February 29, 2004

Exciting tidbits around the weblog

Hmm, Spring break is over and it's still the same basic Georgia blue weblog theme. Oh well...I went as far as printing out my various templates and reading them...no redesign in sight for this month!

I've deepened the orange color on my portfolio for your reading ease. This is just the start of the improvements to be made before a certain big day in April. Any other suggestions for usability are always appreciated.

I started working on a page for places where I've been published (e-magnify, Eye Contact, Setonian), but I then my focus grew too huge and I had byline issues...such as, what does one do with published press releases? How do I claim them as my own? Yup, can of worms. Clearly that has to go under a new section in my internships page, where a lot of my e-magnify articles overlapped anyway....and then I feel that the stuff in Eye Contact doesn't really matter, I've probably gotten more experience from working on the staff then getting my stuff published in the magazine....but I still do need to get my Setonian stuff up there because it's good, darnit! Anyway, it looks like that page is DOA and perhaps I'll change "internships" to "experience," add the Setonian there, plus the linked press releases stuff from the PR internship.

Oy. Thank you for reading through my thinking. :)

Meanwhile, when are these Oscars going to be over? I'd just like to watch the news...

Posted by Julie Young at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2004

Morning Drive Randomness

Just a few thoughts...

  • Can Uniontown make this longest commute list? I travel 45 minutes, and I don't even get to read a newspaper (safely).
  • Speaking of my drive, I hope Howard Stern stays off my radio. I like his entertainment news section (but that's late-morning), but frankly, I can't stand listening to him that often because he's gross. Eew. I really, really, didn't want to know. Honestly. This is me, switching the dial to Morning Edition, or worse yet, some random pop station.

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:06 PM | Comments (7)
  • February 25, 2004

    Feeling much better, thank you.

    Well, that's sort of a lie, as I probably won't feel better until I have a job. And then I'll be worried about my first day of said job, so, guess what...I'm a worrier.

    Anyway, I'd like to thank you all for the kind advice submitted to the below entry. It was heartwarming (I'm serious). Sometimes I like to think that I am the only one on earth who is a graduating senior and needs a job, or better yet, needs confidence in her career trajectory. But, I'm not, and one day I will have a job, perhaps find a career, and just maybe, be happy. If not, I'll just keep playing the Powerball (but I'll stay away from the addictive rip-off tickets).

    Either way, I'll have good hair. That's been my consolation this week, because I got it cut again. Now I'm back to old-school Julie hair, but I can still flip it out, should I feel like it. However, I've been feeling like that trend is getting a little overdone. But I'm off course.

    By the end of the week, I will have sent out a few resumes. (If I write it, I will do it.) That will be like ripping the band-aid off of the scabby sore of the job search.

    Anyway, I'd best go now, as I feel that the quality of my writing is going downhill as I type. I'm going to blame it on the carpenter who starts pounding around here at 7:30 a.m.

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

    February 24, 2004

    A little thing I call career exploration...

    Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. -- Flannery O'Conner
    Many of you know that I detest quotations for being catchy sentences taken out of context. The above aphorism is probably out of context. I tried to find its origin, but alas, fair Google was bogged down by those incidious quote-a-day pages.

    Anyway, I was looking around for writing inspiration when I stumbled across it. And frankly, it lead me to ponder my existance as a writer. [Caution: journaling ahead.] I've decided that I'm a writer in that I can spell and phrase thoughts appropriately, but frankly, I'm no writer in an authorial sense. I simply don't care. I don't sit under trees composing poems while listening to someone play the lute. I don't get a story idea and then have to write it down. Frankly, my entire life has been a great void of story ideas. I generally don't enjoy making up stories. Poems are a little more fun to create, but I don't unless I have to. Three times in my life -- yup, I've counted -- that's all the times that I've thought to immortalize something in poetic form. One of those times was me killing a cochroach.

    Nope, not a poet. Not an author. Just a writer.

    Which stinks. I'd like to think that my talent isn't just for practical purposes, although I will admit that I am a practical sort of girl. Am I meant for expository writing and the occasional witty observation? This certainly shatters a dream. But not really, as I never actually dreamed of being an author/poet. Frankly, that sounds just as boring as whittling one's life away in a cubicle or being an accountant. Yawn. It's all flickering computer screens to me.

    However, I find writing other things just as boring. Like lengthy union reports (trust me). Or even that ever-popular "looking for a summer job" article. That's only interesting once, but it's something that is written every year in nearly every business or career minded publication.

    So, what is one to write? One could write criticism. One could write copy for web sites, for brochures. Or one could be a journalist.

    Or maybe English majors aren't meant to do anything with books. Maybe it all just comes down to having a good grasp of written and oral communication with a healthy dose of critical thinking. Who needs literature or creative writing? I'm beginning to think that I don't.

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:36 PM | Comments (6)

    Funny in a medieval manor...

    High quality mockery...Qveere Eye for thye Medieval Man. Makes folk longen to goon on pilgrimages, if you ask me. [My advance apologies for blaspheming Chaucer and for making jokes that perhaps only I find amusing.]

    Found via Sarcasmo's Corner.

    Posted by Julie Young at 12:07 AM | Comments (2)

    February 23, 2004

    I'm fond of unemployment, actually...

    Arg. I'm tired. Why am I tired? I've just spent the past 2 hours scrolling through job listings of things that I am either not qualified for (anything having to do wtih HVAC) or job titles that I couldn't possibly ever figure out (as in those affixed to federal jobs). Thus, I wonder....if my skills are so great, why don't people come looking for me? Huh? Wouldn't it make sense? I'm the commodity, here. I'm the priceless worker bee. You want your business/nonprofit/governmental agency to work? Hire me. My resume is linked to the right.

    Alas. Woe is me (and the gazillion other graduating seniors).

    Posted by Julie Young at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

    February 22, 2004

    Drowning in Old Whiskey River

    This just in: Willie Nelson bought the Food Network.

    I'm on break, which naturally means that I'm watching a lot of TV. Tonight's Emeril featured Willie Nelson as a guest band, and then Food Finds spotlighted...you guessed it, Willie Nelson.

    He has a new whiskey out, aptly named Old Whiskey River. Emeril glazed a ham with it; Food Finds followed it to Texas Roadhouse. However, Food Finds also said that it was produced at Heaven Hill distillery. I hadn't realized that Heaven Hill was a high-quality distillery (isn't it in a plastic bottle?), but Emeril seemed to think that it was the best whiskey ever produced. Who knows. I'm just sick of Willie Nelson peddling his wares.

    In other news, my new favorite food show is A Cook's Tour. Currently, it's more fun than Alton Brown...

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:23 PM | Comments (1)

    February 20, 2004

    Weblog design normal again...

    Frequent readers may have noticed that I suddenly switched to the "Plain Jane" template. I was bored of Georgia Blue, but nothing was more boring than Plain Jane.

    I've read into writing my own MT template, and am seriously considering it. I might be able to do it so that it looks like my portfolio. I'm into citrus colors of late. Yum. But, this is all depending on how many naps I take over Spring break...although rumor has it, my sleep could be interrupted by a slight construction project occuring perilously close to my shower....

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:27 PM | Comments (2)

    February 19, 2004

    In print...

    To think, I complained about press releases. Turns out I'm being news briefed left and right!

    Posted by Julie Young at 12:36 AM | Comments (1)

    February 15, 2004

    Anything Goes in As You Like It

    After weeks of referring to it as Anything Goes I saw Shakespeare's As You Like It today (Okay, I'm lying, I only vocalized Anything Goes twice, tops). I had to read this play way back in the day (sophomore year) for Shakespeare (the class) and only moderately enjoyed it. I'm not a big fan of traipsing into a forest and falling in love. I've been in plenty of forests in my day, and I've never run across a merry band of exiles (excepting Rainbow People). I've only run into people with campers or wild animals. That said, I saw the play anyway.

    As it turns out, the play was not only aesthetically pleasing, but in fact, chock full of aesthetics. Why? It had Plato-esque overtones. Rosalind is a girl who dresses as a boy that pretends to be a girl. Best yet, in the original version, Rosalind would've been a boy to begin with. Thankfully, this Rosalind was played by a girl. However, Orlando, who fell in love with Rosalind at first sight, couldn't see through her disguise when she played Ganymede. Much of the time, Orlando was sitting in the allegorical cave while Rosalind danced shapes in front of him, making him believe unreality. He even believed that Celia was a different person, and all she changed was clothes!

    In addition, a few actors played several parts. Duke Senior and Sir Oliver Mar-Text were the same actor, as was Oliver/First Lord with Duke Senior, Silivus/First Lord, Le Beau/Second Lord to Duke Senior, Adam/William, Charles/Corin and Dennis/Amiens/First Page. Whew! Just watching that caused major suspension of disbelief, as in one scene a character was holding a writing table for Jaques De Boys, and in the next he was a lusty shepherd.

    Because of this, and because it was live theater, the audience was removed from interacting with the "text" by the fourth wall. This also plays into aesthetic distance. Clearly, one would not confuse this play with reality. However, more than just theatrical aesthetic distance was at work. The audience was removed from the work in other ways. First, the language was difficult. Sure, it was easier to "hear" the play than to read it and understand what was going on, but nonetheless, I didn't get all the jokes. Another reason why I didn't get the jokes? Some things are still funny 400 years in the future. Other things aren't. The age of the play also held the audience at a distance. It was still accessable, but not nearly as easy to understand as more contemporary plays, like Proof.

    Overall, the play was fabulous, and darn it, I just don't know how actors can memorize entire plays!

    Posted by Julie Young at 09:08 PM | Comments (2)

    February 14, 2004

    Acad Account Email Woes Continue

    This gets filed under "never use your school email account" in the complaints folder.

    All my messages from my inbox are gone. I still have my sent messages and my deleted messages. Just no inbox messages. If I deleted my messages myself, then my deleted messages folder would have the missing emails. This is quite the conundrum.

    And a bummer, because most of what was in that email was school or internship related.

    IT says they had nothing to do with it, so there ya go. A mystery.

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:58 AM | Comments (4)

    February 12, 2004

    Another Hollywood breakup?

    Barbie and Ken are just another in a line of Hollywood break-ups.

    Article found via my lovely sister...

    Posted by Julie Young at 07:56 PM | Comments (2)

    February 10, 2004

    Aesthetics of Book Culture

    Short history of books:

  • Tablet
  • Scroll - read aloud, exclusive
  • Codex - used to be read aloud, now read silently. Used to be rare, now you can buy them at grocery stores.
  • e-book - read (scanned?) silently, exclusive to people with technology
    As society became more literate, owning a book became less special. Now books are mostly mass market items, whereas only the educated or elite in the society held books before.

    However, the ability for anyone to own a book and the industry that grew around publishing helped change reading a book from an oral, communal activity to a silent individual act.

    Books are used to record events, tell stories, educate and entertain. That much hasn't changed, even though the media on which words are recorded has.

    Also, you learn from word of mouth or book clubs and critics what is "good" and worthy to be read or studied. That then may determine the number of printings a book might have. Did anyone really read certain books before Oprah gave her stamp of approval?

      Discussion questions:
    1. What hasn't changed about book culture?
    2. How do you participate in book culture?
    3. What determines a good book?
    Posted by Julie Young at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)
  • Blogging Portfolio I

    This semester my weblog has undergone a transformation from a general link/funny story repository to a more academic study of aesthetics. However, this has posed several issues that I hadn't considered before, such as maintaining my readership and examining what exactly I post about.

    This semester my weblog has undergone a transformation from a general link/funny story repository to a more academic study of aesthetics. However, this has posed several issues that I hadn't considered before, such as maintaining my readership and examining what exactly I post about.

    So far this semester I feel like my blogging has been more intelligent. Not only am I regularly examining works of literature, but I am also examining issues that I feel strongly about, such as violence against women and libraries. I'm not just writing about current event stories and what amusing thing happened to me that day (although I often report what I ate at meals).

    However, my greatest challenge so far this semester has been pleasing my audience. I feel that most of the readers that I acquired last semester probably don't care about the Pygmalion legend or my other homework entries. So, I've been trying to please both audiences, which leads to a really strange mix of entries, like me writing about little people dating shows on Fox the same week I posted extensively on libraries. I'm not quite certain how I will bridge this problem, because I feel like I've been doing an inadequate job of making a thematically cohesive weblog of late.

    My weblog also has a clear example of what happens when you put something written off-line online. I wrote an entry on "Cathedral" as a response paper. Then, I felt as if I ought to post it online. However, it lacks the same reader accessabilty as other posts on the same topic. It doesn't have links, and frankly, just looks like I slapped a paper on my blog. At least I used short paragraph style, or else it would look completely out of place. Through that experience, I learned even more that online writing is not off-line writing.

    I also think that this semester blogging has become a little bit different for me. I think I am beginning to get over the joy of having a new toy (even though blogging wasn't especially new to me). I used to be addicted to my instant community, reading the new additions to the New Media Journalism site and my classmates' blogs. Now, I'm less concerned with that -- I really only read outstanding blogs from last semester and those from my actual class.

    I don't comment much anymore, either, and I think I will try to comment on my classmate's blogs more in the future. Truth be told, it's harder to comment on academic subjects because it takes actual thought. It takes enough thought for me to post on my own blog. However, how can I expect anyone to comment on my blog if I don't on theirs? Even if my comments aren't groundbreaking or especially thought-provoking, I need to put forth more effort on that front.

    Overall, keeping a weblog has been more challenging this semester, but I like the change. It's nice to have a forum to read other student's thoughts on coursework -- it makes it more interesting. However, I need to work more to my own weblog's theme more cohesive.

    Posted by Julie Young at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

    Art elements in book publishing

    The "art" of modern publishing:

  • Cover illustration inspired by book, but also a marketing tool
  • Page layout, as in placement of pictures, charts, breaks
  • Typography and readabilty
  • White space

    The beauty of the elements:
    The weight of the paper and its texture make a big difference in the quality and feel of a book. Certain types of paper are archival quality and more permanent than others, and therefore determines what types of books get more permanent paper. Example: Bound encyclopedias can last forever, even though they'll quickly be out of date. A genre paperback, like those of John Grisham, are printed on lower quality paper and will yellow and crack with age.

    Types of books:

  • Hardcover - more durable, library copies
  • Trade paperback - sometimes just a hardcover that's been cut down to size. More attractive and literary-looking than a pocket-sized book, and also more expensive for the same words.
  • Paperback - sometimes called Pocketbooks. Cheap pulpy paper, sometimes there are layout/typography issues. But, it's very portable!

    The industry and consumer demand determines the aesthetics of book culture. When you buy a book, you want to it feel nice and look attractive. Sometimes you do judge a book by its cover.

    Posted by Julie Young at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)
  • February 06, 2004

    I ate knockwurst and the Setonian is online.

    I had a tasty dinner at a somewhat German restaurant this evening: knockwurst, sauerkraut and potato pancakes. Need I say yum? This was the first time I've had the knock of the wurst family, and I must say that I was impressed.

    In other news, those of you not tangibly on the Hill can now read my insightful commentaries in the Setonian, our student newspaper, which is now online. Yippee! I also a have fun piece written with Rachel Crump, fellow English major, where we made up horoscopes in honor of Valentine's day.

    Posted by Julie Young at 09:45 PM | Comments (2)

    February 05, 2004

    The Wife of Bath Hits First

    When discussing the Wife of Bath's Tale, it was noted in the prologue that the Wife of Bath initiates domestic violence:

    Al sodeynly thre leves have I plyght
    Out of his book, right as he radde, and eke
    I with my fest so took hym on the cheke
    That in oure fyr he fil bakward adoun.
    And he up stirte as dooth a wood leoun,
    And with his fest he smoot me on the heed
    That in the floor I lay as I were deed. (lines 790-796)
    Dr. Jerz brought up a statistic that he thought he heard a few years ago: that women most often hit first. Of course, he tempered that by saying that men usually have the capability to do more injury when they hit back.

    Which got me thinking -- clearly, I had to find the source of that "fact" and see if it was true or not.

    But you can't really ever "prove" a fact, especially not a one-line fact like that. I at the very least wanted to know what type of sample they studied, and who conducted the research to check and see if the fact had any merit.

    The first thing I pulled up when searching on "women hit" and "domestic violence" was a site attributed to "Family Resources and Research." This appears to be the work of ministers named Sam and Bunny. They claim that women do initiate most instances of spousal violence, and cite it partially to Richard Gelles:

    Complete scientific citations are included in this report. Leading researchers have validated the statistics used here, "Murray Straus (a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire) verified the statistics from his report . . .and Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island and author of Intimate Violence and other studies, also validated the statistics used by matching it to previous research." Alice Lovejoy, Brown University. "Counter Punch")
    However, Richard Gelles sees it differently, countering that "right of center factoids" distort that finding by leaving out pertinent information.
    WOMEN ARE AS VIOLENT AS ARE MEN, AND WOMEN INITIATE VIOLENCE AS OFTEN AS DO MEN: This factoid cites research by Murray Straus, Suzanne Steinmetz, and Richard Gelles, as well as a host of other self-report surveys. Those using this factoid tend to conveniently leave out the fact that Straus and his colleague's surveys as well as data collected from the National Crime Victimization Survey (Bureau of Justice Statistics) consistently find that no matter what the rate of violence or who initiates the violence, women are 7 to 10 times more likely to be injured in acts of intimate violence than are men.
    Thus, there is truth to the assertion that women hit men too, simply because anyone, male or female, has the ability to hit. It doesn't matter who hits first, because any hitting at all isn't healthy. To top it off, one website mentions that women are capable of hitting men, and maybe they do. But the physical and psychological implictions [.pdf] of a woman hitting a man and a man hitting a woman are much different. First, a 130-pound woman hitting a 180-pound man will most likely be less force-filled than a 180-pound man hitting a 130-pound woman. Add to that the notion that most woman will fear a man if a man hits her, while a man will be annoyed by a woman who hits, and not afraid.

    In the end, statistics are notorious for being either inaccurate or misrepresented, especially on this issue. Anyone, whether they are battered women's advocates or battered men's advocates, can twist facts and statistics to promote their own cause.

    Posted by Julie Young at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

    February 03, 2004

    Making the world a little weirder...

    So many fun things of late:

  • First, there's jobfairy.com, the website about rejection and unemployment. It features great things like a mock resume of a crazy person, and my personal favorite, a voodoo doll.
  • Next up is an offering by the Drudge Report, tracing the lines on John Kerry's face...or lack thereof, since he apparently uses Botox.
  • If that wasn't enough, check out Sarcasmo's inventive wedding reception centerpieces.
  • Before you go, remember this before you ever accuse me of being a geek.

    Posted by Julie Young at 10:40 PM | Comments (1)
  • February 02, 2004

    Write what?

    First, a note about writing. I like to write; writing is easy. Look how it just pours out of my fingertips....sure it might not be good initially, but unlike something like carpentry, there is no measure twice, cut once rule. Nope, unless you have some sort of deadline of impending doom and you didn't start early enough, you can always go back and change something and make it better. If I felt like it, I could whip out an old draft of a paper from last year and fix it. Yippee! That said, when I grow up (which is just a few short months from now) I would like to write.

    Write what, you ask?

    Well, sorry to disappoint, but not my master's thesis. Not quite yet, anyway. Right now I'd just like to do something and get paid. Maybe make enough money to get a sofa upon which to take a nap in the evenings...but that is just a dream at the moment.

    As part of my quest to find out what type of writing I'd like to do, I got an internship where I write in public relations mode. Overall, it's a valuable experience. I'm learning all sorts of things left and right. But I'm also learning that I don't really care for public relations. Sure, I can do it, and I might even be good at it, but do I want to do it?

    Good question. See, press releases are unreal and possibly pointless. First, you write the press release from other already-written things. You can even fudge quotes, which is a big no-no in journalism. Then you have to get everything approved by absolutely everybody. I'm not big on getting stuff "approved." I think it's weird that you have to do this when what you wrote the release from was "approved" to begin with. Very odd. Anyway, you put six or so hours into this article, and then you send it out to news organizations. They can decide to use your article for a story idea, not use your article at all, or they can hack it up into bits and make it a "news brief."

    That is scary. Why write it if it is just going to meet the circular file, or worse yet, a pair of scissors? I'm lucky at my internship, though, that all press releases get put on their website...then at least six hours of work goes somewhere.

    But still, if suddenly all of the PR people in the world disintegrated, would anybody notice? I bet it would take a few weeks for editors to notice that their stack of press releases had diminished, but would they care? Or would they celebrate?

    In this current state, I think I'd better just stick to "writing" and leave off the whole "public relations" bit. Of course, this is all subject to change, as I am known to be fickle.

    Posted by Julie Young at 09:52 PM | Comments (3)

    Text and Translation of Canterbury Tales

    Here's a good link to interlinear translations of some of the Canterbury Tales. Wife of Bath is definitely on here...these are handy because you can read the Middle English and then look down a line when you don't get it. Or, Middle English speakers can look up when they don't understand...

    Posted by Julie Young at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

    February 01, 2004

    Passive voice and victim blaming

    Thursday night I went to the MASV presentation by Jackson Katz at UPG...and although it was one of those forced Residence Life things, it was actually rather interesting. In fact, it was sad that the majority of people from Seton Hill were RAs, because we are probably some of the more enlightened people on campus regarding sexual violence as it's part of our summer training. In other words, maybe more men should've been at the Men Against Sexual Violence program. Oh well. Back to the interesting points.

    One of the first examples Katz gave of the problem of sexual violence was that over 99% of sexual violence is perpetrated by men. That means that women are usually victims (although some men are raped, and boys are frequent targets of molestation). Most notably, the perpetrator is usually a man. Yet it is the victim's problem -- it's a "women's issue."

    How did it get to be a "women's issue" and not a "men's issue?" Passive voice. Katz used this example, based on queer theorist Julia Penelope's study of sentence construction:

    John beat Mary.
    Mary was beaten by John.
    Mary was beaten.
    Mary is battered.
    Mary is a battered woman.

    John, the perpetrator of the violence, drops out of the picture. Instead of saying what John did, the sentence becomes what Mary is - a "battered woman," which is caused by John anyway, but somehow he doesn't get credit for the mess he made. Blame is shifted. The spotlight is pointed at the victim and the perpetrator falls off the end of the sentence. Another example? "Mary got pregnant." Well, then, it's all her issue....apparently we are to think it was an immaculate conception?

    Anyway, his main point was that men have to start taking responsibility - it's not enough for a man to just "not be a rapist" anymore. Instead, they have to speak up and challenge the social construct of masculinity and remove sexual violence from the category of "women's issue," as half the people involved in a sex crime are men anyway. It was never not a man's issue.

    Posted by Julie Young at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

    Celebrating Diversity the Fox Way

    The newest reality show on Fox? "The Littlest Groom," a pint-sized version of "The Bachelor," in which little people compete against tall people for the affections of a dwarf bachelor. Fox's fair and balanced spin on the show?

    “Littlest Groom” Executive Producer Bill Paolantonio defended the program as a “celebration of diversity.”

    “We have gone to great lengths to make sure everybody on this program is treated with dignity and respect,” he said. ”Human emotion is human emotion, no matter what the package is, and this program ultimately is about that.”

    This sounds just a little bit too altruistic for Fox...

    Posted by Julie Young at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)