Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

This weekend was the spooktacular weekend of Halloween!

I like pretty much everything about Halloween: the spooky atmosphere, scary decorations, watching scary movies, and seeing trick or treaters.

In the mood to be freaked out,  I watched the "scary" movie Red Riding Hood on Friday surrounded by fang-tastic Halloween decorations.

Saturday was the ice scream on the pumpkin pie as I had the most fun of my whole weekend carving pumpkins!

I haven't carved pumpkins since I was in elementary school because the last experience resulted in my finger having a boo-boo (har har).
Turns out my boyfriend is a pumpkin carving expert who didn't know his ghoul friend could sketch a cat on a pumpkin so well.

I realize this post is not much of a monster cause I thought I'd keep it short and sweet for you. What a treat!

If the puns in this post annoyed you..well then you got a bat temper, my friend. I'm not trying to be a pain in the neck like our vampire friends.

I'll boogie on through and wrap this post up like a mummy by leaving you with the coolest pumpkin carved in Winnipeg. I realize the Jets are playing kind of horror-ble lately but hey, no guts no glory. Am I right?

Fangs for reading my post.  Happy Halloween :)
(Just when you though I couldn't come up with anymore puns, I show you of CORPSE i can!)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today's Big Brother

Who is Big Brother?

George Orwell introduced a fictional character called Big Brother in his novel "1984". In the novel, Big Brother dictates the people in the city of Oceania under totalitarian rule. Wikipedia defines totalitarian rule as when authroities regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever they can.

In the novel, everyone is under complete surveillance by authorities. The people of Oceania are haunted by the idea that Big Brother is watching them at every moment (telescreens are usually the mediums where people are monitored in the novel). His face looms over the public on giant telescreens.

Citizens of Oceania never meet or see Big Brother in the flesh, so his exact identity and actual existence are unknown. However, they still live in fear of doing something wrong and being caught.

Does Big Brother exist today?

The powers and vastness of technology today make it possible to do just about anything (e.x. there is an app for pretty much everything). Telescreens were the medium of surveillance in Orwell's 1984. Today, many different screens exist.

We have televisions, video cameras, computers and laptops, iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Screens are everywhere! You might say that people don't watch the news on television anymore, but that's probably because there are a ton of other mobile screens that are available to watch it on. And who doesn't like convenience?

Social media can thrive on every invented screen: we can blog, tweet, Facebook, name it!

There's always the fear that our phone calls, texts, and goings-on in our devices are being monitored so that we're always under surveillance of a higher power. Yet, we now have the power to do so back.

If Big Brother used surveillence via telescreens to his advantage, people today who have some sort of screen can do the same. A lot of people own cell phones and almost any cellular mobile device can record or take a picture of something or someone.

I've had classmates send me pictures of myself sitting in the classroom or school hallway via text messages, all in joking of course. The interesting part? I am not looking into the lens because the
pictures were taken without my knowledge. I am being watched and photographed and I don't even know it.
If friends are doing this to one another, what's stopping strangers from doing it? Our whereabouts at anytime can be documented and proved with the simple showing of a photograph that a cellphone captured. And further, these photos can be shown to anyone. Having a picture or video taken of you without your consent doesn't sound ideal, but it's next to impossible to avoid. Further, you have no control of these pictures and videos because you don't own the device, so they can be shown to authority figures at any time because they were taken without your knowledge.

We are Big Brother.
As members of the public with access to mobile devices capable of photography, video, and any other form of recording, we have become Big Brother. Any image that we capture has the possibilty of being fed into other forms of media, such as blog, Twitter, and Facebook posts. And once uploaded onto these social media sites, we can view them on almost any screen accessible to us.

Power was once only granted to higher authorities. But today, everyday people are gaining power too with the techonological advances that are accessible to them.

With these devices so accessible to the public, we can pretty much be watched and recorded anytime and anywhere.

Does this Apple Macintosh commercial remind you of anything?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oral speak be warned...

The overall question: are emoticons in text messages replacing real emotion?

I’m aware that people have already asked this question, but it’s one that’s currently on my mind. It’s also one I can’t find an answer to.

I get a little frustrated with text messages. Yes, I know they can be extremely useful.  They’re great when you have a question worthy of a one-text reply or when you’re in a quiet place and desperately need to send a 140-character blurb.

What frustrates me is when people repeatedly feel the need to have lengthy conversations by texting. Straight up: I don’t have a spare three hours in my day to stare at my phone and reply to your messages.

Beware of the text abusers: they inflict annoyance in the form of startling alerts and continual buzzing.

“But the conversation was important,” they say.

If the conversation is dire, what is stopping people from picking up the phone and actually dialing your number? If you have the energy to text, you have the energy to dial a number.

Let’s touch upon the over-discussed question because it just seems fitting: are younger generations doomed?

This past summer, I had to train a 17-year-old at work. You’d think she’d try her best to be hard-working and diligent on her first day of the job. Not the case. I had to fight for her attention. My competition? Her BlackBerry.

Most of the activity on her first shift was credited to her typing away on her phone keypad. Yet, her unprofessionalism on her first day of work wasn’t the thing that bothered me the most. I hate to say it, but it was her lack of social skills.

Ever tried talking to a brick wall? It’s not that easy. I fear that younger generations are becoming so incredibly dependent on their phones that common social skills, like making small talk, are soon going to be extinct.

So, are emoticons replacing real emotion?

I’ve become painfully aware that people are starting to spark conversation more and more via texting. What messes with my head in particular, are the emotions that are conveyed via these messages.

I am not a mind reader, and by extension, not able to discern the emotion a person is trying to convey in a text message. Smiley-face emoticons and the occasional “lol” is helpful in creating a positive tone. But as soon as these symbols aren’t used, I immediately start to think the person I’m texting is either angry or uninterested in chatting.

(And for the record, I usually don’t start these conversations. I’d rather take advantage of my free 300 minutes and evening calls.) 

Conversation is almost becoming an art. It’s almost become a realm where some people are naturals and where others struggle. How will conversation change as the digital world progresses? Perhaps people are going to end up “reading” emoticons as real emotion. Perhaps verbal language of a social nature is going to vanish altogether very soon.

I apologize if this post came across as a rant. It’s more of rambling thought… lol.