Saturday, March 31, 2012

What a Week!

I had a great time at my conference, catching up with old friends and spending some quality time with my grad school friends Lisa and Shari, exploring Boston's Back Bay area and having successful meetings with publishers. My paper went down well and I made some good contacts, heard some great work and generally enjoyed the experience--complete with spring and summer like weather.

Of course I had a ton of work to do when I got back--and still do with the book deadline on Friday--but I also had to deal with debit card fraud. Someone tried to open an account with my debit card number on Tuesday so I had to cancel the card and have to monitor my financial transactions. It was a pain as I was out of town again and had no debit card so I had to pay for a hotel room in cash (which isn't something that's easy or desired these days) and worried that I'd run out of money before I could get my new card. I'm hugely afraid of identity theft and don't bank online, shred or keep every financial statement or receipt (and often shred and then soak the pieces of paper so they fade and turn to pulp--I'm that crazy) so I have no idea how my number got out. I wonder if someone in the hotel was less than scrupulous about some print out but that's something I can't control. It just goes to show--I've had friends who are far more cavalier than I am about these matters and have never had an issue with card fraud. Thanks to Amazon's quick action I'm hoping I won't have to deal with fraudulent transactions but the timing could not have been worse.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Boston Bound

Some of the work has been done. Conference paper and Powerpoint done, blog entry written. Fashion essay nowhere near written, book intro is a work in progress and the chapter is tabled for next month. If I get the book and maybe the fashion paper done I'll be fine. I'm meeting with two publishers (for books 2 and 3) at the conference and will be looking for back up publishers for the second lest things don't work out (I've spoken to Routledge and they are a possibility but I want a university press).

It's warm here and bizarrely warmer in Boston. I'll see 70s, 80s, 60s and 50s so packing light isn't an option (and I'm a light packer). I'm bringing the book too--hopefully I can do a reasonable amount of editing on Amtrak. I feel very much like I'm not taking advantage of the weather but other duties beckon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

I think I can truly say I may be the busiest I've ever been. Literally, everything is due at the same time--conference, book, conference paper and Powerpoint slides (just pictures from 1910s and 20s Photoplay and Motion Picture Classic at this point), article, chapter and post for a big time blog. And I have midterms. And it seems that April 1 or thereabouts is my deadline for everything. I'm literally allowing myself 2 days to write a paper and less than a week to read through and finish my book. I'll be in Boston for six of these days for a conference where I am meeting with two or three publishers. All great but at this point a week free would be great. My eyes are so tired from typing and reading that I can barely see. All this happens at a time when I'd ordinarily be incredibly busy. I'm just looking forward to post-tax deadline where I hope I can sneak a day or two of doing absolutely nothing.

Until then, here's Joan--both to share and as a reminder of where I am in my paper (at least fan magazine advice culture is a lot more fun to write about than Progressivism):

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


That word could apply to my workload--I'm finishing the (hopefully) final revisions to my book which is due in at the end of March, working on my conference paper that I present in a little under two weeks, working on the second chapter for the second book which is also due (or overdue) imminently and working on a paper that's due at a journal in two weeks time.

But I'm actually referring to Fashion Star, NBC's Project Runway come very-lately clone, a hot mess of a show that I watched while grading multiple choice tests this morning. It's maybe the classic example of why TV by committee doesn't work. You could hear the suits saying we need something for the men (so let's add random "dancers" in scanty, skanky outfits, motorcycles, fireworks and a display of models in Elle McPherson's underwear line, some shot from below as they climb stairs backstage). Then there's the its-a-reality-show-let's-borrow-from-American Idol line where we have a big blue stage (reminiscent of the AI finale but bigger) and a panel of bland suburban American friendly judges and a panel of industry experts, all overwhelmed by the kind of ridiculously loud music you hear in a teen store at the mall or a local gym. The designers came from stock reality show casting--older women, crazy minority, hard luck stories (as soon as I saw a photo of one designer's mother I knew she was dead), inspirations, struggles and lack of fashion training abounded, along with an air of delusion and a host of boring clothes that were sometimes too tired for Macy's. In this batshit crazy spectacle, there was virtually no emphasis on the actual sewing/cutting and for some reason 4 designers were just scrunched together near the end as though they'd run out of time and just thought that would do and, maybe, that we wouldn't notice.

Besides the fact that this show was ten times more loud and ten times more trashy than it needed to be, especially given the bland nature of the clothes on offer, there was also the futile effort to present it as live. Some of my students sometimes struggle with the concept of liveness in broadcasting, but I think this show would be a good teaching tool. Broadcasting is potentially live--it can transmit instantaneously and TV has its own presence because the image is constantly being formed and reformed on the screen. Fashion Star played to this sense of liveness--here are the cameras! the wires! the fuses! we're backstage! we're front stage! Then, of course, there's the premise of you can buy these clothes tomorrow--suggesting how contemporary, how now, all these looks might be. Obviously you can't make clothes overnight in large numbers, especially as it takes longer than that to ship the things from China or wherever else they are going for their cheap labour. But the show's tackiness and failure is also underwritten--as is its rather long and necessary lag between shooting and broadcast--by Jessica Simpson's seemingly pre-pregnant or at least early first trimester figure which advertises the nearly nine month gestation of these far from timely fashions.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I've moaned several times on this blog about my weight--my frustrations with it, my bafflement that my formerly skinny self somehow inflated itself to its current size and my struggles to lose the pounds. Of late it has been creeping up and seemingly nothing I do works. I put it down to difficulties in weight loss we all suffer (and I know that for some even diet and exercise does nothing and figured I was in that category). Of late I've been tired which I figured resulted from my work schedule. But then I started feeling really weak in Pilates and Zumba and unable to keep up (I was the person who was always pushing for more). Something was amiss, as you can see from the way my blog posts fell off. Turned out it was my thyroid levels which were falling.

I started on Synthroid two days ago. It's too early to feel the effects now but hopefully in a month I'll be back to normal. Thanks to my great doctor for noticing and ordering the right blood tests so we caught this early in the bud.


Apologies for the paucity of posts. I've been busy here as it is conference season and mid-terms--a bad combination.

I took a brief break today to have lunch and a stroll around Soho. My friend Emilie and I found ourselves outside the Kardashian boutique, Dash, and thought why not look inside. We were expecting tacky, of course--even if you'd never heard of the Kardashians, the mirror covered mannequins gave you ample warning of what was inside. That would be ugly and dated clothing (very lower Broadway with a man with a sandwich board trying to lure you inside for cut price D and G and miscellaneous no brand items), $10 water bottles, $4 pencils, assorted Kardashian products--from perfumes to Quik Trim--velour and mesh underwear and ranges of ugly jewelry and clothing. There are also security guards in there stopping you from taking photos. Hideous and baffling that they can sell enough to pay the rent in a prime Soho corner.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


There is a seller on ebay selling Marni for H&M already. No big deal *except* the seller in question admits that they do not yet own the items they are selling. No wonder people can't get hold of these items.