Archive for March, 2008

WAM!

Gender, Media, Pop Culture, Race, Writing 1 Comment »

This entry was started while working on my iPhone, how sweet is that? Unfortunately there have been some technological glitches, having nothing to do with the phone, that have caused this (yet again) to not be a live blog. I didn’t want to give up, so today I dragged Synergy (my 800 lb. beast of a laptop) to the conference today only to find out that the WiFi connection is not working here in the Stata Center. Le sigh. I guess I’ll try again next year!

Anyway, the conference was just as great as last year–inspirational, educational, fun.  Like last time, I am full of energy and ideas about my work.  Let’s see how far I take it during the next 364 days…

Haifa Zangana gave an educational and heart-wrenching keynote address about the current plight of women in Iraq. According to the speaker, the climate in Iraq is much worse than during Sadaam’s regime. 91% of Iraqi casualties are men, which leaves women bearing the sole burden of employment and raising children. She gave startling examples of issues that do not reach us through American media:

There are currently over one million widows and five million orphans. Iraqi women and male clerics are raped as tools of military domination and familial/religious shame. The word “democracy” has become the butt of jokes as well as a threatening word that is used against unruly children. Only 28% of Iraqi children attended school last year. Women are being preemptively imprisoned for being “potential suicide bombers.” The Iraqi government and military are both poorly prepared and not adequately representing or protecting its own people. American spending on the war has now reached $3 trillion—about $10,000 per U.S. family.

“Stereotyping and Typecasting in Reality Television” was a fun and interactive workshop presented by Bitch‘s Andi Zeisler and TV Producer Terra Renton.  I got to catch up on the past few years of reality TV (without the benefit of having cable telelvision) and I have to say that I didn’t miss much.  I do want to watch the entire season of that MTV dating show with Tia Tequila–THAT looked crazy.

The most helpful workshop I attended was Christine Cupaiuolo’s “Everything You Wanted to Know (and Didn’t Know You Needed to Know) about Blogs and Blogging.”  I finally understand the inner workings of RSS feeds, Digg, Feed Burner, etc.  I have enough new resources about blogging to last me for a month–hopefully I can find the time to apply many of them here.  I’m really optimistic about creating a better blog and bringing more traffic to my site through the lessons I learned in this workshop.

A leeeetle update:

Gender, Pop Culture, Sex & Sexuality, Writing 1 Comment »
  • This is Day Two of daily trips to a local coffeeshop to force myself to finish schoolwork and to write–so far, so good!  However, I find myself getting awfully distracted by the people watching.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a man who (in the course of five minutes) blew his nose, ate a bagel with his mouth open, and adjusted his crotch a few times.  Tonight I’ve been blessed with I’m-here-to-purchase-nothing-and-talk-loudly-on-my-cellphone-man.  The good news is that nothing is more distracting than being at home with a flat screen tv, lots of great movies to watch over and over again, lots of not-so-great reality tv programming, pajamas, snacks, magazines, a bunny that wants constant attention, lint–you know, the important stuff. 
  • On a random note, remember my post about my exercise ball/desk chair and how I hoped to not suffer the same fate as Dwight from The Office?  Well I did!  I had some concerns about the ball because I noticed one weak spot in the plastic, but I eventually learned to ignore it.  One day I was sitting on the ball, reading some e-mails when BOOM! I was flat on my back on the hardwood floor with pieces of green plastic strewn about me.  At least my fall wasn’t the result of an angry co-worker or partner!
  • My current class (Sex, Gender and Literary Tradition) is totally kicking my ass.  I have read more literature and theory over the past seven weeks than most semesters as a whole and I have to say that studying literature is NOT my thing.  Most of the books have made me say “meh,” but I’ve enjoyed most of the theory.  I miss evaluating television and film and just plain theory in the context of everyday life. 
  • For the second year in a row, I will be attending WAM! and I couldn’t be more excited!  Some of the workshops that are of particular interest to me include: Blogging 101, Writing a Book Proposal that Sells, Stereotyping and Typecasting in Reality Television, What’s the Future of Indie Publishing?, and How to Get Heard: The Art of Strategic Communication with Editors. 
  • I thought that I completed the mother-of-all binges on Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” site last week because I watched the entire 4th season of The L Word (twelve episodes) over the course of four nights, but I was wrong!  Dan polished off the entire season in a little more than twelve hours yesterday, including a two hour break to play around on his computer.  I still can’t decide if I prefer to watch television shows over time, with the buildup of plot points and character development, or if I’m okay with consuming it all at once.  Either way, Jenny is one of the greatest psychopaths ever portrayed on television and I cannot wait for her (hopefully) untimely death.   
  • Speaking of The L Word, I read that Season Six will be the final season for the show and that the producers will be using audience feedback to tie up all of the loose ends within eight episodes.  I would like to see any or all of the following:  Jenny’s death (see above), realistic dialogue, more trans characters, more celebrity cameos, and more Alice.  Dan’s request?  More breasts, please!