Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brave New Pill

The pain sets in, and now it's only a matter of time before she comes.

Crimson wave, Auntie Flo, that time of the month: she's earned quite the name for herself.

She can ruin your beach plans (no one feels confident bloated in a bikini), restrict your inner fashionista (white pants are too risky to wear) and break the bank (tampons are expensive!).

But as much as she is an inconvenience sometimes, I don't think I'd feel like a real woman without her.

Yesterday the FDA approved the new birth control pill Lybrel, which completely eliminates women's monthly menstruation if taken regularly. The pill contains a combination of hormones -- estrogen and progestin -- which are used in commonly prescribed birth control pills.

Lybrel's differs because it does not provide a set of placebo pills to be taken at the end of the month. With traditional pills, women experience their "period" when they reach this week.

Many women are celebrating the new pill, excited for the new-found convenience of not having a period. This is the first pill on the market to completely stop menstruation.

The FDA approved Seasonale in September 2003, which extends the time a woman has between her periods. Seasonale users theoretically have a period only four times a year, once every 3 months.

But how is all of this safe?

According to the Seasonale website, the period you get when you're on birth control is not even a real period.

Because the pills prevent you from ovulating "your uterine lining doesn’t build up, so there’s no need to shed it." The bleeding comes from hormone withdraw.

So basically, birth control already stops your period.

But if you're only bleeding from withdraw, why even take the week off of the hormones?


Damnit. Lybrel beat us all to the punch.

I can't say I'm completely confident in that no periods are healthy. I mean, there has to be reason as to why “no-period” birth control wasn't created from the start. Maybe it's bad to have so many hormones constantly released in your system without break? Science scares me sometimes. My period stands as evidence that I am a young human woman, healthy and alive. To think we'll get rid of it all together just for convenience’s sake makes me wonder what could be next.

I just hope we all make a clean landing at the end of this slippery slope.

Friday, May 18, 2007

And the winner is..

A man in full-blown colonial garb standing on the corner of a busy intersection. He's not breaking-in his Civil War reenactment gear, nor is he awaiting a bus to make his pilgrimage to colonial Williamsburg. He holds his second amendment near and dear to his heart, and he has made it a point to remind you that you share the same valuable liberty.

I can't really remember if my friend admired or cursed her father for such a display, but I know at the time that I was embarrassed for both of them. My reaction was mainly fueled by the in-seventh-grade-parents-are-the-definition-of-lame stage, but a portion of my disapproval derived from my natural dislike for guns.

Basically, I'm scared by their power. I have no desire to handle something that can instantly kill someone with a simple slip of the finger. Sure, I drive a car (they kill a helluva lot of innocent people), but its danger depends on a lot of elements grouped together -- reckless driving, high speeds, other cars, etc.

A gun has one intention only -- to penetrate. Paper, flesh, windows; the result usually is destruction.

Virginia Citizens Defense League hosted a gun raffle Thursday to respond to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to crack down on illegal gun-selling in Virginia. The raffle gave away a Para-Ordnance pistol and a Varmint Stalker rifle.

Bloomberg credits such sales as fueling crime in NYC. He began taking action by suing two VA gun shops that illegally sold to undercover private investigators. The money collected at the raffle was put towards paying the lawsuit.

A recent editorial in the Washington Post captured my thoughts exactly of the event. Not only was the raffle distasteful in the wake of the Virginia Tech tradegy but placing $900 weapons in the hands of strangers, who may not be fit to own such possessions, is outrageous.

The article pointed out that VCDL viewed the gun shops as victims, instead of the people. Gun shops selling to customers without following legal procedure puts society at risk. It's not a loss to have the state enforcing laws that keep citizens safe.

So in hindsight, dads, feel free to suit up. I'd tolerate a flash-back from the 1800s before some shotgun giveaway at the local rec center.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Glimpse into crystal ball.. of sorts

I can't help feeling somewhat sophisticated. Dressed in black pants and a fitted button-down, I rub elbows with hundreds of 30-somethings as we pile on the Metro for our early-morning commute through DC.

My train drops me right past the Pentagon in Virginia at my summer internship at Engage PR. EPR focuses to help start-up technology companies make a name for themselves in the competitive market. EPR is based in Alameda, CA but opened an east-coast office in October. The location was occupied by one lone Account Supervisor for the past few months; she now claims she has to curb her tendency to talk to herself with me around.

Monday marked my first day of training and I took the bull by the horns. Matrices, brief books, press searches – did my Syracuse University professors neglect to include some things in my classes? It could be that I’m majoring in newspaper journalism and political science – not public relations. Regardless, I came into this internship with an open-minded and ready to learn all about PR.

But, I needed something to keep me from drowning in a sea of unfamiliarity. Newspaper and PR fall under a broad sense of communications, so they couldn’t be that different? Through out the tutorials of various PR activities, I found myself clinging to all the things I learned back in snowy SU.

Meeting Points? Oh, that’s kind of like the formation of a hard news story.

Case study? That reminds me of a nut graf.

Confused? I wouldn’t say confused. Challenged – learning something that appears to be opposite of what I’m used to? Bingo.

The relationship between journalists and public relations in general is a bit of a tug-of-war anyways. No wonder I’m a bit out-of-sorts.

Stories are assigned to journalists, and it's their job to gain as much information as possible about that topic in order to construct a balanced, informative article for an audience. Experts, examples, stats, history: all important bases to cover. With my newspaper-conditioned mind, I process PR interaction as simply an easy way to gain access to a multitude of information and contacts.

Seeing the dealings from the other side, its a weird sensation. The explanations, comments and processes appear to have a bit of a tint. Journalists are prey -- you want to get a hold of them, work your magic and get your client's name in the article.

I can easily say that I won't be able to look at my interviewing process in quite the same way, especially with PR. To say if that is a good or bad thing, time will tell.