“Somebody that I used to know”

I have recently been interested in comparing song covers to the originals.  Recording a cover is a great way for a not-so-popular band to get noticed because people are more likely to listen to a song they have already heard and they are more easily found in searches.  Covers also give artists a chance to try out their own musical twists to already great songs or possibly even making a terrible song great.  I was impressed with these covers of “Somebody that I used to know” (Gotye).

Gotye is the original artist that sings “Somebody that I used to know.”  If you care for a laugh and creative display of artwork, check out his parody “Some study that I used to know” on YouTube.

Pentatonix is a group of five vocalists from Arlington, Texas.  This group won the third season of “The Sing Off” performing an arrangement of “Eye of the Tiger.”  They do my favorite cover of “Somebody that I used to know”.  I actually like it better than the original.  There voices are strong and passionate.  What’s most impressive is that they sing acapella.

Walk off the Earth is an indie band from Canda.  This band uses a ukulele and does a lot of looping.  They also do a great cover of the song.  In their video I was impressed at how they all work together to play the guitar.

Video Games Targeted as Cause of National Issues, Editorial

Violent actions occur everyday, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself why?  Diane Franklin of Camdenton, Missouri thinks she has the answer, video games.  According to NBC News, she has proposed to add a one percent sales tax on video games that are rated “teen,” “mature,” and “adult-only” to fund mental health programs and law enforcement aimed at preventing mass shootings like the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Missouri is not the first state to propose taxes on violent video games.  Oklahoma and New Mexico have both tried and failed.

Those opposed to the violence portrayed in certain video games, argue that it influences a person’s actions outside of the game.  What those people fail to think about is that children are growing up in a virtual era.  They are able to distinguish the difference between virtual and reality; they do it all the time.  Animation, digital effects, technology, and the Internet have opened peoples’ minds and imaginations, bringing them to a world outside of their own.  Some of those depictions sometimes display violent acts, which can engage or thrill the audience.  Video games however, do not make people violent.  Few people that pick up a controller have the desire to go out and actually kill people.  Just because they see or play a violent game does not mean they will act out in real life.  Players know the difference between their actions as a player in a game and how they should act in real life.

The problems in society are not caused by video games or the violence portrayed in them.  Video games, violent or not, can actually help gamers tap into bottled emotions, understand the limits of reality, and deal with that reality.  Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones discusses how violent entertainment is beneficial in helping children develop in a healthy way.

If critics would take a look around they would see that violence can be seen just about everywhere, from books, movies, music and video games to the news, schools, in public and even at home.  There is no way to shelter people from such violence, but there is room to teach them about it.  Parents, schools, communities, and the government need to take an active role in the lives of children, teens, and young adults. Critics should focus on the underlying sources that could cause people to act out, like abuse or neglect at home, mental illnesses, etc. and find resources to help those who are suffering.  Video games have become a target of opportunity for legislators and adults, but it’s time they look beyond to find the real problems and solutions to serious national issues.

Sources:

NBC News

Mashable

The Washington Post

Editorial Draft: Video games do not need additional regulation.

Violent actions occur everyday, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself why?  Diane Franklin of Camdenton, Missouri thinks she has the answer, video games.  She has proposed to add a one percent sales tax on video games that are rated “teen,” “mature,” and “adult-only” to fund mental health programs and law enforcement aimed at preventing mass shootings like the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook.  Missouri is not the first state to propose taxes on violent video games.  Oklahoma and New Mexico have both tried and failed.  If laws like this were to pass, consumers would also be paying taxes on video games like “Guitar Hero.”

There does not need to be additional regulation on video games.  Regulations already exist and places like Walmart and Gamestop id people to ensure they are the correct age to be buying a game.  Geek Squad’s website defines the following ratings as:

Early Childhood – Titles rated early childhood have content suitable for children 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

Everyone– Titles rated everyone have content that suitable for persons age 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal violence, some comic mischief, and/or mild language.

Everyone 10+ – Titles rated everyone 10 and older have content that may be suitable for older children age 10 and up. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy, or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.

Teen – Titles rated teen have content suitable for persons ages 13 and older. May contain violent content, mild or strong language, and/or suggestive themes.

Mature 17+ – Titles rated mature have content suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain mature sexual themes, more intense violence, and/or strong language.

Adults only 18+ – Titles rated adults only have content suitable only for adults. Titles in this category may include graphic depictions of sex and/or violence. Adults-only products are not intended for persons under the age of 18.

The video game ratings may keep underage kids from buying the game, but it doesn’t keep them from playing the game.  Their parents could still purchase the game for them or they could play at a friend’s house.  The ratings allow parents to see the content descriptors and suggested age appropriateness.  This can help them to make a decision about what they feel is suitable for their children to play.

Children and adults can distinguish the difference between virtual and reality, they do it all time.  Animation, digital effects, technology, and the Internet have opened peoples’ minds and imaginations, bringing them to a world outside of our own.  These depictions sometimes display violent acts, which can engage or thrill the audience.  Video games however, do not make people violent.  Few people that pick up a controller have the desire to go out and kill people.  Just because they see or play a violent game does not mean they will act out in real life.  Players know the difference between the game and reality.

Our nation’s security doesn’t depend on the regulation of video games.  Even the Army uses video games and simulated rifles to get potential recruits in the door at The Army Experience Center.  Those who walk in aren’t pressured to join the military, it’s just a way to attract new visitors, interact with Army personnel, and answer any questions that the visitors might have.  The Army wouldn’t use this form of recruitment if they thought it was dangerous and could potentially harm society.  “The military understands that if it can’t embrace today’s digital youth, they are never going to recruit the kind of soldiers that they need to have for the next century,” says Noah Shachtman in “Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier.”

Video games, violent or not, can actually help gamers tap into bottled emotions, understand the limits of reality, and deal with that reality.  Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones discusses how violent entertainment is beneficial in helping children develop in a healthy way.  Gaming has become a social activity, connecting friends and family all around the world.  It allows users to kick back, relax, and relieve stress.

Change is good, Replacement is hard

The Chicago Tribune’s editorial staff wrote an article about how Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs might be in for some major changes.  The team’s owner, Tom Ricketts, has shared plans for a $300 million renovation project.  At first the plan included using city and county amusement taxes to fund the renovations, but the Ricketts family has announced their plans to foot the bill.  The only thing they expect from the city now is some leniency on zoning and landmark restrictions.  

Fans are worried that “Wrigley Field wouldn’t be Wrigley Field without the ivy, center field scoreboard and the iconic red-and-white marquee. The stadium is a landmark, but it houses a functioning business that can’t survive unless the owners are allowed to adapt to consumer demands” (Chicago Tribune).  Adapting to those consumer demands could mean more events held at the stadium, more fans, and a better atmosphere.  “A winning team would be the stadium’s biggest improvement.  But bathrooms are a start.”

I think the policy claim in this editorial is that even though Wrigley Field is a landmark, renovations need to occur to allow the business side of things to prosper.  The stadium isn’t going to keep bringing in large crowds if they don’t have an adequate facility.  

The smaller claims that support the policy claim are that renovations should be allowed because it’s not coming from taxpayers money, but a private fund.  Also, some leniency on zoning and landmark restrictions would allow for much more business to be drawn to the area, which would generate more consumer traffic for other establishments.  Last some of the renovation plans are wanted by fans, like a Jumbotron, more bathrooms, and more concession stand choices.

I chose this article because it reminded me of Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.  It was full of history and tradition, which was traded for newer, bigger, better as TD Ameritrade Stadium was built.  I was sad to see the site change because it was a place I had been going to watch baseball for years and I loved everything about it.  I have been to the new stadium and I’ll admit it is pretty nice.  I know that in order to keep the College World Series in Omaha they had to make some upgrades.  So like Wrigley Field, it might be hard to let go of a landmark, but change is good, especially for business.

 

Trending Topic: Ruzzle on the Rise

Image

Photo By: Matthew Lynley, The Wall Street Journal

This past week my mind has been flooded with a string of words.  I can’t seem to get them out of my head.  It all started last week when I downloaded the game “Ruzzle” on my iPad.  Since then I picture a long word and my mind starts reeling with the possibilities of smaller words using the same letters.  So as I’m driving, watching a movie, or laying in bed trying to clear my mind before I fall asleep, I picture word combinations.

Jarret Bellini, CNN Tech’s weekly trends writer, described Ruzzle as “the offspring of a wild and kinky one-night-stand between Boggle and Scrabble.”

He explains the similarities between the two games: “Ruzzle consists of three two-minute rounds in which you and your opponent each get 16 letters placed in four rows of four that can be linked together to create words by gliding your finger over the screen at any connecting angle. Like Boggle.  Each letter is also given a point value based on difficulty, and some even award extra points by doubling or tripling the letter or overall word score. Like Scrabble.”

Ruzzle has been a trending topic on Twitter and has been at the top of the App Store for weeks.  This word app has been downloaded more than 17 million times, adding 4 million new players each week.  It’s available in 10 different languages and played in over 100 countries.

In an interview with Matthew Lynley of The Wall Street Journal, CEO Daniel Hasselberg, of MAG Interactive (creators of Ruzzle), said “The Social media integration is absolutely fundamental to our success.”  The turn-based social game allows users to not only invite friends, but also share their achievements on Facebook and Twitter.

Expect to see Ruzzle in your news feeds.  This game’s popularity is only continuing to rise.  This app, along with other word apps like “Scramble With Friends” and “Words With Friends,” are good games to be trending.  They get people’s minds racing, introduce them to new words, let them compete against their friends, and keeps them connected to social media.

Eat Doritos Super Bowl Sunday

It’s almost that time of year where women spend time looking up recipes for new appetizers, dips, and desserts.  Their grocery bills include items like chips, refreshments, wings, pizza, and the list goes on.  Then the day finally arrives and their houses are overcrowded with loud men who yell at the tv, spill their drinks, and forget to put the toilet seat down.  Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday.

The best thing that aires on television that day just might be the commercials.  Any other day and I would fast forward through commercials or get up to do something and come back when the program starts, but the commercials during the Super Bowl are worth watching.  Which is good considering companies spend millions of dollars to advertise during the Super Bowl.  The best commercials are usually the ones by Doritos.

Doritos runs a contest that gives fans a chance to create their own Doritos commercial for the Super Bowl.  This contest brings lots of new traffic for Doritos because everyone wants to view/vote on the submissions.  Fans can vote once everyday January 4-29.  The winner will have their commercial air during the Super Bowl, win $1 million, and a gig with Michael Bay.  According to “How much did the 2013 finalists spend on their crash the Super Bowl entries?” most of the submissions come from males between the ages of 20-40, living in California who are trying to make it in the film business.  Video contest news gives an overview of each finalist.  Why not control what you watch and give one of these filmmakers a chance to advance his career?  Vote.

My personal favorite from a few years ago.

Game Over

Video game violence has always been a hot topic, but the recent shootings have sparked some debate that could affect the future of gamers.  Violent games are being blamed for issues like the recent shootings, school bullying, and even childhood obesity.

In correlation with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., new laws are being proposed to add a sales tax on video games that are rated “teen,” “mature,” and “adult-only.”  In Jordan Shapiro’s article, “State lawmaker wants tax on violent video games” he states, “Republican Diane Franklin of Camdenton, Missouri said the proposed 1 percent sales tax would help pay for mental health programs and law enforcement aimed at preventing mass shootings.”  According to the article, Missouri is not the first state to propose taxes on violent video games.  Oklahoma and New Mexico have both tried and failed.  If laws like this were to pass, consumers would also be paying taxes on video games like “Guitar Hero.”  What would be next?  Would we be taxed according to the movies we watch and the music we listen to?

Video games, violent or not, can actually help gamers tap into bottled emotions, understand the limits of reality, and deal with that reality.  Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones discusses how violent entertainment is beneficial in helping children develop in a healthy way.  Violence doesn’t just appear in video games, it can be seen in comic books, television shows, movies, music, and in the news.  So people are exposed to it everywhere and sheltering them from such violence can do more harm than good.  Few people that pick up a controller have the desire to go out and kill people.  They are able to distinguish the difference between the fantasy world in video games and reality.

Our nation’s security doesn’t depend on what is happening in video games.  Even the Army uses video games and simulated rifles, at the Army Experience Center, to get potential recruits in the door.  The Army wouldn’t use this form of recruitment if they thought it was dangerous and could potentially harm society.  Those who walk in aren’t pressured to join the military, it’s just a way to attract new visitors, interact with Army personnel, and answer any questions that the visitors might have.  “The military understands that if it can’t embrace today’s digital youth, they are never going to recruit the kind of soldiers that they need to have for the next century,” says Noah Shachtman in “Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier.”

Video games are blamed for many problems in the world, when they actually help people develop and live normal, healthy lives.  Instead maybe critics should focus on other problems that could cause people to act out, like abuse or neglect at home, mental illnesses, etc.

Tweet Tweet

The number of social media sites these days amazes me.  Each one is so different from the others, making it so that one person will be likely to join multiple sites.  I usually go through social media spurts where I will use Facebook for awhile and get tired of it and focus on Twitter or Pinterest.  I have had Twitter for over a year now and have yet to break 300 tweets.  Now that I’m using it more I have began to appreciate its unique attributes.  A few things I love about Twitter are how you can create lists (which I just learned how to do), the of use hash tags, which is fun and helps with finding tweets of the same nature, and the tweets are short and straight to the point.  Below are 10 people that I follow on Twitter that you might be interested in as well.

Dr. Randal Pinkett

I heard Dr. Randal Pinkett speak at the Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas this summer.  He has started his own company, published books, gives great advice, and is an international speaker.

PBL National

PBL National shares membership news, upcoming events, etc. with Phi Beta Lambda members.

Jamey Boelhower

Jamey Boelhower is the remote learning specialist for ESU10.  He gives great educational/technological advice for students and teachers.  He’s intelligent and knows how to make learning a fun, enjoyable experience.

Blake Lawrence

Blake Lawrence was a former Nebraska football player who co-founded Hurrdat Social Media.  I have heard him speak on generating new ideas, networking, and entrepreneurship.

Hurrdat Social Media

Hurrdat Social Media is a social media company that develops marketing strategies for businesses, brands, and athletes.  They put out some great information and have some funny posts too.

Priscilla Schliep

Priscilla Schliep is a Canadian 100m hurdler who received bronze at the Beijing Olympics.  After giving birth to her daughter she resumed training for the London Olympics and is still running competitive times.  Her twitter posts congratulate other athletes, update on her progress, include interviews, and retweets from her sponsors.

Sochi 2014

Sochi 2014 is the official Twitter account for the 2014 Olympics which will be held in Sochi.  I love watching the olympics and following different athletes on their journey.

Pope Benedict news

Pope Benedict news includes news and commentary on what’s happening with Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church.  I like keeping up with what’s happening in Rome and reading the 140 characters or less helps get straight to the point.

Creative Blog

The Creative Blog shares design tips and inspiration.  They tweet some pretty cool things that give me ideas and inspiration for projects.

Pampered Chef

The Pampered Chef shares recipes, cooking tips, and new products.  As a Pampered Chef consultant this allows me to stay up to date on new things as well as share the business with others.

Hello World!

Hello world! I’m Amanda Schneider and this is my first post as a blogger. I can’t wait to begin sharing my insight with you through words, pictures, audio, and video. This blog is an undergraduate course assignment in which I hope I will develop my writing, become more aware of the world around me, and learn more about myself through my opinions and analysis of current issues and everyday life.