Thursday, January 31, 2008

In Response to The Most Recent Poll On My Blog

Seeing as I only got five votes in, that makes me sad about the number of people reading my blog. But then I remember that for people to want to read your blog, you have to update it, and that's something I've been doing sporadically at best. That having been said, I want to point out something interesting about the poll:

There were six options listed, and one of them was clearly a joke. No, not Creative Writing: Advanced Fiction. That's for reals, yo. Underwater Basket Weaving? Not so much.

I got five votes, and each for a different class. And the one that didn't get any votes? Media Literacy. While that scares me for certain reasons that I will enumerate below, there's something far more interesting about the poll results I wish to discuss first.

The question was, which class sounds the most interesting? And nobody thought Media Literacy would be the most interesting. People picked politics, film, and sex over Media Literacy (hilarious because politics is covered in the media, and film is a medium, and media is full of sex, but that's more an afterthought than anything), and while I haven't had the politics or the films yet, so far Media Literacy is the most interesting of the classes I'm taking. I like the people and the teacher and the material and the workload.

The writing and the sex? Yeah, well, I never thought the workload in a class about sex would be too much to handle. But it is. And as I have mentioned earlier, my creative writing prof is a little, uh...well, you read what I said before. Or at least you should have.

No, okay, so, nobody's interested in media literacy? Come ON! Here's why you should be interested: Think of how pervasive the media is. You are consuming it RIGHT NOW! Yes, that's right, my blog is considered media. But not just that...are you listening to music while you read my blog (I suggest Ray LaMontagne for a mellow mood, Buddy Rich for something to replace any caffiene addiction you may have, The Mars Volta to completely blow your mind or The Postal Service if you happen to be a hopeless romantic)? Watching television or a movie? Checking other websites? Listening to the radio? Reading a book or magazine? Driving down the highway looking at billboards (elliotisnotawriter does not advocate this activity)? You are consuming media almost constantly. Does it have an effect on you?

85% of people say it has absolutely no effect on them. And but almost all of those people who claim media has no effect on them at all also claim that it has a tremendous effect on everybody else. Say what? That's a huge chunk of people to make up for somewhere.

So what media literacy is doing for me is making me more aware of what media I consume, and making me aware that the messages I get are being filtered from reality through the person/entity through which the message is being delivered. Think about a story about Barrack Obama on a Clear Channel talk radio station vs. one on NPR. I'd like to say that NPR is more fair (and they are more apt to be) but there is a distinctive liberal bias...though not as much as Clear Channel's conservative lean. Which is, of course, pale in comparison to Fox News'. The point is, people, pay attention to where your information is coming from. I mean, just think what would happen if everybody got their news from me and Jerry. I mean, sure, the world would be a tremendously happy place to live, Wait. I like this idea. Forget I said anything else. The last sentence should read "Everybody should get their news from me and Jerry."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hey, Elliot, Are You a Blog Lurker? How Come You Don't Comment on My Blog Ever?

Well, the thing about that is I've been using Google Reader to read all of the blogs I check on a regular basis. It's all there in one handy user interface. The only problem is that if I want to comment on the blog, I have to go to the actual blog to do so, and sometimes I'm not done reading all the others. Sorry gang. Especially Mo, whom I know is accusing me behind my back of being a blog lurker. Apologies.

Yeah, I Know...

But I've been very busy. Very busy. But there's a few things I'd like to talk about.

I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but last fall we bought a ginormous television. Fifty inches. Plasma. Yes, HD. Of course, with it, we had to get more on top of things. Like our DVD player, for instance. Initiating technical babble. I had a standard DVD player with component video and composite audio running into the television. I was getting the best picture I could with what I had. But I wanted more. So, the other night, we bought a new DVD player. It's not an HD or BluRay, ut it's an upconverter. So it scales standard definition DVDs to near Hi-Def. And we got a good deal, too. It's a Sony. It's a 5 disc. But it didn't come with a remote or a manual because it was the floor model. But whatever, our TV remote works for it just fine. And of course, to get the best picture possible, I went with the HDMI cable. Yes. I am a nerd. I have already watched The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in all its glory, plus the first twenty minutes or so of Revenge of the Sith. Very cool.

Pandora Internet Radio. Best thing ever. Click Here.

School is going um...okay. The thing is, that with school, mostly I like history classes outside of my major and minor, and I like the practical classes inside my major and minor. I'm not so much into the theory classes in my minor. But right now, the only class I like is my Media Literacy class. I mean, I like the people in my history class and my creative writing class, but the history class is like pulling teeth at times, and I think the professor in my creative writing class is a don't know how to write it out. Imagine me making a noise and hand movement indicating that he may have recently lost his mind a bit.

And I found something about my job I'm NOT fond of. Jefferson County. Mostly, the searches I have been doing down there, which leave me tired and groggy and (no joke), in a small amount of pain because I barely get to sit down as I sift through 86 years' worth of musty deed indexes and microfilm. Musty deed indexes with some gaping holes in the records. Boo hiss.

Anyway...I should go to bed. Class in the morning. Work in the day. Class in the evening. Homework at night. Maybe sleep. Eventually. Maybe.

So last Wednesday, I had a surreal night. Remember Hugo's? Of course not. Jesse's older brother Matt used to work there (Jesse was my best friend in my pre-middle school days), and we used to go get free food. I went in there Wednesday night after class with some people from class. We talked, had some drinks, some of them smoked (and I got all stinky), and it was nice. We talked about things like music, literature and politics and professors (including the one that walked in around 9:15, and sat at the bar until after we had all left), and after-graduation plans (a diverse group, from sophomores up to second year seniors up to 25 year old juniors), and as I was talking with a friend with whom I have had a couple classes already, she up and said I sounded unhappy.

How's somebody gonna come right out and say that? I mean, even if it might be true, why would you bring it up? I mean, I wasn't going to say "And it's clear you want to jump Mark six ways from Sunday but you're too scared to say anything." No. Ridiculous.

Anyway...I was there, in this restaurant, scene of some of my youthful exploits (they used to have a cigarette machine...), and being told I'm unhappy by a person with whom I had been having a tremendous time with. Well, not that I was having a good time with just her, but the whole group. Anyway...not important I guess.

Really...I should go to bed. Now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Post 130

Well, the e-mail came out with the 2007 Three Day Novel Winners.

I am happy with what I submitted.

I did no win.

Nor did I even make it onto the short list.

Or the honorable mentions.

But I am happy with it anyway. The last time I went through this, I was more upset with the verdict. And then I read my submission and was mortified that I had let anybody else read it.

I guess I can't say I'm happy that I didn't win, because I'm not. But I have to remember that I didn't read any of the other submissions. Nor should I, at least not with an eye for judgement. It's hard to stay impartial, really. Only, no, I can tell when a work of fiction is a better one than I turned out.

Oh well. This just means that I can actually discuss it a little more freely now. So look forward to some of that.

Well, school is starting up for me tomorrow. Well, it started today, but I don't have any Monday classes until after spring break, so it officially starts for me tomorrow morning at 8:30. Media Literacy, here I come!

Well, folks, that about wraps it up for now. I'ma go crawl into bed.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More on the Strike

Today's topic: Strike Beards.

I don't know if any of you have been watching late night television since it returned, but if you have, you know what I mean when I say Strike Beard.

Letterman returned last week with a strike beard, but has since shaved it off. Rather, he had some National Guard members come and shave it off on his show. But Conan still has the beard going in full force. In fact, it's really creepy.

The idea of a strike beard is just one of those guy things. If a guy wants to grow facial hair, all he has to do is formulate a valid excuse. And, in the eyes of other guys, almost any excuse is valid. "Facial Hair February"? Of course it's valid, Facial and February both start with F. Cinco de Moustache? Hilariousness ensues! Jerry has been known to grow a hockey playoff beard, only to shave it off the day the Stanley Cup finals are over, whereupon he begins growing his offseason beard. This sticks around until the season starts, then he's baby faced again until he decides to start his regular season beard. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but you get my point.

I guess the reason that Letterman shaved his beard is because in his world (Worldwide Pants, that is), the Writer's Strike is over. His company has independently signed a deal with the WGA, so he gets to have scripted comedy bits, a regular monologue, the Top Ten list, actual real celebrities, and a smooth baby face. Conan, on the other hand, has taken to wasting time with visual gags, unscripted off the cuff commentary (which he is usually good at when he's got enough scripted material to pad out the rest of his show...), he's stuck with people who aren't technically crossing the picket line to be there (like politicians and sports stars but no actors), and he's got this creepy Irish Man beard.

Now, why even bring up the strike beard? Well, because those who know me might remember that I have this very strange facial hair growth pattern which has truly scared me off from going too long without shaving. I went for two weeks in January of 2006, and on me, a beard just guess terrible is the right word. So I have not been showing my support for the WGA with a beard. In fact, when I really think about it, I haven't so much been showing support to them, other than joining a facebook group and mentioning it in my last post.

So what? The strike has been going on for two months and then some, right? Well, fair reader(s) (oh, and any unfair readers I may have), the point is that while I know the basics of why the writers are striking, I want to dig a little deeper. And what better way to dig than to post what I find on my blog?

So, if you know nothing of the strike at this point, or a little bit, and want to know more, stay tuned. I'm sure for some of you it will be a delicious change of pace from my political ranting or my mundane lapse in posting.

So for now, I say farewell, I'm back to work (now that I am done with lunch), and in my spare time, I will pursue the facts of the WGA strike. And you'll be the next to know. Until then...

Write On.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

Haven't you heard? There's a writer's strike on. I can't be considered a scab, can I?

Yeah, I know, my professors didn't think it was a good excuse either.

But I did read This article on MSN today that I completely agree with. I've heard a lot of people griping like this, but none so eloquently/hilariously. I've also heard a smattering of anger aimed at the writers, but I don't take heed. The people who blame the writers for the strike clearly have no concept of the matter at hand. Striking writers, sure, they want more money, but not every TV and Hollywood writer is a multimillionaire so this is understandable. Actually, while most writers who work in film and television can bring in one single paycheck that is two or three times the size of mine, I get twenty four paychecks a year and they may only get two or three. do the math.

So, there we go. Solidarity with the striking WGA. I salute you folks. Even if I'm not yet a member (although that's only because I hadn't gotten around to joining yet...)