Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Alright I'm going to make this one quick.

I wanted to share a new Web Series with everyone that i've been following for a few weeks, it's called Viralcom. Here's the story in a nutshell. The world of viral videos isn't viral at all, Viral videos are created by a movie studio that works exclusively with viral videos, that studio is Viralcom. the show follows a few story lines, including:
  • Two female viral actresses, famous for their "girls pudding wrestle" and "Two hot girls make out" videos.
  • A Viralcom production assistant who is trying to break into the viral video world as an actress, (She channels Pam from the office quite well).
  • The creation of a new viral web series called "Brit-girl 16", described as "lonelygirl with an accent".
...and hilarity insues. Check it out becuase it's actually really well done. It's created by online comedy troupe "Joey & David" and you can check out their site a www.joeyanddavid.com. New Episodes are released on the site every Wednesday.


pitchforkmedia is the biggest online music review site on the web, and i'm guessing that most of you have probably all ready heard of it. It is a great place to go to read reliable reviews of new albums, because most of the journalists on the site are dead on. I think that the review of the new Jet album this year is particularly spot on.
The site is a great place to listen to new music for free, because they put up tons of streamable mp3s of bands that are more than likely going to become huge very quickly. There are also often a lot of great photos from concerts, interviews with musicians and filmmakers, and one of my favorite features is the annual 100 best albums of the year. Under the "best new music" category there is a comprehensive list of their highest rated albums, from most recent to least recent, and seeing as they put up about five reviews every weekday this is a good way to separate the Radioheads from the Jets.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

We need to have a protest!

I really think that certain people and institutions in Milwaukee view the students of UW-Milwaukee as spoiled young adults who will get Mommy and Daddy to get them out of any financial mess that occurs. But that is just not the case- and they need to stop preying on us financially.

These are a few of the culprits: 
  • Parking on Campus: It is impossible to park on campus for free without the worry of receiving a ticket. People often have to stay on campus longer than the 1 or 2 hour signs allow, and as a result many students rack up a hefty parking ticket debt. As a result, many students lose their car. Sadly, nothing will ever be done by the city because this is the income they rely on.
  • Theft: Crime is already high in Milwaukee, but robbers and muggers target college students because they know we have computers, iPods, etc. They also know that the houses in the area are old and easy to break into, and rarely ever have security monitors.
  • Increased evictions for too many tenants: Police are focusing more than ever on ridding tenants over the 3-person limit. Fines are also increased for landlords who allow this, and they are becoming more cautious about doing so. 
  • Slumlords: Many students are not getting security deposits back when they should, and landlords are not taking care of their units properly.
  • Raised fines for party and drinking violations: The fines are larger than ever before, and already broke students are not able to pay forcing them into debt.
When will enough be enough- and why is it that the bigger problem seems to be the city itself that is  draining our resources? They are targeting people who really aren't doing anything wrong and increasing poverty among Milwaukee residents. Sadly, this is one of the very reasons the robbers feel they have the right to do what they do. 

Friday, April 25, 2008

top sites

We talked in class about the top internet sites gauged by traffic. Naturally, websites like Google, Facebook, and Craigslist led the way. These are useful, arguably really cool places to go on the web, but we all probably knew of them already.

Considering how fast the internet changes, it's really worthwhile to keep up to date about new and interesting websites. Professor Newman showed us some ways to share and track things, like on NetVibes, findbyclick, Digg, and things like that. Looking for more cool web content recently, I came across Time.com's top web sites of 2007.

In one of my other courses this semester, my teacher referenced YouTube and wondered why he didn't think of the idea. A lot of the brilliant and successful websites seem really simple in retrospect.

Anyway, the number one site on Time's 2007 list is lemonade.com, another website that makes you wonder why you couldn't think of it first. Apparently, the idea is for users to create their own virtual lemonade stand, where they advertise for big-name products and companies through links. When someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the stand owner earns a commission. The stand can be added to blogs, social network profiles, and such. It's free to set up a stand too. This seems kind of cool, as I've always thought maybe people should be entitled to ad revenue that have a fb profile for instance, because the users enable it. In the end though, it's probably more annoying advertising that benefits big companies, hmm.

Old Media, New Media and the Generation Gap

The last two weeks we have been discussing old media and new media thanks to the increasing knowledge of technology. It hits close to home. I have a 100 year old grandma who laughed when we brought her a computer in the 90’s. We thought it was a wonderful idea for her to use the computer to write instead of her old-fashion typewriter, however we failed. She didn’t get the concept of using a mouse or even the key pad for a computer. In time she went back to using the old-fashion typewriter and only used the computer for solitaire. She’s used to typewriters, books, and records. It’s amazing to see the generation gap between her and my 17 year old brother. He loves the mini ipod that you watch videos on, his ultra thin laptop, and goggling on the internet. It’s interesting to see how much technology has changed our life and the way we view the world.


I couldn’t help but to keep thinking about the discussion in class Tuesday involving “Fandom” movies and how their time could be better used. It does seem somewhat trite to defend Star Wars fans when there are so many other problems in the world but on the other hand entertainment and creativity is a great facet to humanity. I have been writing many blogs about living off the land and so on, but I try and maintain a balance of using technology like the internet and building something with my own two hands. For example my wife and I are building from nothing an apartment out of a barn all by ourselves. However, we would have a much more difficult time doing this with out the benefits of videos and websites that the internet and people create. So it seems to me that it’s the act of creating something that is so beneficial, whether it’s a house, a website, a garden or a video. I’m not really sure where I’m going with all this but it seems that people like to attack technology, but to me the internet is no different then a hammer, they’re both just tools that we use to create something. Here’s a couple random videos to watch.

Aaron Lewis - Staind

For the longest time I have been a huge fan of the rock band called Staind. I have seen them two times at Alpine. They put on an amazing show that is packed full of hits. Some of their songs would be Outside, It's Been a While, Right Here, So Far Away, etc... To most people, they are like the band that you kinda know and recognize, but just don't know the name. Well... their name is STAIND. They do have an album comming out later this year that should be pretty good (similar to their earlier songs).

The reason I am blogging is to make note of the fact that their lead singer and guitarist, Aaron Lewis, is amazing. The past couple years he has been doing a solo accoustic tour while the band is getting some rest time in. I was fortunate to go to a show last year and had a great time. I did find a really cool concert like video through a bunch of links and ended up at myspace. Here is a link to the site. It is the second video down, the "sync-live" video. I'm pretty sure you don't need to log in to see it.

The concerts are exactly like the one in the video. Aaron does not come to the event with a setlist at all. He covers songs and plays Staind songs. The coolest part is that he takes requests from the audience and that is basically what he plays. It's crazy because he knows a huge library of songs to play. Aaron just sits up on stage like the local bar musician, except he has sold millions and millions of albums... The intimate setting makes it really worthwhile. I do suggest checking out the video and giving it a listen. It is pretty good background music while checking emails or whatever. This whole thing just blows me away to see Aaron basically hanging out and having a good time playing whatever the hell he wants.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Female Body

I was checking out the Jezebel and Gawker blogs that I think were linked in a previous post and I also checked out Photoshop Disasters, which was mentioned in one of my other classes. After being hit with a wave of different articles involving the female figure and Photoshop, I quickly remembered why I dislike watching celebrity news or reading certain magazines.

Everyone knows about the deal with women, body image, and the media's portrayal of the female body, but for me, it goes beyond the "skinny" debate. The way it appears to me, no type of figure is ever good enough for us. If people see a curvier model, it's going to immediately be followed by some kind of joke about the buffet table. On the other hand, a super skinny model is quickly attacked as being anorexic or having the body of a boy. When asked what people think the female body should look like, people tend to respond with something like "a medium build is perfect" or, my personal favorite, "a healthy build."

However, I came across two different blog posts that make the whole fight for the "healthy" image seem more like one giant mess of hypocrisy. Both posts feature photos of very thin models with one difference - one has (naturally) bigger breasts. (I had to edit a bit because I wasn't sure if I could post the photo as it was)

No surprise, the first picture was responded to with post after post about how "slammin'" the woman's body is. And hey, I'm not going to lie, her figure is ideal. The second photo, however, received post after post about how she needed a cheeseburger and the like. Now, maybe I'm crazy or something, but seriously, their body sizes are exactly the same sans the chest area. What's the second model to do? She could eat more and get bigger, but then people would say she needed to lose weight again. If she were to get breast implants, she would immediately be frowned upon.

Of course the opposite occurs as well. When a magazine does feature a curvier woman, the model is both applauded and criticized. If that woman decides she wants to lose weight, the same people who praised her turn around and start acting concerned for her health. "She's too skinny!" "When she had curves, she was much better looking."

And god forbid anyone does any Photoshopping. Let the flaws show and the model gets criticized, disguise the flaws and the model...still gets criticized.

It's too easy to blame the media. I think women (especially women!) and men alike demand far too much of women's (and men's) bodies in so many different ways. Whatever happened to, uh, genetic differences? And when are we ever going to stop with the "healthy," "normal" body standard. It's like going into a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, complaining about every flavor of ice cream, and then demanding that they start serving "normal" ice cream. It seems like everyone is compelled to comment on a woman's figure, but it's rare to see anything regarding her achievements or her character. That is, unless, it's to say something about her morality, which is opening a whole 'nuther can of worms.

Fantasy Sports

So I just got into fantasy sports about two years ago and I now realize that I spend the majority of my online procrastination time checking lineups and stats for the various leagues that I am involved in. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with fantasy sports, it's basically an online program that allows a person to take the virtual role of team general manager in which you are in charge of trades, lineup changes, free agency, etc. The most popular fantasy sports, at least in the U.S., are to no surprise football, baseball, and basketball. Fantasy has exploded in popularity over the past few years and I think it has only helped the fan base of certain teams and players grow. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, more than 18 million people play fantasy sports online. It does cause some controversy, however, as many people consider it another form of illegal sports gambling. Usually people join a free league online with their friends or co-workers and put together a money pool themselves that the winner of the league takes at the end of the season. I find fantasy sports to be a lot of fun not only because I am a big sports fan, but because there seems to be pride involved when you can say you put together a winning roster. I happened to win my fantasy football league in the fall and I must admit I was pretty proud hoisting that trophy when it was all said and done. ESPN put together some pretty funny promo's before the fantasy baseball season started this year when they made a set of parody ads in soap opera format. You can find them all on YouTube. Here's a look at one of the good ones.

Get Over It?

Get over it? Thats the best rationale a supreme court justice can give to american people as to the historically Bush v. Gore Supreme court case. For the first time in american history, the supreme court in fact "appointed" Bush to the presidency and the legal rhetoric is "Get over it?" In an interveiw on 60 minutes, that was Justice Scalia's response when asked about criticism over wether the 5-4 ruling was politcally based. For those who dont know..all the conservative republican justices voted for Bush, and the liberal democrate justices voted for Gore. In addition of the 5 justices that voted in favor of Bush jr (the coke sniffing, drunk driving, C student) 4 were either appointed by Bush Senior or Reagan. Supreme court proceedings are conducted in secret and rarely if ever will Justices comment about cases. Is there any coincidence Scalia's book is comming soon?

China's population of Internet users at a high of 221 million

China ties the U.S. for most web users at 221 million. By the year 2012 China will have reached 490 million Internet users, a larger population than the U.S. China's web use has grown despite government efforts to block access to material considered subversive or pornographic.

In other markets like South Korea, E-Commerce, video sharing, and other businesses are growing quickly and companies have raised millions of dollars from investors. China does not have the same number of Internet Industries as the U.S. According to JSonline.com, 75% of adults are online while the number is higher for Teens.

In cities like Beijing the Internet is permitted for business and education use, but operates extensive online censorship. Web surfers have been jailed for posting or e-mailing material that criticizes communist rule or is deemed a violation of security laws. Web surfers are blocked from seeing foreign sites like YouTube.com with videos about protests in Tibet. Although users have been censored from some sites, their has been great success with game sites such as Tencent.com and a search engine Baidu.com.

The Chinese market has been involved in video sharing with over 100 million visitors a day. Despite China's censorship rules of the Internet, they manage to keep up with the technological market, and continues to create new opportunities in online communication and telephone market.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McDonald's international commercials

Fast food is bad, but it is fast. We all know eating McDonald's can cause a serious obesity. There is just too much calories with little nutrients. But I was watching few different McDonald’s commercials on you tube, and different strategies that each countries use was so unique to me. It is definitely different from American McDonald’s commercials. The McDonald’s commercial that I watch here is usually promoting "free samples" or I don't know... Other countries seem to get more involved with consumers. These advertisements make us to want go to McDonald’s because it catches viewer's attention. If look at the commercials, you might find it interesting the way they created it. Even though it is in a different language, if you watch carefully, you will find their a hidden story or a meaning in the commericials.
This also tells how McDonald’s is internationalized around the world. Every country used their strategies to target consumers. For example, there is a "Rice burger" in Korea. They make burgers with rice instead of bread buns. McDonald’s has become very big, and there is almost no one who doesn’t know about McDonald’s.

However, not only McDonald’s but also every fast food is bad for us. It's hard to say don't eat fast food because it already plays a big part of people's meal choices (it's fast, cheap, taste good). But everyone should start eating less because there is a big chance to be in an unhealthy condition.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Leave Britney Alone!

Since we've recently gotten onto the topic of what defines a media fan, I found it only appropriate to write my next blogging adventure on who other than YouTube's infamous, Chris Crocker. If this name does not sound familiar to you, Chris Crocker's video on YouTube has been viewed by almost 5 million people. Why so popular you ask? Well, Chris Crocker's video happens to be an emotional confession/defensive rant to try and get people to "Leave Britney alone!!!" In class today we discussed that being a fan of some sort of media is a part of expressing who we are; that it's a part of our identity. Chris Crocker is a great example of this way in which media fans are sometimes viewed. He lives, breathes, and even cries over the traumatic downfall of his biggest idol. We also questioned whether or not their are varying degrees of fandom. Can being a fan of media range from simply enjoying that media all the way to the point of obsessing ove it? Watching Chris Crocker's video made me realize that yes, there are different degress of fandom. Some people are not fans of Britney Spears, others might be a fan of a few of her songs, while some fans can say they've attended one of her concerts, but Chris Crocker is on a different spectrum. I wonder what Jenkins would write about a fan like Chris Crocker?

Over Worked American Idol?

I was listing to 103.7 this morning because my radio kept messing up when I tried to listen to V100.7 but anyway they were talking about a few celebrities. One of the celebrities they talked about was Kanye West and his girlfriend breaking up after six years of being in a relationship and 1 and a half years of engagement. I'm still trying to figure out who cares that he and his girlfriend aren't together anymore. Maybe a "gold digger" LOL. That's really is not what caught my attention they said that Jordin Sparks might be losing her recording contract. They said this just to keep the listeners tuned in because when they came back from the advertisements they told the "real" story. They said she had to cancel the tour that she would be on with Alicia Keys due to the fact that her vocal cords are damaged. I think her vocal cords are damaged because they were overworked and I know I'm not a doctor but if I were her vocal cords I would be tired too. As soon as she won the next day after she was performing on every channel I turned to. Maybe if they had given her a break between performances she would be alright. This should teach the record label not to overwork their people because now not only is Jordin going to miss out on a lot of cash they are too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is the Age of the Blog Done? (Already?)

On the heels of our discussion about blogs, and their place in the new world of "web 2.0" (I still have a problem with that term) I thought this video related quite well. This is from a show called "Attack of the Show" on G4. It's hard to define the show, but it's a daily hour long live TV show for "geeks", hosted by Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn. If you think you fit that montra check it out at 6pm Monday-Friday.

This segment is a one-on-one interview (called "The Loop") with Noah Robischon, Managing Editor of Gawker Media. Gawker, and its affiliate blogs, are some of the highest trafficked blogs on the net and have been for a while. They span everything from Media and Pop Culture (Gawker.com), to sports (Deadspin.com), to technology and gadgets (Gizmodo.com), and more.

Last monday, Gawker Media sold 3 of it's blogs: Idolator (music blog), Gridskipper (travel blog), and Wonkette (political gossip). The reason given was that Gawker Media felt that, "someone else will have better luck selling the advertising than we did." This has sparked a debate in the blogging community as to weather the age of ad driven blogs and professional bloggers is on the way out (it's been estimated that Gawker Media has been pulling in over $1 Million a year).

Check out what Robischon has to say and decide for yourself.

P.S. if you want to check out all of the Gawker Blogs...

Gawker (Media and Pop Culture)
Deadspin (Sports)
Defamer (Celebrity Gossip)
Fleshbot (Adult Content blog...yes that means porn)
(everyday tips and tricks)
Gizmodod (Tech and Gadgets)
Consumerist (A Consumer Reports blog)
Kotaku (Gaming)

(Update 4/21/08 18:59)

Forgot two of the Gawker Media Blogs:

io9 (Sci-Fi)
Jalopnik (Cars and Automobiles)

(Update 4/21/08 22:38)

It has been brought to my attention that their are two more Gawker Media Blogs I wasn't even aware of:

Jezebel (A "Women's Movement" style blog. Not sure if feminist is the right word, but maybe.)
Valleywag (Silicon Valley gossip)

Milwaukee's daily newspaper and other media

I read 2 sections of the Sunday Journal, Crossroads and the comics. This Sunday's content , once again, leaves a lot to be desired. Let me start with the comics. My favorite strip is "Get Fuzzy" (now there's a cat I can appreciate) so I'll leave that one alone. Most of the strips I'll read unless they're too copy intensive. One, in this Sundays selection, I must take issue with. It seems to be perpetuating the "consumption is good" myth. "Between Friends" seems to be saying shopping with your child is quality time. Now, I understand they're comics but come on, can't we work a more positive message in to the punch line? Then we go to "High and Lois." This strip is insinuating organic food has to taste bad. Who's writing this stuff Cargill? Monsanto?
O.K. moving on to "Crossroads", "Dear Earth" is the headline "How Can We Help You?" the sub-head. Well, here's an idea stop printing more ads than news content in this newspaper, anyway the article continues with "As Earth Day approaches eight leaders concerned about environmental policy...blah, blah, blah" Lets take a look at some of these leaders. One is president of Wisconsin Public Power. I wonder where his concern lies. Another is Community Relations manager for Veolia Water, once again, their concern? I was listening to Alternative Radio 2 Sundays ago the title was "The Corporate Takeover of Water." The speakers outlined ways in which this was taking place and Veolia was one of the corporations mentioned along with Bechtel. I suspect Veolia's motives and to see this employee of theirs as one of the contributors to this article cast the article in a new light for me. PR in the form of news. Hey, didn't we cover that?
A last item from this section relates to the blog posted last week about crime coverage in the media. A letter was written to the editor of the Journal entitled "Double standard in media coverage of homocides" and seems to agree with the position staked out by the blog's author.
Finally, a last media note, "Alternative Radio." If you're not tuning in you should be. Last night's show featured Dahr Jamail in a presentation entitled "Iraq: Beyond the Green Zone" and gave views of the war unfiltered by government or main stream media constraints. The speaker called NPR "National Pentagon Radio."
Good info is being put out from this weekly show.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Craigslist has quickly become one of the most popular web sites for apartment rentals, trade services, pets, buying anything, etc...almost everyone I know is familiar with Craigslist. While most people think that this site is mostly harmless, it has recently been reprimanded for people using this site for prostitution and sex trafficing. The site also has links to pages like "Missed Connections" and "Rants and Raves," where the content has a tendency to become rather explicit.

The suspects in the prostitution case were, to my knowledge, caught rather easily. This leaves me wondering why people are so open with personal information on Craigslist and similar sites. I have noticed that some posts on Craigslist include everything from a full name, to phone numbers, to email addresses and actual street addresses...it seems like an open invitation for trouble.

This also ties into the "feed the machine" theory. While I do not think that censoring ourselves on the internet is a good idea, I do believe that, as the only advocate for yourself, you have to protect your privacy. There will inevitably be people who take advantage of other people, but I do think that with a little thought the amount of identity theft, crime, etc. could be reduced.

By the way, you should all read the "Missed Connections" for Milwaukee. They can be really funny!

I can make my own podcast!

With all the talk about personal broadcasting on the internet, I decided to look up and see really what podcasts are all about. The first time I heard about a podcast, it was when I got my first iPod years ago. To me it was just some advanced feature that I wasn't going to take the time to figure out. And why would I? When I bought my first iPod, I was probably in 9th grade, almost 9 years ago. At that time, they're weren't really any "Lonely Girl" videos out, or at least they weren't as widely broadcasted as they are now. I never really knew about podcasts until I had heard from a person that they create their own, and that interested me so I did a little search on msn.com to see how that works and how popular it's become without my knowing. After reading specifically this article titled Create Your Own Podcast I realized that there are more options than just recording from a microphone on your computer. Some mp3 players now allow recording, so you could create a podcast then upload and edit it later on your computer before broadcasting it. This website seems helpful for beginners-it describes the types of microphones to use, the easiest software to use to record and edit, and how to create the correct audio file format so that it can be broadcasted and listened by anyone. It then gives websites to download other podcasts to give you inspiration for your own creations, and lastly explains how to finally publish it. I was impressed to find such a detailed yet simple article to help people produce media of their own. I don't think I could ever create a podcast, but I suppose it's nice to know that if I suddenly got the itch to broadcast my criticisms or speak my mind about any and everything, it wouldn't be too difficult.

The growth of iTunes

Is it just me or does it seem like iTunes has a new version come out every week? Every time I shut down my computer and re-boot iTunes it seems like I need to update. With that said, it might not actually be such a bad thing. iTunes has grown incredibly over the past few years. The iTunes store connects to the Internet to allow users to purchase and download digital music, music videos, television shows, iPod games, audiobooks, podcasts, movies, and just recently added movie rentals and ringtones. What more could they possibly add? I decided to test out the movie rental feature and to my surprise it worked quite well. I purchased "No Country For Old Men" for $3.99 and it took about 15 minutes to download. iTunes then gives you a 24 hour window in which you can view the movie on your computer. The movie was pretty good but had an unusual ending, which I won't spoil for anyone who has not seen it. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about after the film virtually swept the Academy Awards this year. Overall, a good purchase. Anyway, I found the iTunes movie rental feature to be pretty cool and easy to use. Although they don't have a huge selection of movies yet, I assume they are working on building the library up as large as they possibly can. What else is nice about the rental feature is you can watch trailers and read reviews all on the same page before you decide to rent the movie. I thought this was helpful because out of the five or so reviews I read for "No Country..." they were all raving about the movie. It seems that the iTunes interface keeps on improving and I am certainly excited to see what other features will be released in the near future.

Over logging

I read Jeff’s blog and decided that I would also write about South Park. First off, I think the show is great. It pushes the boundaries and delivers perfectly with its pop culture parodies and scatological humor. It always challenges current events and usually exhibits how ridiculous things are. Tying along in with web 2.0 and how much the internet is a driving force in our lives, South Park has created the episode “Over Logging.” The plot goes that one day the citizens of South Park wake up and find the internet is gone. When Randy (Stan’s Dad) hears there may still be some internet out in California, he packs up his family and heads west. The story seems to be a parody on “The Grapes of Wrath” and Silicon Valley, which adds a lot of humor to the situation. Overall the episode depicts internet users pretty accurate in the sense that it’s hard for people to live without it these days. Here's the episode to watch.


Youtube Celebrities

Hahahah well after class today, I knew exactly what I was gonna write my blog about. I think it was last week's episode of South Park that had the character "Butters" get famous by singing a song. The scene takes place at an internet fame money collecting site. Once again, my embed video thing is screwed up... so here is a link to the Youtube. It's funny... the clips of the people were added in by the editor of video. Thinking about this episode, it's funny to see how the characters act like the internet owes them something. Hahah as if we owe them money. They all get into a fight over "who has the most views." I guess this kinda relates to class when we talked about the internet and the fame that generates from it. I don't think anyone in the videos is a "pro." They are just ordinary people (and panda).

I love South Park for the fact that the content is pretty out there and in your face. Stuff on this show is like X rated and banned from network television. It's great to see that the creators could really care less...

Thursday, April 17, 2008


After we talked about personal blogs in class, I just thought to bring up a Korea-based 'My Space' kind of thing to you guys. It's called "Cyworld," and it is probably the widest used personal blog in Korea. It's just like "My space" or "Facebook" with Asian features such as more icons and cute things?(I would say)

"Cyworld" didn't become popular when it first came out in Korea because it was new style of web that people weren’t familiar to. Nowadays, there are millions of Korean people who communicate through this website and it certainly became extremely popular. After they became such a hit, they decide to spread “Cyworld” abroad. America was a definitely targeted market, and there are other Asian countries such as, China, Japan, and Taiwan. In fact, in Asian countries, it already became a big hit because we have some similar cultures in some ways.

However, when I first heard that “Cyworld” is targeting U.S web users, I was a little worried because I didn't know how they are going to commercialize, and the culture difference as well. So, I didn’t know if it would mainstream America. But I think “Cyworld” has enough features and interesting things to mainstream America. Since it is Asian based website, features and some styles might be unfamiliar to you. “Cyworld” also gives you strong policies for people’s privacy that many other websites do not provide. There are certain restrictions that you can create for your own. Maybe you might like this website better than “My Space” or “Facebook” or maybe not. Check it out!

This is one of the Cyworld commercials, even though you probably wouldn't understand this because it is in Korean, but it still gives you a sense of Cyworld's popularity. The message of the commericial is "Anyone can network and communicate through Cyworld"


I'm not too sure how many of you this blog will pertain to, but it interests me, and I'm sure it also interests fans of the Milwaukee Bucks. Today the Bucks fired their head coach Larry Krystkowiak after about 1.5 years of service to the Bucks organization. To Bucks fans of all walks, this should come as no surprise given the Bucks abysmal 26-56 record this year. Krystkowiak was originally hired as head coach on March 15, 2007 and won only 31 of out 100 games over his tenure.

With that being said, I am incredibly happy with the strides that Herb Kohl, the Bucks owner, is taking in trying to make the team a contender again in the Eastern Conference. Less than one month ago, the Bucks fired General Manager Larry Harris who was known for making some questionable personel moves in the 4 years that he was here. Just last week, the Bucks hired a new GM in John Hammond who had worked previously for the Detroit Pistons. This was a great move by the Bucks because Hammond was a key man in the Pistons winning it all in 2004.

Now all the Bucks need to do is find a head coach who is ready and willing to put 100% in turning this abysmal team around. I also think whoever they hire as head coach should be someone who is outside of the organiazation all together, just like John Hammond was. Finding someone outside of the organization allows fresh perspective to be brought in. That leads to new ideas, and ultimately a better performing team.

It is also vital who they choose to let go, and bring in, from a player standpoint. I could get into who I think should stay and who should go and what reasons I have, but I'll save that conversation for a different time and a different day. For now, it's great to finally have the season over with so there is no shame and dissapointment for this Bucks fan. Later.

Too Skinny...

Many people blame the media, rightfully, for creating an unattainable image of what beauty is for women. The typical image of beauty that women constantly see are one of a very thin women. WE get this idea that thin is beautifuland being beautiful is being thin. In reality, only about 10% of all women can even naturally and healthily reach this image of thinness.
During the late 70's and throughout the 80's this image of heroine sheik ,where models would look deathly and just skin and bones, was very popular is the fashion world. For me I never really go that type of beauty and do not find that attractive, but because of cultural norms and an culture that is obsessed with weight loss and beauty this images of very thin women is not healthy.
However, in France they are taking steps towards trying to change that. This new bill would make it illegal for anyone to publicly promote extreme thinness. This would mean that magazines, TV, movies, newspapers, websites, etc. would not be able to promote people who are too thin. If this is passed and you are found guilty of promoting this type of image judges will have the power to imprison or fine offenders up to $47,000. Authorities can also sanction those individuals responsible to magazine photos portraying "excessive thinness."

This is a small step, but a right step towards a healthier image what beauty is and how people view women and themselves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

im on ur computer, drinkin a beer n' writin a blog

  I think I've completed my blogging requirement for the class already, but after our class discussion on blogging Tuesday I felt that I needed to delve into the sordid underbelly of the feline literary movement, i.e. cat blogging, and share my findings.  First off, I rescued and successfully nursed a stray kitten back to health and my apartment contains an assortment of lovingly knit afghans so perhaps I am one of those 'cat ladies' who people usually try to avoid eye contact with. But I've never considered expressing my feeling via a blog using the pseudonym of my beloved with various cutesy misspellings and harrowing tales of vacuum cleaners ... until now.  First off, I was unaware of the vast network and diversity amongst cats' feeling and opinions.  Some are concerned with helping their feral brethren while others are more obsessed with describing how angry mommy is at them for shredding the toilet paper again.  As I scrolled through page after page of these future anthropological gems I realized that however futile they may seem to some, they are providing release and networking for vast numbers of people who may not have any other outlet to express themselves and I kinda felt like I needed to be a part of the kitsch.  Mark my words, I will have a cat blog and it will be the campiest piece of camp to ever camp the internetz.  !Viva la revolution!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

the riches

so i realize that i have posted on TV a LOT. well, i'm doing it again. The Riches is just a few episodes into its' second season, and it is ridiculously good. It airs on FX on Tuesdays at 9 o'clock.
The show basically is about a family of 'travelers', vagabonds who live in their Winnebago and never really settle down in one place. They came across a really sweet deal assuming the identity of a family who had died on the way to their new enormous house, and assumed that family's identities.
The appeal of the show is that it is funny, edgy, unpredictable, and pretty much just thoroughly awesome. The plot and arcs are stellar, and never does the show venture into any sort of common storyline. It stars Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver as the parents of this Gypsy clan, and both of them are really believable and well cast. The supporting actors are equally good.

My kid's a star...until I mess it up

So, I don't know what's gotten into people these days...but forcing your kid into the entertainment industry for your own self-indulgence has far-passed the line in "My Kid's a Star" on VH1. This reality series really shows how our society has changed into a completely commercially-driven society. People have become so materialistic and commercialized nowadays to the point where they'll openly-expose their children to the evils of the media that most parents try to shy their kids away from to protect them. In a particular episode of "My Kid's a Star" a certain mom, Rocky, does anything and everything she can to act as the typical stage-mom. The kids' challenge in this episode is to learn a choreographed dance and audition for a shoe commercial. Well, Rocky's daughter didn't win the challenge, so she decides to have a meltdown and act younger than her 9-year-old daughter, who acts unaffected by the loss. Not only does she cry, but she's so upset that she begins to trash talk other mother's on the show...which leads to her daughter thinking her behavior is alright, so she begins to do the same! Nice role model. In the confessional, Rocky has her biggest meltdown in her "My Boyfriend Is Out Of Town" shirt. How old are you again? The clip is long, but 5 min. 30 sec. into it is Rocky's first meltdown and 8 min. and 30 sec. into it is her best meltdown ever.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Sorry in advance if a similar subject was already posted on this blog; I can't remember if I read someone writing about Pandora on here or somewhere else. Anyway, for those still unfamiliar, it is a really cool online music player that allows the user to create 'stations' based on a certain song or artist that you look.

After inputting a song or artist that you like, Pandora Radio vows to find similar songs and artists, exposing you to a variety of new music in a similar style. Also cool is that it tells you briefly how the connection from was made. You can also ‘guide’ the radio by saying you do or don’t like a song.

I’ve never liked listening to music on conventional radio because the music is usually pretty bad and repetitive and the commercials, oh, the commercials...

Pandora is a much better way of finding new and interesting music, at least from my experience. It’s also more fun skimming through some Motown sounds new and old than studying for an exam today or tomorrow, yesa.

Too Many DVD Releases

I was thinking about buying the 80s sci-fi movie Blade Runner on DVD, but I'm having the worst time figuring out which version I'd like to get. Aside from the original theatrical version, there's a director's cut, an international version, the work-print version, and now the final cut.

Because everyone wants plastic toys and prints of locations you don't even remember being in the movieNow, you'd think this would be an easy decision because there is a complete set available. The only problem is, this complete set is a $60 faux aluminum case complete with a vehicle replica, plastic unicorn toy, hulking DVD box set, and other movie paraphernalia. That's all fine and dandy, but I don't know if I like the movie enough to want a giant briefcase of things, let alone, all five cuts of the film. That's not to say that this isn't a very generous offering, but just imagine if every movie were packaged this way.

I've had the same problem when trying to buy the original Star Wars Trilogy on DVD. There are way too many releases and re-releases of that trilogy - and all I want are the original three films! I also bought Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom a while back, and am now just realizing they had a box set. The constant re-releasing and bonus-featurizing is also a common trend with video games now too, but that's a whole other ballpark.

Why is buying a movie so much work nowadays? With directors and their never-ending quest to perfect their already perfect films, and the distribution companies' constant milking of films for all they're worth, I'm finding that I want to purchase movies less than ever before. With the rise of the Internet, everyone wants "complete," "definitive," "perfect," but I sometimes wonder if "simple" made us all happier. For me, the movies I fell in love with never needed new lines from the secret vault version or a super-imposed Hayden Christensen for better story continuity (the movie had fighting teddy bears for god's sake! There's no need for a ridicuous amount of accuracy here.) But if these things must be added, at least make buying the DVDs a simpler process.

Born to Rock

Let me just say that I have pretty much given up on MTV besides watching the occasional Hills episode or leaving on an episode or two of America's Next Top Model. Then I heard about this show Rock the Cradle that features the children of famous rock stars from the past. And of course, they want to be rock stars too. So I decided to watch an episode.

First of all, here are who the contestants are:
Lucy Walsh- Daughter of Joe Walsh of the Eagles
Lil B. Sure- son of r&b singer Al B. Sure
Jesse Blaze Snider- son of Dee Snider
Jesse Money- daughter of Eddie Money
Crosby Loggins- son of Kenny Loggins
Chloe Lattanzi- daughter of Olivia Newton-John
Lara Johnston- daughter of Doobey Brother's Tom Johnston
Landon Brown- son of r&b singer Bobby Brown
A'Keiba Burrell- daughter of MC Hammer

So here are the problems I have with the show: 
  1.  The judges. They are so biased and all over the place, and they don't even try to hide it. In the premiere episode Lucy Walsh sang "Heart of the Matter"- good song, but her? No thanks! Yet the judges LOVED her. All I thought was Did you hear her voice? Not amazing. Could it be that her dad is the most famous of the group? Then there was Jesse Blaze Snider who is obviously a born entertainer, who can sing, has stage presence, and even did a back flip in the air after his performance. And the judges did NOT give him the credit he deserved.
  2. Lame version of American Idol. There just isn't enough hype for what one of the judges called "probably the greatest show on MTV ever". On the bright side, it is people's choice so the judges scores don't matter as much.
  3. Some of these kids really want it, some of them just want the fame. The judges can't tell the difference.
But I'm not going to deny that the show could get addicting, just like American Idol did for audiences. The only difference is a lot of these kids already have everything.

Here's the Lucy Walsh performance, you can decide whether you agree with me about her singing or not. But poor girl, her dad doesn't condone her being on the show and wouldn't come and support her :(

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A good book(s)

I went to the library the other day. Books were over due. Some I finished. Some not. They'd been renewed to the hilt though so they had to go. It was hard. I hate giving up a good book before spending the time with it it deserves. I usually overload myself though. Perusing the non-fiction shelves many titles pique my curiosity. A cursory scan of the inside jacket summary, a glance at the back cover reviews and I'm hooked. Stories in the news are short reviews at best. If the subject intrigues me a book offers a more in depth look and to really be informed you have to go deeper. I returned four books and left with three new loans. Added to the pile of 5 or 6 waiting their turn on my living room floor and the readings for this and two other media courses, well, I have lots of text to absorb. My current list includes; Jihad vs McWorld, We're All Journalists Now, the transformation of the press and reshaping of the law in the internet age, Book of the Hopi, In Defence of America, the fight for civil liberties in the age of terror, What Good is Journalism, how reporters and editors are saving america's way of life, Storm World hurricanes, politics and the battle over global warming, The Wealth of Networks, how social production transforms markets and freedom, Encore, finding work that matters in the second half of life, Dumbing Down, the strip mining of american culture and finally Waiting for the Barbarians, a novel I just haven't gotten to yet.
Now, my library gives three week loans with a three week renewal available ... Whoa, I gotta go! I have some reading to do. No time for American Idol. Geez I barely have time to shave.

By the way, good article in the "Crossroads" section of Sunday's Journal. "Foreign policy shouldn't be based on U.S.-centric coverage," is the title. Two authors, Claudia Rossett and David Marash discuss media and unfulfilled potential in international coverage. Both will be speaking at the Pabst Theater Thursday from 4 to 6 pm. The subject "Election 2008: Foreign policy and the media." Students with ID get in free.

Modern dating shows

I don't know if it's just me, but isn't pretty much every reality dating show getting to be too much to handle? It's not like dating shows back in the day, like the Newlywed Game....now we have got shows like Tila Tequila and Brett Michaels trying to win true love. How do these people even fall in love with someone like them? I'm sorry, but you're on a show trying to win the heart of someone who's getting on 20 different people at the same time. This is no way to find true love, by trying to capture the heart of someone who clearly is not too into you. I've always found these kinds of shows to be pretty repulsive actually. It's just not my thing I guess, you know...going out of my way to try and win that "key" or "rose every episode, but have the person in return making out and sometimes getting too friendly with my competition. If these D-list celebrities think that having their own reality show will find them their true love, they are out of their minds. Most of the time these contestant go into these shows acting like crazy obsessed idiots. If I were famous, I would definetly not want to have a reality show where contestants try out to come onto my show in hopes to by "the one". It's creepy. Half of these people probably MySpace stalked Tila Tequila before even coming onto the show. And to think that she's famous for pretty much close to nothing is sad.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Society and Local News...

After discussing media effects such as active viewing and the passivity theory in class this week, I began considering how society affects local news. Many people claim that local news is more propaganda than actual necessary news, but are audience and society demanding these kinds of thoughtless stories without even knowing it?

You may be wondering how I even got on this rampage, of sorts, so I'll tell you....my apartment was burglarized on Tuesday. Over $12,000 worth of stuff was taken, including all six of my boyfriend's guitars, a piano, a drum set, a lot of our clothes, shoes, an original Nintendo, jewelry, pictures, towels, kitchen utensils...you name it.

While I understand that robberies, even as large as ours, happen often. However, the news rarely reports on it. As everyone knows, as it gets warmer in Milwaukee, it seems like crime skyrockets. So over the last few days, I have seen a lot of things (like tarps covering two bodies on North Ave. as squad cars blocked off the whole street last night) that have not been on the news, or even online. What I'm asking is does society prefer to hear sensationalistic stories like the Fonz statue in Milwaukee or do we like to hear about real news, like crimes and deaths? While I think that these things are important, I also realize that they could be disheartening, and I'm sure that no news channel wants to constantly showcase the bad things. However, I think that a lot of audiences are blind to what really happens in Milwaukee because the stories are never told.

About seven police officers and detectives were at our apartment this week. As we chatted with them, they told me horrible stories like murders, suicides, drug busts, etc. that I have never even heard about. Why not? I want to know why local news outlets don't tell us these stories!

What do you want from your news? I want the truth...true stories that open our eyes to what is really going on in our neighborhoods. I couldn't care less about a statue of the Fonz! Maybe we also need to consider how audiences are reinforcing their acceptance of local news by continuing to enjoy these stories rather than voicing our opinions on what we really want to see.

Women can earn the big bucks too

Ladies there is hope for us all. I know you all have heard that men make more money than women. That's not always the case. According to a recent article on AOL.com, Dr. Warren Farrell, best selling author and gender issues expert, says in some fields women bring home more "bacon" than men.

In her recent book titled Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Gap--and What Women can do about it. Dr. Farrell examines the pay gap between men & women, work life decisions, and he tries to help women achieve a higher pay and understand the trade offs involved.

The 10 careers where women earn more than men:
  • Sales Engineers
  • Statisticians
  • Legislators
  • Automotive Service Technicians & mechanics
  • Library Assistants, Clerical
  • Baggage Porters, Bellhops, & Concierges
  • Financial Analysts
  • Aerospace Engineers
  • Human Resources Assistants, except payroll and timekeeping
  • Advertising & Promotions Managers

The reasons for the higher pay in women's fields can be explained, women's pay can be significantly greater than men, it can be in male dominated fields, female-dominated fields, or well integrated fields. Women have more obligations to tend to, family, home, etc. Overall, men do earn more money because they put in more work hours and are willing to relocate if need be. Men are able to make more sacrifices than women that can lead to an increase in salary.

Latino's on Prime-Time TV

I'm going to go outside of what we've been talking about in class because I've had this urge to write about this for a few weeks and I just never got around to it. I'll preface this with something you may not know about me, I'm actually Mexican. My mother immigrated to the United States with my grandparents when she was still a child.

So, a few weeks ago I was watching "Nick at Night" and discovered (to my delight) that Viacom had bought the rights to show "The George Lopez Show". For those that don't know, George Lopez is a Mexican stand up comedian and his sitcom ran on ABC from 2002 to 2007. Seeing the show for the first time in a few years (the last year of the show was pretty bad) made me bust out his stand-up DVDs "George Lopez: Why You Cryin'?" and "George Lopez: America's Mexican". At the end of one of the shows he says something that made me think, he said that there have only been three Latinos to ever have a leading role on a prime time sitcom.

Desi Arnaz was the first to have a leading role opposite of Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy". Arnaz paved the way for Latinos on TV by not only being one of the stars on screen, but off screen he owned the production company and produced the show.

The Second person he mentioned was Freddie Prinze (father of Freddie Prinze Jr.), who stared opposite of Jack Albertson in "Chico and the Man", which ran from 1974 to 1978 on NBC. Prinze only appeared in the first three seasons because of his suicide in 1977.

Obviously the third Latino is George Lopez.

I'm not trying to start a call to arms about the lack of Latinos on television (though it does make you think), just thought it was an interesting fact.

Yo Gabba Gabba!

Considering our talk yesterday about kid’s television shows, I thought I’d bring up the kids show Yo Gabba Gabba! It’s a children’s television series that was created by the MC Bat Commander and other indie artists. It started last year and seems to have a great success with children. I think it’s a fresh entertaining show with a different spin then most children shows. It’s hosted by a character named DJ Lance Rock, and five toy monsters: Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex, and Toodee. A lot of crazy things happen on this show like, Biz Markie teaching kids how to beat box, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo teaching kids how to draw and much more fun stuff that I enjoy watching. The show has kid friendly songs and a wide range of guests like Rahzel, The shins, Mya and Elijah Wood does an awesome puppet master dance. The show does have an absurd style of humor that is intended for adults but that is also kid friendly. I’m not saying it’s better than Blues Clues but it is easier to sit through.

Charity Radio!

Well incase you don't listen to 102.9 WHQG in Milwaukee ( The Hog), you have been missing something spectacular. Every year in early April, the morning show hosts Bob & Brian stay on the air for a total of 28 hours over like a day and a half. The event is called the "28 Hour Bob & Brian Leukemia Radiothon." The fundraiser is to help benefit cancer research. I think last year they raised over $110,000 in just the 28 hour time span. Here is a link to the page if you wanna go check it out. Every hour they auction off gifts (usually donated to the station) and the money goes right to the charity. The best part is that they reinforce the phrase "we will do anything for money!" While in class today I heard them playing the Hanson sisters "Mmm Bob" hahaha.

It really is crazy to listen to. The normal DJ's and guests of the show are constantly stopping in to just chat and kill time. Today they had Mark Metcalf (from Animal House), Joe Panos (former NFL lineman), Drew Olsen (onmilwaukee.com baseball writer), and Natalie (the 102.9 rock girl). Joe even was taken up on his challenge "the next person to bid $2,000 ... I will wax my legs and arms." Sure enough, it took 30 minutes and the event raised two grand for just that "item."

Last July the guys even got their own day named after them by the mayor of Milwaukee for all of the charity work they do. Another example of their work would be the food drive that I believe takes place in the fall. So please...check out the website, tune your old school radio, or listen live online... It is a great cause and it is pretty entertaining to see some of the things they will do for money :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interesting USA Today Article

So I just found an interesting article while surfing the internet. In its contents it highlights the financial earnings of every companies Executives and how much they pocketed from 2007. It also breaks down the executives by the industry that they are in. For each executive of each company, the article lists their salaries, bonuses, other compensation, stock & option awards and the total amount of money that they made in 2007. It also lists their % change of earnings from 2006 and the shareholder return.

Some of the more interesting ones that I found were at the bottom of the salary list. For example, Richard Fairbank of Capital One Financial had a salary of $0 from last year, but his stock and options rewards and other compensations totaled over $17 million. Another one was Steve Jobs of Apple who made a total of $1 last year.

All in all it was a very interesting article to look at.

Bugatti Hermes Veyron's U.S. Debut

I don't know how many girls are into cars, but I am one of them. I like super cars. I saw a video of this new hot Bugatti Veyron. It just arrived in New York on April 2, and it is a new edition of Bugatti. You probably have heard of both brands. Bugatti is the fastest car in the world, and Hermes is luxury French design home. This car costs 2.4 million dollars before tax!! The performance features are the same. But, Hermes hand designed the interior, and he also designed the exterior. That's why they call it Bugatti Hermes Veyron. The reason Hermes designed this car is to take an extra step to make more individualizations to satisfy costumers. It is very expensive for a car, but this is more than a car to people who participate in that particular car market. The emblem is different compare to the other Bugatti because Hermes designed so they combined Bugatti’s "B" emblem with "H" which refers to Hermes. They are selling 10-15 cars with Hermes signature on it. I am not so surprised that they have already sold five of them because this car has enough interest to people who like SUPER CARS.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

MySpace Beatdown

Yesterday I read a pretty unbelievable story about teenagers from Florida beating down one of their "friends" on video so they could put it up on MySpace and YouTube.  Apparently the 16 year old girl who was beaten was lured into the house by six other girls she knew.  The attackers say they were upset with so called "trash talk" the victim put up on her MySpace page, and they wanted to post their revenge in the form of a video on their own page.  I found a link to part of the video here while good ole' Nancy Grace is debating the meaning of it all.  The victim was said to be barely recognizable by her parents at the time she arrived at the hospital.  She had temporary loss of vision in her left eye and loss of hearing in one of her ears.  To me, this incident is flat out sickening.  The attackers have been arrested and I hope they are all tried as adults and face jail time.  There is no reason things like this should be happening, but of course this is never the case.  This story could relate back to a discussion we had last week on pointing the finger.  Is this a case of media violence or neglect on the sake of the parents?  One would think morals would kick in at some point and make the attackers realize the senselessness of the situation.  Incidents like these make me think about what kind of environment teenagers are growing up in today and how we can fix it.

Rare and Miraculous Baby

The picture above is a real and not doctored picture of a baby, Lali, that was born in a northern village of India on Tuesday. The baby seemingly has a rare condition
called craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. It also has been reported that people have been coming to worship her believing that she is the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess of valor, Durga.
Also, Lali's mouths, eyes, and noises all work. She feeds from both mouths and can open and shut all her eyes.

'reality' tv

I often struggle with the concept of modern reality television, and have never really gotten into any of the shows very much.

There is something attractive about peering into the lives of everyday people, and a lot of it probably has to do with relatability. If a show is about a typical person rather than a famous actor trying to be someone else, there is probably a better chance that the viewer can relate, and like we talked about in class on Tuesday, that is an important thing to many people watching television.

However, reality television has seemingly devolved (well, that implies it was once better, not sure) into the most fake and impossible of all television, from what I can tell. Seriously, the scenarios are often just completely ridiculous, and pretty obviously staged. And I'm not talking just about the editing to create a story.

There seem to be a lot of shows that are based around someone finding love. You know, like Rock of Love, the one with Flavor Flave and then the girl from that show that got her own, probably The Bachelor or something, I don't know. Setting aside the fact that the whole situation is about the furthest thing from anything real on earth for a moment, it's amusing that inevitably there are multiple seasons, despite the premise being that the star is looking for true love. Umm, no. And I'm not going to bother linking to them either because that would seem entirely too supportive and/or promotional.

The fact reality television is so awful is too bad, because regular people can be most interesting (though it's probably more fun to live your own regular life than watch someone else's), but all too often the way it's presented on television is anything but real.

This all makes 'reality television' probably the biggest misnomer going.

And again, regular people are fascinating.

videogame violence

so this week in entertainment weekly,
stephen king shares his thoughts on video game violence, in reaction to the HB 1423 bill which is trying to ban the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18. He disagrees with the bill based on a whole bunch of different ideas.
One of his ideas is that parents, not government, should be responsible for what their kids are playing and watching. He believes that even if this new legislature is put into place that kids will find a way to play these games anyways. He points out that the government loves to use pop-culture as a whipping boy because it is easy and always gets a strong reaction from whoever they're accusing.
The point that most strikes me is that legislatures tried to point out that the Virginia Tech killer loved video games, which he didn't, but failed to say anything about how easy it is for an obviously insane individual to acquire a gun and ammo in our gun-loving country. The irony in the gun situation is that the second amendment was written so that the populus could stay armed to overthrow the government if it didn't serve them, but the people now who are so in love with guns are the ones who strongly support the government, whereas the dissenters have no interest in firearms. The idea of guns keeping us safe is flawed when you notice that without guns most of the violence within our own country perpetrated by crazy mofos would not happen.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

the anti-fat task force parade

...OK, the organization's real name is National Action Against Obesity and they aren't having a street parade, but every time something positive happens to a women over 160 lbs they go on a press parade talking to cable news programs and morning talk shows and yak about what terrible role models they are.  When Jordan Sparks won American Idol a few seasons ago the founder of this organization went on a media tirade discussing how fat Sparks was and how terrible it was to have an "obese" American Idol.  Roth ruined my breakfast this morning when she went on the Mike and Juliet Show to talk about how horrible it was that a Chloe Marshall, a "plus sized" model, won the title of Miss England.  Marshall is a size 16, the average size of an English women, and according to medical standards only 6 lbs overweight. Regardless, Roth was outraged that Marshall would win, believed that she was a terrible role model, and said "plus-size is nothing to be proud of."  The real kicker is the Roth appears to have NO medical training, licensing, or degree what so ever.  WHY DO NETWORKS KEEP INVITING THIS "EXPERT" ONTO THEIR SHOWS? Is it an attempt to seem unbiased in the media?  Did the pressure to create an unbiased media create this monster?  Sensationalism? I agree that health and fitness are important, and that models and beauty queens influence people, but COME ON.  
Here's a Fox News classic featuring Roth: Does Santa need to lose weight??

Another Lauren and Heidi Battle

Let me start by saying I love watching The Hills and even more reading about the drama in the tabloids. Ever since Laguna Beach, I enjoyed watching the life that most of us can only dream of. However, it seems like the media pushes Heidi and Lauren to constantly find something to fight about even if it doesn’t truly come from their lives (television show). In the recent Life & Style, there’s a cover story entitled “Heidi vs. Lauren: It’s a Skinny War” now supposedly they are fighting over who is skinnier. Do you honestly think that they are fighting over who is really skinnier? I think their main consider if any is whose clothing line will be the bigger hit. It doesn’t make sense for them to fight over being skinner. Heidi is 5 foot 4 and 110 pounds. Lauren is 5 foot 6 and 115 pounds. Lauren has been working out ever since Laguna Beach ended and she is maturing and it shows. She now has a routine. Heidi on the other hand, has always been skinny since Laguna Beach. I don’t think they are fighting over who can be skinner rather they are both keeping up with being in the spotlight.

Jay Z & Beyonce Say "I Do"!!

I don't know about anyone else but if they did get married I am happy for them. It's about time I mean they have been dating for six years or more. However I am tired of hearing about it. It's like you can even listen to the radio without them mentioning it, or watch television for that matter. It's like don't they have anything better to talk about. Evidently Jay Z and Beyonce don't want to talk about it and we are not even one hundred percent sure that it's true it's really just speculations. (I hope I spelled that word right.) The things that they are assuming do make you believe that it might be true. Like on these pictures that I saw of their hands there was a tattoo on both of their ring fingers that read 4ever. So maybe instead of wearing huge rocks that definitely would draw attention they did the tattoo rings. I think if Beyonce and Jay want everyone to stay out of their personal lives they should just tell people the little things they want to know like if they really did get married. That's really not something that you keep a secret they act like they are ashamed of something. I know I wouldn't be they are both very successful and talented people who are at the top of their game so I say celebrate that. I am pretty sure they are married so, Congrats. And if they are not oh well they should be.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My new communist friend plus some media

Soooo...I spent some time with our class visitor last week. As soon as she introduced herself as a visiting scholar from China curiosity kicked in and I wanted to know more. I approached her after class to find out if she had some free time. Turns out she had lots of it and would welcome the opportunity to engage in some social intercourse with a "local."
Bear with me, I'm getting to the media consumption part.
Anyways, I took her to Lapham Peak State Park (the highest point in Waukesha County), Old World Wisconsin (it was closed but the gate was open so we went in and drove around anyway), Conejito's (her first experience with Mexican food) and the lakefront where we climbed around on the huge boulders for a while. I invited her to attend a lecture Wednesday evening in the Fireside Lounge at the Student Union. We both enjoyed the presentation given by a Jesuit priest from Marquette University entitled "The Iraq War, Who Profits." During the Q&A afterwards someone asked the speaker to recommend an outlet for honest, relevant news. He cited Alternet.com as a reliable source. I logged on later and perused the headlines and authors and thought it looked promising for people taking their news seriously. You have to be your own gatekeeper though, running the risk of reading only the news you know you'll like or agree with thus avoiding a broader perspective and exposure to differing points of view.
Another outlet I was alerted to in reading the book We're All Journalists Now is Newstrust, an online news rating system. I logged on there also and found it to be a fascinating site I intend to spend some time with.
There, that's the media part. Now back to our visitor.
She lives with her husband in a small apartment in Guan Zhou, a little burg of about 7 million people. She teaches Journalism and Communication at Jinan University and commutes by bicycle. She used to get around on a scooter but they were outlawed. She continued to ride until the officials confiscated it. Her husband gets chauffeured to work as an editor of an alternative newspaper owned by the main stream communist press. It seems the commie press doesn't make money so they started this alternative paper because it appeals more to the "peasants" (her term). She commented on the blue of our sky, theirs is grey. According to her Tibetans don't like the Dali Lama. They are enslaved by him and his monk followers. Chinese propaganda? She says the info was found in books authored by Tibetan refugees.
All in all it was an interesting couple of days, and I got through it without causing an international incident which may not surprise anyone reading this but my friends and family were crossing their fingers and holding their collective breath.
By the way, more media. While I was laboriously pecking this out on the keyboard I was listening to a program on WHAD, the NPR station out of Madison. The show is called To The Best of Our Knowledge, this segment, Dumbing Down, Smartening Up, aired Sunday at noon and I highly recommend giving it a listen.

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Name is Zak...and I'm a Geek

OK, first and foremost, this post will make more sense if I preface it with this...I'm a geek. Since I was a kid I've played video games, taken apart computers just to see how they work, and I've even read the occasional comic book (and yes Spider-man is a punk and Daredevil would always win in a fight). So, with this is mind, the following may make sense.

Recently I've joined an organization called the Video Game Voters Network (VGVN). The organization was founded in March of 2006. The VGVN opposes regulation on all media art forms but obviously focuses on video games.

The VGVN has recently led a protest against Massachusetts HB 1423, which would have criminalized the sale of Mature rated games to those under 17. The VGVN helped to prevent the bill from passing, and the network has moved to Arizona where a similar bill is in the works (HB 2660).

In reality, video games are only about 35-years-old, meaning they are still young in the grand scheme of things. I do believe that some video games are art (i.e. Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect), and that they do hold a purpose in today's society. Do I think that games that are violent for the sake of being violent are art? That's not for me to decide; that's for each individual to choose. With this being said, if the government was to regulate the industry, it would be a form of censorship.

But that's my opinion. You can't pick and choose what is covered under the First Amendment. Video Games are art, and you can't censor art. But hey, make your own decision.

Anticlown Media

In class yesterday we discussed how the media is usually studied in a way to prove it’s a negative influence on society, not a positive one. Well usually these studies, articles, etc. are pretty serious and lack any time of humor about the issues. I found a site about a year ago called “The Superficial” that is similar to a tabloid magazine only it makes fun of the celebrities in the main stories in the media. I think it’s refreshing to read because Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, Star, etc. are so damn serious about their “news” that it’s just plain annoying to read. “The Superficial” takes a very hilarious approach to updating you on news while also playing on the fact that the news is stupid and no one should care about it. It’s a blog style website with videos posted from youtube.com, pictures, quotes, and also reader comments to follow each “article”. I put the word “article” in parentheses because really each post is more like a paragraph of commentary, but enough to explain what the news is and the pictures/videos that follow. They have a couple cool features that follow each post. One is called “reddit” and it’s a feature you sign up for and once signed in, you can vote on specific links that you like or dislike and it helps them decide what’s popular and they should follow up with. One of the other features is called “Del.ici.ous”…it’s a funny name to say “save this story in my favorites”. “The Superficial” is actually part of a larger website called Anticlown Media. “The Superficial” is the gossip section, “Geeokologie” is the technology section, and “I Watch Stuff” is on movies. I think they are hilarious, depending on what you want to read up on. The only thing that’s irritating, especially during the writing of this blog, is that I can’t find a way to directly link to a single article. Or at least it isn’t blatantly obvious. It seems that in order to really do anything but read, you have to become a member of one of the features I mentioned. So instead I will just have to give you the link to The Superficial , Geekologie, and I Watch Stuff so that you can check out the posts yourselves. 

The U.S. Economy

I am not much of an economist nor do I consider myself one but anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the news has figured out by now that the U.S. economy is either in or headed towards somewhat of a recession. Over the course of March, the U.S. economy shed some 80,000 jobs in this article that I just glanced over this morning while checking my daily internet spots.

The article said, "Employers cut payrolls for a third month in a row in March and the unemployment rate jumped to a 2-1/2 year high, more evidence that a housing downturn and credit crisis may have pushed the economy into a recession."

It went on to say that those 80,000 some odd jobs that were lost in March was the biggest decline in nearly 5 years. The March unemployment rate also went up from what it was is February from 4.8% to 5.1%. This should be a cause for concern for most American middle class citizens. With the fact that energy and food prices are both going to continue to increase a lot of people feel like their paychecks are shrinking even when they really arent.

I just found this article interesting because I can't remember a time when the economy was doing this poorly in my lifetime. Now obviously I am young and don't know that much about Economics but I think it is a cause for at least a little concern among American Citizens.

Strike for a Reason

Taking what we learned from this week’s lecture, it made me wonder why writers haven’t gone on strike due to the effects media has on society instead for their own pocketbook. After reading the two articles, why isn’t there a writer or producer stating that they personally would like to see a change in the shows that younger generations watch. Is the only thing important to them is their own bank account. Or do they believe it is up to the parents to control what their children watch. I remember watching array of television shows when I was younger from Arthur, Rugrats, Care Bears, Rainbow Bright, and mainly Jetsons. Granted I turned out fine. However, what happens to those that did watch all the action, fighting shows that their parents didn’t control? Is the media responsible for the impact that hitting someone on the head with a bat is funny, when in real life it could kill someone. Are these the teenagers responsible for violence in and outside of school? It just bothers me that the writers finally ended their strike over their bank accounts but when it comes to the future of America, they will show whatever is popular not caring about short-term or long-term effects that the media has over society. It’s is just mind bottling.

How much is too much school discpline?

New Disciplinary Action for Students in Cheektowaga, NY, a local middle school. Reported they had a list of 150 students who were barred from after-hour games, crafts and ice cream socials because of poor grades or bad attitudes. This central middle school is emulating old principles of catholic schools or military academies. The program initially began by grounding middle school students whose grades in any class falls below a 65% or those that show a lack of effort. More than a quarter of the 580 students are excluded from extracurricular activities, clubs, dances and plays, unless they demonstrate improvement on weekly progress reports filled out by their teachers.

The schools main goal is to adopt a larger campaign to instill more responsibility in young adolescents in a town of 80,000 on the outskirts of Buffalo. The rules are as followed:
* Students must carry id cards at all times
*Students must stay to the right of the yellow dotted line in the middle of the hallways
*Students must sit at their assigned seats when eating lunch in the cafeteria and must wait to be called on by a teacher.

You may find these rules to be harsh and lacking in the amount of freedom given to the student or some may even find these rules to be exactly what these kids need. Some questions I’ve asked myself, are these rules too strict on the kids? Will the rules help tom improve the student’s grades?

These rules are similar to the same teachings of Joe Clark, from the 1980s movie “Lean on Mean”. The school did admit to following some of Joe Clark’s principles. The school’s principal, Brian Bridges grew up in a strict single parent home. He is bringing his up brings into the school. He says, by “bringing more structure and discipline to the school creates a safer environment and teaches students to be members of a community”. Several kids at the school are not pleased with the new rules. They feel the school is being too strict and the discipline is overwhelming. There is one thing to discipline for the decline in grades, but to outcast them in the school and to take away their privileges on a constant basis is another. Some of the students feel as though the school thinks their supposed to be perfect when their really not. School is supposed to be a fun learning place, not a prison.