It’s the Little Things

A couple of weeks ago I got to do a full day of video shooting for my internship. I wasn’t so happy about it the next day though. We spent all morning outside. It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, there was barely a cloud in the sky, and the wind mostly stayed away so it didn’t mess with our audio too badly. Best of all, it wasn’t incredibly hot. It felt just right outside.

Maybe that’s why I forgot sunscreen. It’s not one of those things you immediately think of, but it sure is a great idea. I go pretty much straight from “super white” to “lobster.” I don’t really tan. By the end of the morning my arms were incredibly red. So was the rest of me, but my arms were the worst. A couple of days later I was about to drive to the office to start editing the videos when it happened. My left arm itched. It was about the worst itching I’d ever experienced. Of course, I didn’t want to scratch too hard or I’d just tear my skin up and make things worse.

So I drove to the grocery store, got some aloe lotion and some diphenahydramine (you may know it as Benadryl), and proceeded to have a miserable day. My arms were sticky from the lotion and I was fighting to stay awake from the medicine (you may also know diphenahydramine as Unisom, a sleep aid). Of course, none of this would have happened if I had worn sunscreen that morning.

Sometimes it’s the little things you bring on shoots that make all the difference.

48 Hour Video? Piece of Cake!

For one of my classes we had a little video project. Except it was a pretty big video project: we had to create a 60-second commercial in 48 hours.

Technically we had a little more than 48 hours to work on it. We could come up with ideas ahead of time, but my group didn’t get together to meet until about half an hour before we had to present our idea to the instructor for approval. That’s when things got good. I don’t know exactly how we came upon the idea, but we managed to think of an idea for a Pepto Bismol ad. We all were leaning in a comedic slant the entire time trying to come up with ideas, so this one ended up being pretty good.

The premise of the ad is that an actor is auditioning for a bunch of parts in one day. As the day goes on, the food items he’s auditioning for get more disgusting: it starts with some greasy tacos with “atomic sauce,” and progresses up to the most greasy pizza imaginable (achieved by slathering some vegetable oil on a slice of pepperoni pizza). By the end of the day he just collapses on his couch. At least until you hear his stomach make some pretty upset noises and he practically flies off the couch to get to his bathroom as fast as possible. Cue Pepto Bismol logo and a slogan.

We had the basic idea down in about 10 minutes, presented it to our instructor, and then spend another hour or so in pre-production. We needed to come up with shot ideas, an actor, and some lines. We got those down.

That’s when my knowledge of what happened gets iffy. Simply put: I had work and wasn’t able to help with any of the shooting. Yikes. I know, but I had already expended all of my favors getting others to cover my shift so I could go to my grandfather’s funeral over the weekend. Sometimes that’s just how it goes I guess.

We met up as a group to talk about how we wanted the edited piece to turn out, and to review the footage we got. One shot was blurry, so that had to be re-shot later.

To be honest, the editing didn’t really take that long. There weren’t a lot of shots total, and we already had a clear idea of what we wanted the finished project to look like. The only hard part was getting the timing of the bites right.

Anyway, we got that finished up and presented it to the teacher. He suggested a few minor edits and we ended up with this as our final product:

Of course, he had to throw us a curveball: we now had to edit the video down into a thirty second version.

We met briefly as a group to discuss what parts to trim up or cut out, and I got back to editing it. We cut the intro down quite a bit, reduced the amount of time it took for each bite, and then compressed the audio montage at the end a bit. Voila! Thirty second version! Again, the editing didn’t take too long because of our planning and exceptional teamwork. We ended up with this:

We actually like this 30 second version better than the original 60 second version we made! I think the project ended up being rather successful, and we got a good grade on it!

Special thanks to the awesome partners for this project. I’ll update this post as soon as I track down social media links for them or whatever.

Madness of March

I wouldn’t normally consider myself a sports watcher. Sure, I’ll watch sports if they’re on. It beats watching reruns of NCIS or Law and Order (that I’ve seen 50 times before), but I usually don’t specifically turn to a sports channel just to watch. Except during March.

I can’t explain it, but I just love March Madness. Perhaps part of it’s because basketball is so fast paced and the action doesn’t let up as often as some other sports. Maybe it’s because there’s the inherent challenge of the brackets. All I know is that when it comes to the NCAA tournament, I use as many screens as possible. Case in point: I’m typing this at work. I work in the Communication department lab, so I’m typing this on one iMac, with the Saint Mary’s v Middle Tennessee game open on the iMac next to me (in full screen, of course). Am I working? Yes. But people aren’t needing too much help today, so it gives me some quality time to keep the game on in the background.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m totally going to fail all my classes over the next couple weeks.

Edit: After Thursday you can view my bracket at Yahoo!’s “Tourney Pick Em'”. Or you can view a PDF right here, right now.

Busyness and Breaks

Well, that was quite a week.

To give you an idea of just how busy my last week was, I’ll point out Tuesday. On Tuesday, I was on campus, either in class or working, from 8am-11pm, except for about an hour and a half in the early evening. Wednesday wasn’t much better than that.

It seems like this is the point in the semester that things just get ridiculously, insanely busy. I probably should have written about it on here, but I managed to get myself two jobs this semester on campus: as a lab assistant in the communication department computer lab in the Spori building, and another as a tutor for COMM 310, Creating Online Media. This was one of those weeks where having two jobs was very hectic. For student employees, there is a limit of 20 hours per week. I’m hitting 19.5 hours this week, probably closer to 20 when you add in a few minutes here and there of overage (tutoring appointments rarely last exactly one hour).

Of course, this was all combined with some stress arising from a death in the family. On Tuesday, of all days.

Basically, I’m ready for a break. Maybe I’ll try to get 12 hours of sleep tonight. But, to be honest with myself, I’ll probably end up being up until 2am watching movies with my roommates, because that’s what we do as an apartment (they’re seriously some great roommates).


And my site is relaunched!

This is actually pretty exciting! I’ve done a lot of work to make my website about 50x better (*not a guarantee)! First thing I did is consolidate my web presence. I have a lot of web apps that I just don’t use anymore, so I kicked them out. They’ve been sent to the great recycle bin in the sky (or, if you’re a mac user, they were sent to the great trash can in the sky).

I’ve also had several different WordPress sites accumulate over the years. I had a portfolio site, a blog, and a photoblog I created for a class. I also have an assignment “portfolio” (not really a portfolio, but whatever) and I created a couple of blogs for documenting my NaNoWriMo writings.

No more. I’ve consolidated things in. I’ve combined the portfolio site, blog, and photoblog into this one WordPress site you’re looking at now. I’ll also be moving my NaNoWriMo journal entries into the blog portion of this site too. (The writings will be backed up onto a private WordPress installation.) Basically, everything’s in one place now.

I’ve also done a complete redesign. I’ve moved over to one of the most popular WordPress themes, Responsive, and created my own custom-made child theme for this site. The layout hasn’t changed (I was pretty happy with the clean layout), but I did change most of the colors. It’s pretty sweet.

So how did I do it? I created the new theme last semester for a class, using the mad CSS skills I learned in another class last semester. As far as combining WordPress sites is concerned, it only took a few hours of time. WordPress’s import/export feature is really, really good, and made it super easy to get everything under one virtual roof. I still have some work to do: particularly redirecting the old sites to this new one. Some of the URL schemes have changed, so it’s not going to be super easy. I’m going to have to do some 301 Permanent Redirects on my old sites. That’s going to be fun. Fortunately, I’ve got an idea of how to make it at least a little quicker.

Enjoy the new site!

An Open Letter to Socks

Dear Socks,

Why? That is the beginning of a couple of questions I demand answers to.

Why do you develop holes so quickly? It’s not like you’re that expensive, but having to buy several pairs of you a couple of times each year gets old really fast. And it adds up. It almost makes me wish I had gotten you for Christmas, even though you’re easily one of the worst presents ever.

Why do you decide to go missing from the laundry so easily? I swear, half the time I do laundry and go to put all my clothes away, there is at least one of you sitting unmatched when I’m done. Sometimes there’s more than one of you chilling by yourselves if I’ve done multiple obviously different kinds of you in the same load. I know single life is fun and all, but that’s not what you, as socks, are supposed to do. You’re supposed to be paired off. Live that way.

I wish I already knew the answers to those questions. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing you this letter. But I don’t know why you do these things. I don’t have the answers, and I want them. Especially about the holes. My feet are getting cold.