Video of the Week: Take Me to Church

I am superduper busy with work at the moment (a big piece to finish, a smaller-yet-enormous piece and even more research to do for both of them) but I wanted to share this with you real quick.

I flicked on the music channel(s) at lunch just now, because the alternative was dissecting the BBC’s interview with President Assad, and I came in just after this video started. Usually mainstream music videos are either a) okay or b) MCR, but I stopped in my metaphorical tracks to watch this. I’ve rewatched it on YouTube, because I figured I hadn’t seen enough to understand the story, but I still don’t understand the story even though I’ve been jamming along to this on the radio for weeks and thought I had a pretty good grasp of the lyrics.

I have to get back to business now, but if anyone knows if there’s a sequel and/or prequel and/or in-depth interview with the screenwriter, let me know. Did I miss what was in the box? I’m going to watch it again to check.

Moving Image Appreciation Post #8

Last night’s MCR binge reminded me of how much I love love a) MCR and b) music videos. Let’s watch some together.

The Axis of Awesome The Holy Trinity

“What’s his job?”

This song discusses everything I ever wondered mid-RS lesson and wasn’t brave enough to ask. Kudos for the Converse-tapping.

Mindless Self Indulgence Fuck Machine AMV Cartoon

I was telling a friend about MSI yesterday and rediscovered this. I want to be a cartoon please.

The Axis of Awesome In the Club Tonight

I think we know whose CD I want for Christmas. (Also: Lorde, Lily Allen and Minchin if you’re making a list.)

If I ever have a lot of money to invest and I’ve already bought a house, remind me that I’d love to have a bar where you can dance and hang out and actually hear each other.

Join Tom Daley and Lance Black for a double date in London

I am aware this isn’t a music video, but I stumbled across it on my travels – aka saw it on Instagram – and it’s funny and for a great cause if it’s your gig but more importantly

They were giving out trips to the Star Wars set. You could also hang with the Breaking Bad dudes. If I’d known about that, I’d have had my brother’s birthday present sorted just by entering.

Instead I think I bought him a book.

Omaze is my new career aspiration, ie if I’m ever a successful writer, I’ll put up a chance to have coffee and have an excuse to get a picture as good as this:

Ian Somerhalder Turns You into a Vampire (legit opportunity) from Omaze.com
Ian Somerhalder Turns You into a Vampire (legit opportunity) from Omaze.com

There is really nothing to add. Except that I don’t know what show Ian Somerhalder is in. I think Vampire Diaries?

This has fallen apart somewhat. I’m going to do some paperwork now.

Zine Envy

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for the Five Years of Blogging – currently have about seven, but about three of them might not be plausible – and Gerard’s made me want to make a zine.

He makes it look so simple and pretty! I love playing about with tape and scraps of paper! On the downside, I probably don’t have enough decent work to fit a zine that is both entertaining and pertinent to this blog. Here is what I’ve come up with for topics so far:

  • How not to be a blogger
  • Designing an okay layout and/or colour scheme
  • What not to discuss
  • How to ward off the urge to post gossip or rude things about people who have upset you
  • Dogs

I reckon they’re a bit wordy though. Plus there’s my complete lack of photocopying resources. Downloadable PDF for £2.50 anyone?

Explaining the Internet Slowdown (and protesting so you might not be able to read it)

It’s not that often that a lot of the people who use the Internet agree on something, but it looks like the US government has given us all a common enemy (again. Didn’t this happen with SOPA and Prop 8?!). I don’t have a huge understanding of the technical aspects of it, but essentially the US Federal Communications Commission has proposed laws that mean Internet providers can charge money for websites to access their subscribers. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay would get slower Internet connections than those who could. It’s kind of like private healthcare versus the NHS; companies who can afford to pay for top healthcare plans (or Internet) would get seen to quickly and in top-notch conditions (quick page loading), and the rest of us would be put into an 18-month waiting list and spend a week in A&E (the buffer symbol for minutes or hours at a time).

A&E is slow at the moment, but imagine if NHS hospitals were purposely given rubbish equipment compared to private ones? People on the NHS would stay ill or get worse while private patients would be sorted in a jiffy. Now I think about it, that analogy is quite similar to the debacle of non-free-at-point-of-use-healthcare countries… like America. Now’s not the time.

To show what these new conditions would be like, lots of sites – including Tumblr, Etsy, Twitter and Automattic, which powers WP and therefore here – have enforced a slow Internet day, today. Pages, videos and music streams are loading at the speed at which they would load everyday if telecoms companies started charging for access. Many sites affected probably could pay for the quick connection, especially if they increased adverts – but users are likely to be put off by the ads and anyway, what about little online businesses who pay for their own connection? What about people who want to stream videos from sites who haven’t paid for quick access?

The buffer symbol. All the goddamn time.

What can we do to prevent this shit happening at all: head to this website, which is petitioning Congress to stop the proposal from becoming law. If you’re using a site that’s campaigning for ‘net neutrality’, as they call it, you can have a look to see that they’re doing in protest.

Most big Internet companies are a bit corrupt. Most people on the Internet are tossers. But none of us wants to put up with slow service, regardless of the sites we use or the people we abuse while on them.

PS (sort of) Since Etsy is protesting too, I’ve put a discount on my Etsy shop. I was going to anyway to celebrate Blood of Olympus coming out in October, and today seemed a good time to start it. Enter UNCLERICK2014 at the checkout for 30% off, although maybe wait until the protest’s over for a good long browse.

The Six O’Clock News: Keeping Up With Current Events

With the ever-changing nature of ‘current events’ and the complications of understanding it anyway, I thought the Israel-Palestine conflict (war? See, defining this shit is tough) would be a good topic to use to discuss ways to keep up with the news. All the cool kids are doing it, so listen up!

The Traditional Way: Newspapers and Magazines

Aw, print media. A declining medium and usually so full of editorially-biased bullshit that often it’s not worth going near anyway. We all know that tabloids aren’t worth even opening (I discovered a Daily Mail parody on Twitter the other day. It’s beautiful) but what about the broadsheets?

Well darlings, there are some good choices. The Guardian and Telegraph, traditionally a bit leftie and rightie respectively, have pretty decent articles which give a detailed explanation of a story, usually with some photos or maybe an infographic. I don’t usually get the Financial Times but I’ve heard it’s good too, as is The Times, if buying something owned by Rupert Murdoch doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies. Then there’s the Independent and its sister publication the i, which I loved to read at school because it’s really short and has super-duper-easy-to-digest articles. It’s also only 30p and available from Starbucks, so you can look smart while sipping a skinny mocha polkadot frappe. All the papers have websites too so you can read an article as many times as it takes for your blood pressure to return to normal!

That’s pretty much the extent of my paper knowledge and I encourage you to utilise your local library and have a read of whatever you can get your hands on – you’ll find your favourite style of writing pretty soon. One word of warning: even the news articles will contain bias. Not as much as a column – not as obviously much as a column, anyway – but differentiating between reported fact, the writer’s opinion and a senior management-based reference (like a journalist highly rating a film released on a company owned by the newspaper’s owner) is a fun and useful skill. One that Daily Mail readers are lacking above all others.

In terms of magazines, there is only one I read, though I read it more thoroughly than I do all papers: Private Eye. Edited by the dude who sits on the left in Have I Got News for You, it’s predominately satire but also has some serious reporting and its Street of Shame section calls out other newspapers’ crap. If I remember correctly, it was one of the few publications that picked up on Cyril Smith being a paedophile about 20 years before the Jimmy Savile scandal – I think they got sued over the allegations. They get sued a lot. The Economist is also useful if you want to get really intellectual – and the ads in the back are brilliant if you want to pretend you have a PhD.

The Family Debate Way: Television

Ah, the real Six O’Clock News. I love it. If you’re anything like me, couch-surfing wise, you start your channel-flicking marathons around the entertainment channels (Virgin Media 121) and go up to music (Kerrang! TV is 342) and maybe into films (avoid the porn channels just past them).

This is stupid.

Go straight to the good stuff: the plethora of news channels. BBC News 24 HD is 604 for me and it’s on all the time. So if you’re out at ten o’clock or eating at six you can keep in the loop! I’m assuming your family bought a huge massive mega TV broadband phone package deal, in which case you probably have access to CNN, Al Jazeera English, Euro News, BBC Parliament and if you’re unlucky FOX.

The good thing about TV news is that because they’re broadcasting to everybody, they have to explain everything. Hence why reporters go to whacky places or walk through green screened graphics – the information needs to be understandable to the average viewer. You’re not the average viewer because you’re a) reading this and b) you know that you can access CNN.

A downside to the TV is that because most non-24-hour slots are short, detail can be missed from a story, and some stories aren’t told at all. Syria is big news when there’s been a huge bombing or war crime, for example, but gets overtaken by the next big thing. The same thing happened in all areas of the mainstream media to #BringBackOurGirls and Flight MH370. Both are still missing, by the way.

 The Hands-Free Way: Radio

You know, the way they kept up with business in World War II. Radio is cool because you aren’t rendered immobile and you can listen while you’re in the car or doing boring stuff, like chores. BBC Radio 4 has a good broadcast in the morning, which I discovered completely accidentally when I was searching for a radio station without jingles or adverts for my morning alarm. I’ve also heard good things about the BBC World Service, which apparently has a worldwide following because it’s an alternative to propaganda-ridden state media.

The Hipster Way: Websites and Social Media

I should probably point out that I’m not entirely sure what a hipster is, although many of the people I’ve known who have declared themselves to be one have actually been twats. I’m not sure if that’s the point. Anyway, social media basically sparked the Arab Spring, because for the first time people had ways to communicate meet-ups and ideas quickly. So instead of using Twitter to hashtag how great your favourite band is to promote a crappy MTV contest, use it to keep up with a conflict or political situation as-it-happens. There was a Russian soldier who posted a picture of himself with Russian weapons inside Ukranian borders on Instagram, and Osama bin Laden’s house’s siege was posted about on Twitter as it occurred, which says it all. The people inside war zones are exactly the same as everyone else so you can see the actual stuff that’s going on. You don’t have to follow accounts if it bums you out, but searching a tag here and there makes you like well intelligent.

Word of warning: social media is the least moderated of all broadcasting platforms and there are just as many idiots posting political things as there are idiots posting pictures of themselves in their underwear or bitching about their boss. Take with a bucketful of salt and always use two sources to corroborate information, especially if it’s for a school thing. I once stumbled upon a Hammas-supporting website which bitched a lot about Israel and the stats I collected were totally the opposite to the ones we learnt in school. For quick info, use the BBC News app and for research, the CIA World Factbook has great profiles on each country – well, they would – and lists states numerically by how great their literacy rate or GDP is, amongst other things. The BBC also has great country profiles for getting a simple explanation and timeline of a country. This explains Kosovo perfectly, for example.

The Fun Way: Entertainment

Not going to lie, Tim Minchin taught me the background to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Then there’s Have I Got News for You, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Daily Show… the list  of programmes is endless. If you’re prepared to put up with some Hollywood gloss, films and books are useful. Some, like Shooting Dogs or books by Khaled Hosseini, don’t have gloss. They may make you cry noisy tears and expand your cynicism. But they’re actually really important because you’re more likely to empathise and understand the nuances of a situation through fiction than you are just by watching the news.

Documentaries are also excellent because it’s their job to make sense, tell the truth (again: apply salt) but keep hold of your attention. Plus your teachers will support the concept of watching them instead of doing a timed essay. Probably. Possibly.

Okay, I’m off to watch the diving at the Commonwealth Games and keep a tally of my parents’ homophobic comments regarding Tom Daley. Let me know if I’ve forgotten a supercool way to follow the news!

The Six O’Clock News: Some Old Commentary on New News

I’m not sure whether it’s heyfever, a cold, exhaustion or sheer utter relief that I’m not in school any more (or maybe all four) but my eyes hurt and I can’t really remember how to type so I decided that instead of the News we should share bullshit news stories that are almost too weird to believe.

Unfortunately after two years of minimal commenting I am aware that maybe two people will respond so here is a video with unlikely pertinence to the ISIS shit that’s currently going down which is actually too depressing for me to write about before my eyeballs fall out. So Tim can say some stuff!

If I remember correctly he follows up that sketch with the Pope Song… can’t remember if that has any baring on current events so I’m going to see the dogs and maybe complain about football.

I mean really, it’s a ball game. Even I know that you’re supposed to score goals and stuff…

The Six O’Clock News: Smart Videos #2

Doing this on a superduper tight time limit so let’s just watch and enjoy – or not – these gems.

Thank you to Jacki for showing me this – it’s definitely made me think about public perception and domestic violence. I think it’s called the Kitty Genovese effect when nobody in a group helps an individual because they think someone else in the group should? I’m half-remembering Watchmen and last year’s psychology lessons, seriously, let me know if I’ve butchered science!

I haven’t heard the next one properly yet so if it’s bullshit and not just because of UKIP I do apologise, please let me know.

 

This isn’t news but I just saw it so let’s pretend it’s still Oscar season! Lupita for president of the world!

It’s kind of funny/depressing that white people in the UK are giving themselves cancer on sunbeds for a tan while tanned people are actually bleaching their skin. Citizens of the universe: the media is full of crap so ignore it and please wear sunscreen. Love, Francesca xxx