Thursday, January 31, 2008

TV before Bed??

Since the start of this JMC 262 class, I have become way more aware of all the different media types that I personally use in my everyday life. It is crazy how peoples' lives have become so connected to different forms of media and how difficult it is for us to pry ourselves away from them in order to get back to the real world.

I have also realized how some nights I have trouble sleeping without turning the TV on and watching a little bit before I turn in for the night. I know I'm probably not the only one out there that this occurs too, but it's just something that I've noticed recently.

Recently I have been watching those old classic 90's sitcoms that used to air and I'm sure many of us in the class have seen the shows I'm talking about. Home Improvement with the wild, crazy, and accident prone Tim the Tool Man Taylor is just one of the shows I'm referring to. Another one is the Fresh Prince of Bel Air that stars WIll Smith. I know I've probably seen almost every episode of those shows but there is just something in them that keeps me intrigued and lures me in to watch them night in and night out. Since these shows are on Nick At Nite the same time every night, it makes viewing them a lot easier. These shows have a certain comedic element to them and that is one of the reasons that I keep coming back to watch them time and time again.

Another one of my favorites before bed is Conan O' Brien. I enjoy watching his monologue and sometimes watching the guests he interviews but mainly I watch him because he is crazy and insane. His facial expressions are one of a kind. HAHAH.

Anyways, I guess I'm just curious how many people out there use the TV as sort of a way to make themselves more tired and fall asleep easier. I know it sure works for me.

vampire weekend

So every so often a new band comes on the indie scene that you can tell is not long for the indie scene. It's kind of like a time bomb waiting to explode onto the radio. Vampire Weekend is that sort of band, which indie elitists are trying to enjoy one last time before they inevitably end up with posters and T-shirts strewn all over Gossip Girl and Nickelodeon TV shows.
The band is tailor made for stardom, which is made obvious by their parent friendly looks and unthreatening sound. Their Ivy League educations and pretty boy looks are sure to earn them an enormous amount of haters in the future as well. But as it is, they are a harmless, somewhat enjoyable group that sounds something like if The Libertines and Hepcat were locked in a room for a few months and forced to produce an album. Sure, they are just a poppy pampered pseudo-Afropop group, but contrary to what their name might imply, they don't suck.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I am the person that can't live without music. I've always tried to look for a free website to download the newest hits. I have tried "Pandora" which is a great website, but they did not have what I wanted, and most of websites have always tricked me in some ways such as, first three songs were free, and I needed to pay to download more music and so on. Furthermore, websites that provide music free, they usually do not have newest hits. Sometimes, the website itself also regulates specific songs, so people would actually buy the album. However, I found the website called which is a completely free website to download music. The coolest thing about this website is it will give you the whole album of an artist. All you need to do is register for the website, and find the artist. After you download the whole album, you need to do the data compression, when you do it, they will ask you to type the password. This password is provided at the very bottom of each page that you select for the artist. You will have your favorite artists' albums in your hands very quickly. It seems a little bit complicated at first, but once you get used to it, you will love it just like I do. It is also a free website, so a little work can be done. However, there is the one thing about this website that you might not like. They don't provide American artists' songs. They only provide Asian artists' songs (Korean, Chinese, and Japanese). There are a bunch of websites that provide American songs, so this can be the something new to you all. If you are interested in Asian music, go check it out! (

Young Hollywood

Hollywood seems to be getting younger and least to me. Every day in tabloids, teen magazines, online blogs, and even the news, a promising young "teeny bopper" is introduced.

The most popular teen queen of the moment is Hannah Montana, a.k.a. Miley Cyrus. Within the past six months, the young performer's popularity has risen dramatically. Tickets for her Best of Both Worlds tour were selling for thousands of dollars a pop! She was also featured on the cover of USWeekly's latest issue.

However, Hollywood's latest teen idols aren't just known for their innocence. Recently, pictures of Miley Cyrus allegedly sharing a lollipop with another young girl surfaced on the internet. Just weeks later, more pictures of Miley posing provocatively in her underwear caused uproar.

My question is: Is the pressure of the spotlight driving these teenagers into danger? For instance, Lindsay Lohan was the epitome of innocent. Now, a mere five years later, she's been in and out of rehab, labeled a "party girl" and so on. Also, Britney Spears' fall from grace (which, I'm sure, needs no explanation) has largely been blamed on the pressures of the spotlight.

Is the media exploiting these children, or are their parents? Is the money too much too fast for them? Are our expectations too high for these young kids? Do they pose "naked" and then find the pictures on the internet accidentally? These teens are being exposed to drugs, alcohol, and sex much sooner than others...and it's all at their fingertips and easily accessible. In short, is the media's insistence on maintaining their innocence encouraging this behavior? On the contrary, should they be held responsible for their own actions?

As Hollywood hunks and starlets get younger and younger, how does this affect our media society? Lastly, is this decrease in the average age of idols healthy for ordinary children and should they really be looking up to these stars?

It seems as though these teen queens may be acting rebellious strictly for the attention. I also wonder if they think that this is what the world really wants to see...I have a nine-year-old sister who loves Hannah Montana, and I worry that she will be heartbroken if she learns that her idol isn't quite so peachy-clean.

Writer’s Strike: When Will It End??

If someone asked me what my guilty pleasure was I would definitely have to say television shows. I am hooked on more than I'd even like to admit. But lately, most of my beloved shows have not been back on for almost two months! And there's really only one explanation: the ongoing Writers Guild of America Strike.

I have a good friend who moved out to Hollywood last year to attempt his dreams of becoming an actor. And on a side note, he's actually gotten some cool gigs already. Either way, he tells me that the writer's strike costs the state of California $22 million a day! And this has been going on for months. So when are they finally going to crack?

And let's not forget the embarrassing incidents at the People's Choice and Golden Globe Awards where no one showed. Hollywood has got to be getting pretty nervous about the Academy Awards if the strike continues.

I think it really says something about the blatant greed involved with this industry when even the actors respond to the WGA's protest and still nothing is done. In fact, The Screen Actors Guild have recently made clear that they are not happy with the DGA's tentative deal, and frustrations are mounting. Today is the 87th day of the strike.

There have been talks about hopefully resolving issues with the WGA mid-February with the Oscars at stake, and certain companies have been making their own deals with the WGA aside from larger negotiations. But others are still pretty nervous. All I know is I miss my shows!!

Variety online has full coverage of the WGA strike...all 87 days of it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gossip Girl

Last night for the first time I watched the show Gossip Girl on the CW. Although the title of the show did give away mostly what it was about I was curious to see if the show was good or not. Each episode starts with the "gossip girl" sending these sidekick messages to all of the students of the rich upper eastside Manhattan private school. She uses abbreviations like "S" for Serena, "B" for Blair, "dets" for details and several others. These messages of course are gossip about the students of this school. The girls in this show are so extreme, from their clothing to their lifestyles. The characters are supposed to be 14-17 years old yet they act as if they are in their mid twenties. They drink martinis, they wear overly revealing clothing, they talk like adults among other things. I just found the show very interesting. It made me ask alot of questions. Is this a pretty accurate demonstration of rich, upper eastside Manhattan children? Also I know that this show is a very popular show so with that said, will girls across the country be mimicking these girls that they admire on this show? Although I did find the show entertaining I wonder what kind of effect it has on the younger audiences. 

Saturday, January 26, 2008

1990's NBA on NBC

When Prof. Newman spoke in class about growing up on shows with Scott Baio and his interest in the new reality shows featuring the actor, he made a great point. He grew up on Happy Days and Charles in Charge, and so it makes sense that he identifies with the shows today. It's probably a way of reminiscing about childhood, surely a simpler if not happier time for all of us.

To me, 1990's NBA on NBC brings back the memories. Back then, there was no worrying about full-time college classes, a job, paying bills, or trying to pursue a career. Instead, the main issue was who played on Saturday afternoon, and perhaps how to replicate Clyde Drexler's glide on the cracked pavement outside my house after the game.

The theme music alone gives me the good kind of shivers.

Today, the guys at TNT do a great studio NBA show. E.J., Charles, and Kenny make a great team and are highly entertaining. Still, there is no comparison to Ahmad Rashad, Bob Costas, Hannah Storm, and most importantly, Marv Albert in his prime.

Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley are in the booth themselves today, but they did their best work on the court in the 1990's. Mitch Richmond, Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway, and some classic matchups and uniforms only add to the mystique.

Above all though, 1990's NBA on NBC meant Michael Jordan's Bulls, usually tearing out the Knicks' hearts.

Since it happened right in the middle of the 90's, and I'm probably not the only one who remembers this with such fondness, I'll leave you with MJ's (first) return to the game:

Friday, January 25, 2008

drew carey anyone?

I have been watching the Price is Right probably since I was in utero. The show is just an American institution. Recently Drew Carey became the new host, and everyone was just a little bit skeptical. But it turns out he is probably better than Bob Barker. Cause let's face it, towards the end of his run, Bob was becoming a curmudgeonly old bore. Sure, Drew Carey rifles off joke after unfunny joke, but he makes up for it with his jovial presence, kind of like a year long Santa Clause.
I saw this on TV in the first week that Drew was the host, and I was glad to see someone put it up on youtube. This contestant is so excited it's uncanny. Enjoy.

Caught in the Youtube Web

The other day one of my friends sent me a Youtube video, which led me to click on other featured videos. I ended up finding tons of bloopers videos and that somehow took me to the "Worst Fight Scene Ever," featuring a guy in a lizard costume. Following that, I found tons of bad American Idol auditions, the worst Kung-Fu movie auditions, and finally, the "Worst Scenes Ever Seen:"

So, after all that, I’ve decided two things. 1) If you make or do anything “bad,” it will haunt you forever on Youtube and 2) Youtube really is great for promoting things. Those movies look absolutely terrible, but thanks to that montage, I now know they exist. After showing some friends and talking about it enough, we might rent one of the movies for laughs. I’m not a fan of American Idol, but my sister saw the bad audition videos and out of that, got interested in the show. Go figure.

Raro Media

The day before school started I returned back from a summer trip of three weeks in Rarotonga. Rarotonga is the capital and largest island of the Cook Islands, which are located in the South Pacific near New Zealand. This was my first real extended stay out of the United States where I actual had a real good amount of time to explore where I was. This is a small island so most everything that isn’t grown or produced there must be flown or shipped in. I being an American that is constantly bombarded with advertising and products all day long was amazed at the lack of this in Rarotonga. More importantly I was amazed at how quickly I adjusted and enjoyed the lack of news, television, music and other media that I usually utilize in my daily life. Although some of the teenage islanders were seen with ipods and hip stylish phones, most everything else was distinctive in its own island way. I’m sure that it comes as no shock that I enjoyed the lack of advertising and media thrown at me, but I’m curious if anyone else has had an experience like mine of such a quick and pleasant transformation from the fast-paced, media driven American life to something truly unique.

Save a few Perez!

As a college student with only a part time job, I often find myself struggling to pay the bills. However, one of my guiltiest pleasures is a tabloid (think USWeekly, People, OK! Magazine, etc.)...but I have a hard time justifying spending money on them when I don't necessarily have the extra cash.

About a year ago, one of my friends introduced me to a website called Perez Hilton. The website was created by a flamboyant Hollywood journalist with a pretty hilarious outlook on news and celebrities. Since he started the site, his viewers have ballooned to millions each day. He posts new stories and updates his old leads almost every hour and I've found that his information seems to be more accurate than the tabloids or even other gossip sites (I think he has some people "on the inside"...sources, if you will).

Just a warning: some of his posts can be pretty outrageous. He often favors very colorful language and has some very strong picks for his favorite celebrities as well as the people that he dislikes the most. Watch out for the "If you are easily offended...." posts, as they are not for the faint of heart. I think it's hilarious, but some others may not.

If you like tabloids, I encourage you to check out Perez in the comfort of your own home. Save yourself a few dollars (and maybe a little embarrassment), and avoid having to actually buy the trashy magazines at your local grocery store. I recommend saving the extra dollars for a pair of great new shoes.

By the way, please don't judge me for encouraging that you view this site. It's hilarious, and I love it so much that I read it almost every day!

iPod Touch

Well... this past Christmas I really didn't want to get anything. My grandparents being grandparents wouldn't take no for an answer. I hinted once on a nifty Apple product called an iPod Touch. Low and behold... there it was... Its design is pretty good. It is very thin and the screen is huge! The screen on this thing is almost indestructible, it is actually made out of glass and not plastic. The main thing I kept hearing about the iPod touch was the "scratch resistant" screen.

Here is a video of the kind of punishment this thing can handle, in terms of scratching...

Besides how cool this thing looks, it also is loaded with a ton of cool features. Before this, I was not a hardcore iPod fan like most people, I simply stood on the sidelines during the primetime iPod craze. When I first opened the box I had absolutely no idea what the hell to do with the thing. I had no idea how to turn it on and it came with no instructions, surprisingly enough. After my brothers helped me out, I finaly got it workin. The features on this thing are incredible. The phrase I kept saying while playing with it was " can do that?" I think the features were on a small scale but were more of a "hey, thats pretty damn cool..." It however was a bit pricey at around $400 I think, worth it though.

It's 2am...I gotta download more podcasts...


I haven't always been a big fan of the Onion but recently it has grown on me.  Sure it's fake news, but lately the election coverage stories have reflected the annoyance I've felt towards the non-stop hubbub around the 2008 presidential race and they have created a nice outlet for my frustrations.  Along with the popular campus/coffee shop newspaper, the Onion has a regularly updated website complete with fake cable news clips.  

There were two clips that really stood out was being almost too realistic considering the sometimes ridiculous political climate.  The first was a fake story about Mitt Romney having to reassure his constituents of his intolerance after it was uncovered in a decade old interview that he would not oppose civil unions.  The other clip was about the candidates putting on 30-40 pounds to in a competition to win the 'fat vote' (60% of adults are now considered overweight).  It is ridiculous to thing that politicians would seriously consider risking their health doing something like that, but when they change their accents and behavior around different demographics of people and one slip-up can ruin a political career, sometimes a person has to wonder how far they are willing to go.

Sure the news is fake, but there is usually a little truth behind every lie.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

u boob/facehook

Tried to tune in to WUWM for my daily dose of the news but, as usual, signal problems. I was only able to catch about 1/2 hour or so.
Caught "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" to complete my nightly news ritual. Saw an ad for "Frontline" after the news. Sounded interesting so I stayed tuned to an hour of "Growing up online. Internet and teens".
Interesting though it was I don't get it. It seemed to me these kids were putting the reality of their actual life on hold to construct a virtual life on one of of these facebook style websites and assuming an identity they'd rather be known by.
Isn't this a form of self delusion? Can this be a healthy recreation? Where are the benefits?
It was an all consuming addiction for the kids featured on the show. Is this activity what the average American teen uses for entertainment. Are these kids normal?
I wonder if the energy, concentration and creativity involved in the construction of these alternate ID's wouldn't serve the person better if used to improve their real lives.