Author Archives: mjpwoodruff

About mjpwoodruff

My biggest dilemma throughout life has probably been figuring out what I’m most interested in out of all the things I’ve ever come across and thought was worth a second glance. I have lists on my phone for all the books I haven’t bought and want to read, all the music I’ve tagged and want to listen to, all the fleeting thoughts I’ve had that could lead to an interesting topic for further daydreaming, etc. I probably visit as often as I visit social media sites. A short list of things I’ve considered majoring in: film, poetry, neuroscience, composing, screenwriting, anthropology, biology, history, journalism, sociology, forensic science, political science. The only thing I’ve found in common with all of these things so far is that they all relate to humans, how they work, and how they interact. I love bees, morning drives into New York City, and ultimate frisbee. I also sell Girl Scout cookies, if you’re into that. - Maggie Woodruff

Podcast Responses

I want to give a brief shout out to everyone who commented on my podcast – I was so shocked and honored by all the positive feedback I got back. I had a lot of fun making it, and I’m glad so many of you enjoyed listening to it! Your kind words meant a lot. If you want the list of songs that I used (and didn’t get to use because of time constraints), one of the posts on my final project has all of the names. Thanks again for your comments, I really appreciated them!

The first podcast I listened to was Ali’s, about her hometown Ocean City. I really enjoyed it, I thought it was an excellent little love letter to the place she grew up. Although I’ve lived in New Jersey most of my life, I’ve always lived in the suburbs, so her podcast was a really cool glimpse into what a shore town would be like. Surfing has always intrigued me too, so it was entertaining and interesting to hear about that. The background sounds were fun, and I liked the use of other people’s commentary on waves and lingo and such. Nice job!

Another podcast I listened to was Gabby’s podcast. I thought it was really well done because it kept the listener involved the entire time. There wasn’t a moment where my thoughts started to wonder, even though it was a thought-provoking topic. The community I grew up in is very open and supportive of gay rights, and many of my friends growing up had gay parents or were gay themselves, so the topic doesn’t make me uncomfortable by any means. What I did find interesting from her podcast is that she was very open to people asking her questions about her sexuality – sometimes, I think growing up in such an open, diverse community like the one I was raised in has it’s down falls, because we are taught to be comfortable and accepting of so many things but that comfortability can sometimes lead to silence. We don’t always push ourselves to discussion and question-asking because we’re terrified that we might come across as intolerant. I loved listening to Gabby’s podcast because it was so relaxed, and I think that’s an important approach to have when talking about subjects that not everyone is the most accepting towards. Too often, we come to the table to talk about sexuality or race or religion with a defensive attitude because we don’t want to seem judgmental, when if we’re honest with ourselves and each other, there is no need to be defensive at all. Gabby’s podcast reminded me of that, and I was really glad it did. I also found it really interesting the way she mentioned her sexuality as playing a role on her personality. After phrasing it like that, I can kind of see the same thing in my friends back home. The way she told her story was also really fun and humorous. I really liked it, she did a great job.

One of the last podcasts I listened to (though I listened to a lot because they all sounded so interesting) was Julia’s, on cyber bullying. The way she made it sound like a live news program, with interviews and everything, was clever and well done. I’m impressed. I also think the topic she chose is an incredibly important one, so I’m glad she covered it. I really liked the angle she took, because as I have gotten older it has become incredibly more clear how large a role our parents play in our development and personalities. A lot of the stories we read and watch when we grow up are centered around kids and their actions – and their personalities are so often isolated from those of their parents. But there is so much of our parents in how we interact with other people, because they are our greatest teachers. I think it’s really important to crack down on the parents of these children who are cyber bullying, because their influence or absence is largely connected to the actions of their children. I liked this podcast a lot, and I hope it inspires further discussion. Nice job!


Helloooo, DPLA. You’re lookin’ fine, 24/7.

Man, hitting the jackpot with awesome websites. This one is the Digital Public Library of America. Kind of speaks for itself.

Hey, that’s what I was talking about!

This is one of their exhibits, a series on Prohibition. You can select one of several different themes, and begin your edumacation from there. I chose the “Unintended Consequences” theme, and the site led me through a gallery of photos and text that was informative and pleasing.

Go take a gander. It’s an interesting take on the future of museums, and it’s also a great resource for those who can’t afford admission or don’t have a museum nearby.

Swimming Upstream. With a Computer.

A lot of the conversation in this class has been about the transformation of our news into small, easy digestible bites. Fast and quick often translates into less nutritional value, though. Time magazine claims that “the percentage of articles longer than 2,000 words in national newspapers has plummeted.”

or retweet it…

So. How do we counter this streamlining and slimming of our intellectual intake? By, well, countering it. We write longer, in-depth pieces, and we ignore everyone else who is communicating by headlines instead of paragraphs.

And that is exactly what this awesome website does.

Time magazine describes what Narratively does: “[it] sets a different theme each week and publishes one in-depth local story a day around that idea. Its strategy is designed to ‘slow down the news cycle’ and focus on stories about people you don’t hear about every day.”

And, Narratively recognizes that possibilities of the Internet as well. Their stories aren’t just blocks of text. They include videos, images, and other features that take advantage of the medium and enhance the narrative they’re trying to tell.

Here’s a not-so-quick example.

Happy ingesting!

Bow Down, Soundwaves, I Am Your Master

After working with Audacity and becoming more familiar with the tools, it was kind of mind-blowing to realize how easy – and FUN – it is to play with sound and manipulate data into something that expresses your ideas. It was like uncovering a whole new artistry to something we all take for granted – sound. I love that technology has enabled this new medium to become something creative and inspiring, and, after listening to this amazing chorus of crickets, something enlightening about the world around us. Seriously, take a listen to these tiny creatures, because when we use technology to slow their voices down, we get a whole new sound that is familiar and incredibly new. And, stunningly beautiful.

I definitely had fun with the video project, but I think I might have had more fun with the podcast because I used all original data (besides the music) and it felt a little more hands on. It’s incredible, what you can do with a little trimming and splicing. It definitely opened up my eyes to a future of fun, creative, side projects.

What do you listen to??? (podcast help)

After letting my podcast idea stew, I think I’m getting a better idea of what specifically I want to focus on with the “Rutgers bus playlists”. However, I need to figure out what people actually listen to. I’m prepared to actually ask people on the buses what they’re listening to, but before I start awkward conversations and am trapped on a bus with people who I might have aggravated by interrupting their music time, I’d like a better sense of what people listen to, when they listen, and on what buses. I have a lot of classes on Douglass and College Ave, so I ride the F bus a lot and I figured it’d be a good starting place, but if you guys could provide me with some information I might get a better sense of where I could focus my attention and initiate the, “excuse me, I’m doing a project on what music people listen to on the bus and could you please tell me what song you’re currently listening to?” conversation.

So. Please feel free to comment (please please) with the following information:

a) what music you listen to on the bus (with specifics)

a.2) or if you don’t listen to music, why

b) what bus (route and time of day) you listen to music

c) what your friends would answer these questions with

d) any other thoughts you have on the music – does it affect your mood, do you feel weird when you don’t listen to music, are there times when you choose not to listen to music, etc.



Incognito: Is the proof in the text message?

One of the jokes that is most telling of our generation is the “I hope the government enjoyed reading my private emails” type. What other age group has grown up worrying over (and laughing at) the fact that our text messages and online activity are – or, can be – monitored by the government and private companies that provide communication services? Another lesson we’re taught is that anything we post on the internet is permanent. So, anything we send electronically is not actually between the people sending and receiving, but available for others to see publicly, and to use against us. Our private messages are public and permanent. While this is kind of intimidating and sad, and many debates can come from the ethics of this situation, what I find particularly interesting about it in this instance is that because these messages are kept and filed away, they can be used to prove things that were said.

Earlier this week in my recitation for another class, we watched this interview with Richie Incognito, who, if you didn’t know (I didn’t until the class), has become the center of an NFL scandal around Jonathan Martin – a fellow Miami Dolphin – quitting his job due to alleged hazing.

Richie Incognito, who has a past riddled with poor choices.

Buzzfeed posted an article with a timeline of Incognito’s past discretions and the repercussions. After reading the article, I’m inclined to not believe a word the guy says, but I don’t want to judge him based on a buzzfeed list. However, if you watch the interview, you can see that a lot of his arguments are utter crap. He’s defensive. I really don’t want to believe him.

YET. In the interview, he offers up some incriminating (or I guess, non-incriminating) text messages between him and his “buddy” Jonathan that seem to prove that Jonathan doesn’t blame Incognito for the reasons he quit. Obviously there are things that can be faked, and both men have enough money to have this done in a pinch, but can our “private” messages be made public evidence for society to judge us? What does this say about our generation?

I’m not saying I think Incognito’s actions are justified after those text messages from Martin were revealed. In my opinion, Incognito is a rude, selfish, immature person who is used to being pardoned for his less-than-savory actions. Furthermore, even if I were to buy into the whole “boys will be boys in a locker room” excuse, it’s still pretty telling that an NFL player – who I assume is more than used to the “locker room environment” – would quit because he thinks the “culture” of it is too harsh. A seasoned pro says enough is enough? That’s powerful.

Jonathan Martin, who gave up his $390,000 salary.

do think, however, that we need to figure out how willing we are to accept text messages (or any other electronic form of communication) as evidence of a good relationship. We communicate differently with each other over the web versus face to face, and tone is pretty much wiped out when the message is displayed on a screen. We’ve been judging people based on the words they write since we’ve been able to write words. But can we judge people based on the electronic words we write? Especially the private ones?

Saving Trees vs Saving My Patience

Ok. I am a green person. I love the Earth, I don’t want us to screw it up, I think we are sometimes (most of the time) huge assholes in how we treat our resources, and I’m paranoid that I’ll be using a gas mask in 20 years because there won’t be any pure air left. But. For the love of all that is holy, I hate online course catalogs.

I mean, I get that we’re trying to save trees, and it makes updating them THAT much easier, but it is sometimes REALLY hard to find a class online, and I feel liking I’m missing out on all of these things I could know about if I could easily flip through a book and find them. Online catalogs feel like a stab in the dark. You have to know exactly what you’re looking for. You can’t browse. And for someone who has no concrete idea of what she is MOST passionate about (only that she is moderately passionate about many things) browsing is my life. I need to browse. I cannot handle a stab in the dark.

Colleges aren’t the only place this happens. There is a huge switch (obviously, we’ve been reading endlessly about it) from paper to electronic, and I support the idea of it. I honestly, really do. But I don’t know how to not be a snob and say, “I love old fashioned books. I like flipping through pages. I like the ambience of a spine and covers and paper and printed ink.” And I don’t want to have to apologize for it.

So. If anyone out there has an idea about how to save trees AND save my patience at the same time, I’d love to hear it. Because online course catalogs suck. I don’t want to feel guilty about being #teampaper