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Is There Anything Funny about Death? 24 Writers Say Absolutely!

Mon, 14 May 2012 07:00:00 +0000

During the eighteen months before my mother's death, I remained at her side. We had a complicated relationship—true of so many mothers and daughters—and she didn't appreciate my daily reminders regarding her medications, her need to walk, the importance of eating. Mom was a visual artist, ardent reader, and political junkie; she didn't go in for idle chatter. As for sharing thoughts or feelings about her illness? Forget it.   One day, however, the window of opportunity blew open. "When I'm ready," said Mom, "take me to Alaska and put me on an ice floe, where I can float away and die." I looked at her for a moment. Was she being funny? I took the chance that she was, and jumped in. "Sounds good, but with global warming, there may not be any ice left." She sighed loudly, and then a little twinkle came to her eyes. "In that case, hold my head underwater until I drown!" We giggled...and then we laughed. That's when I understood how the pain of death, of facing our own death or that of someone we love, can be softened by humor. EXIT LAUGHING: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Death has just been published. It's an anthology I edited of twenty-four authors sharing their personal stories about death from various poignant, and sometimes hilarious perspectives. After Jacquelyn Mitchard's husband's wake, three of his best friends went to the roof of the nearby mental hospital—where one of the men was the director—to watch a storm roll in. Their wallets were in the car, and they had no way to prove their identities as they attempted to leave. Security held them in lock-up most of the night. Ellen Sussman writes about how she flew her mother's body home for the funeral, and the burial outfit fell out of the suitcase and arrived on the baggage turnstile, one frilly undergarment at a time. Malachy McCourt tells us what really happened to Angela's ashes! When I first thought of this book, I wondered if anyone would be willing to write about the relationship between humor and death. As it happened, nearly everyone I contacted jumped at the opportunity, many authors admitting that they'd experienced all sorts of humorous responses to death but had been reluctant to write about it. But, oh, did they write! Carrie Kabak's Caraway Seed Cake repeats her grandmother's memory of an Irish wake: Father Hegarty himself, who was well oiled by now, was spinning in circles like a whirling dervish...And Alice took it upon herself to holler with joy, for the bastard was dead! And when the last nail was driven home, Alice called for the Mullans to play a reel, and lines formed, and hands clapped, and an arch of arms spread well into the yard. Alice skipped down the middle, and she twisted and kicked, keeping with the rhythm, and the pattern of beats, and in perfect time with those close behind her. It’s not right, Old Mary Godfrey muttered.  It’s just not right. First the priest, and now the wife. Dear Mother of God, what is the world coming to? And Alice flung back her head, and laughed, showing an arc of white teeth.  She’ll be dancing on his grave tomorrow, sneered Old Mary Godfrey. Christina O'Hagan reminds us that death and humor may be strange bedfellows, yet they co-exist for a reason. A scene with her mother-in-law: One afternoon, when Patrick went off to look for the doctor, I took matters into my own hands, so to speak. Standing by the side of the bed, I rubbed her arm. She had been a good mother-in-law to me and I loved her. “It’s okay to let go,” I told her, “we’ll be okay. Just go to the light.” At that moment, her eyelids flew open and she looked at me with something like shock, and for a minute I felt like a Judas. (True, I’d always had my eye on her Depression-era, cranberry-glass candy dish, but I could wait.) “What light?” she asked me. “I’m going to Atlantic City!” When my agent sent out my proposal, we quickly discovered that publishers were reluctant to buy the book. I can't help wondering if this was related to the makeup of editorial boards: young adults far too young to cons[...]

Keep the Faith

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 02:06:01 +0000

If you were given a list of available children to adopt, which one would you pick? Would you look for the cutest, youngest, happiest little boy or girl? Or would you choose an older child... say around 15 or 16 years old?


My husband and I are currently going through this right now. Last year, we were chosen...yes, I said chosen... to adopt a child (or children). We have a natural son already but realized that adopting a child would make the most sense for us.


For anyone wondering, because I get asked this question a lot... Yes. We are able to still have children. We just chose not to have anymore after we had our one and only son. And why are we adopting?? Have you ever looked at your state's website listing of foster children waiting to be adopted? Have you ever thought about what actually happens to those children you see on the television that were left at home alone with their crackhead mom after mom got stoned, burned down the house, and went to jail? Yeah, those kids that you said "I can't believe the state didn't do something" or "I'm so glad they took those kids away from those horrible parents"... those kids are all waiting for someone to step up and actually be parents to them.


You see, when the kids are taken out of those horrible places that you see in the news, they make their way into the foster care system where they are either transitioned back into their natural parent's home or shuffled to foster parent(s) who may or may not be able to adopt them when they become available. If the foster parents can't adopt them, they're put in a database where they wait... and wait.... and wait... and wait... and depending on their age when they enter the system... they wait so long that they can't wait anymore and they age out of the system at the ripe old age of 18 when they are supposed to miraculously become productive, responsible adult members of society, even though they've had no real up-bringing.


I was adopted as an infant and was raised by the most wonderful parents anyone could've asked for. But that is only a small part of my draw to adopting. I believe that we were chosen. We both believe this. And I also believe that no matter what criteria for potential adoptees we may have, the right child (or children) will choose us, not the other way around.


I don't know the reason why we've been lead down this path. But I can tell you that the more real it becomes, the more nervous and... apprehensive.... I become. I've thought about backing out and wiping my hands of the whole thing, but I can't. New situations scare me and give me ridiculous butterflies... but if I don't help at least one chilid, who will? Will you? Your neighbor?


For now, my husband and I have faith in God that everything will go the way He has planned... and what is that? Well, it's not for me to know... at least not yet. But we will keep the faith.


23 Ways to Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

Sat, 27 Nov 2010 14:16:02 +0000

I have great money habits, but I'm not sure how I learned them! So I consulted an expert...these tips for teaching good money habits are from Karyn Hodgens, author of Raised for Richness: Teaching Kids Money Skills for Life and creator of KidsSave. "How are learning to a ride bike and learning about money similar?” she asks. “Both involve kids being ACTIVE participants.”Here, Hodgens reveals how parents can teach kids about money. By the way, these money tips are great for adults, too – especially those who want to want to establish good financial habits in their own lives. It's never too late!  23 Ways to Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits Help your kids make a list of money makers (bonds, mutual funds, etc.) and money losers (those really nifty sunglasses you never wear).Teach your child to make a pros/cons list before spending money on an expensive item.Ask your kid to think about something he recently bought that he really wanted. What were his feelings about the item before he bought it, and what his your feelings two weeks later? Was it worth the money?Ask your kids what interests them about money? What bores them about handling, saving, or spending money?Discuss an emergency fund of money and the reasons it's important. How could kids benefit from starting an emergency fund of money ?Would you take out a loan for a pair of jeans? If you buy jeans with a credit card and don't pay off the balance each month, that's what you're doing.Have your kids collect letters of recommendation from their babysitting, lawn mowing, pet sitting or other jobs. They'll come in handy when putting together college portfolios.Have regular conversations about money skills and financial literacy – what is it, why do we need it, how do we get it, where do we keep it, how does it relate to the things that are important to us?Ask your kids...does a free kitten come with hidden expenses? If so, what are they?Make financial literacy fun by teaching money trivia along with money skills! For instance, the dollar bill lasts 21 months before it wears out. The five dollar bill has the shortest life, at 16 months.As an incentive to save money, match your child's savings dollar for dollar...or fifty cents for each dollar saved.What is your best money habit? Share it with your kids.Discuss with your kids some things money can't buy.Discuss with your kids which is more important...buying a video game or paying back lunch money borrowed from a friend.Discuss with your kids the advantages and disadvantages of saving money.Create a list of Above-and-Beyond Jobs your kids can do to earn extra money.Kids LOVE to have their own savings account; it makes them feel "grown-up." If you child doesn't have one yet, take time to open one...and consider seeding it with a few dollars. This is a great way to get them in the healthy habit of saving and thinking about achieving financial goals.Do your kids want fancy designer labels? Have them pay the difference between what you're willing to pay and the cost of the designer label.Teach your tween/teen how to fill out a check by having them write the next one.Give your 6-8 yr old $2 and your 9-13 yr old $5. If your 6-8 yr old still has it after a week and your 9-13 has it after two weeks, double their money. Great delayed gratification practice!Discuss being rich in compassion, understanding, empathy, friends, knowledge... How can we use money to help us show these things we value?Talk about a financial goal you set and the steps you took to achieve it. Then have your kids create their own money goals.Discuss needs versus wants with your kids. If you have any questions or thoughts on teaching your kids about money, I'd love to hear from you below…and if you have a question specifically for Karyn, I'll make sure she gets it! Karyn Hodgens is a Kids Personal Finance Educator, author, and creator of KidsSave, a kids' money management software program. Her passion is[...]

For Every New Facebook Fan of Big Heart Baby Clothing Co, 6 cents is donated to children’s charities.

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 21:34:16 +0000

Starting Today, October 24th, 2010 Big Heart Baby Clothing Co. will Donate 6 cents to children’s charities for every new person to “Like” Big Heart Baby on Facebook.

Go to the Big Heart Baby Facebook Page, "Like" and suggest it to friends.

The people behind Big Heart Baby are working hard to inform as many people as possible about their products, and the positive impact each purchase has on the lives of children in need.  In an effort to minimize marketing expenses in order to maximize donations, they are launching a “Spread the Word” Campaign, turning advertising dollars into donation dollars.  For every person, who “Likes” Big Heart Baby on Facebook, they will donate 6 cents, spread evenly amongst their 6 children's causes.  The more people to “Like” Big Heart Baby, the more direct donations they make. 

Please do your part and suggest it to all your friends, and tell them to suggest it to their friends, because the more the word spreads, the greater the positive impact we can make.  Along the way,  everyone can do even more, simply by purchasing Big Heart Baby quality products.  With every item purchased on their website, $5 is donated to a children’s charity of the buyers choice.  And US Shipping is always Free!

Check out all the Big Heart Baby baby, toddler, teen and adult apparel.

Mommy Guilt (aka Baby Withdrawal)

Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:28:46 +0000

A friend of mine, who does not have children, asked me to explain “mommy guilt”. I have to admit this is a difficult subject to discuss without a common frame of reference. But, on behalf of all the CareerMamas out there and for the benefit of those who do not have children, soon-to-be mothers, and men, I will give it my best shot.   The bond you form with your children is unlike any other bond you may form with another person. It is not stronger than the bond you form with your spouse or partner; it is just different. It begins well before you see your baby, which is an amazing experience. When your baby is born, you realize just how fragile he is and that he is completely dependent upon you for nourishment, comfort, and protection. When you and your baby see each other for the first time, when your baby is in what has been called a state of quiet alertness, you make a vow then and there to do everything in your power to support, care, and protect your child. Many of us think this means we can never let the baby out of our sight. I’ve talked to a number of moms who, desperate for some rest after delivering their baby, attempted to sleep in the hospital while trained nurses cared for their newborn baby. However, they were unable to part with them out of fear the baby would stop breathing if they were not watching them. I tried this after I delivered my son. No more than 10 minutes went by before I was out of bed and wandering around the maternity ward frantically searching for my baby boy. Three years and another baby later, I am still kicking myself for not taking advantage of the nurses at my disposal and getting the rest when I had a chance. So, did I have the nurses watch my daughter after I delivered her? No, of course not. A mother has a psychological and physical need to see and hold her baby. Therefore, the prospect of not seeing and holding her newborn for any great length of time can really frighten a new mom.   For my career, I have to do a bit of traveling. I waited until my son was 6 months old, however, before going on the road again. Even then, it was very difficult to leave him. With my daughter, I only waited 4 months before going on a business trip, which was only a day trip. On the way back home, my scheduled flight was canceled. I then discovered that some of the remaining flights were double booked (of course), that there was an eruption of an Alaskan volcano (causing the grounding of planes in that state), and that mechanical failure knocked out the remainder of potentially available planes. So, I was one of many tired and grumpy people at the airport who now had to attempt to get home by flying standby on another plane or airline. I was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, which means that I would have been home in time to give my son a good night kiss and give my daughter her last feeding. But, that ideal scenario flew out the window when I discovered that not only would I not be able make the 9pm flight, but I would be lucky to make the 10pm flight and would probably have to stay the night. What happened then can only be described as an anxiety attack. I had to do everything I could not to ball my eyes out at the prospect of not being with my 4 month old daughter that night.   My situation that night is not unique. I’m sure many CareerMamas have experienced something similar and understand the pain I went through. We sit at the airport and try to read or work or do something to take our minds off of how awful we feel. We admonish ourselves for going on a business trip this early in our baby’s life and envision our baby looking around for us and crying inconsolably for his mommy. This situation is even worse if you are breastfeeding. Just ask any breastfeeding mom what happens when she thinks about her baby. You feel as though you are going to explode or you lactate all over the place (hopefully you remembered your breast pads), or both. So, not only are you feeling guilty for not bei[...]

Swishing our tails and rasing our voices Liza and Vita Part 2

Sat, 30 May 2009 12:57:03 +0000

Swishing our tails and rasing our voices [Vita's Guests] -  vitalingus - @ 04:37:pm Part 2: from Liza the publisher and one of the team at ‘culture kitchen’. Liza talks to me about 21st century women creating change. The influence and the impact these women are having as ‘consumer and producers’, in the world of ‘netactivism’. See Vita’s quick links for her site, or on my article below this interview. VITA Has the use of “culture kitchen’s” website enhanced grass roots activism and reached women who may never have a voice before? LIZA Blogs are not entities by themselves. Blogs are points or nodes in a whole network of relationships. I reach regular folks, yes, but most of the people I know who read my site are 'influencer's' in the activist world here and abroad. I reach them offline through conferences and workshops. I help a lot of activists advocacy groups and issue specific groups to jump start their own online efforts. For some it may be a blog, for others it may be a wiki, an online forum or an email list. Many of the conversations continue to happen offline as well and developed outside of the culturekitchen sphere. VITA The internet research company PEW have found through their research, of blogging sites they identified 58% are sites by women and in fact maintained longer than men’s blogging sites! LIZA Yes, I am aware of that but I am hesitant about those numbers. LiveJournal was one of the first places for women to establish a voice and easily publish online. Please note I have chosen to not link to some sources that LIZA has mentioned. However do seek them out ones self if one is compelled to do so.....VL LIZA It was not until after “SixApart” bought into the market did Live Journal have a much higher profile as a 'blog' service. (Mena Trott is the co founder of the site above and it is worth reading her profile on the site and her longevity in the industry) VL LIZA It is the same with (“Murdoch’s purchase”)of the ‘MySpace’ site and a myriad of other social networking sites. I am an old school blogger, so I take issue with calling people who write on those sites, bloggers. I wish I were more enthusiastic about the figure but the truth is that out of the 65+ million blogs out there, more than 2/3 are splogs (spam blogs). LIZA ON START UP CAPITAL In addition, what is worst, most of the successful blogs launched these days have a big chunk of capital or start-up money behind them. Look no further than Arianna Huffington and her site. VITA AS AN ASIDE Arianna appears to have an excellent PR machine and lots of connections in celebrity land.It would be fascinating to know what her market mix is and why people read her column? LIZA It used to be you could have an actual audience of thousands with just a blog and good content. Now it is increasingly difficult for anybody, but especially for women and minorities, to launch a blog and break out of the dark confines of the 'long tail'. Given bloggers just want a few readers, then that is not an issue. However, when you are blogging to make a difference in the world, having a handful of readers can be a challenge, not a breakthrough. Especially when you have old media companies throwing millions behind their 'little' blog ventures. Part 3 from LIZA on the influence of women and net/activism soon... Vita [...]

governor patterson

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 23:56:44 +0000

Is it true that the governor and his wife only donated old clothes to charity. No money for a couple who make big bucks?  Hope that's not true.  If it is I won't vote for him even tho I'm a life long dem.

Millionairess Club 29th January 2009

Sun, 14 Dec 2008 22:13:46 +0000

Be it, Do it, Have it! WealthBabes presents:

For all Aspiring Millionairesses - Be part of the Exclusive
Millionairess Club and Breakthrough to Success in 2008 and Beyond!
Access to the next Club Session is on Thursday 29th January 2009 in
Kensington/Earls Court, London at 12 noon


What do we do?
This is a select group of women who meet monthly and focus on creating and maintaining the Millionairess Mindset.
This is a workshop format with time for questions, interaction and accountability setting!
Trainings will be based on systems used by millionaires and teachers
from ‘The Secret’ The women who attended the last session loved it and
saw the benefits….join them for another amazing Millionairess Club

NPR's "The Gatekeepers Are Gone" Does the Online World Match the Real One?

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 10:58:44 +0000

At the 2006 South by Southwest conference (Austin, holla!) I sat on a panel for Blogher on how blogger's online personas' negatively affected their real lives. I talked about my blog and how I thought that because one of my superiors somehow found it and shortly after I was laid off (NOTE: I never discussed my workplace or fellow employees on my blog) might have been a cause to my demise. Another blogger recounted how despite creating a blog anonymously, the administrators at the school where she taught found out about it and she was fired. Both of us were unrepentant in our views, felt that we had essentially done nothing wrong, but did warn others through our personal accounts, that the world is watching. Identifying yourself online can be dangerous, especially during the last couple of years during the American Presidential campaign. Racial and gender issues are tense, and cowards like most bloggers are (c'mon, admit it) can hide behind our laptops and spout off a bunch of bullshit, knowing that it his highly unlikely that the person we just cussed out is going to travel to our homes and physically attack us. Isn't the World Wide Web such a grreat thing? In these times of tension, NPR's featured an article by Micah Sifry on the assumptions that many bloggers make that the blogs that they frequent are conceived by people that look like them: Whites may not realize this, but we often make an unspoken assumption about the people we are reading online, which is that they too are white, or, to put it another way, without color. If you don't think this is true, ask yourself, "How many of the bloggers I read regularly are black?" If you don't know the answer, it's probably because you've been making this unconscious assumption. Yes, the relative anonymity of the Internet means that if we choose to we can change our identity, giving us a freedom that is not hindered by what we look like, our sexual organs or who we choose to love and sleep with. It is a place that can ultimately unify citizens, showing that despite our socially constructed differences, we all have things in common. However, there are bloggers who clearly identify by their racial ethnicity, their gender and their sexual orientation. Those who choose so do it because what they write about, whether it be politics, entertainment or social justice issues, decided to write on topics from a perspective that is shaped by their personal experiences. About the NPR article, besides the main argument that people (white folks, in this case) automatically assume that the blog owners are just like them. In some ways, this can be good, as it forces people to bond (albeit maybe for just a few minutes) on the content, not the person. It is a way that people can bond over ideas and experiences. But on the other hand, just like real life, loyalties can be questioned and people can get ugly. One of the first examples that come to mind is Rachel's Tavern, run by Rachel Sullivan, a Sociology professor who writes about race, gender and politics. Because she, as a white woman writes about race and racism, she has - from what she has previously written - has received a large amount of hate mail from people who feel that she is a race traitor and a "N#$%er Lover."  I have been reading her blog for years and in some ways, Rachel has done a more through job in talking about racism than a lot of blogs written by people of color. Her sociological background leads her to bring in a through analysis and a unique perspective. NOTE: Her blog is not updated - she just had twins a few months ago. So because there is this assumed thought - which in my opinion is based not just only on sheer laziness and subjectivity but classism and racial stereotypes as there are some that are so wrapped up thinking that people of color do not have the money or intellig[...]

Advertising Slogans Gone Wild: Scotland,Virginia and DHL

Sun, 09 Dec 2007 14:57:18 +0000

Advertising slogans are supposed to state the main benefits of the brand. Good slogans, make that great slogans, have a distinct personality of their own and are  hard to forget. Scotland used to have such a slogan. It was,"Scotland, the Best Small Country in the World." But that slogan was created by the last party in power and the new government found the slogan offensive saying it was too downbeat and typified the "Scottish cringe." Okay, so I'm not sure I know what "Scottish cringe" is,but I'm assuming it's something to do with an inferiority complex. So much for the back story.  After six months and about $250,000 (U.S.) Scotland unveiled its new super duper slogan. It is: "Welcome to Scotland." Oh, and  each sign will also include a local factoid like " Home of Golf" and " Home of Europe's Fastest Growing Life Sciences Community." To many, its no more than the advertising equivalent of The Emperor's New Clothes. From the BBC, Responding to the new catchphrase, Labour's Jackie Baillie told BBC Scotland: "I am so stunned." "We've waited with great expectation, we were promised something creative, imaginative to replace the slogan for Scotland that used to exist and I woke up this morning to 'Welcome to Scotland'. "If this is what the creative talent can bring to us and this is what SNP government is crowing about, frankly, I am astonished." Former first minister Jack McConnell launched the first slogan Liberal Democrat tourism spokesman Liam McArthur said: "Nationalist MSPs have spent years regaling us with tales of how fantastic Scotland is. Now, when they have a chance to create a brand for Scotland they give us this bland statement." Gavin Brown, the Conservative enterprise spokesman, said: "Next, Alex Salmond will be telling us this is the best small slogan in the world." Scotland is not alone in messing up a perfectly good slogan. The State of Virginia recently tweaked its " Virginia Is For Lovers" slogan by adding the phrase "live passionately."   To bring that message home they added a hand gesture of a heart. When they discovered that the Chicago-based gang "The Disciples" have a very similar hand gesture, Virginia tourism removed the gesture from their branding. In August, I challenged Virginia on that decision. Earlier last week,when the Tourism Office thought that the hand gesture was used by a small gang in South Carolina, they still  planned to go ahead with the promotion. Only when they learned it was the Chicago Disciples that the decision to remove the heart sign was eliminated. What's the real problem here?Are they concerned that the Disciples are going to be offended? Was the Commonwealth concerned the Disciples were going to haul them into court for copyright infringement? Are they concerned that the Disciples will think this is an invitation to visit to Virginia? Instead of kowtowing to a gang in Illinois why not should start a campaign " Bring Back Our Heart."  The idea would be that people who want to have a good time in Virginia should own the hand gesture and not worry about what goes on in the streets of Chicago.  If the Disciples want to use a similar gesture fine. But the message should be they don't own it. While the Commonwealth of Virginia never intended for their brand to provide a double entendre for gang members, you have to wonder exactly what DHL was thinking when they launched their "All The Way" slogan in Asia Pacific this year. There is an online game spoofing the slogan. Very Australian humor. It's a maze to collect packages with this warning, " But makes sure you look out for the secretaries! If they catch up to you, you'll cop more than just an earful."  Oleh Petra Di offers up some Subtitles that DHL could include in their m[...]

LIVE: New BlogHers Act site! Join us and pledge now to save women's lives

Thu, 15 Nov 2007 12:56:49 +0000

It's live! The BlogHers Act team has launched a new mini-site to act as a clearinghouse for this community's initiative to improve the world by harnessing the power of women online. As many of you know, in 2007-2008, we're blogging to save women's lives by improving maternal health world-wide. On this page you can: Pledge your time, money and/or effort and put this widget on your blog or Facebook page to invite your readers to join: style="width:195px;height:360px;" src="" > Find out how we chose maternal health as our global health focus -- AND how you can use our site to draw attention to a different cause, if you so prefer. Blog yourself about maternal health education, fundraising, legislation or another global cause you're working on. All members are invited to blog on our site (here's how. Learn more: * International Center for Research on Women * Millennium Campaign Maternal Health * Postpartum Support International * RH Reality Check * Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health * United Nations Population Fund * UNICEF Maternal Health Facts * Women Deliver Take action: * Circle of Health International * Dining for Women * Medicine for Humanity * One H.E.A.R.T. * Pathfinder International * Venture Strategies * The White Ribbon Alliance * Women's Health & the Environment The site before you is the result of terrific work by a great team. Maria Niles, Denise Tanton and Web Producer Julie Douglas led a significant production, design, and project management effort, working with the insight, connections, passion and original concept of Contributing Editors Emily McKhann and Cooper Munroe of The Motherhood, whose blogging on this essential topic we can now enjoy in its new home. Thank you, wonder women. We all hope that you can help support this important effort. As Emily, Cooper and a growing cast of supporting writers keep driving home, every minute of every day, somewhere in the world a woman loses her life because of issues related to pregnancy or giving birth. In 2007-2008, BlogHers Act is committed to saving some of these lives by harnessing the power of women online and our blogs to address maternal health, the global health issue recommended by this community. Join us! Please take this pledge and commit to at least one action using the resources you'll find here that will help save a woman’s life. Best, Lisa for Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone [...]

Video From The Life Stages of Online Communites Sessions

Sun, 12 Aug 2007 02:13:14 +0000

One hour of editing down and nine to go from BlogHer 2007! The first sessions that I attended was the The Life Stages of Online Communities.

Click To Play Flash Video

In this video, Aliza Sherman is talking about thinking about the kind of communities that can build around you, your blog or website.

You Can Also Check Out:

Betsy Aoki talks about here experience working with Microsoft communities to aid in comment moderation.


Carol Lin talking about the way networking is helping her build her social network to support cancer survivors.

The Art of Food Blogging: The List

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 20:47:35 +0000

Story goes, when my grandfather was asked how to be addressed, he'd answer, "Call me anything you want, just don't call me late for supper." So here's the promised list of attendees at Blogher's food blogger panel The Art of Food Blogging, late but please, not late for supper. > If you wrote about your food blog experience at Blogher, please feel free to add a link in the comments > If you see notes about the great food blogger dinner on Friday night and weren't invited -- we really really REALLY did try to find who was attending, via posts on Blogher, on the Blogher forum, on the Food Blog S'cool, tracking down the Chicago food bloggers, getting the word out via e-mail and the Birds of a Feather at Blogher lunch on Friday. Next year, please know that the food bloggers will definitely get together again so watch this space for details. If you're a food blogger, you're invited -- just don't be late for supper. > Next year, remind me to ask for a volunteer to share the list! StyleFood live blogged the Art of Food Blogging panel Kalyn's Kitchen is collecting all Blogher-related posts Many thanks to our sponsor, Butterball! Panelists Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen, moderator Nupur from One Hot Stove Shuna from Egg Beater Alanna from KitchenParade Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen Jasmine from Confessions of a Cardamom Addict Food Photography Speakers Lara from Cook & Eat Béa from La Tartine Gourmande (with an 'e') ATTENDING Food Blogs Anali's First Amendment Cheeky Attitude North Carolina Cook and Eat Daily Eats (Tery & Jeremy) Cook Think Dirt to Dish FoodieBlogs.Net Gastro Nerds Kung Foodie Inquisitive Palate (not live 8/8/07) MondoFruitCake Retro-Food Pinch My Salt Pro Bono Baker Simply Recipes Southern Fried (not live yet) The Pioneer Woman Cooks The Blueberry Tart (no URL provided, note says 'live soon') This Mama Cooks Corporate Blogs Eat Like Me on Eat Wasa Feel Good Other Blogs Claire du jour Food Momiac Free Range First Steps See you next year, in, um, where, Blogher??? [...]

Advanced Audio Workshop Podcast Edit

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 14:14:39 +0000

Thanks to everyone who attended the Advanced Audio Workshop - Tajee and I had a great time. Thanks also to Pam who offered her podcast for critique. I've modified it a little, adding an intro, background music, and an outtro, and compressing and amplifying the audio. You can hear the before and after.

VEGAS, BABY? Where should BlogHer '08 be and more: Take the BlogHer '07 survey

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 20:36:11 +0000

It's here in all the excruciating (but mostly optional) detail you could ever want: The BlogHer '07 Post-Conference Survey.

Can you skate by giving us your high level opinions on most aspects of the conference? Yes.

Can you give your granular ratings and opinions on every single speaker and session you saw, on sponsors, on hotels? Yes.

Can you take this survey even if you weren't there, because you'd like to give your feedback on what you hope we'll do in the future? Yes.

Can you take this survey anonymously? Yes.

Can you vote on a location for BlogHer '08? Oh, yes. Please do.

So, get ready, get set, GO take The BlogHer '07 Post-Conference Survey.

We appreciate it very much :)


Tue, 07 Aug 2007 15:46:23 +0000

So this is my much overdue Blogher '07 wrap up. Honestly, I'm still absorbing it all. There is so much that has happened in my life this past year that took its toll on my spirit, and this conference was just the inspiration I needed.

For starters, my lab session was fantastic. I've always worked in an on-site team environment since my very first "real job", up until last year when I accepted my current position with Squarespace. I love it, don't get me wrong -- there's no commutes to downtown, I can show up for work in my pjs, I do a great deal of development collaboration, and I have a lot of creative freedom in my work -- I wouldn't trade it for anything. But during my session, it was really awesome to talk about design and CSS in that group environment, swapping tips and joking about how we still break our sites regardless of our expertise level. Just feeling that energy and seeing the excitement on everyone's faces as we dorked out on code was fabulous.

I was also fortunate enough to be part of the Small Is Beautiful panel with Rachelle and Jen. This was a last minute opportunity for me -- originally my co-mama Elaine was a panelist on this one, but she couldn't attend due to a medical emergency. While I was truly, truly disappointed she wasn't there, I couldn't help but feel like the universe had somehow aligned the planets and pushed me to be in that room. And if there was anyone who would have wished that into happening, it would have been Elaine.

In that room, and with some frequency during the week -- in the photo booth, over sake bombs, during dim sum excursions, in late night hotel room hang out sessions, and even while dancing to Journey in front of the taquitos -- I found myself in the company of people who felt like long lost friends. It was something completely unexpected, but so, so welcome.

When I finally landed home on Sunday night, Myriam called with the strangest story. She had just talked to a friend who recently moved to San Deigo, and at the local coffeehouse, this friend had met a really cool gal who brought up Blogher. Myriam's friend was lamenting about her friends being in Chicago having a great time, and this gal was lamenting about the very same thing. And this friend turned out to be Elaine, the very same Elaine that should have been in Chicago with me.

If that's not synchronicity, I dunno what is.

What Humans Do With Artificial Intelligence

Mon, 06 Aug 2007 14:32:33 +0000

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Elisa Camahort moderates discussion about technology, social spaces, blogging women and the power of the internet. Guest speakers include tech visionary Esther Dyson, She's Such a Geek editor & tech journalist Annalee Newitz and Slideshare CEO Rashmi Sinha.

BlogHer 07 -- The Real Swag

Fri, 03 Aug 2007 07:54:12 +0000

It's impossible to encapsulate all that a new blogger like me learned in the four heady days at BlogHer 07. So I did a quick memory check. What do I recall clearly enough not to have to refer to my notes, or at least know exactly where I can spot them in those notes? Here are the lessons I digested best: Utility: Blogs work best when the content is useful. Whether you are chronicling your daily life or baring the guts of the iPhone, blogs will matter if readers can use the information you provide. Personalize: Useful content is not equal to a user's manual. The personal touch or experience is what distinguishes a sought-after blog from regular review blogs. In short, it's not about what you should feel or experience, but what you actually feel and experience. Reinforcement:  Repetition works! When the same words or phrases  -- that define your posts -- appear in your tagline, body and headline, search engines figure you are serious about this and are more like to present your blog on the first pages of a search result. Technology: Tools are available, cheap or even free, so put them to good use.  The tech chicks were just too good! A million thanks to Elise Bauer and Vanessa Fox for making it all so easily accessible here and here. Languages: As I admitted at a panel, I always tended to equate blogging in India with English. Well, as it turns out, people have been blogging in other Indian languages. I can read and write two of them besides English and plan to track them. For those interested, here are two good sources for Indian blogs: Desiblogs and Indianbloggers. And oh, I almost forgot, Read the Manual. A few interesting insights: Never underestimate how much you can learn at a panel. I turned up for the Speakers' Training talk on July 26 (thank you organizers for keeping it open to all), just so I could pick up a few tips from some rocking panelists. Not only did I learn how to break up annoying back-bench whispering during packed sessions, I got talked into being a panelist for the Women Across the World session, filling in for panelists who couldn't make it. What a chance to put to use my newly-acquired speaking skills! Add to that the value of meeting and working with the lovely ladies of Global Voices Online -- co-managing editor Georgia Popplewell and Arabic Language Editor Amira Al Hussaini who blogs at Silly Baharaini Girl --  and Kenyan expat Juliana Rotich of Afromusing. Over 40 percent of Trinidadians trace their roots back to the Indian sub-continent. No wonder Georgia knew exactly which part of India I was from and what language I spoke just by looking at my name. Does education ensure that women are empowered? I can't forget how Nataly Kogan of Work It, Mom!, who was partner at a venture capital firm, told us that she had to leave the room during meetings with clients because they wouldn't start talking until the male partners arrived. We need more than education to break the glass ceiling. You don't have to have a degree in computer science to be the CEO of a tech company. Check out Slideshare's chief executive Rashmi Sinha. Women are super organizers! Wireless that works, childcare, no stampedes and pretty much everything on time and in place. Wow! Bloggers are a  fast and passionate lot. They blog all the time, using up every single minute that can be squeezed in between back-to-back panels. Being vegetarian is cool. Looking forward to BlogHer'08. [...]

Thank You for a Great Time at my first Blogher Conference

Thu, 02 Aug 2007 21:07:14 +0000

Thank you for a great time in Chicago. For those of you who attended the Self Promotion and Branding Session with Nina Burokas, Penelope Trunk and myself, and were not able to get a handout, I have posted the handout on my blog at nextSTEPH.

Storyboarding - Resources and Vlogging Assistance

Thu, 02 Aug 2007 00:47:11 +0000

Thank you to all the good people that stopped by the Multimedia Lab and those that wanted to attended.Thanks also to Kraft Foods for sponsoring the lab. I'm suffering from a bad case of hindsight. There was so much we all wanted to share but were under time constrictions. Also folks at the session asked about additional resources. I t love digging up help and support resources for potential vloggers and anybody with access to a camera or camcorder. Why A Storyboard? If you are just talking at the camcorder don't need a storyboard. However, if you are telling a story with images and video or it is more complicated than a point and shoot video a storyboard can help you pre-visualize you video. It can help you save time and frustration. Storyboarding can help to take the fear out of editing your video. You can reduce or eliminate "creator's block". Analog Storyboarding At the lab I used paper 3x5 cards. They are cheap, come in pretty colors and most important allow you one scene per card. You can change the scene order and experiment with different versions of your video. Another resource is the paper storyboarding sheet. There are all kinds, find the one that fits your learning style. Here are a few samples to check out: Hal Davidson's Storyboard - My Storyboard Digital Storyboarding Now I know some of you haven't touched a pencil in ten years. I respect most modes of communication so for you digital ladies and gentlemen check out: My Idea Map is a free online 3x5 card service, it is not as flexible as paper but it will do the job. Atomic Learning Storyboard Program - Free and available for Mac and PC users Videoblogging Resources If you are interested in creating videos or videoblogging these are good starting places to visit: Freevlog Personal Media Learning Center VideoBlogging Group Wiki BlipTV Learning Center If you want to know more or have questions drop it in the comment box and I'll try to find the answers that make sense. Vlog On, Gena [...]