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November 25, 2010

Well, I’ll say this: having an assignment to create something about an obsession sure gives a person nice creative license– and that obsession an amount of legitimacy.

Because some may say “it’s crazy that you created that.” And I could say, “oh well, it’s my assignment.”

Voila. The genius of this entire course.

I thought maybe you’d want to hear more about what actually happened from the horse’s mouth. You can do so here, in a 1997 interview with Ekaterina Gordeeva.
1997 Primetime Live
Uploaded by Anneliese. – Basketball, baseball, pro wrestling and more sports videos.

Finally, here is my homage, made possible by the talent of Ingrid Michaelson and Sarah Bareilles. And iMovie.

On the Rock

November 18, 2010

Call me crazy.

(you probably will).

I mean, what is this? the 90’s?

(I wish it was).

But my obsession is with ice skating (not Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, that’s a rumor Claire started over at Never got into for myself, can only barely get myself by on a couple of skates. Maybe that’s why it’s so fascinating to me– it’s just not something I can do. So I am so enthralled by those who pull it off.

(by pull it off, I mean win the olympics).

I brought up the 90’s. And for a reason (not just to make fun of myself for my love of skating). I think that was the golden decade of skating– it simply won’t happen the same way again. I mean, it’s still thrilling to watch the winter olympics and I can get myself tied up for an entire afternoon watching youtube videos to bring myself up to speed on new competitors before the winter sport season. That’s one thing that is so cool about following skating– there is a huge online database of videos old and new. No one puts whole baseball games online (wish they would!). The availability of videos online is actually the reason I am able to revisit the 90’s and convince myself that skating will never be *that* good again. It wasn’t about tricks, it was about artistry and control– plus the music was better. Cheesier, sure, but much better for skating routines than the anti-climactic movie scores used today, if you ask me.

But you weren’t asking me. Or were you?

So anyway. Skating. That’s my obsession. My favorite is pairs skating. I still don’t understand ice dancing, really. Girls have better music, but guys have better jumps. That’s the breakdown.

If you were to ask who my favorite skaters are (I know you didn’t), I’d have to say Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. That’s partly because of the whole dying young/tragic romance factor they have going on, but who can really say? Matter of a fact, I made my own video of the two of them back in February (the olympics had me re-hooked). Back in November 1995, after they’d skated together for 11 years, been married for 4, had a 3 year old daughter and had never placed lower than second in any competition they skated, Sergei died of a massive heart attack while they practiced a routine on the ice in Lake Placid. Katia skated a tribute to him three months later.

I took clips of their performances over the years and mashed it together with that tribute performance, set to the music of the program they were practicing (but never got to perform) when he died, Grieg.

Claire likes to laugh when Katia does the camel spin for seemingly forever (at 0:53), as if to suggest quite cheesily that they will go on and on, per Celine Dion’s blockbuster hit. She then made some sort of smart comment like “they’ll be dizzy forever, too.”  😉

I also created an epilogue video about Katia’s solo career and new family with 1998 Men’s Skating Olympic Champion, Ilia Kulik.

For the record, Claire laughed at this video per the music before she ever even saw it. Blog world, show a sister some support!

Where Exactly *is* 4 Beeson Ct.?

November 16, 2010

Here’s a basic overview of where I’m from and what went down there.

I did not realize that the “demo” logo would be over the video the entire time– I am so sorry!

Don’t mind the end when I can’t figure out how to get out of capture mode 😉 (and then when I sketchily–though accidentally– pull up my old Dean of Students’s resume…).

Television Mashup: 24 goes Gleek

November 9, 2010

Most popular show of 2002, meet most popular show of 2010. My how we’ve… grown?

Pretty Woman Commentary

November 4, 2010

It just dawned on me this afternoon that in my rush to upload this commentary to youtube on Tuesday evening, I failed to actually post it to my blog.

My bad.

I chose Pretty Woman as the subject of my commentary because it is really one of the earliest romantic comedies I can remember seeing. At first I thought that was weird because it’s all about a hooker. But then I got to thinking about how really it’s not a movie about prostitution at all– it’s about dreams and personal agency and the courage to change what you don’t like in yourself. So there, naysayers 😉

Halloween From Kids' Perspectives

November 2, 2010


The song, in case you are highly interested, can be downloaded FOR FREE here.

American Kids on "All Souls"

October 28, 2010

Claire, Ashley, Tiffany and I are going to do a documentary-esque “halloween from a kid’s perspective” movie.

Schedule of filming:


Saturday: Intro clip recording

Sunday: Fall Festival interviews and photos (Claire and Tiffany—Sunday 3-6)

Pass off camera to Ashley

Trick or Treating video footage collection at Ashley’s house (evening)

Monday: Editing (Sadie)

Beyond the Front Door

October 22, 2010


I’ve begun the project proposed in this post.

The project can be found here.

(and this post will live on the top left hand side of the blog).

My goal is to archive the persons, places, and things of my childhood home, which we are in the process of moving out of. This is a fun time, but also busy, occasionally frustrating and disheartening. Beyond the Front Door is my chance to slow down and appreciate the memories housed at #4 Beeson Ct. and the home created there after 21 years.

Posts will revolve around a family member, a room, or some object of interest that my Mom has kept over time.

Come on in.

Universally Boring

October 13, 2010

Trudy Smith on the JFK Assassination

This was my prompt to my parents: “One of you needs to give me a boring story.”

Mom, for some reason, instinctually picked the JFK assassination story. This was interesting to me as I got to thinking about it, because few people see such a monumental event as “boring.” As I sat and listened to her, myself even knowing this story from previous mentions, I was intrigued. Because it’s particularly interesting? No. But because John Kennedy’s assassination is a part of the collective identity involved in being American. It is a 9-11 moment (or is it the other way around?), a nation-wide hyperconscious memory. It doesn’t matter how boring an individual story is in regard to one of these events, because the audience knows how important that which transpired was for the nation as a whole. That, in turn, makes the individual memory interesting.

My approach was to insert sounds to convey the “freshness” of the news in that moment– the kinds of sounds running through my Mom’s mind as she decides what aspects of the story to tell and what to leave out. She probably remembers hearing the bell and the sniffles and the carriage. She sympathizes with Caroline, who will never get to have conversations about lost teeth with her dad again. She remembers the shots and the retrospective looks at JFK’s speeches. She pictures herself trying to get away from the boring TV.

Do you recognize how many times she says TV?

This is the first time she can remember TV being, well, a memory. Before this event it wasn’t really noteworthy. Afterwards it became an unforgettable part of her childhood.

Accounts of the assassination of our 35th president are, for the most part, universally boring. But. The memory is universal. Everyone alive and of age remembers where they were and what they were doing. Boring or not, it’s worth sharing because it was a shared experience in an era of great division.

I end the audio with a fade out because the debates– the who shot who and why– went on forever. Thus, so could (and has) the story.


miller center of public affairs university of Virginia
Gerald l. baliles, director

DoubleHorseCartGheorghieni.wav :: (0:39) :: Cart passing in the streets of Gheorghieni -… added by bourotte2

swings.aif :: (0:13) :: This is a large group of kids playing on a… added by Corsica_S

DaddyIPulledMyToothOut.wav :: (0:04) :: Over the years I saved a few of the voicemails… added by daveincamas

Electric_school_bell.wav :: (0:36) :: An electric school bell recorded at the Nashua… added by John_Sauter

Nose Blowing.wav :: (0:07) :: A sound of a person’s nose blowing into a tissue. added by mookie182

On Dying Young

October 5, 2010

Monday night. 9 p.m.

It happens just about every week.

Katie: “Are we going to see a movie?”

I usually respond with something like a “heck yeah,” and we go on our way. (every now and then the roles are reversed, but you get the point. 6 weeks= 6 movies). Our selection last night is what leads me to the purpose of this post: The Social Network. If all goes according to my maniacal plan, all DS106 Internauts (Charles, are you coming?!) will being seeing it tonight after (but kind of during) class.

“Was it that good?,” you ask.

There are so many layers to that question. (Like ogres.)

There was a bit much bumpin’-in-the-club music for my taste. Not because I’m really all that anti-partying, but I am anti-repeated-monotonous-thumpin’-base-all-up-in-my-ear. But I guess I’ll get over that for an objective review. Objective in the “personal bias” sort of way, you understand.

The acting was really good, I thought. This is, of course, saying something, because Justin Timberlake plays Napster mastermind Sean Parker and not even his fellow N*SYNC members would let him in On the Line back in the day. (That’s not actually true, JT was well on his way and telling the others to cry him a river by then, but it felt an adequate insult to convey just how terribly this could’ve gone off for Justin.) Matter of a fact, his acting was so good I turned to Katie 3 scenes into his appearance and said “that guy looks like Justin Timberlake.” Turns out it was.

She laughed at me. And then I laughed at myself, so really she was laughing with me.

Know what else we were laughing at? The movie. I had no idea it would be as funny as it was. Good thing, too, because it leaves you with a series of questions to ponder that are hardly comical in the least. Sort of a “laugh while you can” kind of thing.

I was dumbfounded by the talk of code and law and shares and percentages. But the idea was always clear. So and so got cheated, this dude is smart and the law on these issues is pretty grey when you want it to be (and then even more grey when you don’t want it to be). (I also imagine that the technology talk is quite interesting to those who speak code). It views a lot like a play. Not because of the actors acting out a movie but because the characters each spend the entirety of the film acting out their own version of the story– trying to set the stage to make his self come out on top. Meanwhile the audience knows they aren’t getting the “real” story at all. Not from the characters and not from the writers of this movie.

For most of the movie it was the existence of this movie that had my attention. I remember life before 2004. So well, in fact, that 2004 doesn’t really seem like that far back. Yet the world has changed exponentially since then. What’s weird about that is that I was watching a movie about how the world has changed.

What’s scary is that the story of how hundreds of millions of lives have changed in 6 years starts in the Harvard dorm room of a few drunk guys. Granted one is an internet prodigy, but still just a guy upset about a breakup. A guy who can now claim the creation of a 25 billion dollar program that is available to the public for free. WHAT?!

Katie and I kept wondering how there is already a movie about all of this litigation from just three years ago can now be a movie. A legitimate one. One that is currently shaping every single viewer’s opinion of facebook. Not necessarily positively. After all, what we learn is that Zuckerberg essentially went the less moral (though clearly successful) route, leaving his best friend (Eduardo Saverin) in the dust in favor of a more cutting edge advisor, Sean Parker. There bathroom escapades, drug busts, and a wild summer facebook frat house. The heart of this movie– the heart of facebook– is sex, greed, and self-interest.

If you ask me, Zuckerberg did it to himself. How is it that this is a movie so soon after these trials covered the front pages? Well, in the age of facebook, word travels fast. A world, that is, that Mark Zuckerberg created.

The movie tracks that creation very well. It’s informative, to be sure. It might be more information than Zuckerberg wanted mass-produced. In fact, it might even be more information than I wanted.

I left the movie with a strong– I mean passionate– desire to delete my facebook. Zuckerberg just doesn’t have the right, you know? It just feels unjust how much power he had (and has) to shape the world we live in. His share is ridiculous! But mostly I was mad because because he does have the right. And he has it because I gave it to him. Every picture I uploaded. Every status I posted. I gave it away. Everything in me screamed to take it back– but I can’t. Even if I do delete my account, the content is out there. Free to cover the next billboard I see on my roadtrip home to AR. So if not to take it back, then STOP.

Katie warned me that I couldn’t. I immediately saw her point.

Every single bit of information (or creation– specifically my pictures) I gave to Mark Zuckerberg, I also shared with my friends. That was the point, right? That’s the genius of this all, right? Oh, but what I really did was build up a sense of entitlement in every one of my friends to have that access to me and that content. So if the facebook went, I would automatically be at fault. My pictures would no longer be visible. But they aren’t just my pictures anymore. In the minds of friends, every picture they’re tagged in is also theirs. How dare I take that away? As if I have the right. So now everyone with access to my facebook albums AND Mark Zuckerberg have the “right” to my stuff. Everyone but me has the right.


When did I sign on to all of this pressure? And how did it inform my every day without me even realizing it?

There is another reason I can’t delete the facebook. It’s not only the wrath of the upset friends. The fact is that if I deleted my facebook, I would be well on my way to “left in the dust.” Of, you know, the future. That’s all. If I refuse to engage in the current technology, I’ll refuse to be in the next. And the next.

And suddenly I’m sitting at IHOP (literally, we went to IHOP after the movie last night) at 21 years old, feeling like a grandmother because I already fear the pressure and the self-interest that will take over subsequent generations because of the facebook mindset that even I’ve been tricked into. The mindset that leads me to check the internet *at least* twice a day to see if someone has commented on my picture or my wall or my status. An anxious desire to feel like people care about me. Which quickly turns into an attitude of that people should care about me. It has this nasty way of producing such self-importance. The irony? With 5 headline-making teenage suicides that I know of in the past TWO weeks, we are witness to the least self-confident generation ever. Sad.

We’re the most connected generation, but we’re so disconnected. From the faces we pass on the street and the parents we’re having dinner with and the friends we’re hanging out with and the people in the car in the intersection who never saw it coming because we were on our phones. We see a profile page and feel like we know a person immediately. But it takes time to know a heart and a soul. We’ve been fooled.

Of course, that’s not all on the shoulders of Mark Zuckerberg. But it does weigh heavily on the mind of the viewer leaving The Social Network, and that is no accident.

The final shot (SPOILER ALERT) is so telling. Zuckerberg sits at the empty conference room table of a major law firm having just been sued by his best friend and “friend requests” the girl whose heart he broke– who broke his heart. Click after click he refreshes the computer quite literally looking for acceptance.

That concerns me. It concerns me for the generations to come. And it makes me a grandmother in a 21 year old body.

Don’t worry, though. As we sat there over pancakes, eating our sorrows away, Katie informed that she thinks we’re the type who’ll die young, anyway.

As for me? Part of me believes I left my youth– the innocent kind where all you need is your little piece of the world and the people in it to feel content– with the year 2004 (the year of the facebook).

At least, that’s what I’ll tell the grandkids.

I’ll tell you to go see the movie yourself.

(disclaimer: I do realize there are quite beneficial aspects of advancements such as facebook, I just decided to go all doom and gloom for a sec :D)