The Cowation Blogging Update

Monday, July 25, 2011

It feels very strange not to put up a blog post every day after having done so for the past few months; however, as of late I have been notoriously busy. Although I have posts lined up, I prioritize sleep over getting the blog up. So, I have made the decision to revert to putting up a blog post once per week until the stress of working and living my intense life has calmed down to the point that I can re-enter the blogging field. However, I will be putting updates on my Tumblr for all to see regularly. For now, dear readers, please bear with me as I work to check off all the boxes on my very long to-do list.

CED Round-Up: Run Ragged

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This and last week, I experienced a meteoric slow down in my novel-writing experiences. This was informed, in part, by the increase in busy experiences that were required of me at my job. Last week, we canvassed the neighborhoods Wednesday night, hosted a fancy fundraiser at the Chihuly Boathouse in the evening, and journeyed to Yakima on Sunday. All of these experiences were undeniably fun, but they did take away from the two things a novelist needs in abundance: energy and time.

Basically, lacking those two things, I had a brain explosion.

So this week, I will show you some of the doodles I'm doing in recovery from that explosion and hopefully next week I will have more to say about my noveling progress.

(by the way, I am at 20,000 words when I should be at 32,000 by now - there's still time yet, however!)

Check out some of my stories and advice for writers while I get back my own novel chops.

Journey Into Yakima

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy barbecue eaters at the Yes on Districts office.

I have been an explorer for as long as I can remember - however, I have not yet had the opportunity to explore much of the great state of Washington, since I was either a) unable to drive or b) attending school across the country. So, naturally, this weekend I jumped at the chance to canvass in the city of Yakima for the Yes on Districts campaign.

Briefly, the Yes on Districts campaign will create 7 districts in Yakima (there are currently 4) so that each city council member represents a smaller number of people and can be more accessible/cater to their needs better. It is a proposition in an off-year election, so they needed all the help they could get raising awareness of something that could be monumental for Yakima. Thus, the Washington Bus hooked us up with the opportunity to canvass with their group. Woo hoo! Adventure and local politics!

We will be going back there in August with a greater number of volunteers for the final push towards the primary, so don't hesitate to contact me if you want to join us next time!


Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm taking a little break from blogging for the beginning of this week - I spent my week driving across the state, attending fancy fundraisers, and overthinking everything, so rest assured that I will be back with great insight in the next few days!

Although my blog is currently not being updated as much, my Tumblr has a lot of great media for you to absorb. Go forth into the vast internet!

CED Round-Up: Writing My Novel

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This week's CED Round-up will be pretty short, due to the fact that I have consolidated most (if not all) of my creative energies on writing (all 16,946 words I have so far) of my novel for Camp National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). To contradict that last statement, here are two things I worked on this week that were not related to the novel - a VoteBot comic for the Washington Bus blog and a business card:

(click for the larger versions.)

Anyway, back to the writing.

The Value of Controlling and Using Anger

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(Emoticon courtesy of Link3Kokiri on DeviantArt)

Anger is an emotion that I have lived with forever, and many times I have felt consumed by it. When I fail to complete a small task or end up late at a meeting, I feel the anger reflected inward towards myself. When I view injustice towards women, Muslims, and other groups, I feel a sort of unfocused anger outwards to the world.

The first type of anger, I have worked to control for many years and in the process have stifled the second type of anger, the outward kind. Recently, however, I’ve heard a new perspective on outward-directed anger: that it can be utilized for social change and need not be stifled, just directed.

3 Ways to Follow Your Dreams (Even the Tiny Ones!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

At the end of yesterday’s post, I wrote about my dream of becoming a roller girl someday. Thus far, that dream may be one of the most daunting ones I’ve ever undertaken. It requires the patience to develop a skill that does not come naturally to me – who thought that me, the wall hugger at the skating rink, would be willing to fall on her face just to learn how to jump on skates? And so, today, I wanted to impart a sort of action plan for how I will be following that dream and how you can follow your own.

How Roller Derby Challenges Stereotypes of Women in Sports

Monday, July 11, 2011

This weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the roller derby championship bout of the Rat City Roller Girls in Seattle. It was at the Key Arena, which is a huge venue, and there were a ton of people who came to watch. It was a phenomenal bout with Grave Danger finally taking home the championship title.

For those who are unaware of this particular sport, roller derby is a sport played by women on roller skates who basically beat each other up – the main gist is that there is one jammer from each team who can score points by lapping all the other players and there are blockers who want to prevent the opposing team from scoring a point. Roller derby, like soccer, is extremely nuanced. There is a lot of skill and strategy involved, not only because you’re on skates, but also because you have to know when and how to position blockers so that you can get your jammer through. Watching the teams do it for the first time may seem like chaos, but once you realize all the different rules and strategies going on, it’s really satisfying. Oh, and did I mention the violence?

Anyway, as I was cheering myself hoarse and giggling at all the pun-filled derby names, I started thinking a lot about how roller derby is really an interesting sport. It’s not mainstream, it’s not money-making, and it’s not male-driven, which are three things that sports fans often opine as the reason that we like sports. Roller derby instead takes a lot of stuff that we assume about sports and turns them on their head. Here are a few that I’ve noticed:

The Q: The Fourth of July Answers

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just a heads up, next week I will be suspending The Q so there will be no new answers for that week; hopefully soon there will be something new and interesting coming to the blog instead, however, so look for that in coming posts!

Here are your responses to last week's question: What did you do for the 4th of July?

@barnlib Jenna's answer: #zinereading in #Toronto (check out the link for other touring zine events)

@LukeHenrySEO blew up fireworks with my 4 yr old (his first real 4th) ... scared the crap out of him! =)

Caught My Eye: "Tips for Freelancers, Artists, & Other Creative Types"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Though it definitely fits better with last week's posts on valuing your work and balancing productivity with creativity, I re-read this article recently and it warmed my heart just as it did the first time:

Tips for Freelancers, Artists, and Other Creative Types is a witty guide to all of the cumbersome (yet practical) things that creative people need to learn how to do - learning how to cook is tip #1. Whether this post makes you scoff, laugh out loud, or get a little bit nervous because you have only obeyed 2/10 of the tips, it's sure to give you some food for thought.

Want to absorb some more media? Check out the rest of the Caught My Eye series.

CED Round-Up: Summer Writing Camp

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This week was all about writing and on-site photography. This week I began writing a novel for Camp National Novel Writing Month, the summer version of November's amazing race to 50,000 words. It is totally nerve-wracking, but what makes it even scarier is that Camp NaNoWriMo goes on for two months! That means that I'll be writing 100,000 words over the course of two months, and I hope to do it all for the same story, so that in and of itself is absolutely terrifying. But I really want to top myself out this summer, so I am going for it. As a result, however, I have suspended work on my serial fiction The Observer until further notice. In the meantime, enjoy the miniature updates about my novel coming at you in the CED posts!
On the other side of things, I got to attend some stellar events this week - namely, Seattle Zombie Walk and the 4th of July at Gasworks Park! Pictures abound.

This is my poor attempt at being a menacing zombie for Seattle Zombie Walk.

Like The Cowation on Facebook to see more of the pics!

6 Expectations I Have of the US Government

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today, I'm giving a brief list, in no particular order, of expectations I have of the U.S. government. So brief, in fact, that I will constrain myself to one pithy sentence each - which will be a strain on my typically long-winded writing style. Here it goes.

1. Keep AT&T from absorbing T-Mobile because its a Mc-monopoly about to happen.

2. Focus on domestic issues before dipping your toes into international waters.

3. Encouraging youth to vote and to become representatives, bring us out of unicorn status, and create a more representative democracy.

4. Trust Muslims - full stop.

5. Emphasize the power of local politics, so we don't elect the same person for 30+ years because they're familiar.

6. Give me some transparency and diversity, so that I know a) what's going on, and b) that privilege and power are kept in check.

Check out some of my other lists and my pieces on political participation and how to get youth involved in politics.

How to Use The Cowation

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My fine readers,
In the last month I have been growing The Cowation and have made several changes to the design and other aspects of the site. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight those changes and give new readers a primer on how to use this site. Veteran readers (I prefer that term to "old"), I would love to hear your thoughts on the new design and how you find the site as a whole. Please share your favorite posts, pictures, or just wacky stories of how you met me/connected with the site. It's all appreciated here!

Here are the changes:

First, as you can see in the right sidebar, I have now been accepted into the BlogHer ads network. I will be receiving revenue from BlogHer for displaying their ads and when someone is directed to the ad from my website. In order to preserve transparency, I will also indicate when one of my posts includes links or provides me with revenue, whether that is in reviewing a product or through links.

Second, I have now included a New Here? page for people to get acqauinted to the site - you can check out that page for some of my favorite posts and to access this primer.

Third, there are now multiple ways that you can connect with The Cowation: you can subscribe via RSS or email, Tweet me @thecowation, Like the Facebook page, go to the related Tumblr and DeviantArt, or listen to me talk on SoundCloud. These are all on a deck of buttons that are to the right of the screen. Since they can be pretty overwhelming, I am including a breakdown of how each of these options benefit you after the jump! Also after the jump, there is a primer on how to use the site if you're just starting out.

All of the following information and more can be accessed at the page How to Use The Cowation, which is also linked right above the Labels dropdown menu and in the New Here? page.

The 4th of July and Understanding American Patriotism

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quick! What are three things that people do on the 4th of July?

If you answered: canvassing, voter registration, and wearing a VoteBot suit, then you are correct! Oh, and there may have been some fireworks thrown in there somewhere.

Although this way of celebrating the 4th of July is also atypical for me, it has gotten me thinking about all the different ways people can view and celebrate this momentous American holiday.

The 4th of July does not find me consuming copious amounts of alcohol, barbecuing, or flying a giant flag. I am not one to go out and see the fireworks, instead often opting to stay home and comfort my cats as they freak out about the loud noises (well, except for this year where my job is asking me to canvass potential youth voters). But I don't feel that any of these things paints me as less American. What then, does it mean to celebrate this holiday in an "American" way?

The Q: What Are You Doing for the 4th of July? (and Responses)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This week's question is a pretty simple one (well, I suppose it is for the American readers, perhaps not for others):
What are you doing/did you do for the 4th of July?

I don't quite know yet, but I believe I'll be hanging out at Gasworks Park and telling young people to vote along with my other Washington Bus Summer Fellows.

And here are your fabulous responses to the question: What does fashion do for you?

Video response from Joanne H:

Text responses after the jump.

Caught My Eye: Muslimah Media Watch

Friday, July 1, 2011

Muslimah Media Watch gives a great perspective on voices that are not often allowed to speak in either Western or global media: Muslim women. They bring together broad opinions about representation with very focused stories on the impact of decisions by governing bodies on Muslim women (such as FIFA's treatment of the Iranian womens' soccer team). They represent voices from American patriots and Bangladeshi students alike. This blog gives a broad and informative look at Muslim women, and it is created both by and for them.

Here are three of my favorite posts:
Why Did Tom MacMaster Choose to be “A Gay Girl” Blogging from Damascus?

The Ghettoization of Begumpura Neighborhoods

The Sensational Story That Wasn’t: Reports Of ‘Stoning’ Death Of Ukrainian Girl Turn Out To Be False

Want some more media to digest? Check out more of the Caught My Eye series.