Monday, April 30, 2007

Sandlot Spartans

After watching the videos in class that fans created about music videos and movies, I started talking to a roommate of mine about the videos that I personally thought were interesting. He works for the UWM tech support and has plenty of time to also play around on the internet watching other short clips made by fans. He also shared some of his favorites with me. One that stood out the most was a video that uses all images from the movie the Sandlot, but all of the audio in the short clip comes from the new movie 300. With the serious tone of narrator from 300, mixed with images of the kids from the Sandlot, the baseball team seems very badass. The dog from the movie appears to be even more of a beast, but overall the feel of the clip is hysterical.


I found watching all the mash-ups in class interesting this week. And as nerdy as they seem I can't dis them, for I too am guilty of creating a "mash-up." It's actually more of a compilation. I compiled scenes from my favorite horror movies and spliced them together into an hour and fifty minute movie. There are six sections: "slayings," "zombies," "oddities," "supernatural," "transformed," and "odds and ends." I did this creatively, complete with music and 80's titling. While I was doing it, I realized why people like myself create them. For the most part, we want a video that allows us to enjoy parts of movies that we don't need to watch again because we've seen them enough times. I really only want to see certain scenes from these movies because I probably watched the whole thing enough times to not want to watch it for a very long time.

Anyway, if anyone is a fan of extreme violence and gore, let me know and I'll hook you up with a copy.... I doubt I'll have any takers.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Text Messaging gone wild

My mom has become text messaging obsessed. Really. For as long as I can remember she has always been attatched to her cell phone. It is rare to find her without it pressed up to her ear as she does 5 other things at once. If it's not there you can bet that you will find it tightly clutched within her hands. Perhaps thats where I got that from. But anyways, she likes to get the newest model of phones but the only feature she uses is the standards. Until now. I taught her how to text and now I fear I've created a Momster.

She lives in GB so to keep tabs on her three children she likes to text. The messages started off as how is school, work or did you catch American Idol. Soon she was asking if I knew anything about my sister's new boyfriend. Or did I know that my sister had a new boyfriend and did my sister know that she knew about the new boyfriend. My phone is blowing up with inquiries from tax forms to new restaurants. Oh and if I dont respond she might just ask why and where i am. My sister and brother are getting annoyed also but we thought the novelty would wear off.

No such luck. Sitting in class I got a pic message from her of a cute baby that had been brought into her work. WHO taught her this! Progessively I (along with my other two siblings) have been getting pic messages of old friends she runs into or (and I'm not kidding) her garden she is creating.

Now although it's cute that she wants to share all of these facets of her life with us. It's too much and too time consuming. Ok and a bit out there. Perhaps we should have an intervention over Mother's day weekend about this growing obsession. I dont expect her to quit cold turkey but this has gotten out of control. As I type this I can hear my phone going off in the next room. Must go! It could be my work calling back. Or perhaps more likely a picture of my mothers newest haircut.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Old to me.

I would like to take this opportunity to talk about old movies. Old movies like...the black and white ones. Old. Boring. Or, so I thought. I never watched old movies. I avoided them at all costs. My grandmother would have one on and a family function and I would leave the room. My roommate watches them ALL the time. I would just roll my eyes and go into my room. This all changed for me, and relatively recently. I had to watch an old movie for another JMC class. I had a list to choose from and I just didn't want to. I settled on the film "Lifeboat" which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I had heard of him, so I figured it wouldn't be all the mind numbing. Anyways, I loved it! Loved it! So, since then, I've been watching a few others. Would you believe I liked those too? Now, I would NEVER admit this to my roommate because I would just get a big, loud, "I TOLD YOU SO". I understand she would have every right to say that to me, but I just don't want to give her the pleasure. :) These movies are refreshing. They tell the same stories, but in a much different way. There isn't hard core violence or sex scenes, but the same messages get put out there. It was nice to see women on screen with obtainable bodies. They were thin, but in a "normal" way....not like walking skeletons. Even the men had "normal" bodies. They were in shape, but not body builders...just normal. Now, I admit, the acting is a bit different and much more cheesy, but it was an enjoyable experience. I must admit that I will continue to explore this new, old movie world...but if you see my roommate, don't tell her I told you guys this. Awesome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Running With Scissors

Last night I sat down to Running With Scissors and found myself growing crazier and anxious as the film progressed. While I'm not quite sure if I actually like the movie or not, I do have to say that the acting jobs were terrific.

The movie is based on the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs, who wrote the book, Running With Scissors. The movie revolves around the young boy, Augusten, who has to deal with an alcoholic father (played by Alec Baldwin) and a very unstable and selfish mother (Annette Bening). When Augusten's mother begins seeing a therapist, Dr. Finch (who is really crazy for being a psychologist), everything hits the fan. She and her husband get divorced, she begins taking the drugs that Dr. Finch prescribes her, and eventually gives her son up to live with Dr. Finch in a crazy bright pink house with his other insane children.

I don't really feel like going more in depth with the description, so you get the point. The movie is actually really funny but it's more of a humor that results from the characters' insanity and misfortunes. It's just really weird. It's one of those movies that if you checked out a second time you might enjoy it. or maybe not. I think I'll try reading the book.

Once Again- How Far is Too Far?

I was watching 'Best Week Ever' and one of the stories was about Alec Baldwin's voicemail message to his daughter. Okay, the message itself is a bit extreme. But, how exactly did people get their hands on this message? I doubt the daughter would have given it out. Just how exactly did this message circulate? I understand that once it's out there, it's out there for good, especially with sites like YouTube and such.

But really, a father's message to his daughter? Yeah, I guess he displayed 'bad parenting' but that was between Alec Baldwin and his daughter. I love how we can witness a mother/father berating her/his child in public, probably to the extreme Baldwin displayed, yet we don't do anything about it. But in the media, Baldwin is forced to write an apology to strangers.

Baldwin posted the apology on his site here.

"Thank you to everyone who has posted messages of support and understanding. Naturally, it is not best for a parent to lose their temper with their child. Everyone who knows me privately knows that I have endured a great deal over the last several years in my custody litigation.

Everyone who knows me privately knows that certain people will go to any lengths to embarass me and to disrupt my relationship with my daughter. In such public cases, your opponents attempt to take a picture of you on your worst day and insist that this is who you are as a person.

Outside the doors of divorce court, I have friends, I have respect from people I work with and I have a normal relationship with my daughter. All of that is threatened whenever one enters a court room.

Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child.

I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. ( Although I hope you never do.)

I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case. Once my book is published, I'm sure more people will understand the incredible strains created by parental alienation.

In the meantime, I'm sorry to anyone who's taken offense from this episode."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This website is absolutely hilarious. I have seen "The Landlord" clip before we watched it in class but I had no idea it came from this site. I checked it out after our class watched the Will Farrel bit and there are some pretty funny stuff on there! The site is pretty well done - I like that there is a rating system and it is clever that if a video doesn't receive enough votes, it is sent to the 'crypt.' I am curious to see what happens to this website. Whether it will get popular or not or if it will even become the next 'youtube.' Either way, I highly suggest you check out. Very entertaining.

This website is absolutely hilarious. I have seen "The Landlord" clip before we watched it in class but I had no idea it came from this site. I checked it out after our class watched the Will Farrel bit and there are some pretty funny stuff on there! The site is pretty well done - I like that there is a rating system and it is clever that if a video doesn't receive enough votes, it is sent to the 'crypt.' I am curious to see what happens to this website. Whether it will get popular or not or if it will even become the next 'youtube.' Either way, I highly suggest you check out. Very entertaining.


Yes I have Facebook, and yes, I probably go on it almost everyday... I find it an entertaining website that I brouse around when I am bored. One thing that really bothers me about the site though is their constant change of the sites layout. I understand that they are probably gaining a lot more members and trying to accommodate everyone, however, I find it annoying that the site constantly changes! It could be just me, but it is bothersome when I get used to one format they go ahead and update. I am curious to know if people that belong to facebook are requesting this or why they feel change needs to happen so frequently....

Real World

Not going lie, I am a fan of the Real World. Or at least I used to be. I haven't had cable for about three years now so I catch any cable shows here and there. I was at my friends house the other day watching a marathon of the current Real World and I found it to be absolutely hilarious. I never remembered the show being that involved in drinking. Of course all the seasons have their fair share of booze and drama, but now I feel like the show has lost its appeal and is far from what it used to be when the show first started... I could be wrong, it is just my opinion.

America's Army

Recently in one of my other media classes we've been looking at online gaming and the like. We were shown a free online game that six million people are playing... The game is called "America's Army" and you are only allowed to be a male member of the army, you can only see from their point of view so you are never able to see what your player looks like, and the game takes place in Iraq. The object of the game is to kill everyone that is not American... The Army uses this game as a recuiting device and it has been proven that numbers in the Army have gone up since this game was available to the public in 2000. Our professor told us that one part of the game the player goes into a hosptial and kills the injured people along wiht the doctors and nurses.... I found this game to be extremely disturbing. Sure, it maybe somewhat fun to play, but my biggest concern with the game and the actual war going on is that, in the game when you die you can start it all over again, in real life, you only get one chance. I think this is a sly tool to make the war look 'attactive' and 'fun' to recuit males.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stop Snitchin

I was checking my email tonight and came across this on yahoo. Hopefully, this link works but it details the murder of a bodyguard in the inner cities and the way which the music can twist life. I hadn't heard much up until tonight from watching it but rap star Busta Rhymes was a witness to the murder, and because of this unwritten rule that says "no one can snitch" the murder will probably never be identified. I was amazed to watch the values these young children have from the inner cities of how life is. It reminded me of some of the discussions we have had on ideology and meanings because Geoffrey Canada, a anti-violence advocate, makes a direct reference to these.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

BattleCry Movement

I read Rolling Stone and I saw an article that really worried me. It was about this new youth religious movement called BattleCry. The rally was a weird mix of an MTV concert and religious extremism. (Talk about disturbing.) According to the article the founder of the movement, Ron Luce, whipped them into a fury by ranting against everything that was abominable in his eyes: gays, jews, feminists, and "cultural Christians." Oh, and they hate root beer. And cereal. No more Special K and Captain Crunch for America!!!
And this guy bluntly says that he's not speaking metaphorically when he says that he wants a "warring church." He exhorts his followers that they must be ready to fight instead of being "passive little lukewarm, namby-pamby, kum-bah-yah, thumb-sucking babies that call themselves Christians." Yup, and he also thinks it's weakness to merely accept and trust Christ. "'I want a stalking church!'" he shouts.
One of the most disturbing things that I read was when Ron Luce recited a story from the Bible where a man gave his concubine to be gang raped, then sent the pieces to the twelve judges of Israel. He then started to cut up a mannequin onstage while the crowd chanted, "Cut up the concubine!"
It's funny, but as I read the article and watched some clips about BattleCry online, I wondered why these teens didn't realize that for all their ranting and raving against pop culture, they utilize it quite a bit themselves. Except for the praying and lack of alcohol, their rallies usually look like rock concerts, complete with a stage and pyrotechnics. Plus, these people have a kind of university now where they train teens to fight the fight from the inside of the culture. And these rallies attract thousands, even with their outright militaristic tones. They blame the culture for almost everything, completely ignoring how violent the Bible is, and other aspects of the culture they treasure. One can only hope this doesn't turn into something more ugly. And I guess blaming MTV, sex, pot, and secularists for all our troubles and violence is a lot easier than taking a hard look at ourselves.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ready For Iphone-Check out its Wiki Alternative

The Iphone has been deemed the next generation internet device by Apple. Apples Iphone does look to be a promising new tech gadget for a lot of old technoligies like the telephone. The Iphone combines everything you could need all into one device. Needless to say ive been super physched about its arrival. But, the new issue of popular science may have given me hope for a better project.

OpenMoko Announces the World’s First Integrated Open Source Mobile
Communications Platform at Open Source in Mobile Conference in Amsterdam.

Open mobile communications development platform and phones will create explosive growth of
mobile applications to rival the diversity and size of the massive ringtone market and foster new
income models for carriers

OPEN SOURCE IN MOBILE CONFERENCE --Amsterdam, November 7, 2006 –
OpenMoko today announced the immediate availability of a completely integrated open source
mobile communications platform in partnership with FIC, a world leader in motherboards,
graphics cards, mobile solutions, and electronic devices. The announcement of the OpenMoko
mobile communications platform coincides with the unveiling of FIC’s Neo1973 smartphone,
which utilizes the full OpenMoko platform and will be available in January 2007.

Until now, mobile platforms have been proprietary and scattered. With the release of
OpenMoko, which is based on the latest Linux open source efforts, developers now have an easy
way to create applications and deliver services that span all users and provide a common “look
and feel”. OpenMoko also offers common storage models and libraries for application
developers, making writing applications for mobile phones fun and easy while guaranteeing swift
proliferation of a wide range of applications for mobile phones. With such extremely high quality
open frameworks, developers will be armed with exactly the tools they need to revolutionize the
mobile industry.

the upper text is just a clip of whats to come from this revolutionary phone. but, at the very least this is the first phone to offer open sourse technology. Like Linux or wikipedia users can shape the phone to work anyway they want. The phone can be used on any network with various softwares. I believe this is the first step in real making a revolutionary product. Its the first step to aloow endless options for the consumer. Check out to see more specs


Virginia Tech

This past week America has experienced the largest shooting massacre in our nation's history. It has brought our nation together as one, like so many of the other national tradegies. The way people are coming together because of Virginia Tech is different than most of the others, people are pouring out their support not through letters of cards, it is happening on the internet, mostly through
I, as many others, was watching one of the primetime news specials that aired the day after the intial shootings happened. As most of the other news programs it gave recaps of what had happened and who was affected. One of the stories was on how people have come together on the interent and how was the center of it. One of the news anchors made a comment that "Facebook is becoming the new town square." Students were posting comments and trying to find friends in less than hour after word of what had happened. People were also leaving meaagaes of condolnce and disbelief.
I know that some people are against facebook and what it means to be a part of the college pop culture. I can see where they are coming from, but is becoming the new cell phone, even though it may not be portable, facebook is a new line of communication and it isn't going anwhere. Even the main stream media is getting in on the deal. They are looking for news stories through different threads and the opinions that kids have on them. I know this has happened in Virginia, but I also happen to know that media outlets here in Milwaukee have used Facebook as a way to get people's reactions and to get in contact with specific people to get their comments on a news story.

the show with zefrank

I am now addicted to The Show with Zefrank. After Wednesday’s class, I went home and immediately started watching some of the popular shows. Each one was unique and clever.

My favorite one on the most popular page is titled “Princess.” It’s one of his “How To” shows (like “Fingers In Food” – which is another funny one) about the proper procedure for checking out a hotel room. Every so often his shows include songs like, “How Do You Work This Thing?” and “This bright blue sky…makes me wanna throw up…This Random Guy…makes me wanna throw up.” He exceptionally combines witty words and pacing with random slap stick/gross jokes that still feels intelligent.

As I watched episode after episode, I started to wonder about Ze. He seems smart…I totally want to meet him…how does he think of all these ideas…why doesn’t he have his own books/shows/movies!?!

Then I came upon one of the last episodes listed on the most popular page, “Left Turn,” and Ze really did break the fourth wall. He narrated the show from the audience’s perspective and asked many of the same questions I’d been asking myself while watching the shows… “I wonder if he’d be fun to hang out with…nah he’s probably a dick”… “I can’t tell if this is stupid…or smart?”…. “What’s this supposed to be…artsy?”

This show totally sucks you in…I’m planning on starting at the beginning and watching them… I only wish I would have known about Ze when it first came on, so I could become an official member of the League of Awesomeness and feel like a true Sports Racer.

I love New York

VH1 has done again! They have successfully ran a reality dating show that has captured millions of viewers. Actually the premiere has the highest ratings that they have seen so far. After Flavor of Love they really found the important ingredients for a successfull show. But unlike the Bachelor and other similar reality dating shows they thrive on finding what they have coined "ghetto fabulous" characters to invade our screens. They completely have made fools out of this group of 20 men and New York herself.

Like Flavor of Love this show takes dehumanizing quite seriously and each guy is given a nickname from Romance to Pooty. The producers also make sure that unlimited alchohol is available and boy do these guys take advantage! Hey I would too. They provoke fights with their challenges and interviews and it is not long before one of the guys ends up being pinned down and having part of his hair shaved off. The majority of the men that they have chosen are often make references about "coming from the streets," or threatening to "cut someone up". The latter statement is obviously pretty disgusting and of course given air time. The first statement is just an indication of their background. Because of that the producers also had an episode where they took humiliation to another level. They invited self proclaimed Bitch, Omorossa from the apprentice to come in and interview the men about their income and total net worth. From making fun of a man for not being able to afford diamond earrings to listing all of one man's accounts that are in collection. I couldn't believe it. I wasn't too suprised when one man got so upset that he started shaking, crying and threw himself (or fainted) down a flight of stairs.
The last show just aired. It was a reunion special. These guys just do not get it. They see this newfound fame as a complete win when audiences everywhere are laughing at them. Like most reality contestants their fame will quite likely be very short lived, but the hurtful and emberrassing ways that they were often portrayed will follow them. Did I mention that New York made references to the winners inadequate "manhood" at the reunion? Wow. Of course its obvious that although I'm a bit put off by this I am an avid watcher. Cant deny it How else would I know all of this priceless info?

Virginia Tech

After all the recent criticism about the media coverage of the shooting on the Virginia Tech campus it got me thinking about how the media can never do anything right. Most recentaly NBC has been highly critized about showing the killers home made video on air that is very explicit and offensive. But what if no one ever saw the video? What if the media had it in their hands and never showed any of it. Again as consumers would would be angry and upset that we did not see it. Because our media is commercial driven they are constantly trying to give the advertisers more viewers. They need the high ratings to succeed. When that video is in their hands it is shock value, they having something that will bring in the viewers. So again what are they suppose to do with that sitting on their shelves. Maybe they could only show select parts, things that are so disturbing, but then again they are picking and choosing what we should see. For the news stations that made statements about not showing the tape and relateing it to "pornography", are they holding back news from us? Are they gaining attention because they are better than the other news stations and do not need to show the tape?

In this situation no one knows what is right. But the media should have the ability to show things that are relevant and not be jumped on for being insensitive. The media is a business, and they are looking for ways to succeed. The media gives us the outlet and responsibility to see and hear what we desire. Maybe we need to be critical or maybe we need to look back at ourselves and see why we are angry, or crave this type of news story.


After the Virginia Tech shootings, the media violence debate reared its ugly head again.

The other night, after I had already taken sleeping pills and was drifting to sleep while watching Tavis Smiley (Yes…I watch Tavis Smiley… and Charlie Rose) and the interview sparked my interest and overrode the power of melatonin on my brain.

During this particular episode, Tavis was interviewing former U.S. Attorney, Bud Cummings, who was recently forced to resign, and before they even talked about the legal or ethical issues surrounding the forced resignation, Tavis asked the Attorney what his thoughts were concerning the VT shooting…here is what he said…

Bud Cummings (emphasis added):

“School shootings are a modern phenomenon. And Tavis, it's traceable, really, to only one aspect of our society and it's not poverty and it's not racism and it's not too many guns on the street.

There's been guns in our communities for hundreds of years. It's the culture and it's the increase in violence that the children and all of us are exposed to in televisions, movies, and video games. And in some people - especially people like this young man, who may have been on the edge, that may be just enough to take them over the edge, and it actually transforms them physiologically - the way they process information in their brains. So it's something that we really need to look at.”

WHAT!? I don’t buy that are society is more violent than it was 1,000, 100, or 30 years ago. Read the Bible, watch The Mod Squad, or watch the nightly news and you’ll get plenty of violence throughout time and in “informative” forms of media.

I won’t even get into the statement- “Transforms them physiologically.” Tavis just nodded and let Cummings continue…

“Parents know to not expose their children, for instance, to pornography. We all kind of know on some level that that's bad for kids and we should keep that away from our children, but we don't all seem to make that same recognition about the effect that this rampant violence that's depicted in the media has on children and all of us.

And we need to talk about that, and there's a lot of money behind it, and there's gonna be a lot of push and pull. We have the First Amendment, and that's important, but it's an issue that needs to be debated, and this incident may be one example why that debate should take place now.”

….I wonder what Charlie Rose would have said in response?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


We spent a lot of time on Wednesday talking about "Internet 2.0" and how the new trend in recent years is media content being produced by the average person. Because digital media technologies are so cheap and relatively easy to use nowadays, almost anyone can pick up a camcorder and produce video. Making it look good is the issue. As we saw with all the video blogs, the quality was (mostly) terrible. And to make matters worse, the content was just as bad, if not worse. Maybe once the home video fascination wears off, the video trend will simmer down ... but probably not. Look at cell phones. Remember the huge, brick-like cell phones of the 80s? That novelty never wore off. Twenty years later and the cell phone industry continues to grow. I think basically anything to do with communication can't help but get bigger and bigger. After all, we are social beings; communication is very important to us.

But more interestingly, I liked how we talked about how much skill and work goes into producing a decent, 2-minute video. I can relate. In my spare time I am an amateur documentary filmmaker. I started a new project recently. I've been filming for about 3-4 weeks (about 2 hours of raw footage thus far) and this will probably only translate into about 3-5 minutes of finished video. It's a lot of work!!! But it's all worth it, because if done well the end result is timeless, especially now when video is digital and never degrades like the old video tape did.

So perhaps the digital video craze will not die off, but perhaps people will get sick of the meaningless, poorly created video available and there will be a demand for talented professionals to take back this industry. Then again, will the world population at about six billion and growing, probably not....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bridgett, Holly, Kendra and Hef

I am in love with the show, "The Girls Next Door." For anyone who is not familar with that show, it airs on "E!" and is about Hugh Heffner's 3 girlfriends. Before watching the show I always had a pre-concieved notion of what Hugh's girlfriends must be like. Anyone could assume that the girls must be, "gold digging bimbos," because really what twenty-something girl seriously want to date an 85 year old man. After watching the show, I realized that the girls are not really "girlfriends," at least the show never shows them in intimate moments. The girls are actually really interesting and lead lives that are even more interesting. Every episode shows all three of the girlfriends lives and rarely ever shows them interacting with Hef. I think if the show showed the girls with Hef more, it would not be nearly as successful. I was watching a documentary about the show a while ago, and the purpose of the show was spark the exact reacion that I have had. I think a lot of people think that Hef is sleezy and so are his girlfriends. The show has shown a much different side of that idea. The show has transformed into a reality show where the girls travel, throw parties and model in photo shoots. They lead a fantasy life, which appeals to any reality show fan. The girls are very sincere and most importantly are having fun with their lives. They all know that people probably look down on them for dating a man that is 60 years older, but they don't seem to care. They are just enjoying themselves at a young age and having all the fun that they can have. Since viewers have had the oportunity to get an inside look at the life of Hef and his grilfriends, people have stopped looking down on the lives that they lead. Playboy has with out a doubt become more popular from the show. If people still oppose to the show after watching it, they still could not admit that they would love to live the carefree fantasy life that Hef's girls lead. My mom, who always thought playboy was trashy, watched the show with me recently and thought the show was cute. It is interesting to see how the show continues to affect people's perceptions of a magazing that has always been popular to many, but also hated by others.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Okay, so I admit it, I'm a Sopranos fan. Like millions of others, I have been patiently waiting for the last six episodes of the series. The show is so popular that it has already been syndicated onto cable television ... and the show is not even over yet! I can't imagine the money the show's actors will reap in the years to come. I think the cast of friends stood to get something like fifty million each when that show was sold into syndication.

Anyway, I find myself sucked into two hours of HBO every Sunday night, for after The Sopranos comes Entourage, a show I also enjoy. Then, starting this week, HBO started a show that airs after Entourage—a mini-series about the upcoming De La Hoya - Mayweather fight. Being a mild boxing fan, I couldn't help but watch it. And now that I watched the first one, I will have to watch the remaining three.

Then I noticed that all are obviously "man" shows, filled with testosterone. Of course, many women also get pleasure out of The Sopranos, but on the whole, these are male-oriented shows.

And so, I'm sorry to say, HBO keeps America's males supplanted on their lazy asses for two hours without any inkling of changing the channel. Well, at least their shows are commercial- free, noncensored, and will only last for four more weeks.

Anyone else find themselves lured into a string of shows all on the same channel?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Simon Was Right About Hayley and Sanjaya

I have not kept up with American Idol this season, but after our discussion in class I felt compelled to watch it this last week. I have never been more disappointed. The Latin theme was awful and so many seemingly talented Idol contestants looked like they were caught in the middle of a karaoke night. No one could seep their pitch or shake it the way J-Lo tried to teach them. If I were on the show, I would have completely embarrassed. Haley particularly sucked. I thought her song was bad and that she sang it even worse. Usually I enjoy his over-the-top criticism as a means of comedy, and tend to agree with the suggestions of Randy, but this week was different. I found Simon to be right on. Telling Haley that she figured it out by wearing the least amount of clothes possible to make up for her nasty performance was not only funny but true. And surprisingly to everyone, Simon had something nice to say about Sanjaya's ballad. I haven't been a fan of him either but out of everyone that night, he seemed to pull of the Latin thing the best. All in all, I was glad to see Haley go the next night and I'm pretty curious to see how far Sanjaya makes it in the rest of the competition.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Silversun Pickups

talk about a band with some hype. Silversun Pickups are the newest faces in rock music. On tour now with snow patrol and Ok go but who really cares about those two bands. Silversun Pickups got huge really quick from super smart marketing like endcaps at target to grassroot flyers all over LA. heres what rolling stone had to say.

taken from rolling stone magazine.
On their full-length debut, Silversun Pickups, a quartet from L.A.'s trendy Silver Lake neighborhood, show all that's possible when the California sun shines on indie-rock shoegazers. After the fuzzy, Pixies-ish dreamscape of the opener, "Melatonin," things take off with "Well Thought Out Twinkles," a surge of guitar squalls and male-female vocals that sounds like what might have happened if the Smashing Pumpkins had driven their ice cream cart out West. The Pickups' grandiose rock owes a great debt to its Chicago forebears "Waste It On" rips the "Rhinoceros" bass line, and "Lazy Eye," in particular, could be an outtake from Siamese Dream but the L.A. kids seem to be having fun in a way that Billy Corgan and company rarely could.


its really cool stuff i promise.



So, on Wednesday in class, Prof. Neumann mentioned how he was interested in how other people use the internet. I had never really noticed how I, myself, used the internet, but as I thought about it, I realized I use it quite often. Actually, I use it a lot. Maybe too much. You see, I don't have internet access at my apartment anymore, but this past week I've been dog sitting at a house that does. I turn it on in the morning and check my myspace, facebook, hotmail and panthermail. Usually in that order. Then that's usually it. The trouble comes later when I sit down to do school work. When I'm working on a paper or researching something on-line, I'm constantly thinking of other things to look up or check out, and I usually do. So, the internet, though it has made researching papers and ideas easier, it has also made it a more time consuming activity since I have to stop and do all this other "more important" stuff. When it's around, I feel like I have to constantly be checking things, seeing if I got a new e-mail or facebook message in the past hour. Though at times it's really inconvenient to not have internet access at my apartment, at other times I'm really greatful because I actually get things done. Well, there is always the distraction of the tv, but that is definetly not as powerful as the internet.


Ok, I went to see the movie Grindhouse, the film by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. As you might expect with any film by these two, it had all the violence and gore you could ever want and more, as well as a nonsensical plot, although that was more in the first film, Planet Terror, by Robert Rodriquez. However, I was unprepared for all the talk in the film. As I was watching Tarantino's Death Proof, I wondered if he would ever get to the point. Of course I've never seen any of the old cheesy violent films they were paying homage to, but I definitely loved the the movie nevertheless. The film even had "missing reels" and fake trailers for movies such as a Thanksgiving horror movie, a haunted house film called Don't, and one fake that was actually called Werewolf Women of the SS (and it also had Nicholas Cage in a very fake Chinese-looking beard). I believe that Rolling Stone called it "the goriest chick flick ever," because women actually played some very prominent kick ass roles in it, especially near the end of Death Proof, where they decided to take revenge against the homicidal maniac that tried to kill them. (Of course, everyone already knows about the stripper with the machine gun for a leg right?) I can tell you, I thought that ending was one of the best I've ever seen. I think the people in the movie theater were actually cheering!!! I would definitely urge everyone to go see it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I shed a tear for Sanjaya

I must admit: I had to fight off the tears in class while I used the palm of my hand as a shield to not let others see my emotion for Sanjaya today. What would others think of me if I started to ball out my emotions for class for the world to see? You know when you feel just a good cry coming on, well, Sanjaya makes me feel that emotion every single time.

Ok, in all honesty not really. Actually none of this is really how I feel about Sanjaya,

but it was interesting in today's class to see this very intriguing 13-year old girl on AI who feels this way. I agree with Beth in saying that I want Sanjaya to win and I don't watch AI either.

I suppose we all have a little Howard Stern in us all, and I think one of the guilty pleasures in media now is to want to destroy everything that is popular, just because we give into it. I'd like to know how Sanjaya actually feels about his situation; whether he likes all the attention for being horrible, or if he is being horrible for the attention of the shows producers. It would be funny if he could really sing in reality. I get a picture of Sanjaya going off stage and away from the cameras and belting out tunes in perfect harmony to his friends. It would also be very funny if everyone voted for him because he was terrible, and after he won he releases a CD proving he can sing proving that A.I. has pulled the most elaborate media trick ever. None of this is true probably, but it is my own dorky thoughts.

So next time when Sanjaya belts an irregular melody of hope and media inflation,

I will shed a tear towards the media and vote for Sanjaya.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Sanjaya Effect

Has anyone else heard of this website?

It's the real thing. This website encourages American Idol enthusiasts to cast their votes for the worst contestant on the show. I guess Sanjaya has been chosen as this year's golden kid. It's funny how propoganda has the ability to sway the opinion and actions of the public. I think this is just a way of individuals acting as a group to demonstrate and test the power of media.

Is this a way of fighting the system? Well, either way, AI wins because it's raking in the viewers.

I don't watch AI. I don't think I've seen an episode since Justin lost to Kelly. But, I will admit, I kind of want this Sanjaya kid to win. He's the quirky contestant. He may not have the pipes, but he's got the courage to be just plain odd. Now that I can respect.


I was watching some MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting on TV this week and it hit me that this is probably the most violent, bloody thing that is shown on regular cable. There are many different MMA associations out there now, as violence has proven to be a reliable ratings draw. There is Pride Fighting, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), and I think a few others that I can't name off the top of my head.

For those who haven't ever watched a MMA match, it is a primal, ultra-violent experience. The two fighters wear barely-padded gloves only to prevent breaking their own hands when punching their opponent. And unless there is a broken bone or a wound is gratuitously spraying blood, the fight is not stopped by the medical official. I have seen matches where both fighters' faces and torsos are covered in blood. And the fight goes on until the rounds are complete, someone is knocked out, or someone "taps out" (gives up due to a submission move).

After our discussions of media effects this week in class, I couldn't help but wonder if programming like this is making our society more violent. There is definitely an element of flash and sensationalism attached to it. There always seems to be high profile celebrities in the audience and scantily-clad women everywhere, glamorizing these fighters, essentially advocating the violent, bad-boy brawler-type.

But I do admit that cable and satellite TV providers have done a good job with being able to block certain shows. Parents can block these shows or only allow them to be viewed with a secret code. But how do children always seem to know the code, or figure a way around it? Is show blocking enough? Or if one is of the mind that media doesn't affect our behavior could it be deemed unnecessary? To me "show blocking" seems like a selling point and not much else.

Innovative Video Games

I was watching the news the other day and one of the stories was about the new branch of nintendo, Wii. The segment shared one man's weightloss story because of his addictive habits to playing the game. It showed footage of the man playing the different games that Wii has to offer. Games like tennis, golf, bowling, baseball, etc. are just some of the options players have to choose from. After watching the segment, I remembered reading an article last winter (when the game was popular for the holidays) saying that Wii might threaten children's desires to play real games outside if they had the alternative to stay inside and play the same games on a video game. Critics said that Wii would keep people inside and glued to the TV set more. I thought it was interesting that a video game company invented a system that allowed their players to move around in a simulating motion, but it never crossed my mind that the game would be an alternative to fresh air activities. The news story shared the man's struggle with being heavy and explained that he never would have trimmed down without Wii. In the winter months, when outdoor activities are limited to none, he had the oppurtunity to play Wii in his home and still get a little exercise from the activity. Although I'm not recommending Wii as an alternative for cardiovascular exercise, I found it to be particularly interesting for the "gamer crowd." Most video game players devote much of their extra time to just the games, making other activites (including exercise) take a back seat. Wii offers that population a chance to move around a little bit while still spending time doing something they love.


I was just introduced to Craigslist one month ago. My friends acted as though I was quite out of it for not using it and knowing about it already. I must say this is one of the fastest, free and dangerous services available online. For anyone who doesn't know about Craigslist, it's a website where you can buy/sell/trade anything from a tube of lipstick to a house. But the best part about it is when you post an ad you are doing so without using any personal info. When someone responds you then have their email and can correspond accordingly.

So I was watching the news and this middle aged lady was quite upset. Turns out someone who did not like her too much put an ad on Craigslist pertaining to her deceased mothers house that she owned. They told all Craigslisters of the address and said everything in the house is up for grabs, feel free to break in if it's locked and take anything that you want. Free. Amazingly a number of people did just that. Pictures of the house on the news were horrendous. Thousands and thousands of dollars of items were stolen, everything was gone and the house was violently vandalized. I'm not sure if they found the suspects or not but because of the annonymous nature of Craigslist this might be hard. If they had used a public computer at a library, school or cafe they are laughing now.

Craigslist isn't always bad. When my TV broke a few weeks ago I found myself on Craigslist checking out TV's and prices. You can barter on prices or advertise what you are willing to pay. Upon looking at prices I decided that I didn't want to pay anything at all, but I still wanted a TV. So I put up my own ad "Cute girl needs TV" and I wanted it free. I did make up a small story about my boyfriend breaking up with me and taking the TV but it was all in good fun. You can probably still find my ad. I had quite a few interesting responses. But finally a man from Waukesha said he had a 20 inch color TV, for free. To be safe I went with my brother to a Target parking spot for the pick up. Yes I was a bit apprehensive and had I heard more horror stories about Craigslist I might not have been there. But it worked and the sweet man handed over my TV that sits before me right now, for free.

Video Games and Gender

I wanted to expand on our discussion we started in class about video games and address the gender ideologies that they reinforce. I had to play an online video game for a class, either Toon Town or Everquest. These games both try to appeal to men and women by setting up differences between the sexes. First you are to identify what sex you are which begins the sterotyping of the genders. Then you pick what you look like and what you wear. In Toon Town for young children the girls have skirts and pink clothes and the boys have pants and blue clothes. In Everquest many of the female avaitars are sexy and scandalous.

In our discussion in class we addressed if video games increase violence or are the cause of violence in young children. Many of us agreed that for most people video games are a way to let out frustration or a way to enter another social world, not influencing a person to be violent. But maybe the messages its sending us about gender ideologies is as dangerous to our society. We don't know that everyday sterotypes are being reinforced. It is so natural today to pick your gender and when you do it leads you down a certain path with certain expectations. Video games are just another way that provides us with the idea that gender shapes our lives.

Maddy, Disney's first black princess.

Disney is finally coming out with an animated movie that will star, Maddy, their first black princess. There have been countless Disney princess over the years, but never a black princess. I couldn't believe that when I heard that. The movie, called The Frog Princess, is set to be released in 2009. Not much about the plot has been released, but it will be set in New Orleans and is being called an American fairy tale.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart talked about the release of this movie and, in true Daily Show fashion, mocked the movie, and the fact that it has taken Disney so long to have a black princess. They talked about how their have been other minority princess added to the countless white princesses represented in Disney films. For example, Mulan - who was an Asian princess, Jasmine - who was an Arabian princess and Pocahontas -an American Indian princess, etc. It seems ridiculous that it will take until 2009 to have a black princess added to this group. It will be interesting, as it gets closer to it's release date, to see how the media will pick up on this fact.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

doing my part for free speech

I decided to do my part in the controversy over violence and endorse free speech by spending my money on a Korean monster movie called The Host. (It was subtitled.) The plot of the movie revolved around one family that decides to sneak past government blockades to find the youngest, who was taken alive by the monster. Unlike most monster movies, you actually got a good look at the monster, which was incredibly animated. The movie also defied a lot of the horror formulas. For example, when the characters split up they didn't automatically die, and the characters that you expected to die lived, and vice versa. Plus, it had a great sense of humor, sometimes in a perverse sort of way, like when the monster completely ran over this girl who was quietly studying and listening to classical music, which I can definitely say ruined the mood. They were kind of harsh on the U.S. though. The whole reason that the monster even existed was because an American ordered that formaldehyde be poured down the drain, which emptied into the river and lead to the mutated monster. People from the U.S. also made the situation worse in a lot of other ways, which I can't say because it would spoil the movie. But it was definitely a very clever movie that I can guarantee will make you laugh out loud more than once. Plus it has an unexpected ending.

Lily Allen

Lily Allen has been consuming massive amounts of my life this week. If you're not familiar with her music and you like pop you'll probably love it. Her songs range from girls and boys to grandmas and pimps. Lily Allen was and still is an extremely popular blogger. She has a devoted fanbase of bloggers from around the world. She really is the next generation of a pop star. free press!


i tried to add a video but im a total idiot. She has her two newest singles on youtube.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

The documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills reminds me a lot of our class discussion, and the violence/outcast discussion in general. This documentary follows the trials of the “West Memphis Three” and shows how society (especially the media) demonizes those suspected of committing crimes. These three teenagers were accused of murdering and mutilating three young boys. Even though contradictory stories were provided and forced confessions were admitted into trial, all three teens were convicted of murder. The prosecuting lawyers and the town vilified the boys because they were outcasts, they played violent video games, they wore black, and they read about the Wicca religion. Basically, they were convicted of murder for being different (just as they were picked on in school for being different). None of the physical evidence made sense, and none of the boys were linked to the crime scene or to the corpses, it is the perfect case of a legal and criminal scapegoat (just as violent video games are used as a scapegoat for more serious and broad social problems).

There has always been a counterculture for every mainstream culture…hippies, punks, Goths, whatever (and it is sort of annoying for me to even be classifying them). When will we have an adult society recognizes that youth culture is as harmless as it was when they constituted the youth culture?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Videogames Study

Here is the article writing up the study of videogames and anger, published in yesterday's Ars Technica. Here's the part describing the experiment:
They designed a study in which measures of anger levels acted as a proxy for violent behavior. They recruited 135 children, but were forced to kick some out of the study due to bad behavior, leaving them with about 110 boys and 15 girls with a mean age of 14.6 years, all of them familiar with the game of choice, Quake II. The children were given personality profile tests and measured for anger levels, at which point they were set loose for 20 minutes of gaming. Anger levels were measured again following the gaming session.

Crunching the numbers indicated that there were three clear groups. The anger levels of 77 of the subjects remained unchanged after the gaming session. In 22 of the subjects, anger levels nearly doubled from a starting point similar to that of the unaffected children. But 8 of the test subjects started out at this high anger level; for them, 20 minutes of gaming dropped them down to levels similar to those seen in the unaffected group.

The research team then correlated these groups with the personality profiles, and an clear pattern emerged. Those with personalities that were scored as stable largely wound up in the unaffected group, while the remaining two groups were populated by personalities that were considered less stable.

You might also be interested in the lively (though not totally civil) discussion of this article at the link-sharing site Digg.

One more thing: Henry Jenkins, whose ideas we have been discussing, has a blog in which he writes about pop culture like videogames and TV shows. One recent entry is about American Idol, Sanjaya, and the "Vote For the Worst" phenomenon.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I kind of realized today that the purpose of this blog was to discuss media related texts in an open fashion. And after sitting in my JMC 201 lecture today and failing one of many very small quizes on the past weeks news in Milwaukee, I realized that I have no inclination of what is going on in the world around me. I couldn't tell you really who got shot where or if one particular celebrity is having emotional complications half way around the world or what website to visit for car insurance (, of course!). For some reason that is ok with me though. So when I sit down to write these entries I really have to think because I either take pictures, sleep, work, or type and writing an entry about not writing an entry seemed to fit the days mood. I do like to get outside and go for occasional walks now and then and enjoy the occasional treat reward. I mean who doesn't? So I say thank you media texts, for consuming my life so much...that I don't have time to enjoy the media texts I am studying...and for that I say Whoof.