Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The TIME 100

For my final post on the class blog, I will encourage everyone to go out to your nearest newstand and purchase a copy of the TIME 100 World's Most Influential People.

It is a double-issue that is devoted entirely to people who the editors at TIME Magazine think are changing the world. First published in 1999 as the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century, this has been an annual issue since 2004.

As I mentioned before, this is a list -- in no sesequential -- that honors people are who shaping and changing, for better or worse, how the world is run. Each person who is selected is briefly discussed in an article that is written by a celebrity or a person of high importance in that person's related field of expertise.

Those recognized fall in one of five categories: Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Artists & Entertainers, Scientists & Thinkers, and Heroes & Icons. Within each category, the 20 most influential people (sometimes pairs or small groups) are selected, for a grand total of 100 each year.

Oprah Winfrey is the only person to appear on the list every since since it was created. Some of the notable honorees this year include: Michelle Obama, Ted Turner, Brad Pitt, M.I.A., Manny Pacquiao, the Mexican druglord Joaqin Guzman, and many many others.

To see the complete list, please go here. But I still encourage you to go out and buy the print issue.

Missed Connections: You Can't Be Serious

Today I spent about two hours in my car listening to this mornings radio talk show on 103.7 (or whatever the hell it is) and they brought up a very interesting segment.

They took a small portion of the show to read off some of their favorite "Missed Connections" posted on craigslist this morning.

I've heard of this missed connections thing before, but I have never really heard any of the actual ones, and frankly I find the whole idea of it to be quite embarrassing.

First of all, what ever happened to romantic stalking??? If you happen to miss your opportunity the first time, why not follow them out and find out where they live? Then you can figure out their daily schedules and try to find a different time to make a connection. (I'm not being serious, I do not advocate stalking)

Secondly, the whole idea that you missed the connection only works if the person happens to feel like they missed a connection too...which doesn't seem very likely. If the person didn't feel any sort of connection you just end up posting an irrelevant false story because in the end there was no connection.

Finally, I hope some of these things are just fictional stories because they seem way to outrageous for real life...maybe they are just overly exaggerated versions of a certain circumstance...you can decide for yourself

Here is one of my favorites I found...

"You were a cashier at Pet Supply Plus today and you are by far the most gorgeous girl i've ever seen. I tried to take a while longer to pick out my 2 items just so that I could wait for your line to be empty. I tried planning what "startup" comments i could make, but when i got there i lost all words. Its weird, i usually dont choke up like that, but all i seemed able to do was turn down the bag you offered me, stumbling over my words as i tried to say i wanted to help save the environment or something like that. If you're working on tuesday's, i'll have to make a habbit of picking up my items. Maybe then one of these times i'll work up the nerve to speak a little more directly. Cuz i'm definately not counting on my chances of finding you on here"

(Why did he even post this if he didn't plan on finding her here)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mavericks-Nuggets makes for good TV

I was doing my usual run through various web sites at home today and had only heard from a friend and fellow basketball fan about a controversial ending to a playoff game involving the Mavericks and Nuggets. More information and video is below:
http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/nba-trash-talk/nba-we-screwed-up-the-call---with-video-of-carmelo-s-game-winner-ar50439.html

The NBA, as much as I love basketball, needs controversy and drama (at least feels it does) to "hype up" games and series during the playoffs. I feel the games are exciting enough on their own, but I am not the target audience--dedicated basketball fans will tune in no matter what. I realized that the NBA aims to suck in the newbies moreso than anything to get more ratings, and hey, what beats a bit of controversy. It was a foul, it was intentional, and it wasn't called. Oh yeah, and I read today that the Mavericks' owner has issues with calling out Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin's mom? Unbelievable. The result of the game was favorable to me because Mark Cuban is a moron, but the greater issue brought to light was the target audience and inauthentic 'added drama' to the games. The NBA playoffs are fun and exciting without the extra BS, but it's interesting to see why the league brings in artificial things like this for the target audience.

Steve-O: Rise and Demise




I recently had the opportunity to watch the MTV special on Steve-O, titled Steve-O : Rise and Demise. The movie is a documentary featuring Steve-O which shows his upbringing, how he became famous, his addiction to drugs and alcohol, and how he overcame his addiction. Parts of the film are shot solely by Steve-O himself. There is talk about how Steve always needs to have attention and how he always need to be around a camera. His "Jackass" friends talked about how he would do ridiculous stuff just to get airtime on TMZ and that sort of knock off fame. After the Jackass era and Wild Boyz shows came to an end, Steve began to heavily use drugs and drink to the point of hospitalization. They said in the film that Steve easily gets attached and needs to feel like he is part of a family, and when the shows he starred in were done shooting he lost control of himself. He was heavily addicted to nitrous oxide, ketamine, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. During this documentary/biography Steve would stay up for days on end doing drugs and filming himself doing stupid acts. Most of the time no one else was even in the room. On several occasions Steve was admitted to rehab or "the loony bin." However it was never for himself, he was always trying to please someone else....he didn't feel he had a problem. One day he sent a suicidal style email to a few of his friends, and that email scheduled his own intervention. His friends showed up and said Steve your going to rehab, Steve-O simply replied, ok, and that was that. He has been clean for over a year now.






The film was very interesting to watch. It was intense and demeaning at points, but yet very entertaining. I felt the aura of the movie was dark, yet hilarious at points. The film was shot by friends, cameramen, Steve himself, and then often the camera was just placed on a desk or stool, and Steve would just act out in front of it by himself. The film displays a message that drugs can be fun, but when taken too far they can severely alter ones life to the point that they don't even know they have a problem.









LiLo- Too Thin?


While paging through the latest edition of Us Weekly a couple of days ago, I came across an article about Lindsay Lohan and her scarily thin appearance. The article displayed a picture of her last year, with a healthy but still very thin body, and then they showed a picture of her in the last couple of weeks- her bones are clearly visible. The article talked about her recent trip to Hawaii to get away from stress and arguments with on-again/ off-again girlfriend Samantha Ronson. After she returned from the trip, however, it was clear that she had lost even more weight. LiLo has supposedly been taking the prescription drug Adderall to lose this weight. Adderall is made for people who have trouble paying attention to have more focus, but for people with normal attention spans- like Lindsay- it causes them to lose their appetite and stay awake for long periods of time. It's interesting because I have friends who take Adderall to stay up all night and study for exams and they claim its just temporary. But I've seen some friends become addicted-like Lindsay- because they like how it makes them lose weight. Seeing these scary pictures of Lindsay makes me want to caution my friends more about the dangerous addictions that can come from this supposed "miracle" diet drug.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Beam Me Up, Scotty!!!!



As you may already know theirs a new Star Trek movie in theaters, and its..... AWESOME! When I first heard rumors that they were going to make another Star Trek movie I thought, oh great here we go again. If there hasn't already been enough someone just had to make another. However, J.J. Abrams take on Star Trek is just brilliant. Abrams gave the already extremely popular franchise a light speed "jump start" it needed, letting no one down from die hard fans to people who don't even have a clue what Star Trek is or even means. The film is witty, action packed, dramatic and one hell of a ride. From the opening sequence to the end which is actually the beginning, if that makes sense, doesn't disappoint at all. In fact theirs nothing negative I can even say; except that the theater was so packed I had to sit way up front but that's besides the point. What once many had considered a dull and corny series, is now a kick ass roller coaster ride. Everything is nearly perfect from the cast to the amazing visuals creating a fantastic and masterful ensemble. So if you haven't seen the film go see it, and if you have seen the film well go see it again. So live long Star Trek and Prosper. If you haven't checked out the trailer check it out.
Heres the link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScHxUopDlKc

Friday, May 08, 2009

"Parks and Recreation," or "How to take Amy Poehler and turn her into Steve Carell"

So along with many others I've been watching "Parks and Recreation," NBC's new comedy, these past few weeks. And along with many others (at least the others I've talked to) I've been a little less than thrilled.
My first impression after viewing the pilot was one of disappointment. I felt cheated as an audience member since the show left me imagining it's director giving Amy Poehler a pep talk before shooting and telling her just to mimic "The Office's" Steve Carell as much as possible with every line and every gesture.


Now I will say that Poehler seems to be coming into her own a little more with each new episode, so it's promising. Yet I think that the entire premise, style and feel of the show has made it difficult for her to fight that crazy, out-of-touch boss talking to the mockumentary cameras character type that Carell popularized and validated first.

TV comedies in general seem to be sadly following this pattern these days. Of course, I realize that trends have always happened in the entertainment industry. Somebody starts something fresh, creative and fun, and that thing takes off. Soon it's so popular that everyone wants their turn to take it and make it their own. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I do think we should be careful about it. It's just so easy for media producers to fall into creative ruts and stick with something that audiences have already proven they liked instead of leaping into a new set of untested waters.

My hopes for Poehler's character and for the rest of "Parks and Recreation's" development are that she will be allowed by her writers, directors, etc. to take "Leslie Knope" wherever she wants to or wherever she feels will work and be fresh.

The D-TV Circus.

As all of you already know, on June 12th, stations all over the country will switch from analog to digital. This of course means that if you have an analog tv set, you won't be able to watch TV unless you get a digital converter box. All over the net, there have been PSA's to inform people about the transition. These videos have been made to show the simplicity of switching from analog to digital. Like this one:



I did also come across a parody of one of these videos from the Spike Feresten Show on FOX.



While it's humorous and seems to mock the old lady in the video, you could argue the video is an advocate for the elderly, who may not be familiar with technology the way a lot of younger people are. It's worth thinking about as something that plays such a huge role in our lives goes through a drastic transformation.

Sporcle.com

Sporcle.com is a new way to spend your free time. This site has thousands of games ranging from topics like sports, music, entertainment, television, video games, geography, literature, movies, and miscellaneous.

How the site works is you select a category or a game to play, and they will pose a question under that category. A question would be something like "What are all the movies Denzel Washington has been in" and it will have a table of all his movies unfilled with a clue on the side. In this case, the clue would be when the movie came out, but clues can vary since these games are made by anyone who wants to make them.

This website has a way of occupying your time and distracting you. I just think that this site is very entertaining to anyone who may be bored, or someone who just has some time to kill. I wouldn't like to keep something like this all for myself, everyone should be able to enjoy it.
Since I was young, thanks to my mom, I have always been in love with watching old Hollywood movies and current movies set back in the 1960s or earlier. I’m not able to list all the movies I’ve seen that fall into these categories but I know its over 50, but only a handful really leave a lasting impression on me. While shopping at the grocery store, I saw the DVD for Atonement. After reading the back of the case, and looking at the $6 price sticker on it, I decided to add it to my collection. What I didn’t know was I was actually purchasing a masterpiece in my opinion. The movie is about a young man and woman (played by Keira Knightley is slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses) who because of a terrible lie the young woman’s sister tells, they are kept apart. Everything about from the intensity of the actors to the twists and turns the plot takes. I found myself thinking I knew what would happen next and then something very unexpected would happen. I don’t know how I missed the attention it received when it was first released but I am so glad I didn’t miss the sign in the store that said, “DVDs for sale”.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

To Twit or Tweet

So when I first heard of this thing called Twitter I was like who and what and why? Why would people want to twit or microblog as they call it. I was driving home one day and I just happened to turn on NPR when I heard them discussing how Ashton Kutcher had become the first Twitter User to have 1 million people signed in to follow his tweets. Heres a video explaining the whole Challenge as well as a brief explanation on what Twitter really is.



One thing that interest me is that on NPR they discussed how Ashton stated digital media is taking over our media as we know it. He explained that people who arent even professional journalist can report on breaking news before a news network has a chance to report on it. For example he said after the plane crashed in the Hudson River a non professional was able to take a photo of the plane in the river and post it on the web, or twitter before any new reporters even knew what was happening. Its pretty amazing that people have the ability to do such things it makes me wonder how can news networks do better if they seemingly have to compete in reporting news with every day people? Ashton goes on to say in his interview with Larry King that its amazing seeing how just one voice can be as powerful as a media conglomerate. Just like before anyone can report on the news and post it to the web in a matter of seconds. Ashtons right with the technology we have today and the media and how its transitioning it is pretty amazing. So if you dont know what twitter is check it out. If you have heard of it but never had the guts to give it a shot try it. Its pretty interesting. So if you decided to give twitter a shot start following and tweet away.

Monday, May 04, 2009

BLOGGING...............


Before JMC 262 I was never interested in blogging, and before 2008 I didn't even know what blogging was... Its funny because i had been involved in various Internet social networks like blackplanet, paxed which is now BLNK, myspace and the infamous, facebook not knowing that I was even engaging in such a thing as blogging. Now that I have been fully exposed to this phenomnenom, where voicing your opinion is ok, starting debates over various topics and just getting your thoughts out to the someone whose willing to lend a ear, life seems to be easier, because blogging has saved lives, encouraged the depressed and influenced others to the story of peers and even the more wise. blogging has opened up a new way to network and get to know others strictly through computer interaction, its more intimate than an email and more private than a chat room. when you think no one is listening just blog someones paying attention, to a status on facebook, a comment on a pic on myspace or a name in your guestbook on blackplanet.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Barats & Bereta

The other day I was just browsing You Tube for funny videos and came across this dual comedy team called Barats and Bereta. Luke Barats and Joe Bereta came together back in 2003 where they lead the improv team at Gonzaga University in Washington. Also active in the theater and broadcast department at Gonzaga, they began recording short video segments to entertain their friends, and eventually compiled a website. They have received several awards for their stand up act and have been seen by many people across the Internet.

The first video I watched is entitled "Mothers Day." The hilarious video is about two brothers attempting to take a picture for their mom for a mothers day present.
Some of their other videos are equally as funny, but I didn't find all of them as as amusing as the "Mothers Day" skit. Reading their website, even their bio's are funny. In their FAQ section, it says so....are you guys gay? Their response: Probably not.
These guys are definitely worth checking out.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I Love You, Man

This is a quick scene from the movie I Love You, Man.



This movie stars Paul Rudd, who was also really funny in Role Models. What made I Love You, Man so enjoyable for me was the different kind of storyline it goes by. The basic summary of the movie is that Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is getting married but he doesn't have any real guy friends to be his best man at his wedding. So he goes on "man dates" to find some new friends. He winds up finding Sydney Fife (Jason Segal) and I won't give away anything more than that.
I would call this movie a well-rounded comedy in the sense that it's not just a stupid guy comedy that doesn't have any point to it, I would assume women enjoy this movie just as much as men do. Theres a specific part in the movie where Paul Rudd goes on his "slappa da bass" rant for like 3 minutes... sooo funny.

The Hills=Not for Me

I was in another JMC class this past week, and one of our in-class "activities" was to watch an entire episode of MTV's "The Hills." This was one of the cases where my preconceived notions about a television show I'd not previously watched were exactly on the money. After watching the assigned episode, we were to write our opinion of the show. I kept it short and sweet:

"The Hills just wasted a bit under half an hour of my life. The people in the show are obviously actors (and poor ones at that), and this is simply trash. I can't understand why someone would watch a show about a bunch of stuck-up, dramatic, immature rich little boys and girls that have the intelligence of a box of rocks. I will never be able to get this half an hour of my life back. Thanks, The Hills."

Our professor's intention was to let us know that although the majority of us didn't like the show (he read most of our responses anonymously to the class--mine didn't get picked, for some reason), it was still pop culture, and some people enjoyed hating it. I happen to neither enjoy it OR enjoy hating it; I'm simply frustrated that some people actually have interest in it. When I ask people I hang out with whether they like drama in their lives, it's a resounding "NO!" but then some turn around and go watch shows like these. It's an interesting paradigm to think about.

Chat Room 2.0, or How Fun Stuff Turns Creepy

A couple of months ago, I was reminiscing with a friend about the good old days of the internet. When we were in middle school, this friend got a computer, and better yet AOL, before anyone else we knew. This new communication both frightened and intrigued me. Back then, I took the Internet very seriously. My mother warned me, even before the media latched on to the child predators and cyber-bullying of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, that “most people on the internet are creepy old men.” Disregarding her advice, I remember AOL people searching for someone "age 12" with the same name as the drummer of my favorite band. I was pretty certain that this discerning criteria would result in a perfect Internet friend.



Looking back, I don't remember thinking there was any distinct difference between a real life connection or one on the Internet. Maybe that sounds weird now, but back then it wasn't.

Anyway, after chatting about our internet pasts, we started to discuss what would be the “next big thing” for the web. My friend jokingly suggested that a retro website that brought back the chat room would be really cool. I laughed it off, because the thought of a chat room today totally creeps me out, and I told her that only predators would use a website like that. I realized a few seconds later that I was basically repeating my mother’s warning from well over a decade ago.

Fast forward to two nights ago when another friend posted a link on FaceBook to a new website called Omegle with the tagline “talk to strangers.” It’s basically exactly what my friend had suggested a few months earlier - a one-on-one chat room with an unknown person. The website uses the red/blue conversation markers of AIM and takes it a step further by creating the ominous usernames “You” and “Stranger” for every chat.



I was curious about this site, so I decided to check it out. I talked to two different people. The first conversation was short but funny. They posted this:

(hard to read - it says "I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC...Why don't you have a seat over there.")

The conversation with the second person included the following information:
1. He’s 23 and lives in Japan
2. He thinks I’ll be disappointed to find out he’s not a girl since he also assumes I’m a predator
3. He speaks English because America is the most powerful country in the world, but Japan is a close second
4. His favorite movie is something I couldn’t read because it was in Japanese characters
5. He does remember Street Fighter for Super NES, and he agrees that Chun Li is the best character. She’d be better if she was Japanese though, not Chinese.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but this got me revisiting my original assumptions about the Internet. How serious are internet conversations? How is the future of Internet communication limited by the assumption that the “person on the other end” is a creep? Without the fa├žade of “social networking” friendliness, like on FaceBook for example, a basic chat with a stranger over the Internet is weird. Overall, I guess I would say I sort of liked the blunt aspect of Omegle, skipping the song and dance of acceptable social interaction. My early assesment of this website is that it's something I would never really use, but for me it pointed out how things have changed since my first interaction with the web and the ways in which people make it “OK” to communicate online.

MIchelle Obama and media


I came across a very interesting article about first lady Michelle Obama and the way she has been using media to construct her image as a homemaker with the public. The article explains how she makes the executive decisions as to which interviews with magazines or TV shows she does and even the outfits to wear in/on them, all based on whether or not they comply with the image she wants to portray. I find this so interesting because like her husband, President Obama, she is using media in a conscious and savvy way. Much like an assistant would do for a celebrity client, she has taken control of how she is depicted in media which has given her an 80% likeability rate amongst Americans. The article mentions some critics who believe with her being a Yale graduate and a highly educated woman that she should show the public that side of her as well by getting involved in political issues. Either way, I give her thumbs up for taking charge of her own image constructing with the media!