem was all of my calls rolled into voicemail (nothing on my end to give me a chance at picking up) and the home button didn't work (so no multiple app fun for me...sheesh, is this an old pre-4.0 iPhone OS?)

In one of my calls to Motorola, I was livid because it was, at least, my third or fourth call.  That rep, however, suggested something else: a factory reset (or hard reset). 

Um, okay.  I'd heard NOTHING about that being a possibility before. It does suck because it wipes everything off the phone and, while I was constantly prompted to backup my Blackberry, this Android phone doesn't seem to have that. However, resetting the phone could very well fix the problem. Plus, I was desperate as my only other option was to mail the phone in and be without a phone for the 5 to 7 days it might take. The phone goes back to its factory state but things like contacts would remain as those are synced with Google, as is anything on the SD or SIM card. Okay, desperate times call for desperate measures.

I asked the rep if the instructions were online.  She told me that they weren't.   That.seemed.odd.  However, I didn't have my laptop in front of me at the time to double check (and I would have).  I wrote the steps down and decided to try it after my move was complete and I was settled.

My plan was to bite the bullet and mail the phone off today if I had to.  However, over the weekend, I decided to go back into the Motorola user forums to search for something, anything that could help me.  I figured I couldn't be the only person with a problem like this.

Sure enough, guess what I found?  A step-by-step guide on the factory reset that I was told by a Motorola phone rep WASN'T online.

Good grief...are you f%^king kidding me?  

Granted, this is a forum, so maybe Motorola is just not keeping up with the content that's going up.  However, I found it with just a couple of targeted searches. It was posted about a month ago by someone tagged as a "MotoXprt".  I'm not sure how one becomes a MotoXprt. What's most pressing is why, after these folks have been tagged as experts, that their posts aren't tracked and archived by Motorola customer service.

Just a big old pot of "argh"! Seriously, I would have done this a few days ago had I known.

So, the phone is working again. Yeah! It's ringing and the home button takes me home. However, Motorola's customer service is horrible.  This is something that ~maybe~ should have taken one call.

The online diagnostic didn't walk me through a factory reset.  The customer service rep who suggested it said there were no guides online when actually there are. The fact remains that if something goes wrong with the phone again, I've still got to mail it in.  At least, now I know how to do a factory reset.

Glad I now have a working phone.  I'm still glad I got it for free because I'd be absolutely livid if I paid for this low level of service.

Signing off.

...and Motorola? Your customer service sucks.  It's not just the hardware that people are paying for.  It's the experience of dealing with your company.  That, unfortunately, needs to seriously be reorganized.


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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Motorola Sucks, part 1

Yeah, "intelligence everywhere"
except in their customer service!
Honestly, I'm so exhausted that I just need to write this out to get it off my chest.  There will be a part 2 or even part 3 (hopefully, won't be needed) because the low level of customer service happening here is just insane.


Why?  I thought that I lucked out when I got a Motorola Cliq XT Android phone for free.  I mean "wow".  My little Blackberry was still holding on and I was going to wait until early next year to do an upgrade.  Yet, I was envying my Android and iPhone carrying friends to some degree.

Initially, the phone worked like a charm.  I'm not sure what happened but the home button stopped working and my calls now immediately roll into voicemail.  It sucks. I'm in matches of phone tag constantly and there isn't a thing I can do about it except apologize profusely to the people that are trying to contact me.

I took it to T-Mobile.  They looked at it and confirmed the phone wasn't working.  They checked it for water damage and they were ready to switch me to a new phone.

But oooops!  Because it was a freebie phone from Motorola, they told me I had to contact them.  (Which, BTW, I HAD.)

This is where the clusterfuckery begins.  I call and their automated system that routes you to the right person is frustrating at best.  I finally get to someone and she tells me my "options" are to mail the phone in.  I stop and I say "and my other option is?"  She repeats that I can mail the phone in to be repaired.  I explain that "options" is plural which, in English, means there are, at least TWO choices.  I point out she's only given me one choice.  She then corrects herself to stay that is my only option.

WTF?  WTF?  (I'm not pleased to hear this).  I've not bothered to get a home phone. The last one I had in Seoul was just a waste of money.  I rarely used it.

Hell, here I'm never home and, when I am, I don't want to talk to you.  I do have Google Voice and I have made calls via my computer, but what?  You can't send me a loner flip phone or something to tide me over?  WTF?  And, let me point out this piece of crap was given to me by this company.

Anyway, I ask to speak to someone else because this is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long time.  All around the policy is what it is.  No one can help, not even the folks listening to the conversation via social media (yes, their @MotoMobile Twitter account responded).

The customer service for this
phone sucks on so many levels!
The problem is I was moving so there is no way I'm sending my phone to Texas when I'm trying to move.  I call today because having a phone that doesn't ring is so many levels of ridiculous it's not funny. It's to the point that I'm missing IMPORTANT calls and I'm having a hell of a time just getting things done because people really do screen their calls with voicemail now and call back.

I give up and decide, fine. I've got to bite the bullet, send the phone in and be phoneless for a few days.  30 minutes on the phone to get an RMA number to return the damn phone.  I'm also told postage is on me (fine, fine...the piece of crap phone was free) but that it will take 5 to 7 business days to get it back to me.  EXCUSE ME?

I'll update you all on what happens next, but, trust me, had I known their customer service policy was this shitty I wouldn't have accepted the phone.

So, note to self and anyone who reads this: just don't buy Motorola.  I think I'm going to upgrade to a Samsung Galaxy, I'm just going to try to hold out until I get to the T-mo upgrade period (early November for me.)  I'm not that pleased with T-mo's customer service on this issue either but 1) I didn't buy the phone from them and 2) they have no impact on Motorola's crap service policy.

I'm sorry but eff you Motorola.  You suck.

Yes, I know, lesson to me: a living lesson in you get what you pay for.

More Moto hate here:

Here is the promised Part 2 that I also linked above.


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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

OMG Slate, really? (Not racist but not well thought out either)

Tonight, like most other nights, I was unwinding and goofing off on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Not really a surprise as that's how I make my living now and there are tons of articles and information that rolls across my screen pretty much 24/7.

I follow Emily Bazelon because she's one of the regulars on the Slate Political Gabfest. Emily sent out a retweet (RT). (A RT is just a message that someone decides to repeat to the people who follow them.) 

RT @fmanjoo: How black people use Twitter. My @Slate piece on the latest research on race and microblogging.

I've read Slate for years at this point. I know who Farhad Manjaoo is. Also, the title was enticing enough for me to click over. Honestly, I knew it was going to touch upon the hashtags that get really popular in black circles on Twitter. However, this is assumed because Twitter doesn't compile demographic info. Honestly, just because someone puts up a picture of a black person as their Twitter picture, can you really be sure? No.  But I really don't doubt the data that there are a lot of blacks who use Twitter.  On some level, we're having fun with it.

The first thing I see is this image:

OMFG! Um, okay...what?!!!

In almost all of the articles I read that have a depiction of a Twitter bird, the bird is blue.  However, this article is about black folks, so the bird had to be brown and had to have a baseball cap, right?

I'm not claiming it's racist.  

I'm claiming that it's insensitive and short-sighted.  I do wonder if it wasn't, on some level, intentional.  I mean now a lot more people are clicking over to see what the commotion is all about. They're also linking back to the article. That's good in this brave new Internet world.

I decided to send an @ reply to Farhad.  I was pleasantly surprised that he responded and seem to take a sincere interest in why I was not pleased with the image accompanying his post.

For the sake of completeness, let me post the tweets here in chronological order (as best as I can put them together at 2-something am). His stream is here and mine is on the side if you want to click over and scroll through both pages.
(These first three are in rapid succession.)


RT @fmanjoo: How black people use Twitter. My @Slate piece on the latest research on race and microblogging.

@fmanjoo brown bird and baseball cap? Dude, really? I guess a study focusing on whites will have, oh, wait...they get diverse images.

@fmanjoo Good article though. ;) 

(I didn't want to be too hard, so I balanced the criticism with a compliment. I'd read the article. I know this happens on Twitter. I know it's social scientists doing what they do, so okay. Another social scientist will have a theory on it and have his or her stacks of evidence and analysis to justify their conclusion(s) too. 
The author wrote about it. In the article he acknowledged that this wasn't a complete picture of black activity on Twitter and, for that, I say good job.  I have no interest in broadening my frustration with the image a critique of his writing.  That crosses to bitching because you just want to keep bitching.  It's the image I've got issues with.)


@ReginaWalton Glad you liked the article. But can you tell me what bothered you about the image? I thought it told the story well.

(Okay, here it goes.)


@fmanjoo Just wondering if the piece was on NE Asian Twitter users if a yellow bird w/ slanted eyes and a China chop would be on the page?

(I'd already brought up the question of what image would have been used had the topic been about whites and their use of Twitter. If a bird image was chosen, it would have been the standard blue variations that are so common. I'd bet you hard money on it. 
So, okay, let's broaden it to another ethnic group: NE Asians.  Hell, I lived in South Korea for eight years, I think that's a demographic that I can inquire about, right?)


@ReginaWalton It's tough to depict these topics in a way that doesn't offend everyone and is interesting and aesthetically pleasing.  

(I'm unresponsive and determined to bring this point home.)


@ReginaWalton I understand your criticism, but I wonder what drawing wouldn't be offensive for such a story. 


@fmanjoo It's the need to put an image that is racially distinct & draws on stereotypes that's irksome. Whites wouldn't get anything similar


@ReginaWalton I see what you're saying. I don't know how we'd have handled it had the story been about another race, but I see your point.


@fmanjoo i do understand that you can't please them all but it was the first thing I noticed after I clicked over to read it.

@fmanjoo We're sensitive about images depicting us. (Sometimes maybe too much). This seems to happen when the story is about black people.

@fmanjoo Thanks for asking me to flesh out my thoughts.

(Then it occurs to me! The perfect image to use? A composite image with a bunch of Twitter photos.  That's easy enough to throw together.  I have it on my Twitter page right now from  The real photos of the real people who are in this demographic, I think, would have been fair.) 

@fmanjoo oh a suggestion for an image that might have made the cut? A composite image like the one that's my Twitter page background. 

That's where it ended but for sharing a link with him.  However, I think it points to a larger problem.  The lack of black staff at these media companies.  Now, now...I KNOW has The Root.  I also know I asked Slate's editor, David Plotz, about why there were rarely any black commentators on Slate's Political Gabfest when they had a live Gabfest here in NYC.  I really do think that's staff is well-intentioned and did NOT mean to ruffle anyone's feathers.  

However, the fact is the image did.  I disagree with Farhad's assertion that any image would have gotten push back. (I do think you can't please them all, but that was the case way before the Internet.)  This image was based on a certain image from black American culture.  It's real.  I can walk out of my apartment right now and probably find a young black man with a baseball cap on somewhere in NYC.  

My point is, however, I can also walk out and find a black man in uniform coming home from work.  I can find a black man in a suit leaving a law firm office after putting in a hard day's work.   It reminds me of my father who'd work six days a week at a blue collar dock job and was almost always putting in overtime.  (He gave my mom the checks, trust me, he was clocking some serious overtime.) The image also cuts black women out. I know a lot of women participate in these discussions on Twitter because I'm connected to a couple of women who are always in the hashtag fray when it heats up.  I do sometimes poke my head in when the hashtags heat up and click on it to see who is saying what.  Women are well represented.  (Also, yes, I know women wear baseball caps too but a girl bird would have had long lashes or something indicate it was female.)

It just feels like a lack of awareness of the people who put this together.  Also, with there being very few blacks on staff, I don't think anyone black saw it or, if someone black did see, it they chose to not say anything. (However, I'd hope the environment at Slate is a bit more productive than that.) 

This is laced with a bit of frustration. Honestly, one of my best friends just got an awesome job.  He's also a blond-haired and blue-eyed white male.  I'm ecstatic for him. However, in contrast, I've been back in the States for over a year.  I've gotten a few job interviews, but I support myself now strictly with my freelancing.  

That's great on some level, but I'm still very much underemployed and off of the grid.  That's scary.  It's also really frustrating because I've got the education, the skills and the experience.  It makes me wonder how things would be different if I were a blond-haired and blue-eyed white female. Seeing articles like this doesn't help my perspective either: 1 in Every 4 Blacks is Underemployed, More Black Women Jobless.  It's frustrating because with all I've done, let me get on the subway and you can feel the judgment based on nothing more than me being black, casually dressed and usually having an afro.  

It also reminds me of the much more embarrassing kerfuffle with the release of a book called Love and Consequences in 2008.  Basically, a white woman lied.  She said she was half native American and that she was raised by a black foster family in the neighborhood where I grew up: South Central L.A.  This got her a book contract and enviable media attention just before the book was about to be released.  This set off alarm bells as soon as I heard the premise.  It's hard enough for white couples to adopt black babies. There is no way in hell the system is going to put a white child in the care of a low-income black family in a troubled neighborhood.  No way. I really believe had there been ANY black staff in the decision ranks they would have said as much.

Is it fair to apply that line of thought to this scenario? Maybe. Maybe not. Farhad isn't white.  However, he's also not black. I'm not saying that he can't understand, but I am saying if it was his choice to use that image, he's got to learn.  I had to learn about and understand the particular frustrations my Korean friends have regarding race, so I don't expect anyone who isn't black to know them right off. It's the same with any group, even whites.  Trust me, I've had white friends talk about their perspectives on race and theirs are valuable too.  The issue is the power structure. Which I won't get into as I've written enough.

The problem is usually no one wants to listen when the topic of race comes up because now it is about power.  It takes having an interest, having a dialogue, shutting off the excuses and actually listening versus merely having the dialogue to automatically dismiss what the other person is saying. (On that note this older post: Brilliant: Derailing for Dummies.)  I'm glad Farhad asked.  I'm glad we had a dialogue.  I hope he listened and truly understood my point.

Now it's time for bed.  It's way past my bedtime.

Here is a great blog from the instant vintage blog: ...oh, slate...(Side-Eye).  She's changed the image in question to represent a range of blacks and she'll be adding more.  I've adopted the one with the mortar board for obvious reasons. 

The Black Snob weighs in on the topic here.


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Monday, July 5, 2010

Six Clips of the 2010 Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show

A friend and I went out to Clinton Cove Park (on Foursquare, it's Pier 95 Park) yesterday to eat, talk and, ultimately, watch the Macy's 4th of July fireworks display.

When I lived in San Francisco, I would wander down Van Ness to Fisherman's Wharf to see the fireworks show.

I decided to try out the camcorder function on my new Android phone and it's pretty good. You'll hear me and the people who were around me last night here and there. Overall, though I tried to keep my arm up (hard for minutes at a time) and my mouth shut to just enjoy the light show. For some reason, a couple next to us decided that it would be appropriate during the light show to turn on music. Odd, but in the grand scheme of things, minor.

Honestly, it's not the most exciting on tape, but live it was really nice to let go and morph into a little kid. ;)

I taped 6 clips and here they are:

Will I do it next year? Maybe.

My friend and I were pleasantly surprised at how well the crowd behaved and with the crowd control walking out of the area. Overall, it was nice to make the effort to see the show live as yesterday was my first 4th of July in NYC.


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fiction vs. Reality: A Personal Take on Being an Orphan

“Because orphans represent the feelings and pain that all humans experience, the character still resonates with audiences of adults and children alike. And until the day when no one feels the pain of isolation, orphan characters will continue to symbolize it for us.”

Professor Melanie Kimball

In June I get hit with two days that poginantly remind me that I'm an orphan. My first reaction is to hop online and look for information and resources to help me through it.

What’s interesting is if you Google terms like “loneliness and orphan” you’ll get tons of links on the phenomenon of orphans in fiction, especially children’s fiction.  There is an impressive list of characters:
  • Peter Pan
  • David Copperfield
  • Oliver Twist
  • Huck Finn
  • Tom Sawyer
  • Jane Eyre
  • Mary in The Secret Garden
  • Sara in The Little Princess
  • Anne Shirley in Anne of Greene Gables
  • Heidi
  • Louisa May Alcott’s Rose or Fanny
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  • Harry Potter (the one, surprisingly, I relate to the most)
  • Luke Skywalker (my personal favorite) and, his twin sister, Leia Organa 
  • (list lifted in its entirety from this webpage)

Illustration by J.L. Cook 

I won't deny that these stories engage you and pull at your heart strings.  Real stories of misfortune and triumph do the same.

If you don’t find links to various essays on on fiction, then it's usually a mental health professional talking about the literal or figurative state of being an orphan through the lens of some sort of trauma.

Another result? The how-to lists on combating loneliness for those who might be a bit shy and reserved.

All of these have their place and are definitely useful.  The most engaging category for me is the fiction analysis because that’s an interesting phenomenon that I’d never thought about.

The problem is that in looking for answers all of these sources fall flat for me: a real life orphan. That means when I’m having these moments, none of those resources do much for me. 

I didn’t have any trauma until the trauma of my parents’ deaths (when: my mid-20s, how: 5 weeks apart and unrelated (no accidents, just sudden trauma)).   I was a very happy and very loved only child.  (I'm also usually a pretty happy adult, considering.) I knew my parents adored me, and I was very close to both of them.

In person, I’m outgoing and engaging.  I don’t need tips on how to meet people and form friendships.  I'm not shy, and I'm pretty confident.

I also don’t need analysis on traumatized children as that wasn’t my childhood.  I have a literal separation due to death and not a figurative one due to bad parenting.  Those are heartbreaking stories, for sure.  People in those positions do need help and support.  Also, when I read those, I'm thankful that I was so incredibly lucky. However, those don’t apply to me.

I don’t relate well to any of these because I don’t see myself.  I can’t be the only one.  BTW, yes, I have seen and owned books like Motherless Daughters. It's just that most works like that are for sale only, so outside of an link and summary that's all the solace and direction you get.  (Time for me to make a run on the public library.)

June is a hard month for me.  Usually, the weather is lovely.  It’s the start of summer, and it’s bright and sunny.  I'm writing as the sun rises over the NYC skyline, and loving the view.

Again, in June, I get hit with two significant days: my mother’s birthday which is in mid-June and then Father’s Day which was always a big deal because I was daddy’s girl.

There is almost nothing out there that deals with my sort of loneliness head on.  My loneliness is the pain of having lost my parents and missing the deep connection I had with both of them.  I have it in spirit and that keeps me going.  I also know that I’m blessed to have been loved so much that my grief runs deep. (Irony at its finest, but a way to spin it so that I’m not just a mess.)

From an academic perspective, it’s really interesting to see that adult grief is rarely addressed.  We all know that if the natural order of things occurs, our parents will die and we’ll be left behind.  For me, that happened years before anyone expected it. It does affect how I deal with people now. It's very hard for me to get close to others as I have a fear of abandonment.  There is also that feeling of constantly running scared because I am my safety net and when things go wrong, it's all on me.

There's my psychological rubble from all of this.  I can socialize with no problem.  Throw me into a party where I know no one, and I’ll leave with a few new friends.  However, I’m very slow at getting close to people.  (I always have been. Now it’s just 10 times worse.) Knowing it's all on me also means I've learned to be both resourceful and responsible.  I used to lose my keys all of the time.  I knew my mom would have an extra set waiting for me.  Since her death, I've never lost a set of keys (misplaced, yes, but lost, no).  That's probably because I know that, if I do, I don't have mom to save me anymore.

Since I’m adopted, I’m also an orphan twice over. I'll admit that probably factors into the deep attachment I had with my parents.  I was very aware that they chose to save me.

Illustration from

You have to be a fictional character tasked with saving the world or a galaxy far-far away, someone traumatized to the point of serious behavior and psychological problems or simply someone so reserved and shy that they can’t make friends to get essays written about you.

I don’t fit any of those, so, I guess that's why I'm watching the sunrise and writing my own essay.

I’m someone who had loving and supportive parents and I miss them.

A lot.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, RIP.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

Google Says Happy 30th Birthday to Pac-Man

Tech and other blogs started blowing up about this today. Google is in the habit of changing its logo on special days to commemorate things like current and historical events. I don't go to the Google page much these days, but when I catch a custom doodle, I'm always happy to see they're still doing it.

I was working away when I saw a Mashable update flash across my iTouch. From there, I went to Google first and there it was:

Awesome! It's Google's first ever interactive doodle.

I was never good at the game, but that didn't stop me from playing. It's totally cute and potentially distracting. However, I'm proud of myself for getting done with my work and writing about it after the fact. ;)

Check it out. I think it will be up for the rest of the day.

Happy Birthday Pac-Man!


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

She's here: Meet my Minimed Revel Insulin Pump

 There she is attached to me while laying on my laptop keyboard.


I got the pump I gushed about getting yesterday.  A MiniMed nurse/trainer met me this afternoon to walk me through a new and improved pump and all the new things I need to learn to make it effective in managing my diabetes.

The frustrating part was I was approved for it sometime in early or mid-April.  I have an approval letter from my insurance.  The pharmacy I chose is run by people who just don't seem to care.  They're one of just two or so pharmacies approved to provide MiniMed pump supplies, so the attitude there seems to be a whole lot of "whatever."

My Minimed nurse contacted me at the end of April to set up a time to train me, so she's been on this mad roller-coaster ride too.  However, I switched pharmacies yesterday.  I hope the new one I chose is better.  It was sort of like playing darts blindfolded as, I had no idea of their customer service reputation. Also, in Korea, there was just one supplier as I paid out of pocket for my supplies (expensive). They were on the ball and then some most of the time. I don't want to stress the ineptness of the first pharmacy. It's over. I've got my new pump, so yippie!!!  Here is a great guide to the model I have written by Scott Hanselman*: A Diabetic Product Review for Non-Diabetics - The Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm "Revel" Insulin Pump and CGM.

I don't have the CGM, continuous glucose monitoring, component.  However, my nurse is working on getting that for me too.  Yeah, MiniMed!!!

Here are links to the TwitPics I sent out last night when I was having a geekgasm over my new diabetes equipment.  I'm truly blessed to have this.  It will literally add a few years to my life.

My stash of new Minimed Revel insulin pump supplies and new g... on Twitpic

My stash of new Minimed Revel insulin pump supplies and new g... on Twitpic

My stash of new Minimed Revel insulin pump supplies and new g... on Twitpic

My glucose is a bit too high right now, but that's because of bad carb counting on my part and because I drank too much orange juice before I exercised this afternoon.  However, with this pump, it reminds me to check my blood glucose two hours after a dose, so I can keep on those numbers better. Now it's time for me to get to work.  Since I blog for others and manage their social media now, that means my hours are usually split with early morning work, an afternoon check-in and on nights like this, some work on a newsletter.

My pump is awesome, and I'll definitely post an update a few weeks in to give you an update on how things are going.

*Scott and I have been connected on Twitter since the day I joined the site back in 2007.  I remember specifically searching out other diabetics.  I'm glad I found him because he also works in tech, for Microsoft.


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Saturday, April 3, 2010

RIP David Mills aka Undercover Black Man

 David Mills in 1995. Photo: Rhonda Birndorf/Associated Press.

It's been a brutal week here in my world. I'm a freelancer and parted ways with a client. There was a brutal rainstorm here in the NYC area. I'm on the top floor and, yep, you guessed it, the roof sprung a leak...directly on my bed. Also, my laptop got infected with a Trojan horse virus. Good for me that I knew immediately that something was wrong, basically went into safe mode and stopped using it. An IT professional referred me to a great place to get it repaired. They knew what was going on and told me to bring it right in. I took it in Thursday morning and I picked it up a day later. Note that I work from my computer, so I had to scramble and get work done at the public library. I did it, but yeah...I had to hustle and do it fast because you get, at max an hour. (Good I've got both a Manhattan and a Brooklyn library card. I did hit libraries in both boroughs on Thursday.)

All of that means one thing, beyond major news stories, I've not been paying much attention to the world around me. This week, Twitter started blowing up overtime that David Mills had collapsed and died this past Tuesday while working on Treme a new HBO series in New Orleans. I was MIA on Twitter this week, so it didn't catch up to me until today.  Thanks to a fellow forum member who reads my blog and his that let me know that he'd passed. She'd noticed that he linked to me in his Background vocals (ladies) section. He linked to me awhile back a couple of years ago. I'm sure as a result of some of my more spirited posts on race. The company he put me in is great and is humbling.

David was great too. I knew he was the writer of the popular Undercover Black Man blog, but what I didn't know was that he was a powerhouse writer in many other respects too. David, who grew up and made Washington, DC home, was a journalist, and he created, collaborated and wrote on some great TV shows like The Corner, Kingpin, and the Wire.  In fact, he died while on location working on an HBO series called Treme. Considering spent almost nine years abroad, I only heard about these shows. I didn't know all this about him, and it's even more humbling because he found my blog and appreciated what I had to say.  I know I definitely related to and appreciated his writing too.

What's interesting about David's blog is there was never a picture of him.  I'm someone who is clearly and easily identified as black.  I figured because of the name of his blog he was probably a black man with a light complexion because my mother and both of my grandmothers were light.  That's something that non-blacks tend not to get the nuances of.  That you don't have to have obvious sub-Saharan African features to be or identify as black.  Especially in the USA, there are other results of racial discrimination: mostly that relationships both consensual and those that aren't produce off-spring.  My family has a huge range of hues and colors. Now that interracial relationships are legal, now people can freely date and marry who they want. That history of legitimate and illegitimate shows a lot in black families and almost not at all in white families because the shunned offspring never was never accepted and probably most didn't know he or she existed. I know from the stories my mom told me of the struggles you have when you're black but you're almost always seen as something else.  I'm sure David dealt with this too.

David was a powerful creator and I'm glad that he made a significant impact before he left this world.

RIP David.  My condolences to your family, friends and fans.

Two tributes:
More news:

(code not fixed and "Read More" leads you to a wasteland of nothingness...)


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brilliant: Derailing for Dummies

Why, why, why didn't I ever find this when I was swimming in a sea of privileged, smug yet disarmingly bitter expatriates in South Korea?

This is brilliant.  Now, I won't ruin it by giving you too much information.  Plus, it's 12:25am on a Saturday morning, that is, Friday night.  I'm busy.  I'm working.  However, as is many in the USA right now, I'm still a bit too pressed for funds to be out and about wasting my money.

It's pretty funny when it happens to me because the person doing the derailing usually sees me as yet another race card playing whiner.  I say that because never do these conversations come up with long-time friends who know me and my background well.  They know that 1) I'm very much more on the pull yourself up by your bootstraps and forge ahead sort of person and 2) I'm more middle of the road to conservative than not on a few issues.  It's social issues where I'm a card carrying liberal.  Also, my experience speaks to someone who forges ahead in spite of statistics and norms.  If I wasn't, I wouldn't have done half of the stuff I've managed to do so far.  I'd be too busy whining about how the world was racist.  It IS racist in many respects, but I'm going to go on about my business in spite of the dummies out there.

Speaking of dummies...

The name of the site: Derailing for Dummies.

The topic: a guide for privileged people to derail and marginalize the experiences and observations of minorities. (Yes, it's sarcasm.)

It's great!

Here is the intro, but click over for more.
You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim.

The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible - it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.

Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?

Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!


Just follow this step-by-step guide to Conversing with Marginalised People™ and in no time at all you will have a fool-proof method of derailing every challenging conversation you may get into, thus reaping the full benefits of every privilege that you have.

The best part is, you don't even have to be a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, cissexual, upper-class male to enjoy the full benefits of derailing conversation! Nope, you can utilise the lesser-recognised tactic of Horizontal Hostility to make sure that, despite being a member of a Marginalised Group™ yourself, you can exercise a privilege another Marginalised Group™ doesn't have in order not to heed their experience!

Read on, and learn, and remember… you don’t have to use these in any particular order! In fact, mixing them up can really keep those Marginalised People™ on their toes! After all, they are pretty much used to hearing this stuff, so you don’t want to get too predictable or they’ll get lazy!
(yep, you know it...code not fixed. There is no "more" to the "read more" link.)


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Urban Prep: 100 percent of Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men admitted to college -

This is just a great story that I have to share.  100% of the students at an inner-city charter school in Chicago have been accepted into four-year colleges and universities!  This is great.  It ought not be that rare in my community, but it still is.

I'm so happy to share this story of positive achievement because the media and people in general, like to focus more on the negative stories.  Well, here is a positive one for you all.

Urban Prep: 100 percent of Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men admitted to college -

Posted using ShareThis

Here is the full article:

Every Urban Prep senior is college-bound

100 percent of first senior class at all male, all African-American Englewood academy is accepted to universities

Urban Prep Academy senior Keith Greer, along with his classmates, celebrates the news they will receive a free prom in Chicago because 100 percent of the graduating class was accepted into 4-year colleges or universities. (Tribune photo by Heather Charles / March 5, 2010)

Four years ago, Bryant Alexander watched his mother weep.

She stared down at a muddle of D's and F's on his eighth-grade report card and threatened to kick him out. He had barely passed elementary school, and high school wasn't even on his radar.

"Something just clicked," Alexander, now 18, said. "I knew I had to do something."

On Friday, Alexander proudly swapped his high school's red uniform tie for a striped red and gold one — the ritual at Englewood's Urban Prep Academy for Young Men that signifies a student has been accepted into college.

As the Roseland resident and 12 others tied their knots, Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school fulfilled its mission: 100 percent of its first senior class had been accepted to four-year colleges.

Mayor Richard Daley and city schools chief Ron Huberman surprised students at the all-school assembly Friday morning with congratulations, and school leaders announced that as a reward, prom would be free.

The achievement might not merit a visit from top brass if it happened at one of the city's elite, selective enrollment high schools. But Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls all comers in one of Chicago's most beleaguered neighborhoods, faced much more difficult odds.

Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen, said Tim King, the school's founder and CEO.

"There were those who told me that you can't defy the data," King said. "Black boys are killed. Black boys drop out of high school. Black boys go to jail. Black boys don't go to college. Black boys don't graduate from college.

"They were wrong," he said.

Every day, before attending advanced placement biology classes and lectures on changing the world, students must first pass through the neighborhood, then metal detectors.

"Poverty, gangs, drugs, crime, low graduation rates, teen pregnancy — you name it, Englewood has it," said Kenneth Hutchinson, the school's director of college counseling, who was born and raised in Englewood.

He met the students the summer before they began their freshman year during a field trip to Northwestern University, the first time many of them had ever stepped foot on a college campus. At the time, Hutchinson was Northwestern's assistant director of undergraduate admissions. Inspired by what he'd seen, he started working for Urban Prep two months later.

"I'm them," he said Friday as he fought back tears. "Being accepted to college is the first step to changing their lives and their communities."

Hutchinson plays a major role in the school, where college is omnipresent. Students are assigned college counselors from day one. To prepare students for the next level, the school offers a longer than typical day — about 170,000 minutes longer, over four years, than other city schools — and more than double the usual number of English credits, King said

Even the school's voice-mail system has a student declaring "I am college-bound" before asking callers to dial an extension.

The rigorous academic environment and strict uniform policy of black blazers, red ties and khakis isn't for everyone. The first senior class began with 150 students. Of those who left, many moved out of the area and some moved into neighborhoods that were too dangerous to cross to get to the school, King said. Fewer than 10 were expelled or dropped out, he said.

At last count, the 107 seniors gained acceptance to a total of 72 different colleges, including Northwestern University, Morehouse College, Howard University, Rutgers University and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Alexander was accepted to DePaul University.

While college acceptance is an enormous hurdle to jump, school leaders said they know their job isn't done; they want to make sure the students actually attend.

To that aim, King said, staff made sure that every student has completed the dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid, lest the red tape deter them.

Later in the year, the school plans to hold a college signing day where every student is to sign a promise to go to college, he said. Staff will stay in touch through the summer and hopefully in the first years of school.

"We don't want to send them off and say, ‘Call us when you're ready to make a donation to your alma mater,' " King said. "If we fulfill our mission, that means they not only are accepted to college, but graduate from it."

For now, students are enjoying the glow of reaching their immediate goal.

Normally, it takes 18-year-old Jerry Hinds two buses and 45 minutes to get home from school. On the day the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was to post his admission decision online at 5 p.m., he asked a friend to drive him to his home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

He went into his bedroom, told his well-wishing mother this was something he had to do alone, closed the door and logged in.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" he remembers screaming. His mother burst in and began crying.

That night he made more than 30 phone calls, at times shouting "I got in" on his cell phone and home phone at the same time.

"We're breaking barriers," he said. "And that feels great."

Excellent story.

No, I've not fixed the code, so "read more" leads you nowhere.


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