J2150 was a very challenging class, but one that I believe is important to take. It is a kind of crash course in the essentials of multimedia journalism, as we learned about shooting video, recording audio, and taking photos. I had limited experience with shooting video before this class, and was a complete beginner in recording audio and taking well-shot, focused photos.
This class was useful because I learned how to work the Nikon D7000 and understand what makes a good picture, how to take one, and how to use photoshop. The same goes for learning how to shoot a sequence in video, and editing in premiere. Even though I want to go into digital/print journalism and be a writer, these are still important skills to have. It is good to have at least a little bit of a background in everything, and I never know when I could be put on the spot to go out and shoot a video or take pictures. I feel much more comfortable operating a camera/video camera now.
However, I do think there is a fair amount of room for improvement with this class. I know this semester was the first time the class had operated with three different teachers instead of just one, but the structure of the class was a bit of a mess. There wasn’t a set syllabus for a majority of the class which made it kind of awkward to always understand what was supposed to be going on in the class. Along with that, I thought that maybe we could have gotten a little more instruction on how to operate the equipment. The photo and audio sections did an excellent job of breaking down how to use the equipment, but I felt that I was kind of left hanging with video. On the other hand, video is said to be the hardest aspect of the class and it may be hard to teach a lot of it, it may just be learn by trying.
Ultimately my favorite part of the class was having Travis and Shane as teachers. I thought they were both really interesting and clearly passionate about what they were teaching. Having passionate teachers always makes me more eager to be in the class and be motivated.
No, no, this is not a post about my bucket list. This is a post about an album called Bucket List by Saba, one that contains more bucket lists inside it. The album is Saba’s first, after two mixtapes entitled GETCOMFORTable and ComfortZone. I discovered Saba as ComfortZone came out, and he has quickly become one of my favorite artists.
Saba is from Chicago, part of the new wave of Chicago music that includes artists like Mick Jenkins, Smino, Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper, Joey Purp, Noname, and Jamila Woods to just name a few. Chicago is undoubtedly popping in the music scene right now, with diverse artists springing up out of seemingly every corner.
The production on this album is immaculate and serves as a great compliment to Saba’s wide vocal range. Saba does a good job of matching the energy of the beat, speeding up and slowing down in line with the ups and downs of the beat. The one aspect of the album that could possibly use work are the choruses, which can be relatively weak at times. However that is more just me looking for something to criticize than an actual huge detriment to the album.
The different people Saba gets to come on to his project and list their bucket lists is especially interesting to me. They range from stars like Chance the Rapper and Lupe Fiasco, to small time Twitter rappers like Joshua to Saba’s own dad. That range brings a whole other aspect to the album. For the more popular people, it shows that there is always something more to strive for. Chance says he wants to learn how to play drums because drummers “get the girl.” Saba’s dad talks about all the places he wants to go to, and that he is proud of Saba. For Joshua all he wants to do is “drop a project” and does not care if anyone even ends up listening to it.
The variety in bucket lists is similar to the variety of people you will find in Chicago. In such a large city with so many people, there are so many different interests and hobbies that each person’s are unique in their own way. Hearing all these different bucket lists is a nice way to represent that, and gets one thinking about what their own bucket list might be, and how they can set about achieving it. For me, I just hope to make it through the rest of the semester alive.
I was a little late to the party, but I finally wrapped up watching the end of the first season of Donald Glover’s Atlanta. The show has been showered with praise by viewers and critics alike, as it currently holds a score of 100% from critics and 90% from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes. Now that I am all caught up, I cannot help but jump aboard the train as well. Glover stated in an excellent profile by Rembert Browne that with Atlanta he, “wanted to show white people, you don’t know everything about black culture.” And surely enough, he has done just that, and much, much more.
One of the best things about Atlanta is how genuine the show feels. It truly feels as if you are in Atlanta, something a fair amount of shows “based” in cities forget to think about. Part of this is due to the fact that the show was actually shot in Atlanta, so not only do the more recognizable landmarks pop up, so do those that are authentic to Atlanta. On top of this, the dialogue between friends/family in the show sounds like the conversations we actually have everyday. Much of this has to do with nearly all the writers for the show being from Atlanta, and all being African-American. The only cliche, wholly unrealistic “you have to let me be me” speech by Earn is immediately shot down by Van because that’s just not how life works. Instead, the creative writers opt for the harsh reality of life, meaning Earn has to suck it up and provide for his child while still pursuing his dreams. Van cannot be left to should the entire weight in that scenario, as Earn comes to realize.
The little things though, the little things make Atlanta pop. Keith Stanfield absolutely kills it as Darius at every turn. There are so many memorable moments from his character (asking the bouncer about throwing out another bouncer, parlaying Earn’s phone into a sword into a dog into an eventual lump sum of cash, AIDS and Wilt Chamberlain) but I think my favorite is his conversation with Alfred about sunflower seeds. It’s in the background while Earn calls the Uber driver looking for his jacket and can be hard to make out but is entirely worth rewinding for. I won’t spoil it, but Stanfield nails Darius’ curiosity about how “the companies make money” and the talk about the sushi sunflower seeds between Alfred and Darius is hilarious at every turn.
Atlanta has already been renewed for a second season, but it will not be until 2018 as Glover will be busy filming for the new Spiderman and Star Wars movies. If you haven’t already, watch the show now and wait with the rest of us to see what happens next time.
Thanksgiving break is right around the corner, and it could not be coming at a better time. A weeklong break from school and responsibility in general sounds heavenly right now, and I have to appreciate these breaks while I can. Once I am out of college, that type of break will almost entirely vanish. School has continued to get more challenging, and going home to my dogs and some home-cooked meals will be a great reprieve. The home-cooked meals are what I am looking forward to the most, and with Thanksgiving being a part of the festivities it will be a feast.
However, Thanksgiving is much different than it used to be in my household. Growing up Thanksgiving was kind of a rotation, in that one year it would be at my grandma’s on my dad’s side, then my aunt’s (dad’s side again), and then it would be at our house, with both sides of the family coming. It was always fun to see everyone together, and some great memories would come out of those times, like watching football, or the time we used a stuffed animal frog to replace my cousin in family photos cause he could not make it that year. I loved getting to see my cousins, as they were all people I looked up to a lot and just gave off a great vibe. They were all at least five years older than me, but never made that a barrier and were always sure to include me in whatever they were doing (minus drinking).
Those days are gone now for a multitude of reasons, and Thanksgiving is more of a humble affair. My mother and I wake up, make food (with her doing the majority of it), watch television and hang out. Sometimes we will take the dogs for a walk and shoot a little hoops. The week is what I cherish more now, seeing friends that I have not seen since the summer and getting to catch up with my parents. College takes a toll on those that go, but almost more so on our parents. I still can not imagine what it is like to raise someone for eighteen years and see them pretty much every day, then send them off on their own and hardly see them. Helping us grow up has been a huge aspect of their lives, and to lose that is crazy. Combine that with the fact that kids in college often are not the best at staying in touch and you have an easy recipe for driving parents insane. Falling out of touch was something I was especially prone to last semester, and while I have gotten better this semester it is still a struggle. Keeping my parents in the loop is one of my main goals going forward, and I hope to be able to accomplish it.
It is now four days into November, which means we are eleven days into the NBA season, and boy has it been interesting. There have been hot starts galore, and certain teams have struggled out of the gate that were not expected to. Basically, it has been a great start to the season, and it is only going to ramp up from here. Here is a look at some players that have had fire coming out of their hands in recent games.
DeMar DeRozan came into the season as a Kobe-lite player. DeRozan has showed that he can score in the midrange and get to the rim, but his three point shot is lacking and he has never been a particularly effective scorer. Questions surrounded the five year, $139 million dollar contract he signed this summer, as some thought he had already reached his ceiling. For his career DeRozan has an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 45.7%, this year it is 55.9%. That is an incredible jump, and one that will probably not be that large by the end of the season, but it is indicative of DeRozan maturing. While his three point shot is still not there (1-8 on the season) he is still managing to score effectively, as his lowest field goal percentage for a game this season has been 43%. Oh and by the way, he is the first person to score thirty or more in the first five games of the season since Michael Jordan. MICHAEL JORDAN. DeRozan looks like a man possessed and is making Sports Illustrated look silly for placing him 46th on their top 100 players list. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up his efficient, hot start over the course of the season.
And now to look at what happened last night between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a game as hyped as any regular season could ever be, Kevin Durant put his foot down. Durant finished with 39 points and hit 7 threes, and his back to back threes within 15 seconds of each other in the second quarter buried the Thunder. Durant was the definition of effective throughout the game, hitting 15 of his 24 shots and finishing with an eFG% of 77.1%. It was one of the greatest shooting displays I have witnessed, and he certainly sent a message that he is not going to back down from the Thunder. On the other side, Russell Westbrook’s worst tendencies displayed themselves down the stretch. Westbrook was wild and out of control for most of the game, finishing a paltry 4-15 from the field with six turnovers. Westbrook always plays with reckless abandon, which is part of the reason so many fans love him. But nights like Thursday are why people say you have to take the good Westbrook with the bad, as he can psyche himself out of games. Last night’s game only makes me look forward to the next Warriors-Thunder matchup more, especially when they return to Oklahoma City. I doubt Westbrook turns in another stinker, and we may just see him shatter a backboard a la Shaq if he gets going.