Thursday, November 27, 2008

Surviving With Dial-Up.

So, in Journalism 101 we learn that the world is going digital, mobile, wicked-crazy, and fast-paced. Videos are what's in, and we want LOTS OF PICTURES, oh yes. Make those sites fancy, too, would ya?

Well, that's all fine when you are a student and connected to the University's hi-speed, wireless internet, but not so great when you return to your dial-up at home.

I was spellbound somehow while sitting in Journalism class and hearing about the scary advances in media, and how sales in newspapers are declining and many simply turn to the internet for their news, and it can't be news unless you know it the second it happens. Not only do those things serve as perfect ingredients for hasty, rotten reporting, but they're also not true for me in the least when I return home and wait 20 minutes to check one lousy e-mail. I'll get my news when I can, thank you-- and you can FORGET about my watching even a one minute video.

Just to give you an idea of how slow my internet is, I shall give you a prime example. My internet connection is so slow, that I often come up with the mobile versions of websites. Yea, it's that bad:

This is a screenshot of my version of Myspace as of late. By the way, this took nearly ten minutes to upload.

So, the question is, how can we be more user-friendly to dial-up internet users?

Many websites seem to neglect the fact that a larger portion of their site's visitors than they expect are not using hi-speed internet connections. Some may not want to pay as much for the fast internet and some, like myself, are unable to get wireless in their areas. One could argue that we could just use mobile web. Ha! 30cents for every mega-byte or so of data is beyond not worth it, and we don't all have fancy iPhones, I fear.

The media world need not live in dreamland. Of course those making the websites will have fast internet, but those viewing it may not. Isn't the news for the reader, after all? Think about it, Online News Sources.

Try having two versions of a site: one for the fancy-pantses and one for we little people. It would be appreciated by many.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Dallas" Did not Disappoint.

In my previous post, I discussed excitement for the start of the second series of my favorite comic The Umbrella Academy.

Today, I made the usual thirty mile drive (yes, thirty) to my favorite comic shop to pick up the first issue of the Dallas series, titled The Jungle, and let me tell you that I can already see my future's being filled with month-to-month obsessing over the next issue's release.

In interviews prior to this release, Umbrella Academy writer Gerard Way foretold that the series would reveal more about the mysterious, time-traveling, and long-missing "boy" of the 'Academy: Number Five. The character, who showed up in the first series, Apocalypse Suite, after decades of being trapped in the future, is: stuck in a child's form but is living with knowledge of a grown man, has a love for coffee, shot his adopted sister, has some sort of knowledge in regards to the Kennedy assassination, and he mysteriously destroyed a gang of strange robotic creatures in a diner in the last series.

The Jungle already leaves the reader's head filled with questions and more knowledge about Number Five. We know what those mysterious robots in the diner were, and we begin to grasp how he destroyed them and what that may mean for the future of The 'Academy.

We also get glimpses of how the rest of the heroes are coping since the near-end-of-the-world in Apocalypse Suite. We see how The Rumor is communicating, where Spaceboy is hiding out, how angry The Kraken is, how out-of-it Vanya is, how smug The Seance has become, and are reminded of how dead Pogo is.

What else will future issues reveal? Only time will tell.
The second issue of the series is set for release on December 24th.

"I am a gazelle"


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Umbrella Academy : Dallas [OUT TOMORROW!]

For those of you who are unfamiliar with "The Umbrella Academy" comic series, I suggest you do a wee bit of research- perhaps starting with the Eisner award it won- and get back to me, but for those of you who are familiar with Dark Horse's new comic force and those lovable Umbrella Academy brats, the day has nearly come for our second round of adventures.

Tomorrow- Wednesday, November 26th, 2008- "Dallas" the second series of "The Umbrella Academy" begins, and we will have many months of Wednesdays to anticipate the new story lines writer Gerard Way will bring us as illustrated through the quirky drawings of Gabriel Bá.

In the final chapter of the first series, "The Apocalypse Suite," the reader is left with many questions and ruined heroes. What will be revealed about the Umbrella Academy orphans in this series? Who will die? What type of coffee will be served?

Only reading will tell, friends.


Monday, November 24, 2008

The New MCR Site : Communication at its Creepiest.

I'm just going to throw this out there: Twitter is kinda creepy: Advanced internet stalkery that can be automatically updated via cell phone from anywhere to tell your "followers" exactly what you are doing at that very second. Yea, it's creepy.

I just received a text message letting me know that the drummer of my favorite band's dog was hungry and from the singer telling the band members to update via this creepy Twitter. Earlier, I watched -- through my text messages -- their conversation as the drummer drove to the singer's house and asked him if he wanted anything from Coffee Bean (he did- an iced white chocolate mocha). I feel like a creeper. But I'm not alone.

Through My Chemical Romance's new website format, we fans can feel more intimate with that band than we ever have. Even moreso than in those moments when we smelled their post-show stank as we posed for pictures with them, or when we were in the front row of a crowded small venue for one of their shows. We now can know what the members of My Chemical Romance are doing all the time...

--Another Text arrives--
"From Twitter:
gerardway: updeet"



Anyway, the surveillance camera in the corner of the room which serves as a background for the My Chemical Romance site seems very appropriate with the band members' blogs in the middle of the page and their Twitter feeds at the right.

Talk about getting news the moment it happens... Way to go, My Chem, way to go. This is social media at its creepiest.

And I like it. :]

Follow the members of My Chemical Romance on Twitter:
Gerard Way (vocals)
Ray Toro (lead guitar)
Mikey Way (bass)
Bob Bryar (drums)
Frank Iero (rhythm guitar)


My Chemical Romance's "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" on VINYL!

Four years have passed since "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" My Chemical Romance's first major label CD was released on Warner-Reprise records. It is noted for being the album that really brought My Chem to the forefront of music with their first major-label-released single, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" followed by the widely popular "Helena" and "The Ghost of You".
To celebrate the album's great success, the band is re-releasing it on special-edition red vinyl and adding a handwritten lyric sheet, artwork that did not make it to the CD, and even a fancy-pants gun stencil!
I, for one, am majorly stoked on this release, because this is the CD that I grew up with, in a way. 2004 and 2005 were really huge years in my musical life, and this CD was there for me during those years, introducing me to a new kind of culture and music, and the band that ultimately changed my life. "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" has been there for me, soothing and helping me through some tough times.
Of course, I have already pre-ordered my copy (FOR ONLY $25) for those obvious reasons, and you can too. Just click the banner I posted at the top, or follow this link to check out the My Chemical Romance store.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall Quarter Photolog Conclusions

Here it is, folks-- the end of my first quarter ever as a college student. My exams are done, bags finally packed, and I will be heading home later this morning (I'm writing this at 2:30 AM) for six, long weeks to think about what I have done. Actually, I say that as if I have been corrupted, but -alas- I have not; try again next quarter, you fiends.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to sum up my quarter in a few pictures I have taken whilst here in Athens, so for your enjoyment here's:

Cassie's Fall Quarter Photo Round-Up!

The upperclassmen made fun of us freshmen for walking in packs. I don't understand what they mean, to be honest...

I like to "introduce a little anarchy..." to chalkboards.

Best Friends for LIFE!!!

"Kill the Batman," but spare the squirrel, please?

Someone proposed marriage to me on the graffiti wall. I love you, too.

ACRN grilled-cheese sales on Court Street owned a lot of my weekend nights. Snat, our Rock Lobster, likes to sing in the rain... or strip, I'm not quite sure which.

This is what I do before and between classes... Never during them. NEVER!

One of the saddest / creepiest things I've seen: the bike graveyard by Nelson.

So, there you are, folks. Just because J101 is over, don't think that this blog is through. I am definitely keeping this going, so subscribe to me and I'll subscribe to you, and we'll keep the jolly blog-times rolling.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part V]

The Epiphany

Welcome to my fifth and final installment in my Bill and Trav blog series.

In several of my blogs, I have expressed what drives me to want to work within the music industry, and this show helped me discover even more reasons why.

If home is where the heart is,

this feels a whole hell of a lot like home.

Being able to see the crowd from where I stood was one of the best parts of the show. All the people in that audience were there for the same reason-- in the moments of their favorite songs, they were one. We were all united through music.

I. love. fans, and I want us all to be united as we are during those moments at the shows, or when we've been standing in line outside in the snow together for 12 hours, or when we turn to complete strangers in the audience while singing along to our favorite lyrics and feel as if that person is our best friend of several years.

We, as fans of music, are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are in this together, and we never have to be alone. Music can unite us by helping us make sense of ourselves and of the world when nothing seems to make sense, speaking for those who aren't strong enough to speak, and helping us grasp our interconnectedness.

As Penny Lane from "Almost Famous" said, "If you ever get lonely you can just go to the record store and visit your friends."

So, this blog goes out to everyone in the picture I posted, everyone I have ever queued with for a show, everyone I have ever shared a crowd with, every band I love, everyone who loves every band I love, every note of every song that has ever inspired me or anyone else, and the girl in the front row of the Columbus stop of Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey tour with the tattoo of a treble clef on her wrist who sang along with every ounce of her being and brought a tear to my eye as I grasped that this is what I love, and this is what I want to be a part of for the rest of my life.

Thank you.



Go Back
Part One| Part Two| Part Three| Part Four

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part IV] (With Video!)

They're Watching; Always Watching.
(The Picture and Video Blog)

Welcome to Part IV of my Bill and Trav blogs. To begin, I have a guilty confession to make... I lied in my previous post . You see that part at the bottom there, where it says this episode would elaborate on an epiphany? Yea, that's a blatant lie. Wait, wait! Don't leave yet, I can explain! Okay, so next week I will be returning home, and at this lovely home, I have something not so lovely: dial-up internet. So, I wanted to get the meat (soy, of course) of these postings to you before that evil came upon me. I would have a pretty rough time uploading my EXCLUSIVE, AWESOME VIDEO for you on dial-up, after all. Oh, I'm forgiven, then? Gee, thanks.

How many of you have shown up to a show with a camera and been told something along the lines of "By request of the [artist, venue, management, etc], no cameras will be allowed into this event"? Probably quite a few of you who probably took one of the following actions:

A.) Ran back to the car to leave the camera there.
B.) Stuffed your camera into a concealing piece of clothing.
C.) Threw the camera down carelessly, because it was just a disposable.
D.) Cried and begged the venue security to let you keep it.
E.) Got your batteries taken from you at the door.

It happens to the best of us. Fortunately, Newport in Columbus, where the show I attended was held, does not care at all if a person brings in cameras, and the audience was, therefore, filled with them. Except one camera was missing- mine, for; I was too nervous to bring in my beloved little flash'n'snapper.

But does it really matter if cameras are banned from venues anymore or not? Just as everyone on the internet can become an immediate published writer, anyone with one little device that many of us treasure can become not only a photographer, but a film-maker, music producer, or walking boom-box. Yes, those handy little cell phones that all of us know and love are the devices of which I speak.

This brings up an interesting question for the future of shows with this new, complex media: will we see a day when cell phones are banned from concerts? Or, inversely- will we see a day when all personal media devices are impossible to ban from shows? Digital cameras are even hard to regulate. All a venue can do is take one's batteries, which leaves a lot of room for pictures to be taken anyway, because there are plenty of places to hide more batteries.

Some cell phones can now take pictures and video of the same or of higher quality than some digital cameras, so is having a phone at a show the same as having a digital camera, and is the emergence of picture-phones the death of regulating of what pictures are taken and where? Only time will tell, but I will give you a little sample of some cell-phone pictures and a video in the meantime. The photos are not the greatest of quality, but the video is stunning both in sound and video considering it was taken on a phone with 2 megapixel photo capability. Also considering it was cut short in the middle by a security guard who touched my arm and gently said, "You can't take anything in here." I'm surprised he could tell I wasn't simply texting.

Hey Monday

We The Kings

The Academy Is...

And, for your viewing pleasure, I now present to you my video from the show of William Beckett of The Academy Is... performing an acoustic version of "The Test"

I hope you guys enjoyed and will check in for the next Bill and Trav installment. I'm not even going to give you a teaser this time, because I might change my mind, then you'll all call me a "liar" again. How mean that was of you! :[

Just kidding!


Click here to advance to the final installment!

Go Back
Part One| Part Two| Part Three

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part III]

A Word on Band-Crowd Interaction

Welcome to Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tourblog part the third. In this episode, I will discuss something I find very, VERY essential to a good band's performance and something which I witnessed at the show I attended on "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour" featuring The Academy Is... and We the Kings.

If you are in an aspiring band or even a prominent band, listen the hell up, because I -as a fan- have some advice for you. In my experience in the front rows of multitudes of crowds, nothing quite sends a jolt of excitement through me as when a band member points out the fans who are singing along ferociously-- when a band shows an active appreciation for its supporters. Now, it doesn't have to be me, but any fan. We all feel exstatic for that person, you can feel the surge in the crowd move in his or her direction, and feel our collective excitement grow when you acknowledge us.

For example, some of my fondest memories from shows have been those tiny, fleeting moments when I have made eye-contact with the members of bands during my favorite songs or have been pointed out or smiled at by band members, or more specific things like when Matt Skiba, singer and guitarist of Alkaline Trio dedicated a song to me when he noted I was one of the only living in a seemingly dead crowd and called me "[his] new friend." There was a time when Ryan, the singer of Greeley Estates jumped from the stage and stood in front of me at the barricade and held the mic between us as he held onto my shoulder and we both sang the song. Moments like that are what make these shows and make memories for the fans.

So, I would like to congratulate The Academy Is... and We the Kings on their excellence in crowd interaction at the show. First, good call on the part of the guitarist of We The Kings for going down to the barricade and interacting with fans when his guitar started malfunctioning instead of worrying too much about the guitar. From where I was standing beside the stage, I could see the entire crowd and the surges of people who rushed to where he stood at the barricade when he was there was an amazing thing to watch. Also, great job to Travis of We The Kings for spending time at the barricade. Nothing is better for fans than that up-close and personal experience. William Beckett, singer of The Academy Is... also treated the crowd to an intimate experience when he stood at the barricade and held the mic out to some of the fans toward the end of the set. Also, instead of going back onstage at the end of their set and exiting like normal, he walked the front row of the crowd, giving high fives all the way down the line until he reached the backstage door, but not before a girl jumped down and he took his picture with her. Also, he pointed out my friend and I a couple times, as well as acknowledge many rabidly singing-along fans in the audience.

So, band members this is what you should take away from this blog:
-interact with your fans. They like it. A lot.
-crowd interaction is what, I feel, sets a great band apart from a mediocre one.

We- fans and band members- are in this together, and want to feel involved when we come to shows. Involve us!

Keep an eye out for part IV-- my epiphany. Also, there are still pictures and videos to come!


Click here to advance to Part Four (there you will find video footage)

Go back:
Part One| Part Two

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part II]

The Show Review

Welcome to Part II of my "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour" blogs. Here, I shall review the show in full for you guys, and more blogs will be coming your way soon where I will examine various other topics aroused in my mind from the show.

So, the morning of November 2nd, I woke at my friend's house without grogginess, for; my excitement had grown in the few hours I slept and replaced any sleepiness that would have normally been there. The plan was for our friend to meet us at my place of slumber for the the night between 11:30 and 12:00, and so it happened. For me, arriving at a show later than 11:30 AM is generally something completely insane (I'm a 4 AM girl, myself), but we were just going to chill and hang back for this one.

We headed to Columbus, ate at Mongolian BBQ, then walked around Easton for a bit. The tour's headliner, The Academy Is... was doing a signing at the Hot Topic there at 3:00, and we got to the store in time to shop before it closed for the meet and greet, but decided to skip meeting the band ourselves, though we had the opportunity to. There were so many fans waiting to meet them, and it was amazing to see them all and wonder how long they had been there, how nervous they were, how excited they were, or how much of a dream come true it would be for them to meet the band. The air was definitely charged as we passed them, and I couldn't help but grinning with excitement for them. Having met the band a couple times already, I knew what would be coming to them and knew they would not be disappointed by the charismatic band members.

Skip ahead to 4:00, we pass the venue searching for a place to park, and the line is still quite short, which is pretty astounding considering how late it was, and that doors opened around 6. We left for about an hour, and -by the time we came back- the line had wrapped around Newport building and was stretching onto a side street. My friends and I were let in early and secured our spots at the side, not wanting to take any of the barricade space from those who had been waiting all day, watched the line file in person-by-person, then waited for the show to begin.

First came Hey Monday

I had never heard a single song by Hey Monday, in fact-- I had never even heard of the band, so you can imagine my slight shock when the petite, female singer walked onto the stage instead of the nearly-expected towering, male front-man. The set was great and very energetic, though- and I hate to do this- it was all very reminiscent of Paramore. With singer Cassadee Pope's onstage movements and even her voice, at times, looking and sounding very much like Hayley Williams. This, of course, is no insult, as; Hayley is an excellent front-woman, and Cassadee is as well. It saddens me that, with their both being a part of the DecayDance/Fueled By Ramen label family and both being female-fronted bands, the comparison will always be there. A highlight of the performance was when the band cleared the stage, and Cassadee returned to it with merely an acoustic guitar. Apologizing for her being sick before she started, she played and sang beautifully. Jaws were quite literally on the floor mid-way through this performance, the audience stunned to silence until we felt compelled -in a wave- to cheer after one particularly difficult vocalization through which the singer soared perfectly. If this is what Hey Monday sounds like with a sick singer, I would love to see and hear them when she is in full health.

Then Came Carolina Liar

"Oh, no. A gimmicky, cheesy band," thought I when I saw the members of Carolina Liar filtering onto the stage and checking their instruments in matching boyscout shirts. Well, all except for the singer who stood out among them in his navy shirt in their sea of beige. One has the natural instinct to judge a band when the singer looks like Kid Rock, there are more than three guys in the band with hair below their shoulders and who sport beards, but those conceptions of Carolina Liar turned out to be all wrong on my part at least. For one, the band had a keyboardist that didn't play bar jingle tunes, and the band hadn't the faintest inkling of southern rock in their musical style. Well done, Carolina Liar, for proving my misconceptions wrong and for putting on a great show. Also, the band did not- as one would assume from their appearance- speak only of "the chicks and the booze, man," but rather had many inspirational between-song messages for the crowd. Don't be too quick to judge when you see this band. They're great.

Third, were co-headliners We The Kings

Now, this band is one that has much fuss about it that I have never gotten. Sure, "Check Yes, Juliet" is a catchy song, but there are parts of it that sound like a blatant rip-off of Motion City Soundtrack's "Everything is Alright." Basically, I have seen this band as a hyped-up band that has ripped the style of bands that I loved in 2004. One can't blame them for that, honestly; the first 5 or so years of the 2000s were wonderful for this particular type of music. Except, it seems newer fans are being introduced to that wonderful sound through the recycled material that We The Kings provides. Well, if that's how they're getting into the music, so be it. I would rather our youth be listening to We The Kings than Nickleback any time.
The band proved interesting live and were catchy enough to make me dance, and certainly make the crowd begin really moving for the first time in the night. From where I stood, I could see the whole of the crowd, and the surges were tremendous, especially when singer Travis jumped from the stage and stood at the barricade. The monstrous ocean of fans surged and squeezes themselves as close as they could possibly get to him. A highlight of the set, was when guitarist, Hunter Thomsen, began having technical difficulties during one of their songs, and ended up just putting his guitar aside and jumping down to the level of the crowd to sing with the kids. That's what these shows should be all about. I will veer from this for now, though, for; I have an upcoming blog where I will highlight bands' interacting with crowds and how much of a difference it makes. Another fun point of the set was when the band covered The Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc." Whether crowd members were We The Kings fans or not, everyone could sing and dance along. Plus, when is it even not great to see scrawny white boys in bands rapping?
Overall, I was impressed with the band's performance, and they got an approval stamp in my skeptical mind, and -obviously- many in the crowd had gotten their fill of entertainment, for; about half the audience on the floor left at the conclusion of WTK's set.

Last, but certainly not least: The Academy Is...

Having seen this band a few times already, I knew relatively what could be expected: a great performance, but I dare say the band has improved since last I saw them, not to mention, their hair has gotten much shorter collectively. I will admit to having a bias already. This is the band for which I came to this show, and this is a band I love. However, I don't love them enough to deny their flaws. But, honestly, it's a rock show: the flaws are what make it. Unfortunately, I spotted no flaws in The Academy Is...'s performance. Singer William Beckett made girls go crazy, drummer "The Butcher" made fun of William-- all went according to plan, and the sound quality was flawless. So, for whomever was working the soundboards on tour, well done, my friend, well done. The band appeased both we veteran fans and newer fans by dishing out an equal balance of songs from each album and alternating them perfectly for changes in pace and mood. A highlight and rare treat for show attenders was an acoustic performance by William Beckett of "The Test" from their latest album "Fast Times at Barrington High" (I will post my video of this soon). The band closed, as is customary for them, with the final track from their CD "Almost Here" and it was absolutely perfect ending to the show as it always is.

My conclusion: this is a great tour to attend, even if you are not a fan of any of the bands. You are guaranteed a great show, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. You will not be bored, for sure.

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next blog on bands and importance of crowd interaction! Also, there will be pictures and videos from the show posted soon!


Click Here to advance to Part Three

Go Back
Part One

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part I]

Last night, I went to the first big show I've attended since August, the Columbus stop on "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey" tour featuring Hey Monday, Carolina Liar, We the Kings, and The Academy Is...
After much trial and error in securing my ride to the show and back to OU, I finally got it all together and had a wonderful weekend that concluded in a wonderful show.

Since this is my journalism blog, I figured I'd turn this show into a series of blogs, each of which will contain a different story I saw that was write-worthy during the show. This, my readers, is your classic introductory blog, and I have much to tell you from this single show within my next -at the very least- four blogs.

Expect a review, pictures, a video that nearly wasn't, a heartfelt epiphany on my part, and a few words on crowd-interaction.

Part II will be the review, so keep your eyes open for the second installment in Cassie's take on "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey."


Click Here to Advance to Part Two!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Political Tactics

I am not going to pretend that I am a political person, but the up-coming election was the focus of our J101 class on Thursday, and we spoke of social media and how the candidates have utilized it on their own, but I have something to show you guys that is also bringing politics into the social media spotlight.

I present to you some of my "top friends" on myspace:

Note that I have circled one of my particular friends. Now, can any of you guys tell me what you would imagine I am and what you would imagine "Heavens" is from this picture? "No:" that's my answer to your thoughts. I'm not an obsessive Obama-supporter who feels the need to tell the world this, and no, "HEAVENS" is not a political group. Heavens is a two-piece band, and those two guys are brilliant Obama promoters. Boom! Suddenly, every person's myspace page with this band on their "top friends" became an ad for Barack Obama.

Think about that, oh you strategists.