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Deleting Old Emails: Like Revisiting a Well-Kept Journal

Posted by JD on Thursday, May 6, 2010 , under | comments (1)

Now that I am starting my own freelance business, I have had to take a look at my organizational skills and look for ways to improve them. I’m the first to admit that this is difficult for me, but I’ve decided that I must be more efficient.  In order to do so, I will have to complete one very small task at a time.

I’ve divided my organization project into two areas “Virtual and Physical.” I am using a method I made up on the fly (on the fly meaning as I’m typing this) called DIPP: “Deletion, Inventory, Placement, and Planning.”  Since deletion is the first task, over the past two weekends I have been getting rid of everything in my house that I don’t want, can’t use, or haven’t used at all or in while. Previously, I would try to keep everything I’ve purchased because I don’t want to live with the reality that I’d wasted money. I had to get over that mental barrier. My house is looking better already. Before I moved on to Inventory of my house/belongings, I decided to proceed with deletion of virtual things.

I began this process by deleting my old myspace page and facebook accounts and cleaning out all 7 of my email boxes. I have to say that completing this task was 10x more satisfying than cleaning out my physical environment although I would have no peace without accomplishing both types of cleanup.

Nevertheless, as I went through my email box, I saw a glimpse of my past self that made me laugh, cry, and get a little uncomfortable. There were emails from various guys that I had forgotten I dated. The fact that I’d forgotten they existed put a current situation in perspective. Its unbelievable how much time you can spend obsessing over someone that isn’t worth the space you have in your inbox, much less space available in your mind and heart.

I also found emails from (I joined that site??), eharmony (I never even used my free subscription), Tagged (oh boy!) and various weightloss and fitness sites. Now a year or two later, there’s a lot less of that in my email box although I’m concerned that I still haven’t conquered some of the related issues.

My emails also reminded that I’ve applied for a zillion jobs in the 6 years since I graduated from college and put together too many versions of my resume and writing portfolio than I’d care to count.  I felt a sense of pride in knowing that success didn’t fall in lap—I worked to be where I am today.

Additionally, according to my hotmail account, I’ve signed up on the listservs of graduate schools across the country. I also applied to graduate school twice (once to study national security and another time to study organizational development) and showed up for classes a total of zero times. I thought that was pretty interesting.

From the looks of my old emails, I’ve grown a lot. 2 years later, I’m even seeing less evidence of the obsession I used to have with shoes and pretend-balling. There are less emails from and Eviplist, and more from Hootsuite and software companies.

Who knew old emails could tell a story almost as good as any well-kept journal?

Media Informs Us That Gabby Sidibe is Mean…And FAT.

Posted by JD on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 , under | comments (10)

So apparently Gabourey Sidibe, who played the title character in the movie "Precious" and most recently hosted Saturday Night Live, isn't as sweet and charming as we've been led to believe. Or, at least that's what the Washington Post and Media Bistro are saying.

On May 1st, Media Bistro's FishBowl DC used the headline "Gabby Sidibe: Not So Precious" and the below sternish photo in a short post about Gabby's apparently mistreatment of fans. Matt Dornic for FishBowl writes:

Photo Courtesy of Media Bistro
"When asked for a picture, the less-than-enthused newbie star could barely crack a smile. One photo-seeking fan said jokingly, "that's all you're going to give me," to the pouty Precious. Gabby responded, "you'll get what I give you.""

Yikes. That's certainly not nice.

Yesterday, Dornic followed up his original post about Sidibe by noting that The Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capeheart had his own uncomfortable experience with Sidibe at the recent White House Correspodent's Dinner. Capehart writes:

"Y'all know how much I loved the powerful film from director Lee Daniels about an obese New York City teenager enduring unspeakable abuse at the hands of her parents. After Oscar night, I wrote, "I was rooting for Gabourey Sidibe for best actress. But the moment edgy comedienne Mo'Nique won the Oscar for supporting actress, I knew that the divine Sidibe was toast." But after meeting Sidibe at the White House Correspondents dinner and hearing about others' negative encounters with her, I'm putting down my pompoms.

I was thrilled to spot her at a table laughing uproariously with the man sitting to her right. "I know you're having a good time and I'm sorry to interrupt," I began. My next sentence didn't come out because Sidibe shouted over the din, "Yeah, come back in five minutes!" Thinking she was joking, I laughed and pretended to walk away. When I noticed that the look in her eyes meant she was serious, I walked back to her and said, "I just wanted to congratulate you on your nomination. I thought your performance was spectacular. I even wrote a column about it." After wishing her good luck, I rejoined my friends."


Capehart goes on to recount two other stories in which Gabby loses more enthusiastic fans due to her diva'ish behavior.

Obviously these reports of Gabby being ridiculously unkind for no reason are disturbing. But what stuck out to me was the fact that both posts carried some sort of strange reference to Gabby's weight.

The first line of the first Media Bistro post was "So, who was the weekend's biggest (no pun intended) disappointment so far?"

The first line of 2nd Media Bistro post was: "Wow! FishbowlDC wasn't alone when we gave "Precious" star Gabby Sidibe a GIGANTIC (no pun intended...okay, that's a lie) thumbs down."


Maybe I'm being sensitive here. But is it totally okay to make fun of her weight just because there have been reports that she has a bad attitude? I'm trying to think of something to compare this to but I'm at a loss.

The Capehart post ended on an odd and possibly weight-related note as well. At the end of Capehart's post, he mentioned that he met Queen Latifah at the BET Honors awards back in January and expected "to get the Sidibe treatment." He goes on to say Latifah was perfectly nice and appreciates her fans unlike Gabby (I'm paraphrasing).

But why make the comparison to Queen Latifah? Because they are both black and plus sized? Is there some correlation here that I'm not aware of? Is Capehart just a HUGE (umm am I doing it too? pause?) Queen Latifah fan and wanted to shout her out?

I'm not normally super sensitive about certain things but these two posts got me riled up a bit. I'm curious about what others think. Earlier this year, Erica Kennedy noted the boiling-underneath-the-service discomfort the industry has with Gabby's size.  Could the door now be open for all the fat jokes we never wanted to hear?

Titles and Truth: Writers, Models, Singers and Moguls

Posted by JD on Monday, May 3, 2010 , under , | comments (15)

Adriana Lima is a model. You, on the other hand
are just in a lot of pictures.
Big difference!
On a side note: ADRIANA IS GORGEOUS!

Blogger Miss Jia posted this to twitter on Monday of this week:

“If I see one more “model” bio that includes model/actress/dancer/real estate agent/9-11 survivor/chemo patient, I’ma scream.  Some of you chicks are allegedly doing too much. Pick some shit and focus. We don’t believe you anyway.”

Beyond being hilariously true, Jia brings up a good topic. How do we reconcile who we actually are with who we’d like to be. As social networks grow in importance, this question becomes difficult to answer as people become ever more grandiose with these self-titles.

At some point, we need to come to the collective realization that just because you call yourself something, doesn’t make it true.

For example, let's say you all yourself a dancer but have never held a job as a dancer. To me, this poses a problem. The reality is if you do not get paid to dance, you are not a dancer. You may be trained to be a dancer, you may be a GREAT dancer, you may have danced at one point. You may even be totally qualified to get paid to dance--but, if you are not currently making a living by dancing,  I'm sad to report that you are not, in fact, a dancer. Now, replace dancer with any number of terms “writer, blogger, journalist, mogul, singer, etc.” and you see where I’m going with this.

Now obviously there are some titles people give themselves that have little to do with money e.g. activist, humanitarian and the like.  The use of these words requires an honor system. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure a lot of you are breaking the honor code. At some point, you have to admit that teaching alone does not qualify as activism and simply caring about people doesn’t make you a humanitarian. I think a few of you just need to invest in a good old-fashioned dictionary.

A little piece of me dies whenever I hear bloggers call themselves writers or even worse, journalists!  A writer writes for a living. Yes, you can make a living off a blog, which makes you a great blogger, but lots of bloggers who make money are terrible writers. Good writing isn’t a requirement for good blogging. Successful blogging has more to do with content than writing skill. On the off chance that you are both a blogger and a great writer, I may give you a writer pass, but chile…I’m going to need to see something you’ve published in a mainstream outlet.

I blame Michael Jackson for this self-title nonsense.
Remember when he proclaimed HIMSELF to be the King of Pop.
Obviously, he later proved it to be true.  But still he inspired an entire
generation to put the cart before the horse. May he RIP!
To use myself as an example, I refer to myself as a writer, spokesperson, and media coach. At one time I listed myself as a blogger; however, as my readers know, I don’t blog enough (or make enough adsense dollars) to call myself a blogger so I’ve since eliminated that term from my online bios. Now I mention that I blog and leave it at that.

I call myself a writer because I have a full time writing job. I also have writing credentials. My writing has been published in the following  publications:

The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, The Nation, The Guardian (UK), Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Knack (Belgium), Chosun Ilbo (South Korea), Al-Ittihad (UAE), Le Monde (France), and L’Espresso (Italy).

I call myself a spokesperson because I have been quoted in the following publications and news outlets:
The BBC, CNN, The NYTimes, The Washington Post, Newsweek, USA Today, numerous wire services, and countless local papers, tv and radio shows. I have also done live interviews on both radio and television.

I call myself a media coach because I have coached lots of people to act as spokespersons for themselves or on behalf of their organizations.

Just so you know, I am a REALLY good singer, I’m also a great songwriter (in my opinion), or at least I used to be. However, I would never say that I am a singer or songwriter because, as of yet, no one has paid me for my singing or songwriting services (unless you count all those talent shows I won in middle and high school).

If I told someone I was a songwriter, the first thing they would ask me is “who do you write for?” Once I answer by saying “I write songs for myself on the weekends which I sang over instrumentals I download from and then record using Apple’s garage Band program” I would be immediately and accurately branded as a liar.

That’s why I limit the labels I give myself to those things for which I have CREDENTIALS--a practice to which fewer and fewer people adhere these days.

As a writer, it’s slightly offensive when any-old-body calls themselves a writer. Why you gotta insert your aspiring-but-as-yet-non-professional-self into my profession? Do you not realize how much work it took me to EARN the title of bona fide writer? Honey, the stories I could tell you. Google me.

Even Loretta Lynn doesn't believe you're a mogul. 

All in all, people need to stop lying to themselves about where they are in their lives. What happens when you finally become whatever it is you’ve been saying you are all along? Will you even be excited anymore? What’s the point in striving to be something when you can just go around and tell everyone you're already it?

Then again, maybe these people are on to something. Maybe if you claim something it will come true. In fact, you know what, fuck it, I am a 125lb neurosurgeon. There, I feel so much better about myself now that I am totally delusional. Now, quick, who needs me to perform brain surgery? Speak up, don’t be shy!

All jokes aside, this is a pet peeve of mine and I just needed to get that off my chest.

Birthday Losers: Why Do You Torment Us?

Posted by JD on , under | comments (3)

If you follow me on twitter, you may have heard me complain about two types of people I absolutely cannot stand: Meat Mixers and Birthday Losers.

No, meat mixers are not people who watch or participate in gay porn. In fact, the term is not sexual at all so quit making jokes. Meat mixing is a serious issue that is plaguing our society and quite frankly I’m disgusted by all of you MMs who put bacon on cheeseburgers, eat shrimp and steak, or otherwise mix different types of meat when eating. Gross.

I don’t know why I abhor this practice, but I do.

Now that you understand meat mixing, we can move on to the social terrorists known as Birthday Losers. I can explain my hate for these people more fully.

We all have those friends or family members that take their birthday a little too seriously…every year.

It’s not enough for you to call them on their birthday or give them a card or take them out for a few drinks whenever a few of you are free to get together. It's not even enough for them to have a party every couple years.  Oh noooooo….every year their birthday is a “special event.” They want to do multiple activities or get together multiple days to celebrate. They don’t care about your time, your finances, other plans, or lack of interest because, after all, it's “their day.”
Except it’s not their day. Everyone has a birthday, and quite a few other people share your birthday.  So in actuality, if you are a Birthday Loser the only thing special about that day is your behavior.

Typical Birthday Loser

Birthday Losers make things difficult for themselves and others. I have seen situations where there were multiple birthday losers in the same friendship circle. Of course, each loser planned their own festivities and feelings got hurt when certain friends couldn’t afford to sacrifice time or money to attend each loser’s event.

Birthday losers are the very reason that normal people like myself have to sit through celebration after celebration at work--a place where most of us would rather not celebrate anything unrelated to a raise or promotion.

We've all been through this fakery!

Typically, birthday losers experience sadness on many birthdays due to the fact that they put a lot of stake in a day that doesn’t mean much. And when it doesn't go as planned they are more disappointed than sanity should allow.

I think if you got the average birthday loser to be honest for 2 minutes they would admit that with a few more hugs and backpats throughout the year they wouldn’t feel so motivated to be a jackass on the one day when people feel sorry enough to pay attention to them.

This birthday loser sickness is spreading. And it IS a sickness. Well…it makes me sick. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve heard rumors that there are people so sick with BL disease that they actually celebrate their birthday for the entire month.  I refuse to believe there are people that completely ill and annoying.

The worst part about BLs is that they CLAIM they want their day to be special yet they will usually celebrate with anyone so as to appear popular and adored. I have seen BLs go out of their way to remind people they don’t even like all that much to attend their birthday parties. In fact, a couple times, BLs were frustrated on their birthdays when the random people to they invited to their party [at insert overpriced club here] showed up and acted…well…random!

To all the birthday losers out there, I would ask you, what is that you really want? What do you hope to accomplish by slanging your birthday phallus in our faces every single year?  Maybe if we could get to the bottom of that we could give you a little of whatever it is throughout the year so when your birthday comes, you can act like you have the sense God gave a goat.