Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So the colors on our blog have changed. I wonder if that's a kind of a stop-posting-because-it-won't-count-for-credit cue? Either way, I think I'm a blog or two short of the requirement, and it would be pretty cool if enough people posted to get the post total up to 500. I get really excited about round numbers like that.

Anyhow, I figured for my last blog entry I would write about another blog I've started reading this semester. It's Wisconsinology, also hosted on bloggerdotcom.

Each day the writer updates with some sort of factoid about Wisconsin natives or events that occurred here. Some are pretty fascinating -- the man who invented the first self contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) hails from Milwaukee and tested it in chilly Lake Michigan during the winter of 1937. Some are mildly interesting -- frozen yogurt was first created in Babcock Hall at UW-Madison in the 1920's. Some are admittedly boring, a quote from yesterday's update reads, "Wisconsin is the number one cranberry producing state in America. Yawn.
Dr. Mike gave me this one. I know...he's an idiot.

It's a relatively new blog, began in October this year, but so far the updates are generally interesting and concise. The writing style is almost conversational, which makes it more fun to read. Worth checking out.

Happy end-of-the-semester, everybody. :]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

W0rd Of The Year

I read on Yahoo News today that Merriam-Webster has announced it's word of the year for 2007... "w00t."

"W00t," which is a way of expressing excitement or happiness, was first used by online gamers, but eventually caught on with non-gamers, too.

I found it a little weird that a word that isn't even a real word was chosen as "word of the year"... especially because it's made of letters AND numbers... But I suppose it makes sense that this "word" would win the title of word of the year, because it reflects how language has started to evolve thanks to new technologies, especially the internet.

The article wasn't clear as to whether or not "w00t" is actually being added to the dictionary, so I did a search for it on dictionary.com. It appears as though it's not in the dictionary (yet?), but there was a link provided to acronym.com, where regular people can post definitions for it.

But I kind of hope "w00t" doesn't go any further than the internet... to me it would be worse than when people say "brb" or "jk" in real-life conversation.

Simba and Soulja Boy...

So I have been doing some research on the Walt Disney Company and freedom of expression within the company. While roaming around on Google, I came across this hilarious Disney mashup YouTube video...it is a bunch of scenes from the Lion King set to the song "Soulja Boy." I starting watching it while I was in the library and had a difficult time not laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of this video. The clips from the movie match up fairly well to the song's lyrics which makes it even more humorous because it actually looks as if Simba is rapping. And at times he just has that cocky look on his face like he knows he's the shit or something. When we talked about mashups and fan videos in class, I had kind of assumed that fans created videos for shows/movies with real people in it; not animated ones. But whatever floats your boat. Click below to enjoy the perfect 3 minute distraction from studying for exams.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

World of Warcraft - Celebrity Advertisements

Hey all. I meant to put this up quite a while ago, but I totally forgot these advertisements. Anyways, the commercials that I am going to show you are those regarding A-Team celebrity, Mr. T and martial arts expert, Jean-Claude Van Damme. With a user base of over 9 million subscribers and a monthly fee of $15, "World of Warcraft" is the most popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) on the planet. Developer "Blizzard Entertainment" started showing these advertisements online about five to eight weeks ago, and the responses have been quite exceptional. But, really, do these celebrities play World of Warcraft? Does Mr. T really have the time to be a "Night Elf Mohawk?" I have absolutely no clue. All I can say is that these advertisements are quite interesting because they utilize celebrities that either haven't gotten a lot of press, or that we just haven't heard from in a LONG time. When is the last time that any of you guys have heard from Jean-Claude Van Damme? I didn't even know where he was! These advertisements appeal to an audience that either left and they want to come back to WoW or those who have never heard of the game and possibly want to give it a try (provided they have a good enough computer to run it.) Anyways, enough of my talk. On with the advertisements! Oh, and for the record, are these advertisements enticing me to come back to WoW? Technically...no.

(Note: Le pub avec Jean-Claude Van Damme est en francais!!)

I was watching Sex and the City a couple of nights ago when I thought something amazing was going to happen. I thought that the show was going to actually show intimacy between two male characters. One of the homosexual male characters was going to a ball at a club that he belonged to. He was excited because he finally had a boyfriend to take. However, they got into a fight a few days before the dance so the gay character ended up taking Carrie to the dance instead. This once again imprints the ideal of the heterosexual relationship in the mass media. As I'm thinking this the guys boyfriend taps him on the shoulder and asks if he can cut in. So, the guys dance, but they dance the same way that the one guy danced with Carrie, his friend. They do not move closer to each other than Carrie and the one guy, Stanford, had been. Perhaps the scene had originally been more intimate. After all, the show was on HBO. Perhaps the content of the show had been 'cleaned up' for TBS.

Monday, December 10, 2007

YouTube Music

With all the exams coming up, i've been finding myself spending a lot of time on my laptop, using spare moments to catch up on school whereever I am, be it the library or while I do my laundry. I keep a decent library of music on my desktop, but my laptop has mybe two cd's that I've uploaded.
I started going on YouTube looking for music to pass the time while I work. I discovered that the collection of music on there is vast. You can just keep clicking related videos and keep getting more and more from the same artists. It's a crapshoot when you click on a related video and you get a cover. Most covers are pretty bad and I find myself going back to the version done by the original artist just to remind myself that it's not a bad song.
Anyways, to make this post more interesting, here's a big white guy singing Hey Ya!

One Tree Hill, Season One

This weekend I watched the first season of One Tree Hill in part because I wrote my paper on the pilot episode. It was really interesting to watch the beginning of the series again and see how they took certain aspects of the show that were successful and exaggerated on them later in order to increase viewership. For example, they took the evil character Dan, and made him more and more of a jerk as the series went on, eventually turning him into a murderer, whereas in the first season he is mainly just a crappy Dad with an attitude problem. The show also increased the relationship drama between all the characters. And, of course, in true "Dawson and Joey" fashion they made sure that Peyton and Lucas didn't get together until the end of this last season. The CW website has some links up right now that show previews of this year's new season which I believe begins January 8th. It looks like they are skipping through college and starting up again after the kids graduate. Hopefully this will work better than college worked for Dawson's Creek.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What an Idiot!

MySpace is a funny thing. I was on the other day and saw a bulletin that read, "OCHS alumni: Mr. Buss is famous!" Well, I went to Oak Creek High School and I remembered having this teacher for chemistry so of course I clicked on the link to read it. Here's what happened: Mr. Buss began blogging under the name the "Observer" on a website about a debate over teacher's salaries stating that the West Bend teacher salaries made him sick and that the Columbine High School shooters were heroes. He said in a blog, "They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time! Too bad the liberals rip them; they were heroes and should be remembered that way." Mr. Buss was arrested after a West Bend teacher contacted School District administrators who then contacted West Bend police. The administrator of the conservative political website in which Mr. Buss posted comments said that the arrest was an overreacton because he is entitled to free speech and the comments were not direct threats to teachers. B.S. I say! Mr. Buss even said, "We've got to get in back of the kids who have had enough of lazy, no good teachers and are fighting back. Kids like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold." He basically praised these 2 assholes who went on a shooting spree back in 1999. As it turns out, there was another article posted in the Journal Sentinel 3 days later that stated there would be no charges filed against Mr. Buss because of free speech protected under the U.S. Constitution but he is still on leave of absence from the school pending disciplinary action. Gee, I'm proud to have had him as a teacher...loser.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pushing Daisies

Pushing Daisies is a new show on ABC. It’s a really unique and worth a chance. Even if you’ve missed the entire season, it’s an interesting to just watch - visually speaking. The style in which it’s shot is unlike any other show I’ve seen on TV. The colors are vivid, and the narration is so dominant. The show gives you a fantasy world feel similar to the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story follows a young man who owns a pie shop. Aside from making pies, this man has the ability to bring back the dead just by touching them. Given this fairly morbid plot, it's interesting that the show still manages to have a colorful and light feel about it. Two of the characters are synchronized swimming performers who dress as mermaids; one with an eye patch that has an eye drawn on the front. Characters such as these allow Pushing Daisies to take black humor to a new level. You can watch full episodes of the show on ABC.com

Holiday Television

With the Holidays around the corner, television is accommodating the long-time tradition of Christmas specials. After Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, people flock toward their t.v. guides to distinguish when they're favorite Christmas movies will be on.

In my family, this is almost a religious practice. My Dad goes on the Internet and plans out when all the "good" movies will be on and what station. UsuallyABC delivers the greats.

Our choices include these classics:
  • 1946 It's a Wonderful Life
  • (TV) 1964 Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • 1966 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • 1969 Frosty the Snowman
  • 1970 Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • 1974 The Year Without a Santa Claus
These are just some of the Christmas Specials my family enjoys. What makes these so special to us is that they play a sort of tradition. My Dad was fascinated with these movies, because he passed on his movie love to me, I can't get enough either.

It's funny though... We do not own these on VHS or DVD. Sometimes I wouldn't mind watching them in the summer, but then I feel they would lose their Christmas luster.

With the popularity of DVD's growing more and more rapidly, it is not ridiculous to understand that these TV classics would soon dive into the majority mass media circuit, but I find it very refreshing to know that they still are played on television, obviously around the same time of year. Then again, I can only imagine what type of ratings these shows produce for their networks!

Are You Kidding??

This is really quite bizarre and disturbing.

My roomate loves to shop at Costco, which you need to be a member in order to shop there, and she rants and raves about it. I guess one has recently been built up in Grafton right off of 43, until my roomate had said something, I had no idea what this store was all about.

So I decided I would check out the website and look around. This is actually just a wholesale store like Wal-Mart or SAM's club...which I'm not a big fan of...but i'm poor and Wal-Mart's cheap. So when wandering around the site I noticed that on top where all the links are located, right next to the furniture link I saw funeral! Costco, besides gallon sized shampoo and cereal by the bulk, also sells caskets, urns, and keepsakes. Umm really?? I think that is very disturbing....I mean I think they sell enough products the way it is......do they really need to compete against funeral homes to sell caskets and such too?

How ridiculous!! I mean seriously!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I am a music junkie. While I haven't gotten to the stage where I walk around listening to an iPod or MP3 player all the time (more due to Mean World Syndrome than anything else, since I do have an MP3), when I'm at home there is invariably music playing in the background of whatever I'm doing.

One of my favorite times to play my favorite music is while I'm working on homework. Like right now (Wanted- Holly Brook). Sometime last year, my little sister turned me on to Project Playlist, (projectplaylist.com), a sight where you can search for music, sample it, and then add it to a 75 track playlist and access it from any computer. Currently, I have about seven different playlists that I update according to my moods. I also checked out Last FM and tune in occasionally to friends' stations there.

However... recently I was at a friend's house and he showed me the next best thing, called Pandora. Users of Pandora sign up for a free account with an email address and password. Then you create your own "channels" by typing in a favorite artist or band name. The site then plays music that they've matched to your choice based on vocals, major/minor keys, and other identifiable musical techniques. I'm addicted. Currently my channel is stuck on "A Fine Frenzy," although I did go through a Counting Crows phase a few days ago. But in this homework-laden time (how are all your papers going?), if you're looking for a new way to create a little ambience, I definitely recommend checking out www.pandora.com!

Voice from the Underground

I don't think I agree with the conclusion of Duncombe's zine article. I might not even agree with the generalized description of zine writers and the culture in which they inhabit. I guess I live in the "underground" culture that "rejects mainstream values," a "loser" that has defined my identity outside of the Winner's Circle. I don't however, believe that zine writers are individual, solely defined by negation, or would lose their identity without the mainstream culture.

Perhaps during the age of adolescents myself and my friends, all of whom either write their own, contribute to, or consume zines, we all endured some traumatic, defining event that secured our identity within the underground culture. My natural attraction and fixation with rock n' roll music and shows characterized a rocky, "rebellious" coming-of-age in my parents house, and writing no doubt played an important part of that identity.

But here I am as an adult, past those turbulent adolescent years, and still define myself within this underground culture. I have opinions, beliefs, compassions, and sympathies, but they are the passion of my life just like dance or gymnastics might be to a mainstreamer. Music, writing, playing shows, recording music...these activities bind a group of people just like a person's sports team might comprise his/her friendship circle. But an important element of our passions is to create. Art, music, writing...it is the sharing of these creations that make the community, and we are happy within that community. We're not all activists, anarchists, hippies, extremists straight out of the Cream City Collectives zine collection. We are oblivious and apathetic, though sometimes mocking, of the mainstream culture and have simply chosen an alternative lifestyle.

Zine writers are not all rebels coming from white, suburban backgrounds. My boyfriend wrote a zine for years simply because he liked to create and communicate his thoughts in "magazine form," not because of rebellion against his suburban life. That didn't exist. He grew up in a dysfunctional family plagued by drugs and poverty.

Zine writers also don't have to be solely individual works. A good friend of mine compiles a zine made up of contributions from all our friends. There's stories, comics, editorials, word games, anything anyone felt like contributing. Some of it may be political, non-political, fun, or just plain dumb. But it's an effort that was made possible by the communual spirit of my friends, just as relevant and personal as an individual writer.

Zines are not all politically or activist driven. Check out one of the most influential zines of all time, Cometbus. There's no website (duh), but look him up on Wikipedia and order the complete anthology for $10 on Amazon.com. Aaron Cometbus's main focus of writing was personal journeys and the cherished qualities and explorations of human relationships. He writes about traveling, his band, music, love, and yes, even has contributors or entire issues dedicated to contributor's point of views.

Maybe some are rebelling. Maybe some do define themselves by constant critique of mainstream culture. But what is mainstream culture anyway? Maybe just all of our lives were changed by the Ramones. And so we create.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

HP / Pirates Trailer Mash-Up

I originally sent Prof. Newman a link to this video and now realized perhaps the rest of you would find this interesting, fascinating or stupid depending upon many factors.

I was thinking about remix culture in general and the artist Mike Relm specifically when I stumbled across this mash-up on YouTube. It is a trailer for a Pirates of the Caribbean movie mashed with Harry Potter visuals. I thought it was rather well done and noticed that it has nearly 75,000 views. Which seems like alot considering Mike Relm --who plays sets all over the world and has a decent international fanbase only had 30 some thousand hits when searched on YouTube.

The photos above are of Mike Relm. Here is the link to the video.

I hope that you all continue to pay attention to new and innovative uses of media. I truly believe that we are going to see more and more mixing and splicing of materials as content and improved technologies become more and more accessible. Hopefully these artists can feel emboldened and encouraged to experiment and attempt new styles. I would hate to think that fear of bureaucratic red tape, fines or even imprisonment would hold them back. New laws and new conventions will necessarily be drafted.

super skinny journalists

Most of you have probably heard of Supersize Me, the documentary about the guy who eats only McDonalds for a month straight. Two nights ago on BBC America I came across a documentary that was basically the opposite of that. It's called Super Skinny Me, and it followed two female journalists, Kate Spicer and Louise Burke, in their five-week quest to get down to a size 0, while all along documenting the physical and emotional effects it has on them.

To begin with, the women were already in great physical shape (they both weighed around 130 pounds, if I remember correctly). To get their bodies down to a size 0 they underwent five weeks of extreme dieting and constant exercise. They were basically living the lifestyle that many real girls and women force themselves to live, just so they can be supermodel-thin.

Throughout the course of the 5 weeks, Kate and Louise not only became incredibly thin, but they also started to develop emotional problems. Although it was only an experiment, they actually started to believe they were fat, and they developed anxiety around food. Louise completed the experiment, and she ended up fitting into a size 0 (which is the size a normal 6-year-old girl would wear, according to the show) but she explained that the emotional and physical abuse she had been through was severe. Kate never finished the experiment because she was ordered by a doctor to stop a week early after she began developing signs of bulemia.
I found this documentary really interesting, because it kind of illustrated what a lot of young women put themselves through just to meet media and society's "standards" of what an attractive woman looks like. This documentary made me wonder how many female celebrities and models (and normal women, for that matter) live that lifestyle everyday, and how many suffer from emotional issues because of it...

Monday, December 03, 2007

can someone PLEASE pay the writers!

For any of the Despirate Housewife fans out there, im sure you can relate to my frustration. This Sunday's episode was by far the best of the entire season. The begining narration stated that someone's husband was going to die. A huge tornato was about to hit Wysteria Lane, and of course the ususal drama was still playing out. About half way through the show Gabriel's husband Victor was speared with a broken peice of fence that struck through him while he was chasing Gabriel's ex-husband with a gun...So I was releived to find out that the dead husband would be Victor. Until the end of the show when the tornato had destroyed Wysteria Lane and Lynette had found that the house of the basement that her husband and children had been staying in, was completely collapsed and destroyed. The show ended with Lynette screaming in horror at the sight of her most likly dead family members.

As great of show as it was it left with a huge cliff hanger. Which usually would be fine except for the fact that there were no previews for the following show. As a worried viewer for Lynette's husband, i looked to try and find a preview on the internet, only to find that next week's episode is a RERUN!!!! I might have to kill someone if i cant find out what happened to her family.

I think it's rediculous that the networks can't just give the writters what they are asking for. They have so much money they probably dont even know what to do with it all. Granted many people watch such shows as this, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, and Brothers and Sisters partially for the beautiful actors. But these shows would not be the hit that they are without the writters talents.

Want to look at Porsches?

A few months ago, I came accross a website called Six Speed Online. It's a car enthusiast website. The central topic is Porsches, but there is a large discussion base about BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and the like. Though I drive a beater car, these high-end sports cars have always kept my interest. Also it is interesting to read some of the "signatures" at the bottom of the users who post on the message board. Most list their particular "stable" of cars. Many collections are in the million dollar range, and most are in the hundred thousand dollar range, with multiple exotics like the Italian Ferrari and Lamborghini, ect. It's a glimpse into a rich man's (because I haven't come accross any apparent female posters) playground. It is also funny when these tycoons speak of hiding/concealing cars lest they become property in an expensive divorce settlement.

I think it's the "if I hit the lottery" daydream that keeps me coming back to the site. And it's probably the pictures. I've been a subscriber to Road and Track and Car and Driver since I was twelve years old, but within the last year or two, I've let my subsciptions expire. There is plenty of information and high quality photos on the internet, a car person, needs to do little work to keep up with new models and such. If you're into sportcars you'll never be able to reasonably afford, you should probably check out the website.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Celebrity Obsession

I was thinking about our society's recent obsession with celebrities this morning. One of my friends is pro-britney and lectured to my friends and I the other day about how Britney wouldn't be a mess at all if the photographers, etc. would just leave her alone and let her get some privacy. We were talking about the story where she didn't put her kids in car seats... but is it more irresponsible to take the time to put your kids in car seats or to hurry up and put them in the car because photographers are swarming around you?

When you have a nation that can't wait to see the next bad or even great picture of a celebrity accompanied by a story that may or may not be true, how can we give celebrities any peace? I'm surprised that more celebrities aren't "losing it" like Britney. Are we all so bored with our own lives that we have to live through theirs? Or is it because through advertising we have come to be obsessed with the lifestyle they lead and hope to one day have the same?
So, I found myself wondering tonight why games are being sold in commercials centered around sex. I always associated games with kids and I think that is because I always saw commercials that depicted Candy Land and Operation, and those games are definitely being marketed toward children. Now I see games like Pictionary and Taboo being marketed toward younger adults. The Pictionary commercial begins with a couple lying in bed talking in a way that woud suggest that they just had sex, but about half way through the commercial the viewer figures out that the couple has been talking about playing a game with their friends. Even after the viewer figures out that the commercial is about a game the producers of the commercial go one step further and have the couple, still lying in bed, decide their friends to join them next time. The game is not referenced with this comment. I guess sex sells, but how far can it go? First sex is used to sell ice cream, which was actually pretty funny, and now sex is even being used to sell traditonal games. I guess when you figure out what works you just have to stick with it.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just had an out of body, uh...media experience

I will be traveling to Orlando, FL this January (I'm going to DISNEY WORLD!) via Midwest Airlines and this evening I was looking into changing the times of my flight. I figured that if I tried to call someone I'd get that dredded message "Thank you for calling...please call back during out business hours...yada, yada, yada."

I was cruising around the website and found a link to "live help." So I clicked on it and it led me to a page where I had to put in my name and email address. After doing so I found myself connected to a Midwest Airlines worker through instant message. Now I have used AIM in the past so that aspect of this wasn't anything new. I just found it to be a really cool feature instead of the standard email and phone.

It was set up just like AIM and had a message at the top that said Jocelyn (the lady I was speaking with) is listening/responding. I thought it was really cool that Midwest is so high tech! Then out of curiosity I asked her where she was located (cause with the call centers, sometimes they are in Ohio or Texas or something) and she was at Midwest's headquarters in snowy Milwaukee.

At times during our conversation I was just like AHHH! I don't know how to respond! It's not like I could write lol or use slang that I use with my friends. Especially with those standard responses she was giving me, like "Thank you for using Midwest Airlines...whatever...we are always here to assist you." I just said thank you and drive home safely and "hung up" figuring that that was good enough. Gotta love technology!