The week I did not sit back and watch TV…

Morlium is busy prepping his showcase for Monday, so he balked when I asked him to cover for me again. Here I am then…

This week went moderately well. Aside from getting 65% my normal sleep allowance, tons of homework, etc. Fortunately, this week was a little lighter in this class.

So the theme was video assignments. As with audio, I had no experience with editing video. As a result, I had to play a lot of things by ear. Frotunately, Morlium dug up an old clip of him back before he started out as a horror host, which got me part of the way there.

I also took the opportunity to show off some of my impressive skills.

On viewing the various weekly vieos/readings, I found it especially interesting that the blogger legitimately complained about a generalized modern media. Similar to how the writer on design noted that too many fonts are a plague, so to was it noted that many modern movies do a poor job properly mixing video and audio.

See you Monday for the review!

Signs of Trouble

For this assignment, I needed to sign something in letters, let us see if you can pick up on it.

As a hint, this once was a very popular phrase, and still is if you are part of the correct circles.

I came across this assignment looking at other peoples’ blogs. It turns out I had learned how to sign letters a very very long time ago (1st grade I believe?). This assignment was a great refresher on those signs, as I actually periodically find myself wanting to sign these letters, but often forget some critical ones such as ‘r’ or confusing the ‘a’ with the ‘s’ (I think after this one I finally have a system to remember, the ‘a’ is a ball plus tail (thumb on the outside), while the ‘s’ is one complete squiggle (thumb on the inside)). I was really unsure of how to delimit words and double letters, but I think after a couple tries I got it down. I also had to pay attention to how visible my hand was during the movie, that it was always facing the camera and in the field of view. It was slightly more difficult than I expected.

And for those who want to know what the phrase was, it is the primary phrase in the following…

(media not embedded so as not to spoil)

Wanted: Morlium, Dead or Alive

It looks like Morlium has a history…

When I saw the assignment, I knew it would be a perfect fit for getting a little deeper into the host characters. The character, of course, would be Morlium. As a practical consideration, I wanted clips low on volume so I could do an unmolested voiceover of a news reporter. This, combined with Morlium’s history in Alaska made nature scenes the natural fit.

This is the first time I ever edited video or put a sound overlay. I obtained clips of nature from http://thecliparchive.com/index.php?category=NPS. It turns out some windows computers, including mine have a moviemaker already installed (just search moviemaker in the search programs). Once inside, you can add clips to play one after another. There is a tab for video editing in which you can trim the clips to the desired lengths. Once the movie was created, I played it while recording a speaking part into audacity (so that my speech matched the video). I then exported the speech as a wave file. Windows Moviemaker has an add sound button on the homepage, which I used to insert the speech. Since I recorded while watching the video, the two aligned quite nicely.

I would have liked to put a little more into the wanted parts, but the assignment specifies at least 5 different sources, and I felt the need to give a piece with every scene change. In hindsight, most news reports care very little about what is going on in the video, so I may have been able to be a little freer with my speech.

Luscious Hair and Fabulous Faces

I am awesome…errr….lets just show a video.

 

Lets just say, this is highly out of character for me. That is part of the reason I took on this assignment. Most of the things I could brag about bore other people. I wanted something a little more…tangible. That is why I decided to brag about physical appearances. In my experience, you don’t have to look good to brag about appearances in the slightest, you just have to act confident. I chose hair as one thing because it has been getting a little long, and has become an active hindrance. I cannot not be conscious of it, so it is more or less on my mind a lot.

My face is a little more serious as a bragging point. Between being a non-talkative socialite, having two young nieces, and playing a brass instrument, I have had plenty of experience making odd faces. I actually am not too happy with how they turned out, but after trying several takes, I realized that I would need a better outside stimulus (such as a funny situation or odd spoken word) to pull them off to the degree I was hoping.

As for the very end, yes, the newspaper did taste awful. I thought I had a bag of animal crackers next to my chair (and indeed, you see me reaching for them), but I accidentally put them away between takes. As a result, I just reached for the nearest thing I could which I could attempt to cram in my mouth. An ad-libbed moment, I thought it worked out relatively well, and was an interesting punctuation to the slight awkwardness that receded it.

And the Dust Settles

This week and the week before had slightly fewer assignments going around than previous weeks, so it was slightly more challenging finding good posts to comment on. Nonetheless, given my schedule, how things (random ranting+complaining that the average reader would care less about)…I am trying to stay a little more on top of things. Normally, I save commenting for the very end, after all assignments have been completed and written up, but this time decided to complete and writeup a bit earlier.

This weeks comments include:

Reminiscing about Gamestop

Letting anything go

Vacationing to Greece

Seeing how radio shows went over

Multiple times

Reminiscing about the 90’s

Following a plant

Going to Germany

Signing

Tongue Twisters

Overall, there are a lot of neat things out there. People take interesting twists on the assignments, and can be very creative with the more open ended ones. One difficulty I am facing going into this is the realization that a lot of different people are taking the class. UMW students tend to be the most active, but sometimes it seems that I hit a blogger from outside the school in my wanderings. In these cases, commenting is more difficult because there is a lesser degree of similar experiences between myself and the author. I try to get as personal as appropriate when communicating. I hope I did not weird anyone out…

On a final note, I will mention that I was a little late approving some comments last week on my own blog (terrible of me since I have voiced that very concern here in the past), so if someone’s comment links to here were broken in the past, that may have been the reason.

Week 9, (yes, that is…what I will call this)

(A man with a suit and fedora stands before you, leaning on an axe)

Good evening. We will both be out tomorrow, so we are posting this slightly early.

I would say my landlord is….abusing my presence. He used me so often this week, even with commenting, that I stated “Well why do I not just write the weekly summary as well?” To my…infinite sorrow, he took me up on my facetious suggestion. Being serious all the time has…serious drawbacks at times.

The week was not all bad, however, I was able to connect with some friends for dinner. It may have gone quickly, but I like to think we…communicated our characters well.

Speaking of good character communication, I had a run-in with Spooksy. I trust he ironed out the…difficulties he was having.

In attempts to work out a different arrangement with my landlord, I have been forced to attempt to take on contracting work. Needless to say, I am glad I do not have to go through your healthcare system for the types of ailments I experience.

It was difficult getting to see the radio shows. My landlord has…obligations on his evenings, planned well in advance. He has good access to internet, but not necessarily at exactly day X on hour Y. Nevertheless, he was able to force an availability Thursday evening, where he reflected on the evening’s radio broadcast. Perhaps he should be less busy?

I am not here to judge, only to say what is.

 

 

Wandering Around the Internet

(A man in suit and fedora stands before you. Looking closer, you see his cane is actually an axe)

Good evening.

While I was wandering around the internet, my landlord asked me to drop off a few comments, and summarize them below. If this keeps up much longer, I may have to ask him to renegotiate our housing contract.

So, rather than he commenting on posts, I took left my own words on various topics. Some people may have found it…odd to see a stranger wandering around.

Jim Post

On Halloween

More design blitzes

The beach

Commercials

More Commercials

Emergency Calls

Character Collaboration

Mixed Drinks

Radio Shows

Overall, I would say the presence of the project….brought out the best in people. There were many good posts lying around this week, and a few older gems I …stumbled upon (Mixed drinks). The other characters are also getting quite a bit of use, which is good. I could use the…company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on 3rd Millennium Horror

To reflect, I listened to 3rd Millenium Horror. From the beginning, it appears that this group also worked towards a modular construction, with each member contributing. I liked the consistency of the hosts, each talked about the movies opening weekend and real world reception. Since I am writing this as I am listening, I must keep the comments straight and to the point. Some of the remarks may be a little less refined than I prefer, but I will avoid editing to keep the authenticity of my reactions.

The first anonymous host had a very well rehearsed. My one gripe is that it was very well rehearsed. For flavorful hosts, I would prefer a more extemporaneous style. The background music in the second part added quite a bit though. The logic for the second part was also impeccable.

Wow, a movie I have actually seen! That is rare indeed. I also enjoyed the movie as a mental thriller. I think I could have done without the FULL trailer, but the content is good, so I cannot complain. The bumpers overall are very well made. Again, there is great use of background music.

For the third host, there were some difficulties with the volume dial. I use of effects was a nice touch, though their difference in volume led to some unfortunate headphone incidents (specifically the bone crushing). John has a very understandable voice, with good pacing, etc. I only wish he had ripped into the last film a little harder.

For the fourth host, we have some good observations. I would have liked a little more detail, but there is only so much time in a day. Again, the bumpers are very nice.

The content of the radio show was very good. The hosts were generally concise, and gave great points. However, I did not get a great insight into the characters personalities. I am not sure whether or not the hosts made an appearance at all, since the reviews all sound like normal people (are they?). Overall, the radio show flowed very well.

An Audit with Blair

No one is more qualified to give a status report than someone who can wander around your computer. Morlium, in a joint venture with Blair, has been directed to audit the Department of Health and Human Services. I took on this assignment because it is a good fit for multiple hosts.

——————

Our findings are not favorable. We have found that your infrastructure is completely vulnerable to beings capable of manifesting themselves within your computer infrastructure. Your deepest secrets are exposed, from your employees social security numbers to the embarrassing photos.

Have you considered periodically wiping your system, moving it from place to place? Also, consider periodically causing a power surge on your system. We note that is very effective at keeping out unwanted intruders.

Furthermore, we have significant problems with your diagnostic equipment. Namely, they fail to diagnose anything. we have confirmation here that Blaire is a mess, and your instruments detected…NOTHING! If they were truly capable of diagnosing illness, they would have been able to at least given a clue as to what is wrong with Blair. We are not medical experts, so we cannot give suggestions as to how to fix this problem. We simply recommend that once you hire someone, you test your equipment in controlled trials to make sure it actually works. Such negligence is inexcusable.

Find attached several documents we found while auditing. Several of the attached merit criminal charges. see our comments on the actual forms.

———————–

I have read a lot of the assignments, so in wandering around the available characters, I had an idea of who might work with what. I knew I wanted an audit that went very badly. Morlium could cover the computer side, in a very unique way as well. I needed a host that could add something extra, someone with something unique. Blair fit the bill perfectly, and so it was determined the audited agency would be Health and Human Services. This team was set up to make them fail, and fail they did.

An Emergency with Spooksy

When I heard the voice of Spooksy and learned a little bit about his backstory, I thought he was hilarious. When I saw host-host interaction, I knew I had to use Spooksy as one of them. I had also had my eye on this particular audio assignment for quite some time, since it was an opportunity to be hilarious. I just was unable to come up with a really good premise until now. Time to do some dual channel, ctrl-c ctrl-v action in Audacity.

My biggest problem with doing this is that I cannot very well imitate Spooksy’s voice. I am quite happy with the story, Spooksy’s character has the perfect habit and attitude to get into this situation. My big problem when brainstorming earlier was keeping the 911 operator at least partially serious, but the fact that this needs two characters made me realize I can have Morlium in the telephone. This gives a great contrast between the “straightforwardness” of Spooksy and the formal but sometimes irritable character of Morlium.

Oh, and one final thing. The phone tone was taken from a free sound effects website: soundbible