Notes-ish: FemComPod show notes, Episode 23

Topic 1:

Julian Assange and co. (Wikileaks) leak new information about the CIA’s hacking abilities.

Mostly I’m confused how to feel about him because a rape allegation can do that to a person, unless you’re Pam Anderson.

Michael Hastings was the name of that Rolling Stone reporter who died mysteriously in a car accident…

Topic 2:

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times editorial that called out Chance the Rapper for, well, what I’m not exactly sure, after he donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. We talk about it half ignorantly, you decide.

Here’s another editorial, this one from the New York Times, about the 2013 CDC report we cite that debunks the racist myth about black deadbeat dads.

Topic 3:

If you could fight anyone, who would you fight? Definitely not Floyd Mayweather.


And while you’re at it:

Per our intro convo, this totally underrated song was almost an MJ duet.

Notes-ish: FemComPod show notes, Episode 22

Topic 1:

White racist shoots two Indian men, killing one, because he thinks are Arab. But the media reminds us, there’s a white hero, so everyone just go back to your regularly scheduled programs, k?

The Hidden Figures story.

An interesting look at Hollywood’s sliding scale of justice.

Topic 2:

Details on the proposed suspension of H-1B visas.

Tech companies defend their workers and the importance of being able to draw from a global talent pool.

University of Pennsylvania’s study results of immigration’s impact on the economy.

The story on the poorest white town in America and why they think Trump is the answer.

Topic 3:

Some theaters are canceling showings of Beauty and The Beast because Le Fou is so obviously gay for Gaston, just like the rest of us.

Which is silly because so many Disney characters are gaaaaay.

My fave closeted gay character is Icebox. Listen to the episode for Justin’s.

Uncomfortable, closeted Icebox.

And while you’re at it:

Is that Oaken’s husband and children in the sauna?! There’s a lot of debate about it, but I think if Frozen’s other progressive moments and plot lines are any indication, Oaken is definitely getting some hoo-hoo from that hot blondie in the hot tub.

Notes-ish: FemComPod show notes, Episode 21

Topic 1:

I still love Hillary, Justin still hates her. Here’s the CliffNotes version.

Topic 2:

French politician Marie Le Pen refuses to wear a headscarf while visiting Lebanon. She’s disinvited. Presumably she threw her own kegger and invited everyone Grand Mufti did too. Gotta make that Facebook invite private, brah!

Topic 3:

It’s Oscars time! Per usual, I was correct and Justin was wrong like Warren Beatty.

And while you’re at it…

Excerpts from her speech at Harvard a few weeks later (Viola won its artist of the year award). She’s perfect.

Notes-ish: FemComPod show notes, Episode 20

Topic 1:

Uber is under fire again. This time under charges of sexual harassment by one of its former female engineers.

And in this post, that engineer, Susan Fowler, shows us how to do something to defend ourselves when HR won’t.

Topic 2:

The progressive Chicago social media-sphere exploded with reports that ICE was outrageously searching passengers who looked, well, not-white in an effort to reach deportation numbers. Turns out the story was false. Sharing untrue stories like this on social media can be dangerous for law enforcement officials but also the very people the quick-sharers wanted to protect.

Oh, but also, don’t worry, the rumors got started because the CTA has been randomly searching passengers’ private property since 2014. Nothing to see here! Right?!

Here’s Alderman Rosa’s helpful checklist for posting something to social media responsibly:

Finally, semi-related if you listen to the podcast, watch this! It’s so good!

Topic 3:

American Girl releases its first boy doll!  And that’s cool, y’all, even though they’re stupid expensive, whatever the gender.

And while you’re at it…

In hindsight, this lady was a real busy bitch to our pre-pubescent hero, Kevin. But look at all her work to do! And her technology! And her sweater vest! This is how ’90’s kids dreams were made.

Inspo: Making Mainbocher, “LaRose” and words on the street

Mainbocher exhibit at the Chicago History Museum

Mainbocher was a Chicago boy who eventually became America’s first couturier. (Couturier is a word I had to Google before I went to this exhibit and it means he was America’s first “fashion designer who manufactures and sells clothes that have been tailored to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.” But not, like, clothes for the basic classes. Think more like Gloria Vanderbilt, of whom he was a fave.)

Mainbocher’s also famous for designing for the Girl Scouts and the uniforms for the WAVES, the volunteer women’s naval reserve of WWII. The WAVES were the first military women to be paid the same as their male counterparts, and part of the appeal of being a WAVE was getting a tailor made designer uniform, which sounds kind of dumb now but was a big deal post-Depression, pre-fast fashion.

Mainbocher didn’t want to be paid anything for these designs, considering it part of his duty as an American. However, all government contracts required payment of some kind. So Mainbocher charged the US Navy exactly $1.

The Chicago History Museum’s “Making Mainbocher” exhibit included a one-night showing of “Homefront Heroines: The WAVES of WWII,” a documentary with interviews starring these interesting women and incredible old footage from their training and work. I loved hearing about what drove them to volunteer for the WAVES–a need for adventure, a sense of independence, a longing to see more than their hometowns, a want for life beyond desk or house work. The strings that pulled them then seem like the same kind wrapped into women like me decades upon decades later. Beyond admiring them, I get these girls.

Director Kathleen Ryan discusses the making of the film with CHM curator of costume Petra Slinkard.

“LaRose” by Louise Erdrich

Currently reading: “LaRose,” the aching story of two families affected by one tragedy and an old native American tradition that might help them heal. Erdrich is a fantastic writer, obviously, and I’m so moved by the way she’s able to make transitions in this novel. I feel like I’m in a dream when I’m reading–or a nightmare, maybe, considering the story. There’s a lot of dialogue, but she never uses quotes, which adds to the steady but unusual flow of things.

While researching the bookstore she runs with her daughters, I found this, her blog. She writes about what she’s reading and manages to make even those small sentiments feel otherworldly:

After reading The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben, my daily walks are an entirely different experience.  I see the details of a tree’s struggle, the tree’s heroic attempt to repair a slashed limb, to repel invaders, or how so often a root flare buried by a careless landscaper will eventually suffocate the strongest.  I see how hard it is to live on a boulevard and not in a forest composed of  myriad types of tree with a magical underground connection that can choose to harden against invaders or to sustain young trees with extra food. “The Hidden Life of Trees” is a marvel of understanding and science.

Words on the street

As seen at Goddess and Grocer in River North. Just cute. Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day! Say more with cupcakes.

For those of you who don’t have a city subway, spots like this are located on train platforms. They are where you stand to stay warm (or at least warmer than you would be otherwise) courtesy the heat lamps overhead. That’s why the copy on this Salvation Army ad is so effective. Literally, this is where to stand if you need a place to stay warm, but it also lists the address of the closest Salvation Army, where a person who is homeless for the night can get even warmer. Subtle. Strong. Emotional but informative.

OK, this seems simple but I’ve never seen it before, maybe because I usually go to Facebook to see a location’s hours since I always know where to find it. The hours for the Museum of Science and Industry’s are listed on the hero banner of its home page. So smart. And if the museum has already closed for the day? Then it shows tomorrow’s hours. That’s so helpful, especially when Google or Facebook aren’t updated with holiday hours. This is a great example of copy information users need worked smartly into web design.

Notes-ish: FemComPod show notes, Episode 18

Topic 1:

Audi panders to feminists and we Eat. IT. UP. Meanwhile the NFL cheerleaders sue the league for wage discrimination.

Adweek’s list of best ads from the latest Super Bowl.

USA Today’s list of the best ever.

Doug Stanhope, American patriot.

Topic 2:

Berkeley cancels a speech by an alt-right blowhard after protests turn destructive of university property.

Agent provocateur, according to Wiki.

Women in computing — or the lack of them — as told by NPR.

Roxane gay pulls book deal and shows all of how to be the modern wave feminists we so desperately long to be

For fun, here’s Roxane’s list of books she suggests you read  (presumably instead of fame-whoring Milo’s). She’s as obsessed as me with “Evicted.” She says, ”My God, what [Evicted] lays bare about American poverty. It is devastating and infuriating and a necessary read.”  

Topic 3:

Glenn close as Hook! #dresslikeawoman

Katharine Hepburn as Sylvia! #dresslikeawoman (If you’re interested, the movie included this kiss between two female actors (not actresses!) that was considered super controversial at the time. This kiss is more like a peck and you don’t even see it because of the way their heads are framed. We’ve come a long way, America.)

And while you’re at it:

List-ish: Five writer’s tools to get you motivated this weekend

John Legend interviews Ta-Nehisi Coates about writing

Hemingway App

Paste your copy into this app and it will help you break up dense copy, slay passive voice and find alternative sentences that are easier to read. H-man, it seems, was onto something. Verbose prose is so 19th century.


Story Grid Podcast

Gah. I just can’t bring myself to pay for an MFA in creative writing. Not after finally getting my bachelor’s paid off after nine long years of monthly bills. Thus, I’ve had to find other educational tools about writing a good story. This podcast is definitely one of the best I’ve come across. In each episode, a publishing world vet and a fledgling author discuss the formula for a good novel—the story grid. It’s full of practical advice I’ve never heard before (like how knowing your genre can be more important than knowing the backstory of your characters).

Helping Writers Become Authors (dot com)

The site’s design is a little overwhelming, and nearly every gad dang link opens a new tab, but hang in there. has A LOT of great information and tools for new writers. I’m all for taking short cuts without cutting corners. Here’s an example of a helpful structure chart to use when you’re outlining.

The Starbucks App

Three things. 1) It gamifies your coffee addiction, letting you rack up rewards through the app. 2) It tells you what song’s playing in your store so you can save it on Spotify and listen later (or Google the lyrics because you’re an emotional sap… raises hand…). 3) This.

Notes-ish: FemComPod show notes, Episode 17

Topic 1:

A more nuanced look at Uber vs. Lyft.

FBI studies KKK in the police, per Justin’s argument.

Topic 2:

SNL writer Katie Rich loses her job for a joke on her personal Twitter account.

Here’s an argument from NY Times about quitting social media to save your career, but the reason might surprise you.

Topic 3:

TFW you watch the Super Bowl for the ads.

And while you’re at it:

Right now, this is hilarious.

Inspo: “The Trespasser,” Chicago in the forties, and words on the street

This paragraph by Tana French

As seen in her new novel, “The Trespasser.” I have loved TF since “In the Woods” came out in ’07. Her work’s a great example of how commercial writing’s intrigue and literary fiction’s finesse can live in one hell of a thriller. I’m a quarter of the way through this new book. While I typically re-read her paragraphs a couple times because I’m struck by how she manages to say so much in four or five sentences, this one is worth pointing out. It’s one of the freshest descriptions I’ve ever seen a no-bullshit female character.

Found Chicago-in-the-summer footage

Summer, can you hear me?! This is must-watch research material for anyone writing a story about Chicago during this time period. Everyone else, take a hit and hit play. 😉

Words on the street (and the paid content bar)

This ad for the tattoo exhibit at the Field Museum made me look twice. Clever.

And then this. Too soon? #whocanturnthegraveoverwithhersmile

Inspo: Words on the street

As seen at a house show.

Just when I thought I’d seen every spirits sandwich board sign in the books, this one shows up.

Love this trend of showing recipes right on the product’s package. It’s hard to see from this pic but there’s an arrow and copy that points to the Triscuit topping. “Top with cottage cheese, peas and mint,” for example.

Brute is my new favorite word! Although, points deducted for “raw”…. eeee….