Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Get your Groan On

I’ll admit, I am known to browse pretty carelessly through Wikipedia from time to time. I even use it in my work; when trying to define a concept or add context, I’ll do research via Wikipedia.
It’s an ever-flopping internet goldmine of facts, definitions and information and it’s simple and much more precise than typing it up through Google. You could even make the argument that because Wikipedia is constantly monitored by teams of dedicated geeks, it’s likely more accurate than most of the first page results Google will cough up. In this age of academic restrictions, which often forbade listing Wikipedia pages as sources, you can always just click through the list of sources that are typically listed at the bottom. I’d to say that Wikipedia is the Quiznos of the Internet: by no means is it “fast food” cheap, but it’s not exactly a high end bistro either.

I try to turn to old-fashioned books to do my proper research, but it’s just so hard when all your needs are at your fingertips, when the precise required chapter can be found within several clicks and a minute of skimming.

Still, Wikipedia really isn’t an end all to research, and will never find widespread recognition from the intellectual community: the information offered, some encyclopedia experts argue, is too one-sided and is far too heavy in fan-based material. Basically, that which is more historically relevant is outweighed by that which is popular. There’s no greater fact behind this belief than the acknowledged “Art of Wikigroaning”

If you’ve never heard of this before, I highly suggest clicking my hypertext. Wikigroaning, essentially, occurs when you pair together two Wikipedia pages side-by-side: one page containing hard-line, real world, educational material, the other matted with useless nerd trivia.

The catch to Wikigroaning is that two pages must be linked either verbally or topically, and the geek fandom page has(b) is to be the longer of the two. You might be surprised just how one-sided some of these topics are, here are some examples I’ve conjured on my own:

Rock band
Rock Band (video game)


Andrew Jackson
Ron Paul

Taylor’s theorem
Sean Taylor (American football)

Sailor Moon

Doctor of Medicine
Doogie Howser, M.D.


A Nightmare on Elm Street

Carl Bernstein
Hunter S. Thompson

Fun, huh? I could probably do this for hours. If you’re looking for a special challenge, try grouping together Wikigroans: multiple important topics, all of which are smaller than the useless trivia page. Ch-ch-check it:

Dragon Ball Z

Equilibrium (film)

Thomas Paine

Libertarian Party (United States)

Video of the Day:
BAND: Animal Collective
SONG: Peacebone

This is a pretty good music video. It’s stylized, offbeat, and flaunts its high quality production, even in an era where music videos have taken a back seat to shitty reality television. The song flows along nicely with the video; we are given what we want when we want it, and I’m proud to say it delivers. This is a good video. But I’d hope that a band as offbeat as Animal Collective would be able to drum up something completely different.

I want music videos that are just completely different. It’s not impossible to do, really. The general concept of weird isn’t that hard to capture; I suppose I’d just like to see something completely different. No, it’s not easy to pull off, but I felt like this video wasn’t even trying to make that gap. Gnarly alien beings and speed-blur lights just don’t do it for me anymore.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Final WEBSITE Reflection

Okay, after a little confusion, I am delivering my Final Website Reflection about this pretty pony of mine.

The purpose of this website was for me to flaunt my news writing and my experiences with specific articles. By linking the articles from each page, and then discussing in detail the trials and tribulations I faced with each one, I have accomplished what I intended.

My readers may not be fans of my work, but they would still log on to this website if they were curious about specific articles, and what it was like to write them. Constantly, I find myself curious, as a reader, to hear the “story behind the story.” Everyone loves the classic exciting tale of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward and their exposure of the Watergate Scandal. Personally, I’d love to know how Seymour Hersh manages to develop sources in such hard-to-reach spots, or so he says. But that kind of lesson is kept pretty guarded honestly. I provide my readers with a puny version of such tales, but it still manages to serve that purpose to those who would be interested by describing the focus of the article and the side stories that came along with the article that never saw print.

My site makes precise use of linkages, and takes full advantage of the archiving function that is basically required of all newspaper websites. By using Google Page Creator, another newer piece of web-technology, I was able to more easily develop my website without having to struggle entirely through HTML code, as I did when I created my Geocities website.

Google Page Creator, however, also happened to be my curse. Far too often did I struggle with my website’s coloring. Often, I’d assign a color to, say, a link and then preview the page, heartbroken to see that my change had not occurred. After a several experiments of the trial and error variety, I finally managed to make it all work. Or so I believe. A few times, a page which had an orange link originally in the preview version would turn grey when I refreshed the page. This shouldn’t happen again, but if it does, then I place the blame entirely on Google Page Creator.

It was a mixed experience for me to look back on the work that I haven’t even thought of for months and months. While I, like any other self-respecting journalist, always enjoy patting myself on the back, there are quite a few articles that I would like to forget. Each Mirror article dragged up the acres of unpleasant memories of UNC, even if they had nothing to do with the article itself, or wasn’t even included in the writing. I could’ve gone on for pages about what was going through my life at that point, about my emotions and all that bullshit, but I’d rather not delve any deeper than I had to. Keep the thoughts on the surface when the water’s black, that’s what I say.

Video of the Day
BAND: The Notorious B.I.G.
SONG: Juicy

The ultimate kickback song/video. The semester is done. It's good to be alive. God bless.

Online Writing Reflection

Overall, I enjoyed this course. I found it to be challenging yet stimulating. I actually learned things from this course, things I'm likely to retain many years (or at least months) after this final week: the workings of the blog, the Web 2.0 concept, the Semantic Web, and probably most importantly, HTML basics.
I feel pretty confident in saying that somewhere down the line of my life, I will encounter HTML again, and having some knowledge of it (or at least knowing where to find codes that I can copy/paste from) will undoubtedly benefit me. I've also enjoyed blogging and plan on making a consistent effort to actually continue this blog for many days to come. We'll see; there's always that chance that it will blow future career opportunities for me, but for now, I'll have fun with it.
That said, the one thing that absolutely drove me insane about this class was the projects and the grading. I felt consistently cheated when I turned in a paper that had been shined to perfection, following all of the criteria asked for on the original assignment rubric. But the paper was returned to me, it would always seem like I was being graded down for criteria that never really existed until the instructor decided to add it on during the grading process.
Also, I found the peer-review sessions to be completely worthless. For this last project, I told my reviewers to suggest anything at all for my website, and out of the six or so comments, only one actually made a suggestion. All the others said "this looks nice." I would've gained so much more from just sitting down with the instructor for five minutes, hearing what she had to say about the website just from glimpsing over it, and then I could do my best to fulfill those requirements instead of trying to guess EXACTLY what she wants as I am doing with my final project.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is Bush-hating passe?

Is it necessarily bad for one to openly announce hatred when making an argument?
Peter Berkowitz thinks so.
In his article, Berkowitz points out that a powerful passion such as hatred blurs one’s perspective, which means logic can sometimes be lost in when we assign a particular figure to an element of evil. Bush is widely and wildly hated throughout the entire world, arguably more so than any United States president ever before.
He represents the quintessential elitist, who consistently favors business over the environment, war over communication, creating his vision of the world regardless of those who see it differently. While there are many among the population who loudly and proudly declare him evil, very few give him their vocal support. As Republican candidates make their cases for the 2008 presidency, they work to keep the President within arm’s length.
In my own opinion, it’s become somewhat cliché to hate the President because, really, everyone else is doing it.
Bush (alongside his administration) is the worst president this country has ever seen, in terms of the damage he has done to everything we hold this country to be. Frankly, I hate him, and won’t hesitate in answering otherwise.
So though I can’t relate, I tend to think Berkowitz tends to make quite a valid argument.
When a government is overthrown by its own people, who takes up the position of power? Just from a quick glance at history, its obvious that more often than not, effectively cruel and “evil” (so to say) leaders take the reigns from a wildly hated leader, backed by millions supporting the downfall of their prior oppressor. Not to say that the present-day American society will desperately support someone who could ultimately be worst than Bush, but my example just acts as a case-in-point.
Anyway, Berkowitz makes his argument much more clearly than I can, but I think that one other point that I’d make is that as humans, it’s some kind of difficult not to get passionate about issues that affect the world we live in, especially when they affect us directly.
Like Pat Robertson! Fuck him.

Video of the day
BAND: Los Mono
SONG: Promesas

Wikipedia tells me these guys are the shit in Chile, and I don't doubt it. The song is catchy. The wacky shifting head is simple and obviously cheap, but it looks cool. The concept just gets old. He spends the entire video walking down the hallway with his cool head, a head that holds so much potential but is never ever utilized for whatever reason. I'd like to see this thing stroll off into the street, people don't even have to pay attention to it, I just want some goddamn change.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


After months of warm November weather that would be considered pleasant if it were not for the terrifying connection to global warming, all of our fears have finally been covered up, if you will, by that magnificent white blanket. Truly, there’s nothing like the first snow of the season, especially when you wake up to a wild white world. This is what foreigners think of when they hear of Colorado.

Video of the Day:
BAND: Folk Implosion
SONG: Natural One

You’ve got to give props to the band for putting out a super-chill lo-fi song that’s pretty much forces images of dark hookah parlors and long skinny airheads slowly making out with their skinny stoned girlfriends. The plastic animals, bobbing their head in tune with the song, make for a cool touch. And the apathetic singing might usually make a viewer feel cheated, but every now and then it is incredibly appropriate, and this song is one example. The trippy images are heavy and, for the most part, unexpected. The one problem I have with this video is has that feel of sunshiny grit it has to it…this is a consistent theme you’ll see in alternative rock music videos in the 1990s: Beck, Soul Coughing, Tool…hell, even in a few Nirvana videos.
But, this video somewhat strays from that norm, at least I think it does. The astronauts on the dirt and the spinning rustic toys are the only aspects that remind me of that sunshine grit (that is my copyrighted term by the way; I just can’t find the stupid fucking tiny circle-c symbol). When we cut to the growing grass or the mopey lead singer with a bad haircut, we deviate from the norm, and I like it. Still, not original or groundbreaking enough to get anything above my ranking.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

That Plunging Feeling

The cost was enormous, but I couldn’t help myself.
I gave in to my desires and gave up about $200 for a video game. I suppose it’s not that bad, compared to others who have surrendered hundreds more to those dreadful massive multiplayer online role-playing games, which have not only sucked up their funds, but their lives as well, damning most of them to a long sexless young adult tenure. I’m glad I haven’t fallen to that level of disrepair, but sometimes I worry I might be sliding ever so closely to it with each purchase of a video game or other object reeking of that indescribable geek scent.
But as of now, the descent has been worth it. The game is unbelievably fun, every single step of the way has just been enjoyable, and I haven’t even used the microphone or drums yet (the drums were a bitch to put together). Out of all of the games ever created, Rock Band easily has the best set list ever assembled. Seriously, all it’s missing is some Led Zeppelin and maybe a Rage Against The Machine song or perhaps an indie rock song or two…I’d go with Arcade Fire or Minus the Bear or maybe The Go, but they are a generation of rock that ought to have been acknowledged, even if they aren’t as awesome as Queens of the Stone Age or The Hives or the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Dani California was a good pick, as Stadium Arcadium really was one of the biggest let downs of my life).
So, here’s to five-starring songs and struggling to balance all the other shit floating in the air above me right now, especially that huge fucking cloud I acknowledge as my “election series” articles. So, lets all hope that I get all that done and still manage to have fun and still manage to get laid after all of it.

Video of the Day
BAND: Gym Class Heroes
SONG: The Queen And I

See, when I hear this song, I’m not sure what to expect. The girl talked about in the song sounds like a bitch, but then so does the asshole whose “perspective” is being laid out in the song. I like the song, nice catchy line with great mainstream appeal, but I’m just not feeling this whole video so much.
Eh, it’s kind of different in the way the story is told. I mean, its not like we’ve never seen the whole story book take, but I will say that it has been a while. Production values are alright, the characterization is pretty good (who doesn’t hate that make-up caked crown-wearing woman?) But if you watch this video and feel like something’s missing, then you’d be right. Something is missing, and I say its special effects.
Sorry for offering up such a crappy complaint, but that’s my take. This music video serves smoother cinematography than what people usually expect though, and the ending is pretty good, so I decided to add the plus to that unforgettable mark of mediocrity.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The beginning of new blog era for me

I suppose I'm just not meant for this online writing surface.
There's much to talk about. The life of Erik Myers is one filled with constant thrills and amazement and good feelings and masturbatory awards. So why is it so hard to blog about?
And why is it so hard to find something to blog about? I've been reflecting on my past few blogs, and they've just been geniunely horrible: sloppily written and no real attempt at depth. And what's worse, it'll still be floating around the web once I try to make my leap from college to the real world, and my employers will decide to make a routine web run to try and find some dirt on me, some reasoning as to why I should not be hired at their esteemed newspaper/magazine/supermarket, and they'll come across my little corner of shame built out of cyberspace and that's all they'll ever need.
Okay, so let's talk about my video of the day. Maybe that's what I can blog about: a new music video for every day that I can bother logging on! I love music, and I love music videos, and now with the advent of YouTube, I can go and link them on my blog and then talk about the video and the song, and how much I love them and why.

BAND: Datarock
SONG: The New Song

Wow, footage from the fifties! And unironically shitty backgrounds and fuzz effect and costuming! The sarcasm couldn't get any better, but I'm gonna go for it with as many apostrophies (SPELLING) as possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know, for a badass song, this is quite the shitty video. What's worse; everytime I hear The New Song, I'll think of this shitty horrible video. I can understand why artists might not bother to put much effort into their music videos anymore, now that MTV doesn't bother playing music videos anymore and the only stations that do are on supreme cable or whatever it is called. Yeah, I can understand that, but man, this video is just really terrible, like, bad band from 1989 bad. Like, this is the kind of music video Devo would put out after they stopped coming out with good music, and if memory serves me correctly it was right around 1989 so the circle evens itself out. I'm expecting better from you Datarock next time we meet.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fuck Fantasy Football

This has been a wildly horrible season of make believe for me. My fantasy football team, the creatively-titled Calgary Cretins, has been a sack of shit throughout the season. As of yesterday, the team's record is 1-8. That's just not right; I've done my fair share of wrestling with surfing the free agent market and making sure I didn't have any players on the bye in my lineup, and I carefully weighed my bench and lineup in accordance to the skills and types of players and even taking into consideration of the teams they're up against, and making sure I had the best possible combination of players, but it never seems to fucking matter.
I suppose it'd be fair to push off some of the blame on the players, man so many of them suck shit. Shaun Alexander is an asshole who played well for one season but has sucked on for years at a time. Same goes for Larry Fitzgerald; man, why can't just carry the kind of momentum he had with him back in the days of Pittsburg. And Calvin Johnson...to hell with Calvin and the entire fucking Detriot Lions. Seriously, they've got Jon Kitna as quarterback, and for some reason he's lead them to a 6-2 record. What the hell; Jon Kitna ought to be dead by now, I don't think he ever was considered even a decent player until recently. It's unfortunate that he just doesn't pass to Calvin Johnson, but then again, I'd be suprised if any member of the Lions organization could manage to break away from cornerbacks.
To hell with fantasy football, it's time to focus on things that matter. Perhaps Tom Morello will help lift the heavy lashes of my eyes and save me from my apathetic existence. Or maybe he'll just play a bunch of crappy folk songs, talk about Bush and what a shitty president he is, and give a shoutout against NAFTA too. Please save me Mr. Morello.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Short Story

I’m pleased with the state of my party, even if I’m a little concerned about the potential destruction of the few nice things that me and my housemates didn’t hide away prior to tonight. That doesn’t matter though, because the party is going strong. No resuscitation necessary.
“Do you know them?” Kate asks, her hand gesturing towards this small group of guys wearing football jerseys and helmets, chatting away with the well-endowed Anna, her witch’s hat askew, ready to fall from her head at any moment, not that she’d care.
I shake my head, but am without concern. The group has brought a box of 40s, which they’ve left open and accessible on the dinner table; these are classy party-crashers, people who know how to stay within the good graces of the people they don’t even know.
Kate stares on at the group, her arms crossed, her chin puffing in and out like she’s chewing on something. She’s jealous of Anna, as far as I can tell. The only guy that’s paying Kate attention, myself, is pretty gay.
There comes a succession of thumps from the staircase followed by a mixture of laughter and cheers.
“Yes. Yes. God, Yes.”
My heart quickens. My mind burns with the image of the fifty-dollar Jimmy Buffet glass parrot that hangs above the stairway.
I come to the base, where Andy stands. A massive bed sheet, fitted into a toga, hangs off his massive blubbery frame like an overstretched skin layer. Andy is pumping both fists in the air. His round face is flushed from his continuous laughter, mixed in with a few excited screams. Andy does not get invited to parties much, as one can tell by the rather inappropriate toga costume. Despite this, I can tell that he’s not just desperately trying to fulfill his idealized frat-boy college lifestyle. His upward gaze, fixated on two figures at the top of the carpeted stairway, tells that he’s excited about what’s about to take place.
At the top of the stairway, Joey and Derek are taking positions. Joey, a five foot nothing dressed as a hillbilly, presses his bare feet into Derek, one after the other. Derek is lying belly down, body rigid, his eyes too wide for his own good. Joey, now positioned upon Derek’s spine, grips the banisters of the stairway. His expression is flat, giving the impression of total concentration. He begins to sway back and forth, like he’s about to push off into a bobsled race. I watch with fixated horror, unable to bring myself to stop what might just turn out to be awesome if nothing remains destroyed.
What follows is exactly as I suspected. Joey sways backwards one more time, digs his heels into Derek’s back, and pulls forward. It’s something of an incredible sight as the two of them surge forward: Joey actually manages to keep balanced halfway down. Derek finally breaks, groaning loudly as he doubles up beneath Joey. The two of them spill forward, miraculously missing the glass parrot that I have forgotten about.
Joey collides with me, and we fall into Andy’s massive frame, slamming him into the wall. We bounce off of him and stumble forward, missing the banister pole by mere inches. My knee manages to connect with the bottom step, stings, and remains sore for the rest of the night.
Derek is lodged on the lower half of the stairway. One arm dangles from the right banister, keeping him aloft as rubs his back. His laughter is interlaced with coughing. I’m surprised to see him pull himself up, his legs still functioning.
Joey has escaped paralysis as well, pushing himself to his feet. As I rise, Joey runs towards the crowd staring towards us.
“We did it, yuh-yeah.”
He jumps up and down as he pushes his way through people, a maniac laugh pouring from his throat. The disgusted faces of the crowd pull away from Joey as spins around amongst them. Kate suddenly appears from the kitchen, pushing her way towards him, her arm stretched upward and above the crowd, clutching a massive paper towel roll. I factor in the clues and look down to see a small pool of blood a few feet in front of me. Joey, I conclude, did not miss the banister after all.
All the while, Andy remains slouched against the wall, his face wringed and his hands frantically rubbing his neck. Yet he continues his cheer, albeit a whisper.
“Yes. Never ever can that be topped. So awesome.”
The groan emerges from him without warning, loud and guttural. Joey may not feel his pain, but I’m satisfied to see Andy is fully aware of his. The mental picture of mashed Funyuns pressing upwards from his stomach and stinging his esophagus is a pleasing picture.
Derek has descended from the staircase, joining me as we watch Andy rub his face and groan.
I notice him, and he looks back at me, smiling, saying nothing.
He’s come to the party dressed, quite literally, as himself. He’s gone out and purchased some blank white shirt, upon which “Derek #1 Alfonso” is scribbled in black marker. The lettering has already become slightly smeared.
His mask, however, is what truly achieves the comedic effect I’m sure Derek was working for. A cardboard mask has been carefully cut out to achieve the shape of his head, which it’s strapped onto with cheap elastic bands. There are holes for his eyes and his mouth in accordance to the blown-up paper image of his face, pasted on. The mask doesn’t line up with his face, and I assume he continues to wear it off the side of his head so it can be quickly thrown on for photo opportunities. It’s not as funny as it is frightening. Seeing it stirs up the emotions that’d occur when wandering through some abandoned basement, and coming across a leathery mask of a friend’s facial skin.
His grin withstanding, Derek hangs his arm off my shoulder, while his other hand snatches my limp hand, which he proceeds to shake as if we were greeting each other for the last time.
His breath is cheap vodka and cranberries.
“Sorry about that,” Derek says, and with a clap on the back, he steps away, avoids the smatter of blood, and walks towards the crowd.
I watch him go, then look back at Andy, who has stopped groaning, but is merely breathing loudly as he continues to rub his neck. I make a mental note to find a trashcan and place it between his open legs. He won’t be able to move from that spot for the rest of the night, making him a prime target for bullying from whomever. I leave him there.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Troublesome Turkey

While I could easily write about how shitty the new Saw movie was or my new radio show, or even bitch about how work sucks, I’d much rather write about something that matters. There’s always a million different things going on in the world, but does anyone care about anything that doesn’t concern the 2008 presidential election, Darfur, or global warming? Yes, but then again, no.
Oh, of course, no one likes a child solider, and as I’m told, racism is as prevalent at CSU as ever. But then again, we should pay attention to the issues of countries on the other side of the earth. Human life is just as important in Turkmenistan as it is in China or Myanmar (Did you know that the new Rambo movie is SET in Burma? Talk about being time relevant! My guess is that they filmed it knowing that there was some massive violence going on in Southeast Asia; the jungle-setting could’ve been anything from Indonesia to Cambodia to India/Pakistan border and so on.)
So, time to delve into what’s happening. Hmm, child soldiers in Myanmar, Obama pisses off gay community with anti-gay gospel singer, kids found to have tiny percentage of industrial chemicals in their bodies…
Ah, here we go.
So Turkey is cracking down violently on some insurgents, and want to make an incursion into Iraq to stop one particular group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (better known as the PKK) and their violent ways. Ok, here is something I can half-assedly relate to: If such a crossing of borders were to occur by Turkey, it’d throw the northern half of Iraq into chaos, as the self-governing Kurds of the region don’t want to deal with that kind of shit right now, as they’ve got their own IEDs and stuff to deal with, or so I assume. I suppose assuming is bad, but for now we’ll allow it.
When your general smart person population thinks of Turkey these days, they think of that proposed bill that would allow the US government to recognize the murder/deportation of 1.5 million Armenians from Turkey back in the early 1900s as the Armenian Genocide, the scholarly title. From a glance at the timeline of the massive deportation, such a title seems fitting, but Turkey refuses to call it a genocide, and many of our former leaders have said that we would lose a powerful Middle Eastern ally by recognizing it as such: Daddy Bush, Bill Clinton, etc. It’s an interesting situation, calling into question how much do we as America care about a title if it means losing a lot? You have to acknowledge that a title means a lot, really: what would happen if the country had never recognized the Holocaust as a genocide? But frankly, I’m a little torn on the issue, though I lean towards the idea that we should recognize genocide when we see it. Maybe it’ll happen after we get out of Iraq, but then again, I doubt it.
But I digress: This will shake things up, so I only hope Turkey takes precautions before crossing any borders.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Scary Movies

I’ve always felt a tingly excitement around the latter half of October, the days leading up to Halloween. It is only in this time of year that society acknowledges all of which is frightening, be it the jack-o-lantern or the ultra-gory horror film.
I’m a relatively massive horror movie fan, always searching the web for upcoming films, most of which I decide whether I’ll go see just after reading the synopsis or, more fairly, seeing the trailer. Sadly, I’ve somewhat fallen out of my practice as I watch myself morph into a respectable member of the public. Time spent scavenging for a good visual scare in cinemas and bargain bin video stores such as Village Vidiot (which boasts a fantastic collection of obscure horror movies) is now spent working, studying, or interacting with other people. My seventeen-year-old friends have grown up; they’d rather watch a meaningful film filled with clever references and social commentary over a movie produced solely for the violent effects and disfigured monsters. Bring these elements together, and terrifyingly enough, you can feel your own passion begin to wane, and I can only frown as it slowly dribbles out.
While I’m not starving, am not plagued with any terminal diseases, and nearly everyone I have ever loved is still alive and well, it is the little events in life such as this that really make me wonder if I was only put on the earth to suffer.
So, before I am dropped into the congealed soup that is the real world, allow me to take you by the hand to see a small slice of my time with scary movies.

Right around 2nd or 3rd grade, I started to realize that there was some pretty cool things about scary movies. Of course, I limited myself to childhood frights, like scary-themed cartoons, anthologies (which were pretty cool), and of course, scary-theme books, like R.L. Stine’s classic Goosebumps collection. I did my best to keep my distance from the horror that was rated PG-13, or massively worse, R. But there were just some things you couldn’t avoid.
For me, it was this little monster. God, I can nearly pinpoint the first time I saw it on a video box while we were carousing through a video store, and almost instantly I found tears welling up in my eyes.
If you think that’s bad, just think about what it’d feel like innocently flipping through the TV channels and coming across it as it moved around.

I’ll always remember watching John Carpenter’s The Thing and flying up in the air in total horror during the part where they’re testing all of the blood. See, this creature sort of got up inside people and you’d never really know who or what converted, it was pretty fucking scary, even if it was hard sometimes not to understand how the creature got inside these people. And of course, the blood test, cripes, it’s probably the most frigthenting “jump” moment I’ve ever had to deal with. Of course, this scene was pretty good too: “You got to be fuckin’ kiddin me.” It was only a shame that such obsessions kept the women away for so many years.

College is an academic community; no room for senselessly violent movies such as the ones above. Sure, they were scary, but were they artful? Apparently university librarians. I never could find any good scary movies scanning through the collection of movies they had for rent at the library, but there were quite a few “instant-classic” foreign films that were available, one of which was Audition. Yes, this movie is pure horror, even if it’s packaged as a thriller. It’s not a thriller; it’s a horror movie, right down to the torture porn scenes. Seriously, movies like Hostel or Saw got nothing on this suspenseful sickening movie. It’s scary and disturbing, and it manages to get inside you regardless of how detached you are to horrible things.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blastin on all over your airwaves

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working my way towards achieving a DJ position with CSU’s very own radio station, 90.5 KCSU. I’ve been born and raised in Fort Collins, and I remember listening to 90.5 probably early on in middle school, after my Dad introduced me to it’s non-mainstream ways. I have to respect the old man for giving me the direction of music that has truly given my life more color. I shudder to think where I would’ve been otherwise.
It was on KCSU, as I clearly recall, where I first heard of the first airplane crashing into Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. I remember having some big argument with Mom ending just as she pulled up on the curb to drop us of, and as I opened the door, some guy got on the air, saying “I’m sure you’ve all heard about the airplane crash on the World Trade Center now,” or something very similar, and my mom opening her mouth and saying “Oh my god”, and that was it. This was before the second tower was hit, mind you.
But enough recollections, KCSU has held a special infatuation in my heart for a little while now, and this entire training process has been pretty damn exciting. As of now, I’ve collected the signatures of four of the seven managers at the stations (there is quite a lot of behind-the-scenes work that takes place at the studio, quite a few employees don’t even have their own show), and now I’ve shadowed for two shows, and I’m feeling more confident going into my next two tests.
The hardest part, in my opinion, will be this first test. I basically have to take a pass/fail test: miss one question and you lose. I’ve got to study the names of the managers (I guess they ask you to recall three specific names and match them with their station), know the difference between payola and plugola (feeling pretty confident about this one, I wrote an article about payola scandals at Clear Channel…actually, I remember speaking to the KCSU station manager for that one!), and some of the rules, regulations, stuff like that. I just pray we don’t go into specific technical details, because I seriously don’t remember any of that stuff, and what’s worse, I’ve lost my training manual.
Part two is show auditions. This is the spot that separates the staff member from the DJ. Pass this, and you get your very own show! Of course, being a newcomer, I’ll be placed into a spot that goes no earlier than 11:00 p.m., and should to go on at 11:00 a.m., it’ll be on Wednesday night, the night before my beloved 8:00 a.m. Online Writing course. Any other day, and I’ll be going from possibly 1:00-3:00 a.m., or 3:00-5:00 a.m., or maybe 5:00-7:00 a.m., so many options! I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself because that is all far into the future really, if I do have a show I won’t get a start on it till mid November and that’ll be if I’m lucky.
Here’s to making the grade.
Also, Erik’s video of the week: there’s something about 1:40 that made me laugh loudly.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


So, earlier this week, while carousing through Best Buy, I happened upon the small white pyramid of Xbox 360s, and I couldn’t make myself walk away, I couldn’t ignore them any longer. It had been some time since they had seen a nice solid price slash from the unbelievable 600 to the barely more reasonable 450 dollar mark. The fact that those Microsoft bastards had thrown in two free games alongside the console was too much to resist, I was forced to scrape out funds for it.
And right now, it sits in my room, not plugged in, and I feel agitation of the worst possible kin; it’s that heavy realization of knowing that perhaps you made a bad decision. I haven’t had any time to play the goddamn thing, nor have I had time to play it at my apartment. My roommate has made it clear that he gets in five or so hours of TV every fucking day, and I only allow it because in turn, he does my dishes. As I type, I wait for him to finish with his movie or perhaps his episode of “Sex and the City”, and as much as I’d like to say my bitching is justified, it really isn’t. Usually he turns in around 10:00 p.m., but for some horrible reason, I feel like he purchased a move “on demand”, and will spend maybe two or three more hours watching it. I staggered into the home around 11:30 p.m. last night and lo and behold, he was watching Transformers. Goddamn him and goddamn those stupid fucking instant order movies and goddamn his cable subscription, fuck all of you out there in TV land.
It’s been a long frustrating week, and I feel like I could really benefit from some visual violence that horror movies just can’t provide anymore. His antics, that terrible roommate of mine, are the only reason I’m behind the keyboard as of now. I don’t want to bully him, I’m not so sure I could, this truly is suffering in silence. I feel myself slipping into a ramble, imagining myself playing the games, oh god it’s getting bad.
Nothing else really holds up in terms of what matters, god it hurts to admit it’s true but it is and I just want to make this pain end. I’ve got work to do, there’s always work to do: journals to be updated, contacts to be call, progress to be made on the massive side projects that seem to barely have much of my time. Here I am, able to do such secondary important things, but I cant bring myself to do them. I can only sit here, before the keybard, and let all of my misery flow out onto the keyboard. Oh, how I’d love nothing more than to just have a TV of my own, so I could finally toss aside that useless notion of patience and simply fucking live. Nothing else matters anymore; not Iraq or Iran or the onset of World War III and the very possible notion that everything will soon be gone, same oes for the environment and the monks in Myanmar and the starving children in Columbia and the great pieces of literature strewn around the room, unread and unloved, likely to be burned before opened. I cant stop rambling, but I continue on, it’s letting the tiniest little bit of pressure squeeze out of my skull so as to prevent a terribly painful end. I try to be a good guy but then the big man upstairs, whoever the hell he is nowadays, he punishes me and I don’t understand why, oh how hard it is to be me, unable to play my overpriced video game console that I will certainly pump more dollars into to improve my gameplay experience, buy/rent more useless games, and whatever else that one could do to waste their time/money when involved with video games, of which I’m sure there are many. It is time for this blog to end before I lose anymore faith in my ability to write.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reflections on the Golden Land

I’ve always known that when it comes to shitty third world countries with oppressive leadership, Myanmar was the country to beat: forced labor for citizens and children, rampant human trafficking, secret police and state-run media to name just a few. Fun fact: Myanmar is technically known as Burma, a title which it is less referred to for some reason.
Seriously; before all of this national coverage of monk protests kicked in, I already knew things were pretty fucked up over there, and no one really gave a shit until now. Myanmar was MY insane military regime of choice before anyone else’s, especially that fucking bitch Laura Bush, who likely knew nothing of the country’s existence until White House officals showed her a videotape about what was going on and wrote up a nice little speech for her to use to condemn the actions.
Seriously, Laura Bush has spoken out about jack-shit since her husband, our own supreme military dictator, began his quest for oil-blood of brown skinned children to satisfy his vampire cravings (Bush is a Nazi as well.) Okay, actually, I remember her talking about the importance of books but that died out pretty quickly thanks to the First Lady’s secret dyslexia.
But anyway, it’s especially enjoyable to see how the Myanmar government is handling all of it on their fabulous website hosted by Geocities, where you can read about the dastardly insurgents most recent attacks and the proud and swift on-the-spot executions that take place proceeding.
Also, check out the tourism website that uses sweet lulling synthesizing music to lure unsuspecting Americans and their fat wallets into their rotten districts.
Truly, Myanmar is the new Sudan, which was the new Yugoslavia, which was the new Iraq, which was the new Cambodia, which was the new Chile, which was the new Uganda, which was the new Russia, which was the new Germany and so on, even farther than I care to go.
Who knows what country will be next? At this point, it really could be anybody, quite exciting, I know. Let’s just hope the human face doesn’t get too dirty when it's being stamped on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Collegian controversy continues...

So, before things blow up (which they may or may not), let me allow my opinion on the issue. There’ve been people upset with the editorial cartoon in the Monday’s issue of the Collegian. I can’t find any online images of the cartoon (I don’t have a scanner either,) but the issue date was October 8th.
But anyway, if you’re too lazy to read The Collegian article, people have been claiming that the cartoonist’s depiction of CSU football player Gartrell Johnson was racist, as his image is somewhat similar to the “pickaninny” images of years long past, with bulging white eyes, literal black getup, and long feet.
Frankly, I believe those who find it offensive have got a point. If you look at the cartoon, and compare to any racist caricature of the black population, I don’t think it’s possible to deny any sort of resemblance between the two.I’m not black, so I don’t know what it’d feel like to see something like that. But I entirely doubt that the cartoonist had any intention of making a racist statement whatsoever.
In fact, I’d argue that artist might have been acknowledge Johnson’s efforts instead of just recognizable white players like Kyle Bell or Caleb Hanie, who could’ve easily stood in Johnson’s place in the cartoon, but I’m not the cartoonist either, so I can’t really speak for him either. The good is a good artist, but I haven't met him. It’s a shitty deal, really, but things will sort themselves out in the end. I just hope we don’t have to deal with any of those assholes from FOX 31 or CBS 4 again.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Reading on Writing

This blog is about several different essays on writing, written by a three particular authors:
-From Anne Lamont’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life: “Getting Started”, “Short Assignments”, “Shitty First Drafts” and “Perfectionism”
-Kurt Vonnegut: “How to Write with Style”
-Amy Tan: A section of The Opposite of Fate: Memories of Writing Life
-From Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write: “Begin” and “Bad Writing”

It’s always enjoyable to read about the various tactics and approaches famous writers take on in their own writing, but it was somewhat disappointing to see that there wasn’t much there that I hadn’t read before. Frankly, the only bit of advice that really stuck out to me as different was Vonnegut’s praise of a person’s “first language”, and how that can really stick out when it’s smoothly adapted into another language. I never really realized that, but it makes complete sense. I’ve read a lot of books of writers who have taken on English as a second or third language, or whose writing has been translated over, and it can be amazing how boldly they challenge the norms of English writing.
For example, I recently read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic One Hundred Years of Solitude. The story plays around with subjects that are taboo in any cultures, but it also incorporates that “magic realism”; something you don’t see in much Nobel Prize-winning literature, something that gives the whole novel an extra layer of originality. And even when you look at that conversion of language, there’s that underlying dusty tone throughout the book. His writing reminds me of Steinbeck (articulate and strong structure telling a surprisingly depressing story), but then again, it’s easy to pick out differences between the two writers.
As far as Anne Lamont and Julia Cameron’s advice: I’ve always been a firm supporter of the “I just don’t give a fuck” attitude when it comes to starting out. As a guy whose solitary goal is to write a book, I find it important that writer’s write at different levels in the world of writing. While I’ve been writing for fun since third grade, I realize that I still need to improve on so many levels it’s almost disgusting. Not to say that I lack ego when it comes to my work, because I certainly do, but only because I am constantly practice different fields of writing.
It’s important that writers, when they can, practice those different fields of writing: journalism, creative non-fiction, creative fiction, poetry, and most definitely journaling.
Journaling is the essential “I just don’t give a fuck” style because you are free to write whatever you want without worry that someone will come across it and judge you (as long as you don’t leave your work lying about, or if you commit some illegal activities and then they pull up your journal to prove that it was all premeditated). Even if a writer chooses to stick to their particular field, then they should at least journal every now and then, I tend to think it can help a ton with one’s own personal development as a person and as a writer. And it’s always an emotional experience looking back at all of your adventures and hopes from days long gone by.
Also, having read several different books on writing, I think it's important that every wannabe writer read Stephen King's On Writing because that book can truly change one's perspective on the craft.

Friday, October 5, 2007

New Kids on the Block

I look forward to the day when The Ram Republic joins the CSU’s paper pile, which according to the Chronicle article, should be about any day now. I really am curious as to how it’ll be matted out; will it be entirely columns or opinion pieces? Or will it feature “news” articles too, except with a Conservative spin? And I have to wonder what Collegian staff will migrate to the Republic; frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole of the advertising staff shifted allegiance. I wouldn’t blame them either; they’ve worked pretty damn hard to get to the spot they were at prior to the “FUCK BUSH” editorial and, despite being pissed, have kept on working. Now that McSwane is here to stay I cant help but wonder how much longer they’ll be around.
The newsletter won’t be a part of CSU’s student media, and because of a blatant right wing status, they probably won’t be. So its pretty impressive to see the College Republicans start up their own publication because they think The Collegian is trash. They saw something that they thought wasn’t right with their college community, and so they’ve gone out of their way to attempt and make things better. One cannot deny that; this goes to show that college students are no where near the inactive juvenile assholes so many “businessmen” claim them to be in their online posts.
Bringing up those “businessmen”; these are they guys who have left comments on the website claiming that they are doing everything in their power to make sure that Colorado State students do not get jobs at their corporations or any of the corporations they have connections with. This is quite the bluff; unless they’re associated with an ultra-conservative and vastly small company that really didn’t have room for future employees as it were, then there’s no way they’d have the balls to reject a student because they came from CSU. My guess is these people are posing; no true professional would write such a comment. Maybe they’d feel that way, but there’s no way they’d actually go through with it unless it was a situation as I mentioned above.
So, it’ll be good to have the Republic among the paper crowd, it’ll give the Collegian some competition, and will force everyone on staff to work harder for those advertising dollars.
In my opinion, The Collegian is a pretty legit operation when it comes to its news section, being the one section I’m familiar with. I know that I do my best to report accurately and objectively, and I think the same can be said for my fellow senior reporters.
I look forward to reading The Republic, and hope that they are able to maintain some credibility in whatever purpose they might choose to serve.
That being said, I can’t help but wonder which of our old advertisers are eager to support a right-wing agenda.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nothing turned into something

As of now I feel drained but force myself to write up a blog anyway.
Probably not a great idea, I know. No one wants to read writing that the writer hasn’t put any care into; anyone knows this. I’ve written more than a few worthless research papers that were C- material, I know how it goes.
And to think, I call myself a writer. This isn’t even really structured writing, there are no limits really as to what I can write about for my Writing Online class. Some days, I’d be more than happy to blog about happenings, but I really just don’t care to talk about all of the exciting things going on right now.
Like the Rockies making their first playoff run in, like, 12 years, and all off a fucking awesome tie-breaker match with an ending that’ll be remember as the most exciting moment in Rockies history (for now…I’m not going to jinx the Rox but who knows what the future holds.) I watched the game and got all excited about it and just thought that it’d be awesome to write up a blog reflecting on my memories of the Rockies and how Dad and Grandad and I and maybe even cousin and uncle every now and then go to a Rockies baseball game at least once every summer. Most of the time when I’ve been in attendance, they’ve lost; be it to the Marlins, the Padres, the Braves, the Mets, and even, yes, the fucking Devil Rays. And I will claim that I’ve been following the Rockies since 94’, but I’ll admit, every single season after their first wild card run, my heart and attention sank with each losing season, until now. Holliday has become the new Larry Walker, and Suzuki stands become the next Galarraga. And yes, I think its safe to say that Helton has become the new Helton.
Wow, I’m a little amazed at how easy it was to splurge out all of that. That’d probably constitute as a whole blog right? I mean, I could go on and on about how great it is to watch the Rockies while they kick ass year after year, but then again I could be setting myself up for disappointment. This is how we do it.
I’d like to end this blog with a song that really sums up those elementary school years when the Rockies were fresh and fun and if you didn’t like them you were pretty much an asshole. This one’s for you Blake Street.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Art outside of the Museum

If you haven't heard of it before, it's called "culture-jamming", and it's one of the more fascinating arts emerging in culture today. Above, you'll find a lovely little painting that has had a habit of popping up in art galleries or within the halls of large-scale media headquarters. To the left, you'll see one of a fine example: a "remixed" version of Paris Hilton's last album...just a glimpse at the front cover, and one can immediately tell that there's a noticable difference in the attitude generated. Over 500 copies of these CDs were covertly distributed through music shops across London.

There's no need for longer introduction, as the man behind this elaborate prank is possible the greatest culture-jammer in the known world, whose identity has yet to been uncovered: Banksy

He is a world-renowned artist whose mysterious origins began with in the early 2000's with recognizable graffiti stencils in the United Kingdom. His exploits have grown across oceans. His work can be seen in London, Edinburgh, Madrid, New York, the West Bank barrier, Mexico, Los Angeles, and Disneyland.

There's not much for me to say about this artist except that I find what he has to do rather incredibly amusing and moving. His use of a "real world" canvas is truly unique, in that he hadn't received permission to make his mark. Even more enjoyable are the messages that his art leaves upon it's viewer, and whether they be dreadful or simply humorous. Police hate him, but his use of quick-draw stencils and late night painting has left him practically undetectable.

As much a fan as I am of Banksy and the whole "culture-jamming" movement, I would certainly hope that this sort of art remains outside the clutches of the commerical realm as long as possible. As any quick-thinking marketer will tell you, subversion can be a fantastic advertising theme: There's a large market of people who'd like to think that buy buying a product, they are circumventing the tightly-regulated system of society (i.e. Sprite). Even more depressing is the fact that someday, it could be extremely difficult to tell whether there is a real human message in such efforts, or if it's all just a ploy to get it's viewers to buy or live in accordance to a corporation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Group Projects: A life-long hell

I would’ve thought that group projects would’ve been an activity left behind in middle school, but lo and behold, it’s shown it’s twisted head in my Online Writing college class.
I simply hate group projects, and our class today was certainly exemplified the amount of learning and time wasted by working with three other individuals who are just as apathetic, tired and miserable as you are.
We had to pick a website, then analyze the site using ten “agreed upon” criteria points. It was pretty quickly established that everyone in the group had listed the exact same kinds of criteria on their blogs, so we went ahead with a rather hilariously crappy website.
Not exactly sure what to do, we forged ahead, wrote out an introduction, and applied two pieces of the criteria to the site. It was time-consuming, but rather simple.
After criteria point #2, I went to the bathroom. By the time I had come back, the group had decided on doing a completely different website, reason being that the other site would’ve been repetitive in each of the categorical points. No one had the foresight to point this out before we had spent a good 4/5ths of our allotted time writing out this one part of our analysis. Even more enjoyable was the fact that two of my group members started lightly bickering with each other over completely unrelated shit, wasting more time and there was little me and the other group mate could do.
Looking around the room at the time, and seeing other groups sitting before their computers in a dull silence was even more annoying. Discussion, so it seems, is few and in-between in these group settings, and everyone feels uncomfortable in completely expressing themselves.
The whole idea of peer review is pointless: Despite everything that’s been said about human kindness, it’s rather shitty knowing that my grade will be (partly) determined by other students in my group, who could easily mark me down if I make a suggestion they don’t like or do not speak as often as they do.
Honestly, I’d much rather write out such a project all by myself. If I hadn’t learned yet how to work within a group environment by the time I applied for college, then I wouldn’t be in college. I certainly hope group projects that I’ll inevitably deal with in the future feel more structured and contain more students who actually give a shit then the busy-work dribble I’ve had to put up with in Writing Online.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday’s editorial of The Rocky Mountain Collegian broke it down into four simple words:
Taser this…FUCK BUSH

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle

Massive now is the story of 21-year-old college student Andrew Meyer, who was arrested and tasered during a town hall forum featuring John Kerry. Upon reading the various accounts of the story that have emerged, and watching the YouTube video, I’ve come to two very different conclusions about the incident:

-This kid was an arrogant jackass who completely deserved having his mic cut off. With his ranting non-stop list of questions, he was going over the time granted to him, and cutting into the opportunity of others to ask their questions. In that sense, he was denying them their freedom of speech. I doubt he was immediately being arrested when the two officers first moved in on him, only when resisted against them in the back of the room did they have to be more forceful. When he got zapped, I really couldn’t help but chuckle, just by the way he cried. He had the aura of an asshole, and the cops responded procedurally. People shouldn’t be so quick to claim that his freedom of speech was being violated when it’s difficult to tell what exactly happened. People shouldn’t place complete and total faith in a YouTube video.

-The taser is the only thing that makes this story a national sensation and not just some second page article for the local newspaper. Time and time again I hear that the kid had already had been put in handcuffs by the time the officers used the taser on him. Yes, he had been warned that he would be tasered if he continued to resist. It’s really impossible to tell if he had continued to resist, but by that point, I still doubt the tasering was necessary when they had him in cuffs, and being that there were at least four officers on him, it would’ve been easy to carry him out of the room. He still seemed to struggle against them as they ushered him out. Also, even if he is found guilty of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, it should be sensible that the charge of inciting a riot will be dropped. He called out for help and asked if the crowd “was seeing what was happening.”
Even everyone’s favorite conservative blowhole Bill O’Reilly agrees that the tasering was just a bit much (fast forward to 5:10, watch until the end of the video.) Not that anything that O'Reilly spews out of his mouth is worth giving any sort of credit to, but the irony just hit me like a electric volt to the chest!

Yes, I used a taser joke. From this moment on till a couple of months or so, the taser will recieve more attention than any other tool on a policeman's belt, even more than the fucking gun. It'll become a staple of American culture. I think it’s pretty safe to say that “Don’t tase me bro!” will be remembered as the catchphrase of 2007.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Your guide to writing on the Internet

I didn’t think I’d have to write anymore blogs this weekend, other than the previous two “independent” posts. Of course, that wasn’t the case, as I discovered this morning. So, about internet writing…this shouldn’t be too hard to cover. Among the many important things to consider in internet writing, these are the top five:

1) Prim and proper: The only way to achieve internet credibility in your writing is to maintain a sense of proper spelling and grammar, maybe even a few sophisticated wording here and there. That way, people won’t imagine a TV-obsessed fatso when they read what you’ve written, and you’re a lot less likely to get made fun of.

2) Fun and laid back: For some, it’s far too easy to come off as a pretentious asshole unless you keep track of yourself now and then, especially if you’re an English or philosophy major/degree-holder who actually enjoys reading literature prior to the 20th century. If you throw out obscure allusions, using pompous speech, you’ll be immediately regarded as worthless, ESPECIALLY if it’s discovered that you don’t understand the very things you are writing about.

3) Keep it simple, stupid: Keep things in neat chunks of text. Don’t forget the instantaneous effectiveness of the picture, a device that says a billion words when used on the internet. No one wants to read a block of text that’s longer than their pointer finger, that’s the way it goes.

4) No internet poetry: Simply put, don’t post poetry on the internet. Much like painting a picture using dog shit, you might think you’re being edgy by displaying your poetry on the internet, but everyone will know that it is still shit, no matter how much symbolism you’ve managed to stuff in there. The internet has such an effect on poetry, unfortunately.

5) Remember, this is the INTERNET: You might enjoy reading the insightful viewpoints of some web user from Ghana, and decide the world would be better off with some detailed happenings from your own perspective. While this can’t stimulate growth within one’s self, never should an internet writer expect to be taken seriously. There is a damn good reason that certain writing is “internet-exclusive” and not printed for all the world to see when they really don’t care to. Sorry, but unless you’re making death threats to the public safety or our glorious President-Leader, then no one will take what you have to say with utter seriousness, unless it’s your employer who doesn’t approve of your internet mischief, in which case just make sure your internet alias is as untraceable as possible.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Calling All Creepers

Last month, Rolling Stone released the article: “'To Catch a Predator': The New American Witch Hunt for Dangerous Pedophiles”
The article displays a, at the very least, interesting suggestion: Is this wildly-popular program is nothing more than a slimy unethical grab for ratings?
This article dances quite the fine line between objectivity and mere sensationalism, portraying both sides of the coin in the murky grey waters between good and evil. Simply put, by the end of this article, one won’t be able to decide if cheering for Chris Hansen is a bad thing.
They cite the falsified stats used by the show, its fear-mongering techniques, and the harsh life pedophiles have to deal with following their bust (damned forever to a national registry complete with personal information is a typical punishment.)
I have to applaud Rolling Stone for presenting another viewpoint for the millions who’d be so easily to accept that these men are just plain evil, just as Dateline presents them to be.
That said, I really don’t think there’s a single thing that’d make me feel sorry for a pedophile. There is no excuse for being such a sick son-of-a-bitch.
I’ll admit, reading the article made me feel a little sorry for these guys who just fucked up their entire lives within the span of a single afternoon. They can only sit it out now and wait until 10-15 years later when the show is long forgotten if they ever hope to find a decent job or get a girlfriend ever again, and it’ll still haunt them till the day they die.
But I stand by my belief that better their life fucked up than the life of a child, or in some cases, multiple children. There’s no way to spin it otherwise; children who are sexually abused come out with some sort of terrible problem, be it mental or sexual. It’s just unbelievably cruel to deny a child of their innocence like that.
While I think “To Catch A Predator” has run it’s course and should leave such busts to professional law enforcement, I can’t say it that it had a negative effect on our culture. For all the child-lovers out there struggling with their inner desires, the show will probably scare them into silence for many years to come. There are better ways to deal with such a problem then scarring the life of a child forever.

Friday, September 14, 2007

NCAA First Two weeks

While it seems like at least one completely crazy thing happens once every season in College Football, it seems like it’s just been one thing after another from my perspective.
CSU’s overtime loss to CU was a heartbreaker, but one’s got to expect that when dealing with such an intense rivalry. Why this game doesn’t get national coverage is beyond me; those damn east coast network bigwigs don’t seem to gave a damn about the mountain states. Honestly- it is extremely rare to hear an announcer give us the “Mountain Time” of a broadcast…always with the “Eastern, Central, and Pacific”, but never (so it seems) Mountain! It seems like a petty thing to complain about, but really, at least Colorado deserves some credit.
The ones calling the shots at the networks are straight-up ignorant when it comes to selecting games for national television. Seriously…there were a couple matches of powerhouse teams playing FCS teams on national broadcast while there were thunderously exciting matches going on between schools who weren’t exactly powerhouses, but were by no means bad. Fortunately, we got to witness one extremely insane upset, but there’s a strong chance that’ll happen again in at least 50 years. And yet the network heads will still show these first week burnouts that only the purest of fans will actually bother to watch.
And a week passes, and we see a match-up of Oregon against Houston, and the most unbelievable part of the game occurred on the sidelines.
I can only imagine whoever was dressed up as the Oregon Duck must have been completely shitfaced, and the heat was getting to him…just seeing him mosey up to the Houston Cougar like gives complete credit to my suspicion. The cougar gets a little testy, sure, but when the duck is on him like that, he doesn’t even bother to fight back! What have mascots come to these days when they won’t even bother to fight back against the other mascot, especially when said mascot is being slammed into the other mascot’s crotch. I would’ve been ashamed to see CAM take such shit. Even ESPN analysts were able to call out the Houston Cougar like that.
So, ultimately, I have to give credit to Oregon’s duck. Sure, his career as a mascot may be over, and if he really wanted to pick a fight with another mascot, he could’ve picked a much more worthy opponent (Stanford’s Tree, anyone?) Despite all of this, he still managed to snag YouTube glory, and there certainly is nothing childish about that.
I'm hoping for something to top these two events this week. Here's hoping Ralphie breaks out his pen and gores Cody Hawkins three minutes into the first quarter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reflection on Facebook articles and "Decline and Fall of the Private Life"

Summary: Articles one, two, and three all focus on the concept of an internet lacking in privacy, and the consequences of posting without discretion.

I feel more confident giving a more general response to all three blogs, because they all, basically, focus on the same thing. I had read the first article before, and even reading it now, I still find the idea of seeing some chubby-cheeked freshman prominently post his crazed rush onto the football field, a trip he carefully chronicled to make sure everyone knew he had been out there too, and then receive a visit from campus police three days later. After his academic hearing suspended from the university for a year, I could see him running out of the conference room screaming about the violation of all of his amendment rights and that the police really were. Really, that is a fucking fantastic image.
Granted, I’d be pretty pissed if that had happened to me. If CSU beat a team like Ohio State, I could easily see myself following the surging crowd onto the field. But even before this article came out, I knew the consequences of letting my mischief be documented by camera or videotape. The temptation to do so, though, would be incredibly difficult to avoid.
As presented in both articles #2 and #3, personal websites are ENTIRELY about image for those who frequently access them. As much as these websites are useful to building a cyber-network and expressing oneself, I really can’t imagine any other reason for people to spend time crafting their profile in a way so that they appear exactly the way they want to appear.
Facebook is the essential example: One’s profile picture can say a million words, so one must make sure it says every single word they want others to hear. Look at the photos of people prominently displayed with his’/her’s significant other, fully embracing each other for the photo to prove without a shadow of a doubt that they are a real couple. For me, it just seems to scream “LOOK HERE I AM WITH ANOTHER WHOM IM BANGING EVERY OTHER NIGHT, I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND, IM NOT WORTHLESS AFTER ALL.”
Then there are the profile pictures that you can tell have had quite a lot of careful planning. Most of the time, such photos have been digitally altered, with overlapping color layers or use of sepia coloring or special shading. For me, people spend such time on photos so they can create an “artsy” image.
Without wanting to drag on too long, I’d also like to point out that when someone uploads their profile picture of an image other than themselves (such as a movie/cartoon character or sports logo or their baby picture), I’d say 75% of the time, they have some sort of self-image problem. Note that I’m not saying this is the case all of the time, but being one who has a handful of ugly friends, they seem to be very careful about what kind of image they want to use to portray them without actually using their face.
As for me, I’ll often resort to goofy pictures of myself for my profile picture in the hopes that people will associate me with funny and/or laid-back and/or unique. Having held my previous theories, these images must seem like they haven’t been posed for, so others won’t suspect me going out of my way to create an image for myself. It’s impossible for me to imagine others not doing the same, whatever kind of image they want to project.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Reflection on "Techno idiot" articles and Digital Divide

Summary: The first article was a report on the new concern that students are information illiterates, based on professor observations and testing results. The article listed educators’ suggestions for improvement, including hiring certified librarians who could pass down their info-literate skills to students, as well as making info-literacy courses a part of core curriculum at universities.
The second article was a response to a multitude of articles touching upon info-literacy (the article above included), suggesting that educators were responsible for teaching students how to examine information critically, and that the method of teaching this needed an upgrade from focusing on textbooks to focusing on websites.
The Wikipedia entry featured the “digital divide” term, its meanings and origins. The article also contained a view of the digital divide in a global setting, and listed arguments for the need to improve information accessibility to those who need it.

Response: I don’t think it’s possible to take on all three articles at once, as they represent two different topics, despite the parallels.
The articles, I found, both support the idea that it’s essential for students to obtain info-literacy, and it’s an opinion I completely agree with. Having existed within this realm of students during this Information Age, I’ve come across at least a few examples of fellow students being unable to avoid the inaccuracies spotted across their information sources, and unable to detect sources that portray opinion as fact. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that this was the case with articles I have written in the past either. From my memory, the idea of critically examining internet sources didn’t really surface until mid-junior high, or even until early high school. I was pleased with the suggestion of requiring info-literacy courses for university students; I would hope CSU administrators would already be prepared to address that need. My only complaint lies with the first article; I felt the reporter had done a mediocre job in giving the reader details in the definition of info-literacy provided. “The ability to use technology to solve information problems”… what is meant by this? I’m left to figure it out on my own.
I was pretty disappointed that our third reading assignment was a Wikipedia entry, especially when it’s topped with a blue box that blares “This section does not cite any references or sources.” Complaints aside, I suppose I hadn’t really realized the severe disadvantage faced for one who is unable to access the internet. The arguments listed for the importance of bridging the digital divide focus on that idea that with access to information, growth and an improved quality of life can be more easily achieved.
One thought that occurred to me when reading this entry was the idea of complete information access being just as necessary. There are a number of entertainment websites that I’ve come across that boast about having had their page banned from the servers of a certain country. From my understanding, this is applied mostly to countries in Southern Asia and the Middle East. China acts as a notorious example: banning websites, deleting posts, and censoring search engines. Following the bridging of the digital divide gap, I would a movement to end such censorship would take form, if it hasn’t already.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Flail on

A disturbing new trend in YouTube these days is the homemade music video. This is not to say that music artists are using handheld cameras to do their own work, but rather, thousands of douchebag take an artist’s work and make their own music video with the song dubbed over. Never has this ever produced something worth watching, yet I have scourged the YouTube shit-o-sphere to bring you, the reader, some idea of how bad it really can get.

Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
Here we have a “creative” attempt by three teenagers (including one visibly disheartened banjo-playing girl), featuring audio synched to a slideshow rather than flowing video. You have to wait for a little while before the actual music kicks in, and suddenly we’re treated to one guy thrashing around as if he just downed his entire bottle of Ritalin with a Red Bull. The only reason this video is exemplified in this post is because of his overly-flamboyant personality, the kid that probably got picked on a lot early in life. Like many people who reach out to the internet for attention and perhaps even understanding, our vest-sporting friend is among the many whom I’d like to take a baseball bat too. Is that unnecessary violence? I’d like to think not.

Somebody's Watching Me
Do you ever find yourself watching a YouTube video, wondering if it’s a homemade music video? Using simple logistics, I’ve managed to create a formula that accurately deciphers the difference between a normal YouTube video, and the homemade music video. If you are what you are watching contains at least three features described below, you are, in fact, watching a homemade music video. As an example, I’ve used this formula for this particular video.
-Long, overdrawn intro? Check
-Shaky camera? Check
-Desperate grasp at comedic effect using shitty 80’s song? Check
-Cast composed of mildly autistic teenagers? Check
-Pointless lip-synch attempt? Check
-Severe lack of female presence? Check

Chocolate Rain
For all those who prefer to spend their time socializing and exercising and getting grades rather than spend hours and hours on the internet, I bring you “Chocolate Rain”, an original song and, as of recently, a massive internet phenomenon! This still counts as a homemade music video, because even though the guy is actually singing the song (so I’m told), it shows just how frightening this world can get. This little shit actually got featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he sat before a live-studio crowd and sung his song, complete with creepy stare and square-rim glasses. Fast forward to the last minute of the video, and Jimmy gives our friend some time to bring out the human behind the alien, even though I continue to be a skeptic.


If you were a super hero, what would be your super power?
I would love to have the ability to look into the face of my enemy and find their darkest secret, and in turn, use it against them. In theory, every human being holds some really low secret, something that they have nightmares about, or maybe something they've completely blocked out of their minds. I'd dress up with a oversized blue robe, and strap on a giant plastic eye ball that would be centered on my forehead. The eye would act as some kind of symbol of my power of limited but far-reaching insight, and I'd be known as "The Eye-Cologist." I would've gone with Cy-Cologist, but there's already a bike shop in Fort Collins that uses that name, and for me originality is a must.
Here are some situations in which my power would be more useful than any kind of flight or heat vision:
-A robber robs from a bank, gets a cool mil into his pillow sack, and runs towards the door, laughing with delight. Suddenly, the Eye-Cologist steps out from behind some giant pillar, blocking the entrance.
Out would come the glock, which he'd wave in my face, telling me if I like my brains in my skull, I'll get out of his way. But already, I have penetrated his mind, and from it ripped the one thing he's been hiding for his whole life.
"So, you're gay?" I'd say, loudly enough so that the terrified people on the floor could hear. He'd be taken aback a bit, not sure how to respond, having been accused of this for the first time in his life. Of course, I'd use his own pulsating homophobia against him.
"Not that it's a big deal," I'd say. "I know a lot of people who are gay, it's a pretty normal thing these days. I've got a couple of friends who are gay, nothing to be ashamed about, no one cares."
He'd snicker, telling me about all of the chicks he's banged in his 25 years of life.
I'd smile and say "Come on dude. I've seen 'Brokeback Mountain'. I'm guessing you're a particular fan of doggystyle, huh? A little too much of fan though. You'd feel a whole lot better if you just came out with it."
And it would go on like this for a couple more minutes, the guy'd be getting angrier as we continued our conversation, but before he decides to jus kill me, we hear "FREEZE POLICE", and I'd jump back behind the pillar and the cops would open fire and hopefully none of the people lying on the floor would get shot up, but the robber would have no chance.
The great thing is, there really is a variety of dark horrible secrets that one could pull out on a bad guy and keep him from finishing his evil plans:
-"Wait. You broke that puppy's neck on PURPOSE? That's really fucked up dude, I mean, really fucked up."
-"Your dad molested you too? Whoa...WHILE grandad was watching? I'm sorry dude, no one should go through that."
-"Ever heard that Phil Collins song about the guy who watches some other guy drown, and he doesn't do anything to help, he just stands there and watches the other guy drown? I bet you can identify with that one, huh? You make me sick."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reflection on "Technomania"

Summary: The internet revolution is here, according to Steven Levy, and it means people have the ability to reach farther and expand their abilities and personalities farther than ever possible before for the ordinary person. But this means clutter, and this means transitions, some of which will require time for people to become fully accustomed to. Such technology is decentralizing, and needs to be keep in check, balanced out with order from those in power, who will certainly fall if they’re unable to do so. Also discussed are the issues of privacy, free speech, education, and reality and their current roles in the internet.

Response: I enjoyed Levy’s practical and objective observations on the status of such important subjects and their potential altering with the arrival of the internet.
The whole concept of order and chaos battling out over the internet was one I suppose I hadn’t given much in-depth thought to until now. I was pleased to see that Levy was able to break it down in such a way that he didn’t give any sort of approving nods to either the holders of power nor to the teenage anarchists, but rather showed the clashing relationship and the potential that lies in wait. In my own opinion, I have difficulty believing that the internet does not have boundaries that a user is forbidden to step into. This thought sort of merges with the whole privacy vs. surveillance argument (as well as his observation of the free speech battle) Levy touched upon; investigators can track down the information they need to bust down on some unknowing child pornographer. It would not surprise me if it became nearly impossible to hide from the government in the folds of the internet.
The last paragraph, detailing Negroponte’s theory of atoms and bits is absolutely fascinating when applied to how dramatically the very way of human life might be changing is unsettling, something I never truly contemplated. I still believe that a life void of human contact is unachievable, and will be until we become mentally enslaved by machines, but the idea of co-existing between the reality we know and this “second dimension” of cyberspace is something I believe is already taking place.

Reflection on "The Internet? Bah!"

Summary: In his stirring 1995 Newsweek piece, Clifford Stoll claims that we will come to know and depend on the internet as some predict. Stoll argues that the laptop screen will never replace a book, and that the raw information feeds of the World Wide Web will render online research unusable. Technology, Stoll says, will never replace human contact.

Response: It’s a little pleasing to read this article, a piece that didn’t stand true to the test of time even though it’s a little over than a decade old. It’s like reading those far-flung rare writings criticizing the idea of aerial transportation, or those suggesting humanity in slavery.
I don’t think Stoll really could’ve seen what would’ve happened, what tools would’ve been offered, and just how easy everything could’ve been. I do believe, however, he should’ve spent more time piecing together more examples to support some of his statements.
The idea of buying books and getting your news online? “Uh, sure,” Stoll writes, walking away from this sudden statement, forgoing any kind of logic to fuel his argument. This, in my opinion, accented the ignorance we witness when we look back on this article.
No Stoll, the internet does not do as much business as your mall does in 1995, but there’s no reason for you to believe that there could be any number of factors that shift the scale. At the very least, you should’ve acknowledged that this was the internet in its extremely early prime, that it had finally become something an ordinary person could access.
Stoll didn’t want to compromise, didn’t want to acknowledge that technology could make a great teacher’s education experience ever better. Or, in the cases of bad teachers, more important.
I have faith that Stoll is right in that nothing we can produce with our hands will ever match pure human contact, that no virtual reality, no matter how detailed and realistic, will replace those that surround us. In today’s day and age, most humans would struggle to survive without the dependency of others. We still need food, water, health care, sex, and all those other encounters that make us feel alive.
But unlike Stoll, I’m far too cowardly to predict that human contact would never willingly be replaced with artificial simulation. Who knows the number of pale monstrosities spending their lives locked at a computer, taking their online universities, chatting with their World of Warcraft friends online, ordering their pizza and Pepsi without having to speak a single word, and indulging themselves in the bottomless sea of porn that can make all of their misery go away for a couple of hours.

Relfection on "We Are The Web"

Summary: In this article, author Kevin Kelley gives us glimpses of the internet’s timeline thus far: past, present, and future. Kelley starts off recalling the early days of the internet, his experience in watching it begin to rise from the ground and the heavy amount of criticism/pessimism the internet faced in the mid-1990’s. Kelley continues by recalling the growth of the internet since then, represented in the amount of tools we have at our dispense now, as well as the audience’s newfound ability to make their own entertainment. Kelley continues on into the near future, tossing out the varied theories of the intellectual community about what lies ahead in the world wide web: a community without consumers, of a solitary computer running the internet, and the extinction of the familiar desktop.

Response: As much as I enjoyed the glimpses of Internet’s past Kelley provided, I was turned off by his masturbatory personality that popped in and out of his writing early on in the article, describing his personal instance with ABC, who didn’t listen to his “dire” warning of purchasing a domain URL as soon as possible.
The matter-of-fact tone he used when describing the foolishness of those who doubted the internet’s arrival seemed unprofessional for a writer who was attempting a critical analysis of the internet timeline, as can be seen here:
“Where's Cliff Stoll, the guy who said the Internet was baloney and online catalogs humbug? He has a little online store where he sells handcrafted Klein bottles.”
You can almost hear Kelley’s nasally giggling as he punches the keys: “I sure showed them.”
But I cannot deny this article provided some interesting insight for a college student who really didn’t give a shit when the internet first emerged.
The idea of some massive, hive-minded “god” computer somewhat surprised me, offered an idea that I never really thought could be applied to the internet, a web built by millions of small hard drives and their sole supporters. Kelley undoubtedly expresses excitement over the idea that our entire world connection, and perhaps even our own hard drives and computer systems, will come to depend entirely on a single eclipsing machine, of which we would view through our monitors. Kelley describes its growth, comparing it to the neural pathways of a brain, always growing with every incident, or in the case of this massive machine, every click.
When Kelley mentioned that this machine would take to recognize human faces with the millions of postings and name links, my feeling of concern first blossomed. When he continued, talking about how such a device would make decisions about what the human race wanted, based on what we search for, the true horrifying image came about: could such a machine achieve self-awareness? With such capabilities and a information shower that never ceased, James Cameron movies have made me see such a machine as nothing but evil incarnate, a being fully uniting the world before completely deleting every connection and every user for the sake of it’s own magnificent survival.
Or perhaps Kelley's optimistic prediction will be fulfilled, and the super-machine will win Time Magazine's "Person of the Year", and families will skip the Grand Canyon just to go see the great black box of information.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Web Literacy Narrative, the most painful blog yet

Describe the first time you used a computer. What are your earliest memories of using the Internet? How old were you? Where were you, who was with you, what was the occasion? How did you use the Internet when you were younger? When did you first have access to a computer and the Internet at home? What about at school?
The earliest memory I have of using the computer was for some simple art game, where I’d use computer markers to color in between the lines, then later print out the poorly done pieces for friends and family members. My little presents. I must’ve been about 7 at the time, using the computer by myself in my old home, with no reason except the desire for some fun. The internet really didn’t come in to my knowledge and general use until around 13, when it was mainly accessed for library research. It was about the same time it came into use at my household, for strictly library research, as it had extremely little appeal to me at the time.

What Websites do you remember visiting at 10? At 15? Did you regularly use the computers or the Internet as part of your schoolwork?
The internet had not yet come into popular use, as I recall, by age ten. By age 15, it was mostly accessed to look up research for homework, guides to video games, funny videos or stories, and women, generally naked and objectified. By then, computers and internet became a critical part of the education experience.

How has your use of computers changes since that first time? Describe your current computer uses. How much time do you spend using a computer and what are you doing with it (them)?
The only way I’d say it has changed is that I also use the internet for news, regular email, Facebook, and, as of now, blogging. I still use it for all that I have in the past, perhaps to an even greater extent and most definitely at a larger time: I’d say I spend at least three hours a day with some kind of computer usage, either to write up essays, articles, research, do some kind of homework or online class activity, or just for personal amusement. This time spendage never has exceeded five straight hours, to my knowledge.

What do you like best/least about the World Wide Web?
The best always comes in the form of Facebook/Worthy entertainment of some sort. The worst comes whenever one crosses into that dirty corners of cyberspace where only the desensitized can truly push themselves to. It’s almost inevitable to end up touching that dark spot every once and while.

Do you read from the Web? What do you read? Do you read traditional, paper-based texts? What sorts and why? Who is your favorite author and why? How is reading a paper text different from reading on the Web? Do you have different expectations, are you a different reader, etc.?
I still enjoy my funny stories and articles (websites like http://www.somethingawful.com/) and the authors who write for them, usually are the only writers that I find enjoyable and actually funny. Paper-based texts, from time to time, are easy to access, but generally contain boring material, so they are often avoided when possible. My favorite internet author would be Zach Parsons, one of the writers from Something Awful who obviously spends as much time as possible behind a laptop, churning out often hilarious and sometimes insightful pieces of writing that is always makes for quality reading, regardless of how hard I might (or might not) laugh.

Do you have websites that you visit on a regular basis? What are they and why do you keep going back? What influence have these sites had on your life?
I visit Facebook, Something Awful, New York Times, and my online subscription to The Rocky Mountain Times almost every day possible. I keep going back to them generally because they are interesting, or funny, but they’ve had little impact on my life rather than acting as entertainment or sometimes thought material that never really drives me into action. The internet is still the internet; it just doesn’t stack up to the real world, for me at least.

How is your use of your computer different than that of other technologies?
I’d say it only does in the amount of time I spend using it, as it is the only piece of “newer” technology (besides a cell phone) that is critical to my piece of life. It’s the main source of my entertainment.

What do you do when you have a problem with your computer?
Unless it’s something simple that can be figured out, my computer will be taken to the nearest computer repair station in the hopes that they can drive out the evil hidden within the silicon and wiring.

Describe your attitudes about writing in general and your attitudes about writing with computers in particular. Do you enjoy writing?
I love to write! Be it in newspaper articles or short stories or even, surprisingly, these blogs. Writing on the computer is enjoyable and easy, and it can triple the experience when there is so much information to draw upon when writing out something. When I write a news article, I always am required to search for names, phone numbers, old stories, things I never knew about before, what ever I may need to make my piece of journalism make sense and not be labeled ignorant by whoever will be reading the article. But I’m sure that can’t be avoided every now and then.

Do you prefer to write by hand, or are you equally comfortable--or more so--writing with computers? Is the writing you do with computers different than the kind you do by hand? How are they different? Who reads this writing?
This is a dependable situation. When journaling (which I highly prefer to blogging and try to do as often as I can) or writing short fiction, doing it with the strokes of a pen seems to make my mind function much more easily than throguh the clickty-clack strokes of a keyboard, so in that case, I suppose it’s all about perspective and style. Maybe the fact that, usually, no one reads the written writing while it seems that the typed writing gets read oh so much more is the reason why it’s easier for me to go by the pen.

What is the one thing that you really want to learn about in this class? What is the one thing you are worried about?
More than anything, I suppose I’d like to understand and maybe even discover something out of the blog culture. I’ve never be very receptive of the blog culture, never really giving too much thought or care to the individuals who I don’t know in real life, and I don’t expect them to care what I think either, because I’m much more likely to become bored with their bluntness or lack of originality or even abundance of originality that overwhelms my simple mind. The one thing that I worry about this class is finding the blog culture to be just the boring landscape that I so terribly fear it to be. The coding sounds like a rather intimidating aspect as well.