Thursday, December 14, 2006

Final Blog: What Kind of Media Consumer am I?

This is my final blog, and as such, I would like to first and foremost thank everyone who took the time to read my thoughts and opinions (especially Lilly since she had to read ALL of them). I feel like my writing had improved immensely and as such, I am grateful for the experience. You might ask why then I won't continue to blog after this, and here is my answer: although I have learned a lot this semester about blogging and am grateful for the experience, I don't particularly like blogging as a way to express my thoughts and opinions. I still prefer the old fashioned paper to pen feeling, perhaps I was born in the wrong century (haha).

On the thought of what kind of media consumer am I, and how have I changed over the semester...well, I still consume about the same amount of media (178 days a year with the media in some form or another, 65 days on average that I spend without the media per year). However, how I consume the media has changed drastically. I am now much more aware of the type of Media that I am consuming, who the target audience is for that media, how that media is distributed, and the history of that media. I am also now much more aware of the kinds of propaganda that I consume everyday, and thus, am much more prepared to handle them.

I now look more closely at the media that I am consuming. I am much more critical as to what its real motives are and how truthful it is. I now think about things like: for what purpose was this produced, and what story isn't this media telling?

I think that although the amount and types of media I consume hasn't changed, what type of media consumer I am has changed drastically because I am now more aware and educated on all the forms of mass media.

Thanks everyone--for a great semester! And congratulations to anyone who is graduating this semester!

Bye guys :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Movie Review: World Trade Center

In the movie "World Trade Center," director/producer Oliver Stone and screenwriter Andrea Berloff tell the story of two of only twenty survivors who were pulled from the ruble and the story of their families and a world watching the horror unfold on television. With a combination of painstaking detail and tactful emotion, they depict an event that is overwhelming on its own.

In the 2006 drama “World Trade Center”, the four lead actors all give wonderful performances, as people dealing with the emotions of being trapped.

Peña and Gyllenhaal, as the eager rookie cop and his headstrong and practical wife, are especially compelling adding even further to the reality of the movie.

This well-crafted World captures the panic and confusion surrounding the tragedy and serves as a worthy tribute to the heroes of that day. But it's not the devastating, gut-wrenching experience you might expect. With a unique look and feel and a jumpy script that removes the watcher from the drama is a great, but at the same time difficult to accomplish. Stone's safe “World Trade Center” is a fine film, but not what was expected by me and stands what I think as a respectful tribute.

Stone uses great camera angels, and special effects. An example: In one scene where the men are trapped in the tower, the camera pulls back from Cage and Peña's motionless body, sails through the hole in the wreckage above them, and continues to rise until it shows us all of Lower Manhattan and, finally, the whole Earth from space, as seen by a satellite. I think this special effect is symbolic for a “scar” on the earth. More so, how this wasn’t just effecting New York, but the world.

It’s a vividly designed piece of cinema, with equally brilliant acting by Cage and Peña, who have only their faces and voices to work with through much of the film, while trapped under the debris. While they wait, they whisper tales of their families and their lives, and at one point the image of Christ appears to Jimeno which is an emotional moment in the film.

Stone weaves the story back and forth also taking us outside the building to witness the after effects of the disaster on bystanders, rescuers and the families of the trapped men. Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal are terrific as the McLoughlin’s and Jimeno’s wives, who are angry, terrified, and helpless as their husbands are in the building.

Overall I would give this film an A-, and I would highly encourage anyone to go see it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

CWIT Computer Mania Day

Hey guys, continuing on the same theme, I stumbled across CWIT-The Center for Women and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) who hosts Computer Mania Day to encourage girls' increased involvement with information technology. While boys are welcome, the focus is on girls because of their continuing under-participation in information technology classes and careers. This program is designed to provide an introduction to information technology applications to different and exciting careers. Students get together in small groups of no more than 25, and the groups rotate between information technology demonstration stations. At each station, the students learn about the application of technology to the world of work through fun and interactive activities. Students also visit tables where high schools present information and encourage recruitment in IT programs.

An adult program complements the day by providing information about causes for girls’ low enrollment in technology courses and what adults can do to encourage girls to embrace technology. I would highly encourage these courses for anyone interested (what a great way to try and make an impact in our already busy lives)

During the afternoon, parents and teachers participate in a series of breakout sessions covering a variety of topics, which help parents better prepare their children to enter careers in IT. Adults receive advice from IT business professionals, state education leaders, and school and college educators. Parents also have the option of visiting several special topic seminars and taking a tour of the campus. To enroll your self or a girl you know please go to

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Girls Go Tech Campaign

Recently Girl Scouts of America has launched their Girls Go Tech Campaign that is trying to raise awareness about the short supply of females in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers. The did a complete launch of advertisements including television, radio, magazines and newspaper ads.

They partnered with the AD council and have since then branched out to develop their own website for girls including interactive games, a resource library, and exciting information and about the possibilities of where a STEM career can take you. Check it out at
Girls go Tech

Females currently receive almost 59 percent of all bachelor degrees, and yet intolerably, only receiving 28 percent of all computer science degrees, 18 percent of all engineering degrees, and 11.4 percent of all electrical and computer engineering degrees. In addition, computer occupations are projected to increase by more than 66 percent between new and 2014, adding close to 1 1/2 million jobs. Creating and maintaining a comprehensive female talent pipeline in order to help assure diverse recruitment and the ability to retain top talent worldwide is not only important, but necessary to secure the future success of top innovative companies world wide.

There are several ways to get involved in this exciting project-for more information please visit the girls go tech website mentioned above or email me for other sources.

Please leave any thoughts you guys have about the ads or the campaign...

The Book Titles... the post below I review two books but I forgot to mention the actual titles!

The first book is called Twilight
The second book is called New moon

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Love, Vampires, and Teenage Hormones--Could Anyone Ask for More???

Stephenie Meyer--the new Anne Rice? If you haven't heard of her yet-don't worry because you’re about to. Stephanie is a budding new fiction writer that has recently topped the charts of the New York Times bestseller list, and is sweeping the hearts of science fiction fans everywhere. She has two books out thus far (which were both absolutely fabulous), and is currently writing her third.

Her book was a New York Times editor's choice, an Amazon "Best Book of the Decade", a Teen People "Hot List" pick, and a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year--and that’s just the first novel!

Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight (the first novel), is a love story that grips you and won't let go. In addition, Meyer's talented writing make the reader fall head over heals for her characters in an incredibly addictive habit (I read both books, which are both well over 500 pages, in two days).

Both novels revolve around the characters of Isabella Swan and Edward Cullen. Isabella is a high school junior who has been forced to move into her estranged father's home in the small town of Folks somewhere on the west coast. Edward is an almost 100 year old vampire, who will forever appear to be 17, who lives his eternity practicing abstinence from drinking blood. His struggle to be good despite the overwhelming odds against him capture the reader immediately. Both books revolve around their lives, their love, and the struggles (both human and super natural).

Overall I would give these books an A-. Their story lines are wonderful and they are exceptional at drawing the reader in. However, Stephanie's writing style is a tad bit inexperienced--but I have nothing but high hopes for her and her future works.

Monday, November 20, 2006

United 93

The heroic story of the members of flight United 93, who stood up to the terrorists trying to hijack the fourth plane on September 11, was portrayed in the movie “United 93” in April of 2006, only five years after these tragic events took place. The film was very controversial: Is it too soon? Will this film offend anyone? The answers to these questions are all on a personal level, and can only be fully answered if the individual sees this movie. Although Oliver Stone’s, “The World Trade Center,” was to be released later this year, “United 93” was expected to “soften the blow” about movies made regarding September 11, and would receive outrageous press. In the trailer for this movie, there is no announcer, no recognizable actors. While sitting in the theater, watching previews, viewers were alarmed by what they saw. The movie clip starts off by watching people load onto an airplane, very peacefully. All of a sudden, the plane is hijacked, and a sense of terror runs throughout both the passengers of the plane, and the audience in the theater. Due to these shocking previews, many theaters pulled the trailer from showing. Both articles and stories in the news started streaming throughout the country, and “United 93” opened in theaters with mixed feelings from America.

The first time that I saw this movie was in the theater a year ago. The main scene that has stayed in my head, and that was still alarming when I watched this movie for the second time was as the plane was going down, the camera would cut to different passengers reciting the prayer, “The Our Father.” The almost disturbing thing about this was that as they were saying it, the terrorists were praying to God as well. While watching the movie, the viewer would see and hear a passenger recite a line from the prayer, and then hear a hijacker respond in Arabic. The passengers were praying, because they hoped that they wouldn’t die, or that perhaps they simply wanted to die peacefully. On the other hand, the terrorists were praying because it was their mission from God to do this, and they simply wanted to end their lives for something they felt was right. Different cultures and religions were depicted, making it clear that no matter what culture or religion one has, death is something that scares most.

When the passengers assembled together and devised a plan to redirect the plane and fight back to the terrorists, a sense of relief exudes. Ramming the cockpit and stabbing the hijacker with the bomb (which they found was not real) almost makes the audience feel as if the plane would be landed safely, and that everything would be all right. This is what everyone hopes, even though the viewer already knows the ending. This scene defines the entire movie, and why this film was made. It showed the heroic efforts made by the 40 passengers and crew that died that day. They did everything they could; although they could not save themselves, they saved the Capitol Building.

The first time I saw this movie, it was by accident in a way. The movie my friends I wanted to see was sold out; I had a slight hesitation to see “United 93,” mainly because my uncle had passed away a few months prior to its release, and also because I felt it was too soon to see it. After the film, I had mixed feelings about what I had just seen. It was really hard to imagine that ordinary people had the courage to stand up to others that were ultimately going to kill them. “United 93” made me appreciate life a lot more, and helped me to not take things for granted. During the part in the movie where people were calling their families from SkyPhones and cell phones, it made me think about my own family. I could deeply relate with these people, because I knew that if I was in the same situation as they were, I would have been doing the same thing.