Archive for October, 2010

Dream Journal

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

As mentioned in earlier posts, keeping a dream journal can be crucial to improving dream recall. Dream recall is important because it allows one to identify recurring elements in his/her dream, and then recognize those elements in future dreams in the hope of inducing lucidity.

I thought I’d share some things from my own dream journal, just as an example so everyone can see what you might want to shoot for when jotting these things down. And the entries can be very brief, especially if one doesn’t recall much about the dream. For example on October 9th I had a dream about fighting off this alligator/shark from a raft I was floating on down some river, and it was one of those dreams where one tries to hit something really hard but can never seem to. That’s all I have written down for that night. However, sometimes I’ll have more elaborate dreams where I can remember a lot more, so I’ll usually try write down more details. On October 21st I dreamed of being on my elementary school’s playground, where I was running around with friends I have now as opposed to the friends I actually had then. There was a lot of running around, people being chased, and just general chaos. Then going back into the school, the scene changed to a dorm/hotel where we continued to run around going in and out of different rooms.

These entries serve to show that one could write one sentence about his/her dream, or up to a page if so desired. The more details one records, the more easily potential trends can be identified. I have provided a picture of my dream journal, right next to my bed, so that as soon as I wake up I can take down some notes on my latest dream.

Is the Risk greater Than the Reward?

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

So on the Challenge: Cut Throat this week, the challenge was to get your whole team through these obstacles first. The obstacles were extremely small, and only one person would fit through them at one time. Each team had about all its players fighting to get through these tiny places while also trying to keep the other teams back. It was crazy! The gulag on the episode was hitting your opponent with a fly swatter, then a more heavy duty fly swatter, then hitting them while holding up a 30 pound bucket and not letting it hit the ground. It was pretty dumb, because they were just sitting there slapping each other with fly swatters and it looked so painful. I was watching this and wondering why anyone would ever put themselves through this. I was wondering why people participate in risky behavior, and if the reward was greater than the risk. A lot of the reason people partake in risky behavior is survivor of the fittest, and evolution, which relates greatly to this show. the whole point of the challenges is to see who is the weakest link on the team so tehy know who to put into the elimination round. The guys are a little more intense on this “survival of the fittest” aspect because guys tend to be more competitive then girls. A lot of time when watching this show, I do not feel the reward is greater than the risk. Yes they do win a ton of money, but they put themselves through so much to just try and get that far. Many of them get kicked off way before they even have a chance at the money. Many of them have to face their biggest fears, they have bruises and black eyes, and some times it just does not seem worth it. I guess that is why I do not participate in risky behavior :)

This is Halloween….

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

So I decided in honor of Halloween I will write up a post on the history of this day. Also it gives me an excuse to share this video:

History of the Holiday

Halloween has long been recognized as a day to pay respect to the dead. Originally it is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, this festival was celebrated on the night before the Celtic New Year (November 1) and was thought to be the day where the boundaries between the dead and the living  fell away. On this days the ghosts of ancestors were able to enter the world of living, and those still living paid their respects to them through certain rituals. Which included bonfires, sacrifices and they also wore costumes made from animal skins.

When the Romans came and conquered the Celtic lands, there own festivals became intertwined with that of the Celts. Most famous is the festival for the goddess Pomona. Many people believe this festival is the origin of our version of Halloween. However, with the rise of Christianity the holiday began to take on a new form. In an attempt to convert the Pagan Celts into Christianity, the Pope made the 1st of November All Saints Day. The night before was known as All Hallows Eve, and many of the rituals performed for Samhain were now being adopted into this new Holiday. The history channel also made this short clip about the holiday.

Origins in America

However that still doesn’t answer the question as to why it became so popular in America. I never noticed Halloween was that big of a thing for Americans until I moved back to Germany. There Halloween, and the concept of trick-or-treating was not as popular as in the U.S. While it did pick up over the year I lived there, by the last year the entire neighborhood welcomed the idea of trick-or-treaters, it wasn’t celebrated the same way as in the U.S. For one thing, the children all dressed up with something commonly associated with the dead. Witches, werewolves, and vampires were the big hit in Germany. There were no fairies prancing around on Halloween. That was saved for another holiday, known as Karnival or Fasching. Back to why it became popular in the U.S.

It is generally accepted that the influence of the immigrants, especially those from the United Kingdom, is what led to the rise of Halloween in America. This book actually chronicles the history of Halloween as an American holiday. Before the immigrants, America was largely Protestant and therefore didn’t partake in many of the Catholic Church’s traditions. America sort of embraced the holiday as a way to build community ties. And by focusing on those ties, Halloween became a profitable enterprise sometimes around the 1920′s. (Oh Hallmark, you have done it again!) Some say Trick-or-Treating has its roots to All-Souls-Day, where poorer families would walk around and beg for food in return for their prayers. They would then receive soul cakes from the families. Finally, here is another page about the history of Halloween. There is really loads of information out there, and I think I just barely summarized what I found. It’s pretty cool. :D

Patch Adams Video Commentary

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I began my video project on my PC…which ended up as an epic FAIL. For some reason, my PC wouldn’t allow to run the MPEGstreamclip software. Instead I ended up using our Mac home computer and found this to be much more successful! After dealing with the minor issues and the length of time it takes to work with the video, I really like video! For some reason it wouldn’t let me add the video directly to my page so I added it via the link.


We Are The Champions, My Friends

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

The Mighty Ducks Video Commentary

In 1992, Walt Disney Pictures released The Mighty Ducks, the first film in a trilogy that my sister, cousin and I spent many hours of our childhood watching. 18 years later, the film is my response to Assignment 8.

Originally, I used VLC and Handbrake for this assignment. However, after transferring my clips into iMovie, the shots shook so badly the material was unusable. The audio didn’t match up, either. With help from Jim Groom and Lindsay’s Video Tips, I redid the assignment using Mac The Ripper and MPEG Streamclip.

Gladiator Commentary

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Red Dead Redemption made me sad…for Sasquatch…

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

So, if you read my blogs, you probably heard about Red dead Redemption. Well, Red dead has a new expansion called Undead, which it takes the cowboy setting but it adds ZOMBIES to it. Awesome, I know! Well, one thing that surprised me is that in the expansion, the developers added mythical creatures. When I heard that added Sasquatch, I was so happy. The reason is pretty long to explain but I will try to explain it…

In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (the same developers of Red dead) there was this forest in the game. This forest had people’s hopes of them finding Sasquatch and killing it. You know how everyone wants to hunt for Sasquatch, its like a holy grail. Its that rare thing, its almost like in every open world, people want Sasquatch in it. So in San Andreas, people would not leave the developers alone about Sasquatch. So, six years later, Red Dead comes out ,but with no Sasquatch. Again, people complain and clamor for Sasquatch. The developers finally gave in…but gave us a taste of bitterness along with it, when the Undead expansion was released. Theres a mission in which you must kill 5 Sasquatchs,  because they are eating babies. The main character meets up with the final Sasquatch and prepares to kill it…when this happens…

This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

This story, this game, made me think about my wants, people’s wants and their consequences. Think about it yourself. Think about it…

The Shining Commentary

Friday, October 29th, 2010

So I just wrapped up my commentary on Kubrick’s The Shining. One of my top 3 films of all time, and it feels good because I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. And luckily I gave my digital storytelling class an assignment that provided the opportunity. I’ve pretty much been eating my own dog food all semester, which has been important for the evolution of this class this semester, and taught me a ton.

The actual assignment was simple in concept: provide a commentary track on a scene (or series of scenes) from a favorite film. This assignment was aimed towards getting the students to consider and get familiar with working through digital video, using Andy Rush‘s awesome Digital Video site as a resource. I was hoping this assignment would encompass everything from ripping DVDs to downloading YouTube videos to compressing and converting codecs to editing video and laying down a voice over track. One thing is for sure, those students with Macs in the class probably have a bit of an advantage when it comes to digital video because Moviemaker only imports WMV files, and that is pretty much a huge dead end for web video.

And despite that two semesters running now this has been the most difficult section of the course to teach, I do love setting them loose on digital video even though I know it will be a humbling experience for both them and me. I constantly get my ass kicked in this department, but I still think having a strong sense of how to rip, access, and remix video is important enough that I’m willing to take the time and energy to work through it with them all. That said, getting digital video right is hard. It takes patience, a meticulous sensibility, and some pretty extensive knowledge and understanding of how the proprietary codec market works. I’m somewhat a novice at digital video, but I always have fun with it which is not often enough. But I do think it is vital for some idea of literacy moving forward, and using video to comment on our culture and mashup various clips and resources (our next video project) is becoming the lingua franca of the web and giving them the opportunity to work on it and take it seriously is important, especially using a series of free and/or cheap tools.

What’s interesting is that this course has 27 people, and less than 12 got their video project in on time? Slackers will be tolerated with digital video, I knew it was coming, I even warned them, but nonetheless video beat most of them into submission.


Friday, October 29th, 2010

This is my favorite Kung Fu movie because of the way that Jet Li fights.

Unleashed part 1/2

Unleashed part 2/2

American Kids on “All Souls”

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Claire, Ashley, Tiffany and I are going to do a documentary-esque “halloween from a kid’s perspective” movie.

Schedule of filming:


Saturday: Intro clip recording

Sunday: Fall Festival interviews and photos (Claire and Tiffany—Sunday 3-6)

Pass off camera to Ashley

Trick or Treating video footage collection at Ashley’s house (evening)

Monday: Editing (Sadie)