Thursday, April 30, 2009

Atheists Bloggers - Embracing the Scarlet A

There is a great book by Octavia Butler called Parable of the Sower. There is a section in the book where a faith based military platoon comes to overtake a peaceful colony and wreck havoc on the citizens. That passage in the book stirred up old and new feeling about the human application of religion, faith and the dark side of belief. Recent news reports about women being murdered or assaulted in the name of faith does not put my heart at ease.

What happens to faith when it is applied like a weapon to those that are different or have another view of how to conduct their lives? What good is faith if it allows for no questions, no inquiry or proof? Can we make a case that perhaps faith is “harmful” and there is a different way to exist?

These are just questions. The fact that I have typed these questions could provoke anger, fear and perhaps an unsolicited invitation to set me straight.  So to take it a step further; what if I not only questioned religious faith but also believed there is no God, Higher Power or Universal Consciousness?

How would that change relationships and the texture of a life? How would you find others who would listen with respect. How do I communicate with other people who might feel sorry for me. This video is by Micki Krimmel of Mickipedia talking about a co-worker who is concerned about her.

For me, and I hope for you, this is an exploration into a small section of the world of bloggers who are non-believers. To be honest, I don’t know anything more than what has been shoved into my head culturally balanced against the people I know and trust. I do know that when an organization focuses energies to target a group of people as the common enemy someone in power benefits financially.

I’m just saying, I mention no names.

Sifting Through The Minefield

Working on this post has taught me a few involuntary lessons. It seems to me that the most videos about Atheists are produced by Christians. Some of the videos are just class-A whacko. Some are fear based propaganda. Unfortunately a very small percentage even attempt to answer the questions put forth by Atheists, Humanists and Freethinkers. 

Another lesson is that some of the faith based blogs relate vivid fears and concerns about Atheists. I will leave them to Heaven because there is a huge difference between disagreement, passion and out and out vilification. Disagreement and passion I understand but we are talking WWJND in their responses. 

Non-Believers Blogs and Web Sites

These are blogs that have specific stated that they are non-believer blogs or indicated that they have a certain point of view. The majority of the non-believer blogs you will never know about because, like most of us, it is a part of their lives or they choose not to make public. If you had seen half the stuff I encountered during my research you would not blame them one bit.

I started out by reading An Introduction to Atheism circa 1997 by Mathew at the Library, I encourage you to read the entire article because it is clear and he does hit on the majority of the questions a person could have about the topic:

Atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. This absence of belief generally comes about either through deliberate choice, or from an inherent inability to believe religious teachings which seem literally incredible. It is not a lack of belief born out of simple ignorance of religious teachings.

Sarah Trachtenberg’s Not My God is interviewing people about their lack of faith and documenting personal stories on her blog. Sarah is also displaying some of the contradictions she encounters on her journey.  You also might want to stop by The Jewmanist who has a neat post comparing coffee addiction, being an Atheist and God, The Sunny Skeptic and Greta Christina’s blog.

Black Women Thinks writes about topic through the lens of being a Black women and an Atheist.  There are posts about women and religion, hair and questions like if you are Black can you be an Atheist?

I have been pondering on this for a while. My conclusions are that I felt a moment of sadness that so many black people are indoctrinated into belief systems which are based on old written texts, inaccurate reports, political expedience and motives aimed at political and economic control of the masses - and yet at this point in human history, we not only believe it but partake in the further indoctrination of our children and adults.

I can honestly say that I have had questions and frustrations with all manor of faith based idiocy within the past three months alone. If I did a news search on the three major faiths I can pull up some head scratchers that have nothing to do with faith or reason. 

Secular Humanism & Humanists – from the Council for Secular Humanism the top items listed are:

  • A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighted and tested b each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
  • Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.

Red Headed Wonder is a Secular Humanist who find that she has to grapple with responding to other people’s misfortunes.

I think the label that best describes me is secular humanist, though if you pressed me as to whether I believed in a deity, at this point I'd say no. While my heart goes out to people, my first instinct when these things happen is not to impose my presence if it's not needed or wanted, and then to see if there's anything I can help with (either directly or by making a donation, etc). Praying seems irrelevant to me, though I would not want to get into any kind of religious discussion with someone during a trying time - especially if their faith is helping them through.

The Coming Out Godless Project is an online meeting place where folks can step up and tell their stories about leaving a religion for a godless state of being. Rose Schwartz and Eric Broze  have created a spot where you can say what you think without repercussion from the opposing side.

From the Freedom From Religious Foundation the definition of a Freethinker is:

A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.

No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.

Dale McGowan’s  Parenting Beyond Belief blog looks at how to raise his children as ethical people without religion. One of his posts dealt with how to raise children to be respectful of the person even when you don’t agree at all with the ideas that person has:

But eye-rolling arrogance toward those who support a given idea is not reasoned critique — and religious discourse is filled with examples of people on all sides who allow dismissive arrogance* to cloud their judgment. Start with arrogance, saying, “I can’t believe how stupid they are to believe xyz” and you have one foot on Ray Comfort’s banana peel. Start instead with a little humility, saying, “I may be wrong about this, but…” and you have a much better chance of actually getting things right.

As you can see there isn’t just one approach to disbelief, there is a range of opinion and thought.

This post originally appeared on BlogHer, where I am a Contributing Editor.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

GeoCities Coming Down - Grab Your Memories While You Can

No fooling. If you have an old GeoCities account that you forgot about you might want to spend some times doing an emergency evacuation real soon.

Remembering Your Life

Before Twitter, blogging and something else there was GeoCities. Yes, there was some stuff and cruff but it was a place that many hung their shingle for the first time.

I just downloaded a bunch of my old stuff that I'm going to recycle when I get a chance. I know there are some old skool folks that have a lot of work in GeoCities; help them out or snag that content before, well, I don't know.

Ask folks who use to be DivX users. Don't wait until the gate is shut. Hey, I forgot. Back up your templates no matter what platform you use. You never know.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lawyers In Love on the Finally Friday Freakout

You know there is too much hate in the world. And some of it is directed toward members of the bar. This it dedicated to those folks who keep high tone white collar crooks from doing real time. Or specialize in the three point typed contracts with ambiguous terms.

Special shout out to those working overtime in DC trying to water down consumer protection on credit card practices. Oh, yeah lawyers for HMO's. There is a special place where you can go.

I bring to you Mr. Jackson Browne and Lawyers In Love:

Now I haven't forgotten that there are some wonderful lawyers in the land. A precious few that have a sense of humor. So let me dig a little deeper in the groove yard to make amends. This is a little ditty called Running on Empty with help from a guy named Bruce Springsteen.

Play nice.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

American Violet Trailer

Hat tip to What About Our Daughters for writing up about this movie. Did not know a thing about it or the subject. It is in limited release which means it may have been pulled by the time you see this trailer.

Any movie that has Alfre Woodard and Charles S. Dutton kinda gets my attention.

I doubt you will be able to find it in your local theaters. I doubt it will go into general release. I'd say keep your eyes on the Target DVD racks in about two months or so.

And for the chosen few, you got enough Katt Williams DVDs, try something different for a change. (No disrespect to Katt Williams intended.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Women Who Create Books – Bookbinders and Book Artists

My mind is on other things and they are making me sad. It seems that for every step a woman takes forward there is some human determined to drag us back to our base nature. At times like these I look for inspiration, beauty or something that will engage my curiosity. 

Bookbinding is as old as the creation of books themselves.Traditionally we tend to see pictures of monks and scribes crafting books one letter at a time. We’ve also seen Guttenberg at his press and the modern presses. Creating a book can be a personal solitary experience and as I hope to show in this post that it is an art form that is being carried forward into the future.

I started with Roz Wound Up who explained her process on creating a book. Some of the advice she gives on constructing a book could be transferred to other areas of life:
In fact, maybe you should never expect perfection, even when you are high on the learning curve. Maybe it's healthier to just stay open to the results and enjoy them for what they are, a point in your development. That way, when you are truly gifted and you make a flop you've still got a way back to point 5 (being kind to yourself when you mess up!)
Alice Austin’s Book Art web site just makes me want to go “wow”, I didn’t know about this type of creativity concerning books. I can’t pick one photo so you should just go and gaze.’s blog is called The Bindary doesn't just create books, she creates various forms of art. On her blog you can find examples of papermaking, book binding and stationary art.  She also has a story on Etsy where you can view samples of her work.

I kept searching and I discover It’s Just Me Kim. Kim also works in a variety of media but she creates metal embossed bookbinding and frames. Her other work isn’t bad either and she makes me feel like a shrub or something. It is more talent envy than I can usually handle.
For those of you that are of the green persuasion Rhonda at My Handbound Books has a bit of fun with recycling cardboard to create She doesn’t just recycle cardboard for books, I’ve seen edible book creations and I’m truly digging her Steampunk collection.

There is different medium for each artists. Some artists use leather. Bibliophile’s Bookbinding Journal tools and skills were passed down to her by her grandmother. In this post she explains how to create a simple journal book.
When I started learning bookbinding my grandmother not only gave me all her bookbinding tools, but also a couple of shopping bags full of leather and leather scraps.
Delanie at Shiny Happy Fit of Rage is making notebooks using music album covers. Not sure how I feel about that, it is age thing. There are albums that are going with me to the great beyond so the idea of cutting them up, well, it is something I would have to work through. But the journals are lovely. 
Well, I feel a little better. There are bad people in the world but there are more people that are making it better in small incremental ways. Every act of creativity expressed is a voice for sanity in an insane world. If you know of other bookbinders and book artists please drop them in the comments.
This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hold On Change Is Coming on The Finally Friday Freakout

The Sounds of Blackness. I use to play the cassette to death and beyond. I loved the whole album and in times of trouble I'd listen to it 3x a day like it was medicine. This is a video with the group with the late Roger Troutman of Zapp. This is a version of Hold On, Change Is Coming...

I hope so. I think I should dig up a copy of It's Gonna Take A Miracle but I'm trying to get out of my cynical, despondent and other disappointment in the human race. I should have it kicked by Monday or so.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can't Let Aisa Go Just Yet - There Must Be Something We Can Do?

For those of you that don't know a young lady, Aisa McGowan, was murdered last week by a stalker. The stalker used YouTube and Facebook to harass her. The man killed her in her classroom at a Detroit college and then killed himself.

You can get the story at What About Our Daughters. There is also a post up on Feminsting and Whose Shoes Are These Anyway. Before her death, Aisa recorded a video and was talking specifically to the haters. She was trying to explain what hate does to you, why she is doing the videos (just to have some fun) and if you don't like them move on. Aisa was confident, strong and our daughter on the journey.

This is one YouTube video I will not post at the moment because it hurts and breaks my heart. You can see the video if it is still up on WAOD or YouTube. I posted on another blog that if folks were open to it I would like to help create a response video. Or what other idea can come forth.

I was thinking we could do something like a photo/video/audio something to let people know that we will not be silent and we will not hide. It could be like a video/photo montage.

We need to tell the haters we will not hide our light, our minds or souls. We need to let the world(s) we occupy know that we mourn our sister and if M$M doesn't care about brown skin sisters being slain then we must do what is right.

We need to teach the young ladies how to defend themselves on-line and we need to bring our older sister women into techno-consciousness.

I don't know if this can be done or even if there is a will among us to try. I can only put it out there and see where the idea is gonna go. Hit me in the comments if you are interested.

Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 L’OREAL-UNESCO Women in Science Awards

With all the current anger at certain corporations it is easy to loose sight that many corporations do honor and support diverse communities. Corporations have and continue to support their communities.  The 2009 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women In Science Awards presented five scientists with $100,000 each in recognition of their work.

This is a joint award between the L’Oreal Corporate Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The focus of the awards this year looked at scientists that work in the Physical Sciences.

The current awardees are selected from their specific geographical regions; for 2009 they are:

  • Africa & the Arab State: Tebello Nyokong for her work on harnessing light for cancer therapy
  • Asia-Pacific: Akiko Kobayashi for her work on developing molecular conductors
  • North America: Eugenia Kumacheva, for her work on designing and developing new materials with diverse applications
  • Europe: Athene M. Donald: for her work on studying the physics of messy materials
  • Latin America: Beatriz Barbuy on her work on the life of stars and the birth of the universe to the present time

2009 L’OREAL-UNESCO Women in Science AwardsAt the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women In Science website you can view short video documentaries of each of the award winners as they talk about their work and their life. You can also view past winners and get an inspirational dose of real women of science doing remarkable work.

Being able to see these women talk about their careers gives me a glimpse into a different world. It helps to expand my vision of what women are doing. It is no longer an abstract concept that a woman can be scientist. 

Now if we could just get the New York Times to stop covering female non-fashion achievements in the Style page and put it in the News section we’d have a sign that we are indeed moving forward in thought. In any case, these scientists are the path finders that make it a little easier for those that come after them.

I think it helps to defeat the illusion that being a woman working in science means giving up on other aspects of your life.  I suspect that has only been true in a very few cases. DrDrA at Blue Lab Coats schedule left me exhausted and amazed, here is an excerpt on her post on juggling:

I’m up at 6:15- and some mornings I roll directly out of bed into my gym clothes. I wake up the kids, scarf down a banana, and I am out the door by 6:45 to go to the gym.  During my hour of cardio I’m reading something- like perhaps that prelim, or a manuscript draft that I’ve been working on.  I make it to work by 8:30 or so for a day of endless interruptions. DrMrA wrangles the kids- breakfast, lunches, backpacks…. and making sure everyone is appropriately dressed (not so easy with my girls who seem to want to wear shorts and t-shirts even when it is 40 degrees outside)- and getting one to the bus stop on time at 7:25, and the other to school at 7:30- then he heads off to work.

Well, with the help of Candid Engineer hosting the April 2009 Scientia Blog Carnival we can get a pulse on what is happening with Science Bloggers.

Paths have been cleared but it is still a rocky road. Many of the same challenges that some of the awardees faced early in their careers are still present.  JaneB at Now What Was I Doing? writes about how the challenges can come from within instead of external forces:

Many of my challenges are about me rather than external career challenges - the driver for the starting of this blog was my experiences with part-time working as a result of stress-related health problems, which are all about me and my limits (and a little about the problems of being a conscientious academic in a university system that exploits such people to the max - which actually, is not a problem unique to the university). I'm an insecure, grumpy, imposter-syndrome-riddled person, and am still wrestling with demons around the boring stuff of being a brainy woman, a single brainy woman, in a field which is less male-dominated than many sciences but is still predominantly male, and designed to reward certain kinds of predominantly male behaviour, such as Showing Off and being Aggressively Competitive.

Not to say that external forces can’t get on your last nerve, Eppendork writes about reclaiming her love of science that wasn’t met with support:

…when I said I wanted to do science, my then partner basically laughed and fully expected me to fall flat on my face and go back to doing what I did before within a year of starting my undergrad.  It felt good to show him the straight A's I got in my first year - I didnt give up I worked two part time jobs and was a full time student and a mother.  It wasnt easy and I have to say the first year of my MSc was the most stressful year I have ever experienced in my whole life - I wouldve lost the plot completely had it not been for a very good friend of mine who I love dearly.  Needless to say my relationship with my ex didnt last, but my relationship with science is still going strong.

It is not that some of us haven’t experienced a form of these situations but that there is recognition from seeing women in the sciences that they are handing career and life demands. I guess the lesson for the day is believe in yourself and move forward.

Gena Haskett is a Contributing Editor at BlogHer where this post originally appeared.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fair Use Resources - Videoblogging Week 2009

I'm running out of weekend and I haven't even started on the rest of the stuff. No worries, I got stuff in the pile. This is a screencast of some of the information resources newbie vloggers and old-timers need to be aware of, especially in this time of AP persecution of the innocent.

I'd say more but it seems just linking directly to the AP source or mentioning the headline can get you into trouble. Let me get some bills out of the way and I'll give you the straight dish later on. This Flash version looks kinda fuzzy but it will have to do, I had to flip the video into 3 different programs because after recording one editing program did not like the video and the other didn't like the audio. It happens.

The usually disclaimers apply, this is my opinion and I link to who I believe to be credible resources. Speaking of which, in the video I pointed out a little ditty that everyone who even thinks of doing web video/vlogging should take a look at.

For how it came to created and has lasted for over three years visit the Center of Internet in Society where you can download a .mp4 version or get the link to the YouTube version:

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Shoop on the Finanally Friday Freakout

5/9/09 I was really tired. I misspelled my our series name post. Yikes!

I am going to double up on the rest of the videoblogging series tomorrow. I am so whacked I can't remember which button to press or what is my name.

Well one thing is clear. I look nothing like Salt, Pepper or Spindarella. Internally feel like them sometimes. Yes, there are times when the logic circuits get cross and I can see men folk naked. Man, I wish I could dance like them but I can hear certain body parts laughing at the attempt.

In the meantime, I give you a video by the irrepressible Salt & Pepper with Spindarella in the vicinity of all that chunk of hunk. It goes by the name of Shoop

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Frugal Backgrounds for Web Video - Videobloggling Week 2009

I can do this, just Friday and Saturday to go. Yippee. In this video tip we look at the wonderful world of color, non-politically or ethnically speaking.

I come from a long line of women who can crowbar a dollar around the block and I see no reason not to be able to do so with backgrounds for web video.

The things you'll need are potato chip clips or office clamps, large construction paper and something to hang it on. I also recommend a tripod, bookcase or something to keep the camera steady.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Camcorder Buying Tips Part2 Videoblogging Week 2009

This is the rest of part two of the camcorders. I wish it was better but part of doing Videoblogging week is to get it out their. Don't polish and and the chrome just tell your story.

Still trying to recognize that face in the video because it doesn't look like the one in the mirror in the mornings.

Acceptance it hard work when you have to face the reality of yourself. It could be worse. But I want to return to the shadows when this is over. This is stretching my boundaries and not in a good way. I talk to damn fast. I know better but I'm so intent on not boring folks and yet saying what I have to say

I forget myself and hit light speed. I will work on that in the time to come.

There are some doozys out there. I gotta find that guy name John to find out if his is going to risk his stability by visiting the women he loves but she dumped her.Rough either way you look at it.

I want more sustainability videos from Garden Girl who I just found out that Mel from Square Foot Gardening has been hanging out. Susan Powter is having techno-trouble and I feel her pain. Seeing so many new faces and those that have leaped to the next level. Blessings.

Old and new friend are starting to re-appear. We have been lurking in the shadows resting up and it is like homecoming. In other news, I'm taking the 31 Day Better Blogger Challenge and I'm applying it to video as best I can and to other posts. I have Darren's book so I kinda know what to expect but it is a good opportunity that I didn't want to pass up. I 'm ready for it now.

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Eleanor Roosevelt and Handling Turbulence- Part 5

One of my lowest points financially hit me like a brick. I was standing in the supermarket and I had a choice. I could buy a clearance sale bag of French Fried potatoes or a roll of toilet paper. I could not do both. At that moment I felt helpless, angry and questioning why I was even here. I was not questioning why I was in the supermarket. I questioned how did I get to this point where I had to make this kind of choice?

That was my financial bottom. Like Scarlett O’Hara, I vowed to change the situation. I did not know how I was going to do it but it was going to happen. I was a journey and I made missteps along the way. I did know that my ignorance was putting me in jeopardy of harming my spirit. I’d seen the walking dead; the people who go through the motions of life waiting to die.  That scared me more than anything and inspired me to learn what I needed to know.

This series of Women’s History posts came from seeing the 1929 Depression as a metaphor for surviving and thriving in the mist of chaos. The fact is that there have been multiple recessions since 1929 and there will be others.

One of life lessons is that there will be unexpected turbulence. How you handle your personal financial life after the turbulence occurs is within your control. So with a little help from Eleanor Roosevelt here we go; for those of you that don’t know about her this is a very brief introduction.


Part of having control over your financial life is knowing that you can take care of yourself. It might be a hard idea to sell these days, especially if you are having a financial emergency. You have to believe that you can handle whatever you have to face, even if you need to ask for help.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

DJ Nelson knew that a 40 hour work week in an office was not for her. She had others that were trying to tell her that perhaps she was mistaken in her opinion. She wasn’t. DJ knew what was right for her:

Before I graduated from college I knew that I never wanted to work for anyone else. The idea of being stuck in an office for 40+ hours a week was simply revolting. After a few summers of full-time internships, I was simply burned out. I literally felt as if my brain was oozing out of my head and my level of intelligence was dropping at a rapid rate. I knew that is not how I wanted to spend my life.

No disrespect to those who live this lifestyle but it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t understand why I had to sit at a desk for 8 hours each day when I was done with all of my work after 4 hours.

Rowena at Warrior Girl expresses her empowerment thought art. I wished I could fly and maybe I can be inspired by her work to take flight of some of my ideas that have been percolating.

What Is Your Plan?

Don’t have a plan, great! This gives you the opportunity to investigate how other people are doing it the sensible way. I don’t think you have to make yourself sucker bait for any financial scheme that is being floated pass folks now days.  There are real people who worked there way out of in deep debt without winning the lottery or a relative dying in the nick of time.  You have options.

The world cannot be understood from a single point of view. I keep repeating this because this one of our blinds spots as Americans.

No one plan fits all lifestyles but you have to have something. Even a rebel needs something to rebel against. Now you can call it a budget, financial goals, spending plan or whatever you want to call it what do you have to support you when bad times comes to your door?  As a starting point you can’t go wrong with the updated version of Your Money or Your Life: Updated and Revised for the 21st Century written by Vicki Robin, Monique Tilford and the late Joe Dominquez. The book has been updated to reflect new and current realities.

On the blogging side there is Kelly from Almost Frugal with her Back to the Basics posts on Creating a Plan. For those of you that are moms there is Cathy from Mommy Need Motivation on Budget Planning. Blunt Money understand most people’s reluctance but you have to start somewhere and she is asking “Where do you want the money to go?”

Being on Purpose

If ten million women really want security, real representation, honesty, wise and just legislations, happier and more comfortable conditions of living, and a future with the horrors of war removed from the horizon, then these ten million women must bestir themselves. Home Magazine 5 (March 1932): 19-21, 86

Walking the walk, meaning setting up the emergency, savings, retirement and what the hell accounts. Knowing and understanding your options if you are cut from your job or have to find alternative income. If what you have planned doesn’t match up with your values or your current lifestyle it is doomed to fail. Not only do you have to want prosperity you actually have to act like you mean it. Jen from Millionaire Mommy Next Door interviewed David Wann who wrote the book “Simple Prosperity.” He defines simple prosperity as:

I think of simple prosperity as a social movement, a non-violent revolution similar to the civil rights movement, to replace our excessive lifestyle with a more moderate, sensible, grounded way of life. It’s not about guilt, shame, judgment, or sacrifice, but a strategic, mutually agreeable reduction in our level of consumption and a corresponding increase in our level of contentment.

Jen also demonstrates how to create a visual treasure map of your financial goals and aspirations.

Inspirationally Paying It Forward

Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

And you know those without a good friend or friends kinda get a little twitchy in a scary sort of way. People with true wealth and abundance know that they did not get where they are totally by themselves. Yes, you need information, skills and tools but you also need understand that you are a part of many different communities. 

Debbe Kennedy at Women in the LEAD Inspiration blog shares a book she found inspirational. In her post, Women: Are You Working Against Yourself? Debbe points out that if you kept regurgitating the negative thoughts  it will contribute to the negative experiences you might encounter.

I've not known quite what to write about it, but I've been hoping to find the words that might touch some of you and also free me from my own unintended sense of temporarily being "stuck" in a place where I don't feel like ME.

Nina Simosko at Nina Net’s It Out shows us that sometimes advertising can reflect our better nature. She point out that it is beneficial for businesses and individuals to “pay it forward” because despite what negative people say we are better than we know. Extending kindness, information and respect is not lost. It is circulating and at some point it does come back to you. Nina explains:

I have had the great fortune of being helped by many people along my career path. And to be clear, these folks did not do so with the expectation that they would receive anything in return; but rather for the sake of helping me out at a time when I was in need of assistance. I have had a few great mentors who took me under their wings and guided me through then-uncharted paths within my career.

To put it plainly, are you the stingy heifer up the road that nobody wants to talk to or the lady down the block who knows how to find the resources she needs within a keystroke or a phone call? One thing you could say about Eleanor is that she certainly got around, met and helped a lot of people.

We can make a different, first in our personal lives and then when possible extend our assistance beyond our doors. I leave you with a final quote:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

For more information about Eleanor Roosevelt:

This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Camcorder Buying Tips Part 1- Videoblogging 2009

Rupert at Twittervlog cracked me up early this morning. He was so determined to do a video but he was bone tired. I am no longer laughing. I want my blankie!

So I do have the video. I shot it at lunch time when I was a bit perkier but if you could see me now you'd tuck me in for my own good. I divided it in half because I need time to prep and I don't have it. Part two will be ready tomorrow.

In this first part I show and tell about web cams, kid digital camcorders and multi-functional digital web camcorders.

Why am I waking up at 3:30 in the morning anyway? This must stop. The early rising that is, it is not natural.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Letting Ideas Find You - Videoblogging Week 2009

Sometimes an idea will walk up to me and stick like static. I had to do three things at once today. This idea was waiting for me to see it. It made my day easier. It is a two for one deal, I get to tell you how to find an idea when you are blocked and point folks to a reliable resource.

I'm on mission and never mind I violated my self-imposed rule of no more than five minutes yakking time. I'll see what I can do in the edit but I feel good about this post.

I mentioned in the video a good resource to help break up a writing or video block is the Federal Citizen Information Center where you can read about all kinds of topics and find credible information. You don't have to cite the AP. (Sorry, they are kicking up again as newspapers disappear daily.

I hate doing Talking Head videos, by the way. Reminds me of too many things to recount, like grammar school flashbacks. Anyway, two videos down, five to go!

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Why Women Should Learn Web Video - Videoblogging Week

Like we don't have enough to do right? Yeah, I know. Now even the term videoblogging has multiple meanings. Some people use it to define talking head videos. That is valid and important. Some use the term to include people creating citizen journalism, product reviews, tutorials, screencasts, travel, experimental, comedy, artistic....

Catching my drift? It can be anything that you want it to be. I'm going to use the term web video/videoblogging interchangeably. (And risk getting the metaphorical baseball bat to the head) because you don't need to do it every day or week. You can have a text blog but a video pops in once in a while.

I would happy if every woman I knew did one video saying who they are and what they want out of life appeared on a blog. Or whatever they wanted to show or share; I think. I know some radical dames so let me think about that one.

Maybe once in a while? Maybe you take a month to plan and a post one video? Cool with me. So why I'm I focusing on women this year? Well, a lot of women have dropped out or pulled back by necessity. It can be a time sink when you have a full life.

We Still Have to Tell Our Stories.

Here is why I think it is important for more women to create web videos and vlogs. It seems our stories only get told full force when a women is beaten, killed or showing parts of her anatomy. We are too diverse to allow this limited display of who we are; we are more than containers. We have stories to tell and information to share.

F**k those that don't want to hear us talk. (I don't mean that in a pleasurable way either.) We got to tell our stories anyway. So this is my small attempt at paying forward for all the good stuff videoblogging has brought my way.

Hope I can pull it off. I do have to put my ass on the line for the things I think are important and can no longer wait for someone else to do it. It is not going to fancy or slick. Just have to get it done.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mr. Wendal on the Finally Friday Freakout

Yes, it is Saturday morning. I came home and I have vague memories of eating dinner. Every else after that is a blank. I woke up at 3:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. Just as well, I have a full two days.

Yes the hustle and bustle of a busy life leave little time for reflection. That should not be the case, let us pause and reflect a bit with Arrested Development's Mr. Wendel.

No time for the wordy words - I got to find my tax papers, write an article and create some videos. Or buy some Two Buck Chuck and forget about everything. Oh, yeah laundry.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Seeing the Invisible People and Mexican Repatriation Act - Part 4

I watched a movie last night on TCM called Double Harness from 1933. It was the story of two sisters, one who could not control her spending and the other who believed that marriage was a business. She wanted to marry a playboy and help redeem him in order for him to achieve his potential.  There were no poor people to be seen, even the butler had it good.  It was a fantasy. In recognition of Women’s History Month we need to look at Florence Thompson.  Florence was not living in a fantasy but the reality of the depression. 

You might not know her name but you might know the photographer that made her famous, Dorothea Lange and her classic photo “Migrant Mother.”

Florence Thompson by Dorothea Lange

Under assignment from the U.S.government, Dorothea Lange and other photographers documented the people of the country during the Depression and into World War II.  Here are a few examples of photography taken during that time, some are Lange’s and other are possibly from the governmental archives.

The performer is Tom Waits doing his rendition of Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

There are many women who have been inspired by Dorothea Lange work and have documented people in plain sight. Holly Pickett has a gallery of her photojournalism both within and outside of the country. Her blog, The Pickett Lens,  contains photos and commentary about her experiences. Amanda Lucier also documents the everyday as memories held in trust for future times.

1930’s Mexican Repatriation Act

Not all of the citizens of the country were Anglo-American. Depressions and Recessions bring out the best or the worst in people. Although there was equality in the number of Americans thrown in financial chaos old behaviors and racism rose to discriminate against people of color.

There was a force removal of Mexican workers and Mexican-American citizens to Mexico. To be specific, not just undocumented workers or visitors were affected by this act. People who were born and raised in the United States and who were of Mexican decent were force to relocate to Mexico.  Approximately 2.5 million people were removed from their homes.  California alone relocated 400,000. This was done in Texas, Illinois, and Michigan and other states as well. 

The reason for the relocation was that it was felt that Anglo-Americans, primarily male, needed and deserved work above anyone else. You can read an edited version of the events or the full text from the Texas State Historical Association. In 2006 USA Today had an article about the force expulsion of Mexican American citizens and the possibility of an apology.

The state of California has already provided their apology:

8722.  The State of California apologizes to those individuals described in Section 8721 for the fundamental violations of their basic civil liberties and constitutional rights committed during the period of illegal deportation and coerced emigration. The State of California regrets the suffering and hardship those individuals and their families endured as a direct result of the government sponsored Repatriation Program of the 1930s.

2009 New Voices of the Diaspora

Bloggers that write about topics that reflect their heritage and interest are on mission. Over at Latino Politics blog there is a look at the financial crisis from the point of view of Latino/a citizens and immigrant Latinos. How is the housing crisis maybe affecting Latinos:

The Latino community has been one of the hardest hit by the recent foreclosure crisis. A recent Pew Center report indicated that nearly one in ten Hispanic homeowners say that they have missed a mortgage payment or were unable to make a full payment in the last year. In addition, 3% say that they have received a foreclosure notice according to the Pew Center survey, and over a third of those surveyed are worried that their home may go into foreclosure.

Another good post concerns the need for attention and a bit of that stimulus money to reach the Latino community.

Wendy Carrillo would like there to be more discussions about the current conflicts between Latinos and African Americans. The session she attended didn’t quiet start the dialog:

A visiting African American attendee who introduced himself as a former gang banger turned at-risk youth mentor asked the panel why they were not talking about the real issues of race tensions and why much of their talk was based on books, not real life in L.A?

Latina Lista talks about the duality of two similar but separate groups of people being constantly seen as one dimensional:

The combining of the Hispanic immigrant struggle with U.S.-born Latinos' struggle has created a touchy situation with our African American peers. When we marched in solidarity with our undocumented hermanos and hermanas and equated those marches with the civil rights marches of the African Americans, we drew the ire of African Americans who said it wasn't the same.

And to a point, they were right.

African Americans were never fighting for citizenship — just the full rights of already being a citizen. In that respect, the African American struggle and the Latino struggle — U.S.-born Latino struggle — are the same.

As both groups position themselves to deal with less employment, housing and access to basic needs this is one discussion that needs to happen sooner rather than later. If not in real time perhaps via a blog to blog national hook-up.

For More Information Check Out:

  • Daring To Look by Anne Whiston Spirn on the photography and history of Ms. Lange
  • The Online Archive of California has a collection of images and information on Lange’s career.
  • Florence Thompson was born on an Indian Reservation, you can listen to a short description of her at the time or read a transcript at Living History Farm.
  • You can view more Depression era and World War II images at the Library of Congress American Memory collection from Lange, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and other great photographers.

Contributing Editor Gena Haskett writes at Out On The Stoop and PCCLibTech