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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Late Great Harold Ramis

I cannot believe that I wrote the headline above. It's still sinking in that Harold Ramis passed away this past week. His work has entertained, and has really inspired me for a majority of my life. When I was little, Ghostbusters was my absolute favorite movie, and I would run around the house dressed as Egon Spengler busting ghosts. (Ghostbusters is still my favorite movie of all time.)

As I read about his life, I am blown away by the accomplishments he quietly achieved. Movies and comedy would be a very different entities if Harold Ramis was not an active member of them. Knowing his strengths, he moved away from being in front of the camera and the center of attention, to behind the camera, writing and guiding other actors to greatness.

As I continue my career in radio, I know that I will never be an on-air personality. My strengths are behind the scenes, and helping others shine. Looking back, Harold Ramis serves as an inspiration professionally for me. His career reminds me that you can be successful behind the scenes. But it needs to be said that his professional accomplishments pale in comparison to the quality human being he was. God bless him and his family.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

ProCamera App

This past weekend, I was able to attend the Illinois College Press Association's ICPA conference and banquet at the Double Tree hotel in the north loop. It was a remarkable conference, as I was able to attend a session on multimedia journalism. I find the field of multimedia journalism to be incredibly exciting, and full of possibilities. A portion of the session focused on what were the best apps to use for shooting photography, video, and editing the material, all on your smart phone.

An app that the presenter suggested all multimedia journalists download, if they have an iPhone, is the ProCamera App. For $4.99, this app gives you white balancing capability, shutter speed control, and tons of other great functions.

And I got to say, the pictures I have taken with this app so far, I find to be very impressive. I noticed that they are much sharper, and much richer in color. But for me the coolest aspect of this app is the filters. They have a technicolor filter for your pictures. I haven't been this excited about photography in a long time, and I think this will help me get back into it. Below are some pictures I took with the app as practice.

The shimmer of the silverware is really captured

My cat

The technicolor filter. It's very red, but I still really
love how rich it can make a setting feel

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Brief Review of Morning Phase by Beck

One of my favorite perks of working at a college radio station, is getting new releases before they are available to the general public. Needless to say, I was especially excited when I went through the mail today, and discovered that we received Morning Phase, the first new album from Beck in almost six years.

Now Beck is one of my favorite artists of all time. I've always admired how he is able to reinvent himself from album to album. You have the 70s funk/soul inspired album Midnite Vultures in contrast to the quiet self-reflective acoustic album Sea Change, and to top it all off, there is the classic 90s alternative cornerstone album, Odelay. Each album unique and amazing in their own way.

When the lead single from Morning Phase, Blue Moon was released, I was absolutely captivated. This song shows Beck revisiting his self-reflective period, which made me very excited because Sea Change is one of my favorite albums ever.

I popped the album into my CD player, and was treated to a familiar sound. The first full track on the album is entitled Morning, and it almost sounds like Beck very quietly samples part of a song on Sea of Change entitled: The Golden Age in this new track. Thus far I have listened to the album all the way through twice, and I cannot get enough of it. It seems like Morning Phase could be considered a direct sequel to Sea Change. The music is quiet, yet powerful, the lyrics show a man looking back on his life thus and self-reflecting on the choices he has made. Did I make the right decision? Can I live with these regrets I have? Some truly moving music!

It's been six years since we've had new music from Beck, but in my humble opinion it was well worth the wait. Here's a new single from the album entitled Waking Light:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Network TV Is Not Dead

This morning I found a fascinating article about network television. For the past few years, people on the Internet have been saying that network television is dying. And their arguments for why network television is dying can be a compelling argument at times. Hell, it was even taught in some of my communications courses that network TV would slowly be phased out. However, this article on shows a different side of the argument.

By pulling up some rough ratings data, the author Dustin Rowles, was able to show that network TV is just as strong now, as it was back in 1999. The key to his argument is the DVR numbers. Once you take into account DVR numbers, network TV is actually doing better now, then it was back in 1999 on certain top 10 shows. I personally believe that DVR and online streaming numbers need to be taken into account when doing ratings. Just because a person isn't watching it live, doesn't mean they shouldn't count.

I also really like that Rowles was forth coming at the beginning of his article and stated that his interpretation wasn't following a certain scientific method or model. In this age where anyone can publish anything online, I feel that it's important to be truthful, and try not to represent yourself as something you are not.

Kudos to this article. Additionally, most of my favorite shows are actually on network TV. I feel that majority of the programming found on cable is either very repetitive, or re-runs of old network TV. Of course there are some exceptions such as AMC and FX.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Possible New Persepective on the Asteroid Belt

NPR posted a great article the other day, in which the author reports on a new study that suggests the Asteroid Belt may had been formed in a way scientists had not thought of. You can read the article here. This is one area of science that always fascinates me. How big the universe actually is, always blows me away. It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle being put together, every time we learn something new.