October 2008

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alex's life book

  • In early 2006, I began creating a life book for my daughter, Alex. Click here for links to articles describing my experience.
  • And for those of you who are more digitally inclined, in late 2006, I recreated key pages of Alex's lifebook for an article I wrote for AlphaMom, using Scrapblog.

    You can see the final digital result (and leave comments, if you'd like!) here.

what's been on my nikon lately

  • And you can view my favourites here.

if i'm not here, i'm here

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Jerri Ann

I have to disagree with you on this one. Survivor is and has been from the beginning a "social" experiment. They've tastefully pitted old against young, men against women and this was just one more way to fulfill the experiment socially.

I think the only way there is a problem is if you look for one. If you want to think about the negative you can find it...that's true in any situation. But, if you will stop for a minute, look for something good in everything and everybody (and I stole that thought from you in a post over a month ago), you can find positive attributes instead of negative.

I personally will believe that it is a tastefully done show until I'm proven otherwise. If I suspect there is problem, I'll be the first to quit watching. I do not watch but about 4 hours of tv a week anyway most of the time and it won't bother me to quit watching Survivor if I feel they have cast any negativity in any way.

Why can't you just assume that they are going to play on the attributes of each race instead of the negative portions? That's what I like about you most, you can find the positive in most everything, why not now?


Jerri Ann --

It's the fact that they're going to play on race at all -- I think it's dangerous, regardless whether they're "good" traits or "bad" traits. It necessarily takes away the focus from the individual, which I feel is far more important, and instead focuses on stereotypes, which is far more dangerous.

If this turns out to be a positive thing, then I'll be the first person to cheer it -- however, I'm skeptical. Thanks for saying that I can "find the positive in most everything," and generally, I try to, but I'm also human -- and my life experience tells me this is a dangerous thing.



I just feel like crying right now, b/c there really isnt anything I can do to make a HUGE difference; i feel almost powerless. My mother and I were just talking about this uupcoming series and then I saw your entry. I am so sick of this. It feels like the world is regressing instead of progressing. Now this show is just capitalizing on segregation, the very thing many historic influentials worked so hard to eradicate. I will NOT BE WATCHING SURVIVOR...in fact, I have never watched the show, so I will not even be curious enough to spend 5 mins on the first episode. Thank you for addressing this issue. Good thing you have beautiful Alex and Marcus around to distract you from the ugly things in life.


The "attributes of each race?" Such as...? Exactly what attributes are there to be utilized here? Oh, I forgot. The Asians will be good at math. And the black team will probably win the immunity challenge that involves a dance contest. Rush was RIGHT!

*rolling eyes*

I don't even like the men against women pitting, but at least no one sits around on national radio talking about how the girls will only be able to win at hair-braiding. Limbaugh may be the only person idiotic enough to SAY the things that he did, but other similarly narrow-minded people will THINK them... and that's a very old slippery slope.

I will not be watching.


What does this say about the winners and losers if we pit races against one another? That whomever comes out on top is the best? The losers - of which there will be three, remember - are somehow inferior? Ick. I really think this is a very bad idea. Where does social responsibility begin and end for the broadcasters and their quest for ratings?


I'm the first to admit that I am a HUGE fan of Survivor, but when I heard about this season't "twist", I became extremely discomforted. I'll also admit that I probably will watch, since it is one of the few shows that I do see on t.v., but I will discontinue watching if I feel uncomfortable with what is being shown.

Just being honest, but I completely understand your reasons for boycotting.

Jerri Ann

So what if one race is better in math. That may be very stero-typical but trends are trends. I am very much talking about the traits that are real (not dancing). Puzzle solving seems to be a big thing on the show and there are just people who do well with that. I've always thought that the challenges appear to be to the benefit of one person or team for some reason.

Also, I suspect the race division will last now more than 3 shows, then you'll have a combo to make 3 teams and of course then one team. What's the harm in seeing and hoping that the producers were smart.

ann adams

My boycott won't help much because I boycott all the so called "reality" shows.

I do agree with you though and I'll do what I can to spread the word.


Amen, sistah--amen. I don't watch t.v. either so my boycotting won't add up to much. I have been appalled by the never ending stream of reality shows. I feel like we have become the Romans in the Coliseum wanting the lions to win.

Your family is beautiful. I'd rather look at those faces than at a television, too.


First, if my family were as gorgeous as yours, I wouldn't watch TV either. I would just set up a lot of mirrors and admire our beautiful selves all day long.

Second, I don't actually have a TV, either. Yay for us smart people.

Third, the reason I hate race is that it is such a tiny little weird artificial construct. I routinely decline to state, or claim I am mixed, because, truly, aren't we ALL?

I mean, within what census forms call "race" there are so many millions of types of people and life experiences and ways of expressing background and culture that the whole idea is actually worse than useless.


I noticed most of your commenters are already enlightened enough not to watch Survivor for one reason or another BEFORE the big controversy.

I have never understood the attraction to so-called "Reality" TV. There is nothing real about it. I am soooooo not surprised they have taken this distateful step.

I will now boycott Survivor because you asked me to rather than my usual reason of "It is a stupid show with no redeeming qualities whatsoever."


I liked the first season and part of the second season of Survivor, but after that, got disinterested in all the mind-games and manipulation that goes on between the players. When I'm at home, I want to be surrounded by things I love and t.v. so often just irritates me. So I don't watch much at all (plus we don't evan have cable). But I agree with you that division of teams by race really is... well, lame.

See ya on Love Thursday. What an awesome idea. I've already been thinking about mine for this coming week.


I'm torn.
I love this show - and am known in my circle for doing a recap of it each week.
I have, in the past, felt that the producers have been fairly responsible in the filming and editing of it, but now, I don't know.
It makes me very uncomfortable to even say I have enjoyed the show, and I consider it far better than most other 'reality programs.'
I don't want to be aligned with anything that divides people by race and feel betrayed as a loyal viewer.
I can only hope that it is a stunt to increase viewership and that the theme is dropped in the first ten minutes.

And I sort of cannot believe that someone just wrote
'the attributes of each race'
when I choose to believe that humans ALL share the same attributes - I fear that
this kind of thinking is exactly what the programmers are hoping for, which saddens me.


I loved Survivors first season (or: Expeditie Robinson, as it's called in The Netherlands), but got bored somewhere during the second season. I'm not too bothered by this "twist" actually.

I don't think making distinctions by so called "race" is much worse than by gender or nationality, two things that happened during earlier seasons. You have no influence on your gender, race or (original) nationality. Would people have cared as much if this had been about glasses/no glasses, or shoe size, or weight, or religion, or the amount of education one has received? Don't think so.

I see you writing about the different races and nationalities in your family quite often. My (grand)parents, aunts, uncles and cousins are from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Indonesia, Eritrea, and since this year, Mexico. I wouldn't know what to call myself: I usually look pale, but I tan as quickly as my Indonesian grandmother. Am I white or yellow? I'm Dutch, but my dad is from Belgium. We make fun of each others different beliefs, gender and appearances all the time. No need to be proud of it (cause we never chose it that way) and no need to be ashamed of it either.

If I'm really honest, I'm looking forward to this show. What if some prejudices turn out to be true? On the other hand: what if the "black women" turn out to be the best swimmers? And perhaps you should have more confidence in the outcome: my experience is that race doesn't matter in the end, when it comes to friendship and love!


Mark Burnett is a pretty clever guy. My bet would be that they keep the teams divided for just a few episodes, just long enough to allow viewers to develop allegiances to personalities within each group. Then everyone will be mixed up again.

I can certainly mirror your concerns, but I'd be surprised if this whole thing were not done in such a way as to create more harmony than division. Yes, it's as idiotic as grouping blonds against brunettes, or muslims against jews, but I'm hoping for a high-road outcome that obliterates the divisions. If not, I'll switch it off.

Call me naive, but let's wait and see....


I think the entire world would be a better place if nobody watched the fiction and misinfomercials that incorporates most of network TV. The news? Puhleze! It's mind control. Dramas and comedies? Barely entertaining as the majority cater to 8th-grade education levels. There is some good programming, but it's hard to find.
We enjoy PBS and Discovery.


I've only watched the show when Uchenna and Joyce won.

Ooops! Sorry that's the amazing race. See goes to show you how much I can keep up with these shows! :)


Oh dear, that just makes me nauseous. I, like you, don't watch TV anyway...but, GAH, I'm making everyone I know boycott. How awful.

Your beautiful family though: no words for how sweet those three pictures are. They're gorgeous!


I agree with the person that said that they'll probably un-separate the teams before too long. Separating the tribes by race is as arbitrary as separating the teams by age/gender was.

Here's my beef: Mark Burnett/Jeff Probst have said that they get a lot of flak for not having enough diversity in the casting. They mentioned that the overwhelming majority of applicants are white.

If they just wanted to introduce more diversity into the casting, couldn't they just go all affirmative action on the people that applied? Or even if they had to go out and recruit, wouldn't that be sufficient? Separating the tribes by race is taking it one giant step too far.


I've read your blog a couple of times before and enjoyed it. It will now become daily reading for me. I hate reality shows, I've never watched Survivor and I certainly will NOT be watching now. I am white, my husband is black, I have two half black/half white daughters and two white children from a previous marriage. For me as well, it is personal. How ridiculous that in this day and time there is something like this on television that WILL BE WATCHED BY MILLIONS.


Okay. I'm not a fan of MOST reality shows, well, okay some. But I've never been into Survivor/Big Brother/Apprentice. I am devoted to Project Runway, and so there's that. I love it because the contestants? actually accomplish something, and generally do it with a minimum of backstabbing, etc.

This whole team according to race is a new low. What I want to see is sponsors pulling out - that's the only thing that will make a difference. How can we orchestrate that? What companies should we start sending emails to?


As a member of a multiethnic family, I was appalled when I heard about Survivor's new season. I couldn't believe that anyone thought that this would be a good idea.

I was riding into work the other day and the radio personalities were discussing this topic. Someone called in. "I can't believe we're so soft that we can't have a little fun competition based on race." Whu?

I guess my own stereotypes show through in that I immediately assumed he was white, based on his position of privelege.


Rush Limbaugh thinks that he's a satirist, I'm sure. He has a fowl sense of humor that usually offends more than entertains. I certainly wouldn't take a word he has to say about this show seriously.

I thought the idea of this season of survivor was in poor taste, and I've watched and been hooked on it in the past. I quit watching it before we quit watching tv entirely, because it is a distasteful show anyway.

That said, I think the show already had racial alliances, and this is just kind of formalizing it. The season that the black woman won, she won in part because of an alliance with a black man, who became her scapegoat. The show is more a popularity contest than anything else.


no comment on survivor since i don't watch it to begin with. but i did want to tell you yet again what a beautiful family you have. the 'angry' shot just cracked me up. more of these silly shots, please!

BTW, love your perspective for pictures and the amazing shots you get with your amazing camera. so jealous! :)


As a semi-faithful watcher of Survivor, I was sickened by the "twist" of the upcoming season. I will tune in to the first episodes for the sole purpose of "know your enemy." I plan on making a lot of noise about this, but I want to stay informed about what actually happens to fuel my vitrol. Another good way of staying up to date with what really happens with the show without actually watching the tripe is a recap website - I highly recommend televisionwithoutpity.com, as they will not mince words about what really happens.

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