Sunday, February 28, 2010

Media Meditation #2: I Found LOST

If there is one show out there that makes me say “What the f-bomb just happened?!”, it’s LOST.

Past, Present, Future, Stations, Mangos, Guns, Dead but alive people, Planes splitting, 4 8 15 16 23 42, Jacob.

WHAT? Oh LOST, you’ve done it again, such a mind boggle.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve wept inside for a moment about this being the final season for the epic tale of the passengers of flight Oceanic 815.
I only started watching LOST this summer, and now I am hooked. Every Tuesday I rush out of work at 8:30 in order to get to a friend’s house to tune in to the tube.


LOST is great at making use of all three parts of our brain. Our reptilian brain is often entertained with the constant mess of love affairs and whenever someone pulls out a gun. Our limbic brain is triggered whenever that reoccurring music comes on, and because it is an image that we are watching. LOST does a great job with stimulating our neocortex brain because we are forced to piece together past episodes and characters, and make sense of what is actually happening on that damn island.


Getting sucked into watching LOST is pretty easy, but can you imagine if it was a radio program? Following the plot would be so much more difficult.

Because I don’t have cable, I was able to watch all previous 5 seasons through hulu and

There is just about every type of website for LOST. Facebook, blogs, wikis, you name it, it’s out there.

It’s easy for ABC to track and see how many people are tuning in and actually watching their program.

We never know what is really going on during LOST and the truth is always being distorted depending on which character’s eyes we are watching through.


I have wasted so much of my own reality on the “reality” of LOST.

LOST uses so many different production techniques in order to portray the stories of all the characters. The camera angles and similarities between each episode makes LOST cohesive.

This show definitely pulls at all the emotional strings. There are problems with kids and marriages, deaths, births, and new loves, LOST is just a soap opera during prime time.

The Famous Love Triangle

I think that LOST’s pace is pretty easy to follow, but sometimes I’m happy that I can rewind and watch a scene more than once.


LOST is full of symbolism. There are uses of light and dark colors to represent good and evil, there are uses of objects that characters acquire or keep which symbolize who they are.

One group of people is always blaming the other for their problems, thus we have 6 seasons worth of LOST. The survivors blame the others, the others blame the survivors, it’s a never ending story.

So much of the series is shown through testimonials. Whether it is the past, present, or future, a majority of what we know about each character is through a testimonial.

The reoccurring music, the numbers, and the overall way that LOST is shot, it is repetitive. And don't forget about the smoke monster.

Is it me, or are most of the people stuck on the island pretty good looking (cue the swoon over Sawyer), sorry Hurley. But let’s get real, they must smell pretty bad.

Hurley at his best. Not the best looking guy, but we still love him.

Whenever there is a problem the characters either divide into groups or there is one person who says, “Live together, die alone.”

The “Others”. Just by giving them a name makes them sound more terrifying then they actually are. Sawyer is the king of name calling, he has a list of nicknames for each character.

LOST is all about timing. The writers time when and what you find out about each character.

Number One is so true...

Media Meditation #1: Reverting Back to My Childhood...God I Love Roald Dahl

Everyone has that one favorite author from childhood that they could never put down. Mine was (and still is) Roald Dahl. Everything that this man wrote is absolutely crazzzzy good. There are the classics, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches, and The BFG, which all kids should be forced to read, and then there are the more unknown short stories which happen to be my favorite.

Classic novel turned into a classic movie.

One year I received a gift card to Barnes and Noble for ten dollars, so I purchased Omnibus, a collection of short stories written by Roald Dahl. I just recently picked up this book again because I didn’t have a new book to start. At this point of my love affair with Mr. Dahl, I should realize that when I start a book by him, I can’t stop. This collection contains 28 short stories that will make you laugh, cringe, and use your noggin.


Omnibus triggers all aspects of our brain. There are plenty of sex and fight or flight moments, which just tickles our instinctive dinosaur brain. One of my favorite stories, The Great Switcharoo, is about two men wanting to sleep with each other’s wives, so they set up an elaborate plan to take place in the middle of the night to have some hanky panky; it’s brilliant, just brilliant. Our limbic brain is provoked because Dahl is great at making you feel right alongside his characters. Although the neocrotex is the hardest part of our brain to use, Dahl makes it a pleasure to sit down and read a book.


Sometimes it’s just nice to turn off the TV, and actually engage your mind with a hard copy piece of literature, AKA the book.

We are constantly bombarded with images, but not with Omnibus, although Dahl is the artist for his books, and his style is easy to recognize.

All the stories that are in Omnibus can be found online in synopsis here.

I’m blogging about a kick ass book that YOU should read!

Dahl uses humor, fear, anger, and just about every other emotion within his writing to blend entertainment and human experiences.

Dahl creates his stories with everyday people, not big companies or fantasy people, which is refreshing and gives his stories appeal to the average person.


Omnibus creates a different type of reality, in many cases you thank god that you are not a part of the reality that is created, but you are completely entertained.

Within his short stories, Dahl’s overlapping theme is about not underestimating the average person and the creative thought.

It’s hard not to feel an overpowering emotion once done with one of the stories. In Lamb to the Slaughter, a woman murders her husband with a lamb leg, cooks it up, and serves it to the police who are investigating…WHAT?! IT’S SO GOOD.

Dahl is gifted in the sense that he is able to fit so much information within 30 or so pages, the pace is never slow since there is no wasted space.

One of the scariest movies from my childhood, The Witches.
Roald Dahl + Jim Henson = Pure Genius


Many of the short stories use humor in order to capture an audience. Dahl once said “What’s horrible is basically funny. In fiction.”
How can you not love this man?

Using regular, plain old average Joe’s, allows readers to connect with the stories and visualize the people that Dahl writes about.

All of the stories have been written in an earlier time period giving the sense of the good old days, with simple plots.

Dahl is a master of timing. He creates a sense of mystery and surprise to capture his reader’s interest and keeps them there.

Many tangible things and characters throughout the stories are symbols for overall meaning. A lamb leg is used to showcase a housewife and as a murder weapon, two very different things, but both linking the main character in one story.

One of the best parts of the Omnibus is that it is a collection of short stories, which makes it easy to pick up, read one or two, and then be on your merry way. For about ten bucks, how can you go wrong?


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Media Meditation: State of the Union

Is Obama Giving Away Free Cars?


Then Why is Everyone Clapping?


I think that President Obama's address mostly thrived on reaching people's limbic brain. It seems that he focused mostly on what American people are feeling, which I think works in his favor because it is shows that he is aware of what is happening within our country at this time.

President Obama did trigger the reptilian brain, otherwise we wouldn't have seen everyone getting up and down, up and down, to applaud. I think this symbolize that people are willing to "fight" alongside Obama during this time.

Our neocortex brain is also stimulated because we are made to listen to what is being said by President Obama and actually make meaning of it.


Epistemological Shift:
President Obama's speech has changed from just being a speech to a televised event, and then being put on the Internet.

Technological Shift:
I was at work when President Obama gave his State on the Union message, and it really didn't matter because I was able to watch it the next day online on my laptop.

Personal Shift:
We are BLOGGING about President Obama's speech...! We take part in expressing what we think about the State of the Union message.

Aesthetic Shift:
President Obama was able to use some humor within his speech which somewhat blurs the lines between news and entertainment.

Economic Shift:
President Obama addressed his concerns about big businesses and how small businesses should be able to thrive just as much.

Discursive Shift:
There are definitely things that the government does not want us to know, and they are also able to only tell part of the story and get away with it.

Cultural Shift:
Throughout President Obama's speech I couldn't help but wonder how much information the government actually has on me.


"Reality" Construction/Trade-offs: What are more of the challenges that the United States will meet before things actually get better? I think that it is hard to address the entire story when you are trying to keep morale up.

Production Techniques: I think it's interesting to show different camera shots and when they are being used. It is a little hokey when the audience is being shown, and it looked like First Lady Michelle was about to fall asleep when they first showed her.

Value Messages: President Obama was trying to send a positive message that the United States is back on our feet and that it is only going to get better.

Ownership: The President wants more people to stand behind him and his choices, and is trying to portray himself and his administration in the best light.

Individual Meaning: What I find most meaningful from President Obama's address is the fact that it actually seems that he genuinely cares about all Americans, and wants to make changes that will benefit the country as a whole.

Emotional Transfer: This medium reaches the emotion of patriotism. President Obama is talking to all Americans about what is happening and what needs to be changed in order for America to be on it's A game.

Pacing: I think that the pacing was slow compared to what we are used to normally viewing. I think that this is on purpose, that way it is easier to focus on what is being said, and not what you are seeing.


Rhetorical Questions:

Humor: Stating the fact that he hated the bailouts for banks, and that they were as popular as a root canal. Oh, Obama, so silly!

Repetition: "We cut taxes for...", President Obama stated this before each group of people he listed.

Plain Folks: President Obama talked about where he has visited across the nation to talk to everyday Americans.

Warm Fuzzies: President Obama talked about the letters that he reads from children who ask about when they can go back home.

Group Dynamics: Using "we", "us", and "together", throughout his entire speech.

Strength: President Obama stating that we are a nation of strength and that no matter what the U.S. will prevail.

Scientific Evidence: Giving stats about how many Americans are out of work, how many jobs have been saved, and how much money has been spent and/or saved.


President Obama's State of the Union message stated that although times have been tough, and will be tough, things are slowly getting better, and the most important part of his presidency is creating jobs for Americans.


-A State of the Union has been given for the past 220 years.

-Income Tax has not risen a single penny for anyone over this past year.

-Banks are lending mostly to large companies and corporations rather that small businesses, even if they are profitable.