This article was written in April 2007 for MVWire.com:
In a follow-up to the book and film An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore is a major partner in an organization “designed to trigger a mass-scale movement to combat our climate crisis,” called SOS, or Save Our Selves.
Al and other SOS members are organizing the upcoming Live Earth Concert scheduled for 7.07.2007: 150 musicians, 24 hours of music, 7 concerts on all 7 continents broadcast on TV, radio, film and the Internet. Other major SOS partners putting on the Live Earth 2007 include Kevin Wall, an Emmy Award winning producer and CEO of Control Room, the production company for Live Earth and leading global provider of live digital entertainment along with The Alliance for Climate Protection, The Climate Group and MSN.
Since Al Gore’s plans for the North American show to be in Washington, D.C. have failed due to political red tape, the US show has retreated north to Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Fortunately for Live Earth and SOS, Madonna has agreed to headline the Europe concert in London and the US lineup is potpourri of popular American music: Kanye West, AFI, Kelly Clarkson, Akon, KT Tunstall, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Dave Matthews Band, Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, Roger Waters, Smashing Pumpkins, John Mayer and The Police.
SOS organizers also announced that Live Earth will stage concerts at Sydney's Aussie Stadium; Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach; Johannesburg's Cradle of Human Kind; Tokyo's Tokyo Dome and Shanghai (location TBD).
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 16 and will be available at livenation.com/liveearth or by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171. All proceeds will go to The Alliance for Climate Protection and other international NGOs.
June 2004 Review printed in aXis Magazine.
Structurally, this shot was filmed in standard form of underground skate videos (sans the climatic crashes) full of interviews, music video-esque footage and stupid stunts. Overall, it’s a fun DVD to watch just about whenever: pre-parties, circle sessions and fashion shows. Plus, you can play a form of Where’s Waldo. I saw a guy from some of my classes at UCF, who knows whom you might see, as they say, “Cruisin’ on the open road enjoying the nature.” For info on how to get this local piece of treasure, visit www.midemag.com or www.2strokebuzz.com.
Florida Gets it Right for College Voting printed in aXis Magazine.
25 June 2004
Young Americans have recently been bombarded by media campaigns from MTV’s Rock the Vote to the government’s 18 Million Strong in 2004 to Fat Wreck Chords Punkvoter.com in order to increase the 18-24 year old age bracket turn out in this up and coming presidential election. Political analysts have been predicting that the young adult vote will make a difference this year - a difference in what exactly is being withheld due to the lavender homeland security alert-yet, local governments all over our vast nation are discouraging college students, presumably the future of America, not to vote by setting up unnecessary, and sometimes illegal, voter registration protocol.
In the year 2002, election officials handed out pamphlets about voter fraud and how it could adversely affect financial aide and taxes to students as they arrived to cast their vote at the
The illegal practices of some state’s election officials are coming under fire due to President Bush’s HAVA laws passed in 2002. The Help America Vote Act is a set of new election laws passed by the federal government requiring states to meet the federal government’s new election standards. These laws are a direct byproduct of
With the help of Florida Consumer Action Network volunteers who spend endless hours in the hot sun getting students to register to vote in between classes at the UCF main campus, I found out exactly how each and every
- First, any student can register to vote in
or Seminole Co. as long as they cancel their registration in a previous county. Www.ocfelections.com is your one stop site for finding your polling place, printing out a registration form, requesting an absentee ballot or verifying your registration. Orange
- Second, transient students can vote via absentee ballot but cannot vote in
or Seminole Co. local elections. The bitch about this is, sometimes absentee votes are discarded due to unknown tampering and the ballot must reach the election official in the county of registration by 7pm of the election day or it expires. For the low down on absentee voting, go to http://election.dos.state.fl.us/ and choose Voter Registration. Orange
- Third, it is illegal to have a different address on your driver’s license than your mailing address and it is required by the HAVA laws to present a picture ID when voting; yet (and remember this when a cop tries to bust you for this when you pass a breathalyzer) in the state of Florida, college students do not have to change their permanent address on their license and can register to vote in the county they attend school.
Because the state of Florida and the university system facilitate and actually encourage the college students of Central Florida to vote, forget about Greek Week for one second and get your lazy asses out there! Take the giant step for mankind and press that button that simulates your vote via an electronic pulse and let your individual voice ring.
The following reviews were printed in aXis Magazine from 2005.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Ruin Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah
Fat Wreck Chords
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ sixteenth release is more of a documentary than an album. The greatest cover band of all time was hired to play a bar mitzvah somewhere in
Dynamic. Calculating. Anthemic. Brilliant. Oh yeah, and fucking rocking. There isn’t much more you can say about Mastodon’s latest masterpiece, Leviathan. From the first note of the first riff, you are drawn in to their murky musical waters; a prominent and purposeful theme throughout song titles, lyrics and licks.
A Leviathan is a whale of biblical proportions and myths known for channeling the wrath of God by toppling ships while ruling the tumultuous seas. Mastodon’s tasteful name choice for their hard rock symphony is but a mere signal to their comprehensive talent that spans from musical compositions to the message it carries. Mastodon keeps the foundation of rock holy, i.e., rebellion in all forms while simultaneously taming their rock beast with their tight regiment of expansive ideas and expressive songs. In short, this is what modern, hard rock should sound like. It should sound like a whale that could swallow your house. It should sound like Leviathan.
This article was written in 2005 and published by aXis Mag:
MASTODON HOT TIX
House of Blues - Thursday, May 19th
If you aren’t aware of Atlanta’s underground heaving behemoth that is the Mastodon heavy foursome, then you might as well take your own ‘hardcore music fan’ privileges away because Mastodon was not only one of Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists to Watch in 2004” and Kerrang! declared, “Best Band on the Planet,” they are a highly talented band with a sick concept album, even sicker live performances and a Viking-esque quest for musical domination. Given the opportunity to talk with Brann Dailor, Mastodon drummer, I did just that. Prepare to fall head over heels for Mastodon.
aXis: Since we got the press creds out of the way, let’s talk about your monstrous album, Leviathan. The Moby Dick inspiration has been widely published, but I am wondering how classic literature influences the musical composition of metal?
Dailor: Well, it all kinda moves like water. Water was in everybody’s minds when we were writing at the time, and we were like, ‘Let’s make a record about water.” Reading Moby Dick was a help because we had subject matter to draw from – Ahab’s psychotic behavior, Ishmael’s obsession, etc.
aXis: How does all of that directly translate into actual music?
Dailor: Well, when writing riffs or whatever thinking about crashing waves, churning waters, you get a feeling that you can translate into music. I think emotions are equally translated into music. One of the most important things is to be able to express some kind of feeling or a picture in your mind. To be able to listen to music and see or feel what the music is saying is what we want to do with our music.
aXis: The sound Mastodon has created seems to be the most powerful part of the music. It continually hits hard yet clear tones pontificate each instrument and you just thrash on the drums. How in the hell do you keep your kit together? Duct tape?
Dailor: Me? Oh, I am more of a finesse guy.
aXis: Oh, come on.
Dailor: I like to go crazy sometimes when I am alone, but my drums sound so good because of everyone else in my band. It’s everybody (Bill Kelliher guitar, Troy Sanders bass and Brent Hinds vocals and guitar); its like, I wouldn’t be inspired to play my drums the way I do without them.
aXis: You are such a nice guy! If only everyone went to metal shows to see how great all of the tattooed and pierced people are. On the same subject sort of, last time Mastodon was here you guys killed Hard Rock Live with Slayer and Killswitch Engage. We (my boyfriend and I) introduced ourselves to Brent right after your set. He was just drinking a beer and hanging out in the audience. He was so approachable. It is rare to see a band hang out like that at such a huge national show.
Dailor: We always try to do that. We never want to be inaccessible to the fans. We never want to be the dudes or the band that runs to their bus right after their set or just stays backstage and can’t come out to introduce them selves and mingle.
aXis: Mingle, huh.
Dailor: (laughing) You know, I like to mingle. And if it gets to a point at the end of the night and have to sign 100 or 200 autographs, then I’ll be signing autographs until the last one gets signed.
aXis: This time Mastodon will be at House of Blues.
Dailor: Is that in Disney?
aXis: Well, it’s in Downtown Disney – not the theme park.
Dailor: Sweet, I want to go the
aXis: You paying?
Dailor: I don’t need to pay; I have my All Access pass.
aXis: Do you seriously own an annual pass to Walt Disney World?
Dailor: No, I have my, ‘I am in Mastodon and we are playing House of Blues tonight,’ pass.
aXis: Lucky you. I know Mastodon is slotted to play the second stage of Ozzfest this coming summer so congratulations, but other than that, do you guys have any other future plays – recording, relaxing, jazzercising?
Dailor: After we finish up this tour, we are starting recording our new record. We’ve already begun writing and some concepts have come up.
aXis: Have you chosen one yet?
Dailor: We don’t know which one yet. Some are piquing our interest. I just went to Barnes and Nobles and found some really excellent books that might help us out.
aXis: As a book nerd, can you pretty please tell me some of the books you picked up?
Dailor: No, I don’t think I can. One of them might be the inspiration for the next record, so you are just going to have to wait and see.
Dr. J has spent some time in the university classroom teaching the un-rulies from 18-30 in the ins-and-outs of Digital Media and Writing for Media. However, samples from those courses will not be reproduced here, so contact me if you're interested in my instruction materials. Below are chapter supplements printed in the textbook, Integrating Technology in the Classroom by Randy Gunter and company. Although the book was scheduled to be out Fall 2006, publishing has been delayed into 2007.
Chapter 1 Supplement - ‘What is Digital Media in Education’?
Although most of today’s fast-paced society doesn’t have the first hand knowledge of computer science that actually makes media ‘digital’, they live, work and play in a digital society as their means of obtaining information, or medias, are all available in the faster, preferable digital format. Without a lengthy mathematical and socio-historical discussion of how this technology came to be, let us begin at a point of acknowledgement that we are in a world dominated by the power and flexibility of all things digital and at this point in history, it is safe to say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
Using applications of digital media in the everyday classroom is not only a wise choice, but a necessity for reaching the youth of today as their rapid-fire attention span reflects the speed of their personal digital media interactions. Video games didn’t exist thirty years ago yet today are a multi-billion dollar a year industry with a market of thirty to five year olds whom entertain themselves playing video games either on a console such as Microsoft’s Xbox or on their home computer of choice. This is just one example of the enormous impact one digital media has had on our society. Those in the field of digital media call this phenomenon Edutainment. Video gamers must learn about a world entirely foreign to their own in order to conquer it in a timeline that could be as short as a few days depending on the dedication of the gamer. That mindset is the goal – excite them all about what they are about to learn so that they simply can’t get stop learning more.
Digital Media’s key to unlocking the minds of younger generations for fun learning is Interactivity. Interactivity allows a user or a gamer or a student to receive immediate feedback concerning their performance, i.e. without direct input from the user, the game, the website, or the simulations simply won’t ‘go’. This structure of information transfer does not construct an immediate hierarchy which puts the ‘learner’ or student at the bottom of the food chain where the mother bird must feed them bit by bit; they play an intrinsic role in the interactive transfer and thusly accept the information without interrogation. There is no need to question authority when hunting for your own food.
Edutaining the youth of today about the invaluable information of the past by using the technologies of tomorrow and beyond is the future of education. Without prior training in utilizing interactive digital medias to edutain a classroom, this may seem like an impossible task to teachers. However, another wonder of the digital technology responsible for digital media is its usability ease and fairly inexpensive price tag. Incorporating videos, animations, modeling and simulations, digital music, hypertext, and much, much more is truly just a click away.
Chapter 2 Supplement - ‘Digitally Enhance a Classroom with Digital Media Software Applications’
Software applications are not only today’s paints and pencils, they are also our graph paper, sheet music, canvas, notebook as well as any and all other types of creative interfaces we have known and utilized since clay was crushed to make pictures inside caves. Software applications for digital media bring our most creative ideas to life through a GUI, or a Graphical User Interface such as your PC or MAC and accompanying monitor. Although only computer scientists called software engineers posses the knowledge of computer code or computer languages to produce digital media software applications, they are designed from a user-friendly point of view so that these applications can accomplish many tasks in a variety of ways to be used by multitudes of people, including children.
One of most popular digital media production software application packages is the Adobe Creative Suite 2005 available online at http://www.adobe.com. The Adobe Creative Suite Package includes the widely used imaging editing and compositing PhotoShopCS, the vector-graphic and illustration creator IllustratorCS, the website development application GoLive, the page publisher InDesign, and the file compatible transformer Acrobat 7.0. Abode’s applications popularity are due in part to their high performance on both Windows and MAC platforms as well as their .PDF or Portable Document Format file option throughout all of their document or image producing applications. When a student has to create a poster to accompany a history report, they can create a visually dynamic presentation in Illustrator at school, save it as a .PDF file, email to themselves or parents, and view their school work at home without having to purchase the entire Adobe package through the freeware viewing application called Adobe Reader available online at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html .
Although Adobe Creative Suite has highly effective software applications, the price may be a bit high for individual student purchases starting at $999.00. However the true educational beauty of teaching digital media software applications in the classroom lies in the methodology of using many applications, not just one brand. By learning how to navigate inside a software application, students can apply that knowledge to any and all software applications they can acquire. For example, GIMP is a freeware application that is a direct competitor to Abode Photoshop offering high quality photo re-touching, image composition, and image authoring. In addition to all that capability and non-arguable price tag, GIMP also provides free, online tutorials for using GIMP at their site http://www.gimp.org where you can also download this imaging freeware.
While Adobe leads the way it paved for graphic and imaging software applications, another brand entitled Corel has expanded on what Adobe has accomplished and may be very useful in classrooms in the future. Corel’s applications such as Corel Painter IX and CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 offer more detailed options for creations such as simulated art materials and textures to digitally manufacture the appearance of a wet, oily canvas. Called, “The world’s most natural media,” Corel can produce graphic design, page layout, digital imaging, and motion graphics by utilizing a piece of hardware called a Wacom tablet which will be discussed at length in the next chapter. For summary purposes, a Wacom tablet works as a digital sketch book. A student uses the electronic pen and draws until the sensor-filled tablet. Whatever the student creates on their tablet shows up in real-time on their GUI through a Corel software application.
This phenomenal capability to digitally capture visual thoughts and ideas instantaneously opens up worlds of possibilities for the classroom. For example, currently at the Digital Media department at The University of Central Florida, the MAC lab or thirty computers are all accompanied by a Wacom tablet and pen. This way, when giving lectures on how to master an application such as Corel Painter IX, the students can scribble along and experience interactive education and experiential learning at its best! Corel offers an educational package of software applications with the above named products and more called Corel eDucation Solution Packs at http://www.corel.com along with free Lynda.com tutorial CD’s to be played for the instructors or the students depending on the needs of your particular classroom.
Other new and exciting software applications that allow for real-time interactive learning are Macromedia’s Captivate and Tech Smith’s Camtasia Studio. Although from separate companies, both of these software applications allow a user or instructor to record their onscreen activities in a compatible movie-type file, and then play it back as that day’s lesson in accessing email, searching the Internet, or creating any visual document. Marcormedia’s Captivate instantaneously creates a Flash .SWF file that can be a plug-in to a Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation in Windows or MAC, or run on its own through the free, downloadable Flash Player available at http://www.macromedia.com. Similarly Tech Smith’s Camtasia, captures a user’s interactions but is only compatible with Windows OPS technology. Available at http://www.techsmith.com, Camtasia Studio is purchasable solo or in a bundle with another product entitled SnagIt 7.2 which allows a user to capture and save not only screen shots of their GUI, but also all files located on a webpage such as audio and video files for the reasonable $319.00. SnagIt is an application that makes for easy creation of interactive lessons incorporating digital media using Windows-based programs so that in the future we can attract the auditory, the visual, and the experiential learners all with one comprehensive, digitally dynamic lesson plan.