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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 710 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Composing is messy

I spent a good portion of today writing. I spent a good portion of yesterday doing video editing.

What a mess!

What feels even messier is that I’m drafting part of an article Laurie and I are working on about writing (and digital composing) being messy. Here’s just how messy my draft is looking right now:

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 8.35.36 PM

OMG. My head is spinning just looking at the mess.

And, as I write, I keep thinking to myself,

Yep, this is how it goes. Be one with it. Own it. Go with the flow. Embrace the mess.

But it’s making me nuts! I can’t stand when my house is messy. The same goes for my writing. I even tweeted this earlier today:

Writing is messy. Like a tornado. I can practically see the Wicked Witch’s shoes peeking out from beneath my draft. #scholarlyprobs

It’s true, though, that writing and composing isn’t a neat process. And it is a frustrating process. Hence, why I’ve abandoned my draft to write a blog post. The messier the writing, the more breaks I seem to need to clear my head from all the clutter.

Video editing has proven to be equally messy. Given its non-linear nature, plopping in footage here, sound there, cropping this, don’t-forget-to-go-back-and-fix-that-part-at-the-beginning, it’s a time-consuming process. And, in some sick way, like writing, it’s also enjoyable.

If you asked Laurie, she would confirm that I said to her just yesterday,

I’m actually looking forward to doing some writing.

Yeah, until I actually started writing, that was. It’s such a love-hate thing. Can you relate? Share some of your writing secrets in the comments below. What helps you break through the clutter? (Seriously, please. I could use some good advice.)

Well, better get back to it. This paper isn’t going to draft itself … and I’m only on the first draft. Oh, the road that lies ahead … (or is it lays? I had to Google it. Ugh. Writing is so much work!) 😉

now panic and freak out!

freak-out

OMG! Just six days until the spring semester starts!

That pretty much sums up where I’m at right now. The spring semester starts in fewer than six days, and I’m nowhere near ready! I’ve got syllabi to revise, assignments to prep, reading to do.

I’m expecting the semi-annual nightmares to begin soon… You know, the ones where you walk into the classroom on the first day only to realize that you’ve forgotten to prep your syllabus and have no lesson prepared. The students revolt (not sure where that comes from, cause students would not revolt; they’d just be jazzed about getting out of class early). It only gets worse from there.

Hey, I think there might be a video there! (Not saying any more!)

But, I’m really excited to be getting started with the production of EIGHT, yes, EIGHT, WinkyFace videos this spring! If all goes according to plan, our first video will go live in mid-February, so stay tuned! We’ll be working with two awesome production assistants, Brigid and Mackenzie, and I have no doubt they’re going to keep Laurie and I on task. Don’t worry, we’ll introduce them soon!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for me, I’m somewhere at a computer panicking and freaking out! 😉

judgment day

Earlier this week, Laurie blogged about the brainstorming we’ve been doing with regard to our interview set design for our parody interviews with literary characters. I think we’ve come up with a good, albeit goofy, design, but I suppose you all will be the judge of that.

You, and viewers like you, will also be the judge of us, the performers. To be honest, I’m far more worried about how harshly Laurie and I will be judged on a long list of things including, but I’m sure not limited to our:

  • Acting
  • Age
  • Costume/Style of dress
  • Hair
  • Makeup
  • Body language
  • Bodies

Clearly, YouTube performers, especially female ones, are not immune to criticism, though research shows (even our own on Jenna Marbles, which is soon-to-be published in Feminist Media Studies) that women on YouTube are often subjected to critical and hostile comments, as Laurie wrote about here.

So, I’ve been particularly thoughtful with regard to how I want to portray my interviewer character. What should I wear? How should I act? Should I be:

  • Serious?
  • Funny?
  • Nerdy?
  • Sexy?
  • Conservative?
  • Casual?
  • Feminine?
  • Masculine?

Obviously, there’s no way to anticipate all of the critical feedback I might receive given the choices I make, but certainly one could guess. And, if looking at how people treat some of the most powerful women on television is any indication, I don’t even want to try to imagine what’s coming our way.

As I was doing some research on how some of the most well-known female interviewers portray themselves, I decided to log onto Facebook. I began reading some of the comments people posted on some of the women’s profile photographs. I guess what I found was not all that surprising.

Below, I’ve captured the recent Facebook profile pictures of some of the most popular (and by extension, powerful) women on television. Below each photograph is just a sampling of the kinds of sexist, demeaning, and offensive feedback these women received on their photos. (The comments are from either the photo displayed here or any of their other photos used as profile pictures.) Almost always, the comments are focused on their looks. On the whole, the women receive many of what you’d likely consider to be  positive comments, even if they are focused solely on their looks. But there are several negative comments, for sure.

(Note: I’ve not edited the comments in any way, simply copied and pasted them as I found them on FB.)

Oprah Winfrey. Needs no bio.

Oprah Winfrey. Needs no bio.

Paula Stevens Oprah, I think there is more than a resembalance to you and your dogs on your Cover photo of them
Austine Pepperest Big mama I like u pic
James DrRock Farmer You KNOW You’re Sexy Right Oprah ??? …. Hips, Boobs, Smile !!!
Dusan Radevic i hope you burn in hell
Cindy Lapierre getting skinny!!! way the go!
Katie Couric

Katie Couric, former co-host of Today Show, host of CBS Evening News, and star of “Katie” on NBC.

Richard Grzywacz wreaking of purity !

Pedro Matias She looks fucking scary

Daejohn Brown Call me crazy but I am in love with this lady! Age ain’t nothing but a number;)

Cliff Kealey Looks so young Katie

Jake Decker the only thing that would have this better would have been you in a bikini!

Quincy LaGrande The Prettiest Anchor in the World !!!!!!!!!!!!!

barb

Barbara Walters, journalist/celebrity interviewer with ABC news, co-host of “The View”

Orlando Arroyo wonder how much hours of photoshop the poor designer had to do…

Hyewon Jin I guess barbara, the junkie, walters is useless garbage and noboy would remember this trash motor mouth right after passing away, which she deserves

Charlotte Sunzuoye hi barbara u look sexy

Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa, co-host of “Live with Kelly and Michael”

Eli Terebey way toooo much botox

Dolores Gergely Mylen you need to put some weight on. you are too thin.

Jean Kittle Daniel Kelly, why on earth did you cut your beautiful long hair? Long hair is a lot
more flattering to you than short, plus, it is a lot more versatile.

William Alan Watson You are so totally a MILF

Eddie Sanchez Your man is so happy to have a beautiful women like you.

Thomas Pelto omg ur so insanely sexy!!! make a porn movie!!

Alkimista Tincito you are a beautiful lady w my respect nice day cup cake

Erin Andrews ... a trend forming?

Erin Andrews, sports reporter, Fox News

Robert Schneider such a doll she is.

Nahu Manya X Siempre TITS! *-*

Craig Devereese miss hottie love that ass

John DeSalvo You dudes smoke a lot of crack. Girl is a 7 at best. Must be tough to live near you if that’s a 10. Wow.

Mike Metz suck a cock whore

Kristen Davis Martin Kinda manly if you ask me

Craig Devereese come on show that sexy ass more it,s beautiful like you erin

Kalai Kartik i whant fuck whit u baby….

Neekheel Maharjan r u virgin

... or Rachel Maddow.

Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC

Daniel K. Griffith maddow ? man or woman ?

Matt Hinz SHe has the same haircut as a 10 year old boy

Kevin Immortal CR she looks like Sean Hannity’s son

Jacob Jeter lol this bitch is nasty. i didnt even know who she was until she attacked alex jones. lmao she says the dumbest shit while trying to make a mockery of the fact we should be carefully monitoring and gaurding our rights. fuck you nasty hag.

Libertarian Revenge As silly as your beliefs are, your a pretty sexy lady!

Bridgette Anne what handsome gentleman!

So, many of these women choose to highlight their femininity, and those that do receive demeaning comments about their bodies, hairstyles, etc. Rachel Maddow, who has chosen a more conservative look, is also lambasted for her appearance. She talked about it on the Ellen Show.

Women in politics don’t have it any better. Think back to ’08 when Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin where being scrutinized for their appearance. SNL captured it well.

The way women are represented by media is also the subject of a good documentary, called “MissRepresentation.” If you haven’t done so, you should check it out.

It seems that there are no good choices for women when it comes to representation. Top cut too low? You’re a slut. Turtleneck? You’re a prude. (Ask Laurie about the turtlenecks!)

Is there any good choice for my WinkyFace interview persona?? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Blogging well takes work

So, as you may or may not have noticed, I’m late with my weekly blog post this week.

The short answer to explain this is that it was finals week. I was pulled in a number of directions with giving and grading final exams and wrapping up the semester with parties and whatnot. ‘Hard work,’ you’re thinking. I know. Excuses.

But, the more thoughtful answer is that blogging well takes work. The truth is, I knew that I needed to write a post for some time. And, I had all kinds of thoughts on what to write about. First, I thought about writing about hash tagging after I saw this video.

Laurie and I were talking about creating unique-to-us hash tags that we could use on our Twitter feed. I thought initially that this would be something neat to blog about, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t have anything really profound to write about it.

Then I saw this YouTube Rewind 2013 vid…

… and I got to thinking:

1) how cool it was to see some of our fav YouTubers (Jenna Marbles, Ryan Higa, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon) featured in the vid.

2) how cool it would be to someday see WinkyFace in a YouTube Rewind vid. I mean, come on. If the Prancersize lady can make the vid, surely Laurie and I can create something that will capture attention in the YouTube community.

But, neither of those initial thoughts were good enough to warrant a whole blog post.

In the past week, Laurie and I have been doing a lot of projecting and planning to make sure that as we move forward, we have a clear sense of direction and purpose for this work. We’ve been thinking about everything from a video production schedule to a scholarship schedule. We’ve been making plans for future production assistants, research assistants, and even possible conference and book proposals. All are longer-term goals. But, I guess we haven’t been doing a lot of thinking about the immediate, outside of worrying that our grading is completed on deadline and the Christmas presents are bought and wrapped before Dec. 25.

The pressure to produce a thoughtful blog post really made me realize that I need to do a bit more thinking and planning for the short term, especially for Margin Notes. Great blog posts don’t always just materialize. When they do, it’s completely awesome. But when they’d don’t, well, it’s rough.

So, note to self: Make a monthly blog plan. If the plans change and one of those amazing blog posts does materialize from an interesting conversation or happening, then so be it. But if not, then at least I’ll have something in place to prevent the panic. As a communication professional, I know that planning is good practice. I guess I need to practice what I preach! 😉

#takeone

So, yesterday, Laurie and I decided to do a little bit of experimentation with cameras, tripods, and acting abilities. We knew we weren’t quite ready to make our first official WinkyFace video, but we get that practice is essential to success.

We met in my office at about 9 a.m. We set up our tripods (that was pretty easy), powered up the cameras (also manageable), and began “rehearsing” (another story!) with the cameras rolling.

If having fun = success, we hit it out of the park. We had a great time, and we laughed … a lot. But we also learned a lot, too. Here’s a short list of some of the things we learned while practicing.

1. We need to practice.

2. Our camera skills could use some work.

3. We probably need an assistant (or two).

4. We’ve got to find a way to improve the quality of our videos (lighting, sound, etc.).

5. We’ve got to have a more solid plan for filming so as not to waste precious time.

So, we’re going to work on all of those things. We’ve already conned (OK, they agreed willingly) two awesome students into being our production assistants in the spring, so we can check #3 off the list.

I had so much fun working on editing this video. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the process.  I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night working. Then, I dreamt about video editing in the short five hours of sleep I did get. And, I even woke up before my alarm wondering if my video had finished exporting! I’m a nut. But, I’m a storyteller at heart. Web video is just another cool medium for telling stories, and I’m excited to experiment more with it.

Until then, check out our video and let us know what you think by either commenting here or on YouTube. We’re not gonna lie. We’re a bit anxious about how this and any other videos we produce will be received and about the types of comments we’ll get. Laurie’s working on a post with more on that, so stay tuned.

😉 Linds

Two professors taking YouTube by storm

Come behind the scenes as we figure out what we’re doing with our YouTube channel and how we’re going to do it!

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