Professor Mordarm's Mad Ramblings

My mad thoughts on tech, news, and geek phenomenon.

Posts Tagged ‘media’

Geeks, Foolery And Fools on April Fool’s Day

Posted by Professor Mordarm on April 1, 2010

Ah yes, that time of year where everyone’s funny-bone starts itching and the pranks, both good and bad, start flying. Now I’ve had my share of being the prank(er) and the pranked, but this year I’ll focus the best April Fool’s Day theme stuff out there for the geek inclined.

For the gamers, there are countless tricks being done out there:

But fooling geeks are not limited to games alone. Here are some entertaining sites for (foolish) gear:

Other sites also join in during this festive day of foolery:

For you history geeks, The Huffington Post has a brief article on how April Fool’s Day could have possibly started, along with funny prank videos for amusement. Also the Museum of Hoaxes gives the top 100 hoaxes from the past. But be warned, even the news media gets fooled from time to time.

Now after a while you might get sick of all this and just want to know what is real and whatnot. So here is a debunking guide (a courtesy tip from @geekgirldiva) to help you navigate the perils of this day. Cinema Blend does a wonderful job on giving you the real lowdown on the fake outs on the web.

So remember on this and every April Fool’s Day, be safe, enjoy the day, have a few laughs and most of all have fun.

-Professor Mordarm

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The 48 Hour Media Blackout Project – The Results (Part 3)

Posted by Professor Mordarm on March 24, 2010

Day 2 – Hour 32

A new media-less dawn arrives.

As I stirred with the sun peaking though my window, I happened to look at my clock: 8:00am Sunday. I muttered something unintelligible even to me as I was hoping to sleep in some more and kill a few more hours, but Morpheus had left for other more worthy (and sleepy) dreamers. So I fumbled for my pen and journal for today’s new entry.

Written Entry – Hour 32: I’m up at 8:00am on Sunday. I usually sleep in on Sunday. Why am I up so early on a Sunday?! Ok, back up,  way to moody this morning. This media blackout project is making me act weird. Well, honestly no weirder than usual. Anyway my plan for today is: Bus trip to meet up with Sunday RPG group and hang out. Afterwards, not too sure what to do next. I’ll figure it out later but first, nature calls…

So after the normal personal duties, I went over my schedule. Knowing my time is both my enemy and friend I decided to go early and make an extended bus trip and see the town. It sounded like a good idea at the time but…well I’ll allow my next entry to explain.

Written Entry – Hour 35: Tried to take the scenic route on the bus today. Took the wrong bus, ended up at the airport. Backtracked and took correct bus but bus broke down. Now on replacement bus and now I have a fellow two seats down babbling away at his paper bag. Yes, apparently the bag (and the booze bottle in it) had the gall to run out of booze. Oh man, I think he is going to be sick…(writing scrawls off here)

Written Entry – Hour 35 PS: The things I get to experience in the name of this project. Joy.

Day 2 – Hour 36

Adventures in dodging.

After avoiding drunken organic projectiles, I finally arrived at my destination. Happily escaping the bus of doom, I hopped off and hurried to the site to meet my friends. Then as I approached I realized I had another slight problem.

Doh, media everywhere!

Fortunately I did not have to wait long as one of my friends from my RPG group arrived. Greeting each other he immediately noticed that I had not set up any of my tech gear. When he asked about my lack of equipment (no pun intended), I explained about the project and my involvement in the undertaking. Nonplussed at first, my friend then decided on his own to help me out.

As I could not access any printed reading material (i.e. the rule books) he pulled out his own laptop, pulled up the PDF flies and helped me to do character creation by reading out loud to me as needed. Soon the rest of the group arrived, each toting their own gear of books, laptops and dice.

As soon as I explained my situation, they grinned among themselves. They found it quite humorous and gave me some good-natured ribbing. But they were also quite flexible as well, making adjustments and reading to me rules and concepts as I needed them.

The other guy on my right used his iPhone. 😛

Written Entry – Hour 39: Into hour 3 of the gaming session without my access to RPG media. Despite my inability to access my laptop for rule books and such, I was rather able to put a character together though outside aid from my comrades. I have noticed though everyone here other than me is using a media device of some sort to supplement their gaming. When did this group shift from paper and pencil to electronic PDF files?! It just seemed to work its way slowly into the group. Kind of like fungus. Ugh, bad analogy.

I was quite pleased and surprised on how my friends adapted to the situation I was in. Other than pausing for someone to read me a rule or two it went rather smoothly. The only real hiccup was that every time I had to make a restroom break I had to slip past the racks of comics without looking at them. The store employees were giving me odd looks as used my hands to block the side view of my vision as I went back and forth from the restroom to the game room.

And today was new issue day! Arrgh!

Day 2 – Hour 42

After the end of the session we gathered for our usual after-gaming dinner at the local restaurant. The subject during those dinners is usually whatever geek trend has caught our attention that week. But the subject drifted now and then to my project. Some of them wondered why would I do such a thing, while others just teased me with various bad jokes of: “Don’t read the menu! It’s media!” or “Cover your ears, the restaurant is gonna play background Muzak!

Now normally I head home not long after these get together dinners but this time I purposely stuck around, chatting away and drinking many cups of coffee. Before I knew it, the sun was already setting and it was getting late. Hitching a ride from one of my gaming buddies I returned home.

Day 2 – Hour 44

Written Entry – Hour 44: My friend Sean from the gaming group decided to hang out after dropping me off at the house. We talked geek, tech and RPG speak. Great way to kill more time, though he did setup his laptop and played M.U.G.E.N. to tease me while we chatted. Need to prank him later.

After saying my goodbyes for the night, I gathered all the journal notes, photos and videos together and proceeded to try to organize the material so I could decided how to present this in my blog. But as I could not access my laptop to edit photos, videos and write a draft or two, I did it manually. Not an easy thing to do and I was getting impatient to access my media.


Day 2 – Hour 47 and counting

Written Entry – Hour 47: 1 hour to go. Hand is getting cramped writing possible drafts and this entry. Time is seemingly slowing to a crawl as I keep checking the clock on my wall. Need to pull out the alarm I set up to let me know when the project ends. I wonder how much I info I have missed these past 48 hours. Would I’ve cared if I had missed it? Something to think about later.

The Final Countdown!

So how do I sum up the experience? Personally compared to doing this 10 years ago, I felt the loss of my media more keenly now than before. This project forced me to rediscover viewpoints and habits that I’ve lost sight over the years. Going out on the town. How to deal with boredom. Talking more often to a live person. How to cope.

One of my friends asked me if I had to do this longer would I be able to cope. I responded by mentioning a chance meeting I had with three people during Day 1 in the coffee shop. These three, Jessica (National Guard), Rob (U.S Army) and Brenda (U.S Army Reserves) had just gotten out of basic training (9 weeks without media as well) and were having their last weekend before going off for further training . When I mentioned my media blackout project and how frustrating it was dealing with lack of personal media for 2 days, they just smiled and after a moment, Jessica responded:

“I agree it is tough, but you’ll adapt. You have to or go crazy. But you are not alone. Your (battle) buddies are there to help you and you to help them in return.” – Jessica

All in all, a great way to remind someone who even though we are more media-tech based than ever in human history, we are still at the core, human and still need that real human contact.

-Professor Mordarm

Photos and videos by Professor Mordarm ©2010

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The 48 Hour Media Blackout Project – The Results (Part 2)

Posted by Professor Mordarm on March 22, 2010

Day 1 – Hour 17

I wonder if a troll is swimming under that bridge?

Drifting to and fro though the crowed pathways of the Riverwalk, I took several pictures with my digital camera. But to my mild annoyance, the crowds were too thick and worked against my favor and as a result I was only able to get a few salvageable shots.

Leaky Clams

All I need now is some hot dogs.

As it was getting colder, I weaved thought the crowds and back up to the streets looking for the local coffee shop to warm up. At this rate I was almost tempted to go home and call it a bust after I had gotten my cup of Joe. But Providence decided to interrupt that rebellious thought with an odd sight, which I might have missed if I was not distracted by tweeting or listening to my iTouch.

(Watch out boys…)

Cheered by my cool encounter but still getting no warmer I hurried to the site where warm caffeine bliss awaited me. It was my plan recharge and continue my media-less wanderings. But yet again I got side tracked by another unexpected discovery, an old-fashioned novelty magic shop.

Tucked into a side alley with other small shops, Magic World did not seem much but I did not really care. Because as a child, I was always fascinated by the magic illusions that magicians did and still do to this day. I dabbled into the subject in the past but I drifted off as the years past by. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, I wandered inside.

Entering, I saw the small store filled with people, both young and old, which were watching  a fellow giving a live demonstration of magic. Forgetting about my coffee at the moment,  I stood by and enjoyed the 5 minute show. After the show ended, with some applause from the crowd, I made my way to the counter and struck up a discussion the store magician. We traded shop talk at first, but then the conversation shifted when I mentioned my project. As a result I was able to get his response on the subject:

Meet Joe the Magician

Written Entry – Hour 17: Met a bride-to-be, found a magic shop, showed off my skills with cards and got an outside viewpoint. Not bad for a late start of the day. Now where the heck is that coffee place?!

Yes caffeine heaven!

Day 1 – Hour 18

After getting warmed up and caffeinated I wandered around some more. By this time it was getting much later in the day and the crowds were thinning. I took advantage of this to get better photos around downtown San Antonio.

Got to see horses at least once in Texas.

Texas Jackalope Confirmed?!

Written Entry – Hour 19: Wandered back near the Alamo. Found a few odd-looking stores out there. Including a place that sells jackalopes! That truly made my day. The sun is setting and I’m losing my light for photos, so time to go home and make some dinner. Oh by the way…I see a horse.

Day 1 – Hour 20

Riding back on the bus I reflect on what I saw and did during my first day of my media blackout. Normally I’d be at home, typing a tweet, reading my email, or doing other such media based activities to distraction. But now I can’t help think what I’ve missed in the past. If I was holed up in my tech-cave like I normally would have been, I’d never of seen a bachelorette party on the prowl, seen a live (sorta) jackalope, made a new friend, or even found an odd duck.

The last entry of the day, though short, would sum it up quite nicely:

Written Entry – Hour 23: Very tired, going to sleep. Busy day today. Had Fun.

Photos and videos by Professor Mordarm ©2010

Continues on The 48 Hour Project – The Results (Part 3)

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The 48 Hour Media Blackout Project – The Results (Part 1)

Posted by Professor Mordarm on March 22, 2010

Well as I stated before in my earlier blog post, the last 48 hours I purposefully disconnected myself from all types of media. I can honestly say that it was not the same as the one I did 10 years ago. I had my highs and lows as well as the unexpected during this project. It was during those 48 hours I discovered some new experiences while re-discovering somethings that I had forgotten.

So what did I find? How did I pass the time during these 48 hours? Did I come to some form of geek enlightenment? Did I go crazy without my normal access to media?

I’ll let you come up with your own conclusions as you let see, read and hear the various entries I made in my unique version of a multimedia journal. Oh the irony.

Day One – A few minutes after midnight:

Written Entry – Hour 3: As I mentioned, I did do some minor clean up and organizing, when a thought suddenly occurred to me. Normally I’d be up browsing the net on my laptop, checking my tweets on my iTouch or playing a game on my 360 Xbox. I was usually after several hours later into the morning I’d try to do my clean up duties afterwards. But as my access to media is now cut off, I had no real “excuse” to not do such tasks earlier than usual. Food for thought.

Day One – 15th Hour

(Why +12 hours later?!)

Needless to say this was not a very promising start for my project. I could continue to try to salvage what little I had left during the day or go to the nearest wall and pound myself into unconsciousness. But since I did not want to get another migraine, I decided to go with the former plan. I loaded up my ScotteVest with my digital camera, pocket video camcorder, writing gear, small lunch and I headed out.

What will I find out there?

Written Entry – Hour 15: After taking another dose of migraine medication (and packing a few extra doses), I’ve decided to hitch a ride on the local bus and go where the moment spurs me. I’ll see what the day holds in store for me. Hopefully not another migraine. That would not be of the good.

Off to adventure...kind of.

Day 1 – 16th Hour

(And here is where I ended up.)

Written Entry – Hour 16: After traveling the bus for little over 45 min,  got tired of sitting and hopped off at downtown San Antonio, right near the Riverwalk. Taking a quick moment to note this in my journal while sitting down on the steps. Lot of cold wind today but it has blown the clouds away and now the sun is bright and shining. Better get a move on though, I think a duck in the river is looking at me oddly…

Who you looking at?

Photos and videos by Professor Mordarm ©2010

Continues at The 48 Media Blackout Project – The Results (Part 2)

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The 48 Hour Media Blackout Project

Posted by Professor Mordarm on March 19, 2010

About 10 years ago a friend of mine said I was so addicted to electronic media that he bet I could not go any kind of media for 48 hours. So I took up on his bet and attempted go without media for 2 whole days.

And it was eye-opening, yet annoying experience. But I did do it, barely, and I won that bet. Though I admitted to my buddy that it was harder that I expected and I hoped to never do such a thing again.

Well you heard the cliché: “Insert foot, chew vigorously? ”

Well karma decided I needed another lesson in this once more.

How? Well one of my college instructors decided to give this very same scenario as an assignment; to go 48 hours without any media sometime this week. So now I’m faced with a similar situation, but I wonder how would I fare as my interaction with media has increased exponentially in the last 10 years. What would I do without my MP3 player? Or e-mail? What about my WiFi connections? Video games? Twitter?!

Just to give you an idea what I’m giving up for this project here is a picture of my current tech-cave:

What I'm giving up for this project.

Clearly I’m in for another challenge, only more so. So I decided to do this during this weekend starting at midnight to do:

The 48 Hour Media Blackout Project!

(Insert dramatic music here)

Here are the rules I must follow to the best of my ability to complete this assignment:

  1. Eliminate my access to the following media for 48 hours: Cable, Broadcast TV, Computer (off-line), Internet, Electronic Games, Magazines, Movies (Theater, DVDs), Newspapers, Books, Radio, Recording Industry Products (CD, MP3s), Cell Phones, and Social Media (Twitter, Facebook).
  2. I am exempt from the above if it is for a serious emergency. Such as a cell-phone for 911 and similar situations.
  3. I must record, in some fashion, my experiences during this time. Permitted items are a written journal, a photo journal, and/or video/voice journal.
  4. Find and do other non-media activities during this time.
  5. Have fun doing so!

I can honestly say that I’m a bit wary this coming weekend but at the same time strangely curious on what I might do during that time. I’m not quite sure what will happen…

Well, if anyone has any suggestions on what I can do, feel free to comment/tweet/email me your ideas and I’ll honestly try them out. But you must get them to me no later than 11:55pm US CT tonight! That will be the last check for me before I power down and disconnect everything media connected.

And when Monday rolls around, I plan to post my experiences. How, I’m not sure as of yet, as I’ve not decided on a journal format yet. It might be mix of several journal formats mentioned in rule #3.

I must be crazy to do this, again, but then I take some pleasure that I will not be the only one doing this.

-Professor Mordarm

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