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)Posted: April 22, 2013
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 »
Because what is this personal blog for, right? I hardly use this damn thing but here goes:
I took a really long vacation - well, more like an adventure – in India. For all of February. I learned quite a few things about myself (more remembering and reflecting than anything – yeah, depression’s a bitch like that) so I know I will be processing the experience for months to come. It was a kick in the gut. No, really. One night, after 48 hours of being sick and unable to hold down water or food, I had a fever dream of such crisp details.
So I returned to the States determined to be a master of my fate, in a way that I couldn’t be if say, I was born in India.
- I started blogging for VICE’s tech blog Motherboard (a place I like much better than Slate for many reasons) after a piece I wrote about this group of online “trolls and hackers” known as the Rustle League. I think VICE is a good home for my contrarian and weird Internet stuff, and we’ll see what happens there.
- A piece I wrote about labiaplasty was published on Thought Catalog, and it made both my mate and my mother mad. They didn’t understand the value of the piece at first, objecting to its personal nature. I ended up telling my mom I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t talk freely about your body as a woman (aka, an abstinence only education nightmare where women all get plastic surgery) and that convinced her. I had originally written it for VICE which was why there is all those curse words in it. (Ha! ) I need more non-tech venues for my writing. I’ve been tech-exclusive for about 2 and a half years now (half of my writing career!), and the stay-at-home lifestyle sometimes exacerbates my mental health issues.
- My third piece for the Guardian’s op-ed section Comment Is Free should be up any time today. Yes, also very exciting. My first piece went up in January. I want to be an Evgeny Morozov/Nick Carr type (I think my blog subhead of multiple years communicates that desire, but maybe not), but we will see what happens there too.
- I am still at ReadWrite despite it being a constant sea of changes. Now an old boss was recently hired there, so, I am feeling more comfortable there now than when I first returned from my trip.
- Last week I started writing for a content start-up focused on the business aspects of web video, Video Ink. I am excited about this for a few reasons, even if it is a pretty boring job and feels like a job more than any of the other places I am writing for, because 1) it takes the digital space seriously and understands just how disruptive it is 2) out of a core team of 4 people, only one is male.
Now for some (potentially) bad news!
I am 28 now and I have yet to finish any of my books. AHHHHHHH. The one I wanted to finish first was a bit memoir-like: former Soviet Satellite refugee version of Amy Tan mixed with Obama’s Dreams of my Father done in the Collected Works of Billy the Kid style. It touches on having a single teen for a mom, among other darker themes. It’s heavy, but I know I can make it funny. My mother, however, broke down while we were preparing Easter dinner: if I publish what I want to about being a child of domestic violence, it would bring shame to her and her name. She is embarrassed. I should have known, as her and I only began having open discussions of what kind of man my birth father really was, just a few years ago. After he died, actually. But … I think that is also part of the problem – the lack of conversation. She didn’t even tell her second husband, or her last boyfriend.
I don’t know what to do here, as I feel like writing about my experiences is within my right as it was also my trauma - it is part of my coping process – and I actually think my book would make the world a better place. On the other hand, it is very much her life too. Maybe I can suck it up and finish my science fiction novel, but I am very inspired to work on this particular project. RIGHT NOW. But I can’t finish it if she won’t talk to me any more about it, can I?
Sexism drove Asher_Wolf away from Cryptoparty and it looks like Twitter as well.
Last night she “ragequit” due to something related to hackers posing as “bronies” attacking her website? That is what the rumors on Twitter are saying, at least. I write “bronies” because Internet pranksters love disguising as them (or anyone they hate, really. The #cutforbieber folks, for instance, tried to blame it on 9GAG in various comment section of YouTube vlogs on the controversy).
The time stamp for the brony attack is from December, but the intention behind whatever drove the people to harass Asher_Wolf is still the same.
Her last tweet, according to Topsy, was “offline.”
While I had yet to attend a cryptoparty – it was on my agenda – I relied on her Twitter stream to keep me updated on all acts of Internet activism. She was in Australia, and her timing jived with my late night Internet wanderings when insomnia kicked in.
I get her point of not having to stick around and take abuse, but why quit Twitter when it was her site that was disturbed, not her news distribution service?
I feel like I am being punished.
1:30 pm Update:
On secondary inspection, it was probably the trolls that came out following her Aaron Swartz post.
Asher_wolf is back on Twitter, no explanation for the hiatus.
I know it’s really trendy and all to hate Reddit these days, but old habits die hard. (And my mate is a diehard.) You can find almost everything on Reddit – it being “the face of the Internet” - and that including subreddits like Makeup Addiction, about (you guessed it!) makeup and the ladies addicted to it.
I know very few things about applying and wearing makeup (mascara, undereye concealer, lotion is me), but a makeup painted mask seems like the easy route to me. The ladies that use /r/MakeupAddiction gave me some great DIY ideas for this Wednesday night. Many of them claim to be amateurs, too, which I find inspiring.
By the lovely kaitlyngrace:
So I did this photoshoot thing for ReadWriteWeb’s new redesign, done to their specs:
From there I got a new Facebook and Twitter picture:
And then things got wacky, because this is a photoshoot, and people get wacky on photoshoots duh.
I started channeling “Overly Attached Girlfriend.” Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s Create a Factory Ranking System for Fashion Designers So I Can Finally Buy Pretty Clothes, PleasePosted: September 10, 2012
How do you know you have made it?
I am here to tell you that I’ve made it. My standards are pretty low though, so don’t get jealous: As a working writer, I can finally afford clothes that are not Target, outlet or thrift store prices. This has been cause for some mental celebration.
Check it, I am now one of those ladies looking to invest in her wardrobe with a few choice pieces. How bourgeoisie of me, I know, at a time of high unemployment and the Occupy movement. I already feel guilty, made worse as I survey the market of fancy designers before me and wonder where their products are made, and if this has anything to do with why the product costs so much.
I am a consumer, a despised thing in some philosophies, but at least I desire very much to be a knowledgeable consumer. (A knowledgeable consumer is better than a vapid consumer, is how I reason with my reactionary self.)
Mock me all you want (this is me still wrestling with my reactionary demons), but one of the reasons why I despise Apple products is because of how they are made. Now that I have money to invest, I want to make sure my purchase isn’t harming anyone.
Which brings me to the fantastic designer Tory Burch. No I really mean that compliment; I can see myself wearing everything on her site.
Except, the price isn’t right given the lack of information. The price more than “kind of” rubs me the wrong way.
I want to get a neutral sweater, and Burch’s clothing is beautiful so I want her to be a part of my budding personal collection.
The two sweaters in the running are both 20% angora, 70% wool and 10% nylon; the tri-mix means the color won’t fade, the wool will keep me warm during Chicago winters and the angora ensures a supersoftness my friends and boyfriend will insist on petting. A mighty fine sweater… and it will cost me either $275 or $495.
The more expensive one, with its cute and irrelevant fox emblem, is enticing me so hard while I write this. I can dress the sweater down with jeans, or up with pearls and a fitted red skirt. I can’t make the purchase though, because the sweater as a whole is not as unique as the cheaper one. I can’t even click the buy button for the $275 one, because neither product description lists where the sweater was made.
(Why is the sweater $495 when a gold-plated bracelet is $195? This high price annoys me more when I learn something made of real gold – and not just “gold plate” – is $130. But the fashion designer’s high price prerogative is something for another post, I suppose. )
I can talk myself into paying $275 for a sweater made in the United States, or if the sweater was made in an overseas factory paying families fair wages – which include overtime- in normal work conditions with more than one toilet. I can’t do it for anything less.
You know what would be really helpful?
If there was a global human rights council that went around rating the factories, and designers were required by international law to display this ranking prominently somewhere on their site and by the checkout registers in their stores.
Can you help a sister out and make this a reality pretty please? Because until then, I’ve set up these barriers to buying your product. In the event I overcome my sense of morality and ethics and buy your product without knowing where or how it was made, I really don’t want to feel guilty about it later.
Googling revealed Burch utilizes factories in China, and just this June her purses were found to have “nearly 200 times more lead than the limit permitted by the legal agreement with the Center for Environmental Health.”
I’d also like to not be poisoned, but I realize I can’t have my cake and eat it too.
In case you can’t tell from the title, in the latest Tomb Raider installment (and reboot!) the lead female almost gets raped by her captors. This made a shit ton of people mad, and while their intentions were good, the outcome was ultimately…worse.
The game designers explained this rape attempt was to make Croft, who is known for being a gun-toting bad-ass, more “vulnerable” and “human,” perhaps thinking society could finally have a rational discussion about rape. Boy were they mistaken, judging by the online reaction! (Which incidentally led to a detracted statement that could easily be construed as a silencing attempt, almost mirroring the aftermath an actual rape victim would find themselves in.)
The online reaction was the typical knee-jerk foaming-at-the-mouth feminist “oh my god how could they do this to my favorite female hero and literally one of the only few strong female hero’s” arguments. And it was especially nice to see the men wringing their digital hands louder than any one else.
But how often has a video game tackled rape? And have they ever approached the subject in even as remotely delicate of a manner as the latest Tomb Raider?
The answer is a no, again easily answered by the level of outrage.
Mic Wright wrote in the Kernel, “I don’t remember Master Chief ever being anally raped to help us empathise with him more.” Helen Lewis also compared Croft to the male Halo franchise hero in the New Statesman: “Bungie didn’t think that the only way players would root for Master Chief was by having him raped.”
I don’t know how Wright or Lewis can be confused, but in case you dear reader are too, I’d like to take this moment to point out to you that Master Chief is a man, and Lara Croft is a woman.
And not only that, but, RAPE is one of those weird sexual things men have been doing to women since the dawn of time.
The Hebrew Muslim and Christian god condoned and advocated using rape as a weapon of war in the Old Testament, and armies to this day still use it as as demoralizing tool all over the world. Even military contractors and soldiers in modern war zones still rape women, and they even rape women who are not their enemies but their comrades-in-arms.
Recent statistics for rape in the United States put a sexual assault or rape at every two minutes, and 1/6 of the female population in America will be raped, or fight off a rapist in her lifetime. Globally, one in every five women will be raped. But you didn’t come here to read rape statistics, and if you’re bored by all those numbers, sorry. I just thought I had to note them, because I laughed when Kellie Foxx-Gonzales wrote, NOT IRONICALLY, on The Mary Sue:
“The responsibility is wholly upon her to protect herself, it is not upon the scumbag rapists who are trying to hurt her. “
Duh, Kellie. Do you not know how rape happens? Women usually have to protect themselves alone, from the men attacking them. And rapists are generally scumbags. That’s why they’re rapists!
Not to keep picking on Kellie from The Mary Sue, but she went on to say rape shouldn’t be in any video game because she’s “had enough of that in real life.”
Great. So now we can’t talk about rape because it happens too much? I thought one of the biggest problems with rape was that people don’t talk about it enough: the crime doesn’t always get reported, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
So, I am checking out the site I work for, before going to bed, and I notice a story I hadn’t read or heard about.
I go to see out who had tweeted the story that evening, (I am curious of our audience) and lo and behold, I see a sponsored tweet, purchased in EARLY JANUARY.
I had no idea these sponsored tweets had that long of a shelf life. Seem like a good value, now that I think about it (or so I thought, at the time).