aiming to break my record

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Goal for tonight: submit this before 11:59 PM.

This week got pretty interesting – I have next to no experience with audio editing software and experimenting with Audacity was a whole lot of fun.  The downside is that I spent so much time learning how to use it and trying to make my projects sound good that I think I got too involved – I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I came back to one of them a couple of days later and it was maybe one of the cheesiest things I’ve ever heard in my life.  Oh well.

I got to see a video for the first time of Ira Glass this week, which was exciting.  I’m a big fan of NPR but had no idea what he looked like.  I came away from watching the videos of him and Jad Abumrad offering advice on how to speak on the radio with a new appreciation for the types of work that go into it.  Glass’ insistence on the importance of having both a good story and an explanation for why the story is important (one or the other isn’t good enough!) and Abumrad’s reminder that the absence of visuals makes vivid descriptions crucial were particularly helpful.  I also learned that my straight hair and 20/20 vision seem to give me a disadvantage in the talk-radio field, but more on that here.

My daily creates this week felt boring.  I’m not sure if that necessarily means I did poorly on them, but I felt like my creativity wasn’t in check this week.  Still, I completed three of them since last Sunday:

I hummed a song I haven’t heard since I was very young.  I actually had to look it up on YouTube and listen to it several times before I could try humming it on my own, and then had to go back several times and re-record it.  My girlfriend called my phone from upstairs close to midnight that night and told me to stop humming kids’ songs.  So here’s how that turned out:

A few days later, I created a pattern out of the items on my desk.  The main problem with that assignment was that I don’t actually have a desk, so I used my coffee table instead.  The items on there probably were a bit different from the items most people had sitting around on their desks.  Now you all can see how messy my coffee table is!

Today, I recorded four sounds related to a normal activity.  On the SoundCloud page for it, I don’t give away what the activity is.  Here, I can go ahead and tell you I suppose.

…it’s me eating breakfast.  I mean not really, but it’s the sounds involved.  I don’t normally crunch that loud or eat so close to my laptop’s speaker.  This was the hardest of the daily create’s for me though.  I knew which sounds I wanted to use, but it turns out pouring milk over cereal doesn’t translate well via a laptop speaker.  I’m not sure how easy it really is to guess which activity it is.  The crunching was REALLY loud though and creeped me out a little when I listened to it play back.

Similar to last week, it seems like my biggest strengths in my posts are my voice and my titles.  I’ve been developing my “web voice” for a while now just by using various social media sites, so the compliments on my titles have been the most flattering.  In my head I’m a really witty person and every once in a while that translates into real life, but it seems to be easier to show that side of me online.  I’m glad ya’ll are diggin’ it!  I still wish I could keep up with my theme the way other people in my group do.  I was convinced last week that I could keep that up, but I’m thinking now that it might just be that I don’t have a theme that allows me to continue/build upon last week.  I’m considering putting a series of additional components at the end of each post though, so I’ll start with this one and see how I/other people like it.

My favorite and least favorite assignments this week were the audio assignments.  I really enjoyed making the radio bumper – I got to use some of the programs we’ve used before in this class like iLivid to pull stuff from YouTube, and I got to learn how to use Audacity. (You can hear how that turned out here.)  I absolutely hated making the 5-sound story though;  not because I have anything against using audio to tell stories but because the human sound effects made me feel really uncomfortable and a little bit disturbed.  I managed to make it through though and ended up with this.

Finally, I spent about an hour listening to an episode of Words on Radiolab.  Pros:  Got to hear the techniques I’d learned about put into practice, plus a few more.  Cons: It was pretty annoying to listen to and I felt like it was overdone.  I’m also just one person and maybe it was just that episode, so I’m not saying it’s a bad show!

Overall, I think this week went pretty well.  I really enjoyed using Audacity and experimenting with that type of software.  I get really paranoid about downloading things on to my laptop and I’m always convinced I’m putting spyware onto my computer or downloading viruses, so this course is really putting my anxieties to the test, but so far everything seems to be fine!  I failed in my goal to time out all of my assignments, but I am about an hour ahead of track compared to the last two weeks, so we can go ahead and call that improvement for now.

Anyway, here’s some coffee, dogs, and activism for the week:

This week, the third largest paper and pulp company in the world agreed to stop cutting down rain forests!
(We’ll kick this idea off with something positive)

(it’s 11:26.  Goal accomplished)


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