Archive for April, 2013

What’s up with Jack Fox


I had lunch the other day with Jack Fox, a former Kwantlen Polytechnic University student of mine and a great friend. (Last year he was interviewed as one of the finalists for Kwantlen’s “Alumni of the Year” Award.) He always has a bunch of projects on the go.

A couple of years ago I introduced Jack to my friends at Shaw Cablesystems, who were looking for volunteers to help produce coverage of the North American Outgames. That experience led to Outlook TV, where he now helps write, produce and edit a monthly LGBT magazine show that airs on Shaw’s Channel 4 and OUTtv across Canada. It’s a delightful and important program, mixing interviews with advocates and organizers with segments on song, theatre, community, and sports. (You can visit the Outlook TV website and FB page.)

Recently Jack signed on as Producer for “The Switch,” an Internet comedy series under development that focuses on the lives of transgendered individuals in Vancouver, with male-to-female and female-to-male transgendered actors playing all the transgendered roles. (You can visit The Switch website and FB page – and become a supporter of the show by making a donation here.)

This isn’t the first time Jack has helped break ground in bringing media awareness to transgender issues. In 2008 his company T-Bodies productions began publishing “Manamorphosis,” elegant and handsome black-and-white calendars featuring female-to-male transgendered models. The project was the first of its kind. T-Bodies went on hiatus earlier this year, but you can still pick up the 2013 calendar at Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver.

This man’s career is worth following.

A good whine

Unless they mean it humorously, when people utter this phrase – “but I’m not complaining” – they are  *always* complaining; i.e., they are expressing “pain, grief, or discontent.” What these sad and/or irritated individuals mean to say is this:  “But I’m not whining.”  That is, they are not complaining in a petulant, feeble, long-lasting, or high-pitched manner.  Nonetheless, they *are* whining, usually, despite their protests of innocence, aren’t they?

Imperfect Wisdom

My least favourite maxim of all time most certainly belongs to George Santayana:  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Its banal ubiquity has not increased its charm any. Remembering the past is usually a necessarily step to repeating it. Historical records of religious and clannish rivalries, confidence games and marital treacheries, and tragic hubris and the rest of it are no doubt worth remembering, but not for any contraceptive function.

Uncle Tommy


My Dad’s youngest sibling was a very positive and energetic guy who absolutely adored his family.

I can get used to this


After a wonderful term as the chair of the Applied Communication department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, I’ve returned to my role as 100% instructor.

It feels as though I have lost my X-Ray vision. Things to which I needed to pay attention for three years are now hidden, in particular matters regarding employment and contracts and much of the hullabaloo that happens among the divisions at my fine institution. (I have also been taken off of a number of email-distribution lists.) Life is still not quiet, though. My home departments are bustling with creative development and debate, and my students are writing a ton.

This gig is a blessing I will always cherish.

Vancouver Spring


Student blogging II

Students in my Advanced Professional Communications class have been busily blogging, making sure they get their ten posts done before this weekend’s deadline. There’s some really good stuff.

Detecting BS

I was delighted when Professor Harry Frankfurt of Princeton University published On Bullshit, because that book gave me cover to teach a module on the subject to my university students. My short definition of bullshit: language a person uses to hide that person’s real intention. Bullshit can be a lie, or the truth … or something else all together, like “changing the subject.”

A scenario to explain what I mean: A teenage boy has been out smoking pot with his friends. His mother confronts him when he comes home: “Have you been smoking pot, son?” The teen has many options to BS and thus hide his real intention, which is to make it up to his room without getting “busted.”

The (incomplete) truth: “Nothing to worry about. I was in a car that some of my friends had been smoking pot in.”

The lie: “Of course not. I always listen to my Mom.”

Changing the subject: “How could you ask me that question, when you know how important your belief in me is to my fragile self esteem?”

I have seen each of these options work nicely.

I love Jonathan Mayhew’s dissections of bad scholarly prose. Sometimes the badness is the consequence of an attempt to bullshit. The intention that the authors of this prose often wish to hide: “I don’t want my reader to see that I haven’t thought through this argument or idea thoroughly.”

As a professional editor and a former communications consultant for publicly traded companies, I believe I’m a nifty bullshit-spotter, but only when I’m reading it – more specifically, when I am reading prose written by people who are not me. (Face to face, I’m hopeless. Why? A person’s physical confidence usually wins me over.)

I was a good deal older than I should have been when I finally figured out how to detect bullshit, if only sometimes, in *my own* prose. I’ll try to address that in a later post.

(originally posted on Stupid Motivational Tricks)

Biznxt: Tomorrow’s startups, today

Picture 2

Some current and former students of mine have started a blog called Biznxt: Tomorrow’s startups, today. The goal: “We aim to bring you the latest news on today’s top tech start-ups with a mix of information and opinion.” It’s *really* smart. The most recent post describes a new company called Clarity, which has created a fascinating platform that connects entrepreneurs to industry experts … by phone.

Student Digital Media Marketing Blogs

Students in my “Marketing in a Digital World” class at Kwantlen Polytechnic University have been keeping one another up to date on developments in digital and social media with their blogs and their classroom presentations. This class would be impossible to teach without the range and intelligence of their regular contributions. I think you will enjoy their work. #MRKT3311 is their twitter-feed.

In recent posts Rashad Khan discusses Twitter’s new “twitter card” platform and scorpiogirl8 shows you how to create your own infographics.

(cross-posted at NoContest.CA)