So I’m really not too sure about what I’d like to do for my podcast project yet. One of my good friends works as press for a website specialized in electronic music. My friend in particular is especially invested in the EDM community; he travels to shows several times per month, is always introducing me to new artists, and has strong opinions about the direction where electronic music is headed. I thought it could be interesting to interview him about his knowledge on the subject, while incorporating clips of music, for the podcast project. However this idea does also depend on the cooperation and time of my friend. I know that I’d like to get several voices on my podcast, which can be done by interviews with friends who want to participate.
Another idea I have is to interview students who have participated in study abroad programs through Rutgers within the past year. I know that myself, and at least ten other students who studied abroad with me in Paris last spring, have a lot to say about the positives and negatives of studying abroad. Maybe I could set up an advice panel on what it’s really like to study abroad? Students can share stories and experiences, give warnings to any future students thinking about going abroad, talk about the cultural differences between america and the country they studied in. It’s a vague idea but I think there’s a lot I could do with it!
After listening to the SLOW podcast on diigo, I’m actually pretty excited to start working with audacity and to begin preparations for our podcast projects. I had audacity installed on my computer by my brother when I was younger, solely for the purposes of entertaining my “musical phase” of life; I would record myself singing songs or playing (badly) tabs on guitar, then listen back to how my voice and guitar skills sounded on recording. After a few years went by and I accepted defeat that I would never be a musician; I deleted the program from my computer and changed focus to other hobbies.
It’s interesting to think about recording now, after having listened to the SLOW podcast, which focuses on Kohn Ashmore’s own perception of his voice when listening to it recorded. I think it’s safe to say that most people feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, and as Ashmore puts it, “horrified” by the sound of our own voices on recording (which is interesting to think about, seeing as how most people have considerably “normal” voices in comparison to that of Ashmore’s).
I’m looking forward to experimenting with my relationship between my voice and my recorded voice as we start to work with audacity. I guarantee that the discomfort of hearing my own voice recorded will remain, but perhaps I will learn to appreciate how lucky I am to have a voice that functions the way I want it to. It’s a simple concept, but I’ve been taking for granted my whole life how valuable my voice can be (in the most literal sense possible). Hopefully these podcast projects will not only make me more comfortable with working with recording materials, but will make me more willing to continue experimenting with my recorded voice in the future.
It fascinates me to think about how efficiency has transformed over the years as newer technology is created. When Fallows writes about the progress of his system of writing, starting from handwriting, to hiring the incompetent and terribly slow Darlene as a secretary, to writing in ink on computers that takes ten minutes, and then in a matter of few years, only seconds, I’m amazed at how far away we are now from where he first began.
I kind of chuckled to myself when Fallows remarked on having to go back to using tape recorders, which take anywhere from five to ten minutes to load work, and being alright with the process of waiting because of what he had to go through before tape recorders were even available. But after his discs are fried and he is forced to use the tape recorders, he finds waiting five minutes to be impossible. This is so accurate to the constant need for efficiency and quickness that we all value so much in all of our technology.
When I load my internet browsers, I get incredibly impatient and frustrated if it takes more than 10 seconds to get to a website. I mean, what is the point of the internet if it isn’t speedy? When streaming shows on my laptop, I will obsessively refresh a page if the show stops to buffer for more than two minutes. No matter how much technology gives us or no matter how much it is continually improving itself, there will always be reason to find fault. I’m afraid that nothing will ever be fast enough, or good enough in the world of computers and the internet. It’s the constant need to update, to upgrade, to enhance, to be present that drives the progression. 20 years ago there was no internet. 40 years ago there were no computers. Imagine what there WILL be in 50 years.
As we’ve been talking more and more about our society’s relationship to technology, during class discussions and on many of the blog posts, I thought it would be interesting to share a video I found about how the average person spends his/her time. The more connected we become to google and facebook and social media and television and the internet, I think many of us forget how disconnected we are becoming from the real world. I know that time is precious and technology is a means of efficiency, but does that outweigh how much time we actually spend using it?
This video addresses a number of aspects of how we use our time and I found it not only motivational but also quite illuminating and entertaining. I encourage you guys to watch it!
Sunday night I went to see the french play “La Machine de l’Homme” in Princeton, rather than stay at home and watch the series finale episode of Breaking Bad; this action alone has led to many of my friends questioning my sanity. I made the declaration that I would come home from the play and stay away from all social media, for fear of others spoiling the events of the episode and I would instead wake up early before class Monday to watch the streaming episode online (no commercials, added bonus). This post is in response to what my hands did before my brain even realized what I was doing, moments after I returned home from the play.
I first checked all of my email accounts, logged into a graduate school application to check my status, and then intended to come to Sakai to check my class pages. Without thinking, I instead typed the letter “f” into my search engine, to which the Facebook web address filled itself in and proceeded to press enter. After about five seconds, I realized I was on Facebook and horrified I immediately exited the page. Two seconds later, wanting to once again go to Sakai, I TYPED “f” INTO THE SEARCH ENGINE and pressed enter. I was back on Facebook again. How is that even possible?
What has occurred to me is that I am so conditioned to checking my Facebook that the act itself is second nature. I no longer think “I’m going to check my Facebook.” Instead, I automatically navigate the same three pages I always do when opening up my laptop: emails, Facebook, Sakai. Checking Facebook has become a tic, a ritual, a subconscious act that takes over my fingers without receiving consent from the rest of me. When I am bored, I open my Facebook page. When I am waiting for a streaming show to buffer, I open my Facebook page. When I am on Facebook, I check my email and subsequently after, I go back to my Facebook page. The fault is entirely my own for giving Facebook this much power, but regardless of how this system of checking and rechecking has come to be, the act itself is still disconcerting. Why do I allow myself to do this? Perhaps I am not allowing it at all, but rather I have already submitted any free will to Facebook long ago. It is no longer choice, it is necessity.
Just as I had begun to think that life couldn’t surprise or amaze or detach me from my cyclical, comfortable routine, I discovered something tonight that gave me hope. I saw a flyer for the Huntington Poetry Club in Murray last week, advertising to all who love to listen or love to read poetry to come out for a night of poetic play. At 25 Huntington Street, tonight I found a little piece of magic hidden amongst the Rutgers chaos. Students, like myself jaded with the everyday and the monotony of class then work (and iphones, netflix, emails, twitter, facebook in between) gathered in the basement of a house and voluntarily took the time to just be.
Spray painted walls covered with poetry, graffiti, and art met me as I descended the stairs to a room filled with chairs meant for sitting and an open center floor meant for speaking. It’s such a simple concept: hearing poetry and sharing poetry. Yet in a room filled with strangers, I think it’s absolutely magnificent that we all gathered there with the intent to free ourselves of all other obligations; to feel connected and inspired and alive if only for a few hours. Though tonight I did not share any of my own poetry with the other students in the room, I was swept into a world of language and music and feeling that still has me high an hour later as I sit in my room thinking about the events of the night. How often can language exchanged among a room of unknown peers make you feel anything that digs beneath the surface? It’s wonderful to know that even as the world changes, as free time becomes more precious, as priorities favor work over leisure, that art and expression still exist, and even more so, still inspire.
If anyone has the free time on Wednesdays starting at 8:30 pm, and the poetry keeps on flowing long after through the night, then I seriously encourage you to take the time to challenge yourself and surprise yourself and maybe even enjoy yourself at the Huntington Poetry Club. Truly, it’s deliciously fun.
According to Carr, reading paperback books is not a dead enterprise, but it is being seriously outdone by digital reading. I myself at a time declared how useful and cost effective kindles seemed; they save space on your bookshelves and the majority of e-books are marginally cheaper than their printed counterparts. I see the point being made that printed books are not entirely “necessary” or “relevant” anymore, as now you can read a novel online while simultaneously using the internet to Google facts, connect to dictionary definitions, read articles on the context of the book etc…but out of respect to our literary forefathers and the great authors past, I vow to never betray the close relationship I hold with paperback, bound, physical, tangible books.
For starters, I know that I am personally a much more devoted, not to mention delighted, reader when I have a book in my hand. I have read novels in the past on the computer, and even on the days when I was completely immersed into the world of the book, my laptop still found a way to exert its power over me. When on the computer, it does not matter what I’m doing, I find a way to drift and navigate to other pages. Not to mention, it becomes quite taxing on my eyes to read from a digital screen for prolonged periods of time, much more so than if my eyes are glued to the ink printed pages of a paperback novel.
Secondly, what should happen if some day technology fails us? I know this is a large hypothetical, but let’s say that novels/poems/stories/plays eventually become published solely as e-books and one day, our access to the technology that holds those e-books becomes inaccessible. What then? What printed books do is provide us with lasting evidence of an author’s work (so long as we are responsible in our care of those books).
I love the smell and feel of turning a page of a book; it gives me a reader’s satisfaction that honestly cannot be achieved through digital reading. When I am holding a book, I become submerged in that book and only that book (there are exceptions of course, particularly if the book has been assigned for a class that I find utterly boring). Yes my digital generation mind will drift as I read from time to time, checking my iphone and getting the urge to google something that I thought of while in a daydream from the reading, but I am way more committed to staying with the words on the page if the book is in my hand rather than on a screen.