Friday, July 8, 2011


It’s never a glamorous moment. There is usually a watery highball glass that needs refreshing awash in a pool of its own sweat sitting next to an ashtray full of butts. Your desk is strewn with a smattering of papers; like a dried up mound of pallid, brittle leaves that have to be swept into a dust bin at the end of autumn. When you finally finish your writing, it is 3:04 am, your right eye is twitching, the lumbar region of your back is tied in a knot of tension, and the cat is splayed across the desk chair you have since forsaken for the general placation of your bed. You are alone; without triumph or fanfare.

At this very moment you’re curious what the next step is. The words oozed out of your fingertips seconds earlier, but now there is no friendly tapping. Everything has finally culminated in a lexis of claims, still fresh. If only there was more of a glowing essence housed within this second of completion; maybe an epic illumination that would at least show in your cat’s droopy eyes or a miniscule rainbow that suddenly shoots out of the dripping glass. No such luck. This is the flash of time that you have been waiting for the past three years, yet this very moment in which you’ve closed down shop on the printing press to your soul can almost certainly be described as a dud.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All is Right with the World. Sort of.

Oh. Look here. It's been almost a year since my last blog post.



In that case, it's probably time for a bit of updating and "housekeeping" (as nerdy profs everywhere call it.) The first major accomplishment is that I have successfully defended my dissertation (June 1, 2011) and will be graduating August 6th, 2011. The published manuscript, titled:

Sugar, Salt, and Fat: Michelle Obama's Rhetoric Concerning the Let's Move! Initiative, Binary Opposition, Weight Obsession, and the Obesity Paradox

can be found here (OhioLINK.)

The goal of this project was to conduct a textual analysis on the social and political implications of First Lady Michelle Obama’s rhetorical artifacts from 2009 to 2011 regarding her childhood obesity campaign and widely-supported initiative entitled Let's Move! The analysis examined the remarks made by Michelle Obama regarding childhood obesity at five separate speaking engagements. The research focused on the rhetorical and social construction of weight, while emphasizing the immediate need for policy-change and a human rights focus in relation to weight discourses. The major objective of this work was to investigate discursive and symbolic themes of empowerment, peace-building, violence, dehumanization, globalization, sustainability, consumption, consumerism, and performativity while drawing on critical rhetorical studies and health communication scholarship to challenge the status quo of binary opposition, weight obsession, and the obesity paradox in lieu of contemporary US weight discourses.

Almost simultaneously, Roz Chast published this cartoon in the New Yorker June 27, 2011:

Irony! Major Irony!

Perhaps a future book cover illustration, hmmmmmmmm? So anyway, it's been a rough three years, but I'm feeling very happy about the outcome. I still didn't learn how to play really anything on the guitar, but at least I tried. My fingers hurt just thinking about it... I guess I prefer the keyboard.

Regardless, with this degree comes a lot of perspective about where I came from, who I am, and where I'm going. As I accept offers for jobs, I try to keep my chin up knowing that there is still so much to do and so many goals to achieve. With this next phase comes a lot of uncertainty, but I'm just beginning to realize that my push to finish the PhD in 3 years was well worth it.

And I hope Uncle Rondy was right. With confidence, I think the Armentrouts and the Lietzkes are proud... even though this was only the first step =)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

OMG! Is Michelle Obama actually Getting it?!

Maybe so, if this story from the Christian Science Monitor is to be believed.

The First Lady goes on record saying she "tries to stay away from discussions about weight with her daughters," focusing instead on health (even though this is also a rhetorically "loaded" term.) I notice she's still willing to talk about weight with the rest of our daughters. And sons.

Well, change comes slowly. I hope she'll keep listening as well as talking. And if there's another place at the table for the September summit on childhood obesity, definitely count me in. . . and someone pay for my travel expenses lol

Getting really pumped! This year of research should be awesome!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I've Never Had a Better Sandwich in My Life. It's as if the Meat has been Touched by God.

Why does the Culver's BBQ Brisket Sandwich (the picture above doesn't do it justice) have to be seasonal? Also, why does the nearest Culver's have to be an hour away from Bowling Green?
I mean seriously. They serve it with a fork.
I think that I need to stage a following similar to the one when the McRib was popular:

And all those dorks thought that was "good?"
They haven't lived until the magical pork products at Culver's have graced their lips.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This Tastes Like Sweet, Hot Garbage

Not joking. I made myself eat it because I didn't want to feel guilty throwing away my pre-packaged, sodium and preservative-laden pile of shredded junk. Just a suggestion: DO NOT EAT THIS...


It's the only Lean Cuisine that hasn't left me feeling dissatisfied and barfy (ironic that their slogan is "keep life delicious.") If only I could afford more "organic" produce... I could "fix" more "healthy" meals (if/when time allots) and my fridge would look more like this:

Oh well. Such is life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Words/Phrases to Eliminate from Our Collective Vocabs

Seriously. Get rid of this garbaggio... or risk turning into a Jersey Shore cast member.

It is what it is.
At the end of the day...
I'm not gonna lie, but...
To be honest with you...
Yaaaaaaaaaay! (As in: "Timmy just made a doodie in his potty. Yaaaaaaay!")
pistol (As in: "Timmy is being such a little pistol today. Tsk. Tsk.")
naughty (As in: "Don't say 'Oh my God' like naughty Aunt Jen.")
stinker (As in: "I'm sorry Timmy doesn't like your christmas gift. He's being a stinker.")
I got thrown under the bus
Brother and/or brotha and/or broseph (When the person is not related.)
That's fierce, cute, hot, sassy, or chic
Epic anything
Respect or Disrespect
It's all good
I feel you
Dawg (unless used to make fun of someone's name)
That's what it's all about
Without a doubt
I'm over it
It's my day (as in a bride using this as an asshole-ish excuse to treat people badly)
I'm type A
One day at a time
I'm just livin' the dream
Tweet, tweeting, tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhead, twitterature, twittersphere
Is there an app for that?
Can you hear me now?!?!
Epidemic, disease, crisis, war on anything (or other variations of militaristic/apocalyptic rhetoric)
In this economy
Sarah Palin
Can you hear me now?
Device (instead of phone)
Baby bump
Cougar (as in an old-ass lady chasing a younger man)
Murdered out (as in a car)
Anyting -ista
Green -anything
Lady Gaga
Apparently... (and then interject a relatively mediocre personal observation)
Communicate (as in it's not a process, but something finite)
I know, RIGHT!?!?!?

If the above weren't obvious enough, LSSU has a list of their own here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ode to My Left Leg

Back to normal and no pain whatsoever,
Taking the hardware out was really quite clever.

I am SO PUMPED that the aching in my knee is gone. Besides the ugly-ass scars all over, I think my leg/knee/ankle is about 99%. I've given it enough time to heal, sitting around for months, and it's evident that I've finally arrived at a place where I can stand, kneel, squat, and walk for long lengths of time.

A few years ago I was really scared that I would never get here, that I'd be jacked up for life, but it just occurred to me that I'm really thankful for this and don't want to take it for granted. Anyway, I just thought I should put that appreciation out into the universe... now to get back on the treadmill everyday this week. Booya.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where Did May Go?

Whoa. As annoying as the lawnmowers outside my bedroom window at 7:45a, this summer will be flying by. Lots of concerts planned, hopefully going to see some Tigers games, bonfires, reading fiction, grilling, camping, tubing, visiting friends, and driving all over the place. On the other hand I have a ton of work to do... a grant proposal... plus a class UGH.

Then it will be time for the prelim. Double UGH. Maybe my b-day week will suck because of this? I hope not. Anyway, if anyone knows of any adjunct positions around here please let me know. I've already updated my professional site for the ongoing job search. Also, ironically, I've finally got back on the DREADMILL. Feeling pretty good already. Knee doesn't hurt at all!!!

That's the brief update in the life of BA. I'm hoping to get back to regular posting, but if not, don't hold it against me =)

Have a great summer friends!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


My head is spinning so I made Linner (courtesy of Jerry Seinfeld) from stuff I had laying around. Used up all of the blackberries. Now maybe I'll get back to work.

Two weeks left until the official end of the semester. *breathe in, breathe out*

Also, today is Earth Day. Go hug a tree or something.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chpt. 1 of Tangled routes: women, work, and globalization on the tomato trail By Deborah Barndt

Ok, it's going to be a late one today because I just picked up the book from Ohiolink. I guess it's the end of the semester or something!

Chpt 1 does a good job of foreshadowing the main issues of the tomato production process in a globalized sense. Barndt highlights the history of the tomato and its production by beginning with breaking down the process in 3 sections:

-the production of tomatoes in Mexico
-their transport, trade, and distribution in US and Canada
-their commercialization and consumption in Canada

It's important to note that it is not necessarily linear though (e.g. south producing for the north trajectory can be more complicated than these 3 sections.)

Barndt takes on Gereffi's global commodity chain (GCC) analysis on p. 9, while also integrating various maps and other stages to alliterate her understanding of the complexities of the tomato market. We begin to see that there is not necessarily any specific "right" or "wrong" way to look at the production/consumption of the tomato; rather, individuals will engage differently depending upon experience and worldview.

Some points that I found interesting:

Step 4: Multinationals control the technological package p. 15
"intellectual property" where companies claim patents on genetically modified tomato seeds
"technological package" issues of agro-chemicals and pesticides

"Food is a political centerpiece of the Zapatista initiative" p. 16

gender dynamic of harvesters rooted in machista culture; perpetuated by the international sexual division of labor p. 17

Also get a good understanding of the involvement of every aspect of the production of tomatoes, how everything seems to "work", etc. We see organizations like NAFTA and USDA playing a part as well.

p. 23 Tomatoes account for 56% of the cargo crossing the US-Mexico border at Nogales

"illusion of diversity" in the consumption of tomatoes p. 30

p. 32 McDonaldization

p. 35 commodity fetishism Marx

p. 36 draws on Gramsci's notion of "moment" and integrates her own ideas about the moments that can be examined along the tomato trail

I'll address these all more in-depth during our discussion this afternoon, but I'm excited because a lot of Barndt's points parallel many of the underlying arguments that I've been concerned with pertaining to weight discourse. Thinking about the tomato trail has only strengthened many of my presumptions about the commodification of food, the body, individual communication/rhetorical practices, and political/powers structures, so I'm looking forward to today =)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Activism/Feminism Thoughts

So, for today's class we are to define our activist space, describe it, and answer the question: What makes it activism?

To begin, it's best to offer our own definition of activism because the future of feminism is in trying to make scholarship/activism connect. According to activism is "doing something" about a political, economical, environmental, or social cause. This type of advocacy I might add, should also be in a manner that is legitimately meaningful, poignant, thought-provoking, and awareness-raising. The true objective should be to evoke some sort of change as an activist for a given cause.

The etymology of activist is:

"one who advocates a doctrine of direct action," 1915; from active (q.v.). Activism in this sense is first attested 1920; earlier (1907) it was used in ref. to a philosophical theory (

My conceptualization of the idea of activism is in alignment with the above definitions, yet I also find that activism is dirty and fraught with lifetimes of hard work and life-risking. Moreover, in this sense, a word that is often associated with activist is militant... which is appropriate for many reasons. The word activism is often used synonymously with protest or dissent as well, but activism can stem from any number of political orientations and take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, both work stoppages and hunger strikes, or even guerrilla tactics.

I am still riding the fence about whether or not my research can be deemed as activism. I'll have to continue processing this =)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paula's Taco Salad

Effing delish. It reminds me of all the summer grilling parties in Mt. P! Anyway, her "secret" was to use Doritos and to make sure not to stir everything together until immediately before eating... which is why my version is also wonderful. Plus I used the low-cal Western dressing. Yes, it's white-trash-tastic.