Monthly Archives: January 2012
I am the worst speller in the world, at least I think. I was never supported in the education system to take a full course in grammar. I speed read everything so I just don’t have that skill to slow down and proof read my own work. I can look at a sentence I typed understand what I mean even if I know it’s wrong somehow, but I can’t really explain why. Dear god- do not share this post with any potential employers. When I see typos and errors on other peoples stuff it glares at me like a sore thumb. Why can’t I critically read my own work?
So bad spelling and poor grammar for me – it’s like a work place hazard, everything one way or another relates to written communication in the field of PR. To people who say this is a ‘people person’ profession I say no- it’s a ‘tied to your computer person’. E-mail rules the business world even though maybe it should not, environmental scanning, media relations and monitoring, stakeholder engagement, events, web 2.0, or 3.0 or social media or whatever… it is all tied to 26 letters of the alphabet, and if they are in the right order- you suck. Or rather, I suck.
How can I be a freelancer, and a grad student, and I can’t even spell properly. The idea seems absurd but it’s so true. There is likely an average of 10 typos or spelling mistakes in my average post- does this distract people from my thoughts or ideas, so they reject me and my poor form altogether. Does sucking at spelling mean I suck at life?
I remember failing spelling tests and getting stars by my name in elementary anyway. Really? Maybe you should have hurt my feelings teachers no stars for poor spelling. Maybe at some earlier point in life, I should have become shamed into learning to spell better.
Ok so some tips for becoming better at spelling
1. Never trust spell check. (It actually just told me to write spells check- just saying)
2. Never ever hit send on anything- Facebook status, tweet, text, email without reading 3 times, at least the final time should be out load.
3. Try to use a word of the day. Learn to spell and use the word.
4. When is doubt- leave it out. Simple language spelled properly makes you sound smarter than incorrect spelling or usage or larger words.
5. Stop typing and start writing with a pen and paper- pretend like someone has to read it…it really reinforces you to think about your spelling and gives you glaring evidence or how dyslexic your chicken scratch might actually be.
That is all for today.
I started this post the day the lights went out on Wikipedia in protest to SOPA- Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA – Protect Internet Privacy Act. These were two proposed US legislation intended to ‘protect’ copy right material online, which was defeated by the end of the week. In my opinion largely related to the mass outcry by corporate bodies and the general public protesting against the proposed changes. If this bill passed it would have meant that the next 14 year old girl that posts a video that uses her favorite pop song on a vacation photo slide show makes us all criminals and would shut down YouTube entirely. I don’t think we can affect the architectural structure of the Internet drastically, its becomes ingrained into our way of life, we need to be able to freely ‘surf’ the Internet to use it to its maximum potential to share information, recourses, and connect with our communities. A blog post that I read which was posted to FaceBook by the CBC The Hour host George Strombolopolos written by blogger Slashgear, which breaks down into laments terms SOPA and PIPA to say, “these two bills…are amongst the most dangerous pieces of legislature ever to be written up for passage by the United States government in regards to innovation and the free market on a global scale,” so in other words they are opening a big can of worms, (Slashgear, 2011).
“There is little debate over the fact that institutions of mass media teaches us about citizenship, community, and love, but there is little agreement as to just how much it causes us to act or determines what we might hope for or what we might fail at,” (Jackson, Nielsen, Hsu, 2011, p. 8). The institutions of mass media, I feel that they teach us about mass culture, mass production, and thus decreased individualism, and also isolate us from our traditional communities, while also forming new communities, offering a cultural narrative of the times and also sharing more information than ever before. I can see why a lot of theory related to media and mass communication is either negative or positive, with not too much in the middle.
Taking the ‘us’ and ‘we’ that the authors refer to is the idea of the public. This quote also alludes to the notion of the public sphere, so where the people come together to collaborate, discuss and debate. This notion of the public sphere was first coined by Jurgen Habermas, in the 18th century and was generally an ideology that represented society and its laws and regulations and governing of anything else concerning public good (Jackson, Hsu, Nielsen 2011, p. 32). When we think of critical social discourse or social change it is to speak of the public and the public sphere the citizen’s abilities to come together and challenge the status quo. The new technologies are definitely shifting the power dynamic of mass media where any average citizen can report, blog, or engage with media institutions but the power lies in the numbers.
Cornelius Castoriadis believed that institutions of media are created by contradicting forces, creating the new, and repeating what has already been done and viewed media communications through a sociological lens, (Jackson, Nielsen, Hsu, 2011). Castoriadis was a scholar turned economist, turned pseudo political, societal and psychoanalytic writer, who started a revolution in the 40’s and whose work is somewhat under recognized in communications theory extensively, (Castoriadis Biography, 2011). I feel he is relevant in discussions of the meaning and impact of mass media because he was writing in precarious times comparable to the turbulence together between classes and relates to my feelings and reactions to mass media and its theories which are of binary opposites, sort of like painting the lines between the love-hate relationship with the power of persuasion so to speak. I honestly have a profound respect and appreciation for institutions of mass media because like them or love them they are a link between PR and publics. I’m not trying to be completely pessimistic in assuming a critical view but the more I study in the field, and the more knowledge I have about politics and modern society, the more I question the overall moral obligations and ethical considerations that have often been lacking in PR in regard to greater public good.
Occupy movement which stands against corporate greed as a fundamental principle was like a hurricane gathering strength through media coverage- so using the same frameworks of communication that they protest to gather strength. An in both new and traditional means, but yet part of what many of them stood for was gripping distain for rich and powerful (aka like the media institutions). Again the contradictory forces are at play. I mean I can’t really unpack this entirely this after all is just my reflections, a whole dissertation could be written on this but it supports my belief that in today’s society the public and media are unquestionably intertwined, in love or hate.
My tweet summed up my feelings on this in 140 characters or less; ‘They created mass consumption and enforced it on us- when we produce mass sharing and learning they try to take it away,” in response to SOPA and PIPA and blackouts last week. I am glad that a united front by the public worked- if only until next year. It shows me that people who care can make a difference. If something like SOPA and PIPA return again next year and are passed in the US, Canada and the UK could be next. If we are not all on the same page about the free future of the internet, I think that a big part of a modern democratic society fails. We have to keep control over the mobilizing power of the media as a general public, that means Internet as is.
It’s not like I am depressed or in dyer straights for retail therapy. It was a proactive winter blah pick-me-up, but even still, there are just sometimes, that a girl needs Turbine time. And it has to be said, yesterday was that day for me.
If you care at all about Fashion, and live in the east coast of Canada, and don’t live under a large heavy bolder, you’re well aware of such occasions, and are sitting there saying amen sista friend. If you have no idea what I am talking about, it’s okay, stop reading, go here (http://www.turbine.ca/ ), and then come back. Turbine makes me happy, happy, and happy! It is absolutely lovely tell your mother.
Sometimes you need to be cozy, and yes, you do not have to forgo fashion to do it. For the record, I would like to see trend of jogging pants and salt stained Uggs fade from my memory bank entirely, seriously ladies save it for shoveling. So my shopping theme for the day was modern classic relaxed wear- from the playground to office with the right finesse and back again kind of deal. So enough suspension right, what the heck did I get?
I am the proud new owner of a black signature asymmetric dress. It’s a wardrobe staple and needed to be added to the rotation. This piece is applicable in every season. Add tights, lose tights, layer up, layer down, change flats for heels..etc…lather, rinse, and repeat, as necessary. I have the signature asymmetric dress in a brown slinky material. But I needed one that was a bit more hazardous life friendly. When I can keep it dirty hand print free, my brown asymmetric dress matched with my brown Turbine obi belt, keeps me turning heads. But being a self-admitted sloth at times, my new asymmetric might just be a bit more forgiving, so I am thrilled. I also purchased a perfect fitting pair of light silver satin yoga pants. They remind me of days-gone-bye favorite linen pants that sadly shrunk, (RIP linen pants). The Turbine yoga pant was like a breath of fresh air to me because this pair was made for the long leg challenged. This almost never happens. But the beauty pants, cried out to me just lingering on a rack at 80% off. How does this even happen? My lucky day! I said- heck yes!
So who is the woman behind the Turbine madness, Lisa Drader Murphy, the beauty and brains behind the label. Why is her stuff so amazing for this mind, body and soul? To be honest, writing this, I feel slightly sheepish about not even accurately capturing the actual amazingness, as Wayne and Garth might say, “I’m not worthy.” But here I go- with you the reader in mind- share the story, share the happy. Lisa is Alberta born, resident of Nova Scotian. This forward-thinking designer has touched many lives. It’s not just because her stuff is fan-effin-tastic, it’s more because her premise and approach separates her from the pack.
The label is built on women empowerment. It’s centered on ideas that women should feel confident, assertive, beautiful, and sexy no matter their age, or body type. So today I say who needs a man to do this, when all you really need is just a lill Turbine Time?
Further to all this good news, Lisa took her thriving label from the heart of downtown Calgary and came to the east coast. Ahhh gee-thanks for thinking about lill ole have-not NS, (insert sarcasm here). I really don’t like the negative intrinsic view the people in this province, but Lisa eats that bad attitude for breakfast. She has that perfect mix of artistic vision and business sense. This is hard to find. Many great artists completely lack the ability to make a sustainable business model. She knows that in a tough economy, as an artist and business lady, it’s the customers who count. She is one of the few entrepreneurs who truly loves what she does, and brings this passion to create happiness for supporters.
The product itself is unbeatable in quality. It’s made from real material (not synthetic crap) and who knew that this still existed? While quality fabric is not yet completely extinct, it is hard to find. So Lisa scouts the world for vintage wools, silks, and unique prints and the type of soft feeling things that you just don’t find anywhere else. What’s even more, is that her designs are produced in (rural) and picturesque Falmouth NS, in a converted apple barn; but aside from the design studio being a buzz of creative energy, the whole property screams inspiration and tranquility and it is just so lovely overall that you’re sad to leave each time.
What’s the best part is how I became aware of the wonder of Turbine- through volunteer work. The Turbine fund has donated over a million dollars to local and unrecognized charities, and does it like it’s no big deal (Holla for happy like its no big deal!). Turbine time just helps me work towards a better view that not all business is evil- its reminds me that success helps the people who care give back in bigger and better ways.
I heart the CBC. I don’t care how much it makes me look old. I can’t even lie. CBC for life.
This morning listening to Under the Influence series by Terry O’Reilly Men are from Sears- Women are from Bloomingdales cracks me up, but it also really brings about some pretty epic questions; Is the way that men and women shop really linked to biological and evolutionary traits?Is the world economy really driven by women who hold the buying power (even if the men statistically are the bigger bread winners) who shop an estimated 8 years of their life?
On the first question, it makes sense to assume that biological and evolutionary traits affect many major decisions both men and women make (related to career choices, selection of mates, etc). But shopping? Really… is that why girls go out and purchase gifts for their mate light years ahead of the men? Is that why retail stores cater to women? Are women groomed to enjoy shopping by their mothers and reinforced to make it a national past time by shows like Sex in the City and What Not to Wear? Are guys then groomed to make more tactical shopping decisions…like what’s the better gas mileage when vehicle shopping, and which Tec gadget is the best bang for the buck?
Ok let’s assume this 8 years of the life spent shopping by women is true (I like how Terry’s parents totally attack this fact at the end of the episode via voice mail- maybe that tibit was not so lovelytellyour mother Terry), but yes it might be possible, we have to feed, clothe and provide for ourselves and our families- but I wonder how much of the money and time do we spend on essentials versus extras… if we educate more women about the power of influence and persuasion on her buying decisions (say with respect to ecofriendly cleaners, and more socially responsible companies) can we then try to make a better society? I mean I hear a lot of men bashing on the side of women who say they run the world…but if we control the buying power… then maybe this is just a big fallacy and a way to point blame at the opposite gender for the mucky state of the world.
I don’t want to shop at Sears or Bloomingdales from listening or writting on this series, and I hope you don’t either, but I definitely have a lot of thinking to do that the role of gender plays on our decisions, desires, and the power of persuasion and I hope you do also.
Search : Under the Influence
Recalling how much I hate you Vday. And a guest blog I did last year was my way to deal with it.
How to contribute to less hate more help this year?
I am not going to explain or deconstruct privacy, self-disclosure and truth (all massive complexities which could never be unpacked in their entirety in one measly blog post), I hope to just get us all just to think more about them a bit more, and what they mean to us individually.
Okay I am admit all perceptions and narrations have bias, mine included. This is why in courts of law physical evidence is such a profound development in the search for justice related truths, and even this does not prevail all the time look at cases where known criminals are let free with blatant and public evidence stating otherwise…anyways… most times when hard core evidence or truth is staring you in the face it just slaps you codfish across the face- hello why did I not see something so self-evident. But what about the stubble clues in the social court of no authority, where there are no rules, no systems for processing evidence on crimes against people? What about when privacy, self disclosure and the truth all backfire on you?
As a global community, our sense of privacy is narrowed down to what we do behind closed doors with the shades down when no one else is looking. Maybe I am being dramatic, but I feel like more and more, our privacy is not ours. The idea of Big Brother might not just be Orwellian. Just Google yourself to see what I mean- and like who said the Christmas party video of you dancing like Elaine should be on Facebook? Even behind closed doors privacy is not always sacred because some of our more intimate moments occur during our development of interpersonal relationships. We try to build trust between ourselves and others by sharing just to ‘get to know each other’. And just when you think you are safe, anyone can tell the details of these intimate encounters to their friends, family, or blog readers (I mean I did- Your just not my type). Should we convert back to written accounts tucked under our pillows to keep our secretes safe? Or should we make trust extinct- just simply accept that it is not likely?
I think we share details about ourselves more than just to be talking (most of us), I think disclosure is intended to help problem solve, define our ideas of self, garner advice and also make more intimate connections with others as mentioned above about who we are, and what we do. We probably have all told someone something at some point that we shouldn’t. Or how about being the person whose trust was betrayed? I think both shoes fit on everyone’s foot. The difference between general discussion and gossip after all is a fine line- if it exists at all.
“There are three sides to every story, his, hers, and the truth,” I remember the words as clear as day when I first heard them but I can’t remember who said it. Regardless, I repeat it all the time. Our need to relate to others and our need to become close with people also makes us vulnerable. Where is the balance in a technological age, where a break-up becomes a blog post? Who’s right is more important, the right to express oneself or the right to have your business be your own- where is the line between someone else’s experience becoming a part of your own narrative? If it’s not lovely tell your mother- should we even bother tell anyone else ever?
Be Smart, be brave and be kind. This is my motto. I need to repeat this over and over and over in my head all the time. Do good, as often as possible! Put as much good out into the world. The power of positive thinking and all that jazz. I guess I’ll have to reconsider how I am incorporating this into my blogging. I don’t want to be a people basher or people pleaser, I feel like my human interactions are a main source of inspiration for my writing. I think I will continue to include others in my writing, with a more clarity. I have to consider the types of audience I am attracting- fans and critics alike, and with more attention to privacy, self-disclosure and the truth.
Comments welcome. Further human insight required on; privacy, self-disclosure and the truth.
It’s not too often that I get excited about new music. I try to exercise a habit of making time for ‘new music’ (not on the top 40). I almost seem to be getting stuck in that ‘old and cranky’ phase with my music time. So in other words, my current music tastes are almost the same as in my formative years ( late teens and early 20’s). Essentially the same stuff still occupies 3 quarters of my music therapy play lists close to a decade later.
So if this is also you, or to anyone who cares, Lucy Rose is breaking down my old music routine. She is the next and greatest lill pixie princess of brit folk music I have ever heard. She is virtually undiscovered (under 1 million hits) but I certainly have been adding to her YouTube views steady since before Christmas when I accidentally and pleasantly discovered her. So begrudgingly I write this blog because I know Lucy will definitely catch on internatonally but for now relic knowing I knew before the masses.
Lucy Rose’s song Don’t you worry is soothing and rhythmic. Middle of the bed is cheeky and catchy melody…. “I’m over it…I’m over you…All over the time, I said I love you….” other noteworthy songs include; Scar, is healing and we should all, “Remember how lovely we were…” and Bikes, with the “oh don’t ya wanna know…is it any easier…” keeps me driving from the back seat. And last but not least Shiver… simple cords and a piercing unique and friendly voice…“just for you.”
This is what I am listening too while reading about social penetration theory and linguistics, and research and theories about meaning making… lots to stimulate my mind, body and soul today. Toe tapping sound aiding in the study process. A great local Canadian comparison might be in similar genre of music that Molly Thompson is making music out of Antigonish NS. Both female artist that you need to check out if you have never heard of them. I will enjoy them both before before they are mass consumed.
I have been keeping a close eye on media coverage around recent cuts to universities. I have worked at NS institutions and I have and still am a student. All people want to do is whine and gripe it seems (from all sides) and no one is offering solutions.
Maybe it is because most people don’t fully understand the issues. So briefly, (because they are complex and unique challenges on all sides for each of our 11 universities) is my take on the 3 major problems; inflated costs to offer and obtain education at the post-secondary level in NS, decreased resources to support, fund and offset the rising costs, and a lack of overall connectivity between perceived and actual benefits of being in the business of education at a provincial level.
So what can universities do to reduce operating expenses? In my opinion (I have worked for 3 different schools) I definitely think that the pieces of the pie have to be distributed more evenly, VP jobs can be eliminated in some areas and replaced by 2 or 3 professional roles that suffice more actual nit and grit work, and one less person in the photo opt of the next announcement. More varied incomes are more beneficial to local economies. Upgrades on heating and lighting can and will save on operation costs, and distance education allows for lower expenses to heat, clean, and upkeep a learning environment. While we don’t want to toss away all our maintenance staff shifts (cause their wages are the economies profits also), you don’t have to pay for heat, lights and cleaning for a classroom that is not used in this physical sense. Maybe everyone should go digital, for everything from learning, to marketing- imagine the money saved in a world where each school prints thousands of syllabus and view books. To save on international recruitment and instead of sending different people to the same places- tag team on international effort and stop wasting tax payers money (most of whom don’t actually know or care about the benefits of attracting students from aboard or about the economic impact to the province by the jobs that they create).
What can students do to reduce costs? Stop acting like a herd of sheep to the slaughter. Become vocal. Get active. Say; we’re not going take it, and mean it. Do something about this and not just a walk down town Halifax once a year on Student’s Day of action. You do realize that you actually pay for those fancy Student Union figure head jobs…make them earn their way, and not just sit in ivory towers spending your money on lunch and other luxuries not afford to general student populations. While I carry a hefty amount of personal debt for my education, I worked to offset costs, (saved by not partying every night of my life life away), and also apply for scholarships and bursaries to make the burden that much less. I have been a political activist to help remove barriers for Co-op students and single parents. I know what I am talking about here.
If students had jobs to begin when they graduated they would stay here. I have worked my butt off to stay in this province, and it has not been easy. No wonder people leave for better wages, better quality of life and better education and health care for their families…they are smart and educated and now they can do more with fewer struggles. We don’t even capture the statistics at a provincial level to determine who stays and who goes. We don’t even track graduate employment or funded Co-op placement work retention rates.
Some older school people think the same, (like the biggest chunk of our population), and don’t even care about recruiting skilled workers here now or later or how universities are the natural solution to this underlying problem…do they not want health care services when they cannot care for themselves I guess we won’t know till they get there. Get some PR going that brings these people into the-know, and out of the dark. Bring them to get them on board. Lovely tell your mother… she needs a bigger population to pay taxes and work in health carre (and lovely tell your your father too).
If you read this, potentially you give a crap. So spread the word- more action less talk. It’s costing us all money as we speak. Might as well put the effort to better use.
With New Year’s Day brought about a new me. Not in some magical way that the clock made me a different person after midnight but I used the hype to reinvent my view of myself. I am worth it.
So to start I did an early morning relationship inventory after a horrid evening. My math did not add up. For a seemingly not-hideous educated and professional person, I always sell myself short in the love department. I think many other people do as well. Maybe someone reading is too. But why?
On the very last day of the year, I found out just a bit more about myself. I need more than a superficial attraction. I need someone who I can have a conversation with. I need someone who can pick out a decent movie or stay in and play cards and drink some wine or a few beers and listen to some great music. Maybe show up for dinner on time…bring something…and shower and dress yourself..not too much to ask, right? Wrong. Apparently it was in my last relationship. On the eve of the last day of the year my partner of 6 months showed up empty handed, in joggers, and with a bad attitude. No romance for me, can you say bed before 10:00 pm?
Now I am not completely dissing being cozy around a companion, but of all nights, NYE at home is a night to live it up in or out? Bring a lill Casanova to woe your lady? Have some wine and a dance in the kitchen at the stroke of midnight? Or if you dare your joggers, you better have some junkfood and movies in hand with a big bad smile. I own outfits for events, I have not even penciled in yet. I can whip up something up sexy stylish and home-wear-worthy that’s not my two piece flannel polka dot tuxedo anytime I see the apple of my eye. This girl -right here, is prepared. I can dress for success whenever the occasion calls for it for many reasons. Mostly because it’s one of the oldest forms of self-expression, furthermore it helps me feel good about myself and that helps me feel overall confidence. Who doesn’t want a confident, assertive, and well groomed person by their side?
Having studied persuasion, I have this ability to talk myself into believing or rejecting just about anything I set my mind on. But I should not have too when it comes to my mate and neither should anyone else. When we try to manipulate the image of our other when we tell others about it (weather we are venting or boasting) we need to be as honest as we can be. No persuasion required. I mean who wants to gush to the women in their lives; “He showed up late, under-dressed and without liquor, chocolate or …anything to show for himself”.
Actually I started writing this before my advanced communications theory class last night, and my quintessential brilliant yet slightly crazy prof put it this way… we offer our narratives about our others as tragedy, comedies, romantic and something else I can’t yet decipher from my sparse bullet points (who wants to write when you’re trying to observe brilliance? When I started dating him it was romantic…when things went up and down (this happened often) it was like a tragedy, and now in hindsight it was a comedy. I mean I can’t believe that I actually entertained the idea of a life with someone who thinks NYE attire is jogging pants? When I reflect on this fact, I find myself asking the bigger question; what this is the best combination of similarity and difference in mates?
At least in the beginning year, it should be interesting, engaging, and mutually beneficial- and no I am not talking about my next PR initiative- I’m talking about taking dating to the next level with someone you could share a life with. It should be natural and easy and not so much work in the start. Its about enjoying getting to know each other and making quality time to make it last over time that takes the real work. Partners should bring out the best and encourage you. So remember if the ‘other’ is not lovely tell your mother…. ladies keep reminding ourselves; we are worth it. The difference between alone and lonely could be the difference in your happy ever after.
I like a good deal. I have to be a practical patty. I am a widowed single mother grad student. Hello? So needless to say, I’m pretty flexible on how to achieve a good bargain. I can do retail, outlet, and designer (and I do) but my moral compass tells me that when you can- chose to buy local.
Just the other day I purchased a fab (and oddly exactly matching) coat and pashmina from my local sally ann..and for less than 7 dollars, who can complain? (Hopefully the photo uploads my score of my Tickel Trunk in Tata). And no, they were not in the window or even on the same rack.
Deep underneath the supposed superficiality of fashion, is where I live…where fashion is a means of personal expression. Where anyone no matter their economic situations can dress for their success, where the right fit and the right style, can launch people places they may have never thought possible. I have never had cash to burn. But I have built a wardrobe that includes pieces (both new and vintage) that take me where I want to go when the time calls for it. There is nothing for me..like the rush of a great bargain, something that gives me pleasure to wear and confidence I need to live my life. Looking classy does not have to flashy.
While admitting that I was only window shopping the Boxing Day sales I am impressed by the ability of small fashion set ups to act like a barnacle in rural NS ad cling to life in uncertain economic times. Who says I need to forsake my passion for fashion with my PR guru and business sense. Here is what I did pro bono yesterday to avoid being overwhelmed with grad school work…
Still a stop-and-shop place
Re: “Truro loses another century-old store” (Dec. 31).
The closing of Margolians, a Hub Town staple “stop and shop” for many Nova Scotians and visitors for a long time, does bring some nostalgia and sound alarms. But let’s focus on the up-side. Despite one store closing, there still is a reason to stop and shop in Truro, and I am impressed.
The place to stop is the mid-section of Prince, hosting a few choice clothing stores, such as B’s Knees and Lou Lou, and a consignment store across the street. Living in Tatamagouche, Truro can be the go-to place where I bank, or shop for things not found in the village.
I appreciate the vital economic impact that entrepreneurship brings to rural communities so we all don’t have to go to the city. Travellers still have options and reasons to stop and shop in Truro, and I have access to shop around for what I need without travelling. Win-win.
Ashley Kowalewski, Tatamagouche
Found in print at: http://thechronicleherald.ca/letters/48917-voice-people