Women Are Sports Fans Too!

Earlier this month, Men’s Health Magazine took us back a few decades with its article “The Secret to Talking Sports With Any Woman.” The article, which has since been deleted, suggested that a woman couldn’t possibly care about sports because there are no storylines to follow and that they simply “just don’t care about stats.”

Female football playerIt didn’t take long for social media users to attack the magazine, causing a major stir and invoking the need for some serious damage control, and I can see why.

Assuming that women need to be emotionally invested in something to take an interest in it is stereotypical, misogynistic and quite frankly, a load of crap.

According to BuzzFeed, one in three sports fans are women. I’ve been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and trust me, it has nothing to do with any players’ wife, kids or how good his butt looks in football pants.

Sports have always been a part of my life, whether I was playing, attending games or spending Sunday in front of the TV.

Yes, I can spot a false start before the ref throws the flag and no, I don’t fill out my March Madness bracket based on mascot or jersey color.

I, like anyone else, am perfectly capable of understanding the concepts behind sports and actually enjoying them. Regardless of my gender, I can root for my teams and talk trash, and I should be able to do so without being quizzed on the team’s history or naming five players from the starting roster.

It’s no secret that there’s a division between men and women in society, but where do we draw the line? It’s bad enough that women barely have a say in their own reproductive rights and make a mere 77 cents per every man’s dollar; now we’re being told what activities we do and do not like.

It wasn’t until 1920 that women began to have a say in anything regarding their own lives by gaining the right to vote, but other things such as participating in higher education, having a job or choosing whether or not to have children?

Forget it. While the women’s rights movement has progressed since then, articles like “The Secret to Talking Sports With Any Woman” are prime examples of how women are still seen as inferior and unable to take part in “male activities.”

Accepting women as serious sports fans is a step in the right direction toward gender equality, because believe it or not, women are people too.
Men shouldn’t feel intimidated by a woman who is knowledgeable about sports, and should instead appreciate the fact that they can watch a game with their female friends without having to think twice about it.


IMG_2823Ashleigh Balsamo is a junior at JMU in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her major is media arts and design with a concentration in journalism, minoring in women and gender studies.

Ashleigh loves writing and design and was editor of her high school yearbook and literary arts magazine. She is currently a contributing writer for JMU’s newspaper, ‘The Breeze’ and student-run magazine, ‘Port & Main.’ 

After graduation, Ashleigh would like to work for a national newspaper or magazine, particularly one that focuses on women’s issues.
Her dream job ?  editor- in-chief at Cosmopolitan magazine.

Ebola-related charity scams

This is a re-post from the FTC

by Colleen Tressler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken the lives of more than 4,000 people. Many people are asking how they can help.

If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Urgent appeals for aid that you get by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or even in person, may not be on the up-and-up. Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from fraudsters who either solicit for bogus charities or aren’t honest about how a so-called charity will use your contribution.


Consumer Alerts: Tax Scams

irs-scamIRS fraud phone calls are out of control. I’ve received two in less than 6 months! The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration  warns that scammers posing as IRS officials are contacting people claiming they owe taxes. The caller demands a prepaid debit card, wire transfer or a credit card number for payment. If the person doesn’t comply, the caller threatens to arrest or deport the target, or take away their driver’s license or business.Vee Johnson, Community Outreach Liaison for Consumer Affairs, Department of Cable and Consumer Services for Fairfax County offers this advice:

Why are IRS scams so prevalent?  “The IRS is a favorite target for scammers.  Each year, the IRS publishes the “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams that start with tax season but flourish throughout the year.   Check out this list so you will be prepared and know what to do when scammers contact you by phone, mail, or mobile devices.To report an IRS impersonation scam, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or call 1-800-366-4484.”

How can you tell if it’s a scam and not the real thing?
“You can never be sure if a call you receive is the real thing or a scam.  Remember that you are not obligated to listen or talk when you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming they are from a government agency or when they have some information about you.   The IRS and other government agencies never initiate contact with us by phone, email, text, or mobile devices to demand money or personal information. If you are curious about the call, hang up and contact the IRS direct using the information they provide to get reliable, accurate information. “

Is it ok to return a phone call if you’re not sure it is a scam? “When you return a call to a scammer, they will demand that you send money right away.  While they will take a credit card number, they prefer a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.  Unlike a credit card, that leaves a financial footprint that can be traced or tracked, a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer is like giving away cash.  They leave no paper trail to find or stop the fraud from continuing.  Millions of dollars lost to scams are never recovered.”

What can be done if you receive an  unsolicited threatening call from an “agency” demanding money?”

Vee: “When you receive an unsolicited call from an aggressive, demanding, threatening caller, don’t expect honesty or truthfulness.  Take a deep breath.  Don’t engage the stranger with answers, questions, or comments.  Scammers know the power of words and will try to use our phones as a weapon to make us feel vulnerable or intimated so they can get our money or personal information.  Keep control of your phone and do whatever makes you feel good to hang up quickly. Tell others about the scam so they know what to do if they become a target.  Report the scam and congratulate yourself on not becoming the victim of this pervasive scam. “

VF Johnson-703-324-5959
Community Outreach Liaison
Consumer Affairs
Department of Cable and Consumer Services
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 433
Fairfax, Virginia 22035


Artist Profile: Austin Hendrick

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Austin and I work for Fairfax County Government. I’m a Media Producer for Channel 16 and he is an Information Officer for the Office of Public Affairs. Our jobs require ongoing collaboration, so I see him often. For the past … Continue reading

Up Close with Mykal Hall – Part 2

re-post from onOne Software blog post

In part 2 of – Up Close with Mykal Hall – he talks about his typical workflow. To view part 1, click here.

Avalon+Beach-2726942318-OTell us about your workflow. How does onOne Software fit in? Are you using Photoshop anymore?

I always shoot in RAW. That way I capture the maximum amount of information so I have more creative leeway to stylize to my liking. As the saying goes “pixels are meant to be punished” and on the odd occasion I bend them to near breaking point. I copy my card to an external drive to a folder labeled by the location and date. Then I import the images into Lightroom with a few general keywords, create a Collection Set, then create a collection in that set called Full Shoot where all my RAW files are imported.

The next stage is to preview the images and delete the few that are ruined by either me having to lift my tripod in mid shoot to avoid being hit by a wave, miscalculating a wave strength and get splash back on the lens or filter, (a Seascapers torment), not having properly cleaned the said lens or filter after being splashed or just stuffing up the shot by not selecting Bulb mode when taking long exposures. From a Seascape shoot there may be 2 or 3 shots that fall into this category.

Then, I’ll 3 star rate those images that I feel are acceptable which generally culls it down by half. If I have been in a Long Exposure mood that day this process takes no time at all as I normally have a 90% plus hit rate with composition and exposure. It’s only when I’m shooting for flowing water movements with shutter speeds of 0.6sec that I have more to cull as I’m trying to capture the right timing of waves over or around rocks. After that, I will collect similar composition and view them in Survey View in Lightroom to pick the cream of the crop. These images get a 4 star rating and are placed in the next collection called Picks which is when I start my editing.

Summary of Mykal’s Pre-Editing Process

  1. Shoot in RAW
  2. Copy card to external drive to a folder labeled by location & date
  3. Import images into Adobe Lightroom (with general keywords)
  4. Create a Collection Set, then create a collection in that set called Full Shoot where all my RAW files are imported.
  5. Preview images. Delete completely ruined ones.
  6. 3 star rate images (images deemed acceptable)
  7. Pick the very best and give them 4 stars. Place these in a collection called Picks




To read more of this post following link


Samiya Bashir: Stabilimentum


Samiya Bashir is the author of Gospel, finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the 2009 Lambda Literary Award, and Where the Apple Falls, a Poetry Foundation bestseller and finalist for the 2005 Lambda Literary Award. Bashir is editor of Black Women’s Erotica 2 and co-editor, with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana, of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art.

Bashir’s poetry, stories, articles and editorial work have been featured in numerous publications including, most recently and forthcoming, in POETRY, Poet LoreMichigan Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cura, The Rumpus, Hubbub, Callaloo, and Encyclopedia Vol. 2 F-K.

She is the recipient of two Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan, as well as awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, where she was a recent NEA writer-in-residence, the University of California, where she served as Poet Laureate, the Astraea Foundation, the National Association of Pen Women, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Soul Mountain Writers Colony, The Austin Project, Alma de Mujer, the James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Cave Canem, among others. Her long poem, “Coronagraphy,” was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize.samiya

A long-time communications professional focused on editorial, arts, and social justice movement building, Bashir is a founding organizer of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer’s festival for LGBT writers of African descent and a recipient of the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award, given annually in recognition of women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.

- See more at: http://samiyabashir.com/bio/#sthash.zmcalhwT.dpuf

15 Portraits of Unrelated Doppelgangers

Have you ever met or seen another person that looked exactly like someone you know? If so, then you’ve encountered someone’s Doppelgänger. I’m not a look-alike! is an ongoing project by François Brunelle (featured previously).


Up Close with Mykal Hall – Part 1

Re-post from onOne Software blog

Bilgola+Beach-2726942703-OIn Part 1 of this two-part blog post, we are excited to introduce you to Mykal Hall, a talented photographer who we became quick fans of after seeing his images online. Mykal is an amazing landscape/seascape photographer from Sydney, Australia. Most often you will find him shooting beaches around Sydney and avoiding those sneaker waves. His stunning seascapes capture the beauty of the ocean. When we got a chance to speak with Mykal, he had great stories to share and the techniques he uses to fuel his passion. Today, we’re excited to share those stories and techniques with you.


At the age of 34, my life changed from aimlessly wandering through life without a purpose to finding the “WHY” to my life in the form of my wife/soulmate/best friend Dianne and her 3 children. My home life is now perfect and I could not imagine a better family to spend the rest of my days with. There was, however, another yearning that wasn’t fulfilled. My work life. Having no real passions to pursue at an early age, I fell into various work situations from Storeman, Forklift Operator, Service Technician, to finally a Truck Driver. After 43 years, my interest for “Geekdom” from my Service Technician days, was reignited once again. I discovered “Podcasts.” The ability to learn about any subject at my own leisure was too tempting to resist. So what subjects did I choose to fill this quest for knowledge? Psychology and the latest technology trends. It was the former that I thought I would be pursuing as a career until I stumbled upon the podcast “This Week In Photo” (TWIP). It sounded very geeky (with all the cool gadgets) and creative (which would make up for a past failed interest in drawing). That’s when I purchased my first camera, a Nikon D90. Having never held a DSLR, or for that matter any SLR camera, I thought I should learn to use it in Manual mode first. When I say manual mode, I even mean manual focus. Everything I learned came from two sources: podcasts and a book called “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson.

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Best Views in the US Virgin Islands

Best Views in the US Virgin Islands.

Instantly Interesting Photographs with Reflections

Originally posted on Photofocus:

Reflections should be on your short list of images to make every time you go shooting. These are the steps for making a reflection picture like the one above.

Step 1: Frame Your Mind

Firstly, you’ve got to have photography on your mind, you’ve got to be looking for a picture. I was wandering around at the Newark International airport waiting for my flight when I noticed a woman wearing hot red high heels. I thought to myself, Those shoes would make an interesting subject…. That got me thinking about what picture I could make, and what picture I could convince the woman wearing the shoes to make. While I was stewing on the picture, I planted a seed when I said, “Wow, those are great looking’ shoes,” and she said, “Thanks!”

Step 2: Find a Surface

I looked around me and saw lots of busy airport stuff—all things…

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