Here and There: A Random Assortment of Thoughts and Musings - 8/2/12

Hey look!  It is Thursday, which is a perfect day for random thoughts and musings.

1.  Despite being a contributing writer for BuddyTV's Olympic coverage, I've actually watched far less Olympics than I've wanted.  This has mostly been due to my own less than spectacular time management skills along with the need to satisfy my other clients by doing their pay copy and answering their emails while also trying to stay on top of my Olympic coverage.  The actual Olympic reporting has come from keeping tabs over the internet rather than seeing a large portion of the events, because I don't own a laptop and Emily is often using her own during the day.  This would be motivation to get a laptop, but at this point, I can't justify dropping the amount of cash that would require.

But I have seen some events.  Writing for American site hasn't allowed me to do any proper Canadian gushing.  The word on the street is that Canada is one pace for having a record setting medal haul this year.  For them, of course.  They won't come anywhere near the United States or China, but they're having one of their best starts in a long time.  It took them 8 days to even get a medal at the last Summer Olympics, and it is now day 6 and Canada has 6 shiny new medals.  Though it'd be nice to eventually add gold to that collection.  I also want to mention something a friend said on Facebook: Canadians should be happy we never split from Quebec because a majority of our medals are coming from there.

Speaking of a Quebec athlete, I also want to mention Emilie Heymans who along with Jennifer Abel won the bronze for the three-metre synchronized dive competition.  This was awesome not only because it was our first medal of the games, but Heymans went out and made herself some history.  She is now the first female diver to win a medal at four consecutive Olympics.  Just to be at four consecutive Olympics is impressive, but she went to get some jewelry every time.

2.  Guy Adams became a major social media name this weekend after Twitter suspended his account after publishing NBC Olympic president's email.  The issue was that Adams was frustrated NBC didn't show the ceremonies live, but instead saved it for prime time (not sure why they'd had to do that, since CTV was able to show it live and also replay it for prime time, thanks to the time zone difference).  Anyway, the act lead to his account being suspended, but it ended up causing quite the uproar and even for his name trending by Monday.  Probably not what NBC or Twitter were going for.  But if they didn't realize this was going to happen then they're huge idiots.  When does banning or silencing reporters ever turn out well for the company doing it?  And especially on social media where the masses unite any time they think freedom of speech is being tampered with.

I don't know much about the case.  Apparently, Twitter and NBC are partners for the Olympics, which may be the reason the banning happened.  But Twitter must realize the biggest value their site offers is the freedom of speech and hampering that going to harm them.  Especially when it is done to please a massive billion dollar corporation, because these internet kids sure don't love the fat cat corporations.  Most people just assume the big companies run anything anyway, and so this confirms the belief and hate.  Not sure if it will lead to any long term repercussions, but I'm sure Twitter won't rush to save the day for NBC so quickly next time,

As for the posting of the email, I don't think it was the president's private email.  The point was for people to voice complaints on NBCs coverage.  It isn't like Adams was trying to harass the president.  Though the posting of the email was probably a brain fart on his part, and probably should have just rallied people to voice their complaints in another way.  I'm sure there is public ways of contacting NBC.  Also, Friday was a little late for NBC to change around how they were covering the games anyway.  So, I'm not saying I totally agree with Adams' strategy, but I am in definite support of the backlash.  Twitter and NBC achieved the biggest dumb ass move in all this.

3.  Apparently, yesterday was "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."  Before yesterday, I never knew what the heck a Chick-fil-A was.  Actually, I still don't.  Well, I know it is a chicken sandwich restaurant, but I have no clue why they felt that was an awesome name for a place to eat chicken.  Apparently, the owner of the chain is a devout Christian, even to the point the restaurants are closed on Sundays.  I can see why this place would be a hit in the Deep South.  But apparently, the owner also uses his religion as a way to justify his bigotry and not only spoke out against same sex marriages but also called supporters of gay marriage arrogant.  Because apparently, he confused "arrogance" with "having an opinion different than his own." 

I've gone over and over and over my side of the same sex debate, so I'll spare you here.  I do find it a little funny that the restaurant's supporters claim they're eating a chicken sandwich to support free speech.  Basically, the entire issue is steaming from someone who is opposed to a certain group having a particular freedom.  It also seems this owner is pretty big at pushing his religious views on his staff and even went so far as to fire an employee so she can be a stay at home mom.  I'm not really sure if Chick-fil-A is the paragon of any kind of free speech or rights.  Now, I also want to make it clear that I do feel the owner has the right to say his stupid things, but I also have a right to criticize them.  I'm sure this thing will get wackier in the coming days as both side battle, and more and more chicken gets consumed.

4.  The Oatmeal put up a comic about the music industry recently.  I agree with it 100%.  I always believe in paying for my entertainment, because I want to support the artists.  Part of that is due to the fact I hope people support me and pay for my stuff (when it comes out).  But I also never had any obligations to make music or film or publishing executives rich.  I just wanted the money to find its way to the proper people.  I always thought it was sad that such a pittance from each sale came to the artist.  If this eventually means the money goes directly to the artist, then well, that is the best situation.  Part of the reason I've been trying to keep an eye on the self-publishing industry.  The Oatmeal also created a pretty awesome comic on religion and well, my stance is also pretty close to his, but for anyone who has been reading this site for a long time, that shouldn't be a surprise either.

5.  Sherman Hemsley passed away a week ago now.  He would be best known for his role as George Jefferson from the '70s sitcom The Jeffersons.  I didn't really watch The Jeffersons, because it was before my time and its reruns lost out to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  I actually was more aware of his other sitcom, Amen because that was around in the '80s.  Though that show lost out "by the power of Grayskull." as well.  I do realize how important The Jeffersons was for allowing black actors a prominent role in mainstream media.  Jeffersons was one of the first black sitcoms, and it was definitely the most popular in the '70s.  It even eventually surpassed in the ratings the show it spun off from, All in the Family.  The success of that show then lead to several more sitcoms with predominately Black actors taking up the airwaves in the '70s.  It opened the door for countless shows, and it proved that a mainstream audience was ready to accept a "Black sitcom."  Sadly, there isn't the same level of Black actors in sitcoms now as there was a few decades ago, but that may also have to do with other evolutions of the TV industry.  The Jeffersons is a significant show in TV history, and Sherman Hemsley was a big part of that.

6.  I read an interesting article (but I forget where -- so sorry, no link) on the importance of building a platform to further a writer's career.  The writer mentioned how Stephen King and JK Rowling don't spend time writing query letters to publishers or have to come up with pitches.  Then he passed this on as proof as to why other writers shouldn't waste their time doing it either.  Essentially saying that the writer needs to spend their time creating their platform, which meant building up relationships and followers.   It also mentioned how it was a waste to just write articles without having a publisher in place, and feeling that a writer should be in a spot where publishers comes to them.  Apparently, this happens once you've created your magical platform.  Now, I'm being vague on what a platform is, because the writer wasn't exactly the most precise either.  And I think that I sort of have an idea of what he is talking about.  But I also think he is full of shit.  There is a reason JK Rowling and Stephen King don't write query letters, and it is because they're freaking famous.  They are beyond established, and probably the two worst people for a starting writer to base their own career on.  Unless they decide to look at King and Rowling from the beginning of their career.  You know, when they were sending out query letters and constantly pitching ideas.  Or even, when they wrote books and stories and articles before they even had a publisher and then had to send it out with the hope someone would buy it.  This is exactly what happened to them.  In the year 2012, I think a writer needs to realize it is still going to happen to you if you're just starting out.  Publishers don't start seeking you out even if you're awesome on Twitter or have a cool blog.  You need to find them, then pitch to them, and then do it again after being rejected.  And write.  Never stop writing. 

I have people always asking me how I land jobs like Pregnancy & Newborn or Collective Publishing or BuddyTV, and it seems like they always get disappointed when I reveal I pitched to those companies.  It is as if they hope that the sites suddenly stumbled on my blog and then threw money at me so that I'd write for them.  Sorry, it hasn't worked that way for me.  I work my ass off to land these clients.  I've only got a few referrals and all of them are for my less prestigious corporate and ghost writing.  I'm trying to build a platform.  I do think my exposure has increased over the last year.  But I'm still not getting people running towards me to land me as their writer.  I go out there to market and get my own work.

Of course, that may be just me.  It is possible every other writer has created a magical platform and is beating publishers and editors away with a stick because they have too much work.  If this true, please beat them towards me.

Enjoy your Thursday.  I'll have some more BuddyTV stuff for you later today.