Friday, February 26, 2010

So About That Radio Show...

Tonight was the maiden voyage of my radio show on KXRJ 91.9FM. It was smooth sailing...except for one minor detail.

The guys on air before me ran past 8:00 a little bit, but that was okay. However, they decided to play an instrumental loop of Dr. Dre's, "The Next Episode," just as they were leaving the studio. I stopped it as soon as they left the room, of course...that instrumental stench is already stinking up my time slot. I sat down, donned the headphones, placed the CD into the player and hit the button to start the CD to do the intro. Click. Nothing. A little bit of a dilemma, I would say. I had a quick run-down of the place during orientation, but not quite enough to troubleshoot the a manager--no answer. I called the only phone number I had. I did not notice the piece of paper with the other two numbers until later.

After a few minutes of futily trying different button combinations, just in case, I realized it was already 8:11, and my CD was clearly not going to play. I had to get on the air. At about that moment, it occurred to me that my little show had undergone a rather significant change for the night...hit the green button; skip the intro. I introduced myself and my (currently) nameless show. Then, I explained that there was a slight change in the program. It was an interesting start.

I blew through every topic I had been researching in about 25 minutes, which would have been sufficient if music would have served as breaks. I still had almost 22 minutes to fill, so I hit the red button to let the programmed jazz play until the next DJ came on. 15 seconds later, my cell phone rang...jazz is not playing; it's time to talk some more.

Having not anticipated this problem, I tried to think of jokes. By the by, it is hard to think of a joke when put on the spot like that. I read a few CD covers and song names aloud, looking for a CD appearing interesting enough to play. I managed to stretch that out to about 8:51...the next DJ just arrived. I signed off eight minutes early. It is an extremely disappointing situation to find yourself in--you are in a position to speak to the masses (potentially, anyway), but you cannot think of anything to say.

The 9:00 DJ showed me that, to play that loop from earlier, a switch had to be pressed on the control board. If I would have only known. My orientation Tech Radio veteran only said, regarding the computer with the public service announcements and loop files, nobody used it much. Thus I did not learn anything about it. Actually, I do not understand why she said people do not use the computer. Anybody with background music, show intros, lead-ins or any other sound byte (excluding whole songs, though a radio station at which I interned kept its music on a server) would get a lot of use out of the computer, assuming he/she could upload clips to it.

The next DJ, Garrett, asked if I wanted to sit in as a co-host on his show. It is a much better environment with music. It is more suitable. During a song break, he put my CD into his laptop. Much to my chagrin, the CD played. I used to have a stereo with the same problem. Some CDs played, while some would play, but with rhythmic fuzz.

If a good thing could be said about tonight, it is this:
The worst thing that could happen on my radio show happened on my first night, so now it is out of the way.
I am not saying the lack of music ruined everything; it just changed the course a bit. All things considered, it went well.

[EDIT: I cannot get the extra spaces to go away, and I cannot get other spaces to stay. Oh well.]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sarah Palin's Souvenir of Arkansas

On Tuesday, February 16, Sarah Palin delivered a 45-minute spiel to Arkansans at the Verizon Arena. Though attendence is speculated to be less than 5000, members of the media were not allowed to make audio or video recordings of the event.

Regarding the Tea Party movement, Palin stated that the "smart thing" for the involved independents to do is to choose to align with Democrats or Republicans. Tea Party protests are on the basis of restricting power of the Federal Government (that is to say current Democrat and Republican lawmakers). The very notion of an independent aligning with either party is counter-intuitive to the cause.

Another point she made was in the form of the question: "How dare a terrorist who hates America and hates our Constitution be given those same rights?" At least, she thought she was raising an issue that was, well, an issue. Recent CIA missile strikes indicate otherwise when a Taliban commander was narrowly missed, killing his brother. It seems to me that Constitutional rights are not granted to those who pose a genuine threat to the ideals of the Constitution. Civilians in the vicinity of target areas are sometimes not elligible for said rights, either...seeming more like calculated risk.

Fox News made Palin seem...something...when they felt it imperative to note, "Arkansans shelled out big bucks to see former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin." The dinner tickets were $175 each. The reception, however, was a whopping $500 per person/couple, which included a photo with Palin. Let's all cheer because Arkansas Republicans know how to throw away some money. Do not get me wrong, Democrats do it, as well. But this is Sarah Palin. I do not even watch her on Fox for free. They were probably hoping for a good opening act. The Arkansas GOP was reportedly advertising $20 tickets to boost ticket sales at the last minute. The strategy failed.

One thing Palin did tell Arkansans that was right on the money (okay, nothing Palin says is "right on the money," but this was close) was, "[l]ike Alaskans you too probably cling to your guns and religion." We do like our guns. As a souvenir of her trip to Arkansas, Palin was presented an engraved, lever action Henry Big Boy .44 Magnum rifle by the Republican Party of Arkansas. While Henry rifles are iconic, I do not think Sarah Palin is the type of person who should be handed a gun...much less a .44 magnum rifle. I also think that a more suitable gift could should have been chosen, as a gun does not truly encompass Arkansas...especially since the special $2000 rifle was manufactured in New Jersey.

Image taken from here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Page In-class Project

This is my book page. Click on thumbnail for full size.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Indicative of a Cheaper Electric Bill?

As I flipped through today's (Saturday, February 13) edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, I noticed the headline, "Expert: Entergy Poked in Chest." Being an Entergy customer, I was curious.

Basically, Entergy Arkansas is leaving a multi-state Entergy System Agreement, which was meant to share resources and operating costs. According to CB Online, the main reason for the departure is...
"Under the agreement, Entergy Arkansas paid nearly $400 million to the other operating companies in 2009, with most of that going to Entergy's Louisiana and Gulf States Louisiana companies."
The "other operating companies" mentioned above are Entergy Mississippi, Inc., Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, LLC, Entergy Louisiana, LLC, Entergy Texas, Inc. and Entergy New Orleans, Inc.. According to the original agreement, any company wishing to leave the agreement has to give advanced notice of at least eight years. In December of 2005, Entergy Arkansas gave its written notice to Entergy. This means Entergy Arkansas is still under Entergy rule until December of 2013. At this time, Entergy Arkansas can decide if it should be a stand-alone utility or get involved with another system agreement.

An article teaser from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette posted to ArkansasOnline (Thursday, February 11) states that the Arkansas Public Service Commission is attempting to step in and force Entergy Arkansas to become a stand-alone utility.

I wonder how Obama's cap-and-trade legislation (a.k.a. fecal energy tax) will affect the outcome of this venture for Entergy Arkansas ratepayers. To avoid a three-page blog, I will not get deep into cap-and-trade legislation. Here is a nifty video on the subject, instead. On a side note, Obama's bill is supposed to be on the table by April. I wonder if these actions will earn him another Nobel Peace Prize.

Back to the topic at hand, what will happen to Arkansas Nuclear One? I know it is owned by Entergy Arkansas, but Arkansas News reports "Nuclear One is among 10 units operated by Jacksonville, Miss.-based Entergy Nuclear." Since Entergy Arkansas will no longer be affiliated with Entergy Nuclear, as of Dec. 2013, will full control of the facility be turned over to Entergy Arkansas? Will Entergy Nuclear still have a hand in the plant? Or am I misunderstanding something?

[EDIT: For some reason, extra spaces appear where I do not want them. Above, Blogger inserted spaces before certain paragraphs, but it left other paragraphs alone. Even my quote has an extra space. Is poor coding on Blogger's part to blame? I looked for the extra spaces in my editor, but the spaces only appear after being is annoying for obvious reasons.]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Photoshop Op

I saved the draft in class just to get the pictures on the blogger website to use now. Since I added the pictures prior to text, I cannot format the text/pictures any way different than you see...with minimal effort, anyway. I could go through the HTML code and get the URL for the pictures, but this is easier for now. The "after" is on the left, and the "before" is on the right.

The Guy Does Exist

After posting "Quick Photoshop Op," I found out the subject of the image I used does, indeed, exist.

His name is Chris Kemp; the image was is mug shot from Gresham, Oregon. Kemp, 37 years old, was arrested when Carlos Castillo found him in his home the day after Christmas of 2003. He entered the house through an upstairs entrance, finding holes punched in walls. Armed with a stick, Castillo reportedly confronted Kemp in his kitchen while rearranging appliances. The crazy part is that Kemp was wearing clothes belonging to Castillo's mother...including her leopard skin hat and matching scarf. Realizing he was caught, Kemp agreed to sit down and wait for police to arrive. He also stole Christmas money, but he removed it from his pocket soon after being discovered.

The scratches on Kemp's face are the supposed result of a prior battle with a brier patch that he lost (refer to above post for photo).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Bitter Twitter

We have all heard of it. Some of us have used it. Twitter.

It blew up as quickly as other social networking websites, but it did does not cater to the same demographic as other social networking websites like Facebook and Myspace. While reporters, CEOs and other high-profilers use Twitter as a way to get their latest updates on the computer screens of the masses, teenagers make up a small percentage of tweeters.

One former CEO who uses Twitter is Jonathan Schwartz. Schwartz used to be the CEO of Sun Microsystems. Though seemingly made obsolete by applets such as Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia), some people may recognize (and still use) Sun's Java software. However, a failed open-source project resulted in Sun's share price dropping $277 to $3.49. This resulted in Oracle easily acquiring Sun.

Schwartz did not retire without a joke. His method of choice was not a letter of resignation. He notified the world of his resignation through a tweet on his Twitter page. A haiku, to be exact:

"Financial crisis
Stalled too many customers
CEO no more"

Quick Photoshop Op

The image on the left is a picture I found online called "Beavis."

I do not know if there is actually a guy walking around looking like this, but I found the picture here. I am not sure of the accuracy of the article, though.

The image on the right is the same image, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop CS4. The only deviation from the methods reviewed in class is my addition of an extra layer containing only the face from the chin up (ears excluded) to add a different type of blur. From there, I adjusted the opacity of the two blurred layers until the guy did not appear to be plastic. To some, he still might. Practice makes perfect-ish.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Human Rights?

So Obama is going to meet the Dalai Lama...and (surprise) China is not happy. I remember back when Chinese/American relations were at their peak. There was an instance when the Dalai Lama visited Washington, and Obama refused to visit him. Why? Because he did not want to upset China. Economics won that exchange. Now that China is not so high on our butt-kissing list, it is okay to see the Dalai Lama.

And China is clearly losing favor with America. It has been a while, but think back before the big "Google" fiasco. Anyone remember when China tried to map the electrical grid of the US? Chinese hackers did not act alone, nor did they necessarily lead the attack. They were assisted by the likes of Russian hackers, among others. There again, economics wins over practicality. If I caught a friend trying to gain access to my laptop, I would not pursue further dealings with the person...would anyone else? Now fast-forward to the "Google" fiasco. Chinese hackers hacked dozens of corporate and personal e-mail accounts affiliated with Chinese human rights activists based in a few countries, including the US. That is not mentioning the new currency problem between China and the US. Then, Hillary Clinton tried to lecture China on human rights.

Now, Clinton has moved on to Iran. In July of 2009, three American hikers were arrested in Iran and accused of spying. A fourth hiker was present, but he stayed behind in Iraq because he felt sick. When the other three hikers crossed the border (innocently or knowingly), they were arrested by Iranian authorities. Recently, the Iranian President (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) voiced wishes to trade the three US captives for Iranians currently resting in US prisons. Clinton, in her infinite wisdom, has decided not to swap prisoners with Iran. Iran is doing exactly what it should do to get its citizens back [EDIT: By "citizens," I mean "operatives"]. Hillary Clinton has dropped the ball. Instead of the US defending the rights of citizens overseas, she is hoping the Iranian government will suddenly come to its senses and release them. I am not saying they should exchange prisoners without question, but she cannot expect the Iranian government to release the captives based on humanitarian grounds...this is ignorance at its finest. Unless there is an Iranian election, that region has no reason to make any attempts to gain favor with the US. I think past failed negotiations have shown exactly how opposing forces view the human rights of Americans...Nick Burg proved this when he was kidnapped and killed after the US government refused a similar prisoner exchange with terrorist groups in Iraq. And recent convictions showed how the American government views the human rights of its opposition when multiple CIA agents were convicted on kidnapping and torture charges in Italy. An earlier blog I posted referring to John Gotti also shows how, at times, the American justice system does not support human rights. The Patriot Act is further proof. How, then, can the Obama administration so brazenly declare that America is the pillar of human rights? America is a lot more advanced than other countries (thank you [partially] free speech) in this regard, but everyone knows that problems exist...there is no denying that. There is no such thing as a righteous government, that I have seen.

Furthermore, the captives (reportedly students) just happened to go out for a stroll in that area. Why? It is a warzone over there. Common sense tells me not to wander in such areas. The fourth hiker, who did not cross the border, has reportedly told his grandmother not to talk to reporters. Why not? Seems a little strange. I would want my story to be known. America needs to protect its citizens, but its citizens need to know that America will, obviously, not do for them what they cannot do for themselves.