For Library Girl

Well I didn’t know you long, 
And I didn’t know you well.
But you were pretty cool-
Just something I could tell.

I tried my best to save you
When the zombies came to bite.
But my swipe came just a bit too late
And so you said goodnight.

I guess you are a zombie now,
Although I’m losing track,
And my human friends are dwindling-
There’s no one to watch my back.

Still I’ll keep on fighting,
Though my allies now are few.
I’ll fight against the zombies
until zombie I am too.

Twitter Can’t Contain the Zombie Apocalypse

All the people who put this together are pretty much zombies now, but that doesn’t stop them from being teachers…and assigning homework.  Personally, I feel like running for your life from hordes of deranged zombies is enough work to do on its own, but now we get to write about it.

Luckily, I have the abandoned library in which to safely do that.  And also luckily, it’s pretty awesome.  Humans and zombies get to write to earn either safezone privileges or extra bites, and the writing that has come from that is massively entertaining.

For example, have you seen @mikeberta’s Storify about how I’ll soon be dead?  It’s pretty funny. In unrelated news, IN YOUR FACE ZOMBIE!  I like this post so much that I think I’ll make my next safezone a Storify about the abandoned library and ZombieBaiting.

Speaking of which, these zombies are trying to bait a few humans via non-traditional means- you know, the familiar straightforward excruciatingly painful brains eating means.  Remember the good old days (hours?) when that was the MO?  Now they’re trying to trick us with fake treaties!  They’re playing with their food now! Come on! (I told you this was a different breed of zombie).

Fortunately I have this blog to serve both as my safezone generator and a means of communication with other humans in more than 140 characters.  Even though @readywriting has put together a list of the last few of us that remain (I told you they were organized), us humans will continue to get the word out to other survivors (even if it is kind of depressing…looking at you @afamiglietti..keep your head up).  Humans out there, you’re not alone! Write a safezone, let us know how you’re doing, and get to the abandoned library!

It’s pretty cool to see the writing Twitter vs Zombies has generated on both sides.  It’s a nice reminder that writing can be fun, games that involve writing can be fun, and that humans are seriously funny when set upon by a zombie horde.

ZombieBaiting..and why it’s probably the worst idea I’ve had (but also why I will continue)

In the post-apocalyptic Twystopia of Twiter vs Zombies humans have little joy.  Their friends are dying (only to become undead) all around them, food is scarce (except for brains which are pretty unpalatable), and there is a roving horde of bitingly (see what I did there?) witty zombies waiting to devour them…and while they can occasionally dodge an attack or snatch someone else from an untimely demise, there is pretty much no way to fight back.

While this surely is depres—-wait, witty? witty zombies?

Oh yes, friend. The digital zombie is a finer breed of zombie.  Not only are they astonishingly organized, they seem to have retained some vestiges of their human intelligence…resulting in some of the funniest gruesome deaths and human taunting you’ve ever seen from the undead.  If they weren’t devouring my friends along with my hopes for a future in which I die of old age, peacefully, in my sleep, they would be downright entertaining.

Anyway, while this is surely depressing, the one ray of light in a dark, dark world is ZombieBaiting.  ZombieBating is a game played during that magical time one is in a #safezone and is therefore protected from attack.  The horde is so large now that Zombies lie in wait, waiting for foolish humans to make their presence known (via a tweet) so that they can pounce. A human can dodge, but another Zombie will be waiting, another human can swipe, but then that human is bitten by yet another Zombie and then another Zombie bites the first person. There are no heroes here, only fools.  I fear that the scale has tipped so that it is only a matter of time before the last of us humans have succumbed.

So when I am not bait, I bait the Zombies.  Cowardly? Yes.  Foolhardy? Most definitely.  I know they are waiting for the end of my respite in the safezone (aka the abandoned library).  I can hear them clamoring at the doors.  Who knows how many of these safezones I can write before I run out of substantive things to say?  How funny that my brain is the last defense against those who would eat it. 

Still, it’s worth it to me in this time of terror to tease a few zombies when I can.  I’ll best them with my taunts when I can, for in all other areas they clearly have the advantage.  So assail my safezone if you want zombies, but as long as I’m here you’ll know that we humans still have spirit left to fight, even if we have nothing to fight with. And to my human allies out there keeping quiet, stay safe, bide your time, write a safezone.  And when you do, join me in the abandoned library and we’ll bait zombies together.  It will be the most terrifyingly thrilling (or thrillingly terrifying) thing we’ve yet done.

#Safezone

So I’m playing Twitter Vs Zombies and shortly I will probably become a zombie.  Before my brains are eaten and I am reduced to a mindless undead monster, I should probably record what I have learned so far.

1. TweetDeck

TweetDeck is super awesome and I had no idea that it existed before this game.  The one good think that will come of my impending doom is that I can share this with whatever humans may be left out there (though you probably already know about it as I am woefully slow to catch on to things, vis a vis my impending doom).  You can use tweetdeck to follow certain people or hashtags.  Aside from making this game a lot easier (and more fun)  I imagine that it will be quite useful for all sorts of fun twitter things lik #digped.  TweetDeck, I wish I’d learned about you sooner because you are fascinating.

2. Twitter Vs Zombies is heavily biased towards the zombies

True to life, or a scary, dystopian version of life, Zombie Apocalypses on Twitter are stacked pretty heavily against humans (and those stacks are primarily made of corpses).  I think it’s pretty interesting that the game rules make it so that human numbers dwindle pretty quickly and the horde of zombies quickly gains the upper hand.  When we started this think less than 24 hours ago there were tons of human surrounding my name on the scoreboard and now I’m the first one! Also, I find the zombie horde interesting.  They seem pretty organized for having no brains and I think they really have the humans scrambling.  We should come up with a way to kill the zombies…but putting them out of the game would be a shame, since besides being utterly terrifying they are pretty entertaining…oh and the pictures are awesome.

3. TvsZ has confirmed my suspicions that ducks are evil

My first bite came from a duck.  Oddly enough, I’m talking irl here.  I got bit by a duck (do they even have teeth?) when I was really little and all I was trying to do was give it some nice yummy breadcrumbs.  Seems only fitting that a zombified duck would be first to bite me in this game AND be patient zero.  Seriously, we need to do something about ducks.

Okay so those are my thoughts and this post will buy me another hour of life…in which I can taunt the zombies without mortal fear.

Fellow humans, if you’re out there and scared, you can band together with me…I think it’s time we had a human horde to counter the zombies with.  If you haven’t already, sign up for Twitter Vs Zombies at twittervszombies.com and find me on Twitter at @_bekahhogue.  Hurry up too! Our numbers are dwindling and we need help!

CTW Assignment 4- Respond to a Public Event

My sister and I attended Death From Below, billed as an Indi-Electro Dance Party, at The Music Room in Old Fourth Ward.  The music was pretty awesome, but unfortunately my HTC phone recordings did not do it justice.  Also unfortunate, the one recording my sister made on her new iPhone 5 I talked over the entire time complaining about the beer selection (but honestly, who really likes PBR?).  In other news, the iPhone is seriously awesome when it comes to making recordings in extremely loud places.

That knowledge in hand, my sister and I- and her fully charged phone- headed to Aaron’s Amphitheater for a country music concert.  I like all kinds of music, but if I had to rank them country would probably not be at the top of the list…or near the top of the list for that matter.  My sister, on the other hand, loves country music– and Southern rap…it’s a toss up, really.   Anyway, the following is a mix of a few concert highlights.  It features each of the bands and a lot of crowd response, and probably some off key singing courtesy of your favorite Hogues.

Since I am not a huge country fan, I approached this concert with some apprehension as to whether I’d have a good time.  Though I knew a few songs from some of the artists performing, I knew I wouldn’t know a majority of the songs played, and I like concerts better when I can sing along.  Still, I always like live music, so I knew I wouldn’t have a terrible time.  We had lawn seats, so we were a good distance from the stage, but that really didn’t matter once the bands started playing because the music was so loud.  At times, I could not understand what they were saying/singing, but the crowd seemed to have a positive reaction to these high energy performances, so I suppose all that volume was a good thing.

The first band to perform was Eden’s Edge. I had never heard of this band before seeing them on stage, and the crowd didn’t seem to know them well either.  They tried their best to get the crowd going, and our lack of enthusiasm did not hinder their performance.  I did not enjoy this band at all.  I like country music, but I don’t really like female country singers.  The lead singer’s voice was high and twangy and I could not get past how grating it was for me.  My sister tended to agree:

I was not a fan. Her voice was whiny and annoying. I was happy that they only played three songs because I don’t know how much more I could handle.  Her voice when she said ‘Straight to the grave’ is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. The AAAAAAAAAA in Amen made me scrunch up my nose and turn away-ick.

The next band to perform was Eli Young Band.  This band was actually the reason we came to the concert in the first place.  This was our second time seeing them.  Their music has a touch of rock to it and I enjoy a departure from the country pop music that is so popular right now.  The crowd new this band well too, and there was a big difference in their reaction and interaction with Eli Young that the previous act.  The crowd was on its feet, singing and dancing along with the music.  Several times, the singer stopped to let the crowd sing along, which was interesting to observe.  This performance was clearly better received by the audience, a fact made obvious by their increased excitement and engagement.  As expected, my sister enjoyed this performance better as well:

The next band was the Eli Young Band, who I am a big fan of. I have seen them in concert once before and was happy to see them again. They have recently released a new song that I am REALLY a fan of, when they sang it I literally got goosebumps. I enjoyed their portion of the concert the most. Eli Young was more toned down and mellow, which I think is part of what I like about them. They aren’t whiny like the other two bands we saw with female lead singers. I like when he sings the chorus more because everyone knows it. I do not like when they talk because I came to listen to them sing not talk to me. It’s cool when they have the crowd sing along to the song with them because it makes us feel like we are involved in the show.

The third band to perform was Little Big Town.  I do not like this band. At all.  They have several songs on the radio and I do not like one of them. My sister loves them.  This was the last band to perform before Rascal Flatts, and the most popular (and successful) band to perform up to this point.  Their portion of the show was a big production compared to the two acts before them. The band also had a different format than the previous.  Where Eden’s Edge and Eli Young Band each had one lead singer, this band has four members and each one is featured on different songs.  I didn’t know that beforehand because I feel like I only ever hear the female singers on the radio.  There were two women in the group, one had a tolerable voice and the other made my skin crawl.  Sometimes I feel like country music singers are trying to convince us that we are country by singing as twangily (I’m making this a word) as possible.  One interesting thing they did during their performance was cover a Lady Gaga song.  They performed Born This Way with a country twist, which apparently means adding a lot of banjo- which I was okay with because I happen to love the banjo.  I thought it was really interesting how they could take a pop song (a decidedly pop song at that) and turn it country by changing the arrangement and adding a few instruments.  The crowd around us (mostly young people) seemed to react positively to this cover and I thought it was pretty cool myself.  The band played a few more of their hits including Pontoon which is a song that I cannot stand but was hugely popular over the summer. That said, the live performance was pretty good, and the crowd was definitely into it, which I can respect. This band seemed more focused on the production than the previous two, and I think that was evident in the sound.  They had more musicians and their songs seemed louder…a lot of times I felt like they were just yelling. All in all though, it wasn’t a terrible performance, and parts of it were pretty good.  My sister’s experience was pretty similar:

When Little Big Town came on I felt like they had too much going on with their show. There were a lot more lights and bass. When they started singing their first song I actually took a step back because it was so loud. The girls voices have such range, which is great, but with how they had their sound set up it was really overpowering. I really liked the Little Big Town cover of Born This Way. All the added banjo and upright bass is a really neat sound that I like. But I think that their mics/sound set up again was not right because they were too loud and did not sound like that good of quality. During Pontoon when the beat was really loud I could feel it in my chest.

Finally, Rascal Flatts came out to perform. Since this was the band everyone came to see, you could really feel the crowd’s excitement when the lights when down and their intro music began.  They started out playing some type of techno/electro song to accompany a light show while the band took their places.  This part of the show kind of reminded me of the music at The Music Room the night before.  Finally the lights came up and the band started singing right away.  The crowd freaked out.  They sang a few bars and then played some up beat music that really got the crowd going before launching into their latest popular song Banjo.  I was very excited because I love this song- again I love love the banjo.  The crowd sang loudly and was very riled up during this first song.  The lead singer did a good job of pumping up the crowd during this number as well.  Seems every time you yell “Atlanta” or “Georgia” through a microphone people lose their minds.  The cheering was incredibly loud.  It was interesting seeing the crowd’s reaction to the show and a ton of fun being a part of it.  My sister seemed to have a similar response:

They opened with a more techo beat than a country feel. I liked it in the context of the concert but I don’t think I would have it I had heard it in one of their songs on the radio. When Rascal Flatts came out and started singing the beginning of a song I didn’t know I was not happy, but when I recognized it as being Banjo I was really excited. I couldn’t help but dance and sing along.

My sister and I both enjoyed this concert.  I think the biggest difference between our two experiences all pertain to the actual bands’ performances.  We both love live music and attending concerts, so we are both happy any event like that, but obviously we have a better time if the music is in a genre we actively listen to, rather than merely appreciate.  I had a better time at the indie-electro dance party, and she had a better time at the country concert.  We had similar reactions to the twanginess (making up a new word again) of a few of the bands, and we also enjoyed the same parts.  If her experience was better than mine, it was merely due to her being more familiar with the content. I think those attending the concert all had a certain set of expectations in attending the concert, and since this concert met them, the majority of people in attendance had similar reactions.  I doubt many of them were analyzing the sonic rhetoric involved in the performances, but that was my only purpose for being their either.  Chiefly, my sister and I and everyone else went to have a good time, and the act put on by these bands certainly delivered, thanks in no small part to the rhetorical choices put into the music and the design of the show.

Argument Summary and Analysis- Defining, not realigning: Romney’s 47 per cent victim gaffe by Joshua Tucker

by Jennifer Carter, James! Polhemus, and Bekah Hogue

This article by Joshua Tucker focuses on Mitt Romney’s use of the number 47. Specifically, however, it discusses what he believes about that percentage of Americans:”[They] believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it”; and how he revises this statement promoting the ability of people to “pursue their dreams”.

The article then raises the argument that in order for a country to be successful and productive we the benefits those “47” feel they are entitled to should be “ensured”. These benefits are “the prerequisites” to having a productive country and these “prerequisites” are necessary for “our society to meet its true potential”.  Regarding Romney’s disapproval of rising food stamps, the article claims the rise in food stamp is ensuring that the children of the county are fueled enough so they can reach their potential.

The article compares this statement to President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” gaffe, particularly in how the opposing party can capitalize on this to garner support.   According to research compiled by John Sides, gaffes tend to have little effect on public opinion polls.  Of the three major gaffes of this campaign season – “the private sector is doing fine”, “you didn’t build that”, and Romney’s Libya remarks – only the latter has shown any real shift in opinion (and even then, a lot of that shift is because Obama lost his post-Convention high).

However, Tucker’s argument is hurt by his the way he arranges it.  While it’s not a mistake to acknowledge the counterpoint to one’s own argument, Tucker never really gets around to refuting it.  Instead, Tucker devotes about the last third of his argument to stating how the gaffe might have no effect on the Romney campaign, complete with an illustration demonstrating that.

Furthermore, that graph is sandwiched between two very different, possibly opposing statements:

All that being said, it would be a mistake to overestimate the potential that this gaffe has to fundamentally reshape the election.

and

The bottom line: Romney has once again demonstrated the ability to be his own campaign’s worst enemy.

Tucker fails to support his argument that Mitt Romney has really fucked up his campaign in the latter portion of this article.  Instead, he goes into his conclusion with the audience thinking that the 47% gaffe will not hurt his support.  In other words, Tucker has proven to be his own argument’s worst enemy.

In addition, the argument that Tucker initially begins with comes off as weak. He uses a specific quote from Romney’s video and the revision Romney made and essentially runs with it, disregarding the meaning of the entire “speech” as a whole. Tucker argues for the importance of “prerequisites” such as food stamps and housing based on children’s needs, stating that the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs may be one of those children. But Romney is not addressing the next generation. These children Tucker refers to are not part of that 47% he addresses.  Rather, Romney’s statistic (regardless of how accurate it is) only refers to the electorate.  While one may see the line of thinking that would lead to Tucker talking about children, we feel it is still an unfair extrapolation on his behalf and shamelessly pandering to his audience’s ethos.

Source Analysis:

Romney Video and Mother Jones article– Video and accompanying article as first presented by Mother Jones magazine. What started it all.

Bloomberg Businessweek article–  Tucker cites a quote from Obama campaign manager that is included in this article.  The article itself is an account of the fallout on both sides resulting from the release of the video, as well as a report on the goings on of both campaigns.  The article is fairly straightforward with little bias and a very ‘newsy’ feel.

Newsday article– This AP article on the Newsday Website gives another account of the response to the Romney video, notably pointing out that though this is big news now, it probably won’t make a big impact on the actual election.  Interestingly, this article cites many negative Republican responses to both the video and Romney’s campaign in general.  Tucker uses this article as a source when he claims that Democrats have not ruled out using the Mother Jones video in campaign ads, though I did not see that mentioned when I read through it.  The article does, however, mention that the comments were referenced in a fundraising appeal emailed by the Obama campaign.

Politico article–  This source cites statements Romney made in defense of the remarks made in the video.  The full article details Romney’s response to the remarks and gives background information on how the reporter was able to film them at all.

Yahoo News/Reuters article– Part of Tucker’s argument is that Romney is taking the wrong point of view on many of what he sees as Obama’s problems or mistakes.  Tucker cites this early September article detailing Romney’s critical view of the rise in the use of food stamps during Obama’s first term and then gives readers another way to look at the issue.  This article details Romney’s comments supporting his opinion that the U.S. economy is not better off than where it was when Obama took office because the national debt and number of citizens using food stamps have grown to record numbers.  The article mostly reports Romney’s statements and contextualizes them, giving little of the writers commentary.

MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) News article- This article was published September 17 about residual fallout from Obama’s July 13th “you didn’t build that” speech.  The article summarizes and episode of The Daily Circuit radio program where callers discussed the meaning of Obama’s words and both sides of the controversy surrounding them.

Bloomberg Opinion article– Tucker cites an opinion piece by Josh Barro in which he predicts that the comments contained in the Mother Jones video have killed Romney’s bid for president.

John Sides and The Monkey Cage- Tucker ends his article with the concession that these comments might not be as inflammatory as they’re cracked up to be, and cites a colleague, John Sides, as evidence.  He links to Side’s personal webpage and his blog, The Monkey Cage, to establish his credibility and then cites an article he authored detailing how campaign gaffes really have little discernible impact on the overall results in an election.

CTW Assignment 3- Respond to a Soundscape

This is definitely an urban soundscape. I recorded the sounds of the street outside my open window at 11:00 at night.  It was pretty windy, and I think at certain spots you might be able to hear the leaves of the four trees in front of my building rustle a bit, but by far the majority of the sounds heard are man made.  I was sitting by my window which I opened about ten seconds into the recording, and after that it’s nothing but about two and a half minutes of street sounds.  Several cars go by, the MARTA train pulls into the station across the street, a neighbor opens the gate to the building.  There is a constant electric hum-probably from all the lights outside.  You can hear my ceiling fan and the pages of the book I’m reading in the foreground.

These are sounds I constantly hear.  I guess I tune them out now, but I still know they are there.  The sound of the train tracks and the traffic are part of my personal soundscape, and far from bothering me, I find it unsettling when they are missing.  I do hate that gate though.  That clanging noise it makes is very jarring for me.

When I hear these sounds in my everyday life, I might be feeling any number of things.  They are constantly in the background, and, as I said before, I’m adjusted to the point where definitely notice if they are gone.  When I listed to them recorded and played back, however, I do not feel any particular connection to them, and, without context, I feel like this recording is kind of depressing.  It’s just traffic on a street.  It’s loud, there’s lots of banging and clanking and other generally dissonant sounds…there’s nothing inherently happy, peaceful, or inspiring about it (like you might experience with a natural soundscape).  Physically, when I listen to this soundscape, I feel a bit tense.  I think this is because there is no real pattern to it, so it is not possible to anticipate what the next sound will be.  I imagine that for someone who was listening to this for the first time, the window opening might startle them (I bet someone actually jumps).

I recognize everything in this soundscape, because I’ve lived in this apartment with these noises for nearly four years.  I love the train because it reminds me of the trains that run behind my grandmothers house and the house my family lived in when I was in high school.  The sound of trains is comforting to me because they’ve been around my entire life.  Words that this soundscape brings to mind: loud, urban, city, tumultuous, jarring, rhythmic, constant, ubiquitous.