Week of the 15 – 19: where I try to function in the worst news week ever and am snubbed for some reason (probably because of my parts)

The Enigma of the Oracle, Giorgio de Chirico, 1910

The past week was an incredibly rough news week. I don’t know why I need to write that. Everyone in the US knows what I am talking about.

I knew I had become hypersensitive to the news by Thursday morning and while it’s true bad things happen all over the world every single day, the Boston Marathon bombing set the tone for the rest of the week as one of fear and sadness. I cried over many headlines and news tidbits  on every day of the week until Friday, when I decided to read a tenth of the news I usually do. I was hiding under a rock, unwilling to read anything about anything, especially if it had something to do with the Boston marathon bombing.

Add to that me trying to juggle three freelance gigs for the first time.  I didn’t do a particularly good job of it, but I’ve been worse during other national tragedies. Stupid super empathy, you’re good for nothing but bouts of anger and tears in times like these. Well, enough about my weird brain chemistry, here’s a recap of this week and a preview of the upcoming one:

On Monday, my Guardian piece about Anonymous and it’s mainstream shift/ now established expertise at PR was published, and it did well throughout the day (and week). I say that based off comments and retweets. I was really surprised no one in the UK or US picked out the best part of it though: that the President of United States fears Anonymous. That  great factoid is courtesy of Gabriella Coleman.  The Globe and Mail picked up the article though, and so did the Raw Story, which was cool.

Monday also saw me chatting with Jaime Cochran about weev and his legacy, over whiskey on the rocks. I am trying to write a good personal profile on weev for VICE, explaining the man behind the bad boy myth, perhaps even evoke some sympathy for him. I have been talking to various friends for a couple weeks now, and I have my own experiences with him over these last few years, but it wasn’t until tonight (Sunday) that I got  the interview with a source I’d been looking for. I think I can finally finish that piece tomorrow, which is great, because maybe Motherboard is annoyed with me now. But they need to pay me – the student loan people have begun to  hound me with phone calls again. (Because I am a simple person that loves alliteration, I made Motherboard’s primary day Monday.)   Read the rest of this entry »


The Wall Street Journal continues to botch YouTube coverage

I am browsing Twitter past everyone’s bed-time, like I do, and I come across a The Next Web article (courtesy of Steffen Konrath) about The Wall Street Journal’s latest reporting snafu.

The WSJ had erroneously reported Google is pledging an additional $200 million in its premium content channel’s marketing budget. This caused a “rais[ing of] eyebrows” as it made the pledged total marketing budget $400 million. That’s a shit ton of money, especially when you consider Google only gave 150 million to the content creators.  A 150 million pie being split with 100 channels!  “Channels,” which equate to established YouTube celebrities AND people like Felicia Day, Deepak Chopra and Kevin Smith, AND their entire film and production crews. (Tiny pie slices, ’cause we’re all on diets, right?)

Established YouTubers have complained about this injustice, this discrepancy in funding which they claim proves Google doesn’t take what they do seriously – (how can you compete with TV if you don’t invest properly in the content, Google!?) – and this additional $200 million figure (and slight) was cause for more complaint.

According to this executive, the funding his company received from Google allows it to spend about $1,000 a minute on each video production made for its channel.

“But $1,000 a finished minute is not enough,” he explained. “You need to get to around $2,100. At $1,000 a minute, you’re pulling favors every time you do a shoot. If you’re just pulling a location permit in L.A., it’s going to cost you $900.”

Long story short, Google told TNW they are not investing $400 million. The WSJ was confusing that time in May when Google pledged $200 towards marketing its premium content. Oops!!

Shortly after that WSJ article was posted, RWW founder Richard MacManus sends me a link to it on skype:

[7/31/2012 3:57:39 PM] Richard MacManus: Have you seen this Fruzsina? http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10000872396390444840104577549632241258356-lMyQjAxMTAyMDMwMDAzODA3Wj.html

[7/31/2012 3:58:14 PM] fruzsina.eordogh: no!

[7/31/2012 3:58:32 PM] fruzsina.eordogh: the wall street journal always publishes news that is years old, pretending it’s fresh

[7/31/2012 3:59:00 PM] fruzsina.eordogh: google already pledged 200 mil in advertising

[7/31/2012 4:04:03 PM] fruzsina.eordogh: I don’t find anything informative about this article…

[7/31/2012 4:04:15 PM] fruzsina.eordogh: it has a nice chart

So, you know that part in the skype chat where I said the WSJ likes to publish news that is “years old, pretending it’s fresh?” I was referring to this time in February 2012 when the Wall Street Journal ran an article about Ray William Johnson being YouTube’s first millionaire. (RWJ became YouTube’s first millionaire in April 2011.)

Please note the 49 comments on that RWJ article, many of which are from YouTubers pointing out various factual inaccuracies in the article.  RWJ even ranted about how horrible the article was in an episode of his show (a very rare move)… and it looks like the WSJ NEVER BOTHERED to correct all of those factual inaccuracies, nor did they apologize.

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Corporations, Companies, and Supporters of SOPA

If this Pastebin document, created by Anonymous members involved in Operation Hiroshima, is to be believed, the following companies lobbied Congress in support of SOPA.

I smell a boycott… and the weird thing about this list is, how are most of these companies affected by online piracy? Especially all these clothing companies…

PetMeds

3M 

ABRO Industries, Inc.

Acushnet Company

Adidas America 

Bose Coporation

Burberry

CBS Corporation

Chanel USA

Coach

Columbia Sportswear

Dolce & Gabbana

Electronic Arts, Inc. (individuals within have voiced opposition?)

Entertainment Software Association

Read the rest of this entry »


THIS IS A SELF-BRANDING POST

Really, I am writing this all for a piece I am posting on my recently resuscitated hyper-local blog the Albany Park Post (hopefully), in which I explain how EveryBlock broke my heart.

You could also call this a “self-promotional” post, and when I feel like updating my “about” page, I will probably replace the text with the following:

I was hired by the Daily Dot officially in June. This is my first real grown up job, so I don’t want to fuck it up. I work way more than 8 hours a day, leaving very little time for other blogging. This explains my silence across multiple platforms I used to write on.

The Daily Dot’s public beta launched in September.

Since our public beta launch in September, my work has been linked to  (or can I cheat like every other writer and say “featured”?) on The New Yorker, the New York Times, Media Bistro, TechCrunch, TechMeme, USA Today, Gawker, Venture Beat, Time Magazine, The Daily What, others I can’t even remember but appreciate dearly, and most recently, Time Out Chicago and  The Atlantic.

I was also interviewed by the Guardian, and Sky News.

July 20, 2012 edit: my hyperlocal blog on Windy Citizen, which I will insist until my dying day was the uncredited prototype for EveryBlock, has gone down with the Windy Citizen site. All of my writing there, covering local crime, police meetings, criticisms of my alderman, attempts at fostering civic pride, garbage pick-ups and community gatherings, have disappeared. Thankfully, in a fit of unusual foresight,  the post I wrote “THIS IS A SELF-BRANDING POST”  to link to  was copied onto the original blogspot site.


Happy Birthday, Raquel Welch!

Yes, I know it is also Freddie Mercury’s birthday. Considering all the digital love he’s gotten (which he deserves, don’t get me wrong, even if he is dead), I thought I’d share with who ever is reading this blog my favorite videos of Welch. If you don’t know who she is, go skim her wikipedia page first please.

These are all found on YouTube, because my new job is to cover YouTube…

I first came upon Rachel Welch, like most of America,  when I watched One Million Years B.C.  (Starting the Earth’s Children book series in Junior High will do that) It is only fitting that I begin this video list with a compilation of her from One Million Years B.C.

I don’t expect you, dear reader, to watch all of the above video, but I do expect you to watch all of the one below. It’s only 3 minutes long, and while there is no dialog until the very end, I can promise it is engaging. It’s literally one of the best fan compilations on YouTube.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dead Squirrel Girl’s Parents Defend Video: “We Hoped It Would Touch People”

The Daily Dot, the Internet’s hometown newspaper, is launching this summer—but we’ve already started searching out the best untold stories in the Web’s community. Here’s one from correspondent Fruzsina Eördögh, about two parents who posted a video of their daughter that some viewers found a little too viral.

She’s known on the Internet as “Dead Squirrel Girl”: Thea, a three-year-old dancing in what some see as macabre fashion with a just-killed rodent. The video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times — and the parents have been judged by the Internet and found wanting. But instead of reblogging the video with a snappy witticism about parenting, the Daily Dot actually called Thea’s mom and dad.

Here’s their story.

Three years ago, Sean Leonard, an acupuncturist and artist in Sarasota, Fla., was out walking his greyhound Ivy. They came upon a squirrel and before Leonard could intervene, Ivy snapped its neck with a ferocious shake. Leonard returned home to tell his wife, who suggested they collect the squirrel and bury it in their garden, as a gentle way of introducing their 3-year-old daughter, Thea, to the concept of death.

When the parents re-emerged from the house after collecting a shovel, Thea had picked up the squirrel—and Leonard, who had wanted to document the event, had his camera rolling.

“She was in ecstasy holding the squirrel, snuggling it,” said Leonard. “She was smothering it with love, and at that point we knew nothing would be accomplished by stripping her of it.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Game of Thrones is one of the most feminist shows on TV

I watched the second episode of Game of Thrones last night, and I was even more pleased with the adaptation of the book than I was last week. After the episode ended though, the first thing I thought about was Ginia Bellafante.

Like most female fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I was very disappointed in Bellafante’s review of the first episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but I passed off her disregard for the show (and fantasy in general) as part of the same sentiment older women have for video games – the view that fantasy (and video games) are just for children or young males. When Bellafante says she doesn’t know any woman that likes fantasy, I believe her. She is from a time before video games, before the rise of the internet.   Bellafante’s culturally learned distaste for the fantasy genre (and most geek culture) is also indicative of her outdated view of gender constructs.  Ilana Teitelbaum writes it well in her Dear New York Times: A Game of Thrones is not just for Boys: Read the rest of this entry »


Gamers have an Image Problem

Abstract: This image problem is rooted in a failure by the mainstream media (and film) to treat video games as an acceptable pastime, making gaming “a dirty word“, and perpetuating the notion that women shouldn’t have authorship over technology around them. The male gaming community is only partially responsible, and this will be discussed in a subsequent post. This post was formulated after analyzing video game coverage by major female-oriented publications and by my personal memory of video game scenes in movies.

“One of the things we were trying to combat with 3G was how girls are discouraged from learning anything about technology beyond how to use it, [not] to be responsible or have a form of authorship with it.” - Terence Hannum, Internship and External Relations Coordinator at Columbia College

Any female in her 20′s that plays video games knows gaming has an image problem. Not only does the community you play in make you feel unwelcome a la the blog “Fat, Ugly or Slutty“,  your parents find your enjoyment of video games off-putting, as do 30-somethings co-workers. I’ve had more than one conversation at slightly older dinner parties become painfully awkward when I mention I like/want to write about video games. The women scan the room and decide it is time to mingle. Then I am left with some guy, and as the silence continues between us, I begin to question his intentions. Sometimes I can see this male have an OMG-GIRL-GAMER-freak-out moment, all in the eyes, and when it abides he hesitantly remarks I must be the male gamer fantasy or some other weird crap.  Then I decide it is time to mingle.

My mom keeps thinking I will grow out of my love of video games. She is not impressed when I tell her I am laying down plumbing because my city’s population explosion is  forcing me to expand my city limits.

There is a common thread behind these awkward interactions: people born before the 80′s view video games as either a waste of time or a childish hobby. How can that be, when video games have been around for 30 years  - and adults now play video games and teachers use video games as part of their curriculum? Read the rest of this entry »


Balancing the Budget is Easy

Will Congress balance the budget? Will there be a government shut-down? Are we going to rob from the rich to give to the poor, or are we going to rob from the poor to give to the rich? Are we going to become communists? Are we going to become corporate fascists? Are we all going to die? 

Every time I feel myself getting sucked into the media hysteria that is the budget deficit, I go back to an interactive deficit puzzle  created presumably by the New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt in November of last year.

This interactive deficit puzzle has soothed me many times, and each time I begin the puzzle, I am reminded of how simple and effective it is. I can balance the budget without hurting the elderly or the poor, and upon balancing the budget, I am left feeling joyful. My euphoria only lasts for a few minutes though, because in completing Leonhardt’s puzzle, I am left wondering why the budget has taken months to balance when I can balance it in less than five minutes… has every member of Congress sat down and used a tool like this?

I know all those fogies in Congress probably don’t remember anything from their last economics class, so maybe a puzzle/tool/application like Leonhardt’s  would be most helpful in getting these elected officials to think about budget deficit concepts in terms of money and not social agenda.  Leonhardt’s project breaks down US spending and tax areas in concise and understandable language, and with its point and click format, even new computer-using Congressmen can understand how to solve the deficit.

Can’t the Speaker of the House and Joe Biden send out a mass e-mail to all Congressmen demanding everyone use Leonhardt’s interactive puzzle before the next session? That mass e-mail should close with a line something like… “Any elected official that refuses to use Leonhardt’s puzzle because it is on the New York Times site will be barred from the floor.”

Lucien Moore House in ruins

^^ If the rest of the United States looks like this, I just might move to Canada. Collecting firewood is only fun the first couple of times… ^^

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New Yorkers (and the world) need to chill out over the Great Bronx Zoo Cobra Escape

Lilith (1892) by John Collier in Southport Atk...

There's this rumor going around saying Lilith slept with snakes...

So, I am not a “snake expert”, and the post below is based off my limited experiences with snakes at friends houses and from my observations at the zoo. Oh, and, the fact that snakes are cold-blooded, meaning snakes are the temperature of their surroundings.

Psst, New Yorkers! The cobra is a cold-blooded reptile, and it’s 40 degrees outside! Why would the escaped cobra even leave the Reptile building?

Because there is obviously nothing to fear, I have to assume this is all because New York,  New York was feeling jealous over all the national (and international) media attention Chicago’s been getting because of our newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As proof of how awesome our new mayor is, his fake twitter account is being made into a book.  Does Mayor Bloomberg even have a fake twitter (a good one)? And are the tweets of the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra  going to be made into a book? I scoff at myself for even posing the question. Well, maybe if the cobra actually kills someone.

You can probably tell, I don’t find the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra twitter account funny mainly because I refuse to forget that snakes are cold-blooded… (just like how squirrels can’t pickpocket people because they don’t have hands – I’m looking at you, Justin Kaufmann-)

As to why journalists (and their readers/viewers) have eaten this silly story up, my  guess is the escaped  Bronx Zoo cobra story lightens an otherwise somber international community worried about Japan, Libya, and budget deficits.

UPDATE: Before I hit the Publish button I  google-newsed “bronx zoo cobra”, and do you know what was at the top of my search? The Egyptian cobra was found inside the Reptile building. I am soooo good.

Like me, the director of the Bronx Zoo Jim Breheny also doesn’t understand all the hub-bub over the snake, as evident by his behavior in the above press conference video.


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