wordwhacker: (Default)
Well, it looks like this is it for the Media Living journal. I have a few closing comments to make that have to do with the last reading for the course, and a few more media use-type things to mention, too. Then this journal goes back to being my writing journal, and none too soon - I've got to get a few submissions to Vox out by the end of the week, and now that NaNoWriMo is over for another year (and as you can tell by my icon, I am a WINNAH!), my creativity has been kicked into high gear.

Last week was basically paper-writing week, which means that my life has basically been cycles of MS Word usage and, briefly, Rock Band / The Bully playing as brain breaks. I've been downloading stuff a little more lately, too - found a Cat Stevens song that I wanted to learn on the guitar, and one of my study breaks on Saturday was my learning to play it. And does anybody else remember "Saga," the Canadian progressive rock group from the eighties? My folks liked their stuff a lot and, as much eighties music does, it inspires me with nostalgia. My dad was listening to the radio the other day and "Wind Him Up" came on, and I remembered how much I liked it, so I poked around online and found that album. It's decent, but I don't know if I would bother purchasing it - there are only two songs that interest me (the other being "On the Loose").

I found "Wind Him Up" on YouTube too, and the "more info" that accompanies it is interesting:
Saga - Legendary Canadian Progrock
Live at the Metropolis - Montreal 1984
Rock Etc Canadian TV Broadcast

Over half the songs from the show including this one, DID NOT make it to the Silhouette official DVD.

Here it is for your enjoyment.

This is kind of cool because it shows that putting concert footage up on YouTube isn't usually about any kind of disrespect for the bands, or even for the companies that have the rights to the footage. Lots of info about the group and the concert, even where the concert was broadcast, is included there. But there's obviously some annoyance about the DVD not having this and lots of other songs - how are consumers supposed to have any iota of support for centralized production and distribution if they're going to omit desired material? I recently found some Utopia videos from a concert in 1982 which belong to a discontinued DVD, as well. Obviously lots of stuff that IS available is spread around, and that's the main concern that copyright holders have (I'd wager), but it isn't the ONLY thing going on. People will happily distribute things themselves if they aren't worth it for a company to do it, or if a company is slack about it (like with the Saga DVD above.) And it isn't all about simply sticking it to the man.

More hides behind the cut! )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2004)
Yikes! The term is, apparently, almost over. I'm hoping to make at least two more journal entries (including this one) before I have to turn it over to Dr. M. This week is all about getting my paper for Lit Theory done, and (of course!) finishing the novel. I have some major work to do on both fronts. Tonight I have been going back and forth between reading stuff for the paper and adding to the novel word count. I'm not sure if I'll catch up today, but I'll be pretty close.

When it comes down to it, I really have to cut myself off from (most of) the internet in order to get a lot of work done on papers. For these journal entries and lighter fare (even some readings that I've had to do online) I can deal with the background distractions, but for some reason they are KILLER once I'm in paper-writing mode. Tomorrow I'm spending a few hours at the school library after my classes so that I can do a bit of research and get some serious rough-draftage happening. The library and the Tim Horton's on King street are effectively my "hide away from the world and work" spots, and I like both of them because they have a little bit of white noise and people sounds in the background without being so intrusive as to be uncomfortable. I think that's why that atmpshere is conducive to writing: I don't feel totally isolated, but I feel in no way obligated to interact with anybody. Like a cat, I like being around people, but I am much more productive when I don't have to actually talk to them.

It's a relief to have Chicago done with, though I am going to miss seeing everybody and getting to listen to such awesome performers (both the singers and band) all the time. I'm also enjoying things like Rock Band, which I haven't played since sometime early last week, and I like that I am home to catch my regular re-runs of The Simpsons (they just happen to be really well-timed for meal breaks. What can I say?

I did the reading for this week a little while ago, and I should probably talk about it a bit, though it may be in a slightly abstract way since my PDF reader doesn't let me cut and paste stuff. But as this is boring I shall do it under a cut. )
wordwhacker: (Default)
Sadly re: this week's reading topic, I haven't been playing a lot of video games lately, but that's nothing new. (Just Rock Band. I love it because it's a bit of physical exertion as well as a totally different way of engaging my brain. Makes for wonderful study breaks!) Mostly I'm spending a lot of time on email, making appointments to meet with profs and people for school groups, occasionally conversing with friends. I also tend to email my papers to myself as I work on them so I always have a backup (I also have saves at several stages).

I liked this week's reading, though (namely, "Playing on the digital commons: collectivities, capital and contestation in videogame culture" by Sarah Coleman and Nick Dyer-Witheford,) and I want to comment on a couple of things re: my own gaming history, a gaming mod project I was involved in at one time, and some hopes I have about the future of rhythm-based gaming like Rock Band/Guitar Hero - a future that may very well revolve around hacking/modding.

Come hither! )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2004)
I thought I would have more to say about this week's reading, but I am realizing something as I go through it: I don't really participate in participatory journalism. I know that it happens. I am also sometimes directed to political blogs and mainstream news sources with copious comments by other internet users - which, I guess, is really a big part of the whole idea of participatory journalism anyway. Even though my livejournal friends page is not entirely politically-geared, they can essentially morph into political discussion spaces, drawing in mainstream and blogosphere sources at the drop of a hat and spreading them meme-style.

Which I guess is a way of expressing - maybe even expanding upon - the introduction to participatory journalism that comes up in this week's reading from The Media Center:

"Participatory journalism flourishes in social media — the interpersonal communication that takes place through email, chat, message boards, forums — and in collaborative media — hybrid forms of news, discussion and community."

What I'm suggesting, I guess, is that the boundaries of participatory journalism are really easily blurred into the space that one could more generally call "participatory culture."

I don't have a lot else to say, but I wanted to also comment specifically on the weaknesses of "discussion group" settings:

"Weaknesses: Sometimes forums are too open, easily garnering flip, reactive comments. Active, large forums can get noisy, with so many posts from so many members, it's hard to determine what information is meaningful or useful. In addition, some moderated forums require each post to be pre-approved before it appears online, slowing down and smothering the conversation."

My comment is generally an emphatic YEP! This is, in a nutshell, why I don't go out of my way to participate in political (and other forms of) discussion online. In my last blog post I talked about the difficulty of navigating in a forum populated by thousands of active participants. And re: the modding business, I have heard some interesting and frightening horror stories about having to moderate big-name forums. Though this wasn't so much about conversation-smothering as reigning-in-the-hatemongering, which is a definite up-side to forum moderation. (I should point out that this reading does also focus on the positive aspects of online discussion groups, which I generally agree with as well - for instance, the ease of participation and the lowered technical and financial resources for participation in general.)

That's it from me for now - off to class!
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2005)
Phew! Been a little while since I updated - I forgot to do it last week, but at least I was keeping up with the Twitter stuff for a while, there. I trailed off with it after about a week, but I think I got enough data for it to be useful. I'll probably pick it up again at least once this month, so I can use it to talk about all of my freaking homework and paper-writing and noveling and such.

It's election night, and I've been peeking at the results on CBC (interesting that we Canadians have our own coverage of the US election, and it's at least as comprehensive (maybe even moreso) than our OWN election coverage. I also love that there are election parties going on around here, like the one at the campus bar. I can't really stand to sit and watch the results roll in, myself, and I have homework to do, so I'm just sticking it out and home and will find out the good news (oh god, I hope it's good news) tomorrow. Normally I hate when our news is overloaded with American stuff, but in this case it's nice to have media people that I'm familiar with and a media outlet in general that I'm familiar with handling things. (I haven't done this week's reading yet about the news, but I'm pretty sure it'll be relevant to this discussion - will probably make another mini-post later in the week to talk about it more in-depth.)

But enough about politics. NaNoWriMo is underway! I've been writing almost exactly my quota of words every day, but I discovered something very sad today: I'm not enjoying what I'm writing. I'm not being compelled to write; I'm not feeling the magic of having new characters spring to life. So it looks like I might need to start over (though I'll keep my existing wordcount - can't really erase it from the stats, anyway. I'm familiar with this game, I think I've done this same thing at least three or four times.) Tomorrow amid frantic paper-writing I am going to start brainstorming new novel ideas and maybe outlining. Silliness is in order, but I'm having a hard time finding my voice for my current idea, so maybe something else will come more naturally.

Ah yes, and then there's last week's fun with Twitter. Let's put this bit under a cut, shall we? Because we might go on for a little while. )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2004)
Okay, I'll admit it: I really did find that first Jenkins article that we had to read for this class boring. But Jenkins has completely made it up to me in this article on fan culture and collective intelligence (which I think I've read before, but I enjoy it so much that I don't care.) It's written in a very accessible style, so if you are at all interested in fandom I recommend you take a look at it. It's a bit long, but it's worth it. I'll be quoting from it somewhat liberally this week.

What makes it so topical is a discussion I had with my friends over the weekend, after we'd finished recording my podcast about podcasts (which I'll be putting up this weekend.) This is a conversation that we've had before, and it may be familiar to some of you, especially people who are familiar with fandom and fanfic in general.

We were talking about how Anne Rice is insane.

Okay, okay, so that might be a bit harsh. In the interest of protecting my ass if her lawyers come after me (which they probably won't unless I start writing fanfiction based on her characters), I'll use my "I statements". I think, based on many of the things she's said on her website and in Amazon.com reviews of her own books, that she has some ISSUES, with a capital ISSUES.

Below: Does Ms. Rice exemplify fears of new communications technologies and the fandoms that use them? Or is she just... DIFFERENT? )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2006)
So when I started this blog I made a generic entry which outlines my media use throughout the day. This is kind of handy, because it means that for the most part I can focus in on particular activities and try to be reflective and relevant to my course materials. Fun fun. But now and then I catch myself using media in different ways, and by the time I'm going to write a blog entry I've forgotten some of it.

Clearly, I need to get a little notepad or something and carry it with me for a few days so I can jot things down as I go. That way I can watch for trends, as well as remember neat little things that will make for a good blog entry. I'm toying with the idea of doing this through "Twitter" - I hardly EVER send texts, and I'm sure I have a number of "free" ones included in my cell phone plan. (And I think you can update them directly on the site, too.) Since lots of people are starting to do this it could be an interesting experiment. Look for some "twitter" updates here over the next week or so, between my normal blog entries.

For a while I've been thinking about the digital media fast that Danna Walker got her students to do in "The Longest Day". It would be interesting to do this - a few times I've all but decided to go for it. There are lots of things that I could cut out for a day or two, to see how I feel. I could go for walks without my mp3 player; I could write long-hand and read textbooks (and, y'know, normal books) instead of use the computer.

Read more... )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2005)
I'm putting this up so that I will remember to comment on it in more detail later - check back if you're interested.

Back when I was at Macquarie taking my "Poetics of New Media" course, one of my classmates made a presentation and did a really simple little experiment. He asked me (well, he asked the class, and I answered) how I would describe myself. I said something like, "25 year old student, Canadian, genderqueer..." I think I might have talked about liking travel, that kind of thing. Anyway, then he noted that I hadn't immediately described myself in terms of my technology use or media consumption - I didn't call myself an internet addict, a film afficionado, whatever. So when I started reading danah boyd's article, Incantations for Muggles, this stood out to me:

"Technologies become ubiquitous when people stop thinking them as atechnology and simply use them as a regular part of everyday life."

Unrelated but awesome - XKCD today is SPOT ON re: the debate about digial rights management.
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2007)
The other day there were THREE baseball games on - one in the afternoon, one in the early evening, and one at night. But because the NFL apparently pays Rogers more money than does the MLB, they weren't broadcasting the first two games on the basic Rogers cable that you can get around here. They were trumped by the football games. This was a royal piss-off for my dad, who LOVES baseball and was really looking forward to watching them. We're not really huge TV people - sports are the #1 reason we even HAVE cable, and are the ONLY reason why we have that one tiny "expanded" package that gives you the 52 channels or whatever.

So TBS is carrying all of the games. And we HAVE TBS. We are technically PAYING for TBS. But whatever feed we get through Rogers wasn't covering it.

This is where the whole "WE ARE THE AUDIENCE, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE" thing comes in, and I get inventive with internet... stuff.Read more... )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2004)
My parents went to the Elton John concert last night. I would have loved to go but tickets were both expensive as hell and nigh impossible to get. So I was sitting at home listening to his greatest hits on the stereo when I get a call on my cell phone from my MUM's cell phone. At first it was just garbled bits of sound, but then it resolved into Elton John's voice singing "Tiny Dancer." The sound quality was mostly terrible; the piano (which I could only hear for part of the time) sounded like a mangled child's toy some of the time, thanks to the tiny microphone in the phone being TOTALLY blown out with the volume (and the speaker in my own phone isn't exactly audio magic itself.) But I could hear his voice well enough to make out the lyrics and the melody. So I stood by my front door and lip-synched to one of my favourite songs in the world, which was being sung live by Sir Elton himself, right here in Saint John, and bounced from mum's cell phone up to a satellite and down again to mine, about a kilometre and a half away.

I thought that was a pretty cool digital media experience.

My parents were telling me that there were signs up everywhere saying not to bring recording equipment or cameras to the show. But god, what's a cell phone now WITHOUT a camera? And I'm not too "up" on cell technology but if they're becoming mp3 players as well it seems to me that recording technology will be standard issue soon, too. So what are you supposed to do? Take away peoples' cell phones? That would probably be an exercise in complete madness.

More thoughts below: why cellphones could soon be dangerous, writing papers long-hand, and sports TV as a dramatic narrative. )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2006)
Gah! I am at the mercy of technology here. It's been over a week since I did the reading that I want to talk about, and my browser died when I tried to re-open it. And one thing led to another and I found myself uninstalling and deleting old programs to make more space on my hard drive. But that's okay, because it kind of leads into what I want to talk about, and maybe while I'm rambling I'll get that reading open again.

Something that bugged me about the Jenkins reading (if I'm remembering correctly - will know soon, anyhow, browser-permitting) is that it seemed to imply that "convergence" was mostly happening in one direction - big media companies merging making technology that allows users to do more with a single piece of technology, for instance. Sure, that's definitely happening - but what MAKES it a good business move? Might it be user demand? Not that it's ALL originating with the users, but there's definitely a kind of feed-back loop happening where people are coming up with new uses for technology and companies are responding to this. Argh, the browser's not cooperating tonight. Anyway, Jenkins may have hinted at this but it seems to me that he suggested that the source of convergence was mostly ORIGINATING in the big media company mergers and then trickling down. And that bugged me.

I had a brief discussion in the comments of the last entry with my friend [livejournal.com profile] eternalism, and a bunch of interesting stuff came up, including a bit of thought about convergence. You can take a peek if you're in the mood.

Further rambling ahead includes talk about swearing in internet media, and some discussion of why Rock Band is so awesome. )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2004)
So I've been thinking for the past few days that I would make an update here. Just a short one, talking about what I've been doing, how I've been investing my time into various electronic media. But I keep getting stalled by one thing: nothing has changed. The generic "how my (digial) day goes" post is frightningly accurate - even moreso than I figured it would be. It's been a little strange to realize that I really DON'T vary all that much in my media habits. I spend a similar amount of time watching TV and surfing the net every day.

And I have to wonder: does this have something to do with my guilt about "wasting my time"? I think I'll start calling it "digital guilt." I don't feel guilty about the time I spend, say, reading a book before bed. But surfing the net and television are definitely sources of guilt in my daily life. I feel bad for doing it, and I typically feel that I should be investing myself differently.

The question is, how right am I? )
wordwhacker: (NaNo 2007)
School's in, and I'm cracking open the ol' writing blog again for use in my "Media Living" class. We have to keep a journal throughout the semester wherein we talk about our media use, in conjunction with the course readings. Because I'm nice, I'll keep most of these under a cut so you can skip 'em if you want.

I'm going to kick things off with a "day in the life" view of my media usage. This should be great fodder for the start of a discussion about media addiction, maybe in a day or two. How convenient!

So you're asking yourself. "Cass - how DO you use media in your daily life?" Right? Of course you are.

Well, it goes a little something like this: )
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