Monday, January 26, 2009

Blog post -- Writing for the World Wide Web

I'm assuming most of my blog entries for this class will be pretty cut-and-dry, but I felt compelled to post this one -- I thought it was a fairly easy read... fairly.

I’ve owned a blog for around four years now, but in just that short amount of time the whole nature of the medium has changed. My introduction to the “blogosphere” came when my first girlfriend convinced me to make a Xanga so I could update pointlessly about my boring high school life just like she and all her friends did. As it turned out, I got pretty into it, and most of my friends wound up jumping on the Xanga bandwagon. But it was a passing phase, as Xanga was very public (kind of like a blog mixed with a Myspace-style social network) and spammers were covering the site with clutter. So I switched to the more private LiveJournal where the entries got more personal and serious due to its comparatively exclusive design. I fell out of the whole “online diary” thing around senior year of high school and never really got back into it. Now, as I’m gradually becoming reacquainted with the blogosphere thanks to this class, I’ve found that it’s pretty much exploded into the mainstream. Suddenly people everywhere are actually trying to elevate it into a credible source of information, updating about issues and topics of importance and attempting to make a difference in the Internet community. And it’s working in many respects — several popular blogs (i.e. Perez Hilton, Hipster Runoff) have gone so far as to become fixtures in modern culture.

One of my close friends and I were hanging out the other day and I told him I had to write a blog post for this class, and he laughed at me and called me “gay” for having a blog. I was surprised that this mindset was still in place today. In high school, it certainly was the case; blogs were for the “weird people” — in-crowd meathead code for people who had their own thoughts, feelings and ideas and wanting to express them via a (potentially) public means. So I used to think at the time. I’d just assumed that society at large had finally embraced the idea of blogging, since it had begun to utilize it for new purposes other than online diaries. But my friend’s reaction made me realize that maybe the world hasn’t completely warmed up to blogging culture yet — there still exists a stigma against it.

Blogs began as individualistic and personal outlets of communication and expression and then, as its popularity snowballed, transitioned to facilitators of information about news and other various areas of the media as well as for business, search engine and Q&A uses. As such, some people who previously regarded blogs as trivial or untrustworthy due to their highly personal qualities still hold this opinion now — and that’s understandable. Obviously without a universal code of ethics, blogs cannot be trusted as 100% factual by any means. But perhaps the most defining quality of the blog is that it offers the user the freedom to do anything they choose with its template. No filter, just pure freedom of speech and expression — which, in my opinion, should never change. So unless blogs that strive to be taken seriously take it upon themselves to perpetrate high standards and prove they are providing accurate information, I don’t see much of a solution anytime soon.

And not to ramble, but just as a small aside…

Maybe the opaque nature of the essay we had to read is to blame, but I felt like its authors weren’t really talking about much of anything. In particular, the differences they outlined between opinion posts, voting posts and reaction posts are really abstract and unclear. I read this section several times over to make sure I wasn’t just misunderstanding and began to understand where the authors may have been coming from, but the differences between voting posts, opinion posts, reaction posts and summation posts seemed marginal at best. I admit I’ve been away from the blogging world for a while and can’t really speak as an authority, but most of the blog entries I’ve ever read seem as though they could fit into several of said categories… Maybe I just don’t think like a scholar… to me blogs represent a simpler, more universal way to communicate then they’re making it out to be.


Friday, January 23, 2009

JOUR 3510 blog

For one of my classes this semester we are required to blog about various topics, and I felt like sharing my most recent post because I really like how it came together.  If anyone reads this thing, please let me know what you think.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Glasvegas S/T review

Published January 15, 2009 in The Red & Black


Although it has been on the shelves in England since September, Glasvegas' self-titled debut finally saw its U.S. release last week.

The album casts the Scottish rock quartet as a post-punk outfit. All the hallmarks of the style are in place: anthemic melodies, wall-of-sound production and ethereal guitar work copped from U2, all anchored by a pulsating bass undercurrent.

The problem is, of course, that while all of Glasvegas' musical traits mesh well together and display a promising sense of internal chemistry, little from its debut feels markedly original - as if the band is content to retread the sonic terrain achieved by its predecessors rather than construct its own identity from it.

Even so, "Glasvegas" is a relatively solid debut, a handful of its songs boasting gorgeously crafted melodies and acute sense of dynamic ("Geraldine," "Polmont on My Mind," "Flowers and Football Tops").

Allan has a frustratingly familiar vocal style, resembling a rough-edged, Scottish version of The Shins' James Mercer at his best and AFI's Davey Havok at his worst. His melodies are stylized in the same fashion in nearly every song, but when his lyrically verbose tendencies push the band into spoken-word territory - particularly on "Stabbed" and "It's My Own Cheating Heart that Makes Me Cry" - it suggests a unique nuance for Glasvegas to explore in the future. Only "Go Square Go" leaves an unfavorable impression: its awkwardly jaunty momentum feels affected and borders on being outright silly.

It suggests enormous potential - but if Glasvegas has any hope to separate itself from the slew of post-punk imitators in the future, it'll have to bring something new to the table.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

As the lame duck enters its eleventh hour...

We are quickly approaching inauguration day and Obama will soon rightfully assume his position as the 44th president of the United States and hopefully help undo the monstrosities that the Bush administration created over the past 8 years. So I figure now is as good a time as any to publish some of the only outright political lyrics I've written... This has been a slow-burning, gradual process, and you can probably expect me to revise these lyrics any number of times in the near future.

Without further ado...

"Rose Colored Lens"

Stand facing the crowd
Tell them all you love their beautiful frowns
Poised above them all
You’ve convinced them that they chose their own fall

It’s hard to be more than in-between
When nobody can see which way you lean
Step back, get off my lawn
Find someone content to join the hell ride you’re on

Eyes don’t conceal fear
They fester impulses you wish would disappear
Surely you thought this out
The falling towers cleared quite a convenient route

It’s hard to tell where the madness ends
When we’re fed the world through a rose colored lens
Step back, hands off my dreams
This fa├žade won’t erase what I saw behind the scenes

What did you expect you find when you looked inside?
Did it make you scream?
I guess turning a blind eye can’t provide
Your mind with sound reprieve

What did you expect to find inside?
But a frayed and tattered dream?
Idle power won’t allow you
To spread your brittle wings

I’ll pull up your roots, I wanna know just where you stand
Did your pride change your tune
Or were you caught scanning the dial?
I’ll dig your fucking head up from the sand
Did you hear me? Are your ears clean
Or are they coated in denial?

I may be blind but it’s better than seeing through your eyes
I may live in fear but it’s better than living your lie


Friday, January 2, 2009

Mutability in 2009

Took a walk alone in shifting sands
Mistook them for a muddied path
The one thing I decried you now commend
Attach a steel echo to your laugh

Can't get comfortable with here and now
When tomorrow succumbs to yesterday
Lend me something I can hold somehow
Anything that won't melt away
And disperse among the shifting sands