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Okay, honestly I didn’t LOVE the film. I thought it was an interesting concept, and overall entertaining, but I felt there were some loopholes in the plot, and I found some of the camerawork to be distracting. In the Q & A session the director did say they wanted to leave you with a sense of ambiguity, and not a clear understand, to leave you more in fear at the end of the film. This didn’t entirely work for me, but this also isn’t my favorite genre of film, so who am I to judge?

I think the biggest point I want to make about this film, really, is how exciting it was to see a final product produced by a middlebury team of past and current students and faculty. I loved what they were saying about doing an independent film – having an idea, and taking the initiative to put together a (relatively) small team and actually DO it themselves from start to finish, and have a product as they wanted it.

I also thought it was interesting when Professor Mittell asked how we could start to “advertise” for the film, being a select bunch who has actually seen it. The immediate answer (after an unsure pause) was “join the Facebook group?” Leave it to technology and the web, to spread the word. It certainly can’t be a bad place to start.

online interview, to online orientation

Next week I have a mandatory orientation meeting for my semester abroad program. The e-mail about the orientation stressed the fact that the meeting is mandatory, but also said, “special accommodations will be made only for those students not in the New York area.” That’s me. I thought Skype might be an option, but I also thought maybe they would just set up a time to talk on the phone and give me the details. But sure enough, I e-mailed about being in vermont, and they e-mailed back saying they could “Skype me in” to the meeting if I was available at the time. I’m wondering if they will have a computer on the table at my spot where I would be sitting… like a floating head… an avatar attending the meeting for me. While I watch and listen from my computer screen.

Just like I said about being able to do my initial interview over Skype, it is nice that our technology allows us to do these things that would otherwise make these opportunities virtually (ha) impossible. I’m a little skeptical though about being Skyped into the orientation. I’m worried that something could go wrong with my internet connection and I would be cut out, or that I won’t feel comfortable asking questions…. Do I still raise my hand if I want to ask something? Hmm…

second life: early expeditions


here are a few “snapshots” from my first explorations on Second Life. As of now, I’m not so into it. My disinterest may be a result of my not really knowing how to do much in the virtual world… or it may have to do with the discussion as to whether or not this is a GAME. I think if I lean towards the reasons why it’s not seen as a game – that it does not have a set path, specific end goal, time frame, etc – I realize these are the reasons why I’m not engaged. We’ll see how it goes as I continue to explore. I do, however, really enjoy having the option to FLY everywhere. My favorite place I found so far was the planetarium at the space museum. I was pleasantly surprised when I could go in it and actually see the constellations on the ceiling. And to make it just that much better, “Adiemus” played as I walked through the doors into the dark dome for a little outer space ambience….




Server mania

Five days later, I am still baffled by the amounts of equipment we saw on our tour of the Middlebury servers. We take for granted every day, that we can sit down with the simple equipment of a lap top, and be “connected” to the internet, and almost anything we want, with the click of a button and no wires or extra hardware. Walking into the server rooms and seeing how much we are ACTUALLY “connected” to, made me rethink how we use our computers and other technologies. I realize how ignorant and uneducated most of us are about the technologies we use on a regular basis. How the heck does the internet actually work? I don’t get it. We’re connected to the servers, which are in a room connected to a bazillion wires that go into the ceiling and under the floors… and apparently some fiber runs underground connecting us to the internet connection in Albany… and that is connected to something else? Where is the central THING that makes the internet? And what is floating around in the air that allows us to have a “wireless” connection?

While our laptop fits nicely in a drawer and in our backpack, and we “store” things online in some seemingly infinite electronic folder, someone else somewhere is watching towers of machinery, changing tapes and hard drives that are holding all that information in a tangible way.

It’s just crazy. I’d like to see what the server rooms look like for programs like “Second Life…”

no phone….

I just realized I left my phone at my friend’s house. I had a moment of panic when I realized that meant I also didn’t have my usual alarm, which I need to wake up for my team breakfast in the morning. PANIC. The best part is though, that the first thing I did when I realized this, was look for my phone so I could text someone and ask them to bring it to breakfast… duh. How stupid am I. It’s become my natural reflex though. Second nature.

I soon realized that my iHome has an alarm function, as does my running watch. But for whatever reason I don’t trust those things to definitely wake me in the morning like I do my phone. I guess thats because I rely on them everyday (rarely ever, really).

Then there’s the issue of… do I have anything on my phone that I don’t want people to find? For many people, a phone becomes a very personal device, holding text messages that you might not want everyone to read. I think I’m in the clear, but the thought did cross my mind.

Something about not having a phone … I think a lot of people would agree with me that you feel kind of “naked” without it. I’m predicting one of those mornings where you wake up every 30 minutes, afraid your alarm isn’t going to do its job.

My Humps…SPOOF!

Alanis Morissette made (what I think is) a great spoof of the Black Eyed Peas’ song, “My Humps.”

I think its A. hysterical B. ridiculous C. makes us realize how BAD some lyrics are these days. Without the beat of the original version, you can actually pay attention to what the song is saying:

I drive these brothers crazy,
I do it on the daily,
They treat me really nicely,
They buy me all these ices.
Dolce & Gabbana,
Fendi and NaDonna
Karan, they be sharin’
All their money got me wearin’ fly
Brother I ain’t askin,
They say they love my ass ‘n,
Seven Jeans, True Religion’s,
I say no, but they keep givin’
So I keep on takin’
And no I ain’t taken
We can keep on datin’
I keep on demonstrating.

My love (love), my love, my love, my love (love)
You love my lady lumps (love),
My hump, my hump, my hump (love),
My humps they got you

The spoof definitely dramatizes the effect of the lyrics being silly and absurd, but I still think it’s a point worth noting.

Farewell Facebook

For my week of being disconnected, I chose to stay off Facebook.


In preparation for this, I also decided to change my Facebook settings so that I would not be notified by e-mail if there was any activity on my page by other Facebook “friends.” Even just choosing to do this, made me realize that I don’t always think about Facebook when I get on my computer, but I always check my e-mail which ends up having a facebook notification, which then draws me in right away. An hour later I realize I’ve wasted 60 minutes of my life, looking at pictures of people I haven’t even spoken to in years, or looking through my own photos that i’ve already seen a gazillion times. HelloO0oO0oo0O  they don’t change when you log out!! We all do this…

I think my week without Facebook was made a little easier due to the fact that I was away with my lacrosse team, traveling for our spring training and 4 away games. We had a busy schedule with 4-6 hours of practice each day, games on game days, meals out, and traveling on the bus from middlebury – wesleyan – gettysburg – rpi – middlebury. But still within that busy schedule was hours of down time in our hotel rooms, where there was YES, complimentary wireless!! I did use the internet to check my e-mail because I’m in the midst of applying for study abroad and summer jobs, but I even did this to a minimum. If my roommate had her computer out, I would ask to check my e-mail quickly before she put her computer away. Other than that, I was pretty much computer-free. I realized how often I go on the computer simply out of boredom or to procrastinate. Being constantly surrounded by teammates, I didn’t have much need to be on a computer, especially face book.

Of course since we need to always have the option of being connected in our generation, we even had wireless internet on our bus. I did  go online to see if any friends were on iChat to talk to, but I quickly logged off to read my book. I looked around at one point while I was reading and realized that the only non-electronic activities going on on the bus were sleeping, eating, and making friendship bracelets. I think maybe two other people were reading a magazine, and one of my coaches was knitting. Other than that, I saw lots of computers, ipods, a Kindle, and most often we had a movie playing on the bus TVs.

When I got home on saturday, I logged back into Facebook. I remembered laughing at the guy in the documentary who checked his Facebook and had like, 3 notifications after not using a computer for 3 weeks. But then I had to laugh at myself because I had little of anything extraordinary that was new to my Facebook profile after the week of not being logged on. I had 3 friend requests (one person I don’t know), 3 inbox messages, and 3 notifications. The rest of the action on my page was just event invitations or page suggestions, of which I always just hit “ignore.” I had not told anyone that I was disconnecting from Facebook, because I didn’t want that to effect the activity of my page while I was gone. I did, however, put up a status “Spring Break, Middlebury lacrosse!” before I left, so that could have made people assume that I wasn’t using a computer.

Overall, the most important thing I noticed is that how often I go on my computer simply because I don’t take the time to think of something better to do. I felt a certain liberty being disconnected from Facebook, and had no problem finding things to do without it. In fact, I felt a whole lot more productive and days felt fuller and longer. Even if I ended up using a different medium of technology, like watching TV, at least I was engaged in watching something new, sharing the entertainment with my roommates, and was totally relaxed doing it, not thinking about the social worlds left behind at Middlebury or NJ.

I may not be able to cut myself off totally from Facebook forever, but I’ll certainly try to be aware of when I’m on for no reason, wasting away what could be valuable minutes of my life. For now I think I’ll at least leave my settings so that I won’t be e-mailed notifications.

Hey Ya it’s a Remix

In searching for the remix that I think is a good representation of what one is able to do to to create a different final product from a great original, I came across Obidiah Parker with a cover of Hey Ya by Outkast. I really enjoy this version of the song because it takes a rap song and turns it into a mellow “folk” swing. The ability to create an original product in a derivative way is interesting and showcases the possibility of creating new from something old. Though he is singing a song that he did not create, the two styles that the songs are in are very different and bring different feels to the table. Which is better??? Without the original, Obidiah wouldn’t be singing it but in reality I enjoy the twist that he puts on it. Sometimes I enjoy the remix better just because it is a creative way of thinking, being able to transform songs and keep certain aspects but reshape others. Sometimes I like remixes better just because it sounds better. As with the grey album, I think that it is a good representation of both and I like it because of the creativity and because I think that both of the originals sound better when mixed in the grey album. Remixes, remixes, remixes… whats coming next after audio, a video remix?!?! ;)

Why is it telling me to Capitalize “internet”… you’re not a person.

Facebook, twitter,, and every other website that I visit on a daily occasion are all part of one big picture… The internet. I decided to spend my week on break without it. Since I was staying with my grandfather, I felt that it would suit the occasion as well since it is something that he rarely uses other then to send an occasional email. I spent my time putting my feet up and just enjoying not having a book that I had to read. At first, there were the occasional “Oh I should check what’s going on on Facebook” and such. Realizing that I had made a pact, I just tucked that urge away and found many other things to do.

I strongly disagree with what was stated in the movie we watched where one of the participants said, “no computer… what am I going to do for fun?” I think that it is a sad portrayal of our generation and is actually not true for most of us. If someone were to say “no outside for a month” then I think I might say “No outside… what am I going to do for fun?”

During the week I found myself walking around outside and taking in what was in front of me more. I went on a few nature walks with my camera and took pictures. I went skiing (lucky me). I read a book that I hadn’t had time to before. I watched the nightly news instead of reading it online. I even wrote two letters to friends, which is something that I haven’t done in a long time. Not having the internet didn’t bug me very much and I actually found myself grateful to have an excuse to be banned from it.

Though I wasn’t as connected in the digital web, I think that it was a good thing. We often are too available and accessible and getting “off the grid” for a little while was nice. When I sat down to write two of my friends, I realized how much more personality there is in a letter then in a Facebook message or and email. I had to take the time to think about what to write and how to say it because there is no CMD+Z or Delete button once I put my thoughts down on the postcard. My handwriting was a part that spoke wonders about me. I cannot write in Times New Roman. As I got to the bottom of the postcard, my letters got smaller and my lines closer together because I still had a lot that I wanted to say. Everything about writing the letter felt to me as though they were going to appreciate the fact that I had taken the time and made the effort that much more. I put a “Telluride, CO” sticker in both of the letters, definitely something that is impossible with an email. Though I could have written the same exact message online that I had put down on paper, it would have been no different then any other wall post or email that they got. I took the time to look up their school addresses, went down and bought stamps, and then went to the post office to sent them out. I think that the end result is a product that is much more appreciated upon receipt. I know that somebody who writes me a letter really had to want to and had to carve out the time to gather materials and such as opposed to just clicking keys and sending a digital message into the electronic abyss by clicking send.

Back to the internet though, I don’t think that I would have been motivated to do these things if I had access to the web. When there was something that I felt like doing online, I though about what that activity stemmed from in real life and tried to go through that medium. It was very nice and put me more in touch with the tangible world in terms of activities I usually do on the internet. To tell you the truth I had NO lack of ideas of things to do that weren’t on the internet and am very glad that I was provoked into coming up with those! Though the urges were there because of the convenience and accessibility, I was able to withhold and find workarounds with maybe only 1 proxy experience during the whole week :P

“Hipster Runoff” // more blog blab

All this blog blab…every time I write that I just think of Arrested Development.  Maybe I should just rename this blog “Bob Loblaw’s Blog Blab Lab”.  Or something.


Hipster Runoff is a blog.  It lives here:

Prior to this week, I had wound my way through the internet and ended up on Hipster Runoff a few times over the past, say, year or so.  I kind of just ignored it because it confused me.  The blog, and it’s anonymous master, “Carles”, speaks very much in the current language of the internet-indie-music-criticism world, but it was very hard for me to tell where he stood on the much-hyped bands he was discussing; he seems to like them, but his writing has a very pronounced sarcastic/ironic/cynical edge.  I didn’t spend enough time reading the blog to process this approach, because I didn’t see the potential value of what he offers, which is actually a sort of meta-criticism.  HR appears at first to be just an offbeat music blog, but he’s really commenting on the way we discover, discuss, and consume this music/culture.

What changed my mind and got me interested in this blog?  Well, first of all, I spent some time this week at my brother’s college with him and his hipster friends, and they encouraged me to read it both for its humor and for the biting look it takes at the internet-hype-machine music world.  Then I read this interview with Carles in the Village Voice, which doesn’t really see him dropping out of his invented character (the interview was conducted via IM), but is pretty revealing about his motivations for blogging, and I think it’s quite fascinating.

Sometimes it could almost come off as a standard music blog, but he makes the whole thing seem very ironic and self-aware by putting scare quotes around damn near everything.  For instance, in his post about the upcoming Broken Social Scene album, he says:

“Back when ‘good music’ was still discovered via ‘word of mouth’ referrals,”

instead of

“Back when good music was still discovered via word of mouth referrals,” which is equally peevish, but doesn’t protect itself with the irony that scare quotes provide.  Hooray grammar lesson!

He’s all about putting scare quotes around words like ‘relevant’, ‘authentic’, ‘personal brand’, ‘alt’, ‘critical acclaim’, etc.  Even if the ‘indie music world’ (oh god, now I’m doing it) isn’t something you’re hugely connected to/interested in, I think he makes an interesting point of calling our attention to how much of this stuff is about marketing(/’personal branding’) and how much is about ‘actually searching’ for something ‘meaningful’.  This sometimes takes him into surprisingly existential territory, which you’ll definitely see in the Village Voice interview.  Here’s one last excerpt, taken from a post he wrote last year about Animal Collective:

“I like ‘looking forward to things’ because it is a gimmick that makes my life worth living.”

Cheery stuff!  I don’t think about it too hard, because I think I’m pretty honest with myself about why I listen to the music I do (because I like it, not to earn some sort of cred…or create a ‘personal brand’).  But I think he gets at some impulses that we all have when it comes to consuming culture, so it’s worth checking out.

How To Succesfully Cheat if You’re A Celebrity

In a time where technology can either really help you, or royally screw you over, you’ve got to cover your ass. Here are the three major do’s and don’ts in  a high-profile affair.

1. Never Leave a Voicemail on Your Lover’s Phone

Audio can be manipulated, enhanced, and easily shared as .wav, mp3, mp4, .wma files (among countless others). Don’t fall into this trap! If you must leave a voicemail, make is a nondescript as possible. Maybe even disguise your voice. For an example of what NOT to do, check out Tiger Woods’ Voicemail to his Mistress.

2. Keep Your Text Messages Clean

Text messages can easily be tracked and verified whether they came from a particular phone or not. “Sexting” as the practice is now called, is the act of texting someone with sexually graphic content or relating to a sexual nature. Text messages are in writing, which means that they are even more easily transferred. If you must text…do it from a friend’s phone. For an example of what NOT to do, check out Tiger Woods’ Texts to his OTHER Mistress.

3. Don’t Get Caught in a Picture

If you’re going to do something shady…do it indoors. No cameras, no video cameras, no camera-phones. They say a picture is worth a thousand words…guaranteed, every one of those words will be harsh once the public gets hold of them. So please, avoid the incriminating photos, or at the very least, make sure you’re always in poor lighting. For an example of what NOT to do, check out Hugh Grant’s mugshot with the prostitute he was caught with, when he cheated on Elizabeth Hurley.

There you have it, folks. Of course, I don’t condone cheating–ever. But if you’re a celebrity and you just HAVE to do it, spare us the headlines and keep your endeavors covert.