I’ve opted to review the Memes Show.  The topic is particularly relevant to our focus on the Internet.  The spread of memes is an excellent demonstration of the phenomenon of “going viral” and their popularity is incredible.  Naturally I was intrigued as to how a radio show would cover this topic.  I appreciated the structure of the show itself, first beginning with definitions and history regarding the memes before discussing some very popular/relevant memes.  I felt that some of the initial history segment was rather slow-going, but this quickly moved on to the memes themselves.  I appreciated the observation that some of the best memes seemingly materialize from nowhere.  This is very true, as you cannot predict what will become a meme.  I also recognized many of the memes discussed, including the Willy Wonka and Kermit the Frog memes.  In regards to audio work, I thought the use of background music was a nice way to tie everything together.  Sometimes there was some crackling in a few segments, especially when transitioning, but overall the show was pretty smooth.  Overall, excellent job!


A Pro-Sauron Retelling of LOTR

I’ve really been enjoying fiddling with web pages, so I decided to take X-Ray Goggles to YouTube for this next assignment.  As a Lord of the Rings enthusiast, I decided to alter the video where Eowyn famously declares “I am no man” before stabbing the Witch King.  I changed the description to “Classic tale of boy meets girl” to imply a romance.  In a similar fashion I edited the name of the channel that posted the video.  I also altered most of the LOTR related suggested videos on the righthand side to have a pro-Sauron bent.  For example, I described the Mouth of Sauron as a diplomat who was brutally murdered.  This was another fun exercise demonstrating the power of words and context, in addition to the ease with which the web can be altered.  The full site can be seen here.


Mayonnaise Search

I wanted to experiment some more with X-Ray Goggles so I decided to take on the Personal Search Engine assignment.  I decided to make mine somewhat ridiculous, so… some backstory.  For years I have used the phrase, “Mayonnaise, peanuts, and cucumbers,” as an exclamation of frustration.  “Mayonnaise” for short, when the situation is only minimally frustrating.  So I decided to create the Mayonnaise search, with natural derivations such as Mmail, etc.  I also altered the “I’m feeling lucky” button to give you options such as, “I’m feeling peanuts.”  The hardest alteration was to adjust the name of the search itself, as Google was placed as an image.  Luckily I was able to erase the image and add my title as a heading.  Other personalizations included putting some science and politics search tabs towards the bottom, and being more forceful in encouraging citizens to vote.  Ultimately this was a fun exercise that again emphasized the malleability of the Internet.  The full site can be seen here.


Magical UMW

Using the X-Ray goggles was much easier than I anticipated.  I’ve had some experience with html before, but this plug-in took care of the technical work for you.  I ultimately decided to edit UMW’s main site to make it fit within the Harry Potter universe.  I essentially made it appear that UMW is a magical school, reflecting this in much of the terminology and labels on the site.  I think my favorite part is a very small piece of editing towards the bottom, which states “Trump’s unconventional campaign has magical analysts puzzled.”  It makes it seem like the wizarding world is utterly perplexed by the rise of Trump!  Overall this was a fun exercise that demonstrates how malleable the web is and allows us to see how small changes can have big implications.  The full site can be viewed here.

Week 7 Summary

This week’s focus was on the radio project.  I have to say this was a great experience as far as group projects go.  We were able to successfully coordinate and meet up in person four times during the week, and everyone contributed.  Most of the work came in the form of figuring out logistics and editing the sheer amount of audio recordings that we had generated.  But overall, this was a very positive experience.

In addition, the daily creates this week were a bit more image oriented.  The first one required some quick editing to mashup two images/historical events.

And the second involved going outside to perform some photography.

Radio Show Progress Week 2

The radio show project went well and seemed to be relatively painless.  Our group met in person for the first time Monday morning.  During that meeting we finalized our show format and divided work assignments.  Essentially we decided to fully flesh out four events that recently went viral, and each of us would become experts on one of these topics.  Then during the show, we would present our information to the group, leading to a full discussion of each story. We agreed to meet Tuesday afternoon in the HCC to try recording our show.

We successfully reserved the recording studio for Tuesday, and, while we ultimately did not use any of the fancy equipment, we took advantage of the quiet space.  During this meeting we discussed the details of the project (for instance deciding that we would have one main host in charge of transitioning us from topic to topic).  After these final decisions were made, we launched into recording our show on Audacity.  The process was relatively smooth, and we successfully saved our initial footage.

We then met up Wednesday morning to go through our footage together to edit out extraneous bits, obvious pieces of outside noise, and areas where we broke off of the show to plan ahead for the next section.  I kept the file and attempted to upload the audacity project to google drive to allow for easier group editing, but this resulted in coded gibberish.  So instead, I did another run through of editing (tightening up distracting pauses, etc.) and placed some of our initial bumpers into the piece.  We then decided to meet up Friday morning for final editing.  During this meeting we inserted our commercial segment, played around with volume levels, and posted the result to soundcloud.  The final product is below!

Week 6 Summary

This week really focused on getting us prepared for the radio show project.  Our group quickly put together a google doc for planning.  I used some of my weekly assignments to contribute to developing the project.  One of the assignments I completed was a fun little commercial for a fictitious Gods Away Spray to assist Xena when she has to deal with the meddling of Greek deities.  It’s lighthearted and funny, and I was quite proud of the end result.  I also completed a promo poster for our radio show through GIMP.  This took some playing around with, but I believe the outcome successfully communicates our theme in a clear and concise, yet engaging manner.  The full assessment of our progress can be seen in this post.

Other audio projects, while perhaps not directly assisting with the radio project, did help with improving my familiarity with Audacity.  I was able to experiment with tone while mimicking the style of Don LaFontaine.  I also had the opportunity to reclaim spam.  Finally, I continued my recurring theme of using Xena at every possible opportunity by creating a fictitious voicemail for the character.  Overall, this week really focused on audio, and more specifically with preparing us for this radio show project.  And I believe our group is ready to tackle the challenge!

In addition, the daily creates were somewhat more involved this week.  One involved making a gif:

Another involved poetry:

And the last one involved creating clones through messing with panoramas.  This one was especially fun as I was literally running around the room getting into position.  3 clones is pretty successful!

Radio Show Progress

We’ve made some strong initial strides in planning our radio show.  We have a good group of 4 and have created a google drive document for planning.  Here we can brainstorm show ideas and provide our commercials, bumpers, promos, and contact info.    In my opinion, our most promising topic is this clown trend.  It’s taken the internet by storm, but appears to be blown out of proportion.  I think a lot of good discussion could be generated around this story, especially since the Fredericksburg area has had a recent scare.  In addition we’ve collectively completed 4 bumpers and 2 commercials (at the time this post was written), including ones that have a very creepy tone to compliment both the clown coverage and the October time-frame.  I personally contributed two major ideas (the clown segment and coverage of what many consider a major gaffe on O’Reilly) in addition to a minor one (the prevalence of a particular gif, which we may or may not add to the show as it’s a bit more visual in nature).  I also added one bumper, one commercial, and one promo.

In addition we began an email chain to grind out what days we’re available to meet.  Tentatively it looks like we can meet up Monday and Wednesday mornings.   Hopefully we’ll begin by meeting up Monday in the HCC to finalize planning and potentially begin recording.  At this time, I believe our overall format will be a few major stories broken up by some lighter, quicker ones, using our bumpers and commercials as transitions.

Radio Show Design Project

I wanted to create a poster that introduces the basic premise of our radio show in an interesting and engaging way.  To accomplish this, I began by looking for a picture of a crowd.  My hope is that this would convey the fact that we are examining popular phenomena that spread from person to person.  I added this image to GIMP and referred back to this article for a refresher on how to outline text.  The style of the outlined text is similar in style to a meme (another phenomenon that often spreads in waves across the internet).  I had to play around a bit with the outlining technique, as the amount of individuals  in the image made it somewhat difficult to make the text stand out (I essentially had to increase the amount of black pixels for the outline to establish the right amount of contrast).  The final product is simplistic but hopefully effective (characteristics often seen in articles/other items that go viral).


Gods Away Spray

Naturally I chose another television crossover assignment that could be doubled as an advertisement for the radio show.  I liked the idea of evaluating the difficulties in a protagonist’s life and seeing how those needs could be met.  My mind immediately went to Xena, a hero who often struggles against meddlesome Greek gods.  I decided to create what is essentially a repellent against these deities.  I then wrote out my script in the most cliche As-Seen-On-TV style possible (lots of set-up questions, describing/playing up the solution, etc.).  I recorded this piece in audacity, and added the Xena theme song as background music.  The result is below.

I have to say, I think the best part of the whole commercial is “simply spritz, spray, and watch the Greek god fade away!”  I don’t think I could have come up with a better line than that.