Monday, January 31, 2011

"Egyptians are not Americans"

Sharing some perspectives on the events transpiring in Egypt:

What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt
By Chris Hedges

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Black Eagle

I just got home from seeing Black Swan. It was intense and hard to watch, but better than I'd expected; I think Natalie Portman should win the Oscar for her performance.

But the truth is, I no longer feel like elaborating about the movie. I read Professor Macek's post about the latest news in Egypt, and suddenly a film critique seems shallow. A different sort of Black Swan--a darker side to technology, to human nature--has been let out of its Pandora's Box and is dancing across the world stage, turned loose by a US company.

Actually, the events presently transpiring in Egypt make me think of another movie: Iron Man.
I'm not being facetious. Tony Stark has cool technology (and weapons), which he naively thinks are manufactured and used for the greater good--for the protection of human lives and freedom. To his shock Tony learns his technologies are instead being used to strip people of their basic rights.

With any technology there is the risk: in the wrong hands it can be used to perform harmful acts. Greed plus technology seem to often set the stage for immoral actions.

Where is Iron Man when we need him?

Internet TV is poised, ready to leap into the big picture to give television viewers a whole new reality.
The television your father lovingly knew as “the boob tube” is getting yet another kick in the hypothetical hammer pants. Like it or not, once again TV is evolving. Don’t get me wrong; whether Plasma, LED, OLED, 3D—whatever—the television set isn’t going to be left behind, at least not anytime soon. TV is just going to get a makeover.
With the help of the likes of Google TV, iTV, and Boxee Box, your grandpa’s idiot box is now able to go where no TV* has gone before: the Internet. Media these days is, after all, about being interactive.
Just think, the next time you’re watching “Tarantula” you won’t have to scream in terror by yourself; your net buddies will be right there with you, posting comforting words onto the screen where the horrid arachnid lurks. Watching a rerun of South Park and need to tweet a laugh? No problem; Internet TV understands your need to media-multitask.
With Internet TV you can have an online conversation with your friends while you share the viewing experience—even if you are sprawled on sofas at opposite ends of the world. Soon you'll wonder how you ever survived without it!

* I am referring to mainstream, rather than tech-geek aided, televisions.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

School Days...

     I am not your average college student. Average in age, that is. Now that I have dropped back into school (after a long break,) I find my memory being jogged by certain experiences that bring back old feelings about formal education:
     I get nervous about impending tests; I worry about not doing assignments correctly; I am concerned about being late for class. Many of my old concerns from my grade school and high school days, however, seem gone for good. Really good. I do not worry about what I'm wearing. I am not bored; I don't resent and blow off my assignments; I don't worry if I'll make any friends.
      I do not have to worry about bullies.
     Bullies were a big theme for me for a short period of time in my early childhood. It felt interminable while I was going through it; I suffered intensely from unwanted mean-girl attention. The more I attempted to withdraw from their focus, the more they seemed to hunt me down. At home I was creative and confident; at school I was self-conscious, socially isolated, lonely and sad. By fifth grade I'd studied my tormentors, and figured out how to effectively defend myself. The bullies, or my sensitivity to them, dissipated. 
     Unlike most of my college classmates, I have children. I have watched them face their own school issues, which sadly have, at times, included bullies. This seems to be a somewhat common childhood experience, and I am wondering how people look back upon it as adults.   
     Have any of you ever experienced bullying? Were you a bully? Either way, how did you get over it? 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Enter my contest and WIN PRIZES!!!

So, I have decided to create a contest with my blog, just because...well, just because.

My contest will be a ...
poetry contest,
and you are invited to enter!

The prompt is:

(Replace the "..." with your poem)

Poetry Contest Guidelines:

There is no can enter for FREE!
You can enter as many times as you want, for FREE!
Your poem may be "bad." Not raunchy, BAD--as in poorly written.
There will even be a prize for the most poetical poem!!!
You might win a HOUSE!!*
Or a CAR!!*
Or a CAT!!!!*
There are two ways to enter:
1. Write a poem and post it on your blog.
2. There are no other ways, I just thought it would be cool to have a numbered list in this blog entry.
3. Once you have posted your blog, comment here to let me know you are ready to be judged.

Good Luck!

* important fine print where the false advertiser admits you, the reader, are about to get screwed--but which banks on you being the sort who won't read the fine print. This particular fine print has to break the bad news: you really have absolutely no chance whatsoever so help me God to win a house, or for that matter a car, through this contest. I'm lying through my eye teeth (PS--why are they called "I Teeth? Incisors? Or is it EYE teeth? That is even crazier!) Whatever; back to the fine print. As I was saying, despite the the sad fact you will NOT win a car, or a house, you probably will win a cat, or, say...three. Your three cats will be old, sickly, blind in at least one eye, and they will all miss the litter box more often than not; but then that is a matter for the fine print, which you are not reading. Sucker. My crazy cat-lady aunt will be dropping your cats off shortly. Congrats, winner!

Monday, January 17, 2011

HOW is it done?!

This is a real question. I hope for real answers, posing as "comments."

How on earth do people do all of their homework in college?
Do you do all of the readings? Do you "speed read?"
Can you remember what you've read, or do you lose it all when you cram the next assignment into your brain?
How many hours--honestly--do you spend doing homework?

Because, wow; I have a lot of reading to do.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Google me"

I'll admit it; I'm hooked on Google. I jumped in and started optimizing my presence in hopes of increasing my position in searches, trying to climb the ladder so that people looking for a dog trainer would find me first...or close to first. It isn't easy making it to a high position in search engines unless you are willing to pay. I am not willing; no ad-words, no pay-per-click for me. 

I decided to do it the cheap way: self-promotion based SEO.  At first I played fair, spreading my propaganda across a range of search engines. But I have to admit, I soon left them all for Google. I know Bing is trying hard, and Yahoo strives to compete, but I like to ride the fastest horse. I'd feel weird saying "Bing me." Or "Yahoo me."

Google had me from, well, hello. I started out just dabbling with Googling others or myself; with a g-mail account; with more g-mail accounts; with Google Places, which gave me my own little spot on the Google Map, easily identified with my own geo-specific, Google generated QR code (see my post below for more on that if confused.) With iGoogle, I gained a home page with a little fox on my banner ( that a sly wink at those who were once loyal to Firefox?), who changes what he does based on what time it is. 

Oh, and while I am 'fessing up to how deep it goes between me and Google, there's more. Several years ago I added some Google "Knols," a place where I could expert blog about...what else? Dogs. Later Google Docs became important, what with me now being a student and all; and my Google Calendar is so handy for synchronizing my busy daily activities. But that's not all: I have Google-based Picasa to keep my photos handy, floating around in some Google data cloud for easy access from anywhere!

I also use Google Talk, a chat tool with a video chat option, so I can stay in touch with my Googling kids no matter where we are on the Google Map.  Wondering if I have a YouTube account? You betcha

But it all came together with Google Voice. Google Voice started out as "Grand Central," which I beta tested. It was pretty cool; a central calling station that assigned me a free phone number (in my area code,) which forwarded all incoming calls to all of my phones--home, cell, etc., at the same time. Never missing a call, recorded messages to text and e-mailed to me: WOW! Oh, and a most (the most?) compelling detail: with Grand Central I didn't pay for a single incoming call, neither from cell nor land line, regardless of who I used as a mobile service provider. Before the unlimited call package days, this meant a lot to my phone bill; actually it meant a lot LESS.

I loved Grand Central, and wasn't going to break up with them when Google assimilated them into its huge, ever-evolving, Jabba-the-Hut-like mass. So, I went all the way to the Google side, and now I am part of the evil conglomerate, a willing participant, a minion.


I also rank really high when you Google me

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman

So, it is tough being a nontraditional student, but I'm not complaining. I count myself lucky for caring, for wanting to learn "at my age," for still striving when many of my similar aged peers are looking for ways to kick back and coast. Sometimes things happen that make you reexamine how you are using your time.

I became a student in reaction to my daughter, presently 22, nearly dying.  Nearly dying the first time, that is.

She surprised everyone, including herself, by having a pulmonary embolism at 20.  If you are in her age peer group, healthy and still taking it for granted, please enjoy yourself (responsibly.) The rug can just get yanked, and afterward everything changes. Don't stop there; it won't be enough. Figure out what the world needs, come alive, go be it.

It turns out she has an underlying medical condition that will make the rest of her life tricky. It annoys her; she is a college student too, a truly legitimate young person striving to become someone the world needs. Her health troubles are unwanted interruptions; she was supposed to go back to her school on Tuesday, to resume classes. That plan now looks like it is going to have to be adjusted.

Presently I am in a hospital room, doing homework next to my daughter, who lies asleep in the midst of her latest bump in her life's road. I'm pretty helpless in all of this, but I can still try hard not to curl into a fetal position.  I may have a pop quiz tomorrow, after all.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Words on Birds

These birds are very artsy and make my blog look quite bloggy, but unfortunately I think they they also make it pretty hard to read. What do you think?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oh. Deer. (Actually: Oh, Elk)

That's SO Meta.

So, just when I thought I would die of an overdose of META from looking into the mirror-within-the-mirror of bloggers talking about blogging, with the intention of well...blogging about it, I lucked onto Adam Greenfield
Interviewed by Rebecca Blood for her blog, Rebecca's Pocket, (Bloggers on BloggingDecember 2005Greenfield is like a breath of fresh air:
“ My brain is just one big mulch of influences all kind of simmering and swapping plasmids and whatnot. ”
Dang, Adam! I know how that feels. Okay, not really. But you sound smart, or crazy, and either way at least you were INTERESTING. 
Reading through the interviews of various successful bloggers, wondering if I'd have a thing to say about what they have to say about themselves, I got kind of...bored. Everyone seems to have a lot to say, and it isn't always all that fascinating. That is the bad part about the blogosphere; it's like shopping at the discount store. There's a lot of cheap stuff, but if you look for it something more valuable turns up.   
So, I looked Adam up, and guess what? It turns out, besides giving a reasonably interesting interview, he has actually done pretty well for himself. 

Greenfield initially got into blogging for the cool of it all (and probably money, too.) He claims he started out trying to write with "A Voice;" but quickly settled into actually developing one that doesn't sound like he's trying too hard. Apparently authenticity won out over coolness. (Which in the end made him cool after all.) 

To share just a bit of Greenfield's back-in-the-day bloggy-ness, here is an excerpt from Blood's interview, wherein Greenfield does that thing bloggers do a lot: he shares some links to other blogs. (Three out of four of the links seem to work as originally intended.)

     "What are three four blogs you think deserve wider recognition, and why?"
     "My friend Jamie's site, Thanksgiving Is Ruined, is like a port directly from his very unusual mind to Blogspot. It's, uh, notable. Jan Chipchase's Future Perfect deserves the widest possible exposure. Miss Representation is the bellow of love and rage from every true New Yorker's secret heart. Last year I called angermann2 "mindf***ing, cryptic," and I see no reason to retract that characterization. (It's a compliment, in case you were wondering.)"

Here's to you, Adam, and to the rest of your blogging kind for paving the way toward college classes that ask students to blog about bloggers.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Experiments in Blogging

So, as a new (actually, old. Older. I am "nontraditional") student, one of my assignments is to "blog." And not JUST to blog, but to blog right: be succinct; stay on topic (and just one topic); include links and photos; use punchy titles with attention-grabbing fonts.

Well, I gave it some of my all in my previous post, so to clear the palate, here is a plain-old (old being a slightly touchy word) post.


Professor Macek is right; this isn't nearly as effective. You are probably no longer even reading this, based on the average blog-reader's attention span. I'm just typing away, with only myself to even care. So, here's a little Photoshop tutorial, just to liven things up for myself--and anyone who stuck it out with me. I know this is supposed to be my experimental, plain-text, boring blog entry, but I got bored.


So, exactly WHAT is this, you ask?
No, it is NOT a  maze.
Nope; it is not alien art, either (though I have to admit, I think it is sort of... pretty. Or at least pretty cool!)
Perhaps you already know: It is a  QR code.
If you pay attention, you'll start to notice them lurking in all sorts of places!
Got a smartphone? Scan it! Want one of your own? Generate it!

(And if you know anyone with a naughty dog, have them scan it too!)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spike Lee at NCC!!!

Story Image

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
North Central College
Wentz Concert Hall – 171 E. Chicago Av.

7:00pm (doors open at 6:00pm) General Admission seating.

Free for North Central students, faculty, and staff - must reserve ticket by visiting the North Central College box office or calling 630.637.SHOW. Only one ticket per North Central ID.

$20 for the public. Purchase tickets at NCC Box Office starting January 6th by visiting or call 630.637.SHOW.

Blog Links!

I'm in class now, and Prof. Steve Macek has given a few suggestions, starting with "READ MORE BLOGS!
With that in mind, here are a few links:

And so it begins...

       Well, this is my first blog post as an Interactive Media Studies/ Convergent Media student at North Central College!

       I'd love to tell you all about it, except I am TOO TIRED! I just finished spending the last three hours saving a dog's life (long story; too tired. I'll explain later.)

       As an aside, I am a famous dog behavioral trainer and writer. You can check out my website:; "Google me:" Peggy Moran Dog Trainer; or buy my book:

       Soon it will be time to head off for my second day of classes, where I will try to stay alert...but no promises. I received an e-mail inviting me to a new commuter student breakfast which is happening before my first class. I am debating: eat, or nap?, or nap? or zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz