Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amid the noise

I often forget how mesmerizing Joseph Conrad is to me. The love affair started in high school with the infamous Heart of Darkness. Since then, I've been able to get lost in many Conrad adventures.
Time slow with Conrad, though it doesn't stand still. Restless in my too-full house, I went to Barnes&Noble (what I wouldn't do for a small, independent bookstore) looking for a coffee and a quick browse through the collection. The thing with B&N is that it is not the place to read a book. Unlike cozy independent stores, there are no nooks and crannies to get lost in. You can't hide from the conversations and the people browsing and gossiping for no reason.
But with Conrad I could. Stuck between a toe tapper who obviously just wanted to sit in a chair to lounge around and a couple waiting gossiping about their parents in the next chair, I almost threw in the towel. But then I got swept away in Conrad's The Shadow-Line: A Confession. An hour later I was shook out of the humid world of the Southeast Asian coast to realize that an hour was indeed gone, as were the annoying couple and the lazy toe-tapper.
I promptly bought Shadow-Line (though you can read for free at the above link if you are crazy enough to think reading on computer screens will ever replace the organic beauty of print), as well as The Secret Agent.

Thanks Conrad.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Taming the beast...

Let's face it, news in its current state is kind of a beast. With so many people reporting their own versions of a story, and so many stories existing from small-town America to sprawling investigations into international topics, its hard to keep up with the news.
But one site attempts to tame the beast and deliver a daily dose of news in the form a sleek pussycat that is easily manageable.
It's called the Daily Beast. The site is a news aggregate that, according to their site, is: "a speedy, smart edit of the web from the merciless point of view of that interests the editors. The Daily Beast is the omnivorous friend who hears about the best stuff and forwards it to you with a twist. It allows you to lead the conversation, rather than simply follow it."

The site's best feature is it's Cheat Sheet, which offers "Must reads from all over." This the feature that makes it a news aggregate.
But they go further, working to connect big stories together through a feature called the Big Fat Story. Offering a version of the brainstorming cloud, the site connects the most important little stories that fill out a specific topic. The cloud is displayed as representative images connected with lines. The topics are changed whenever a big development or two happens in the story.
Craig Stolz over at Web 2.0h...Really? has a great comparison between Daily Beast and Huffington Post (another news aggregate). As he says (among other observations):
"DB (The Daily Beast) views the world with a cocked eyebrow. HuffPo is
wide-eyed. Skeptics are more interesting to spend time with than

The Daily Beast is a really smart example of online journalism and is quite enjoyable to explore.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Friday

Sorry for the late post, but I was driving to my mom's house most of the day. For today's post I will share a photo of Lucia, the weimaraner puppy that my mom bought in April. She's now almost a year and quite big. The best part about the photo? It includes the only snow I've seen this entire winter (including some that Lucia just had to eat). Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back in the education saddle again...

Alright, so everyone knows that I hate not being in school. It's a part of my identity as this post explains. So I started scoping out the online classes offered on's NewsU and through MediaBistro. And I finally applied and was accepted into an online course from MediaBistro. The course is called "Reinventing Print Content for the Web." The title is self-explanatory and falls very easily into my goals for this site. Anyway, because the course involves a live Tuesday night chat, I thought I'd change my Wednesday posts to observations from the course for the next few weeks. Enjoy or ignore. It's up to you!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Forgive me for my absence

Sorry for my prolonged absence. Things got a little crazy the last few weeks. But not to worry: I am still here and ready to blog. I have never been a fan of music videos. I think most of them lack creativity. A lot of them are just the singer walking around singing while members of the opposite sex run around them. But lately, especially with relatively unknown musicians, there seems to be an uptick in creativity.
After browsing Buzz Sugar's latest updates, I found a post on Oren Lavie, an Israeli composer/singer. His beautiful music video utilizes stop motion techniques with a camera hung over a bed to show the hidden adventures of a young woman. Stop motion (think The Nightmare Before Christmas) uses thousands of still frames of methodically placed scenes and edited together to create a beautiful masterpeice. Look for the twirling dance scene created while they are still laying down. His music also has a beautiful ethereal quality to it. It's actually really hard to describe so just watch the video below.