Matt Mullenweg Interview (WordPress founder!)

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matt_mullenweg

Interview #21, with WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg!

Note from Jess: I’ve used WordPress.Org in the past — I’ve never forgotten the tagline at the bottom of the page: “Code is Poetry.” So I decided to send a quick Q&A to 26-year-old Mr. Mullenweg, on the subjects of coding, reading, and life/WordPress!

* * * * *

Hi Matt! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Co-founder of WordPress and Automattic.

Give an example of code which you consider as poetry (and explain how/why, for the less technowizically-inclined):

The best type of code poetry comes from reduction, where you’re able to take something that used to be long or complex and reduce it to a few lines of intuitive code. (Or sometimes, none at all.)

How have your experiences influenced your vision for WordPress?:

There is no five-year plan for WordPress, but what we work on next is usually very apparent in the feedback I get from users all over the world at WordCamps and other places where I meet WordPress users, like airplanes.

How does coding inspire you?:

For me coding is incredibly satisfying because it’s very concrete. You can start in the morning, finish at night and look back at the day and point to something you made with your two hands. That’s not possible to the same extent with strategic or managerial work.

Were you already thinking about/working on WordPress (beta versions, etc) during high school?

Nope, it was after I had started college.

Would you/do you write poetry and/or fiction, under a pseudonym?:

In my life, I’ve found that truth is stranger than fiction.

What aspect of traveling around the world do you enjoy the most?:

My favorite thing about travel is seeing how cultures and cities adapt to their surroundings, and take on the characteristics of what surrounds them.

Please share your #1 tip for fellow netizens:

Encrypt your wifi traffic. :)

Your websites/blogs/etc:

http://ma.tt/
http://wordpress.org/
http://automattic.com/

Much thanks to the gracious and very cool Matt Mullenweg (aka Mr. WORDPRESS himself) for sharing his thoughts! Check out the other great interviews @ Matt’s Blog (Press Coverage).

Greek Mythology and Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis

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Short essay for my “ENG 359 – Mythology” course, in Fall 2010. Yippee!

(Topic = Write about how classical mythology has enriched your understanding of a piece of modern literature)

P.S. De Profundis is one of my favourites. Have read it four or five times — it always gets better with each new round.

* * *

Essay: Greek Mythology and Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis

I first read Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis a few years ago (an eighty-page love letter he wrote while imprisoned, to Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas). My knowledge of mythology has enriched my understanding of this piece of literature in several ways, albeit in a subtler and more intimate kind of way than the parallel Wilde continually suggests between Salome and the moon, in his play, “Salome” (which draws on traditions of Greek and Roman mythology that figures the moon as a goddess). De Profundis also reflects Oscar Wilde’s lifelong admiration and passion for Greek literature, culture, and mythology.

oscar_wilde_bosie

Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas

Dante’s Inferno is one of the texts to which Wilde frequently alludes in De Profundis. Dante’s Inferno is heavily influenced by classical mythology (for example, it features the Greek mythological figure Charon, and the great Roman poet, Virgil). More than half of De Profundis is taken up by Oscar Wilde’s confession, not only of his own sins, but of Bosie’s. He evokes a striking image for Bosie — he uses his favorite passage from Agamemnon, about bringing up a lion’s whelp inside one’s house only to have it run amok, to compare it to Bosie. He also writes the following line to Bosie, “If Hate blinded you, then Vanity sewed your eyelids together with iron threads.” This is a visual image from Dante’s Inferno, where the envious have their eyes eternally stitched shut with “iron threads.”

Oscar Wilde mentions the sea in De Profundis, comparing it to the mention Euripides makes of the sea in “one of his plays about Iphigeneia, [which] washes away the stains and wounds of the world.” Oscar Wilde then expresses his view that he “[discerns] great sanity in the Greek attitude,” linking this back to the visual imagery of the sea, and the contemporary people of Oscar Wilde’s time having “forgotten that water can cleanse, and fire purify, and that the Earth [was] mother to [them] all.” As a consequence, Oscar Wilde stated that the art of his time was “of the moon and [played] with shadows, while Greek art [was] of the sun and [dealt] directly with things.” These lines evoke the sense of purification in elemental forces, which Oscar Wilde writes that he wants to return to, and “live in their presence.”

The concept of decadence is also frequently mentioned in De Profundis, which is linked to Dionysus in Greek mythology — the god of wine, vegetation, debauchery, decadence, depravity and self indulgence. Oscar Wilde’s self-reflection includes a mention on how he experienced “pleasure for the beautiful body, [which was] pain for the beautiful soul.” He also compares filling his life to the very brim with pleasure, “as one might fill a cup to the very brim with wine.” He allowed pleasure to dominate him, which ended in “horrible disgrace” — leaving him only one thing in the end: “absolute humility.” Oscar Wilde also compares the appeal of Jesus Christ to people “who had been deaf to every voice but that of [the voice of love] heard for the first time,” and finding it to be “as musical as Apollo’s lute.”

Oscar Wilde continues his self-reflection by bringing in the statement of the Greek oracle: “know yourself,” which Oscar Wilde states is “the first achievement of knowledge.” He also writes a wonderfully succinct and comprehensive passage, which refers to several Greek myths all at once. He introduces this paragraph by writing that “the Greek gods, in spite of the white and red of their fair fleet limbs, were not really what they appeared to be.” He then compares the curved brow of Apollo to the sun’s disc crescent over a hill at dawn, and “while [Apollo’s] feet were as the wings of the morning, he himself had been cruel to Marsyas and had made Niobe childless.” He writes that “in the steel shields of Athena’s eyes there had been no pity for Arachne; the pomp and peacocks of Hera were all that was really noble about her; and the Father of the Gods himself had been too fond of the daughters of men.”

Oscar Wilde goes on to say that “the two most deeply suggestive figures of Greek Mythology were, for religion, Demeter, an Earth Goddess, not one of the Olympians, and for art, Dionysus, the son of a mortal woman to whom the moment of his birth had proved also the moment of her death.” Knowing the background of these Greek myths greatly enhanced my appreciation of this particular passage in De Profundis, which drives to a person’s core the message of sorrow. In the preceding paragraph in De Profundis, Oscar Wilde writes that Christ made of himself “the image of the Man of Sorrows, [which] fascinated and dominated art as no Greek god ever succeeded in doing,” thus using this aspect of the Greek gods and goddesses to enhance the Sorrow he went through while imprisoned (and the realizations that came about, as a direct result of this humiliating experience).

Thus, having some knowledge of classical mythology greatly enhanced my understanding and appreciation of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, which makes references to Greek mythology (as well as religion). De Profundis bares the innermost depths of Oscar Wilde’s soul via a long handwritten letter to his “hyacinth,” Bosie (in a letter to a friend, Oscar Wilde wrote of Bosie: “He is quite like a narcissus — so white and gold…he lies like a hyacinth on the sofa and I worship him,” which again brings to mind Greek mythology—in particular, that of Apollo and Hyacinth, as well as Narcissus).

References:

Wilde, Oscar. De Profundis. Courier Dover Publications, 1997.

Author Interview, Joseph Robert Lewis

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jrl_mars

Author Interview #20, with science fiction author, Joseph Robert Lewis!

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Hi Joseph! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Obsessive, disciplined, inquisitive, busy, anosmic.

Share a blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Heirs of Mars — The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there.

To save New Troy from falling birth rates, Asher Radescu secretly clones people in the back of his old truck. To save New Troy from despair, Claudia Cruz hosts the most popular racing show on two worlds. And to save the city from destruction, they’ll rally persecuted cloners, resurrected colonists, and racing celebrities to fight homicidal AIs. HEIRS OF MARS follows the lives of six men and women through the final days of the first war on Mars, a war between humans, machines, and the resurrected souls who aren’t truly one or the other. But even if they survive the war, there is no escape from the red planet.

Visit my site for two free short stories set before Heirs of Mars (19 years and 24 hours, respectively): http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/books/heirs-of-mars/

Share a list of your favorite author’s novels that influenced your new book:

Accelerando, by Charles Stross

A Song of Ice and Fire (series), by George RR Martin

The Wreck of the River of Stars, by Michael Flynn

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is work. (Fun, cool, exciting work, but work nonetheless.) Heirs of Mars took a total of 250 hours of research, writing, revising, editing, and polishing. I believe a book has to be perfect — every word, every idea. If you expect someone to pay for your work, then they deserve the best work possible. Never settle for “good enough”! But with practice and experience, I’ve found a process and a rhythm for completing an entire novel in 3-4 months and while it is still work, it is work I really enjoy.

In sharp contrast, publishing is easy. It took me less than an hour to properly format and upload the book itself. And then a handful of hours to update my website and blog and to post announcements on the various ebook forums and review sites, as well as my fellow indie authors’ blogs. The best part is that I can simply reuse the same text and images and links for most of those announcements. And at that point, it’s pretty much up to the world to either take an interest or pass. As for me, I’m off to write another book!

What is your definition of “good writing”?

There’s no such thing. Good writing is whatever an audience enjoys. (Seriously, we’re all people and we all have different tastes.) It can be over-written purple prose, like Tolkien, and it can be under-written dots and dashes, like Hemingway. Any abundance or lack of description, dialog, action, and exposition can be “good.” All you have to do is find your audience.

(But if you can’t find an audience, well, then you’re writing may not be good. Or you may have forgotten to get published. Check your royalties if you’re not sure which.)

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Have a goal. I don’t mean as an author: “I want to be rich and famous.” But as a writer trying to write a book, have a goal. Don’t just try to tell a story. Try to accomplish something, whether it’s as simple as making your readers laugh or as ambitious as inspiring them to lead a revolution.

Do you want to be funny, or scary, or erotic? Do you want to fight social injustice by creating heroes for a certain type of reader? Do you want to expose people to exciting new ideas in science or fascinating facts from history? Once you have a goal, hold on to it. As you write your book, keep asking yourself whether you’re moving closer to reaching your goal. If the answer is no, then start reaching for your Backspace key.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Web: www.josephrobertlewis.com
Blog: josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com

Heirs of Mars is available on —

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0049H94G6/
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0049H94G6/

Much thanks to Mr. Lewis for the chat!

Project Runway, Gretchen, FAIL

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This post is a Project Runway, Season 8 rant. I would format certain things a little better, but I have some exams next week, so don’t have the time to prettify the post up too much. Excusez-moi. Also, it’d be easier to understand this rant if you’ve been watching Project Runway for some time :)

P.S. I tend to “react” when my aesthetic senses are violated, lol.

P.P.S. (Update 1 Nov 2010): Gretchen fans who want to diss me for not having “good taste,” can read this comment.

# # #

TABLE OF CONTENTS (this post got to be a little longer than expected…):

Part 1: The Top 3
Part 2: E-mail to the producer
Part 3: “Project Piperlime.com”?
Part 4: Official PR Rebel Page on Facebook
Part 5: Make Your Voice Heard + MK & Nina Garcia…Prejudiced?
Part 6: Message to the PRPR (Project Runway Public Relations) team

~

[Part 1: The Top 3]

I try not to whine/gripe/complain about things too often. And I don’t usually get too worked up over the results of a reality TV show.

HOWEVER, I really cannot understand how Gretchen Jones won Project Runway Season 8. Strictly speaking from a fashion perspective (never mind her “questionable” character — she even got on Tim Gunn’s nerves. TIM GUNN!!) — how are her designs runway worthy, and the epitome of the “now” in fashion?!

I’m not an “industry person” in the fashion industry — but as a female / clothes buyer / person who likes fashion and design, I am drawn to the designs of Andy, Mondo, and Michael C. They are exciting/aesthetically beautiful/elegant/well-made/inspiring. I want to buy them. I want to wear them (if the sizing/fit is suitable, heh).

* Everyone has different opinions/tastes. Personally, I would’ve really loved to have seen Andy, Mondo, and Michael C. in the top 3, so I have included a shot of one of their designs below. The other designers’ works can be viewed here.

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Diaper wear is the "now" of fashion?!?! | Winner: Gretchen Jones, Look #1 for Fashion Week. EPIC FAIL.

Andy South’s entire collection was casually, flippantly dismissed by the judges, presumably for being too “cultural.” WTF? How does that factor devalue other elements of a design (style, aesthetics, technique)?

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Colour might not be everyone's favourite, but the DESIGN = understatedly stylish, elegant, and very sophisticated | Andy South, 2nd Runner-up

Mondo’s! Fun, fresh, vibrant, happy/positive.

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Mondo's First Look. Holy !@#$! Look at the vibe / pop of colour! | Mondo Guerra, 1st runner-up

Michael Costello.

michael costello

CHIC! | Michael Costello, kicked out of the Top 3

LINKS:

1. Gretchen Jones / Fashion Week RTW 2011
2. Mondo Guerra / Fashion Week RT! 2011
3. Andy South / Fashion Week RTW 2011
4. Michael C. (should’ve been in the Top 3!) / Fashion Week RTW 2011

LINKS #2:

I enjoyed both Mondo (1st runner-up) and Andy’s (2nd runner-up) exit interviews from the show. Both guys were incredibly classy. And you can bet that Gretchen wouldn’t have been as “polite” to the winner, if she came in 2nd/3rd place!!

Quote from Mondo: “Gretchen’s designs look like they came from a 1970s Sears catalogue.”

Quote from Andy: “I think that Mondo’s — and my — collection, speaks volumes more than Gretchen’s aesthetic (HELL YEAH!).”

Mondo’s Vid: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/season-8/video/exit-interviews/2-episode-14

Andy’s Vid: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/season-8/video/exit-interviews/1-episode-14

What Mr. Tim Gunn said about the finalist (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaSPipl8-z8

My Verdict: TIM GUNN should be one of the judges!! Best wishes to Andy South, Mondo Guerra, and Michael C. That would’ve been a real fashion show.

# # #

[Part 2: E-mail to the producers/TV network!]

I was so pissed that I wrote an email to Ms. Abbe Raven, who is “in charge of” (she’s the president/CEO) AETN, which oversees the A&E Network, History Channel, and Lifetime (which Project Runway is now under; formerly PR was airing on Bravo).

If you’re ticked off with this season’s PR, you can drop her an email at Abbe.Raven@aetn.com

I got her email/name from one of the comments on PR’s facebook page. Close to 95% of PR fans are NOT happy with the results. Do these network people bother to look at social media, to view their viewers’ sentiments?

My (rant of an) email (wanted to write it while I still felt strongly about certain things, lol) / I usually keep the caps to an absolute minimum in my blog posts, and writing material. But not when I want to MAKE A POINT, via email:

Dear Ms. Raven,

I am writing with regards to the outcome of Project Runway’s Season 8.

1) I found it incredibly ludicrous that Andy South’s collection was so flippantly and casually dismissed, for being too “cultural.” His collection was sleek, understatedly stylished, polished, and sophisticated. And I personally thought his designs and selection of models of mixed ethnicity were very refreshing. For being individualistic, he was automatically not considered for the top spot, because he did not conform to the WASP (white, anglo-saxon, protestant) stereotype. I do not mean to insult the entire demographic of middle-class White Americans — but I DO take offense when people who have authority in the mass media allow this type of SHIT to go on, in the 21st century. You are the people that can make a difference in terms of racism, sexism, etc. Instead, YOU PERPETUATE STEREOTYPES!!! And “punish” those who try to be different. What kind of message is this sending out to viewers?!

2) Did Mondo/Andy/Michael C. not win because they were male / NOT-100%-White/ NOT-HETEROSEXUAL (I’m not sure about Andy) / HIV-Positive (Mondo)??? These are BIASED OPINIONS that should not factor in when in comes to objective judging. If the designers were going to be judged according to these criteria, I for one, would have appreciated a notice of some sort, at the beginning of the season (so that I could prepare myself for the thoroughly distasteful outcome).

3) Michael C., Andy South, and Mondo should easily have been in the top 3. That would have been a real FASHION SHOW. The fans of Project Runway watch it because they enjoy the beauty/innovation/vision/creativity that goes together with fashion. Why call it Project “Runway” if the clothes are meant to be COMMERCIAL?!?!?! Commercialism = commodity = no excellence = death. Last year’s runner-up should have been the winner of that season, if this year’s criteria were applied!

4) I used to enjoy watching Project Runway because of the reasons I listed in #2. I like watching the designer’s vision and CREATIVITY AT WORK. Why would fashion fans want to view/buy something “safe”?! Why encourage the designers to have their own vision, when the judges/network is the one that DICTATES THE RULES / CRITERIA TO WIN, IN THE END?!?!?!?!?

5) THE VIEWERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO VOTE / ALLOWED A SAY, IN THE FINAL TOP 3 SPOTS. OR FINAL TOP SPOT.

I hope you “look into the episode/issue” (Project Runway Season 8, final episode). AETN also runs the History Channel (which I have always loved). It’s a great pity that this show has become what it was, in Season 8.

P.S. Please Ask Mr. TIM GUNN on how to make Project Runway “WORK” again (to quote his famous catchphrase)!!

Jess.

Disgruntled viewers #1: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/29/project-runway-finale_n_776029.html#comments

Disgruntled viewers #2: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=161172210582786&id=104812021201&notif_t=like#!/projectrunway/posts/161172210582786

* In one of the comments, I read that Gretchen Jones said she’s better than Diane von Furstenberg, and that she’s going to move to NYC (winner of PR = $100,000 to start their clothing line). The comment linked to one of her interview clips online. Gag.

</rant>

# # #

[Part 3 (October 30, 2010) / AN IMPORTANT FIND!]

Just had a look @ Piperlime.com (a Gap company, which sponsors Project Runway). No wonder Gretchen won. SERIOUSLY, then change the name of the show to PROJECT PIPERLIME (or Project Garcia & Kors, or Project Off The Rack). Then people wouldn’t be so angered.

That 70’s Girl Line: http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=61950

The PR winner’s line is showcased there. There’s a line called That 70’s Girl — HELLO?!?!

Judges, please change the name of the show to “Project Piperlime.”

Or just make Piperlime the final “challenge,” where the designers have to design a RTW (ready-to-wear) commercial line. List the criteria properly, so us viewers know what the designs are based on (definitely not on aesthetic appeal, this round).

If I wanted to watch drama > fashion, I’d watch The Jersey Shore instead!

Corporate Sponsorship = $ellout = Not Impressed.

P.S. In the SeenOn Private Show (sale lasts for 2 days — where you can purchase the actual designs from the final collections made by Gretchen, Mondo, and Andy), here are the stats. Mondo’s entire collection = sold out, 10/10 items. Andy’s = half sold, 5/10 (I would buy 1 or 2 if I had $500+ to spare, LOL). Gretchen = 4/10, the most expensive item at $999 [did a network person buy it? / is it because of comments like:

“Too late for Mondo’s…Andy’s is going fast, too…Gretchen’s is sitting collecting dust (Finny Oak).”

“Two more outfits from Gretchen sold out? Wow! Nina Garcia is doing some serious shopping (Marissa Thomas).”

“Have the judges seen this? ALL of Mondo’s clothes SOLD OUT. Gretchen’s clothes? Many of them haven’t sold out. Wasn’t one of the arguments for Gretchen winning that she had her finger on the pulse of where fashion is going today and that she was very commercial? Wouldn’t the SeenON sale provide some evidence to the contrary? The Project Runway judges lost credibility with their decision this season. What a mess (SamosasForOne).” — comments from <a href="PR Facebook].

Also, Mondo’s collection is placed above Gretchen’s. So congratulations to Mondo + Andy (+ Michael C. and the non-dysfunctional contestants), and of course the wonderful judges for awarding the designer whose “vision” aligns with Piperlime.com. Booyah!

# # #

[Part 4 (November 1, 2010) / NOTICE!]

Okay, don’t mind the long drawn-out post (I have tried to keep the superfluous things out) — just a short notice about “The Official Project Runway Fans Rebel” page. Gathering people to show up in large numbers so the network will HAVE to listen…the group’s purpose and intent is NOT TO BASH anyone…they are just trying to come together collectively to do the right thing, so that future seasons of PR won’t be a repeat of the outcome of Season 8! It’s not my page. But mass market commercialism triumphing over originality/creativity is something I’ve always reacted strongly to.

* Official PR Fans Rebel: http://www.facebook.com/TheOfficialProjectRunwayFansRebel

500 members, and counting. The more, the merrier…(stronger voice to the network).

Remember –> no viewers = lower ratings = no sponsorship = no show. Don’t you think the judges should respect/listen to the viewer’s opinions, too?

* Group #2 — The “BoyCott Project Runway” Group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BoycottProjectRunway

// BTW, another thing people are ticked off by: Nina Garcia’s and Michael Kors’ attitudes.

Quoting (from Facebook post, by Darell Eads — it’s an accurate quote because I watched the PR8 episode): “Kors said during the judging: ‘Galliano makes ball gowns, and then there is Michael Kors. What I show, I make.’ Kors is delusional comparing himself to Galliano, who is head and shoulders above Kors in the genius of vision. Kors tramps out this ladies who lunch at the resort collection every season. This season was an epic FAIL on so many fronts it’s not even funny. That’s why people are so ticked-off.”

Ding-ding-ding.

# # #

[Part 5 (November 2, 2010) /  Make your voice heard if you have some time]

From a member of The Official PR Rebel page: These are some ways to contact people “involved” with PR, to make sure viewers are heard (all these numbers/emails were in public domain, so be my guest and sue/kiss my a**…).

+ I got some inside from an unnamed source after MUCH hard work. Lifetime will not respond to anything but postcards. Send Postcards to:

Lifetime Television
309 W. 49th street
New York, NY 10019

P.S. Ask that Tim become an Executive Producer and Rich Bye the Producer vs. Bunim/Murray. Then we can have Project Runway Back. Send Postcards in masses NOW!! (posted by admin of Official PR Rebel page)

+ The Piperlime no. is (1.877.747-3754) (owned by Gap / Piperlime sponsored Project Runway, this season)

+ Editor in chief of Marie Claire Magazine (Nina Garcia’s boss)JoannaColes@hearst.com (The magazine gives readers information about women around the world and their needs, struggles, and stories of life. Nina Garcia’s prejudiced comments towards Andy and Mondo were NOT in line with the vision of Marie Claire magazine — she repeatedly made references to Mondo’s collection being “circus-y,” after Mondo clearly stated/shared that the inspiration was his Mexican culture. Andy’s collection was similarly very quickly dismissed due to having too much of a “cultural” touch. First, Ms. Garcia said Andy’s collection had too much of a “warrior princess” look; when he tries something that is Asian-sophisticated, she changes her mind again. Nina Garcia is the fashion director at Marie Claire magazine).

+ Some comments on Ms. Garcia’s “prejudices”:

1. “So talent had nothing to do with it Nina? By your own admission it is because Gretchen listened to you and Mondo didn’t? Is that right?” (Adrienne Ayala Warner, Facebook comment)

2. “So it was about yours and MK egos? The designer that was best didn’t win..it was you egos that got in the way. You and MK have destroyed the creditability of the show. You based your judgments solely on because some one didn’t listen to you. However, Gretchen used the same monotone color scheme that you eliminated Michael Costillo for the previous week. Gretchen OBVIOUSLY didn’t listen. Instead you rewarded her for not listening and punished Mondo for not listening. Doesn’t make sense.” (Lori Fugate, Facebook comment)

3. “I am very sad that you have supported Target with your appearance for their fall fashion tips even though Target have supported bigotry and marginalized equality.” (Anthony John, NG’s Facebook page)

4. “What I found really annoying was how Nina Garcia and Michael Kors praised Mondo’s work throughout the show, and then ragged on him in the end for not editing the long-sleeved polka dot dress according to Ms. Garcia’s and Michael Kor’s advice. At the end of the day, it is STILL the designer’s work/vision. And Nina Garcia and Michael Kors bashed Andy for his edgy warrior looks, and when he took things up to a sophisticated level, Nina Garcia disses him for “not having enough of the Andy edge.” Wow, there’s such a thing called versatility and DIVERSITY (both ethnically/culturally, and creatively!!).” (Facebook comment on Nina Garcia’s page)

5. “I think Ms. Garcia is ashamed of her Latina roots! “Too cultural” my *ss. My Marie Claire sub has been cancelled.” (Adrienne Ayala Warner, NG’s Facebook page)

6. “She looks like…Miss Guatemala.” ~ Nina Garcia [on one of Valerie Mayen’s design on this episode (Valerie was one of the PR8 contestants)]. Funny thing, Miss Guatemala was among the top 10 this year! [And what I say] is not about opinion, it is about respect.” — 25 Sept 2010, Renato Lopez, Facebook comment

7. “Wow! I’m just hearing about this. If its true, I feel terrible as a Colombian that another Colombian would express themselves that way about the Guatemalan culture or people. The nicest people I’ve met are from Guatemala and the sweetest and best looking men are from there too, and correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t a priest recently leave the priesthood to marry a Guatemalan woman. GUATEMALA EQUALS BEAUTY!!! Furthermore, Guatemala was referred to as: “CENTRAL AMERICA’S RISING STAR Impressing international agencies with its investor-friendly, socioecononic reforms,” in the “Panorama” insert of the Miami Herald September 15, 2010. Need I say more? Oh yes, don’t mess with Guatemala!” (Elizabeth Lopez, Facebook comment)

8. “The fashion industry is designed to tell women they are inadequate the way they are need to CONSUME in order to look attractive and be attractive to men. It is a system of cruel, unkind, racist, sexist and homophobic comparisons. Nina Garcia’s comment (on “Miss Guatemala”) is as offensive as Michael Kors comments about models looking like streetwalkers is as offensive as Heidi making fun of models’ boobs. There are SO MANY THINGS that go on on this show that are terribly offensive. There are SO MANY THINGS that should be causing you outrage.” (Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Facebook comment).

* Actually, I (Jess) am pretty tired of racism, sexism, and homophobia too (and I try to counter all this via my works of fiction: my writing manifesto explains more). If you and your friends are tired of these things as well, send them to this page ;)

P.S. Nina Garcia / her rep has been deleting “unsavory” comments on her page, so I am unable to retrieve all of them.

P.P.S. Nina Garcia is Colombian (online comment from findlegaladvice.org: “BTW I have many Hispanic acquaintances and they tend to be very racist about Hispanics of other Hispanic countries. Mexicans look down on Hondurans, Colombians look down on Guatemalans etc…” — Nina Garcia is Colombian / the Guatemala–Mexico border is the international border between Guatemala and Mexico / Mondo has Mexican roots…coincidence?).

P.P.P.S. I am not trying to “attack” Ms. Garcia — but these are things she has really said on TV/in the media, etc. She might not be aware/conscious of how it’s coming across — in which case, she should be!

“I wonder how much Nina is paying someone to constantly check this page for negative remarks. Every time I post one it is taken down within seconds! Bad Nina! Bad, bad!” (Janet Kramer Townsend, Facebook comment)

* LINK #1: For a blog post that says it better than I do [re: Michael Kors AND Nina Garcia’s lack of tact with regards to diversity (both ethnically, and creatively)], head over to this post from OUTSIDE.

* LINK #2: Tom and Lorenzo also have a very good discussion of the final judging @ Fabulous & Opinionated.

+ Abbe Raven, Abbe.Raven@aetn.com [CEO of AETN, which oversees the A&E Network, History Channel, and Lifetime (which Project Runway is now under; formerly PR was airing on Bravo)].

+ Sara Rea (Executive Producer of Project Runway) | Twitter Account @sarakrea

+ Kannie Yu LaPack, Senior Director, Publicity @ Lifetime TV (which airs Project Runway) (1-310-556-7582) | kyu@lifetimetv.com

+ Michael Kors, inquiries@michaelkors.com [who carries his lines: Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstroms].

+ Olivia Doyne, livia_doyne@gap.com (Media Contact for Gap Public Relations / Gap owns Piperlime.com)

+ Kimberly Terry, kimberly_terry@gap.com (another media contact at Gap)

+ Alisa Greco, L’Oreal Paris, Assistant VP of Public Relations, (1-212-984-4908) | Agreco@us.loreal.com

+ Garnier, Consumer Affairs (1-800-442-7643) | (Garnier Fructis is owned by L’Oreal Paris / one of the sponsors of PR; also sponsored American Idol)

+ VOGUE Magazine / Send VOGUE a request for a photo spread of Mondo’s/Andy’s/Michael C.’s work | Contact Form

My short email: “Would like to request that VOGUE showcase Mondo’s, Andy South’s, and Michael C’s work (from Project Runway Season 8). It would be very refreshing for VOGUE to showcase something both culturally and creatively diverse.

These 3 designers are very talented, and have great aesthetics. Their vision would go in line with VOGUE’s vision of being at the forefront of fashion.

Jess.

P.S. I can’t be the only person writing. 1 person’s email = delete. 1000+ daily emails/complaints in an inbox/phonecalls = public outcry :)

# # #

[Part 6 / Blahx3: “Jess, why’re you going on and on about this? It’s OVER! It’s just a reality show! Can’t you get over it?”]

I happen to be one of the people who spent 13 weeks watching a PR season.

I do not mean to bash PR or the judges — but the judges aren’t exactly being respectful to contestants and viewers, by not stating their judging criteria clearly. Michael Kors was very rude to Jessica Simpson too (“HELLO? HAVE YOU SEEN A MAGAZINE RECENTLY?” She was so calm/gracious. If I were her, I’d have replied, “Yes, Michael, I have been in a few magazines recently.”). It’s funny how when Kors goes off on national television, it’s ‘entertainment’, but when he hears back from the fans, it’s “rude” (Paul Kane, Facebook comment).

The judges should have CLEARLY stated that the final challenge would be for a commercial line (specifically for Piperlime.com, “one of the sponsors,” nothing wrong with mentioning that). And maybe there could be a separate challenge for a finale, where each designer could showcase their own line, which showcased their own unique vision.

If not, the judges are leading on viewers + PR contestants into believing that the finale collection is judged based on design elements such as originality, etc, with commercial viability being a less significant factor.

“I thought that Heidi’s show had credibility. As my father pointed out decades ago, the ‘best’ person is not the best, it is the one who the ‘people with the money’ want. Very true. I hate reality shows. PR used to be more about the ‘art’ than the commercialism. Obviously, I was wrong. Another viewer whose television will not be airing ‘Project Runway’ any longer. (Not that I think you care. We are just the audience.)” — Anna Juran Kelley Nina, Facebook comment

PR judges/publicity/public relations team —

* ARE YOU LISTENING?? *

Author Interview, Stacey Wallace Benefiel

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glimmer_benefiel

Author Interview #19, with action/adventure and YA paranormal romance author, Stacey Wallace Benefiel!

* * * * *

Hi Stacey! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Dorky, funny, gutsy, loyal, pale.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Glimmer blurb:

Zellie Wells’ life is changing. Her relationship with Avery is growing stronger every day, but their parents are still giving them ultimatums and trying to keep them apart. Her newly discovered powers have all but disappeared. Benjamin, another young Retroact, is back and has brought with him a painful shared vision and a troubled past. While working together to figure out what the vision means, Zellie discovers that Benjamin is a worthy friend and mentor. If only he could keep his hands off of her – if only she wanted him to…

Glimmer excerpt:

“Ouch!” I let go of Claire and dropped my books. Clutching my head, a vision crackled and sparked behind my eyes, short-circuiting my ability to concentrate on what I was seeing. The pain was excruciating. Wait, why was there pain? I fell to my knees on the ground.

Claire knelt beside me. “What’s wrong? Should I go get the nurse?” She pulled at my hands. “Look at me! What can I do?”

I clutched my head tighter, squeezing my eyes closed. I felt extremely hot. I could see Claire in my mind, coming in and out of focus. I couldn’t tell where she was or what was happening. “Just…hold on. Don’t get the nurse…I’m trying to…you’re in here…”

“Hush,” she whispered, “people are looking at us.”

The halls became congested as other students stopped to stare. Only a few said anything.

“Is she okay?”

“She doesn’t look so good.”

“I didn’t think she could get any paler.”

Claire hovered over me, blocking me from view. “Come on,” she coaxed, “try and stand up. Let’s go to the girl’s room.”

I shook my head. “Wait. The pain’s going away a little. I can see…you…and Benjamin?”

“Am I kicking his ass?”

I managed a weak smile. “No, just talking. Actually, you both look happy…and you’re both in…formal wear? That can’t be right. Benjamin’s too old to go to prom.” I opened my eyes enough to see and stood up. The vision was over. My head throbbed a little, but the pain was gone for the most part.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

This is from TRUCK by Katherine Dunn:

Cecilia, Vince’s little sister, bought four paperbacks and my transistor radio when I told her about running away to the Mission Mountains. She swore not to tell. Holy hair. Probably won’t. She goes hiking a lot. Says she’s got boots I can borrow. She’s a lot taller. Five six maybe. But her feet are the same size as mine. Look at the boots tomorrow. Get her money.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing is more enjoyable. Easier. I’m not super comfortable with marketing myself. I’m too silly to be professional all the time. Learning how to format and do layout has surprised me, though. I like it and feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m done. The indie writing community has been really supportive and I’ve made good friends whose opinions I can rely on. Trying to break into traditional publishing was a drag and I’m glad I don’t have to want that anymore.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

If the story is engaging and doesn’t get bogged down in describing every little thing, then I think it is good writing. I’d also like to come out and say that I don’t give a shit about typos. I don’t love having them in my work and I try very hard to catch them so haterz can’t hate on me, but they never pull me out of a story. I’ve got a mom multi-tasking mind, I can note them and enjoy a story at the same time.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Keep writing. I’m not a write everyday kind of writer, but I have consistently written for more than half of my life. Being discouraged and thinking you suck is all part of it. Just write your way out of the doubt.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Website: http://staceywb.webs.com

Blog: http://staceywallacebenefiel.wordpress.com

* “Glimmer” will be available on 1 November 2010.

Much thanks to Ms. Benefiel for the chat!

Author Interview, Chris Kelly

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invictus_chriskelly

Author Interview #18, with film student/writer/independent publisher, Chris Kelly!

Chris: First, I just wanted to thank you for interviewing me as part of my October blog tour. I am touring all over the internet this month, and if any readers want to follow my progress they can check out my blog.

Anyway, thank you, Jess.

Jess: No problemo! I’m glad to feature you today :)

* * * * *

Hi Chris! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Emotional

Insightful

Ambitious

Talented

Lucky

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Blurb: It is 1912, and the British Empire faces the worst magical threat it has ever known, the misuse of ancient Incan crystal skulls. 72 year old former adventuress Matilda Raleigh is brought in as an adviser. But when she realises she has been lied to and betrayed, it falls on Matilda to save the Empire, and possibly the whole world.

Excerpt: Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Alexandra begin to move, and knew she couldn’t crawl fast enough to beat the queen. Matilda forced herself to her feet, almost blacking out at the pain which flooded her body. She couldn’t walk, but she didn’t have to.

She toppled forward, falling against the clockwork man. Her left arm encircled its waist. She stopped screaming, but tears were streaming down her face and she was gasping at the pain, struggling to breathe. She had one chance to destroy him.

She raised her right arm.

“Sham, protect my hand.”

I…

Matilda forced her hand into its chest cavity. The gears bit into her flesh and her eyes blacked out at the pain. She started screaming, and she couldn’t stop. Her hand was on fire, her fingers were alight with agony.

The clockwork man’s chest cavity nearly exploded with the pressure inside. Cogs and gears popped this way and that and rained down on the floor of the ballroom. The automaton let go of the king, and collapsed to the floor, broken. Matilda fell with it.
(Invictus, by Chris Kelly)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, “Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

That was Terry Pratchett, in his novel Guards! Guards! It’s the best Pratchett novel, and I love it.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing Invictus was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had managed to get it to 90,000 words but a lot of it was crap. There wasn’t enough action (it is sword and sorcery, after all) there wasn’t enough steampunk. The pace dragged. There was a whole story (about 20k words) told in flashback, which I did kinda like.

And then I decided to go indie, and cut, cut, cut! I changed lots of it, cutting out 40k words in total (including my 20k word flashback), and replacing another 15k words. Invictus now is vastly different to Invictus then, and much better for it.

On the other hand, the publishing has been relatively easy. I put a free short story on Smashwords to familiarize myself with the technology there. At the beginning of September I published an ARC of Invictus on Smashwords. It didn’t have a cover, and it was available free. I pointed it out to some people, asking for reviews. Those reviews are coming out this month, and might reflect the fact that the Arc was an earlier version… there were errors, which have been fixed in the latest round of revisions.

And now the cover is on it and the price is $2.99.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

The fiction I write and read is very much character driven. I love the interactions and relationships between two or more characters. The way I see it you can only be one person in real life, but well written fiction can make you feel like so many more people. You can fight aliens, or be a serial killer. Well written to me is all about the characters, and the most important part of characterization is the relationships between characters.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write. I know that sounds corny and clichéd, but I think it’s more important than ever for writers to realise that what they do is art, and when they are doing it they should put all other questions, thoughts, worries or beliefs aside. If you want to go indie (as I have) you will have a long difficult road ahead of you, where you will have to do everything except things you choose to farm out. If you decide to go traditional, you will have a long difficult road ahead of you where you will still need to do a lot of things (for example, the bulk of your marketing). The writing is the most enjoyable bit and, to be honest, it’s probably the easiest bit (I’m not saying it’s easy. I know it’s hard, I just wrote a novel.) Write, and enjoy the time you spend writing, and don’t worry about whether your book is good enough or marketable or any of that.

That’s kind of long, so I’ll try to sum it up. When you’re writing, just relax and enjoy the fact you are writing. Writing should be fun. There’s time enough for panic when the editing starts.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

http://www.scathach-publishing.co.uk/

http://dun-scaith.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scathach-Publishing/126105997434422

Follow me on Twitter @Indiechris

Invictus on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23917

Much thanks to Mr. Chris Kelly for the chat!

Sketches, Drawings

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Some of these are on my Facebook account, and/or “all over the place” — I might draw another female figure next.

* These are sketches from 2003 – 2010. I’ll try to draw more/when I can. It can be tremendously calming (mentally), though it requires a certain amount of intensity/concentration, at the same time.

* For some reason, the pictures are sharper on full view.

poe_sketch

1. Edgar Allan Poe, early 2003 | one of my earliest sketches

girl_hairstyle

2. “Chaz”, early 2003 | model for a high-end hair product ad

ruskin_sketch

3. Ruskin Sketch #1, 2008 | from Ruskin’s “The Elements of Drawing”

broccoli_sketch

4. Ruskin Sketch #2 (broccoli), 2008 | from Ruskin’s “The Elements of Drawing” | I only realised it was a stem of broccoli, when I had finished drawing it. I was under the impression I was drawing a tree -_- (I directly copied the sketch from an image in the book!).

bust_sketch

5. Bust, Sept 2010 | Reference: D. H. Lawrence’s “Women in Love” | ballpoint pen / ~0.5 hrs

tilatequila_sketch

6. Tila Tequila, 2010 | ballpoint pen | Face-wise, not really accurate, body-wise, slightly more so.

* * *

I’d like to continue drawing full figures. In 2003 and 2004 (when I first started drawing), it was always portrait shots only :)