How Social Media Creates Loneliness

I haven’t updated in a while, but I found this, ironically, via Facebook today. It goes through how social media can help us feel connected yet make us vulnerable to feeling alone.

TED Talks: Misogyny, Video Games & Cyber Bullying

A very interesting video was posted on my Facebook yesterday morning from a former roommate who knew of my love for video games.

About TED Talks

I can’t believe I have never mentioned TED Talks on this blog before, but if you are unfamiliar these are videos about “Technology, Entertainment, and Design.” Their motto is quite simply to spread ideas worth inciting discussion. I highly suggest you to look at their website and Youtube channel. I guarantee that you find a topic that will captivate you.

Natalie Tran aka Community Channel

I initially found TED Talks a few years ago via Natalie Tran of YouTube’s Community Channel. She creates funny yet smart videos that are satirical, random, and run by a one woman show. As she mentions in her TED Talk, she steps back and observes the “awkward moments” or small parts of life in her videos. She also points out some issues of being a funny female on internet. Please watch Natalie Tran’s TED Talk here.

TEDxWomen 2012: Misogyny, Video Games, Cyber Bullying

This is a great way to transition to the into video that my old roomie posted.

This is Anita Sarkeesian. She is a media critic who wanted to take a critical look at female representation in video games. She was met with a lot of hostility and online abuse, much of which can be classified as misogyny. Listen to her TED talk as she can explain and present her case in a much more captivating way than I could write.

Enjoy!

Other TED Talk Fave

Finally, I just want to insert this TED Talk I watched in Philosophy/Ethics class last year. It’s about how Google and Social networks use algorithms to generate search results and ads catered to  you. Some crazy stuff if you think about how the internet is evolving and becoming more aware of each of its users.

Concluding Remarks

I just want to urge again to try watching and sharing TED Talks. They are really interesting topics that are educational. The talks vary in length and even accessible via free apps for smart phones and ipods/iphones. Just in case you want something new to pass the time when  Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and whatever is floating  your game app boat today gets boring 🙂

Monster Makeup, Whale Revenge, Demonic Vanity, & Mermaid Tragedies

Whenever my sister and I reunite briefly, we always seem to have this inkling to stay awake late up into the night in desperate hopes to find a good movie to watch together. What usually ends up happening is that we skim through a couple bad movies, I make sarcastic commentary, and my sister cackles with me all night long while everyone else in the house is sound asleep. It’s like we become the coach potatoes we secretely always wanted to be if we didn’t have such busy lives.

This time, we tried to catch up on my new reality TV addiction. For the longest time, “Project Runway” was my favorite show to watch. I loved seeing amateur fashion designers create beautiful pieces of clothing under very unique and quirky challenges, while still dealing with high amounts of stress and a ridiculous time constraint. Unfortunately, the past couple of seasons of “Project Runway” have been rather disappointing for me.

This season’s “All Star” edition was hands down probably the worst I have seen thus far, to the point I stopped watching it completely (not even taking a peak at the winning designer’s final runway show pieces!). Fortunately, I was able to at least grab some great recaps (and funny commentary) from the blog “La Vida Laura” on WordPress (http://lauragrai.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/project-runway-all-stars-episode-1/)

Seeking to fulfill my creative-theme-reality-tv cravings, my roomie Megs had turned my attention to this new show called “Face-off.” The show is about aspiring special affects artists competing for money, makeup, and prizes! You can read more about it here: http://www.syfy.com/faceoff/about

The show is hosted by McKenzie Westmore, an actress whose father is known for his make-up and effects work in “Star Trek.” Judged by celebrity make-up artists, it is a really entertaining show to watch the artists transform their models from human to crazy characters, monsters, and creatures (really anything you can think of). This feat not only encompasses the makeup design, but also any mask prosthetics, props, and costumes to complete the character looks. Like “Project Runway,” the artists’ works are judged on their craftsmanship, originality, innovation, and if they had completed what the challenge asked for.

Here are two of my favorite looks from the Tim Burton inspired challenged which asked the designers to create characters based on ordinary jobs. The first character is a cello player who loves playing music so much that she appears to be turning into a cello and has a romantic relationship with her actual instrument. The second character is a kooky bellhop who has transformed into a chest of drawers and keeps women customers’ lingerie.

I have personally only seen the last 5 episodes of “Face-off” season 2, available on Hulu for free after 30 days of initial airing on the SyFy channel. My sister is also a huge fan of the show, and after Megan found us a link to watch the finale, we went on a crazy search for season 1 episodes. Supposedly the designs and challengers were more impressive in the first season, so we were eager to watch them together. However, after an hour of searching, we tried to see if the show was available on Netflix. The search result yielded instead this:

“Orca” is essentially a “Jaws” horror film rip off. It is about a killer whale that seeks revenge from a man who accidentally killed his killer whale wife and unborn whale baby. It’s what the Academy of Natural Science would consider for showing at their “Big Bad Movie Nights.” Never mind that my sister and I could barely sit through 10 minutes of this movie, but just reading the Wiki summary just exemplifies how absurd the plot story is. Not to mention it is rather graphic on the animal cruelty side. It prompted this long-winded Facebook status:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orca_%28film%29

This just really adds fuel to those inside jokes involving whale noises that my friends have.  Here are the joyous responses they had for me.

Now my sister has this saying “We must continue…we are pot committed!” This refers to playing Poker when you contribute money to the “pot” and must continuing playing until you either win or lose. Whenever we watch a bad movie, we end up watching the entire thing. Because of the time we had invested in it already, my sister dubs us “pot committed” and we finish the movie until the (usually) bitter end.

An urban dictionary link for reference to “pot committed”: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pot%20committed

And as if all of this wasn’t enough, our Netflix adventure does not end there! My sister and I spot “Dorian Gray.” We both knew it was a novel, but had never read it. Since it was written by Oscar Wilde (his only full length novel), we figure it must be very good and had a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type of vibe to the plot. It is about a young man who becomes obsessed with his own beauty after having his portrait. He sells his soul to the devil in order to keep his vanity, and instead of him becoming old or injured, his portrait painting becomes warped instead. He slowly goes insane and commits debaucheries and crimes, increasing in severity as the movie progresses.

It is very reminiscent of our other sibling movie night feature “The Countess”. While an interesting concept and featuring the actor who played Prince Caspian from the new “Chronicles of Narnia” movies, it contained way more overtly sexual scenes and homoerotic undertones than my sister and I could handle. This is what happens when you ignorantly don’t read classics. You don’t know what stories should never be turned into movies.

Then for whatever reason, this reminded me of a movie clip I saw on film preview show. I guess it was reminiscent of the disfigured devil thing going on. While coping with the loss of his wife, a man explores sewers that were once where a river used to flow. There he finds a mermaid, takes her home, and paints her. As the painting progresses, the mermaid succumbs to decay and disfigurement because of the diseases she developed while living in the sewers. Although sick and progressively developing worse boils, sores, and infection, the mermaid insists the artist continue his painting, requesting he use her blood and puss in his work.

*SPOILERS* The twist ending (assuming you will not watch this flick/cannot find it/want to stay happy)  is when the artist chops up the body of the dead mermaid, he finds a fetus inside her. Viewers of this film speculate that the artist actually went insane after finding out his wife, who was pregnant, was terminally ill. *SPOILERS END*

After doing a Google and Wiki search, we found the movie was called “Mermaid in a Manhole.” It was a part of a very controversial set of films entitled the “Guinea Pig” series in Japan. All these films are extremely gorey for no good reason and absolutely revolting. I haven’t seen any of them myself, and really don’t plan to. Here is the Wikipage on it, which contains summaries of all the films and their respective IMDB links.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_Pig_%28film_series%29

Below is the first part of the short film “Mermaid in a Manhole” before it gets all gross.

This prompted my sister to tell me about a Japanese graphic novel called “School Mermaid.” It is about girl students who hunt for mermaids at night at their school. According to a myth, if you catch a mermaid your crush will fall in love with you, but you must consume the mermaid’s flesh. The catch is that if the girl is unsuccessful, she will become a mermaid herself. It’s a very short read, about 3 chapters long and below is a link to the complete series.

http://mangafox.me/manga/school_ningyo/c001/1.html

I love how random my sister and I are 🙂