Monday, March 29, 2010

A blog? What's that?

So, I don't know if you all remember this or not, but I have a blog! And you are reading it! And this is a new post! WOW!

So what shall I talk about today? The fact that I have lots of money I need to acquire for my first year of college? The amazing quality of the latest DVD from Rambler Productions? The ungodly amount of money you can spend on a single computer? Script Frenzy news? My Mechuwana presentation? The utter stupidity of people on Facebook? My new date for Prom?

I know, I'll talk a little bit about all of them. After all, I'm using this blog partly as a journal so I can remember things in the future.

First off, college. College is expensive. Even after taking out some standard loans and getting a bunch of grants I still need to come up with quite a lot more money to pay for my first year at college. I'm hoping to find some more scholarships but it's likely that I'll just have to take out more loans. Big surprise.

If you are friends with me on Facebook you probably already know that the 2010 WHS One Act competition entry Letters has a fancy new DVD available for purchase. This is possibly the best DVD ever to come out of Rambler Productions. I spent two and a half days feverishly working on the DVD menu design which includes a fully animated envelope which spins around and opens, revealing the menu buttons on the enclosed note. I also got footage of Mr. Setchell smashing the regional trophy with a sledgehammer. So far we've sold about 30 copies. We sold 23 of those before I even finished the DVD. Very popular, very cool product.

I'm looking to buy myself a laptop for my freshman year of college at NESCOM. NESCOM isn't requiring laptops this year, but that's like saying (insert witty comparison here). Anyway, at first I was looking at the State of Maine surplus sale where they are selling off the laptops schoolteachers used last year for only $400. Which is a great deal. However, through NESCOM I get a discount at the Apple store and can buy a computer with four times as much RAM, Microsoft Office, Final Cut Express, and a faster processor NEW for about $1,300. Base price of $900. While I could buy three state laptops for that price, it still looks like the $1,300 is the way to go. Tack on to that a required $150 hard drive and possibly a $100 graphics tablet (just for kicks) and I'm up to $1,500 dollars. Did I mention college is expensive? Not nearly as expensive as THE most expensive computer you can buy at the Apple store. Just for fun I started with the $3,000 Mac Pro computer (similar to what we use in the video room) and maxed out all the hardware on it. Have a guess as to the price?


No, I didn't add an extra zero, you can actually spend sixteen thousand dollars on a computer. It has 8 Terabytes of space, 32 Gigs of RAM, four high speed graphics cards, two quad core processors for a total of 8 processors, and much more. This computer is an absolute BEAST.



Why don't they leave it as days till the 24 hour mark? It's so much more terrifying this way. I need to get working on that. Greenback is going to be amazing once it's done. I'm super excited. And now that I'm not endlessly working on the Letters DVD I can focus on it.

The promotional video I made for Mechuwana was presented on Saturday to the UMC here in Winthrop. I went in and gave a short spiel and showed the video. It went okay, though there were only about 12 in attendence. Norm payed me for my work on the video, which was unexpected. I didn't ask for anything. But as I mentioned before, college is a bit of a strain on the wallet, so I'm grateful.

You probably already knew this, but a whole lot of people on Facebook are STUPID. I'm not sure if it is a direct correlation to stupidity in real life or if the internet just draws out the soggiest gray matter available in a person, but GEEZ. I mean, come on, all those groups asking you to "JOIN AND SEE THIS THING THAT'S OMGOSH AMAZING/SICK/COOL/WRONG/BLATANTLY SCAMTACULAR." (In homage to the rants of Chris Balcer) (Also, OMGOSH is my new favorite interjection.)

I give three examples in this rant.

Instance #1

Here's a simple example "OMG FUNNIEST PICTURE EVER! JOIN TO SEE!" pops up somewhere and people immediately start joining up, trusting in the creator of the group to deliver on their promise. I'm not saying this promise isn't kept all the time but here are a few key reasons it's pointless to join this group.

1. How many funny pictures are there on the internet? A LOT. How likely is it that this will be the "funniest"? Pretty slim. Go look for some pics on Google and save yourself some trouble. Anything claiming to be the absolute peak of anything is probably a scam/lie.

2. About 85%* of these groups are scams in the sense that they have hidden links or more requirements in order for you to "see" the photo or whatever. These links bring you to virus-infested and spyware infested sites. I even saw a creator with the last name of "Ponzi" on one page. I laughed, perhaps scammers have a sense of humor.

3. There are far safer, far more entertaining ways to waste your time on the internet. A good rule of thumb if you feel you have to join one of these groups is to check what other people have written on the wall first. If they are generally positive comments you should be fine. If the page has disabled user comments then obviously the page is a scam. Another good thing to check for is a caps lock obsessed creator. You'll notice in all three instances the group name is in capitals. This is a desperate ploy for attention and, while not a game-breaker, is a red flag for the group.


Okay, lets think about the trustworthiness of the creator of this group. If they actually wanted this person banned they would make this an open group and allow anyone to see who to ban. How do we know that the creator of this group isn't said pedophile and he is looking through the members list for guillible young girls to beguile? That seems a disturbingly likely situation to me.

Instance #3

"BECOME A FAN IF YOU DO THIS!!!! (Insert extremely common situation here)"
e.g. "go out of my way to step on that crunchy leaf" and "drop things, pick them up, and drop them again"

I am less opposed to this kind of group, I just think they are silly. However, in most cases they are aware of their own silliness and embrace it. It is interesting to see in how many ways we as a people are similar. But if it is so ubiquitous why do we need to state that we are "fans" of these things? Just to be sarcastic I joined the group "Being Stabbed Repeatedly" after seeing a bunch of people join "Not Being Stabbed Repeatedly." Unfortunately this plan backfired and my friends that had joined "Not Being Stabbed Repeatedly" also joined "Being Stabbed Repeatedly." GAH.

Looking at the hundreds of thousands of people who join these groups is a fascinating insight into the psychology of the masses. At least the immature, stupid ones. I am sorry if I am offending those people who join said groups and pages, and I understand that not all of these pages are BS and that some are just entertaining and people want to be associated with them. I'm preaching to the choir here though because I have wonderfully intelligent readers. I am a member of many different groups and pages, but I have some sort of vested life interest in them. Hobbies, local businesses, causes I believe in, etc. I am mostly just appalled at the people with literally hundreds upon hundreds of groups and pages. If ever you wanted to remove your membership from these it would take FOREVER.

I have a date for the prom this year! Despite my running streak of missing every single Winthrop High School dance I decided to break that run for prom. Hopefully the music will be good. I dunno if my date wants her name up on the web so I'll keep it to myself. If you have some interest you can contact me.

As a final thought I leave you with the following;

Last night on TV,
Oh advertisting, do you even listen to yourself? "LIFE, presented to you by Target"
It's almost as bad as "Tomorrow on Today!" That one always cracks me up. Or the billboard which says "ILLITERATE? Write in for a free consulation!"

*87% of all statistics are made up on the spot.