Monday, April 28, 2014

Insites on Text Analysis Tools

Here is a word cloud and text analysis that I quick conducted on Voyant Tools for the Edgar Allen Poe short story The Cask of Amontillado. I made a word cloud on Wordle because Voyant would not let me remove the stop words for some reason, the site is fussy sometimes. The story is about a guy sealing his friend in a wine cave after chaining him up when he was all hopped up on wine from the cave. Just from the quick glance at the word cloud and commonly used keywords, I definitely know that the story takes place in a cave, by use of words like catacombs, recess, vaults, and crypt. There is also the use of a great deal of Spanish or Italian words and names, which would make someone determine that the story takes place in one of the two countries, even though we are never really told where they are at.

If someone were to conduct a distant reading on this though, that would be about as far as they get. There is nothing in the Corpus to suggest what the story is about and what the outcome of the story is. So, in reality these are good tools to understand different things within a text, but it is always better to read the text before you dig in and analyze it. Below is some screenshots of Voyant and Wordle.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Useful Perspective from Adam Hammer

On Friday I went to two separate presentation from Adam Hammer, who is the Director of Media Relations for Outlook Magazine at Saint Cloud State University.  He is also a singer songwriter that travels around the region performing his art. You can check out his website at

I got a great deal of insight about what it takes to get into mass media professions in today's world, and what classes I should focus on while in college. From what he said I should get my hands into a little bit of everything having to do with writing, audio and video editing, and web design. The biggest thing that he put out was that we need to focus on the written word, in other words we need to know how to tell a story. .

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Commodification of Kurt Cobain

When I think of music now days, I compare it to a factory assembly line, in that with the shows like American Idol, The X Factor, and The Voice just seem to keep pumping new music stars out on a monthly basis. But is this really different than what has been happening in the music industry since the times of Elvis Presley? Well yes and no. America has been commodifying music to people's tastes since the onslaught of rock and roll and probably even before that. It always seems that one or two bands were discovered at any certain time and it began a craze for whatever type of music. Some good examples are bee bop bands of the fifties, the surfer and psychedelic rock of the sixties, punk and disco in the seventies, and post punk and hair bands in the eighties. God was there ever going to be and end to the bandwagon of dudes in lace and makeup that sang like someone had clamped a vice grip on their family jewels? And the there was our savior, Kurt Cobain.

When Nirvana hit in 1991, it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally the death of the hair scene. Everything seemed to change overnight. Suddenly the record companies were scrounging for bands from Seattle and the west coast to sign. Other good music from the likes of Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, and Alice in Chains came along. Life was beautiful, for a while anyway. Back then the demon was MTV, which got ahold of the grunge scene, and everything else that was different and lumped it into "alternative music" which really did no justice for all the different bands and musicians that were lumped in there. If you want different we'll give you all kinds of stuff that's different. Unfortunately this was all a commodity, and once again crap music started to permeate the scene. Factory assembled copies of the original, might be good in the automobile industry, but sucks in music. Eventually Cobain died in 1994 and the scene pretty much imploded on itself. Around 1997 we saw the first Brittney Spears video, and just like the utopian scene began, just like that it is gone. A great deal of those bands never went away like the hair bands did, but the feeling was never the same as it was in the early nineties.  


Friday, February 28, 2014

Mobile Devices and New New Media

When you look at new new media and the place that mobile devices play in the big scheme of things, one thing is for certain. Mobile devices have made communication universal, in that they allow almost anyone to get on the internet and post, or tweet, or load a video at any time and anywhere. There really is no more finding a computer if you don't have one or finding internet service because it is all right there in the palm of your hand. This in turn has led to an eruption in the amount of media that is constantly being exchanged, which in turn brings about constant growth to data and cellular systems. All of the sudden we are watching videos from around the world and seeing more of what is going on in the world. The down fall is that it has taken away interpersonal communication and really made us that much more lazy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

YouTube Promotes Obnoxious Fruit

A friend of mine, by the name of Kelly Chrisman, turned me on to The Annoying Orange one night at a little watering hole I used to frequent.

According to Wikipedia,

"The Annoying Orange is an American comedy web series created by former Minnesota film student and MTV production assistant Dane Boedigheimer in 2009. It stars its creator as an anthropomorphic orange who annoys other fruits, vegetables, and various other objects by using jokes, which are sometimes crude-humored. The YouTube channel "Annoying Orange" has over 3.5 million subscribers.

Despite the show's negative critical reception, the show's popularity after its first episode led it to become the subject of a TV series, a video game, a range of toys, and a t-shirt line. Other accessories, such as costumes of the series characters, have also appeared on the market for the company."

This is just an example of how YouTube can make average everyday people that produce small projects into rock star status overnight.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stop Motion Film

Here is a small stop motion film I created with text from the Grateful Dead song Scarlet Begonias. I like the first half, but I was getting tired with the second part so I kind of rushed it, but since I created it on Movie Maker, I can always redo the second part. This was a fun experience with stop motion, as I have never created any before. I will definitely try to integrate it with future projects.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

140 Characters

Mass communication at 140 characters a pop. I used to think that Twitter was just exactly like Facebook, so what was the point of being redundant? Why would I want to pump out the same information 5 different times to the same people, whether they be followers, friends, or whatever the newest thing is. So I did a little research on Twitter to figure out what all the hype was about. The biggest thing that separates Twitter from the rest of the social media sites is its simplicity. With keeping Tweets limited to 140 characters and only allowing links on posts the speed at which Twitter moves is unreal. Pretty cool if you are wanting to comment on what gibberish Bill O'Reilly is spewing out on Fox News, or what Botox Barbra has to say on The View, or even to announce your thoughts on a particular show on the tube; all showing up on the bottom of the screen in real time. Mass communication at its finest. My one major problem with Twitter though is people's stupidity at the speed of light. It is bad enough on Facebook, but only certain people can see it. Even if you have your security settings on, all it takes is for one person that doesn't have any security settings to re-tweet a post, and you are done. Embarrassment by the masses. So here's to the many politicians, and stars who have got themselves in the hot seat or even ruined careers all because of 140 characters.