Monday, April 29, 2013

Age is Just a Number

I had discussed with some of my fellow "Project Runway" aficionados my assertion that I thought this season had the oldest crop of finalists, since there were no twentysomethings.  I know the twentysomething doesn't always win, but there is usually at least one. 
Well, thanks to the folks keeping this Wikipedia page updated, I have some probably meaningless thoughts about ages of finalists. 
So.  First disclaimers.  Talent is clearly ageless, so this probably says much more about "Project Runway" casting, and/or people who sign up for reality shows.  Also some people in their later years might have made their way and not need a reality show boost.  Or have kids they can't leave for a month.  So certainly all of this only applies to the show, not the fashion industry as a whole. 
There is, as the page states a multi-way tie for youngest contestant, at 21, which includes a winner - Christian Siriano.  Oldest contestant Cindy Marlatt, from season 11, was 59. 
Season One there was one twentysomething (29) in the finale - the winner Jay.  In contrast, season two the oldest finalist won (at the ripe old age of 33) - Chloe. Season Three there were four finalists, and Jeffrey the winner fell in the mid-range age-wise at 36. 
So, first, my guess was wrong, season 7 also contained no twentysomethings in it's final crop (winner Seth Aaron, youngest of the three at 37). Seth Aaron is currently the oldest winner.  Perhaps that was just luck that that was the season after season 6 where all three finalists were twentysomethings (winner Irina at 26). 
Of the 175 contestants so far (wow, no wonder I can't remember them all) the average age is 31.  Of the 36 finalists (and note, some years there were three finalists, some years four) the average age is...31. (Strangely I left out a season in my original calculation, and still got 31.  And no, I am not counting all star seasons.)
And the average age of the winner is 30.  Now, I am using averages, not means or medians but it is interesting.  And of the 175 contestants: 90 were in their twenties, 60 were in their thirties, 20 were in their forties, and 5 were in their fifties.  So more than half of the total contestant pool is in their twenties. 
When we narrow in on finalists 16 are in their twenties, 15 are in their thirties, and 5 are in their forties.  No fortysomethings have won.  (So far.)
Now, I'm not suggesting there's ageism here, because even if they weren't my favorites, I understood why most of the winners won, and would only personally jump in and, ahem, adjust two winners, should I have such power, and in those cases the new winner would only be different by a year or two.  
So, really, this was me playing with numbers, but I found it interesting.  So, season 12 folks, it might be in your interest to be 31 or so.  Just saying.  Or maybe pair up with someone who averages your age to 31. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. ALOTT5MA pointed me to this interesting comparison of the increasing age gap that occurs for many leading men in movies as they age, but their co-stars (mostly) do not.  (Okay, everyone ages, but well, go look at the charts.) They include my favorite movie example of such, although they mention the age gap between Richard Gere and Julia Ormond in First Knight, leaving out the tidbit that it was a love triangle with Sean Connery (who was, by my count, 65 in that movie).  Certainly the idea is not that age gaps are bad, but in a movie world where women are often aged up to play grandmothers before their time, it's an interesting phenomenon. 
2. And, in case your social media friends did not pass on this link, Tylenol may help your emotional pain too.  This is an early study, but, seemed to show that Tylenol, in blocking pain receptors, dulled emotional pain too.  It is interesting for what it may say about the brain, and because, well, they used a David Lynch movie and clips from "The Simpsons" in testing.  Or to set bail for a prostitute. (Seriously, it's days like this that I wonder why none of my freshman and sophomore psych experiments were this interesting.  Do they save this stuff for the seniors?) 
3. And, a passing mention on twitter led to being pointed to this post by The Blogess about metal chickens, that, well, certainly brightened my day. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

7 Things: Brain Pleasantly Full

It was the Washington Romance Writers retreat this weekend.  I enjoy this things so much even if I come back exhausted.  Something about the staying up late talking craft or playing Apples to Apples and then getting up early to attend workshops leaves me with a tiny bit of sleep deficit.  I somehow feel unable to begin to do justice to the whole of the weekend, so will use my traditional 7 Things format. 
1. So many times the things that stick with me seem sort of silly, like Cathy Maxwell talking about how at writer's conferences people think it's normal that you say you're a writer or Angela James talking about publishing myths - like editors don't edit anymore, and once you get published you'll just sit there on piles of money. And yet these things are no less important. 
2. And there is the fun, which is not to be minimized.  Apples to Apples is just as important to one's well-being as the yoga workshop where the lovely Kimberly Kincaid (coming to a bookshelf near you, if she's not already there) always manages to remind me of something my sedentary jobs are doing to me.  I'm less convinced that Romance Jeopardy is good for my health, given that the game is not fair.
3. The social media panel included Sarah Wendell, Pam Jaffee, Sue Grimshaw, and Joyce Lamb.  They mentioned that social media is ever evolving, and that you need to be aware of the context in which your message is going.  Your message about your new book may look a little tone deaf amid posts of an ongoing tragic event.
4. The American Author event was interesting just to see how often the opening words can either confuse or ground you.  Or just be infodump. There were also wonderful keynotes from Dorien Kelly, Shiloh Walker, and Mary Burton.
5. I might have told the lovely Stephanie Dray/Draven that it was so convenient for her to sit next to me at lunch so I could stalk her up close and personal. 
6. I continue to be amazed how many people I managed to talk to and reconnect with, and yet each year I need it to be longer, because I barely got to talk to this or that person.  The best of problems to have really. 
7. And well, somebody better write that Zombie Mafia Secret Baby story. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. There's an interesting adoption case making it's way through the courts involving the Indian Child Welfare Act, which prioritizes placing children of Native American Indians with Native American Indian families.  Where it gets interesting (from a legal perspective, this case is clearly sad for just about everybody involved) is that the birth mother notified the tribe, who at the time of the adoption, did not show the father in their records.
2. Megan Mulry (who, by the way, I met last year at RT) has an interesting ponderance on the way social media helps expand and grow our friend set, and how that can complicate disclosure. 
3. And this post from DCist explains how sometimes issues with literacy, and a possibly desire to not produce a recognizable voice print, can foil your attempt to rob a bank

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Heart Goes Out

I imagine it was coincidence more than agile TV schedule planning, but last night I found "Legally Blonde" in my channel hops.  I think "Legally Blonde" is an amazing movie and I have also seen the musical (which I like because- more singing, although I have a tiny quibble with two character shifts, overall it's very true to the movie.)  So, I watch "Legally Blonde" often finding it on my travels through the channels. 
I was in the mood for something happy.  A storywonk post that seems to have been lost to the internet (or my google-fu) once talked about how the type of books you read has to do with the type of justice you want.  As much as some people make fun of romance novels or mysteries for their formulas, there is something to be said for going in knowing, no matter what, people will fall in love or a criminal will be brought to justice.  And, hey, "Legally Blonde" contains both of those things. And it takes place partly in Boston. (The internet tells me it wasn't so much filmed there, but we'll put that aside.) 
So, people of, in, and near Boston, people with loved ones in Boston, you are in my thoughts.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A New Name

I have decided that the term Washingtonian, while fine and all, is insufficient.  One can be confused for referencing the state, it sounds like that thing that people accuse long term politicians of being, and, so I think we should come up with something new, something DC even.  The problem is it's hard to figure out what works with DC.  DCian, DCite, DCer, none of them sound just right.  They sound more like the time I said logicize because I couldn't come up with the right word. (Oh my god, I just looked it up and logicize is a word!  Apparently I'm a genius. Or an idiot.  Depending on your interpretation. Still, using reason as a verb would have made more sense.  And resulted in less laughter.)
And well, Columbian would lead to the same level of confusion problems.  And using Districter or Districtite is not much better. Districtian is not bad in my opinion, but it seems like the learning curve on that might be high. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. The cell phone turned forty last week, and well, it looks great for its age.  There are forty some factoids about it. 
2. Carridad Ferrer explains why she has been putting a novel up chapter by chapter on Wattpad. Admittedly that is the point really, of Wattpad, but it is still an interesting choice for a published author. 
3. I have often said that if you can still pay your rent, you're probably fine with your shopping.  Well, this story by Buzz Bissinger about his shopping addiction might force me to revise that sentiment. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

7 Things: Better People Through Social Media

So, some early studies have determined that people who utilize multiple forms of social media, might be better employees.  Certainly early studies often find things that when later delved into turn out to have differing causes and effects than originally thought - witness this article about coffee that mentions some of the studies about ill effects of coffee turned out to be because the coffee drinkers were also smokers. But, just for fun I am going to spitball why this might be. 
1. Using multiple forms of social media teaches you that each one has it's own norms. 
2.  It also shows you the clear difference between those who act as if say, Linked in works just like Twitter. 
3.  Multi-tasking.  There might be jobs that exist where this is not required, but I'm pretty sure I've never had one, not even my summer jobs in retail and food. 
4. Social media also demonstrates how quickly a badly worded statement can turn into a fight.  Certainly one form could do that for you, it just might take longer.  Two days or so. 
5. It also teaches you to narrow in.  It's pretty easy for one's feed to get overwhelmed by one person, or some string of games and articles, so you get better at figuring out how to streamline what you really care about at that moment. 
6. Of course, it could turn out that people who spend a lot of time of social media are workaholics who use social media to make up for all the time they miss with their friends and family. (Fingers crossed that's not it.) 
7. As the article points out, it could also just be computer and internet savvy.  Some people still can't pronounce Pinterest yet, much less tell why one might be posting bacon recipes to it. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

Thank You, Mr. Ebert

The thing about the loss of someone like Roger Ebert is that it feels like so many people have already covered the things I would wish to say about him, and yet, ti doesn't quite seem like enough.
1. Passionate explanation. Whether he loved a movie or hated a movie he was willing to explain why.  And yes, that, essentially is the job of a critic, but I feel like his reviews better helped me understand things like structure and direction and performance, and also, when you hate something to try and figure out why you hate it. 
2. Passionate and respectful disagreement. Ebert didn't always agree with his fellow critics, Siskel in particular, but they were able to disagree passionately and respectfully.  Okay, mostly respectfully. 
3. To echo what others have said, there was also the understanding that entertainment could be well, just entertaining.  A movie that was just fun to watch was just as important as one that ripped your heart out. 
4. An amazing energy.  I confess thinking of working 46 years as a newspaper critic, and also having television shows, and running a film festival, and blogging, and tweeting, and writing books, well I am amazed.  And a little exhausted.
5. I've told folks that I think some of the best life advice I can give it to find a way to make plans, move towards your goals and yet be open to the opportunities that show up.  So, Ebert's story of working through high school and college with plans to become a features writer, and then being offered the job of film critic and saying yes is a great example of that. 
6. Embracing new technologies. This man not only had a twitter account, but appreciated how the medium worked. To say nothing of his website, or blog, or all the other things and gadgets. 
7. Carrying on. I still think of this lovely piece he wrote explaining how he could no longer eat.  And on.  Even this week when he announced his leave of presence, a phrase that was so true, because did you see all the plans he had?  So, so many.

And some other links, in case you have not yet come across them - NPR Monkey See here, The Onion's review of life here.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. FYA has this rumination on the amazing time that we sometimes call the YA years
2. And over at Argh Ink, there is a post on how sometimes when you're not looking, the Reality Truck will get you
3. And since in the DC area it is still mitten weather, this story about how the internet found someone's mitten.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Dystopian Vs. WWII Fiction

I was pondering my malaise with some dystopian fiction, YA trilogies in particular.  First, the caveats, there are lots of dystopian novels.  Not all of them are YA, not all of them are trilogies, and not all of the YA trilogies fall into this pattern I am about to describe.  (And some that do, have or are delighting me, so, you know.)  Also, I read tons of things that others find formulaic and so, I am not at all stating that this is a bad pattern, I am simply noting that for me I have the ennui. 
So, the stereotypical (by which I mean I have read at least two that went like this) set up is this.  We are introduced to the universe.  Universe bad.  Things are bad.  Evil overlords are bad.  (They say they are good but they are bad.)  Protagonist suddenly realizes things are bad.  Super bad.  Usually when something happens to their parents/siblings/adult caregivers/favorite teachers.  Protagonist sets off on a journey to try to fix things or at least make them better.  Protagonist learns there are rebels.  (Actually, this is starting to sound a little like "Star Wars".  Hmm.)  Protagonist also meets/reunites with hot, smoldery love interest.  Or, if there already was a hot, smoldery love interest, now's a great time to meet the second.  Protagonist takes a stand, wins (or loses) battle and goes off into phase 2. 
Phase 2, also often known as book two.  Oh, whichever love interest got less time in book one will be front and center here.  Protagonist is conflicted.  They are off to see the rebels.  They join up with the rebels.  And wait, what?  It turns out rebels are people too and are imperfect.  (Say it ain't so.)  Rebels may also have a hint of evil overlord with different rebel type rules and restrictions.  Protagonist is conflicted.  (Not just about the love interests.)  Something very big happens and someone's life hangs in the balance. 
Phase or book three.  Life in the balance addressed. Protagonist starts to wonder if maybe all of humanity sucks.  Also love interests are hard.  Decisions.  Grand gesture made.  Love interest chosen.  Big battle.  Some people get to live happily ever after. 
So, I will spare you the meandering pathways of my brain (well, some of them at least) but I began thinking of my most favoritest Helen Macinnes story ever.  While Still We Live. And how it has many of these plot points.  And then I wondered if maybe my malaise wasn't that I had read too many dystopians (because I haven't) or that dystopians aren't my thing (they can be) but that I had already read so much World War II fiction that I was more attracted to the ones that did not follow this path.  Something to ponder.