Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Morning Thoughts About The PSA Project

It has been a challenge but not just the ones that I anticipated. Finding time, yes that is a constant. To find the time to think, assemble and create always kicks me in the pants. Two working days and five to create would help. Unfortunately my life is currently structured the other way around.

There are other things as well. The subject matter. The more I read about violence, violence against men, violence against women and all the inter-linking problems associated with violence is a huge big toxic soup. That isn't correct. It is how much I'm able to digest before I become numb or even worse, despondent over our collective survival.

I have limits about how much I want to ingest. Reading about how much anger some black men have toward black women is heartbreaking. Misogyny doesn't come close to what is out there.

Behind that anger there is pain. What are we not hearing? Is it our responsibility to even try to listen at this point? Is this something that women should be concerned about? Why to we have to fix ourselves and them too? Is it time to structure a new life beyond "the haters?"

I Have An Example

Many years, almost 25 years now, I lived in an apartment building. There was a couple above me. Quiet folks, both worked.

One night there was a loud angry ruckus above me. Furniture breaking, a man cussing a woman out of her name and humanity. Punches. I heard everything. I thought it was an intruder so I reached for the phone. Then I heard it. "I am your husband, you do as I say. I don't want to heard anything come out of your M-F'ing mouth. You do for me!"

I took my hand off of the phone. You see, at the time what I was taught was that if you hear some guy beating a woman that was between them. You didn't call the police. If the woman managed to get outside and ask for help you could do it then but behind their doors, nope you couldn't do it.

For the record, if you hear or see one person beating the hell out of another person CALL THE POLICE!

Anyway, I saw the woman the next day. Half her face had been beaten. You know what she did? She smiled at me as if nothing happened. I nodded a half smile back. We were complicit in a deception. A deception supported by religion, education, business and culture.

There are many stakeholders in making sure there is control over the treatment of women, men and dollars. If they financially benefit from the sublimation of women there is no vested interest in stopping. If they produce music that cause young men to kill themselves because they live in perpetual fear there is no reason for them to change the content of the product.

There is a lot of deception going on. This must change, generally by the light of truth. I can start with me. I can do what I can do and I will. I'm still figuring things out. Trying to make the process simpler so that it can be replicated.

It seems in addition to awareness there also has to be, I don't know how to say this, but a grounding in self-love, self-esteem and being secure. Emotionally secure. Spiritually secure. This is not the same as religion, I'm talking about something to the effect that a person intrinsically knows he or she is loved. Faith based or self generated, I don't care. However you get there. There has to be more than consumption to fill the void.

So. Yeah. The violence is real. If it is in your face you have to deal with it. It is also a symptom of deeper problems. How can each one of us, in the space we have, resolve the actual problems?

There are ways. But is there willingness? I have so many damn questions it isn't funny.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Vipity Vipity Vop on the Finally Friday Freakout

It was a long day, I was ready to call it a day at 6:43am. Twas not to be and I had to go through the whole thing. Considering the alternatives this is not a bad thing. This video clip is a jewel. I do not know anything about this woman but she was slicing the ivory like a Jedi Master. From the Rhythm and Blues Revue, this is Martha Davis & Spouse with Vipity Vipity Vop



I watched the whole review and learned about performers I never heard of and saw folks like Nipsy Russell and Mantan Moreland as young men. It seems like the performers were forced not to be themselves, except Martha, that girl whipped on those keys. I don't know how to explain it but it seemed that folks were on their best behavior instead of feeling comfortable in showing their authentic performance style.

Then again, it could be me. Probably is me. Anyway dig the video and I'll catch you on the flip side.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Learning 2.0 Applied by Real Teachers Who Blog

There are time when I have my head in my hands waiting for the Muse on Duty to show up and give me a hint. I search but nothing is sticking. Finally the Muse shows up. “Where have you been; I’m on deadline you know?” The Muse said, “Not my problem. I’ve got more important things to do than to wade through that muck you call memory.”

“There is no reason to be nasty. All I’m asking for is a little help. Aren’t you supposed to be a bit more nurturing?

“I’m no angel, I’m a Muse. Come on, times a ticking what do you need?

“What cha’ got on the education beat?”

“Nothing.”

“What do you mean nothing? Stuff is jumping all over the joint. You have people desperate for education and other who couldn’t care less. You have a technological revolution in tools that can aid in self-directed learning. You have young folks that are starting to think being stupid is a badge of honor. Get real time, what do you mean nothing?”

The Muse is sucking up on a Strawberry Sangria smoothie. “Oh, all right! Why don’t you look at how learning is being adapted by actual teachers or bloggers that teach or something like that.”

“You couldn’t tell me this Sunday?”

“Ingrate. I’m out of here.” (We have actually improved our relationship but there are times when she is “challenging”. I blame the Sangria.)

It Is Elementary

Kathy Cassidy of Mrs. Cassidy’s Class Blog is using her class blog as one of the tools she uses to help educate her first grade class, inform parents about activities and connect the students around the world. I’m not exaggerating on that one. Though the use of Skype, video and other tools she has her Canadian students communicating with students in Alabama, Louisiana and Australia.  Kathy also has a wiki to demonstrate resources for students age 5 to 8 years of age. This might be of interest to home schooling parents looking for ideas or even traditional teachers looking to spice it up just a bit.

From Kathy’s wiki I discovered Mrs. Berry's Classroom Blog who make use of slides to demonstrate concepts and to show what the students have learned.

The platform that both these teachers use is called BlogMeister where a teacher can set up a blog and is the administrator for the class. Young students can have a blog through the teacher who can monitor for content. To add this to their daily works load is very commendable. I hope they have the support of the parents and the school administration to help them in their efforts.

Junior High on the Sly

There is no one way to use a blog for education. At Crews Lake Middle School it is used to remind students what they did in class and what the homework assignment is for the next day. This is putting a serious crimp in “I forgot my homework.”  The students are working on integrated learning skills. Fear not, there are slackers in every class. One kid thought he/she could mooch by with a three word/four slide PowerPoint presentation. 

The battle for spelling, grammar and writing a complete thought continues but on new platforms. Teaching the Outsiders has a post about what middle school students need.  An older blog that hasn’t been updated Hannah's Monarchs had students writing about social studies topics.

Sometimes a teacher needs to talk about the actual process of just what happens between teaching, needing to adhere to testing requirements and administrative diversions. A good example of this found at On the Shoulders of Giants by Ariel Sacks. Ariel lays it out their about the reality of teaching in New York and being able to afford it. 

One post I found really interesting is the one about the Digital Divide in her classroom. Not just that some of her students don’t have access to the Internet but there are electronic and software blocks placed in school so that Internet access is restricted or crippled. 

We signed out the LCD projector and a laptop at school ready to demonstrate the site, only to realize, duh, the site is not accessible through school internet!  For the next day, we took still shots of the site at home and showed them to students the next day, and passed out detailed instructions for them to sign up and access the site. 

The kids were very excited about this, but only some of them have been able to access the site at home. Some have internet access, but needed help going through the steps of signing up, which of course, I can't help them with at school.  I have helped some students by phone.

I wasn’t kidding about support from the administration and infrastructure.

12 O’Clock High School For Teachers and Parents

As students become teenagers the challenges increase.  Students may have multiple means of contact such as mobile phones, blogs, Second Life and, dare I say it, SMS or Twitter. They have created social networks that provide the information they deem important. Convincing them of what you need to teach them is equally important might be a little rough. In addition, Parents can be techno-oblivious and that is not a good thing with a tech-savvy teen in the house.

Classroom 2.0 is a network of teachers trying to figure this out.  Lorna Costantini is asking questions about Teaching Parents How To Use Web 2.0 tools. Marielle wants to know the best way to incorporate writing skills using technology. Marielle’s other blog Authorship 2.0 looks a little bit closer at how students are really using the technology and that educators (and the rest of us) need to engage in the process.

Over at Fireside Learning Conversations about Education, Jane Jessep wants to know how do you make online learning more dynamic. Susan Sedro at Adventures in Educational Blogging is actively using the current technology tools and writing about the results.

Which puts me right back where I started. So much to write about and not knowing where to start. Again.  Oh, my head. I’m going to make a Strawberry smoothie w/o Sangria and begin again. I don’t want to have to deal with that dame again next week.

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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Warp11 Baby - She'll Makes It So

It is a cleaning, web surfing, creating and relaxing weekend for me. I need to be nice to myself, in fact it is a spoil myself silly weekend on the Stoop. I'm doing what I want to do, not what I have to; say hallelujah, come on get happy! I ain't got to work on Monday.

Oh yeah! To the matter at hand. Want to give a hat tip to Violet Blue for leading down the path of Trek inspired music, created by a band called Warp11. This is fine ditty known as She'll Make It So



Not my usual musical genre but I like it, music has got a good fun vibe and It Is Star Trek Damnmit!

The deal with the Universe is I do one thing for the home, one for my body and then I play on the Internet for x amount of time. Soon as I get a handle of those pesky BX codes the blog will get spruced up too. Full speed ahead.

Alternative to Yahoo GeoCities - Google Sites

Earlier this month I tried to help put out the word that Yahoo GeoPages is making its transition to the great beyond.

I really do like blogs, I learned basic HTML, had Dreamweaver, Paint Shop Pro and god knows what else. It was a pain in the butt trying to make sure I had everything correct. Blogs saved me so much time it didn't make sense to keep up the site.

Websites, if constructed for ease of use are still good ways to present information that may not fit the blog format.

More important to me there is a lot of good old school Trek fan fiction that is about to hit the vapors. In any case, if you have old stuff on GeoCites consider transferring your content over to Google Sites, if your content doesn't fit the blog format. And it won't have that ad panel on the side. Selfish, I know but seriously I hate to see that Yahoo GeoCities stuff go to waste. Memories of simpler times.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Total Eclipse of the Heart on the Finally Friday Freakout

I first heard this song on the radio around midnight. I stayed up until quarter to two because I wanted to hear it again and find out who sang the song. I don't think I've been so struck hearing a song like that before. This is Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart.



I do like the song. Really. In the dark thinking about a guy and this comes on the radio? Whammo! It makes an impression.

The music video is freaking strange. I get what they tried to convey but dancing ninjas in a torch ballad? Em, I don't think so. Oh the other hand, I miss music videos. Because if you match up the right way to convey the song and the artist you create a bit of transformative art. And if you don't you get this mind blowing cultural kitsch that you can't begin to explain.

It is an understatement to say Bonnie had some hard luck with music videos.

So let me leave you with how she should have been presented at least once in her videos. This is Bonnie doing a cover of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For



Yep, she's alright with me. Keep the memory in Memorial Day and eat some BBQ for me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We Are All Astronomers – 2009 International Year of Astronomy

Human have look to the stars for freedom, faith, wishes and destiny. It is in our fiction and our non-fictional tales of survival. May 2009 has a been a great month for star gazing and thoughts about galaxies beyond sight. And no, I’m not referring to a certain Paramount movie franchise reboot

In space the main story is the successful repairs to the Hubble Telescope. Not only is it a great month for astronomers but it is a great year for Astronomy. This is the 400 anniversary of the invention of the telescope. In addition, 2009 has been designated as the International Year of Astronomy.  Let’s talk about actual space, the infinite frontier.

Astronomers That Plotted The Paths

Annie Jump Cannon via Smithsonian Archives

This is Annie Jump Cannon. At the Smithsonian Photo blog I learned that:

“Annie Jump Cannon systematically categorized the hundreds of thousands of stars shown on the photo plates taken at the Observatory to create her own special classification system, which is still in use today. Cannon’s colleague, Henrietta Leavitt, devised a theory that helped to determine the size of the cosmos and discovered 2,400 variable stars—about half of the total number of variable stars known at that time!”

Despite the best efforts of academic educators of the time, there were women who made significant contributions to Astronomy. Annie was one of those women. A.J. Cannon was one the first persons to figure out a way to classify stars and objects in space.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center has a biographical page on Ms. Cannon and her tremendous contributions to astronomy, and, as a graduate of Wellesley College, there is certainly a biographical tribute page to this important alumna.

Annie Jump Cannon help to show the path for contemporary astronomers like Amanda Bauer at AstroPixie.  Amanda has been keeping her eyes on the Hubble repair mission.  Amanda will be participating in the “We Are Astronomers” project as well as speaking about Astronomy in the United Kingdom.  Amanda has posted a teaser project short video that shows the changes in human perception about the makings of the universe narrated by David Tennant.

Nicole and her co-workers at One Astronomer’s Noise were also bonding to their monitors watching the Hubble repairs and reflecting on how modern astronomers have to adjust their perceptions of the universe with each new discovery:

From this, we can improve our models of galaxy formation and evolution.  This is important since, after all, galaxies make stars and stars have planets and planets have us!

400 Years of Watching The Skies

As I mentioned at the top of the post, this is the 400th anniversary of the Telescope, The star gazers have been busy celebrating and documenting the experience. One of the places you have to visit is the 400 Years of the Telescope – A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought. This is a video that has aired on PBS; this is the trailer for the video:

The website has hours of video about astronomers, their influences and their vision of the future. If you can’t view the video that is ok, they have transcripts available on the site.  This is a portion of a transcript o Catherine Cesarsky on How She Became An Astronomer:

I was studying physics in the University of Buenos Aires and I was very lucky that at the crucial year a new professor came and he was in astronomy. I decided to work with him and became an astronomer and I have been thankful ever since. I always loved to look at the sky and I was always interested in knowing, but no, I didn’t think from early on that I would be an astronomer. It happened.

I think astronomers all over the world in the last decade were realizing that the next important project in astronomy was going to be a very large, millimeter, sub-millimeter interferometer. So the Japanese started one project, the Europeans got together and studied another and the Americans were in fact the most advanced in their studies. Eventually we realized that it was much better to all get together and make a very, very big one. So we got together, we called it ALMA: Atacama Large Millimeter Array, which also means soul in Spanish so it’s a really beautiful name. The Americans and the Europeans first agreed to do it; we signed the agreement, actually I signed with the head of the NSF on the 24th of February 2003 and the Japanese joined later and they brought with them also Taiwan, so now we have these three parties for the project of the price tag of about $1 billion.

There are some astronomers who have fallen in love with their topic and it comes out as a passion to teach or convey what they know. Alice Enevoldsen at Alice’s AstroInfo  uses her blog to answer beginner questions about astronomy. What to know what an actual sunspot is? Go ask Alice, or rather read her explanation.

2009 International Year of Astronomy

This is a year long celebration and many countries of the world are participating; you can find out if your country has an informational node that indicated participation in the festivities and country specific contributions to astronomy.

http://www.astronomy2009.org/The activities are not only happening on a international or national level. It can be a close as your media player. If you don’t have time to read or watch the videos (and you should) then I recommend that you download a podcast or two from Astronomy Cast. 

Star Stryder (aka Dr. Pamela Gay) and the other collaborators work the auditory canal through Galaxies, Gamma Ray Astronomy and How Old Is The Universe? Dr. Pamela has her own blog and when she isn’t teaching she is trying to locate all of the Astro-Twitters, which is a great way to network and check out what other folks are doing in astrological fields.

This is just a pebble in one of Saturn’s rings on Astronomy blogs and Astronomical events occurring this year. I hope that you will check out the above blogs and websites. If you know of others pop them in the comments.  And for those of you jonesing for even more, psst…100 Hours of Astronomy.

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

California Special Election Today - Do We Care?

This is the third election in California. Most people haven't a clue. I myself I have a vague idea but I do know how to find the California Voter Guide right quick. I do have it here in paper form but dang if I know where it is. If you have confusion about the Proposition this this the place for a quick review and the Pro/Cons.

There is also the League of Women Voters - SmartVoter.org May 19th information page.

Kim Anderson of CalVoter has a review of the election. She did an 30 minute interview with Channel 10 in Sacramento:




I'm going to vote because we have enough loony toons here in California. To take money from mental health funding to balance the budget is straight up wacky. I'm not being funny. This is Proposition 1E.

The thing is California is in such deep Bandini maybe severe cuts is the only way to get everyone to come to consciousness. We need real solutions. The propositions are bad bandages in my opinion. Anyway, gotta go to the Salt Mine so that I can earn money to be transfered to the state at a later date.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

No Means No PSA - PSA Project

This is a text based video on helping folks remember that "No" does not require a reason when it comes to deciding if you want to have sex with another person. Some people are under the impression that no is a prelude to yes. I found a good source of ideas at http://www.clotheslineproject.org and that is the organization I imagined could benefit from created the PSA

No. It is not. She may have tacky underwear she doesn't want you to see. You might have really bad breath. You might be a nice guy. You might be a self-centered inconsiderate bore. She might have other things to do and having sex with you isn't on the list.



When in doubt back up and stop. The inspiration for this came from a line text in the UCLA Freshman Handbook. There was a section on Date Rape and in the section for men it said that men should not take it personal that a woman does not want to have sex with them.

I do agree with that sentence but there wasn't an equivalent statement for the women. For the women it was all pro-active self defense and awareness. So if all it takes is to spread the word that men need to know that no having sex from someone who says no to them is not a bad thing then heck yeah, pass the word.

(Yes, I know it is about self esteem, power and a bunch of other stuff. But if we can stop one guy from doing something seriously wrong with a few words let's put the thought in his head.)

Process and Tools:
  • Swish Max a very easy to use Flash animation program.
  • Slide screen PNG image. I used Corel Paint Shop Pro X2 to make transparent
  • Sound Loops from FlashKit.com
  • Assembled in Serif Movie Plus X3
This week I wanted to keep it really simple and play with text and music. I am learning to focus on one idea and express that idea.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Just Want To Stop - the Finally Friday Freakout

No fooling, I crashed and burned. I remember going to the store. I remember coming home. Next thing I knew it was 10 p.m. I actually function better at night so I get to stay up a bit longer than I usual.

I dig into the Groove Yard I find another unexpected gem. Never saw this guy before either but loved this song to death and beyond when I was in a different space and time. Heck, I still like it. This is Gino Vannelli's I Just Want to Stop:



Cool. Except that I have stuff to do. Lots and lots of stuff that will not be done because I'm going to be napping as much as possible. I do not recommend overbooking or stressing yourself out.

Pace yourself and well, yeah, naps are ok. I find that strange to type because I hated naps when I was a kid. Really. So much to see and do why would I want to sleep?

I've changed my mind. About the sleeping not about stuff to see and do. I gotta go do something now. Later.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh I Wish I Could Put It Together Like Jay

I love what he does and how he explains things:



I know he works hard at making it seem simple but still, he does have skills that I aspire to have.

Visit Jay Smooth's blog at http://www.illdoctrine.com

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Domestic Violence Tombstone PSA

Using music, a tombstone and text I made a simple PSA on three statistics about women and violence. In the video I linked to Violence UnSilenced, a place where people can go to share or read stories about people in domestic violence situations.

People who are abused may not be able to talk about what is happening but in a private safe community place, web site or blog there can be a connection made to their personal danger.


Process:

I used Tombstone Builder. I started out with Tombstone Generator. Created a bunch of markers 15 to 20 or so. When I tried open them they wouldn't open. Grievous. This is no reflection on Tombstone Generator, I've used it before. I just was too upset to figure out the problem.

I then thought ok, I'll make my own but all of the real world tombstone makers have their logo or other watermark on the headstones. Understandable and because they are facing foreign mechanical knock-offs, I don't blame them.

I still needed a headstone. I found Tombstone Builder and I'm good to go. The music is from the Internet Archive, The Negro Prison Songs from Mississippi State Penitentiary. I assembled it in Serif Movie Plus X3.

My point in describing the process is that using basic tools and technology you can tell a story or convey information. Music helps a lot too.

Thoughts and Concerns

This was harder than I anticipated. I initially wanted to have parts of faces showing bruises. I did find those, most regrettably. I needed women of color. There is one recent woman of color who was assaulted by her partner.

Here is where the ethics kick in. I could make the case that this woman is a public figure and the photos have become public record. I could crop or distort the photos. I could focus on just the bruises.

To change factual photographs is not a good thing. It is dishonest. Damn me for taking a photo-journalism class but there you go, it is not a good practice to distort the actual recorded experience.

The second issue is that I don't know who took the original photos. I don't know who owns them. They look like police photos. Either way, I don't have permission until I find that out. Since I don't want to it is ok.

I decided not to use those photos. There is a real live person involved. I don't know this woman. I don't know the truth about her situation but I do not want to be perceived as benefiting from her sorrow.

It seems others have no problem doing so but I do. So yes, it would have been a better piece with photos but the ethical costs was much too high.

Stop The Verbal Violence PSA - Barbara Jordan

This is the second PSA with Barbara Jordan knocking the stuffing out of the inarticulate comment. I've had to sift through a lot of comments to find the ones that are clean enough to put up as an representative examples.



A lot of people still hold this woman in high regard. She may have left the planet but thankfully people have been posting her words, audio and video.
Process:

The tools I used were photos, mp3 audio and a video software editing program called Serif Movie Plus X3. It made it really easy to pan, zoom and keep the aspect ratio correct. You can do the same thing in Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Corel VideoStudio 12 has that feature as well.

Serif gives me a good balance between my intermediate video skills and access to advanced features, if I need them.

Inspiration and Reason for this PSA Video:

There is some nasty, vile stuff and a some of it is coming from young African-American men.

Seriously. Those that posted their ages seem to range from 18 t0 25 or so. There is some older male commentary as well but it is coming from young men. And Fox News. And cable reality shows. I can go on.

Let me get back to the young men thing for a moment. I seem to remember something about there are stages of development. There is a phase in some young boys around seven or eight start to "hate" girls. They are learning to construct their own identities independent of mom and the culture tells them that they are "different" than girls.

Then puberty hits and 9 out 10 of them like girls very much. Well, parts of them anyway. There is a later adolescence phase where some men lock into self-esteem by exerting mental and/or physical power over women.

Not saying they are actually abusing - though that is happening; but that internally they cannot be a man without disrespecting women. The are supported in that thinking by the church, images from the dominate culture and lack of seeing other types of women. A potion of these men never leave that stage.

Who performs rap music? What do lower skilled performers rap about? What has been programmed into our childrens' heads for the past 30 years?

I am not bashing rappers. I want to make that clear. When rap music started out there was a diversity in voices and approaches. You had political, comedy, gospel, women and a range of performers.

When the music companies came and stated waving big money in folks faces that when it changed. The industry focused in on a certain demographic that would pay for gangster, drugs and negative empowerment. Misogyny is a multi-billion dollar industry.

In my opinion.

The PSA Project - This Is What I Can Do

Today is Memorial and Remembrance Day in Uzbekistan. I wrote a post on the murder of Aisa McGowen. I asked there must be something that we can do. That I could do. I stared running my mouth and that is a sure sign of trouble right there.

The thought would not let me go. Aisa wasn't the first women assaulted and murdered and sadly she will not be the last. But the question nagged at me because instead of accepting that their is nothing an individual or as a group can do I think I found "something."

This is a remembrance of all women, men and children who have died because of intentional and senseless violence.



I'm using the metaphor of the traditional PSA to educate and inform. This isn't a one day thing for me. But I wanted to show that it is not totally hopeless or overwhelming.

We don't need much. We have what we need. Using very basic tools to create, display and distribute PSA videos each one can reach another.

It is doable. We can do this for ourselves. Text blogs are our first foundation steps, this is our next and we need to do it now because the constriction is starting to happen. That is a discussion for another time.

I'm going to be posting more stuff today but let me give you what I have identified as what I see as needed:
  • There is a lack of connection with our youth and certain young men in the music history with the women who made them possible. Not talking about their mothers but their historical mothers. The rest of us are also just coasting on name recognition but really don't know or remember the importance of the women I'll use as an example. So the imaginary campaign is Stop the Verbal Violence.
  • The Help information on YouTube does not have videos to show how to customize your settings so that you can control users comments. YouTube does want Help videos and they have a section on how to do it. I'm taking them up on it.
  • There are resources about cyberstalking, harassment and bullies. Some are good. Many are out of date and haven't been updated since 1997 or 2002. Sadly some non-profit webs sites are up but you go to a specific page it is 404'd out. Almost all are text based. Then there is the whole issues that not every state or police force has a specific policy on what do.
So that was what I identified as a need that can be filed or addressed. We don't have to wait for M$M to get it cuz it brings them no profit to do so. Where I live they no longer show PSAs on commercial television unless the show is so bad that they can't get advertising for it.

On the weekend there is nothing but infomercials or re-runs of things I would not watch in the first place. I haven't really turned on my television much since the inauguration.

Hulu? Yeah for now but Disney didn't sign on to have PSAs running in their shows.

I'm noticing on YouTube the featured videos are of M$M productions and the YT user videos are moved toward the bottom? I'm just saying...

This is first of the PSA videos. You can click the PSA tag to pull up what I have at the moment. In other posts I'll talk more about process. I have my part of Bandini Mountain and there is enough to go around.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Kicks on the Finally Friday Freakout

When local television was really local the bands at the time would perform on the dances shows. Most every city had one show that folks watched every day or on Saturday.

On Sunday nights when the Black radio stations shut down at 6pm or sundown. (I'm gonna have to explain that in another post) you either pulled out your 45s or 33.3rds or, in certain cities, you tuned into the "other" station.

They would play some Motown but mostly it was Sonny & Cher, The Beach Boys and these guys. I have never seen this performed so I present to you Paul Revere and the Raiders and Kicks (Just Keep Getting Harder to Find) with Mark Lindsey making with the vocals.



Let's keep the howling laughter to a minimum please. You do not know how we suffered back then. No FM radio. You needed cash money and transportation to go to the shows like the Apollo. Or it is Sunday night and it is 3 below zero. You worked with it. You were lucky if you scored some Righteous Brothers or Catching the Westbound Number 9.

My poor little 9 volt transistor radio could only reach so far. You know it is kinda strange that his hair stays in place while he is singing. Anyway take what you will from the experience. I just heard all of the lyrics clearly for the first time. Wow, it is a stone gas man.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Creativity via Math Uncovering Our Latent Math Skills

I ask you your kind indulgence. I know this post has the word math in it. I do have pictures. This might not seem like an education post but it really is. It is about the creativity and the math skills we use everyday. There are women who use math and mathematics to create extraordinary works of art and function.  Or both.

Pre-Ramble Flashback

In school I hugged a “D” grade in arithmetic. If I got a 68 on an arithmetic test I was doing good. I did not care nor was I made to care. Just another dumb old girl who couldn’t do math. You know something? It wasn’t true. I could do math. I could figure out how many recycled soda bottles it would take to buy a Chunky bar. I knew how long I had to stay away from home on a hot day after going into a gushing fire hydrant when my mother told me I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the open fire hydrant.  I could work out how many comic books could I get with 55 cents depending on if I bought the 12 cent full cover or the 5 cent stripped covers.

Like I said, the essentials of life I could master. What I could not do was understand the half assed way it was presented to me in my classes.  Not to mention the not so hidden message of what would I need it for anyway?  I say let us cast off the shackles of culturally enforced math shame!

Women deal with numbers, ratios, geometry and mathematical skills every day. We can do it, have been doing it and so long as there is a woman in a grocery store four days from payday who has to feed 5 people on her remaining $10 dollars we will continue to apply our latent math skills.  I hope that by the end of this post you will be convinced or at least more willing to believe in your innate math ability that we all have. Math can be expressed in different ways. It is more than than numbers.

The Easy Stuff First

For the past few months frugal, financial and simplicity bloggers have been typing their fingers to the bone trying to get the rest of us to come to financial consciousness. If you need one more you can visit Mrs. Micah and check out her posts on budgeting.

Crafters most people don’t normally associate with math skills but you should. I can’t think of any craft that doesn’t require some form of math skills. Over at Sew Mama Sew there is a photo of a lovely ruffle top. Beneath the photo of the top is the arithmetic needed to construct said ruffle top. Now most of us couldn’t calculate the speed of a train due to arrive in Altoona at 8 p.m. but many of you could make that frock.

Knitters, come out of the math closet; you are number crunchers and you know it. Yarn Harlot and Glenna C at Knitting to Stay Sane have to be number crunchers because you can’t make something like this:

Crazy Knitting Lady

without a wee bit of planning, conceptualization and dare I say it? Math skills. Yes, she might be saying knit one, purl two but that is still a math formula. Ha! I’m just getting warmed up.

Geometrically Speaking – It Starts With A Vision

I want to show you something from the website Bathsheba Sculpture, the Art of Geometry:

Bathsheba Sculpture Ring

This is a close up of a ring. Or a sculpture. Or a work of art. Or, perhaps it is a mathematical concept made visible. Bathsheba Grossman is an artist who uses mathematics, Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and other tools to create her work. From her website:

I'm an artist exploring the region between art and mathematics, and this is my gallery and storefront.  My work is about life in three dimensions: working with symmetry and balance, getting from a zero point to infinity, and always finding beauty in geometry.

That's to say, I like to think about shapes, and occasionally I think up a new one, and usually they come out very symmetrical.  I'm like any artist in that it's difficult to explain exactly how and why this happens.

Neri Oxman is an Architect and a Researcher who believes we don't have to build buildings the way we have for the past century. Neri works in a number of disciplines and materials to find (in my limited understanding) ways of constructing more natural, non rectangular spaces.

Architect/Researcher Neri Oxman

From the Materialecology website:

Marterialecology was formed in 2006 by Neri Oxman as an interdisciplinary research initiative that undertakes design research in the intersection between architecture, engineering, computation, biology and ecology... As such, it seeks to promote and define a design research agenda which is ecological in nature, in ideology and in material practice; it aims at embracing the evolving elements of change in both (and indeed related) social constructs and environmental descriptions of the ever changing built environment.

Math is a part of our everyday and fanciful life. It is not just about the numbers but the visions and dreams that the numbers can help us create. I hope the following examples will broaden your perspective on mathematics and help break pass the not so silent messages of being incapable of understanding math and mathematical concepts.

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

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Taste of Moms Maybley

I'm actually trying not to think so I was messing around and I saw this clip of Moms Mabley. I think I need to do a tribute post to her again but in the meantime I think you will enjoy this short clip.



From the curtains it could either be Ed Sullivan or maybe the Hollywood Palace from 1969. Now any clip of Moms that comes from television is probably going to be clean. Miss Mabley was known for being a "blue" comic. By the mi-1960s she finally started getting invited on TV and she had to clean up her act.

So I have been told. You see, I have never heard her authentic routines. I was way too young and they were way too risque to be played around children.

I do know she was a hell of a survivor and a pioneer in making due in the mist of horror. I do know pieces of her life story. That woman had seen some troubles.

Anyway for those that remember and those that don't know take notes. The lesson is on comic timing.

Redecorating - Expect Madness

3:35p.m. - Official changing my mind for the moment. Widgets are driving me mad and I am avoiding what I am supposed to be working on anyway. The fear is so bad I'm also cleaning.

Gotta get a grip.
****************
I'm gong to spruce up the Stoop. So either you will see the same old Harbor or wacko corrections to the new template. I'll try to get it done ASAP but I've been thinking about it for a long time and I think I found one that I can live with for the next few months.

Anyway, just wanted to pre-warn you that the joint is going skitzo for however long it takes.

Hopefully no more than an hour or so...thereabouts. Kinda.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong - on the Finally Friday Freakout

Long day. Really long day. I do want to howl at the moon or something.

I really need to find my quiet space but ole Lonesome Joe howls every time he hears a siren. This causes each dog in the neighborhood to howl in solidarity.

Now you can't get mad with Lonesome Joe because the Doofuses that get themselves into situations the require the use of a siren are the ones that are are messing with Lonesome Joe's and my desire for peace and quiet and the equal and opposite desire to bust out and run away with the Beagle across the street. That would be Lonesome Joe and the Beagle for clarification.

Yes, seems like we gotta do wrong before they notice us. Speaking of which, here is a slide presentation of The Whispers that expresses just how me and Lonesome Joe feel right about now, Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong.



Seriously, I need summer. Sunshine. Constant temperature or a non-fat pint of good sorbet. For medicinal purposes only.