Monday, April 30, 2007

She Rhymes Like a Girl - Tribeca Film Festival

There is much to say about this past month of April. So much so that I talked so much until even I don't want to say a mumbling word about anything.

It struck me that most of the people in M$M doing the talking about the disrespecting of African-American Women were mostly male people. With a few exceptions, the dialog was conveyed male to male. That must change.

This is a short film shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. There are a collection of short films over on Yahoo. She Rhymes Like A Girl is one part performance and one part illumination about how women are educating themselves on creating their own hip-hop and rap traditions. Class is in session. The first few seconds are not safe for work unless you have headphones.

Some Thoughts

The Hip-Hop conference. You know I've seen the news article about it. The only definite take away that I can tell you that I got from reading the news about it is the following line:

"Sexism is too convenient within the black community for black men," said David Ikard, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. "This issue of Imus came up and I asked the black men in my hip-hop course what were their stakes in it. They were like, 'Well, we don't really have any stakes in it. It seems trivial."He called on black men to do more to speak up for black women."

CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer April 30, 2007 as seen in the Chicago Defender

I learned long ago not to wait for somebody to rescue me. Or to save me. Or to defend me. I don't buy music that offends me. Don't care about the beat if the words try to beat me down.

I am not against hip-hop or rap. We need all forms of creativity. I'm not even against sexual content in music. I am against verbal abuse, disrespect and women hating in any form. Express your anger (in music) but the emancipation cannot be revoke - we are a free people with a voice.

I also know that young men don't necessarily have the language skills to articulate what they really mean. I'm not trying to be insulting. There is a transitional cognitive phase of adulthood and young men between 18 and 25 are still trying to figure things out. You would hope that their parents would have planted some seeds about respect a long time ago.

I also know that African-American women have been talking about the increasing vulgarity of some rap and hip-hop music and videos. For more than 20+ years. The fact that we were not listened to, heard or acknowledge is not our problem. Like the young man said, "It seemed trivial to you."

We women folk also know that the gatekeepers, i.e. record companies, radio stations, advertisers and the current incarnation of BET have no financial incentive to stop producing derogatory products unless and until there is no money left to be made.

Where am I going with this? Well, like the ladies in the video we must make our own music or mode of creativity. We must speak up even if some of the men want us to be silent. What the men folk choose to do with their voices is on them.

Let us hope that they step up with some positive yet funky flow but I ain't waiting. Neither should you. What ever it is on the positive tip you have been postponing get to it. We are in triage mode.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Emergency Thoughts - Being Clean with Christopher Nyerges

Things will be bad enough without most of us stinking up the joint. On a more practical level you will decrease the amount of illness and infections if you learn how to clean yourself in a variety of situations.

This is the QuickTime Video

If you would like to get more information about Christopher's wilderness classes or urban survival skills visit

So if you are ready to get your head out of the sand and start making your preparedness plan then here are additional starting points:
  • Ready.Gov - You can download checklist of things to do, have and prepare for the disaster of your choice There is also a section on for seniors and those with disabilities or who lives with someone that has a disability.
  • Folks in the Bay Area don't have to be convinced on the severity of earthquakes. Not just for quake but for a variety of man-made or natural troubles. For the newbies and those in other states you might want to check out 72 You can get your info visually or print out the entire site as a PDF.
  • Let's not leave Fido and Fluffy out of the equation. For one thing you will have to keep an eye on them. If the disaster continues for an extended period of time your pets may look like a food source to some people. Not trying to be gruesome but scared people can justify anything in an emergency. The ASPCA has a great page on planning for your pets emergency needs.

Emergency Thoughts - More Water with Christopher Nyerges

Maybe I'm stretching the empowerment theme. My thought are that when the kind of natural disaster comes that can't be fixed by electronics we are all going to turn to the person who knows how to start a fire or boil water without a match.

Some of those folks will charge a fee for service. Some will be nasty. Not everybody is honorable in a national or local emergency. Katrina, Wilma and Rita taught us this and we must learn from their lessons. Your Blackberry will do you no good and there will be no way for you to Twitter your friends and relations.

In this video Christopher continues to talk about water and how in the Los Angeles area there are more people than the water supply can accommodate.

If you would like to get more information about Christopher's wilderness classes or urban survival skills visit

For more info on water purification in an emergency visit:

Friday, April 06, 2007

Headbone Blues - Videoblogging Week Day 6

There are times when you have to jump off the grid. There are other times when you have to pretend to be "normal". Sometimes you have to do both at the same times.

I got a hair cut. I wanted a hair cut but I said the wrong blade number and when I looked up almost all of my hair was gone. It was a change. I was almost bald.

I was shocked but I liked it. Other people however had strange reactions. Some laughed. One shrieked. I can't count how many people said that I had "gone Brittney" And there were others who would not come near me.

Some asked if I was alright. Others asked if I was honoring a bet.

I was no longer safe.

It was a great week of lessons, about how hair has social meaning and association with gender, femininity and the code for "being safe". It got me to thinking about women who have no choice about hair loss, due to cancer, illness or other reasons. I thought about all the hair commercials and hair products I have at home.

I thought about sitting in a chair outside of a doctor's office waiting to hear how my life would or would not change. The women who fought and are here and the ones that died.

I thought about laughter as a cure for being unsure but taking a step. Breathe, move forward. So this is my attempt to speak for those that might be uncomfortable at first with no hair.

For those that have tears coming from true pain I wanted to share something profoundly silly. Losing hair is ok. There are far worse things in life. I'm telling you after the first shower or a shot of warm air over your dome it is a wonderful sensation.

My hair grows back really fast so the next time you see me I won't look like this. So I present to you my one and only music video, Headbone Blues. The music is from musician Ralph Woodin and the name of the track is Bent Sling Blues from the Internet Archive.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Anne Lamott - Videoblogging Week Day 4

One of the themes of videoblogging week is community and the outreach to alternative groups. But we are all part of interlocking communities.

This is the Windows Media Video

This is the QuickTime Video

Author Anne LaMott speaks to communities of faith, substance abuses, parents, writers and those that need a laugh in the space of darkness.

This is a clip of her talking about how parenting is not a democracy. It is also a clip of solidarity, gender equality and the eternal lament of parents with teenagers.

This is the fourth day of Videoblogging Week. For more information visit:

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Medical/Art - Videoblogging Week Day 2

Folks talk about the science of medicine but never the art of medicine. But what if your doctor really can see the beauty of the human body and uses it as a basis of inspiration?

At the Armory Center for the Arts in Old Town Pasadena there is an installation that explores the other side of medicine. Some with humor, and some that is a little creepy. Judge for yourself.

This is day two of Videoblogging week 2007. Some of us are working on community and reaching out to others. Some of us are working on upping our sin quota and still others are task obsessed and proud of it.

Welcome to the newbies and the curious. Take a look around the joint, put you feet up and get the lay of the land.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

VADA Lamps - Videoblogging Day 1

This is Day 1 of Videoblogging Week 2007. Defining videoblogging is like defining a library. There are common elements but each book is different. Fanny Hill next to the Laws of Thermal Dynamics. Fannie Farmer next to Niche. Video is the common denominator but each person brings a new message or way of seeing things.

Sometimes I get locked into the gadgets and the software but at the heart of my vlogging experience is sharing stories and experiences outside of myself, when possible.

I was feeling depressed and I had cabin fever. So I set out to see something that I hadn't seen before. I had a simple digital camera and this is the result. It is a quick look at a lamps designed by senior students at the Pasadena Visual Arts and Design Academy at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA.

Videoblogging does not have to be high tech or expensive. I used a program called Windows Photo Story 3 to assemble the photos, animate them and added music. I then saved it in the Windows video format and used another program, Ashampoo Movie Shrink, to create the QuickTime video version. I got it free from one of my computer magazine discs.

For Mac folks you have iMovie that can do the same thing. Keep it simple, small steps is still motion. If you want to track down more info on video blogging week 2007 visit

Don't let a lack of a camcorder keep you for documenting your world. What we know is slipping away fast. Get out the house. Take the picture.