Archive for April, 2006

More about Booth Babes

So Noah wants to bring back the booth babes. He’s a 17 year old high school student (technically not even old enough to get in to E3) and he’s crying that taking booth babes out of E3 is a travesty.


There is more to life than booth babes. I don’t go to E3 for the booth babes. This will be my 3rd year going and I go to play games, try new toys, get warm, be a tourist, hang out with geeks, do some research, and of course, collect swag. I am thrilled with the decision to put an end to booth babes. It’s sickening to watch the geeks line up, with their state-of-the-art digital cameras no less, and take turns taking pictures of each other with their arms wrapped around one of the models. It’s sad to watch the wanna-be starlets pimped into this sort of role. According to Robin in 2004 there were women who “were also inserting candy between their butt cheeks (while clothed, but still) and asking developers to BEND OVER AND TAKE IT OUT WITH THEIR TEETH.” Barf.

It’s about time this conference applies the same standards of sexual responsibility that we apply everywhere else. Don’t like it? Don’t come. All the more swag for me.

A recurring suggestion is that we add some boothdudes to the mix to appease the women attendees.

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Here’s a pic of a booth dude that I snapped last year, in front of the display for Gods & Heroes. Notice that he’s promoting this game without any problem and he doesn’t have to sell his body to do it. Go figure. I don’t need naked men at my gaming conference and I doubt I’d be seeing any. I’m all for a clothing optional lifestyle, but this is exploitation and that’s demeaning. I want to talk to the developers, try the latest stuff, learn something and have some fun. Isn’t anyone else there for that?

I’m really curious if there were more women attending last year as gamers/developers/industry pros or as boothbabes. I’d like to believe that the number of female attendees are rising and I’m hoping that this year with the new policy there will be even more women attending. I’m also hoping that the men who value women for who they are as individuals, fully complete with brains, personalities, ideas, thoughts, etc. will speak up and say they’ve had enough of this exploitation too. I’m hoping for the day when I can walk through the expo without having to see games like 3feel on larger than life screens.

Boothbabes are more proof of a patriarchal gender-power imbalance that is pervasive in our culture. Women’s bodies are exploited – discussion of it is all through this blog and many others. Evidence to see for yourself is easy to find in the media around you. Truth is, there’s a dominant group of men who have power, and they’ll do what they want. If they want bodies up there they’ll buy some. And if you’re into boothbabes then you fit with this group. If you support it you are condoning the subordination of women. No way around it. If women had other options do you think they’d honestly choose to be a booth babe? Like Wendy said in a comment of another post, also about exploiting women’s bodies, “is it that people really want to cook fries or is it that they would live in poverty if they didn’t otherwise”? There’s choice and then there’s choice. I applaud this progress. Now if only they could do something about the ERA.

I know Rob is going to say that taking the boothbabes out of E3 takes the fun out of the conference – but is that what you really think? Really really? Do you really believe it’s justified to use a woman’s body to sell a game? Would you want your daughter working there?

Are you a list person?

Do you make lists? Do you hate lists? Do you realize there are different kinds of lists?

First there are the lists that give you chores to do. Often other people make these lists for you: wash windows, clean eavestroughs, fix the faucet, clean the clutter off the counter, catch up the mending, etc. Lists like these are endless and rarely are the tasks on them fun or exciting. Someone has to maintain this list or the jobs never get done – unless you’re one of those rare cases where jobs get done as soon as they’re discovered in need of doing.

But there is another sort of list: the list that records your dreams, the one that lets you think about all the things you’d like to do given the opportunity. This is the philosophy behind communities like 43 places and 43 things.

I went to a workshop in January where one of the keys to reaching a goal was shared this way: make a list of your goals, whether it’s living on the coast, seeing the mountain from your deck every morning, working at home, or going to Greece when you graduate. Whatever goals you have, record them somewhere. Part two is sharing the information with other people. Here’s how these steps will help you achieve your goal:

  1. When other people know what you have planned they can support you while holding you accountable. When they start asking you how the plans for Greece are going you can tell them great. They’re excited for you and it will help you stay motivated.
  2. When these other people know you’re planning a trip to Greece they’ll start cutting out articles and sending you links about things to do, places to stay, and cheap flights to Greece. This cuts down on the amount of work you’ll have to do to plan and will also keep you motivated.
  3. The third way that recording your goals will help is that when you are faced with making a decision (career, life, relationship) you will be able to consult your goals and see which choice brings you closer to your goal. If you know your ideal home is someplace warm it will help you say no to positions in the Arctic. It’s not turning down an opportunity, it’s helping you stay focused on your goals. When you are looking for positions or projects you’ll have a clue where to start looking. Without the goals you’ll flit from one place to another always wondering if you’re doing the right thing, making the right choice – or if you’re happy yet.

    Things aren’t always perfect, and ideas, philosophies, and situations all change. When I took the workshop I was frustrated because the group was made up of 1st and 3rd year university students, save me (mom, student, etc). I don’t have the freedom to picture myself living on the side of a mountain or even near a coast or even somewhere warm. I have a custody order that says the closest to a mountain I’m going to get while my kids are young is the landfill 20 minutes away. Sometimes when we’re setting our goals we have to take all kinds of other things into consideration – but stil, if you can, make some goals. Lists of goals are okay – nobody is going to nag you about them – and even if they did, these are things you want to do – let people help you do them.

    Today’s list is 2 pages long and I made it on paper, in a notebook so that if I don’t want to look at it I can shut the cover. I’m a little anxious that the list might be overwhelming but so far it feels good. It covers a lot of the things I’d like to do this summer around the garden and yard and a pile of art that has been waiting for me for eons. It has the beginnings of me thinking about grad school, mostly what area I might like to research. There’s nothing there about where I want to live or what I want to be…nothing major about “what I want out of life” or “what happiness means to me” or any of the biggies. I’m starting small and taking this a little step at a time.

Learning to enjoy life

I’m learning some things. I’m trying to learn to enjoy life more. I’ve been participating at 43 and looking at all the beautiful places there are in the world to visit, all the amazing history to see, all the cool people to meet and watching the people who are really doing all of this.

It used to be I’d see some place cool like Muir Woods and think, “yeah, that’s cool. . . but it’s too far away, I have no money, I need to stay close to home, etc” but something changed. Well, several things actually. I met someone who made a choice a few years before that he would be a do-er and a go-er and so he started doing and going to things like conferences and taking trips that required planning and investment. I also started back to school and got a student loan which for the first time in my adult life gave me enough to money to buy groceries and have something left over. I got to feel what it was like to have a little bit of money. I also started to think that maybe I deserved some happiness too.

It may be simple to many people but it was a huge revelation to me when I realized that if I wanted to do something or go somewhere I could do something about it. I didn’t need to just survive each day, I could enrich it. I could make it the best day possible, for myself and my family. I am not destined to be poor forever (or this is what I keep telling myself). It’s not wrong to want to have some financial freedom. It may be difficult to change this and the process of getting there is difficult if you’ve never done it but it’s not impossible.

Money may not buy you happiness, but without any it is difficult to be happy. Money stress is hard on families, on relationships, on having fun. I’m not saying there aren’t free things to do; I’ve done this for years and still do, but the options are greater if you can afford small pleasures. or big pleasures. It’s also easier to enjoy these pleasures when you know your basic needs are met.

What I’ve realized is that I don’t have to live below the poverty line forever. Kids are young, I’m a student and a single mum; these things all add up to a classic poverty picture. (This is too often the case and it needs to change. But that’s a whole other post.) But I’m thinking beyond now. I’m trying to think about what it is I want to be able to do: go to cool places if I find them, have good food on a regular basis, live in a house that isn’t crumbling around me, live in a safer neighbourhood, send my kids to a good school, be able to have leisure time with them on a regular basis… basically, experience life instead of worrying about it or missing out because I feel stuck in some permanent condition of helplessness.

I also don’t want to raise my kids thinking that they are poor and will always be poor. I want them to be inventive of ways to meet their needs. I want them to dream big. I want them to think of what they want and how they can reach those goals, with constant attention to balance between reward and effort and strategy. I don’t want them to give up on something because it costs too much – I want them to figure out how to meet that need. I also don’t want any of us to be punching a clock or working under someone else’s orders – unless it is completely by self-directed choice – not a coerced and false choice.

I’m not willing to just wait out the future. I want out of poverty mentality now and I’m going to do everything I can to enjoy life instead of just getting through it.

summer at last

This summer is much needed. Classes are over finally and my exams are done. I have two final papers due next week that I will have to write sometime but I’m not thinking about that right now.

I need a break. I have been a full time student for 8 semesters straight now. I got a bad cold that lasted for most of April, through final projects and assignments. I’ve ended up quite demotivated and it’s making finishing the semester a challenge.


Spring is here and in this part of the country it never lasts long. My daffodils are done and the tulips are blooming profusely. I can smell the hyacinths as soon as I step out the door. Soon it will be summer and the heat will be oppressive. One of my neighbours is running an air conditioner tonight. I went around the block with the kids on their bikes tonight and we stopped at the park. I don’t remember the last time we had the leisure to do that. It feels so good to have time to just be with them.

I have big hopes and plans for the summer. I have a new website that I’ve been developing in my spare time (hahaha) which will go live any day now. I’ll be doing some web design for money this summer, plus there’s a chance I’ll be working on a cyber ethics text with a prof at the university here. I’ve had some photos accepted to a conference in Windsor and another in Toronto and I received a grant to do portraits of low-income moms and their families. The photo meetup group is going to start up again and I’m taking some exciting trips too. It’s going to be a wonderful summer.

I’m hoping to remember what it is I like to do for fun and do more of that. I’m also hoping to figure out how it is I’m going to support my family when I graduate. It’s a tall order but the summer will be long, right?

I’ve already started working on my sunburn.

Yay Canadian BlogHers!!!

Hooray for Kate!

After BlogHer 2005 (which I could not attend) I got really keen for bringing it to Canada. I talked with the team at BlogHer and they put me in contact with Alexandra Samuel. Unfortunately my house was robbed right as the excitement was building and with no computer it was a challenge to keep up the momentum. Then the new semester began and here it is April…

Luckily Kate has started up with the idea and there is interest! I’m so excited – it will be a great way to meet other bloghers, and a fabulous way to share the work of planning.