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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Third Draft of My Book Review

If you would of told me back in October that writing this book review would prove to be so incredibly difficult, I would not of believed you. Well here we are on December 29th, and I am on my third draft of the book review. If I had to summarize what is posing me the greatest difficulty, it's summarizing a 200 page book in about 500 words, and then using the rest of my word allotment to discuss my opinion on the theories.

I do believe that this third draft is my strongest draft, but I will be so glad when it is completed.


According to Kate Lacey’s new book, Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age, listening has become a forgotten area of study in the field of communications. And for Lacey, this lapsed in understanding of listening has had far reaching consequences, not only in the field of communications, but the realm of politics as well.

Lacey’s central argument is that listening is currently viewed as a passive activity by the communications field. What is key to understanding Lacey’s argument is her definition of passive listening. This can be difficult, as she does not clearly state her definition forthright. But for Lacey, characteristics of passive listening include: little concentration, lack of involvement, and does not move an individual to some sort of action. The evidence she gathers to support her conclusions come primarily through historical research. In fact the majority of the text focuses on the development of privatized listening habits over the last century and a half, and only somewhat on the correlation between listening and politics.

What her analysis shows, however, is that as new technologies developed, society began creating new ways to use the technology to communicate with one another. New techniques pertaining to these devices were created, and demand increased. Hence they became more commonplace and affordable.

As technology became more affordable, it began to be marketed more for private use in the home. By doing this, listening began to be viewed as more of a “private” activity, where an individual would be in control over what she or he listened to. Lacey states “…the dominant trend through this history was towards the privatization and individualization of the listening public via the technological and textual inscription of an idealized and domesticated listener…” (p. 132) Previously listening was viewed as more of a public activity, where individuals would have little control over what they heard, but where more openly engaged in the politics and activities of the community.

As technology grew, society began to see it as the great class equalizer, which would be able to assist poorer classes reach new heights of success and education. According to Lacey, as broadcasters began to conduct market research and ratings polling, they noticed that the more “intellectual/educational” programming was not receiving the listenership broadcasters had hoped for. Hence they began to replace these programs with shows that would have more of a mass appeal. This shift in programming focus had a fundamental effect. “During the formative years of broadcasting, this passivity was understood by some as being imposed on the listener by the mass address that spoke to no-one as someone, and everyone as anyone, denying the possibility of active engagement, personal development or equality of response.” (p. 114)

But why is passive listening so important to Lacey? And how does it tie into the political realm? If you are active, then you are engaged in the world, according to Lacey. “Listening is at the heart of what it means to be in the world, to be active, to be political.” (p. 163) This individualization that had occurred began to take the individual out of the world. They were no longer engaged. And the culture of listening as a passive activity took prominence. To reverse this trend, Lacey concludes that the communications field needs to review its standpoint on listening. “The politics of listening is an important corrective to conceptualizations of public participating that are restricted to notions of speech, dialogue, and text… theories and practices of media communication and public life miss too much if they don’t give the politics and experience of listening a fair hearing.” (p. 199)

Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age, raises many thought provoking questions, and presents ideas/ theories that the communications field should study more. Portions of her argument on the interconnectedness between listening and politics are especially intriguing. Lacey’s research gives credence and support to the statement: “To state simply – without a listener, speech is nothing, but noise in the ether.” (p. 166)

However this book leaves many questions unanswered. Lacey’s identification of a lack of understanding of listening is provided. But then what? What can the communications field do to improve this lack of understanding, other than more research? She ties the societal concerns into her argument, but then discusses how to alleviate the societal concerns. Is passivity the only explanation? How does an individual’s attention span play into how she or he listens? Additionally the historical research does weigh the text down. It would have been helpful to have additionally insights and descriptions on how listening effects politics.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review Draft 2

Well I after sending my rough draft to some friends, and getting their advice, I've completely changed the direction of my draft. I actually feel way more confident with this new draft. There's more of me in it. More of my opinions. So we will see how this one floats.


According to Kate Lacey and her new book: Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age, listening has become a forgotten area of study in the field of Communications. And for Lacey, this lapsed study/understanding has had far reaching consequences, not only in the field of Communications, but the realm of politics too.

Lacey’s central argument for why listening is a deferred area of study is listening is currently viewed as a passive activity. She gathers evidence to support her conclusions through historical research. In fact, majority of the text focuses on the development of privatized listening habits over the last century and a half. While this is useful for an individual with little knowledge of the development of broadcasting, it can become slightly redundant for someone who has studied the development extensively.  As privatized listening habits rose, individuals began to chose entertainment and relaxation programming more so than political or educational based programming. This is key to Lacey, who states that this is when listening went from being viewed as an active activity to a passive one.

According to Lacey, broadcasters began diminishing the importance of engaging their audiences because they believed people would not listen. “During the formative years of broadcasting, this passivity was understood by some as being imposed on the listener by the mass address that spoke to no-one as someone, and everyone as anyone, denying the possibility of active engagement, personal development or equality of response.” (p. 114)

This is an especially intriguing argument when you consider today’s current state of broadcasting, and how the Internet has effected the way we communication with one another. What is the best way to communicate with our audience? How do we view them? Add to the fact that an individual no longer needs formally training or education to create a blog, website, or video, and we can see why listening is crucial. But is the broadcasting industry completely to blame for this paradigm shift? Lacey does not explore this question in great detail.

Instead Lacey concludes her book by exploring the relationship between political activism/democracy, and listening/communications. She does an excellent job of linking these two areas tougher and why they are dependent on one another. “To state simply – without a listener, speech is nothing but noise in the ether.” (p. 166) This is Lacey’s key conclusion, and her main argument for why the Communications Field needs to rededicate itself to understanding the act of listening. If we are not good listeners, then we cannot understand the message that is being communicated to us.

Although Listening Publics proposes many thought provoking and engagement arguments, the historical research does weigh it down. There are many intriguing questions that are left unanswered by Listening Publics. “How does a person’s attention span affect the way they listen?” “How do you engage the public in helping them better understand listening?” But then again, maybe that is the purpose of Listening Publics. To get people curious. To have them ask questions, and then they try to find the possible answers. This research is a great first step in what could be an on-going research study in Communications. Lacey is correct, we do not give listening the attention and focus that is deserves. And Listening Publics may be that first step in changing that.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Arrow

Over this past month, I have become addicted to the television show Arrow. Thank you very much Netflix! Arrow tells the origin story of the DC comics' emerald archer, Green Arrow. Since the programs airs on the CW, I originally thought that it would be very similar to Smallville, and mainly focus on the romantic plot lines. (Causing me to stay away from the show its entire first season.) While romance still is apart of the program, it is only a very minor part. The program is much more focused on showcasing the rice history of this DC character, and creating a compelling narrative.

Now I don't want this blog to turn into what works or what doesn't work for Arrow, because as we are well aware of, there are thousands upon thousands of those articles on the internet. Instead I just want to focus on a single aspect that I think is really cool on the show, and that is the character growth. In the first season of Arrow, Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow, kills any bad guy in front of him without thinking twice. But as the show progresses, and he becomes more of a hero, he renounces murder, and works with more none lethal means.

I think it is really cool that the show introduced a particular issue in the character, and then allows the audience to see the character grow right in front of him. If you have not watched Arrow, and you are a superhero fan, I highly recommend this action filled, entertaining program.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Billie Joe & Norah Jones= Great Alt Country Music??

Recently Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day and Norah Jones released a cover album of the Everly Brothers' 1958 album: "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us" entitled "Foreverly". Now when I first heard this album, I didn't think much of it. In fact I assumed that it would not be very good at all. Yet I was still intrigued.

So when I had a chance to give a listen to it, I did. And I am really glad I did. This album is a completely charming, and fun listen. Armstrong and Jones' voice harmonize incredibly well together. My favorite track is the opening track entitled "Roving Gambler". Give it a chance, I think you will enjoy it too.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Rough Draft of My Book Review

Well, I was able to overcome my writers block from last week and finish my rough draft of my first ever book review for The Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. I think it turned out pretty well. I'm sure there is a few areas that I will need to polish over the coming weeks before I turn it in. But for now, I wish to savor this victory!


"When our society hears the term “communication”, it typically thinks of one of two areas: 1) Interpersonal communication, or 2) The medium of broadcasting. The medium of broadcasting is still in its infancy, and a number of studies have been done to better understand the effectiveness this new medium has on audiences. However with the increase of these new studies, one area of communication has fallen from the forefront of study and discussion. Yet this activity is so fundamental, that we often take it for granted. The forgotten activity is listening. Let’s face it, if we are not good listeners, we run the risk of misunderstanding the message.
           
            This is the topic of a new book written by Kate Lacey entitled: Listening Publics: The Politics and Experiences of Listening in the Media Age. Lacey’s book is an engaging and thought provoking study that asks the question: “Why has listening been so over looked in recent communicational studies?” Lacey hypothesizes that listening is currently viewed as a passive activity. In actuality, listening is more of an active and engaging activity. “Despite the growth in ‘sound studies’, academic treatments of listening rarely attend to the sensory experience of listening and a political philosophy of listening.” (p. 8) Lacey continues by challenging “… such a restricted understanding of the listening public by identifying listening as a category that bridges both the realm of sensory, embodied experience, and the political realm of debate and deliberation.” (p. 8)

            Lacey begins her case by defining listening as: “the active direction of the sense of hearing to discern meaning from sound…” (p. 22) She then focuses on how communication is interconnected with political practices through cultural practices. For centuries, groups of individuals would gather together to discuss new ideas and policies. This became an integral part in the development of democracy. However with the rise of new technologies beginning in the Industrial Revolution, listening habits began to change. Phonographs, telegraphs, telephones, print, and radio began to give audiences more control over what and how they listened.  For the first time, individuals could return to their homes and listen in private to news, information, or entertainment. People no longer needed to participate in public discussions in order to stay interconnected to the outside world. They were now able to get their information privately.

Lacey turns her focus to how these new technologies were integrated into the societies of three countries, America, Great Britain, and Germany, at the beginning of the 20th century. In Great Britain and America, these new technologies were viewed as the “great equalizer” amongst the classes, and would bring about a more educated public. This would be accomplished through “Group Listening”. “A Central Council for Broadcast Adult Education was set up in 1928 to supervise programs to be listened to by ‘discussion groups’, be that a small group of friends listening ‘by the fireside’ in one of their homes, to groups of 40 or so meeting in a public library, or groups organized by existing associations like the YMCA, the Co-operative Society, the British Legion, trade unions or groups of unemployed miners.” (p. 140) While in Germany, these new technologies were many used as tools of propaganda. 

However these educational theme programs did not become as popular as their creators intended them to become. As society was given more control over what they listened to, listeners began to choose entertainment over civil discourse. “Radio needed to respond to the moment and whose ears had been ‘tortured for eight long hours by the noise of machines’, ears which were tired and worn for the delicacies of cantatas and classical odes.” (Schirokaure 1929) With educational programs not being listened to, broadcasters knew they had to make a decision. They began to focus more on entertainment programming than educational/civic programming. And this is where the paradigm shift in how listening is viewed occurred.

According to Lacey, it was here with the rise of privatized listening that passive listening became the dominant view of what type of activity listening is. “During the formative years of broadcasting, this passivity was understood by some as being imposed on the listener by the mass address that spoke to no-one as someone, and everyone as anyone, denying the possibility of active engagement, personal development or equality of response.” (p. 114) Lacey continues “…the privatization of the listening public had obvious affinities with the privatized reading public which was understood not as passive, but as actively engaged in critical reason and the development of public opinion.” (p. 115)

As audience passivity was further reinforced, individuals began to accept being talked at more, and question less. This passive view of listening has caused three problems: “The problem of property, the problem of dialogue, and the problem of consensus-building.” (p. 169) Individuals are no longer willingly to try and understand another person’s perspective. For Lacey, our society has become more concerned with making sure we can speak, than worrying about whether or not people understand the message we are trying to communicate. “What is actually at stake here is the freedom of shared speech or, to put it another way, the freedom to be heard.” (p. 165) “To start simply – without a listener, speech is nothing but noise in the ether.” (p. 166)

Lacey concludes that by shifty our paradigm view of listening back to viewing it as an active activity, can we begin to better understand the spectrum of communication and of politics. “Here, although it is not stated explicitly, is a recognition of the political action of listening in and on the mediated public, and an indication of just how profound a change to politics, and to political subjectivity, would be enabled by the re-sounding of the public sphere.” (p. 161)

In the age of the Internet, where any person can publish their opinions and find an audience, this book is a great reminder of the importance of listening. It is by listening, that we become engaged in ideas, and moved to action. But if it is more important for us to just to be able to speak and not be understand, that our message joins the countless background noise that attacks people everyday."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Writers Block

So I've been working on a review of the book Listening Publics for the last week or so. And I've come to a stumbling block. I think I have a good introduction, but the middle and ending are causing me some interesting challenges. I feel like I am leaving out a few important parts in my description of the book.

Ultimately what the author is arguing is we as a society view listening as a passive activity, not an active one. In actuality, listening is an active activity. But with new technologies, we are able to control who and what we listen to. This is where the problem comes in. Below is my rough draft. I hope to finish it by the weekend. Thoughts or ideas are welcomed.


         "When our society hears the term “communication”, it typically thinks of one of two areas: 1) Interpersonal communication, or 2) The medium of broadcasting. The medium of broadcasting is still in its infancy, and a number of studies have been done to better understand the effectiveness this new medium has on audiences. However with the increase of these new studies, one area of communication has fallen from the forefront of study and discussion. Yet this activity is so fundamental, that we often take it for granted. The forgotten activity is listening. If we are not good listeners, we run the risk of misunderstanding the message.
           
            This is the topic of a new book written by Kate Lacey entitled: Listening Publics: The Politics and Experiences of Listening in the Media Age. Lacey’s book is an engaging and thought provoking study that asks the question: “Why has listening been so over looked in recent communicational studies?” Lacey hypothesizes that listening is currently viewed as a passive activity. In actuality, listening is more of a active activity. “Despite the growth in ‘sound studies’, academic treatments of listening rarely attend to the sensory experience of listening and a political philosophy of listening. This book challenges such a restricted understanding of the listening public by identifying listening as a category that bridges both the realm of sensory, embodied experience, and the political realm of debate and deliberation.” (p. 8)

            Lacey begins her case by defining listening as: “the active direction of the sense of hearing to discern meaning from sound…” (p. 22) She then focuses on how communication is interconnected with political practices through cultural practices. For centuries, groups of individuals would gather together to discuss new ideas and policies. This became an integral part of the development of democracy. However with the rise of new technologies from the Industrial Revolution, things began to change. Phonographs, telegraphs, telephones, print, and radio began to give audiences more control over what they listened to. Individuals could return to their homes and listen in private to news, information, or entertainment.

As technology grew and developed, it began to be seen as the “great equalizer” between classes. Since information was being delivered to people in their homes, it was thought that out of a sense of duty, people would continue to listen to political discourse, and become even more engaged.  And for those who did not have the education, the broadcasting medium would teach them.

This however did not occur. As society was given more control over what they listened to they began to choose entertainment over civil discourse. “Radio needed to respond to the moment and whose ears had been ‘tortured for eight long hours by the noise of machines’, ears which were tired and worn for the delicacies of cantatas and classical odes.” (Schirokaure 1929) With educational programs not being listened to, broadcasters knew they had to make a decision. And this is where the paradigm shift began in how listening is viewed.

Listening became a passive activity. As this passivity grew, individuals began to accept being talked at more. For Lacey, this passivity in listening created three problems: “The problem of property, dialogue, and consensus-building”. (p. 169) Since listening is so interconnected with politics, this can be very dangerous. Lacey states: “the act of listening opens up a space for intersubjectivity.” (p. 179)

            A compelling argument is made for a refocus on the art of listening."


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why I'm Glad I Don't Eat McDonalds Anymore

Seeing this picture today, made me so very happy that I no longer eat fast food or McDonalds any more.

Click Here

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My 115th Post

While I was logging in, I noticed on my log in screen that this will be my 115th blog posting. To be frank, I am very surprised I reached this number. Sometimes I have a habit of saying I'm going to do something, and then never accomplishing that particular goal. However I am rather pleased about this one. I started this blog with the intention of improving my writing skills for Grad School. One year removed from Grad School, I've actually increased the number of posting I do per month.  Whether or not I have been successful in improving my writing skills is still up for debate. But the fact that I set a goal and have surpassed the original goal, is a pretty dame good feeling.

To celebrate this blog milestone, I think I will have some ice cream. But before that I must inform you that I just signed up for Tumblr. And I'm not really sure what I am going to do with it. See Facebook is my general social networking output. My Twitter is an extension of my Facebook, only with way more Simpsons quotes that I've retweeted. My Google+ is for the general promotion of this masterpiece of a blog. But with Tumblr, I'm not sure. I was sort of toying with the idea of posting a series of interesting pictures I've taken that have to follow a certain criteria. (Only pictures taken on my mobile phone, no filters, things like that.) The other idea was for my Tumblr to be the place for me to post the short stories I am working on. Or maybe something radio related?

We will have to wait with baited breath while I figure out exactly what I will be posting on there. But until then, here is a great song by this band I've recently gotten into, The Punch Brothers. The name of the track is called This Girl.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Why Doesn't The Chicago Public Library Have an App

I was surprised over the weekend when I discovered that the Chicago Public Library does not have an app available. Additionally, their website is not user friendly when you pull it up on your mobile phone or tablet. (It's just a miniaturize version of the main site, which has many tabs and pages posted on the front page. I kept hitting the wrong button.) An app could solve all of these issues, and make it much easier to check the availability of a book and placing it on hold.

I'm very proud of the Chicago Public Library and how it has been forward thinking with integrating technology into the library. But no app... come on!

Look how small the links are.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Writing My First Book Review

Well, I'm writing my first ever book review for a communications journal. The journal I am writing for is called: The Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. It is based out of Temple University. The book I am reading and reviewing is Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age.

I must admit, I am rather nervous about writing this review. Since it is going to be published, what happens if I totally miss interpret what the author is talking about? If you actually look at my copy of the book currently, you'll see that I have written all over it, and underlined everywhere. Maybe being so nervous is a good thing? It is making focus a great deal, since I don't want to mess up. We will see I guess.

Of course I will post my completed review here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Superman: 75th Anniversary

Earlier today, a student of mine showed me this video. It's entitled: Superman: 75 Years of Heroic History. It's a short animated video created by Zak Synder and legendary animator Bruce Timm. It basically showcases Superman's illustrious history. I especially love the tributes to George Reeves and Christopher Reeve in it.
*The video is finally on YouTube

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What is Cereal Thursday?

Let me tell you a little story. About four years ago, there were two students, Jeff and Terry, that worked with me at WXAV 88.3FM. Every Friday, the two gentleman would have waffles for lunch or dinner. They called it, Waffle Friday. The general consensuses was that the greatness of waffles was slightly under appreciated, and that it was high time that we began to show our appreciation to the breakfast giant.  It became a little tradition amongst WXAV staff members. For about a year, Fridays became Waffle Fridays, and we would dine on delicious waffles.

Now I think we can all agree that breakfast food is the greatest amongst all food. No matter the time of day, you can justify dinning on an omelet, whisking up some pancakes, or gobble up the candy meat known as bacon. For me, I've always been a cereal man. No matter the time of day or night, I'll pour myself a bowl and feast of the glory that is Captain Crunch, Frosted Flakes, or Corn Pops. A few months ago, I was speaking with Terry, and we began reminiscing about the "good old" days. Naturally Waffle Fridays was mentioned, and we both smiled.

Later, it dawned on me that cereal, like waffles, was becoming slightly under appreciated. Let's face it, many of us do not have the time to pour ourselves a bowl, before we start our day. Cereal by its very nature is a stationary food. Yet we all have those great childhood memories of mom or dad pouring us a bowl of our favorite cereal and watching a little cartoons before we headed off school. (If you lived in Chicago, you watched the Bozo Show.)

With this in mind, I would like to propose the creation of Cereal Thursday. All you have to do is at some point on Thursdays treat yourself to a bowl of cereal. It can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just take a small portion of your day for yourself, and remember the joys of your youth. Additionally feel free to talk about it. I for one will be tweeting what cereals I will be dinning on, and sharing pictures. I'm also interested in testing the power of the internet and see if we can turn this into a thing. If you wish to participate in Cereal Thursdays, use the hashtag :#cerealthursday on Twitter. If your curious about what cereals I will be dinning on, follow me on Twitter, Twitter.com/pkreten



Friday, September 27, 2013

A Few Random Thoughts For A Friday Evening

Saturday (September 28th) is going to be a pretty exciting day for me. I am attending my first IBS radio conference. This conference is being held at Columbia College, and it will feature a key note address from WXRT legend Teri Hemmert. I'm debating about whether I should ask her any questions about the Beatles?

The sessions the conference is offering promise to be engaging and thought provoking. Some of the topics include: how to be a "21st century dj", how to critique demos, running a successful pledge drive, and why radio needs new ideas. One session I am particular interested in is "How to create your very own radio theater". Maybe I'll be able to achieve one of my more elusive goals of writing and producing my own radio drama.

If that wasn't enough to have me be excited, there's more. I have been invited to be a panelist at one of the sessions. I will be speaking at the fundraising and pledge drive panel. I'm very intrigued to see how this will all take place.

My Favorite Podcast
Additional I heard a fantastic episode of WireTap this week. The topic was about being invisible to others, and in the episode there is a short story featured that I actually read on another website, uproxx.com, which I absolutely loved. It's entitled Missed Connection and it is about these two people who do not have the courage to speak to each other and end up staying on a subway train together for 60 years. It is really captivating and I finally know who the author is. Here's his blog.

As I reach my conclusion, I would just like to say, check out Moby's new album Innocents. It's pretty outstanding, and I wrote this blog while writing the album. You can stream the album off of NPR here. A Case for Shame and Almost Home are my favorites thus far. Be sure to check out my interview with Moby on College Radio Day, Tuesday Oct. 1st, on WXAV.com

Monday, September 23, 2013

Moby's Thoughts on Photography

Over the past three weeks, I have been incredibly lucky. Not only have I been able to interview The Man, The Myth, The Legend. The Andrew W.K. (Take that bucket list!!) But I was also able to interview a musical artist that I've only just begun to really appreciate over the last few years. And that would be Moby.

In an exclusive interview that will air on College Radio Day, I always have to do a plug when possible, Moby and I discuss a wide range of topics. We talk about his new album Innocents, which comes out on Oct 1st, his love of college radio, and his favorite song of all time. Moby is incredibly articulate and makes some really fascinating points. The interview is about 20mins long, and I'll be sure to post it on this blog after College Radio Day.

However when the subject turns to photography, things really got interesting. Two of my cousins and my uncle are photographers, and I always enjoy picking their brains about art and photography. So I thought it would be fun to share Moby's take on photography too. It is only about 2 mins long.

Moby on Photgraphy

Monday, September 16, 2013

Interviewing Andrew W.K.

Last week I was able to interview an artist that has been on my bucket list of dream interviews since 2003. It was the man, the myth, the legend, the Andrew W.K. When I first heard his debut album "I Get Wet", I was immediately sucked into the headbanging, party nature of the album. The album sort of became the unofficial party album for my friends and I. You can rock out anytime you wanted to, and not have to apologize about it. That's the genius of Andrew W.K. He writes party anthems that are accessible to everyone.

Surprisingly I was not nervous for the interview. I'm usually a little nervous before every interview, but I was cool. calm, and collective for W.K. As soon as we started talking, I felt liked this was the 15th or 16th time I had talked to him. He was super cool, and relaxed. I've included the interview below. I hope you enjoy it.

And party hard!!!!

Andrew W.K. Interview

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Batman Returns...The Underrated Batman Film

So one of the great benefits of not having a working computer for a month, was the ability to catch up on my TV and movie watching. And boy, did I catch up. I was captivated by the first season of Ripper Street. (Great show, which is well worth your time.) I watched a little Superman The Animated Series, and revisited the original Batman movie franchise. The film I really wanted to re-watch was Batman Returns.

When it was first released, it got a pretty big mixed reaction from critics and the general public. This was mainly due to the film's overall dark narrative. Let's face it, The Penguin's grand plan was to kill all of Gotham City's children.  You can't get much darker than that!

But I was curious to see how well this film has aged. Generally most superhero films do not age well for various reasons. Some of the reasons include: the special effects/CGI that were used look incredibly dated and terrible. A film's tone/overall direction, or even the actors and actresses who were cast. Prime examples of such films include Batman Forever, Superman 3, and even the first Spiderman. These movies for the previous reason haven't aged particularly well. All of the above was playing in my mind when I popped Batman Returns into my DVD player.

After I was done watching it, I must say, I was very surprised with how well it has aged. Though the storyline was dark for 1992, it now fits very well into 2013 storytelling. With shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Dexter dominating the medium, Batman Returns is almost tame in comparison. What follows are the three things that really stood out for me that make Batman Returns the most underrated live action Batman film ever:


1. Michael Keaton delivers another stellar performance as Batman.  What can I say that hasn't already been said about Michael Keaton as Batman. In my opinion, he is still the best film Batman period. He has the right balance of shadowy figure, kick ass ninja, and loved struck millionaire that makes him believable as Batman. With the Batman character being so out there, we the audience need to be able to justify in our mind what he does. Let's face it, Batman is a vigilante, using his own moral code to determine who is good and who is bad. In our world today, we would not stand for this. So it is beyond important that we suspend our disbelief and rout for this individual. Luckily, Michael Keaton pulls it off!
 
2. Christopher Walken as Max Schreck. Batman Returns pulls off an amazing feat. This film has three villians. And Max Schreck is the by far the best and most underrated. This individual is responsible for not only creating Catwoman, but letting the Penguin loose on Gotham City. He is conniving, self-center, and willingly to do anything to avoid his comeuppance. In wrestling terms, he is the chicken sh*t heel, and you always want to see the chicken sh*t heel get their comeuppance.

3. The overall look of the film. I loved the Chris Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy, but one part of the trilogy I was never a big fan of, was the way Gotham City looks. It never really felt like Gotham City in those films. And Batman feels "out of place" in that world. But in Batman Returns, there is no doubt about it. You are in Gotham City. It feels like Gotham City. It looks like Gotham City. And Batman belongs in it.

For me, these three elements make Batman Returns a truly great Batman movie. It has a solid story, an awesome cast, and the feel of a comic book movie. Next time you are looking for a Batman film to watch, why not give Batman Returns a second look. It is well worth you time. I've included the film's trailer below.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

First New Blog on my Brand New MacBook Pro

I am pleased to announce that I am no longer computerless. This past week, I purchased a brand new MacBook Pro. Thus far I am very pleased with my purchase. My keyboard lights up. My entire music library is now transferred over. But the feature I am most excited about is the audio input plugin. Because of this magically plug, I will be able to record my radio shows and podcasts all on a single computer.  The days of me lugging two computers around are gone.

But I must admit. I was a little sad closing my old computers up for the final time and removing their hard drives. It was on these old computers that I completed my undergraduate communications and history projects, my graduate program course work, recorded hundreds of radio shows, and listened to some great undiscovered music.  Some terrific experiences and memories. But it was time to move on and upgrade. I was beginning to lose the ability to watch videos.

So now that I'm running 100% again technology wise, it is time for me to re-embrace my blog writing. August I wrote short blogs, just to make sure I would have postings, but now I shall refocus on longer, more in depth pieces. In September I plan to write a post about Batman Returns and how it is vastly underrated, a possible new short story, and some other things. 

You've been warned.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Underrated Batman Movie...Batman Returns

I'm still without a computer, so I'll keep this short. However a very underrated Batman movie is Batman Returns. It has a great look. Three great villains. And a solid story.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lack of Updates

Hi all,
I apologize for the lack of updates here. My trustworthy companion of the last 5 years, my Macbook has departed from me. There was a slight issue of the battery expanding and interfering with the mouse track pad, and my rolling over the power cable and severing it.

So I will be purchasing a brand new Macbook pro in the coming days. I hope to be able to make my goal of 4 updates a month.

Friday, August 9, 2013

It Could Happen to You

It was nothing out of the ordinary, what our protagonist was planning to do. It was an usually cool and comfortable summer evening. Stunning in fact, and far too nice to stay indoors. So he contacted a friend and they made plans. Just a quick dinner on Chicago's north side. Something he had done at least 100 times before. And every time, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Until this night. For what happened this night was an event small in action, but large in consequence.

It was rush hour and traffic was heavy. He was stopped at a stoplight, located at Ashland and Fullerton. Just a few more minutes, the light would change and he would be on his way. He loved this part of Chicago and was always intrigued by it. He saw this portion as a sort of a gateway to the "high fidelity/well to do" neighborhoods of Chicago's north side.

While sitting at the light, he noticed something that surprised him. It was a homeless women, walking in between cars, asking people for spare change. It wasn't the fact of seeing a homeless person that surprised, but seeing a homeless person in this area of the north side, is what caught him off guard. Her face was weathered by the elements and yet there was a quiet dignity about her. She held her head up, making sure she made eye contact with all of the drivers she spoke with.

The protagonist reached for his wallet, and took out a couple of dollars. He called the women over to his car. As he handed her the money, she held onto his hand firmly but gently. She looked at him, and said "People always assume that this will never happen to them. But we're people too.We just had a harder time of it. Thank you for your kindness."

And with that, she walked away. The encounter only lasted a few seconds, but those few seconds profoundly impacted our protagonist. For days he re-lived this simple encounter over and over again in his mind. And one thing kept coming to the forefront. We don't see the humanity of homeless people. Instead we see them as burdens and problems.

He would put the television on and hear talking heads discuss how "America is a Christian nation". They call  themselves Christians, yet they don't follow Christ he thought. He would read the paper and see how Congress wanted to cut funding to food stamps...again.She was right, we assume that homelessness would never happen to them. We truly don't recognize the humanity of the homeless.

But all hope wasn't lost. For he realized that he had received a gift from this homeless women. It was the reminder to see the humanity of the homeless. That with every encounter with the homeless, there is a story. And that story is important. From then on, he vowed never to forget this valuable lesson he had received.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Slight Comment on Flimmaking & Continuity Errors....

I don't want to be one of those people, who writes blogs about how this movie or that movie is terrible because their own personally preferences weren't met by the movie. Being creative is a difficult process in and of itself, without the Internet jumping on the writers back criticizing the smallest thing. That being said, I saw The Wolverine this past weekend, and there is one issue I have with the movie that I would like to address.

The plot of The Wolverine is a person named Yukio, whom Wolverine saved during World War II from the Nagasaki atomic bomb drop, is dying. But before he dies, he wants to give Wolverine a gift. The gift of morality. So Wolverine flies to Japan and meets Yukio, and proceeds to have a conversation with him as if he remembers him. No problem, right? Wrong!! The previous Wolverine and X-Men movies established that Wolverine does not remember his life before he received his Adamantium claws. Again, according to the continuity established by the previous movies, this would be around the 1980s/1990s.  So how does Wolverine remember saving Yukio during World War II?????

It's just a small pet peeve of mine, but when filmmakers don't watch their previous movies they inevitably make simply continuity errors. The Star Wars prequels are a prime example of not watching your previous films thus causing massive continuity errors. And the killer with The Wolverine is it is a simply fix. Just have Wolverine say something like "I don't remember you", or "Whatever you say, or even "My memory is slowly coming back or I've been here before, I think". These simply phrases would of completely solved this continuity issue.

That being said, because I don't have to have a completely negative posting, The Wolverine is a very fun movie. Solid storytelling, fun action sequences, and a great setup to the next X-Men movie. You will just need to ignore this minor continuity error.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Short Story Idea

So for the past year or so, I've been dabbling my hand at writing short stories. I was really inspired by J.D. Salinger and his collection of short stories called Nine Stories. If you have never read them, I suggest you go and check them out. They are fantastic. Anyways, while I've been writing, it dawned on my that I had no real way of "publishing" them to the public. Of course I have this blog here, but in the past, for some reason, I didn't see this outlet as a viable option.

Then an idea struck me, I could turn them into short radio monologues. I really like this idea, and so I've been re-visioning some of my stories into radio monologues, while others I've decided to keep as a written piece. One story idea I've been toying around with for about six months, involves a local cemetery. When I was little, my dad and I would ride our bikes through this one cemetery on 111th street. We would go there to visit his parent's graves. As we would ride our bikes, I would look at some of the grave markers and see people who were World War I veterans, or individuals who were born in the 1880s/1890s and they then lived into the 1970s or 1980s.

I would think about the history these people had lived through, and I would begin to imagine what their stories were like. What their experiences were, things like that. I also began to create a life story for them in my mind, and how they reacted to the big world events of their days. (I hope this doesn't make me sound weird...) So I'm trying to write a story about a struggling writing who goes on a bike ride through a local cemetery, and they end up writing a fictional story about someone they pass.

Would this sound like an interesting tale?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hey It's My 100th Posting

Hard to believe it, but this post, the one you are reading right now, is my 100th posting!!! I would like to thank you for sticking with me. I went back and reread some of my first posts...boy were they bad. (I like to think I've improved, but I leave that to your judgment) In these past 100 posts, we have talked TV, music, movies, Superman, terrible movies, The West Wing, and so much more.

I have really enjoyed writing this blog. I feel like writing this blog has helped strengthen my writing abilities, and disciplined how I approach writing and publication. Since we have made it this far, I think it is time to shake things up. I'm debating changing the name of the blog, design, and topics I write about on here.

One idea I have had is to include some of the short radio monologues I've begun writing. For the past three years, I've been a fan of the terrific podcast called WireTap. One of the main elements to this podcast is about a 5-minute monologue on a particular topic. Listening to these monologues I've been inspired by me, and thus I've tried my hand at writing a few.

So if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. And be on the look out for a new and hopefully improved blog.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Winning a Illinois Broadcasting Association's Silverdome Award for Veteran Matters

So this past week, I received rather some terrific news. Veteran Matters, a radio documentary series I worked on for the better part of two years, won an Illinois Broadcasting Association's Silverdome Award. We won 2nd Place in the category "Best Radio Series or Documentary in the Chicago Market". WDRV 97.1FM The Drive took 1st Place on a series about Led Zeppelin and WTMX, 101.9FM The Mix took 3rd Place for their Mix Matters Series.

Even though I found out on Tuesday that we had won this award, I still find myself at a lost for words. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would of received an award from a "Professional" awards competition. In my mind I still view myself as a college broadcaster. Maybe I still view myself like this because I still work at my college radio station. But to have your work recognized as being quality by professionals that work in the 3rd largest market in the country is truly a humbling experience. And it's a big kick in the pants too. Don't view yourself as a college broadcaster. View yourself as a broadcaster!!!

I feel rejuvenated by it.  In fact since Tuesday I've come up with a few potential ideas for radio shows that I would like to working on. One of those shows would focus on poverty and the stigma we as a society have towards poor people. It's time for me to get cracking again.

Here's the complete winners listing

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Great New Music

If you have not heard the new album from California band Rogue Wave, you are missing out on a super catchy indie pop album. The lead single off of 'Nightingale's Tale' is College. This song has been stuck in my head for the past week and a half. Now it is time to share the wealth with others.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Man of Steel Review

Awesome Movie Poster
I wanted to give it a few days, and let the story and the experience set it before I wrote this post. Now that it has set in, I feel that I can adequately comment on the brand new Superman movie, Man of Steel. For the readers of this blog, you are well aware that I am a HUGE Superman fan, and I've been  anxiously awaiting this movie for the past year and a half.

That being said, I felt that Man of Steel was absolutely terrific. It introduced Superman as a multi-layered character, and showcased him in a fascinating way. One of the best reviews I saw on Rotten Tomatoes was "It Puts the Man into Superman". A common complaint against Superman is that the audience can't relate or connect with him, he's too powerful, or he's too good and always does the right thing, hence there is no drama to the story. This is not the case in Man of Steel. Henry Cavill's portrayal showcases a conflicted and introspective individual, looking for his place in the world. Something that every person goes through at some point during their life.

Additionally a major theme throughout the movie is "How would the world react if it was discovered that a man can do all of the things that Superman can do?" This element of mistrust between the public and Superman is quite interesting. Most of us are just used to the fact that when Superman first arrives the public instantaneously loves him, and blindly trusts him to be a hero all of the time. You don't have that in Man of Steel. Hence you have an element of drama added to the story. The very people Superman is trying to save, are apprehensive of him. Will he still do the right thing?

Amy Adams as Lois Lane
The liberties that the filmmakers took with the Jor-El, Lois Lane, and Pa Kent characters added another layer of depth and human emotion to the story. These characters were truly relatable and I see why Clark Kent becomes Superman. It's because of these great characters and the support they provide. I especially loved what they did with Lois and Clark. I could write about that in more detail, but it would spoil a major plot of the story, so I will refrain from doing so.

Surprisingly Man of Steel has received mixed reviews from critics, and from some fans alike. For some the movie was too serious. Others thought that the action was over done. And some felt that the supporting cast was a tad under developed. All legitimate observations.

But still, I would like to address those complaints. When it was announced back in 2009/2010 that Superman was going to be rebooted, the executives at Warner Bros. stated that they wanted a more serious and action packed Superman movie. Enter David Goyer and Christopher Nolan, the team that reinvented what Batman movies could be. While developing the story for The Dark Knight Rises, Goyer approached Nolan with an idea he had for rebooting Superman. Nolan loved the idea, took it to Warner Bros. and got the project green lighted. So there very team that wrote an incredibly serious Batman trilogy, writes Man of Steel, and yet people are surprised that it is a very serious movie? If it wasn't serious, I would of been shocked. Also why can't a Superman movie be serious? Does Batman have a monopoly on seriousness?

Zod and Superman Duking It Out
The second complaint is that the action was over done? (A slight spoiler alert, the end battle between Superman and General Zod is in Metropolis. The fight scene is on par with the end fight sequence of The Avengers. So basically it's an awesome fight sequence.) In 2006 when Superman Returns came out, that films common complaint was that there wasn't enough action in it. So now we get a very action packed Superman movie and now we don't want that?? People we need to make up our minds here. Do we want action or not? I'm cool either way, I thought Superman Returns was a fine movie. I know I'm in the minority, but still. It was unique.

Lastly, the supporting cast was under-developed. That is a fair complaint. You don't get a lot of screen time with Perry White, Ma and Pa Kent, and even to some degree, General Zod. But should we? After all, this is a movie about the beginnings of Superman. He should be the character with the most face time. After all it is a Superman movie. Plus the great thing with movies like Man of Steel, is you know there will be a sequel. So you can develop those characters in the sequel.

Overall, I think the best way to describe Man of Steel is, it's along the lines of Batman Begins, just with a looser story. The action is spectacular, and it sets up Warner Bros. and DC with an opportunity to have a shared film cinematic universe, just like Marvel. If you want to keep reading about Man of Steel, I found this terrific article about it on uproxx.com about how it maybe too much like a comic.
Click Here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Internet Treasue

Score another one for the Internet. I was on eBay the other day, and what do I find? The Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack... on vinyl. Hell yeah!! So of course I had to buy it, and it arrived today. (As I write this blog I am listening to it, and may I say that it is magnificent.) A few blog posts ago, I wrote about the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack here, so I don't want to go into too much detail.

That being said, this soundtrack is a perfect representation of the late 1980s. It has this particular vibe to it that I can't explain it. Maybe I'm crazy but don't certain time periods have a certain feel to them? If you asked me to identify what the vibe of the late 80s is, I'd have to plead the 5th Amendment. I can't even fully explain it, but I can identify it when I see it.

Maybe it's because the late 80s were my youth, and you view your youth through rose coloured glasses? All I know is that Bobby Brown's "On Our Own" is pretty dope.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Band of the Day

Last night I was introduced by a friend of mine to this music App called: "Band of the Day" The premise of the app is, each day a new underground band is featured. Along with being able to listen to their music, you are sent their bio information, music videos, and links to the bands sites.

This is such a great idea! I am always on the look out for new music, and this is a convenient way for me to discover new music. Today I discovered a band called Groenland. They are from Montreal, and are a pretty terrific indie rock band. Below is a video for you to check them out. If you are looking for new music, I highly recommend the Band of the Day App.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beyond The Black Letter

So last week, I was the only one home and was doing some work around the house. I turned the TV off, and put on the good olde SiriusXM. My go to channel on SiriusXM is PRX, Public Radio Remix, which is affiliated with the Public Radio Exchange. It's a great organization where audio producers can submit their creations, and radio stations nationwide can purchase their work and broadcast it.

On this particular evening, PRX aired a story entitled "Clear and Present Danger". This production was created by Beyond the Black Letter. Here is some background information on Beyond the Black Letter as it is found on their website:

"My name is Zach and I’m a law student at UCLA. Tired of memorizing boiled-down rules and case holdings (aka “the black letter law”), I’m trying something a little different. Let me know what you think."

I cannot say how much I love this concept. When we think of learning and the learning process, we usually think of writing papers, taking tests, creating dioramas, etc. While these are an important parts of assessing the learning process, they aren't the only way of assessing learning. With the advancements in digital technology, it is almost limitless how we can assess students learning processes. Student created documentaries are a new and exciting way of assessing students' knowledge, and listening to Zach's production showed me how much he understands the concepts of law. (This documentary/commentary makes the topic come alive for me.)

"Clear and Present Danger" explores the topic of free speech during times of national conflict. The show description follows:

"On this episode we explore the outer bounds of the right to free speech. How does the law tolerate speech that calls for lawlessness? It’s a journey that begins during the fervor of World War One and ends, for now, with a televised Ku Klux Klan rally in the 1960s. We meet a courageous federal judge, and a Supreme Court justice slow to understand the importance of free speech, and wonder why both would eventually defend the right of radicals and dissidents to venture out to its very edge."

With the current state of our democracy and our world, this is an especially relevant topic. Is there such a thing as crossing a line when expressing your opinion? Is there a time and a place for free speech? What exactly is free speech? These are just some of the topics this program explores. Please take thirty minutes out of your day and listen to this fascinating topic. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

So....I Watched Superman 3 The Other Day

This is a pretty cool looking movie poster
So, it's been pretty well established on this blog that I am a MASSIVE Superman fan. With the new Superman movie coming out in less than 4 weeks, I decided to watch a Superman movie a week until the release of the new movie. This week my movie was Superman 3.

Now I haven't seen this movie in probably 10 years, but when I was little, I really enjoyed it. So I thought re-watching this movie would be fun and a walk down memory lane. How wrong I was. My God is it a terrible movie. I mean it is really terrible. Like there is no redeemable qualities to the movie. Here they have this somewhat interesting premise, and they just blow it away. The lone redeeming part of the entire movie is Christopher Reeve as the evil Superman and the junkyard fight between evil Superman and good Clark Kent.

Now everyone says Superman 4 is terrible, which it is. But it's like Batman & Robin bad. You know it's bad, but it is an entertaining bad. You get a few laughs along the way. Superman 3 on the other hand is just bad. I do feel guilty bad mouthing a movie like this, especially since I have never made or written a movie, so I should really talk. I just did not enjoy it.

In conclusion, stay away from Superman 3. It is camp, boring, and dull.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Undertaker Out of Character

Since I was 7 years old, I have been a pro-wrestling fan. Growing up in the early 90s there were two camps of wresting fans. Hulk Hogan fans, or Ultimate Warrior fans. (You did have a few Macho Man fans, but he was a heel at that time, so it really doesn't count.) You were either one or the other. I must say, because I'm cool like that, that I was neither. I was an Undertaker fan. The first time I ever saw the Undertaker, he beat the crap out of the Ultimate Warrior and put him in a casket.

And IT WAS THE COOLEST THING EVER!!!! Over the years, I watched as the character evolved from gray gloves to purple gloves. Going it alone to forming the Ministry of Darkness. Until finally there was the biker Undertaker and the return of the deadman. During that time I never really thought of Mark Callaway being anything else other than The Undertaker. I came to see Callaway and The Undertaker as being one and the same.

Until my dad showed me these YouTube videos of The Undertaker raising money for a charity. In one of the videos, I think it's the first time I've ever heard The Undertaker call himself by his real name. I find it really neat to be able to see one of my childhood heroes be themselves. You don't get to see that very often, yet it is a nice reminder that they are human just like you. At the same time, he will always be The Undertaker.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ringo Starr...The Under-Appreciated Beatle

My Ringo Starr albums on vinyl
I've recently found myself to be on a massive Ringo Starr kick. This all started when I visited Oak Park Records back in March. While I was there I was able to pick up, on vinyl no less, almost every single Ringo Starr solo album. Ringo the 4th, Sentimental Journey, Bad Boy, Beaucoups of Blues, Ringo's Rotogravure, and Stop and Smell the Roses all came home with me on that eventful day.

Finding Ringo's work on vinyl, other than Ringo or Good Night Vienna, is incredible difficult. So to say I was rather excited is a little bit of an understatement. As I began listening to these records, I began to realize something. The more I dive into Ringo's solo catalog, the more I enjoy it. After listening to the vinyl, I had to pull out my Ringo CDs and give those a listen to as well. Again the more I listened, the more I was blown away by the hidden gems in his catalog. RingoRama, Time Takes Time, and Ringo's Rotogravure are just a few examples of excellent pop rock albums.

A misnomer that has plagued Ringo's solo musical career is that it is simple and safe music. This could NOT be further from the truth. In fact Ringo's first two solo releases were huge artistic and commercial risks. Sentimental Journey released in 1970 features Ringo covering his favorite standard/pop songs from the 1940s. I seem to recall a major release by Sir Paul McCartney in 2012 called Kisses on the Bottom, which featured Sir Paul covering his favorite standard/pop songs from the 1940s. Hmmmm. (Additionally hasn't Rod Stewart made a career doing the exact same thing for the last ten years...oh I think so.)

That's not all. Later in 1970, Ringo released an album entitled Beaucoups of Blues. This album features Ringo performing country and western cover songs and a few originals, along side some rock n' roll tracks. Now it's not a complete copy, but in 1975 John Lennon did a cover's album called Rock N' Roll, which featured him covering his favorite rhythm and blues, rock n' roll songs. Follow that up in 1999 with Run Devil Run, Sir Paul McCartney covering his favorite old school rock n' roll songs too.

Now let's be honest, a lot of Ringo's music may not meet the mythical status of say: Imagine, My Sweet Lord, or Maybe I'm Amazed. But just because it may not meet this mythical status, does not mean we should write off or dismiss the quality of the music. Ringo's solo catalog is catchy, showcases some fantastic drumming, and features some AMAZING guest stars on the albums. Other than the three other Beatles, (if that wasn't enough) Ringo's music features the likes of Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Dr. John, Peter Frampton, and Harry Nilsson.

So if you are looking for some incredibly catchy, poppy, and enjoyable music, I cannot recommend Ringo Starr's discography enough. I've include some videos of some of my favorite Ringo solo albums below. Let me know what you think.

Oh My Love off of his 2005 album: "Choose Love"


Weight of the World off of his 1992 album: "Time Takes Time"


Cooking (In the Kitchen of Love) off of his 1976 album: "Ringo's Rotogravure"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Great New Graphic Novel

Yesterday, I received in the mail Vol. 2 of The Manhattan Projects. The Manhattan Projects is a comic book series that tells the story of Einstein, Oppenheimer, and the "other" projects they worked on for the U.S. government. (The atom bomb was just the beginning, DUH, DUH, DUH, DUH.) How these famous scientists react to the new situations of aliens, time traveling, parallel dimensions, and the Communists, form the core narrative of this series.

I read Vol. 1 a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it told a great Science Fiction story that was engaging, imaginative, and gruesome. (Some of the fighting scenes are incredible grotesque and fun at the same time.) I've been on a great string of late on finding really fun graphic novels to read. See Rocketeer post.

More and more I am finding myself really enjoying the genre of Science Fiction. When done well, science fiction tells great human stories. They are just placed in extraordinary circumstances. I have great faith that Vol. 2 of The Manhattan Projects will not disappoint. I'll post my review in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Third Trailer for Man of Steel

I know that I am beating a dead horse, however I'm a superhero nerd. So if I didn't take notice, I wouldn't be fulfilling my job description. But yesterday the third trailer for the new Superman movie Man of Steel was released. I was really excited for this movie based on the two previous trailers. This third trailer however has put me over the top with excitement. I want to see this movie and I want to see it immediately. These trailers have done an excellent job showcasing how important quality trailers are in creating a buzz around a film. Also it show just how fascinating the Superman character is. I just hope that the movie lives up to the trailers.

If you have not seen it, take 3:03 and bask in its magnificence.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Video Game Post

This is a very unusually posting for me. Mainly because I sold all of my video game consoles and games about 4 years ago. Anyways, I saw this posting earlier today. I for one loved the Nintendo 64. Some of the most enjoyable moments for me playing video games ever...was playing the Nintendo 64. WrestleMania 2000, No Mercy, GoldenEye, Super Mario Brothers, Mario Kart, WCW vs. NWO. These are the games of my youth.

I wonder if there is an online emulator where I can play all of these old games? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Proper Concert Attire: Don't Wear a T-shirt of The Band You Are About To See Live


For the past six years I have been the general manager of a college radio station. In that time, I have worn many different hats. I have been technical/software expert. I've produced sporting events. I even clean the studio on a weekly basis. But the hat I wear most is the one of advice giver. Many of my students come to me asking advice on various topics from best study habits, to how to write and record sweepers and promos.

Over the past few weeks I've had a few of my students approach me, and they all have asked me the same question. "Is it ok to wear the t-shirt of the band I'm seeing live in concert that night?"For example, tonight I am going to see Muse in concert, is it ok for me to wear a Muse t-shirt?" The answer to this question is NO!!! You do not want to be that guy. You know what I'm talking about.

It is an unwritten music code that you do not wear band t-shirts to concerts. (I didn't write the rule, but I became aware of it early on. And I must help enforce it.) Especially a t-shirt of the band you are seeing. It is not socially acceptable, and music super fans are a very unforgiving bunch. They will tease and mock you behind your back if you do this. So be prepared for this to happen to you if you wear a band t-shirt.

That being said, there are five ACCEPTABLE band t-shirts you can wear to any concerts, and have it be socially acceptable. In fact any show you go to, and you wear one of these t-shirts, people will more than likely come up to you and compliment you on the awesomeness of your shirt. They are, in no particular order:

1. The Beatles
2. Social Distortion
3. The Misfits
4. Led Zeppelin
5. Iron Maiden

Why are these bands acceptable, and others are not? I don't know, they just are. So in conclusion, if you are going to a concert and insist on wearing a band t-shirt, make sure they are the socially acceptable ones. Otherwise, you will be that guy. And you do not want to be that guy! Do you?