Friday, May 28, 2010

I Want a Bad Hair Day

My BFF's baby girl has been battling leukemia for the past year. This is Odette, and she's almost 2. She's lucky. She's at the end of her treatment, and things look good. But in the middle lots of people wanted to know what they could do to do something to show their support, so my friend started having these cute, orange (for leukemia support) T-shirts made.

More people kept asking about it, and I Want a Bad Hair Day was born. The site is new, and will continue to grow, but if you know anyone who's has (or had) cancer, these Ts (or hats, bags, etc) will show your support. And a portion of the proceeds will go to help other leukemia patients.

And this is media related because I'm using media to help spread the news about her business.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Media Sexual Content

For my media class, we had an assignment to watch 3 shows and analyze the sexual content in them. I don't watch TV much, so I watched an older show, one new show (yay, Hulu!), and one movie that my girlfriends recommended (which I have seen before, but it was a long time ago, and I really did forget how much sex and violence was in it). Here's my take on the 3:
I watched one episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer ("Amends"), one episode of Glee ("Theatricality"), and the movie Across the Universe.

There was quite a difference in sexual content between these shows. Buffy contained a dream sequence from the past, when Buffy and Angel had sex, a scene where Willow and Oz talk about having sex, but decide to wait, and one other scene of Angelus biting a lady, made to look like kissing and making out.

Glee's sexual content consisted of Fin's mom moving in with Kirk's dad, suggestive costumes, lyrics and dancing in 'Bad Romance' and 'Shout it Out Loud', and a lot of discussion and hinting about homosexuality, including some harassment and discussion about derogatory words ("fag").

Across the Universe contained much more sexual content. There were nine songs all about love and sex, six lines besides those songs that were sexist, and 12 scenes containing sexual images ranging from kissing or mild grouping to a couple waking up together in bed and scenes where people appear (are suggested) to be naked floating in water.

think these shows are a good example of how attitudes towards sexual material in television have changed in the last 12 years. In Buffy, there was always a message of responsibility and love. The audience knows that Buffy and Angel love each other, but that there can still be negative consequences to sex. And in the scene where Willow and Oz discuss sex they decide to wait, and the audience knows it is okay to wait. I think this accurately portrays the general social attitude of 12 years ago: that sex is okay, but should be taken seriously, reserved for loving relationships, and to be responsible.

In contrast is a current show, Glee. The sexual content was much more suggestive than blatant, but there were a lot more erotic images, and more was implied as being socially acceptable, such as unmarried couples living together and homosexuality. It was okay for "teens" to dress suggestively, ans was even encouraged by an adult in position of authority. There was a conversation about the derogatory nature of some words, and how it's hateful to use words such as "fag." There was no message of sexual responsibility, though, or consequences.

Across the Universe had more blatant sexual content and no messages of responsibility or consequences, either. I knew that this movie was all about the 60's and that the Beatles music, like much of the 60's, was all about "make love, not war" and sex and revolution. But there was so much sex and violence, I was surprised it was only rated PG-13. I think this shows how much attitudes have changed over the last 12 years, how in our society today, sex is okay whenever and with whomever you want and that you don't need to worry about consequences.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Photoshop Model

This was shared by my class's TA, and I thought it bears sharing. In the video, they say Photoshop can take off 10 years (make you look younger). I wish something in RL could take off 10 years (or even better, 15) - cause I looked GOOD back then!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Here's a great song that I've listened to a few times lately. I think I've fallen a little in love with Billy's voice. The song is his first: Removed. I'm also impressed by the video, especially because he shot it in one day on the spur of the moment with just his wife and one friend, the cameraman. And so, I give you Billy Burke, Removed.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pac Man

Apparently, today is Pac Man's 30th anniversary. So, here's a salute to video games from days gone by. Google has turned their logo into a mini Pac Man video game. Check out Google's home page (or click here) to try your hand at this old classic.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Family Advertisement

For my media class, we had to create an advertisement for families. It could be anything to promote family values. Here is my group's finished advert. (And yes, I've now caved to another online account: YouTube, grrr.)

Don't Stop Believing!

Having become so enamored with GLEE, a few friends and I have found and also fallen in love with these Flash Mob videos:

And just to share another, here's one that's a little older:

And my favorite (yes, I know the music's the same, but I like this dance better):

Now, if only the entire world could break into song and dance at the same time. Music could heal the world. It certainly can make it a better place.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Content

I am putting this disclaimer up front.
The following is my opinion, and as such, I expect you to respect that it is only my opinion. If you would like to comment with your opinion, I will respectfully read it and not tell you "you are wrong."

So, a subject has come to mind several times recently: Book banning and censorship. As a general rule, I do not believe in censorship. We live in a free country, with freedom of speech, and if we start censoring and banning books, that just starts us down a dark road, with no fine line to walk.

I am an avid reader, and will read just about anything I can get my hands on. There's very little I've read that I wish I hadn't. But I am capable of judging the content of a book much better than a child. I believe some stuff is not worth reading, and I have every right to censor what my kids read if I think it's inappropriate. So, where do I start? A few weeks ago, I was led to and read a list of the top 100 Banned Books, put out by the American Library Association each year. Some books on there are repeats year after year. I've read many (~1/3) of the books on this last list, and most of them are some of the best books I've ever read. If they have questionable topics, I believe they are written in a manner suited to discussing the issue, bringing it to light, and giving me a platform for which to teach my children about the issue.

This does NOT give me a right to censor what someone else reads. I don't have a right to say "this book is bad, so NO ONE should get to read it" or that we should ban a book because it is harmful to children. This is a hot topic, and everyone is going to have their own opinion. I find it hard to put into words exactly what I think and cover all the angles. If you're still interested, author Shannon Hale put it quite elegantly, and I agree with her position, which you can check out here.

This was a topic of discussion in my Media class today, and I believe there is a good solution:


Movies have ratings. TV shows have ratings. Video games have ratings.

Ratings don't = censorship. Ratings don't mean what gets published will change. Ratings will just give us (and by us, I mean primarily, parents) a better chance of knowing what is in a book. For example, YA fiction is probably the fastest growing genre of books, and the most widely read. But YA refers to the age of the characters, and not the content of the story. Studies show that violence, sexual behavior, swearing, etc. in movies or television or video games can be harmful to kids and lead to deviant behavior. Why don't we acknowledge those same issues in books? I might like reading a love story, but I don't think my preteens will understand the relationships. And the issues that a 16-18 year old can understand aren't necessarily appropriate for 11-12 year olds. But the YA genre covers all those ages. My professor has done a few studies (in a field that needs much more attention) that showed some YA books had language that would rate a movie R or worse. But any kid can pick that book up to read it, and the ones she looked at were all bestsellers (top 40 last year). I've read many books on that top 40 list that I LOVE! Some would be okay for a teen to read, some wouldn't. As a parent, I would like to know what is in those books so I can guide my children to read good literature, so I can talk to them about controversial issues, and so I can teach them my values. But unless I read it myself, I won't know what the content of those books are. And my kids are voracious readers as well. My oldest reads faster than I can, so there's no way I can read EVERYTHING they want to read to screen it first. I check reviews. I ask librarians and book salespeople. But wouldn't it be easier if you could turn a book over and see that it is rated __for violence, __for sexual behavior, __for language, etc? I think I may take this issue to some authority, I'd really like to see a rating system on books.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Technology Makes Life Better?


Of course, advertising is going to try to make a product seem better than it is. And, truthfully, when I got my new toy, I knew (but didn't believe it could happen to me) it could have problems, as most new electronics have bugs that need to be worked out. But I was anxious to have it make my life better, like it is supposed to.

What is my new toy, you ask? I got a nook. It's an e-reader, made by Barnes and Nobel. I had been looking to get an e-reader for a while, I did my research, I compared pros and cons, and finally decided to take the plunge. I justified my purchase by the money it would save me. E-books are usually cheaper than the actual book (at least, hardbacks), and I could save all the documents I had to read for school (mostly pdfs) on it to read, and not have to print.

I've had my nook for 4 months now, and don't use it much. I did put most of last semesters articles on it, but you can't change the size of print of most pdfs, so the print was VERY small and hard to read. I also wanted the scriptures so I wouldn't have to carry them to my religion class. But there isn't an e-version that's actually made for the nook, so the formatting is off. If you want to read them straight through like a story, great, but if you want to look anything up, tough. The references are all messed up, and the verses aren't all separated right. Now all those books I'd like to read, they're still more expensive than the paperbacks would be. And, since if I'm going to buy a book, I usually wait a year or so until it comes out on paperback anyway, the e-version wouldn't save me any money at all. Not to mention, if it's a book from a series I already have been buying, I want the actual book to complete the series. Then, if it's a book I want my kids to be able to read and reread, I want the actual book to pass around. So, how many books have I read since February? About 30. How many of those are on my nook? About 3.

The real problem, though, has been the nook software. It has crashed more than a dozen times. I've spent countless hours on the phone with tech support trying to get it working again. At one point, they shipped me a new nook, but the second one has crashed several times, as well. Finally, I'm told the latest software update is supposed to have fixed the crashing issues, and will continue to work. I'm crossing my fingers. I haven't yet read a full book on it since then, but when I have read, the battery doesn't seem to be lasting as long. Maybe that's a trade off for the new features: my kids are loving that you can now play games on the nook, sudoku and chess.

Books = Life

This week in my media class, we are supposed to write about our favorite books as a child and now. Good question. I don't have an answer for that. I read SO much, but I don't have A favorite. I have several favorites. You can check out all my favorites (that I've read since summer 2007) on shelfari.

But, there is one book (series) that holds a special place in my heart. This picture represents what this book means to me. And peeps, I wish we could go again (aka, I wish we could all afford to go again). I'd like to share what I wrote about it in my paper.

I quit reading for years. Even now when I think about it, I find it surprising. I had children, and as many women can tell, it's easy to lose yourself. I did lose a sense of who I was, and I didn't just quit reading. I became depressed. One symptom was that I didn't read much anymore. My mom passed on a few books over the years, but nothing stood out. Then, a few years ago, she loaned me a book called Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. I don't know why that book was different from any other, but suddenly, I wanted to read more. I read the next book in the series, then my youngest sister showed me the author's website, and I read the excerpts she had posted there. That was my first (non-email) experience online. Suddenly, I realized how much information was available at my fingertips, and I visited a fansite. Then the third book in the Twilight series came out, and after reading it I started chatting with other fans online. I got to know other adult fans in Utah, and met some, making friends with others who were craving the same interaction I was. I became friends with a fabulous group of women, and we still meet regularly for book chats, author signings, movie events, baby showers, and any other reason to have a party. We took a trip together, meeting other women who we had met online. (Picture: Dorks in Forks) Now, I'll be the first to admit Twilight isn't the best book of all time. It gets a lot of teasing. It has become a fad. It's not the best reading I've done in the last three years. And most the friends I've made and met because of Twilight feel the same. We're not obsessed with the series like many (mostly teenage) fans. But it was a catalyst, waking me up to the life I forgot while becoming lost in my children. I still love my children, but I've remembered how to love myself, as well. I still meet regularly with my friends who have more in common than liking a book. We've bonded over good and bad life experiences. I still chat online weekly with other friends around the country (and world) that I've come to love, even if I haven't met all of them in person. Lastly, becoming an active participant in life made me want to go back to school and helped make it a reality. So although I wouldn't say Twilight is my favorite book, it did make the biggest impact in my life, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Music Video Star

In my media class yesterday, we were talking about infant and preschool programming and what they learn from the media. I know some parents who won't let their infants watch anything on TV, and some that keep the TV on 24/7. Most are closer to the middle of the spectrum. Why do we (or should we) care what our kids are watching? Because they learn by imitation, both of real life individuals and those they see on TV. So, we have guidelines on how much TV our kids should/shouldn't watch, and what types, and even specific requirements in order to call something "educational" programming. But I like this quote that Dr. Coyne shared with us in class:

"All TV is educational. The question is: what does it teach?"
-Nicholas Johnson (FCC Commissioner)

We really do need to be careful of what we let our kids watch, because they are learning from it. The media is all-pervasive in our culture. Just search YouTube for toddlers singing/lipsyncing/copying stars, etc. In the following example, this little guy seems to have not just the general actions, but the words AND the actions down pat. I think it's too much when a little kid not even old enough to go to school yet can imitate a music video.

And as a last thought, I want to share a quote I've heard multiple times, "Just because it's a cartoon doesn't mean it's appropriate for children."

*Side note: sorry I can't fit the YouTube videos, I really am computer illiterate, and just learning how to do this stuff. I couldn't make it post any smaller, so, you'll just have to watch it like it is.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Social Media Revolution

After yesterday's rant about the facebook being good, I thought this video was relevant (I was impressed). Whether the stats are all correct or not (I have no idea where they came from), the idea is still relevant. Social media is here. It's not Good or Bad, it just Is. And it's here to stay.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Facebook: Love or Hate?

I saw a poll recently about media: if there were some kind of emergency and you had time to grab only ONE media item, which would it be? I didn't even look through the entire list. I don't remember everything on the list. Hands down, I'd save a computer, my laptop to be exact. I don't know what I'd do without it, other than go crazy. When my laptop crashed last summer, I didn't last a week before I commandeered my husband's extra work laptop and made him keep it home. I was having serious withdrawal symptoms, literally shaking.

So it got me thinking about how much I rely on my computer, and the ability to go online. The first things I do are check my email or facebook. Now, soapbox time . . . I know some people who refuse to join facebook. Whether it's because they know they'd spend too much time on it (good reason) or they have no need (legitimate) I can understand. But I was told by one individual that they wouldn't join facebook because it was evil. Yes, evil, my friends. Facebook was designed to get you to meet people online (specifically meet up with old boy/girl-friends) and have an affair, thus ruining your marriage. That was the fear this individual had. Well, I know it's possible, but REALLY? It seems so unlikely. And if someone really were in the frame of mind to have an affair, they're going to do it whether it is on facebook or not. Facebook is not inherently evil, my friends. It's what you do with it that matters.

I enjoy being able to see what my friends and family are up to at a glance. I like being able to see how things are going for them. And I am grateful for the convenience of contacting many people at once. For example, I live in the boonies. No, not really, but I do live quite a ways from any shopping, and running errands is an all day chore. So, when I need something for a school project due tomorrow or an ingredient for dinner, I don't want to have to drive 20+ minutes to get what I need. I post my need on facebook and see if anyone close can help. A week ago, a "friend" posted a need for help with a costume (our 5th graders had to dress up as a character for their "wax museum") for the next day. After reading her facebook post, I knew I could help her out. This past week it was me needing the help, on a major project of gathering supplies for a skit. This scenario happens at least once a week, and anyone of my neighbors who've been saved a trip to town appreciates it.

And when it comes to meeting people online, I love it. Personally, I've met some FABULOUS people online, and facebook is our number one way of staying in touch. I can cheer on B's child at science fair, send my support for S's girl having surgery, get a good laugh at the stories K shares, or let L know I'm thinking about her during labor. I can see pictures that T shares while still in New Zealand, or watch the videos of G's dance group while they're still on tour. In our fast paced world, I am so grateful I can still show my love and support to all my friends and family whether they live close by, in another state, or half way around the world (hi M in Australia!).

And for all those who keep complaining about the poking, gaming, and constant updates: you can block those things and stop complaining to the rest of us about it.