Michelle's Blog My life is almost as interesting as this theme.

December 5, 2012

Slice O’ Life REVISED

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 3:01 am


Black Friday (or Thursday night, as it is becoming) is the biggest shopping day of the year. A time for visiting family to get up early, or stay up late, fight the crowds, and bond for the sake of good prices. However, the people who have to work these ridiculous hours in the stressful and chaotic conditions of Black Friday often go un-thanked and even unnoticed.

Black Friday started because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In the early 20th century, the holiday shopping did not begin until after the parade and continued this way for decades. Macy’s would follow up their parade with advertisement for their outrageously low holiday deals. Even though stores start the holiday shopping season much before the day after Thanksgiving, it is still tradition that the shopping season “officially” begins on Black Friday.

Also, according to BlackFriday.com, it is called “Black” Friday because, back when records were kept by hand, records written in red denoted a loss in sales and records written in black indicated a profit. Black Friday was the start of the records being consistently kept in black ink.

However, the unsung heroes of Black Friday often receive no recognition for having to leave their families’ Thanksgiving get-togethers to be to work at 8 pm or go to bed early so they can be rested for work at 4 or 5 am.

For the first time, several PetSmart stores opened their doors at midnight for the throngs of people who wanted half-price on dog beds and apparel, aquariums, and hamster treats.

The PetSmart in Sioux City, Iowa was optimistic about its sales potential prior to Black Friday.

“I talked them into letting me open at midnight,” said manager Matt Boos excitedly. “It’s going to be a great night to be in retail.”

The consensus among the lower-level workers for the store could not have been any different.

“I mean, I’d rather work midnight until morning and get it over with than have to get up early,” said pet care worker Cindy Robles, “but, honestly, this is the last place I want to be on Black Friday.”

Why would their views be so different? It’s easy. In the retail world on Black Friday, the winners are those who are higher up in the company making money off the work of the lower level associates or the local managers, striving to impress those higher-ups, who can hide in their offices and pile up sales numbers.

The losers, however, are those peons doing all the work, notably not making any more than normal day, even though the amount of work and stress is easily doubled from the average work day.

“The CEOS and their henchmen rake in the money from today,” said groomer Tanya Johnson, referencing Black Friday, “but I make the same as the average day. I do at least twice the work.”

One top of this, the associates must deal with disgruntled and impatient customers who are often in a hurry.

“I worked six in the morning until four in the evening,” said cashier Rachel Sanford. “I had a customer throw a ball at me. It’s beyond rudeness at this point. It’s just blatant disrespect. Maybe they don’t think I’m a human being.”

“I literally had a customer call me bitchy because I wouldn’t accept her coupon that was 2 months old. At what point do we get to stop being ‘PetSmart workers’ and stand up for ourselves?” said associate Leslie Andersen.

Black Friday may only come once a year; however, once is enough for these PetSmart associates.



December 3, 2012

Art review for the every (wo)man

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 4:58 am

The two pieces that I have chosen to review are the Earth Stones by Andrea Stanislav and the Tiananmen Square in the Hickman Johnson Furrow Learning Center.

The Earth Stones are six large pieces of rock with mirrors on top on the south side of campus. They are arranged like an arrow pointing into the heart of campus. They are possibly the biggest waste of space and money that Morningside College has come up with thus far, to my knowledge. I think that the rocks would have looked prettier in their natural place, as opposed to stuck randomly on to some college campus full of students who don’t appreciate art, including myself. This is not art as I define it. It is easy to appreciate the art and work in a painting or a photograph, or even earth’s natural beauty, but when earth’s natural beauty is forcefully moved and plucked on to a random college campus, there is nothing of value to this.

Earth Stones

Let’s not forgot the random pieces of metal stuck to the top of them. What does this reflect? The poor spending habits of Morningside College? It’s a convenient place for vain girls on their way from Eppley to the Science Center to check their hair and make-up. And thank god for that because that’s just what the world needs: more accommodations for people who think they are just the most attractive things on this planet. On a more serious note, it could represent some sort of reflection in the sky and infinity, but that is a bit of a stretch.

Now, let’s move on to the Tiananmen Square created by Elaine R. Williams in 1989 in the Hickman Johnson Furrow Learning Center. If you like large, broken squares of glass with what looks like vomit all over them, this is the piece for you. The vomit of this piece is actually some sort of copper that was melted onto the glass, which presumably broke the glass. This could be seen as violence of some sort. The copper may be like blood, and the broken glass could represent a struggle. The plaque vaguely notes “Requiem for a Chinese Student,” and it is up to the viewer to determine what that could possibly mean.

Tiananmen Square

This piece is located in the most social area of the learning center, also known as the Spoonholder Café. There are several tables and chairs sitting near this piece of fine artwork, proudly on display for everyone to see. Again, I don’t see how this could be considered art. I would call it a project, to put it nicely. In all honesty, if I saw something like this in a dumpster somewhere, I wouldn’t think twice about it. Something like this could be created by accident on construction sites across the globe. Does that make Jimmy the glass guy the next great artist? I would have to say no, and I don’t see how doing it on purpose makes any difference. It is all the same end result.

So, enough of this “art” stuff. Here’s a link to a video of stuff exploding because America.


Shutterbabe Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 4:20 am

It’s the late 1980’s, and a young American female photojournalist sent to the war in Afghanistan is bleeding profusely.

She can’t change her tampon.

This beginning to the Deborah Copaken Kogan’s Shutterbabe, a memoir of sorts following Kogan’s years as a war photojournalist, is highly representative of the rest of the novel to come.

This novel is about being a little girl in a tough man’s world. It follows Kogan through the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles down in Africa. There are some moments, particularly when Kogan’s commentary about the war situation becomes factual, that the novel redeems itself, but as a whole, the “woman playing by her own rules in a man’s role” mask the novel wears just doesn’t work.

The biggest reason for this is because Kogan never really decides if she wants to be viewed as a man-crazy woman off on an adventure or a serious photojournalist trying to make a name for herself.

When Kogan says things like “Men are like books, to be read or skimmed, studied or forgotten … they can’t all be Anna Karenina, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them just the same,” she sounds like the fictitious sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame.

When she says things like “There’s a dead body in a shower room. And there are children tied to beds. And flapping hands… I have seen footage like this before… women and children standing gaunt behind barbed wire, branded with numbers and yellow stars,” describing a Romanian orphanage, she sounds like a hard-hitting photojournalist.

It’s not like Kogan doesn’t have the intelligence to back up her desire to be taken seriously. She was a Harvard grad and went on to her career in photojournalism from there. Some of the photos that she took ended up being published in famous publications such as Newsweek, Time Magazine, and The New York Times. It almost is like she is trying to undermine her success by being completely man-crazy and sex-driven. Perhaps she sees it as freeing and powerful to be sexually adventurous as a woman. It’s all in the eyes of reader.

Can she be both Carrie Bradshaw and a respected photojournalist? Absolutely. Does it work in this book? Not in my opinion. The chapters of the book are named after her “man of the moment,” and yet, she discusses brutal and hard-to-digest things within those chapters. It takes some seriousness away from what could have been a powerful novel. Instead, it leaves the reader unsure of what to think.

Powered by WordPress