Vandalia’s Arch

During my brief sabbatical from blogging I have been going back and forth between Bloomington and St. Louis to sort out my summer. While driving down highway 70 during this trip, I pass through Vandalia Illinois, and I have been quite distressed by what I saw. They have a scrawny, pathetic replica of the Gateway Arch, an atrocity I can only describe as a mockery of my hometown’s landmark. I have attached a picture of this insulting waste of resources. The arch is barely visible over a bush, which I can only assume is a replica of some real shrubbery from a real city. In fact, the real feat of architecture to be seen in Vandalia is a Hardee’s sign, which is actually elevated high enough that you still see it, even if you blink at the wrong time.

Gateway to the Thickburger

You can’t even go inside it, but you could probably climb to the top in less time than it takes to ride the elevators in the real one.

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The other day, after making a trip from St. Louis to Bloomington, IN and back, I came to a realization about the way I drive. It came to me when I was back in St. Louis, driving home from a friends house at night. It was dark, and the roads were wet, so I was content to tool along at 5-10 miles per hour under the speed limit. I was surprised when I looked down at my speedometer and noticed, and it made me think. Between the two cities (if you can call Bloomington a city), I drive like a bat out of hell, obliterating speed limits and weaving in and out of traffic. But in both Bloomington and St. Louis, I drive like an old person on tranquilizers. I can only assume it’s because when I’m already home, I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere.

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Pabst Blue Ribbon

Disclaimer: The author of this blog, being only 20 years old, has never had the pleasure of enjoying a Pabst Blue Ribbon, but supports it anyways, because it is American made.

If there is one thing I love in this world, it isn’t my God, family, friends, or country. It is Pabst Blue Ribbon, which, in a way, is like all four of those things at once. When you see someone holding a PBR, you know right off the bat that they are an upstanding American citizen, probably from Missouri or Indiana. You can tell a lot about a man by his beer of choice. When that beer is a Pabst Blue Ribbon, you can assume the following traits: courage, strength, and a loving heart.

Because only the finest of hops and grains are used in the brewing of PBR, it is an appropriate addition to any gathering. I was at my fraternity brother’s wedding earlier this month, and was delighted to hear that they had kegs of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I normally don’t get emotional at weddings, but when I saw grown men double fisting Chardonnay and PBR, my heart melted.

I could go on about the benefits of drinking Pabst all day, but at this point I will let my good friend/ hero, Tom Raper, take over.

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Jack McCoy T-Shirt: The Answer To All Your Problems

Are you tired of looking like a wimp when you work out?

Are you tired of your boss not taking you seriously?

Then this product is just what you need!

Featuring a picture of Jack McCoy on the front, and an inspirational slogan on the back, this sleeveless T will get you the respect and confidence that you deserve.

Check out the shirt.

Don’t forget to check out the back.

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Smiling in Pictures

Why do people smile in pictures? If anything, they should be baring their teeth to show dominance. If you’re smiling, and someone takes a picture of you, good, then the picture is an accurate memory. Otherwise, smiling for pictures is kind of lame. Next time someone is about to take your picture, think about what kind of emotion you want to convey. If there is nothing pressing, use it as an opportunity to make a righteous facial expression. Without further ado, I will show you some of my finer pictures.

These may be the last sweaters you ever see.

Remember that scence from Ghostbusters where the marshmallow man gets all pissed off?

Even at a young age, I knew that not smiling in pictures makes you hard.

Why would I smile? I'm being harassed by a stranger.

If you smile, girls think you're happy to be around them, and lose interest.

This has gone on longer than anticipated, but I want to end with an example of just what a loser you can look like if you’re the only clown smiling at the camera.

A great smile gets you nowhere. But every girl loves to know you're willing to lick her ear.

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Why This Blog Exists

This is sort of a belated introductory post. There are a lot of reasons I made this blog: because I have too much time on my hands, to entertain you, to blow off steam, etc.

Here are some of the bigger, less obvious reasons:

I want to write for a living; why not start now? I am a telecommunications major at Indiana University. Telecommunications can be defined as the transmission of information in the form of electromagnetic signals, but it is hard to truly define telecommunications except for through examples. Telecommunications is the radio, television, cell phones, and the internet. Some of the Telecommunications industry is focused on creating new technologies to make the flow of information more efficient. The part I’m interested in is creation of content. Ideally I would be writing sitcoms or movies, but a blog is more within my reach right now.

I wanted to make a foothold for myself on the Internet. All of my telecommunications classes share one theme: convergence. The idea is that all of the different types of media are going to come together. The Internet is the great vehicle of convergence. Television and video is available all over the web (Netflix on demand, Hulu, Youtube), and will continue to be more and more available every year as traditional television loses its revenue flow due to time shifting (recording a show, then skipping the commercials.) Whenever I hit the telecommunications industry, I will most likely be producing content for the Internet. This is practice.

I wanted to start co-writing my reality. I took a class this spring in which I learned a lot about living a media life. A few of the things I heard blew my mind, like that Web 3.0 will be able to understand us. Think of Yahoo! answers or wikianswers, but on steroids. The Web is becoming collaborative, and I want to start collaborating. In my class, entitled ‘Media Life,’ my professor taught us to reject the reality that is handed to us and co-create our own reality. This blog is a way for me to construct my own world, and try to get you, the reader, to live in it, whether you want to or not.

I want to start building my resume. After college, assuming that I do apply for jobs where I would be creating content, the interviewer will likely ask me what I have produced in the past. Hopefully, by that point I will be able to show that interviewer that I have accumulated an online following. Fellow blogger, Tom, had the same idea. Here is a link to his blog.

If you’re interested in learning some cool stuff about telecommunications, and your life in light of media, I would highly recommend my professor, Mark Deuze. He is largely responsible for the creation of this blog, and it isn’t because he stands in front of the class and drones. This man will make you excited about your media life.

Here is a link to an introductory video of his:

Here is a link to the slides he showed us in class. They aren’t the same without audio, but they still make quick, interesting reads:

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I just finished a delicious cup of coffee. Why don’t you go ahead and take a guess at how much it cost me?

“Oh, he must have gotten a cheap one,” you’re thinking, “so it was probably only about $2.50 or $2.75.”

Wrong. It cost me less than 5 cents.

“That’s impossible,” you think.

You’re wrong again. You are stupid, and that is why you go to Starbucks.

Before we get any further, let me explain this aggressive treatment of they hypothetical “you.” All I can do is encourage Starbucks users to change their ways as quickly as possible, and I do, of course, provide a much better alternative. I have seen the future of caffeine, and his name is Mr. Coffee. This coffee maker (which is about $20 on Amazon) goes off automatically in the morning, so I can easily clean and fill it while rinsing dishes at any point throughout the day. It would pay for itself in a week for many avid Starbucks drinkers. Using this is more convenient than going somewhere to get the coffee; your steaming pot of Joe is at your house when you wake up. If you drink coffee after work/school, clean and refill Mr. Coffee while you do the dishes from breakfast, and set it again to have hot coffee awaiting your return home at the end of the day. You drink coffee at the same times every day, so why not tell Mr. Coffee to just have it ready for you? If you drink a ton of coffee and want to pack a thermos in the morning, consider springing for one with a bigger pitcher. If you aren’t a black coffee drinker you can buy all kinds of creamers or flavoring. Mr. Coffee FTW. Here he is at Amazon:

Now, back to this cup of coffee I just had. An 11.3 oz container of Folgers coffee costs me $3.32, and makes 90 6 oz cups of coffee. That means that 6 oz of coffee costs roughly 3.688889 cents. I tacked on the extra 1.311111 cents to cover the water I got out of my sink, and because it’s not in my nature to be petty (clearly). Granted, that $5 venti soy milk low-fat double shot white chocolate iced frappuccino with no whipped cream that you just downed was considerably bigger than 6 ounces (“Venti” is Starbucks for “large,” not to be confused with “tall,” which means “small”). However; the price is still not even close to comparable.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons you might still be tempted to frequent Starbucks:

The atmosphere fuels your creative and artistic juices. When people see you writing in your Moleskine notebook at a Starbucks, they know you are a deep and intellectual person, right? Deep down, you know that what you’re writing isn’t worth reading and will never be published, so if you aren’t seen writing it, it pretty much doesn’t exist. What you don’t know is that when you’re sipping something covered with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle, you don’t look like the next Kerouac, you look like a preteen schoolgirl.

If you’re part of the Starbucks community, everyone will know you care about world issues. As you sit there on your MacBook with “Save Darfur” and “Stop World Hunger” stickers all over it, I catch your eyes over the top of your chic square-framed glasses, and under that slightly emo flip in your hair. You give me a look that lets me know you are better than me because you are “cultured,” and buy all of your clothes at Urban Outfitter. You are probably reading the New York Times on the Internet. Unfortunately, the article you are reading doesn’t tell you that the $1000+ you will spend at Starbucks this year could feed a family of Africans for the same amount of time. Or maybe you do know that, but just feel that you deserve Starbucks more than they deserve food. After all, it takes some sort of genius to be a yuppie and a hipster at the same time. Then, with one last flip of your hair, you walk out, and take off (alone) in an SUV which seats eight and gets just about as many miles to the gallon. As I watch you cut off a school bus on the way out of the lot, I wonder how you can see out of your back window between all of those environmentalist bumper stickers.

The taste – it’s just the best coffee around. I guess that’s a matter of opinion, and unfortunately, you are entitled to an opinion. However, a recent study disagrees with you. There was a blind taste test between McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks, in which the coffees were served in an over-cup, to hide the brand. The survey tested both the normal coffee as well as the cappuccino of the three brands. The results of the survey say that McDonald’s makes the best cappuccino, and Dunkin’ Donuts makes the best cup of black coffee. “But, Dan,” you say, “that isn’t fair. The testers couldn’t see the mermaids on that cup. Besides, no one orders black coffee at Starbucks.” And for once, I (kind of) agree with you. If you want real coffee, make it yourself. But if you want a caffeinated chocolate shake, Starbucks is just your place.

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