Archive for the ‘School’ Category

The day has finally passed that I honestly never knew was ever going to happen or not. My college career has drawn to a close. I have graduated.

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Not only did I, but once grades were posted, I’ve come to find out that I had all A’s and boosted my overall GPA up to a 3.583, which should have earned me the Cum Laude designation. What can I say, I’m a genius.
As I entered my first week of freedom, it still didn’t really feel real, and it continues…like I’m any other college student that’s simply on break right now. I thought it would hit me on Monday, when I didn’t have to go to class, but I just went about my business buying Christmas presents and spreading holiday cheer.
Now that certainly sounds nothing like me, maybe the new adult in me doesn’t feel requisite of being so dark and broody about holiday fanfare. Maybe.
I don’t think it’s really going to hit me that I’m a graduate until I see a lot of my friends return back to their studies in January, and I’m still here twiddling my thumbs…trying to find a real job.

It’s hard to tell right now how that process is going to go about happening. For the first time in my life, I’m worried about building my career path, a path that could lead me the hell out of Texas. Before, I would have told everyone that travel was not a possibility, that I’m staying right here. Now, I feel like I’d be ridiculous turning down a good job virtually anywhere…even if that means dropping everything and moving out to California.
With my chosen industry, I may not have the option of settling down in central Texas…it’s kind of scary. I’ve talked a lot of game for a while, that I’d probably end up in Los Angeles at some point…but now is the time where I have to see if I have the balls to actually play my cards if I’m dealt that hand. Time to put on the big boy pants and where the tie like an adult.
Could I really just drop everything and move halfway across the country, at a moments notice, if someone told me that a job was waiting for me? Hmm…let’s leave that at, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

As for now, Christmas is only days away, and that’s all I can think about, as it should be. It might just be because I’m now an educated man, but I have been absolutely cracking full of holiday cheer.

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…and I mean, if I’m genuinely going to be in the spirit this year, by all means, I’m going to spread it. If I could, I’d go out there and give absolutely everyone presents. Unfortunately, my pockets aren’t that deep…so maybe I can find some other way of being rewardious…it’s a word.
Hmm…

Heck, I have an idea, how about some Best of the Year Blog Awards? A Backstage Accolades if you will. I’m thinking we can take a look back at the years best movies, tv shows, video games, etc. and try and figure out our favorites.

This has been a strange year for movies. There have been a lot of good ones, but there haven’t been any that were truly exceptional as far as I’m concerned. For instance…Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, The Great and Powerful Oz, Oblivion, World War Z, The Lone Ranger, Elysium, Kick-Ass 2, The Wolverine, The World’s End…most all of these were excellent movies, but most all of them were also extremely forgettable. I could name a dozen more, all the same story…great in their own right, but remarkably unremarkable.
Regardless, I don’t want to make this decision, or any of these decisions. I’d like to have a dialogue, get y’all involved in the awarding process. So…you’ve got 5 picks each, what are you feeling this year?

That’s…a bit substantial, but I think I got everything. If I missed something though, feel free to add it to the list and give it a vote.
Moving on, I’ve got a few more categories I’d like to explore. The next one, is one that I’d definitely have a struggle with if forced to find a true winner on my own, as I don’t really watch a whole lot of TV…but I know there have been some very good TV shows that have aired this year. After a quick glance, this is what I can come up with.
Grab another 5.

I don’t know if I’m stepping out of bounds by slipping “Orange is the New Black” in the list, as it’s never aired on a TV station, being a Netflix original series. Things are changing…it’s the future. The ways in which we watch shows and movies are changing. Might as well go with the times.
For the next category, I want to take a look at interactive media. In less fancy terms…video games. With the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 released in the fall, and companies trying to milk every last bit of functionality out of the 360 and PS3, there have been some amazing developments. Nintendo has been doing some interesting things with WiiU games as well. And you can’t ever count out the PC market.
These are my findings. Choose another 5.

As before, if I missed anything, feel free to add it. Remember, 5 choices for each of the polls, so that nobody feels forced to decide which of their babies they love the most. You’ve probably figured that out by now though. Y’all are smart people.
I figure I’ll leave those open for a couple of weeks so that there’s plenty of time for y’all to get your votes in. Then, I’ll bring it down for a Top 5 for each, and we can figure out what our favorites were this year.

Well, I’ve been concentrating on finals and projects for so long, I don’t really know all to talk about here. I didn’t do my research for this post…my apologies.
I’m remembering though that I promised at some point in the past that once I had time to post my film projects, I would do so here…I guess I finally have that opportunity now.

So…Project 1, our guidelines were to establish tone, in 90 seconds, without the use of dialogue…just visuals. It was kind of a hard task. One of the first things I was ever taught at TCC was that dialogue was the most important element of any story. I’ve learned though that all your elements need to be strong to best tell a story, and sometimes…an extremely good story can exist without any dialogue at all. How did I do?

Our next project was a 4 minute film with dialogue, that had to incorporate elements from indoors and outdoors, day and night. I originally had a pretty good narrative idea planned out, but I couldn’t get enough support from my people in Denton to be able to execute it. What I ended up doing was switching to a documentary idea, and going solo down in Arlington. I enlisted the help of my buddy Jason to be the starring role. So, I decided to make him do what he’s best at…make delicious food, and let me document it.

The final project of the year was a group project where we were simply told to use all we’ve been taught, and make something cool. Our instructor kind of flipped the script on us, and let the class, as a whole define what the project requirements were. He had faith in us that we would all want to do our best to do our best work possible, and that we would all push each other to be our best. It was up to us to determine how many people per group, how long each group had to shoot, how long our projects were to be, and any other miscellaneous guidelines we had to follow. We ended up deciding that each group would have 5-7 people, have 3 days to shoot once issued equipment, and that each project needed to be 4-6 minutes long. Also, each group had to incorporate the line of dialogue, “Let’s just get this over with.” as kind a statement that we were all ready for the semester to be over.
My group decided that we wanted a more comedic idea, so we came up with a script pretty quick that each of us loved. We heard of other groups having no end of trouble getting their equipment to work, or negotiating with the elements, actors, etc. Their were several horror stories. When our turn came around though, we had a blast. The whole process was a load of fun, and an experience I wouldn’t ever trade if given the chance. That includes the night spent in the edit lab, finalizing the project until about 4:30 in the morning. It was fun. And here is what we produced as a result of all of it…

I suppose I could also give you a review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but while I like it, and would probably end up giving…
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 7 out of 10
…all I really want to talk about is the trilogy middle child syndrome. That is, the stigma that typically befalls the second film in most trilogies. Most trilogies, whether or not it was planned out from the beginning to have three films, or just the first, they usually end up following the same format. The first film is usually a perfectly good stand alone film, as in if they had never decided to make a 2nd or a 3rd, the first could be a perfectly encapsulated story that doesn’t require any elaboration. Great examples are the original Star Wars trilogy, and The Matrix trilogy. Believe it or not, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was never intended to be the beginning of a trilogy. It was supposed to be a stand alone film, and it was decided in post that it could be expanded on in further films. It was after that when it was decided to add the crawl at the beginning, and the whole “episode iv” business. Think about it though…the Emperor had yet to be introduced, Darth Vader was sent flying out into space, and the main conquest…the Death Star, was completely destroyed. Everyone is happy at the end, Luke and Han are both given medals…end of story. It could have ended right there.
The makers decided however that one just wasn’t enough, so they shoe ended the other 2 into the story and made it work. I’m not saying that they didn’t do it well in the case of Star Wars, but The Empire Strikes Back does suffer some downfalls as an individual film. There are a lot of different problems I could name, but the big one that I’ll keep coming back to is that it is not a story that can stand on it’s own two feet. If it weren’t for the crawl, we wouldn’t have any form of proper introduction to characters, or the overarching story. The most annoying thing however is the ending. In A New Hope, you get a clear sense of resolution. The Empire Strikes back leaves you with the Rebellion on the run, the Empire with the upper hand, Luke lacking a hand, and Han frozen in Carbonite. You would think that there is no possible way that you could end a movie on such terms, but right then and there…fade up music, roll credits. The Matrix trilogy, same problem. The Nebuchadnezzar is destroyed, Neo is brain dead after taking on a Sentinel, and the ending scene shows him laying right next to the mortal embodiment of his greatest nemesis. Fade up music, roll credits. Catching Fire is exactly the same way. The story is interrupted rather suddenly through a plot device, you get dumped with some massive heavy information bombs, you get a stern look from Katniss, and, predictably…fade up music, roll credits.
Now, before you begin griping at me that the movies were made that way because, in a lot of cases, that was how the books were written…my argument can be applied to the books as well, in that they are following the same trilogy function that the movies do.

It’s not all trilogies that do this, but you know them when you see them. The expression you make at the very end bares a striking resemblance to this…

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I’ve griped long enough.

This post has been everywhere, but I’ll have my senses together next post. I’d love Love LOVE y’alls help with those Backstage Accolades polls…without it, I can’t really give y’all your true winners of the year, a people’s champion.
Hopefully next time the polls will have some good progress, or I can move on to the Top 5’s. I’ll try to have some other topics planned out for you too. Till next time.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Salmon and Crab Stuffed Flounder

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Salmon and Crab Stuffed Flounder

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I’ve managed to steal away a little bit of time from classes and work. Don’t let them know though, otherwise they’ll come running and give me something to do.

I’ve reached an odd point here in my last semester where everyone has begun to plan and look forward to what they will be doing in their classes next semester. Most of my classes don’t really translate to anything moving forward, but my Intermediate Film class has another level above it. This has been particularly interesting to watch, because where there was only a race to get codes for my current class, there is a much more competitive nature to getting into Advanced Film. Here’s how the class selection works: first the prospective directors are told to pick a script (either one they’ve found from a friend/fellow student, or one they’ve written themselves), submit a reel with all there, and submit and apply for the position. Most everyone that wants to be in the class applies for director, because that’s where all the power is, and where all the decisions are going to come from.
Well, the directors were announced last week, just 8 of them. A class of 45 people, probably 90% of which want to be in the class…all of their fate now lies predominantly in the hands of these 8 people. What began happening today is the directors got together, and began selecting from my class who they wanted as their DPs, editors, producers, and whatever other roles they get to pick and self assign to their own productions.
All the power in the class has now shifted around to these 8 students who will essentially be deciding the makeup of Advanced Film next semester, and it’s been really interesting to watch from an outsiders perspective, who is unconcerned about what classes I will be in next semester.
It’s just been interesting to see everyone all the sudden gravitate to these 8 people, and try to stake out a claim of next semesters real estate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually kind of jealous of what it sounds like everyone is going to be doing in Advanced Film. It sounds like there are some really cool projects coming together, and there is some great fun that will be had.
So…Amanda, Ashton, Brian, Daniel, Dylan, Heather, Ian, and Mercy…congratulations on being chosen to direct for next semester. Good luck on your upcoming projects, and choose your crews well…there is some great talent in this class, some of which that are relatively upset that they got passed over for you. They can be great assets, so make sure they are well utilized. But again, congratulations. Know that I’ll make a return at the end of next semester to see how things have turned out, if I don’t return periodically to lend a hand as a UNT Film School Graduate.

It’s going to continue to be interesting to see how all the puzzle pieces fall into place, but that’s for another time. For now, I’ve been out and seen some flicks, and I have some opinions.

Carrie
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The Steven King classic, turned film, now redone. I never saw the the first 1976 film adaptation, but from what I’ve been told about it, it’s remained pretty faithful to it, just has been updated to match the current state of technology and political climate. With that said…I really enjoyed it. You know how much I dig on Chloë Grace Moretz, and I tend to dig on the crazies too (they just know how to have fun), so it was great to see her in another starring role again so soon. Julianne Moore played the role of Carrie’s mother, Margaret, and I thought her acting was probably the best in the movie. She really came off as cagily unhinged, full of reserved religious fury.
I got a real Sam Raimi feel to the effects used in the movie, just a bit over the top, but I enjoyed that…just a little bit over the edge. There is no denying that the story is solid, it wouldn’t have been adapted this many times otherwise. The sound design also had kind of a Sam Raimi film aesthetic to it, I’m really surprised he didn’t play any part in making the film. The music fit, but felt slightly eerie and non-diegetic in places. That’s the thing with Sam Raimi flicks, it’s just over-the-top enough to pull you out and remind you that it isn’t actually reality that you are watching. And that’s how this film felt, not really immersive, but all the same a very well done flick.
Carrie – 7 out of 10

Ender’s Game
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I have been looking forward to this adaptation for far too long. I’ve been hyping it up for what feels like forever. I’d known about it being in the pipeline for several years now, and after having read the book, and from what I heard was supposed to be the companion book, I’ve been beyond excited to see this. I’ve had the bar set really high, and we all know what happens when we do that.
I might have built up the movie a little too much in my own head. I really liked the casting, but the acting felt a bit forced at times. I also felt like the budget might have run a little bit shallow in places. I feel like the bulk of it probably went towards special effects and Harrison Ford. I say that because the battle scenes were really impressive, but the rest of the interior scenes felt like the were almost hastily thrown together.
I completely understand that a lot of book material has to be left out when being adapted to film, for the sake of time, but there was some material that was just blatantly ignored, and that they got dead wrong. I know that there’s a certain creative freedom that is allotted to filmmakers doing adaptation…a lot really, but having been a fan immediately after reading the source material, I have a hard time forgiving the oversight/ignorance. And some of the stuff too that was changed or overlooked kind of leaves it hard to make a sequel based on the books, if they wanted too.I recognize though that I’m a little bit biased in my opinion, but I’ve heard others say that the movie felt like a montage of montages, so I know I’m not alone in feeling like the story could have been better adapted.
One positive thing I can say about the movie though is that the sound design and the score was excellent. I feel like the rest of what I’ve said has been pretty negative, but I still left the movie feeling very entertained…which at its core is the aim of all movies. I liked it…I really did like it, but I just felt like it had a lot of flaws.
Ender’s Game – 7 out of 10

Thor: The Dark World
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I feel like, that of all the Marvel films that led up to the 2012 Avengers film, Thor was by far the weakest film. I feel like it even fell behind the 2008 Edward Norton version of The Hulk. Thor: The Dark World had a lot of ground to make up, and the filmmakers knew it. It may have helped that most people had their bars set pretty low for the film, but this one really delivered.
All the actors felt like they’d had their performances polished up for this flick. Everyone returned for their respective roles. Kat Dennings too, though I wish they’d have picked a location where they didn’t have here wearing so much clothing. Yep, you’ve found another of my celebrity crushes.

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She’s dreamy.
But yea, the acting was on point. High point of the film…Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He’s just like RDJ as Tony Stark/Iron Man…he just knows how to own that role. His facial expressions, his sense of timing…it’s just perfect.

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The story was well told and well thought out, the sound design and score was very diegetic, and the effects were great. There’s a growing trend with all the Marvel movies to employ more graphical effects artists than literally all the rest of the the films workers combined. Go back and look at the list of VFX artists for Iron Man 3 and get ready for your jaw to drop if you don’t believe me.
The bar is being raised though for the next Avengers film, because the next Captain America film is looking pretty good too, from what I’ve seen. I kinda wonder though if they have a plan for another Hulk film before bringing the gang back together, God knows we could use an independent Mark Ruffalo/Hulk flick. I digress though…
Thor: The Dark World – 8 out of 10

While we’re on the subject of movies, I might make a couple of recommendations to independent horror/slasher film fans. I’ve watched a couple of flicks at the urging of my friend and fellow blogger Miko. One of the films is American Mary. It was one of my bonus films on my summer list. I thought it visually captivating and wonderfully repulsive. I won’t give you a review here, instead I’ll let Miko do the honors.
The other film we watched was The Loved Ones, actually a film from 2009. It was über creepy, and gave me the shivers at times, but it was great. Basically a kind of loner girl takes clingyness to new levels. That’s all I’ll say.

Sigh…I don’t think I’m coping well with the time change. I know there’s always a wave of people that love to complain that Daylight Savings Time has them going nuts springing forward or falling back, but it goes deeper for me. I think that time itself, as an imaginary construct is just utter bull crap. The tracking of time is something that we as a species made up in an effort to unite each other, but in this day and age, it shows more our efforts to separate ourselves. Daylight Savings Time (and I could be wrong about this, I accept) was formed for farmers to let them more easily tend to their harvest as the seasons change. Why does the rest of the world have to conform to them? Why do they have to conform to the rest of the world?
I understand the function of all the different time zones in the world, but once we extend our reach to other planets, what will we do then? We can’t just try and coordinate them with a time zone back here on Earth, as their day lengths won’t even line up correctly. How do we do it now, with the space station?
Why do we care? There is already a natural rhythm to life that our bodies respond to without having to be told what time it is. We know when it’s day, we know when it’s night, what else do we really need. My point can be made by a quote I found a while back, by author Mitch Albom
“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie.
Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check it’s watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays.
Man alone measures time.
Man alone chimes the hour.
And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures.
A fear of time running out.”
So yea, time is bull crap, and I’m tired of adjusting to when everyone else thinks I should be up and active. I’ll figure it out on my own, thank you very much.
If only I could do that…sigh.

Oh dang, they’ve found me. I guess it’s time to get back to work. I’ll get back to you whenever I can. Light is at the end of the tunnel…I see it now. See you on the other side.
One more thing…I’ve run out of hipster food pictures. I’m still doing a good bit of cooking, and fantastic eating out, but you’ve seen most everything I make, or the places I hit. So…I’ll just try and find stuff to make your mouth water from here on out, unless I get creative in the kitchen. So…

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

5 Cheese Bacon Mac and Cheese

5 Cheese Bacon Mac and Cheese

Once more into the breach, and one more semester until I’m free. Don’t know what I’ll do with that freedom yet, but it won’t be school. It feels weird being back, and at the same time…pleasant. I think it’s just been an unusually long summer; a lot more people have vacated the metroplex, moving forward with there lives…

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…How did ^that^ ever become a meme? ::Shakes head:: The internet is a weird place.

Well, I thought that in the spirit school getting back in motion again, for a lot of us, that I’d start with a few school related topics.
At 26 years old, I feel like I’ve been in school for entirely too long, and I’ve definitely seen some weird stuff. I’d like to wonder out loud for a moment, what are some of the weirdest things that you’ve seen at school? Everyone has got to have some stories, and seeing as I should have gotten my Bachelors degree twice over at this point, I may have more than most, so I’ll go ahead and get us started with a few things.
I’ve seen a kid whip his dick out in the middle of class in middle school. All I really recall about that one is a girl walking up a row from sharpening her pencil or something, and just stopping dead and yelling out, “Oh my God!” Once I’ve looked up at her and followed her gaze, lo and behold this kid is just sitting at his desk with his dick out. He wasn’t rubbing one out or anything, it was just out there.
Now, back me up guys…I’ve forgotten to zip up my fly many times, but I’ve never breached my undies and open fly without my knowledge. I feel like you’d be fully aware if your dick popped out to say hello. You’d feel the breeze.
It may very well have been intentional, for the girl’s benefit, but he played it off like it was an honest accident…didn’t even get sent out in the hall or anything.

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I’ve “caught” teachers having sex in high school. Before you go overboard here, this wasn’t a sex with students thing, it was two teachers getting it on with each other. At least I’m pretty damn sure. Let me lay it out for y’all. I was in band in high school…marching band. I played one of those instruments that had two separate marching and concert variations, and meant for a couple of big cases that had to be hauled around almost constantly.
I was up at school one weekend with a friend from my section attending an arts fair type thing. He hadn’t taken either of his instruments home on Friday as he couldn’t get a ride that day, and when we finished with the arts thing, he asked if we could swing by the band hall on our way out so he could grab his instrument and practice a little over the weekend. The end of the building that the band hall was on was technically closed off, but security was light and we had a decent excuse so we proceeded anyways. We got to the band hall and retrieved his instrument when we heard noises coming from the band hall office. We immediately crept out of eyeshot from the office windows, but didn’t bolt just yet. We wanted to find out what was going on, and as we listened it became apparent that there was some increasingly heated sexual sounding moans coming from the office. The blinds were drawn in front of the band hall, so we couldn’t see anything. We decided to press our luck and sneak back to the practice rooms behind the office where there was another set of windows looking out. Those blinds were drawn as well, but they kept getting jostled in a very rhythmic fashion. We decided at that point to bolt. We exited the building on the band hall side of the school, and saw only 2 cars sitting out in the parking lot right next to each other. Those cars were extremely easily identifiable as belonging to 2 of our band teachers…2 that had a reputation for subtly flirting with one another. There was no question in out minds…there was some sex happening that day.

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We broke a teacher my freshman year in high school, and a kid lit up in class. If our teacher hadn’t come around and embraced the darkness towards the end of the semester, I might still sincerely feel bad about what we did to her. But since she came around, she actually became one of the cooler teachers I had in high school, and I think she ended up liking us as well. Let’s start at the beginning though. Never before and never since have I been in a class full of people that could have cared any less. As in, every single one of us…not a single care was given. No one wanted to be there, and it was clear within the first couple of days that our teacher was easily agitated by a…non-captive audience. About a quarter of the way through the semester we started rebelling against her, and she finally one day went back to her desk and started crying (felt like an utter D-Bag that day). From that day forward though, she didn’t care either, and we all got along much better…and all pretty much got A’s.
There was one day that we were working on these skits, and one of my friends brought in a smoke machine to do the phantom of the opera. She was taping these skits, and kept messing up with the camera, so we had to unload that smoke machine like 7 times. The classroom was completely filled with smoke. One of the stoners who was sleeping woke up and, I’m guessing he assumed he was somewhere else, just decided to light up in the middle of class.
We ended up getting the best reactions leaving class that day, opening the door and letting the smoke billow out.

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I saw a girl running naked through campus. At some colleges, with certain traditions, this might not seem like that big of a deal, but this was at OU, located right smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt. I was on my way to foam party…they’d just organized a party on a vacant level towards the top of one of the parking garages and filled it with an endless supply of soap bubbles. I was still trying to be an actively social person, so I wanted to go and check it out to see what it was all about. I’d gotten a little over half way across campus when I saw someone running from the direction of the union. As the person got closer, it became apparent that it was a girl…as naked as the day she was born…running straight at me. Now, at this point in my life, I was no stranger to pornography, but I’d never seen nudity in person…the occasional nipple slip or pantsing, sure…but not a fully nude hottie running flat out in my direction before. Not only that, she was yelling, “Come on! We’re streaking! Let’s go!” Just like you see in the movies, like Will Ferrel in Old School, but less penis and more amazing bouncing boobs. She even stopped next to me, running and bouncing in place, and tugged at my arm to get me to follow her, “Hey! We’re streaking! Come with me, let’s go!” What a wonderful opportunity that was, and anyone less socially awkward could have taken that situation and made much more awesome memories with it. Not me, I just said to her, “Uh, yea! Have fun!” She playfully shook her head and kept on running. Did I at least follow? Nah, I kept walking towards the party, where she undoubtedly originated from. Someone got lucky that night, I’m sure. But hey, I was asked by a couple of security guys a few minutes later if I’d seen a girl streaking, and I sent them off in the wrong direction to gem them off her tail. So wherever you are, foam party streaking girl from OU freshman class of Fall 2005…you’re welcome!

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I could go on for days…finding poop under a trashcan, going to lockdown when a kid brought guns and knives to school, this weird fad girls had called “tamping” or “padding” or whatever, I’ve seen a lot. Haven’t we all though? Bring me your stories…leave a few here. Maybe you can do better…maybe we went to school together and you remember some this stuff, I want to here about it.

I totally could have nailed that girl. Ha, yea, sure. I bet if it happened again today, I’d still stand there like a blithering idiot. That crap just doesn’t happen down here. People are just too…conservative down here in the south. But, I’ve found out that this isn’t necessarily the truth everywhere. There are colleges out there that have nude traditions, some even that are…gasp…clothing optional. It’s a little late to put in your transfer papers at this point, but if this sounds like a fun environment to learn in, maybe you might start getting your applications ready for a few of these schools.
Bard College – Rumor has it that the campus is clothing optional, but you might check the word on the street before you roll out to class in your birthday suit.
Bennington College – It’s a very liberal college that actually does having a “clothing optional provision” in the schools constitution. It’s not really part of the culture anymore, but no one could legally stop if you you so desired.
California Institute of the Arts – This school definitely has a clothing optional swimming pool. I’m not sure whether that means the entire campus has the same option, but with a place that believes that nudity is an artful form of self-expression, one could assume.
Hampshire College – There’s no question about this place. It is officially a clothing optional college. You are almost guaranteed to run into a few nudes in a college career there.
Ithaca College – There isn’t any official provision endorsing or banning nudity, but evidently it’s a common enough theme to see people wandering around in the buff.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Yes, MIT is on this list. Believe it or not, but evidently MIT has numerous clothing optional halls in one of its dorm buildings.
Reed College – It is not uncommon for there to be people to be sunbathing naked on particularly sunny days on the campus lawn. And it is rumored that there is at least one dorm, if not several, in which students frequently run around naked.
Smith College – It might be that the entire campus is clothing optional, but this place has a reputation for its parties. Supposedly its more common than not for dorm parties and apartment parties to end up completely nude by the end of the night.
UC San Diego – The school itself doesn’t have a reputation for nudity, but there is a nudist beach just on the edge of campus. So anyone looking to relax and bask about in one another’s nudity doesn’t have for to travel at all.
Wesleyan University – There is at least one confirmed clothing optional dorm on campus. That’s still enough, right?

Other schools out there may not fully embrace nudity quite as much as these places, but still periodically have there own traditions in celebration of nudity periodically.

Bryn Mawr College – It’s said that Katherine Hepburn herself would, when tired of studying in the library, take a study break by skinny dipping in a nearby fountain. Now, most students uphold her tradition by skinny dipping in the fountain before graduation.
Dartmouth College – There is the Ledyard Challenge to swim naked across the Connecticut Bridge and then run back across before toweling up. There is also the Blue Light Challenge in which streaking students try to press the alarm on each and every one of the blue light emergency phones on campus. It’s said that there’s even a Thursday night streaking club.
Lewis & Clark College – Students run a naked mile every year on prospective student week to celebrate body image. Running in your undies is fine, but full on nudity is more than appreciated at this event.
Ohio State University – On the Thursday before the big rivalry game against Michigan every year near the end of november, everyone on campus does the Naked Jump into nearby Mirror Lake. November…freezing cold lake…yea, why not.
Purchase College – Once a year, in celebration of body positivity, The Indy, a campus news magazine, will publish a Naked Issue in which students will pose nude.
Reed College – The school has a tradition where at the end of the year, there is giant party on campus where students will strip down, cover themselves in blue paint, and run around campus chasing people who aren’t naked.
Smith College – I mentioned the parties had a reputation for stripping down. Nudity is also supposedly very common around convocation. There are also a number of traditions that involve jumping into a local pond naked, and running through various buildings naked. One of those buildings is the campus library.
Tufts College – The tradition was started back in the 60’s to streak around the quad in protest of the last all-male dorm becoming co-ed. Now, the Naked Quad Run occurs every year during the first week of December.
University of Vermont – At the end of every semester, students celebrate the end of classes by holding a naked bike ride, and it’s completely legal.
University of Virginia – Streaking the main lawn on campus is a regular tradition here, as well as stopping mid-streak to kiss the butt of the Homer statue.
Wheaton College – This is a religious college in Illionois. Supposedly even there, during the first snowfall of the year, students like to celebrate Jesus…naked, but running nude around the sign that reads, “Wheaton College: For Christ and His Kingdom”. The school obviously doesn’t support this though, so students risk a $100 fine and disciplinary action from the school if they are caught.
Yale University – There is a Naked Library Walk during finals where students hand out candy in the nude…at Yale. Yea, higher education…smart boobs, giving out candy during finals!

So, who’s preparing there transfer applications yet? Ha ha, not me. I couldn’t handle all the scattered T&A around me, and I’d get excited way too easily.

Well, dang. I’m just about out of time here. One last thing before I go though, I mentioned last week that I wanted to do some kind of college football outlook thing. I’ve got a couple of schools that I’m personally keeping up with now, and also my cousin is starting as a freshman Warhawk at Louisiana-Monroe this year. As it were, they faced my Oklahoma Sooners this past weekend and absolutely had their butts handed to them. I was kind of torn there, It wasn’t pleasant seeing my cousin’s team beaten, but let’s be honest…it was intended to be a tune-up game for the Sooners anyways.
Oddly, UNT’s team absolutely destroyed their game, 40-6 against Idaho, so maybe they have a chance for this year. Maybe at a winning record, not for a top ranked spot or anything like that…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
So what I’ve decided to do is every week I’ll put together a schedule of big games, and condense it down to 5 or so to list here, so that it doesn’t take up that much talk space. So, given my preference for Big XII, SEC, and Top 25 teams, here are my recommendations for the coming week
Saturday Sept. 7th
11:00 AM      No. 10 Florida at Miami (FL)                    ESPN
  2:30 PM      No. 3 Oregan at Virginia                         ABC/ESPN 2
  3:30 PM      No. 6 South Carolina at No. 9 Georgia      ESPN
  6:00 PM      West Virginia at No. 16 Oklahoma            FOX
  7:00 PM      No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan     ESPN

I’ll leave it at there for today. I’ll catch y’all on the flip side.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Lemon Dill Salmon with Italian Pesto Pasta

Lemon Dill Salmon with Italian Pesto Pasta

Okay, yes. I did go on a hiatus for quite a while. I guess I should have expected my viewers to drop off a bit. I really wanted some response to that question though. Oh well, that’s the price I pay for having to turn my focus away from here. We’ll get back to this here in a few minutes, because as of right now I’ve wrapped up my first week of classes.

I’m rather pleased with how everything looks this semester. Most all my classes seem interesting. I’m still on the fence with that Media Law class, but it looks like I stand to learn a little about copyright law, which would be pretty nice because I’m evidently confused on how long the process takes. I’ve got a couple of pieces of music that have been sitting in the ole government processor since about 2008. That seem a bit long to anybody else? Yea, me too. Haven’t checked up on it in a long time, but I know it’s still in queue.

Anyways…classes.
As anticipated, Audio Production looks like it will be some good fun. The professor is fun, and she’s got 4 projects planned for us. Better even, our T.A. that teaches the lab essentially told us, “I don’t really know yet what she has planned for you, but I want to get y’all into Pro ToolsAudition sucks.” Good news, hopefully I can fill in some of the gaps in my Pro Tools knowledge this semester.
Film Style Production looks like it will be a blast as well. We’ve got another 4 projects planned in there, and if I finally get myself some editing software, that means that I can probably avoid having to use the lab facilities too much. A couple of the projects are group projects, and while my faith in humanity has been somewhat restored, I don’t know if I could have the luck that I did with my Recalibration group. Luck like that is hard to come by, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Speaking of the Recalibration crew, I’m hoping we can get a production meeting set up soon, so that we can start working on that podcast within the next 2 weeks or so. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for that one. I think this podcast will be a good way to keep my sanity up here.

Cinema Verite seems like it will be pretty interesting. It feels like the subject matter will be very similar to the Documentary History class I took last semester with the same professor, but this time around we will be focusing more on style, methodology, and ideology. This class should really be helpful for getting into the heads of some of the filmmakers we will be studying, an opportunity I don’t want to pass up.
There will be a lot of screenings and lecture, but it all should prove pretty insightful.

As I haven’t met with my Film Style Lab yet, that’s all I know up to this point. Feels like it’s going to be a fun semester.

Now…last week I asked y’all a question, What is your favorite Sci-Fi movie? I get it, it’s a new year, and plenty of work to be done. I ask the question because, after my Sci-Fi class last semester, I realize that I very greatly need to add to my personal Sci-Fi collection. If I’m going to be a Sci-Fi film buff, my collection needs to be a lot bigger than my 15-20 flicks that currently fit in the category.

Seeing as I just had a birthday, and Christmas, I had some spending cash to throw around over break. Needless to say, I expanded my inventory. Limited funding though, so I could only pick out a few from my list.

That list is:

The Alien Series
The Terminator Series
The Fly (not sure whether I want to pick up the ’58 version or the ’86 version first)
12 Monkeys
Gattaca (by a friends suggestion)
Total Recall (the original, I need to see it before I see the new remake, which most tell me is an abomination)

and finally, the new gem of my collection…

Blade Runner: the Final Cut

This is why I posed the question…I wanted to try and spark a debate over the best Sci-Fi movie of all time. Just as well though, there is only one right answer…Blade Runner. It’s got everything, how could you not love it?

Anyways, from that list I decided to pick up Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner……..Gattaca, Terminator, and Total Recall…and for what its worth I also picked up Book of Eli and Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr. version), just because I need a little variety.

I’ve got some good projects and some good entertainment to keep me occupied for a while here. Hopefully not too much though, I’d like to keep this thing going for a good while.
Well, I don’t know what the plan is for next time, but I’ve got a lot of stuff popping up, so I’ll be sure to have something interesting to speak on. Until then.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Homemade Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Jalapeños.

Homemade Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Jalapeño Burger.

I am taking full advantage of it being summer, So if I revert back to only making 1 post per every couple of weeks or more, that’s my bad. I’ve got plenty that’s happened though, and plenty coming up, so let’s load out with some Updates and New News.

Like I said, school’s over and summer is in session. Verdict is back, and I’m sitting on solid B’s for the Spring Semester. I should have gotten an A in my RTF class, but…well, that one was my fault. The thing is, I missed taking my final in my RTF class. There was some bad information that got circulated around the class, and a number of us were made to believe that the exam was on a Friday…rather than a Monday. I’ve gone over it a dozen times in my mind; where did this start, who’s to blame, who will pay for this…etc. In the end, they let me make-up the exam with a maximum possible grade of a 70. I can’t really blame anyone but myself for that, the Final date was posted both in the book and online, and supposedly our teacher mentioned it as well. Bottom line, they let me make-up the final when they weren’t supposed to, so I’m thankful.

I’ve got a short little workation coming up. My buddy, the Master Bass-er, Jerry’s fiancee is moving in with him in Louisiana. She needs help moving all of her stuff out there, so a number of us have volunteered our services. That will be a nice little weekend, hopefully.

Akon is also looming right over the horizon. I’ve been looking forward to that for a while, but I’ve got to start getting busy with my cosplay. Proto Man ain’t anywhere near finished. That’s about 2 1/2 weeks out, so I really need to get cracking.

As y’all know, all to well, I’ve been putting a lot of hype around Linkin Park‘s upcoming new album, LIVING THINGS, and the single that is out now, BURN IT DOWN. If you haven’t yet, go HERE,  and you can pre-order the album, listen to the single, and sign up for a discounted year of LPU membership. You can also buy Honda Civic Tour tickets there now, but I’d advise finding somewhere else to buy them from. The tickets are pretty expensive via LinkinPark.com, and can be gotten much cheaper elsewhere.

Linkin Park has gotten very creative with the marketing for this new album. Aside from the traditional methods of marketing, they’ve begun this “scavenger hunt”, getting fans the world over involved in a bit a living, breathing method of marketing. It seems pretty cool, actually. I’ve always admired Linkin Park’s drive to give back to, and involve it’s fans it their exploits. Some of you might remember one of the first posts I made on this blog, asking for support for my submission in a “Pre-Mix” contest for The Catalyst, before the release of A Thousand Suns. That was a lot of fun, and Linkin Park keeps coming up with new ways to keep their fans involved, and part of the process. This scavenger hunt is another one of those…I’ll call it a plot device, leading up to the release of LIVING THINGS.

This scavenger hunt kicked off when Mike Shinoda tweeted on May 8th to stayed tuned at LinkinPark.com for news of something big coming up. That news came in the form of a video containing a map.

The map lead to a bar on the University of Sydney Union’s campus, in Sydney Australia, Manning Bar. It was late at night when the video posted, so it wasn’t until morning, on the 9th, that Australian LP fans figured out something was up, and made their way out to the bar to find out what was up. What they found was this.

A seemingly innocent enough promotion poster for LIVING THINGS. But when you read the QR code, it sent you to…

http://linkinpark.com/youdidittoyourself

…with this photo, advancing the scavenger hunt.

LPAssociation  members quickly translated that message for us, so the clue read:

Last September, “A Thousand Horizons” took fans from all over the world here. May 10 or May 11. 11am-8pm only. Don’t be early. Don’t be late. One person only.

Fans quickly did some research to conclude that the location indicated was NicoFarre Club, in Tokyo, Japan. Two Twitterers and LP fans received the next clue there on the 11th at 11AM, which was an envelope containing the following information.

It became clear that the next clue would be delivered to us from Allan (@youbetterhearme). He was reluctant at first, asking that he would be in a much more divulgatory mood if he were to acquire 3,000 followers. LP fans put the word out quickly that this dude needed followers, and plenty responded overnight. He in turn responded the next morning, on the 11th, by following 1 and only 1 person, @pmharper, the Prime Minister of Canada. He also changed his profile picture from the default egg, to that of which was immediately recognized as the Toronto skyline. It would seem that we had our hint of where the next clue would show up. A LPAssociation Member even made the stretch to say that there was a public park in Toronto, named Allan Park. After Allan goaded the Prime Minister all day and night, Allan finally tweeted the next day, on the 12th, that he needed to leave a clue somewhere under a bench in Toronto at 1 in the afternoon, and also tweeted this picture which sure enough was found to be Allan Park.

4 Twitterers showed up to search the entire park at 1PM on the 13th, and found nothing. At 2PM however, they were approached by a man, who asked if Allan had sent them. The 4 fans were handed the next clue, which turned out to be the following picture.

The internet quickly got to work, and found out that this picture was the Lincoln Park Zoo at Gateway Pavilion, in Chicago. The fans waited on bated breath for the 15th. Mike Shinoda tweeted the zoo that Linkin Park fans would be invading yesterday. I don’t know how many fans showed up, but the clue was found by a Twitterer who showed us that the clue was a Brazil shirt…

…with this written on the shirt’s tag.

This translates to, “The next clue is within the gates of Fort Copacabana. Take the opportunity to eat some traditional sweets, cakes and waffles. May 17, during normal business hours only.”

So, the hunt continues on, to the Forte de Copacabana, found to be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’d love to slink down to Brazil for a couple of days…but, no. No buts. Hell, you know me, I don’t have that kind of money. I just have to continue to let the rest of the world’s Linkin Park fans do what they do.

If the clues lead back to DFW at any point, be sure that I’ll be there, ready to serve as the next link in the chain. And if not, well, I’ll keep promoting regardless.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

Dude, I was doing good there for a while. And then, well, school happened again. It’s the end of the semester, and things are getting kind of hectic up in here; finals, homework, and catching up on lost time. Also with the end of the semester though, comes more projects, and that means new stuff to show you guys. I’ve got a couple of things here to display, so strap in, and enjoy.

The first thing I have to share with you is my second spanish song. I don’t remember, did I ever tell y’all that I was working on another spanish song. Well, um, Surprise! Yea, so I had another spanish portfolio for this half of the semester, and it needed the same basic things. So of course, I went and made another song…of course I did.

I actually used one of Eastchase’s existing songs that we haven’t touched in a while as the framework for this song. It made the writing process a lot easier, especially considering that we already had lyrics for it. So yea, some of you may recognize the sound. It was fun. It was stressful, but it was fun. If it wasn’t a challenge, I don’t think I would be able to get into it as much as I do. Anyways…I give you, “Instintos Falsos”.


I also just finished up on a new video project this past weekend. It was a project for the film class I’m currently in, and it all felt very last minute. We weren’t actually given the assignment until last Monday, and were expected to have everything turned in by this morning. I’m kind of proud to say that my team was the only team to have their project turned in on time. It wasn’t that hard, really. It needed to be 3-5 minutes long, contain no dialogue, and have a few certain types of shots. For instance, 2 match-action shots (Quick example: when a person opens a door in one shot and walks part of the way through, the the shot changes to the other side of the door to complete the action).

Our concept was 2 girlfriends are in a fight one morning, Girlfriend 2 pisses off Girlfriend 1 and Girlfriend 1 storms off. Girlfriend 2 spends the rest of the day stalking Girlfriend 1, and Girlfriend 1 eventually loses it. I got Miko to help me with the project as an actress, and my partner also got a friend of hers’ to do the same. So, without further adieu, I give you, “You Can’t See Me”.


I’ve also decided that I’m going to add a new category to my publications here, which I will call “Equipment Misuse”. In these posts, I’ll be calling out a lot of things that I see in media today that I think have been done poorly, or that just generally piss me off. I’ve already got a few things that I want speak on, but I’ll save those for next post.

The school year is just about over now, and I’m not really sure what the summer holds for me. To my recollection, I only have one thing in the books for me this summer, and that’s A-Kon with Miko. If I can get my crap ready for that, it is going to be soooo much fun.
Not really sure where my inspiration will draw from, but I’ll find something, as I always do.

While I’m on the subject of “Upcoming”…Linkin Park’s “Living Things” will be released on June 26th. It is available for pre-order now. Also, if you pre-order now, you can get a discount on a years subscription to the Linkin Park Underground. Well worth it in my opinion. Follow the ^link^ to learn more!

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

On Tuesday, April 3rd, North Texas got hit with one of the worst storm systems in recent history. The National Weather Service is claiming that 16 tornadoes touched down throughout this long afternoon. 3 of the worst hit areas were Forney, Lancaster, and Arlington.

Arlington is the city in which I have been born and raised. The last time that tornadoes hit the DFW area, Arlington was skipped over and spared. For as long as I can remember, nothing to this magnitude has ever hit Arlington. I remember some really bad hail storms back in like ’93 or ’95, but hail won’t demolish a house. Things were so bad that the city had to establish a Tornado Recovery Center for residents impacted by the devastation. All in all, the city reports that 430 homes were damaged. That doesn’t even include the damage sustained to Kennedale. Kennedale had to establish a curfew the first couple of nights after the tornadoes passed through, partially because the looting was getting out of hand.

At approximately 3:30 in the afternoon that day, I got the information that Mayor Robert Cluck had declared Arlington as being in a State of Emergency. Not too long after that, I got the information that either Governor Perry or the Mayor had further declared Arlington as in a State of Disaster.

It’s been almost a week and I still can’t believe that it’s happened, much less that my home town is in a state of disaster, but the pictures say everything.

The area towards the top of this picture is my high school, and the adjoining sports facilities. Look at how close the tornado came to it! This picture is taken facing east, and my parent’s house is only a couple of miles to the east. It’s unbelievable how close it came, unbelievable.

I’ve seen estimates that show the tornado that was on the ground in Arlington tracked a path about 4.6 miles long and the damage path was, at max, about 150 yards wide. The picture below is an approximate path that the twister took.

It moved into our area from Kennedale, carving a hook into Southwest Arlington, terminating somewhere around Lake Arlington. During the course that it was on the ground it did damage to several large buildings in the area. One of them was St. Barnabus UMC.

After tearing a hole in the church on Pleasant Ridge, it continued on to the north, carving out a lot of property damage until it hit Little Road and started to curve around towards the west. As it got to Green Oaks, it tore a huge chunk out of the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. There were people still in there when the storm hit!

After crossing over Green Oaks it continued on to the west. Sometime before getting to Lake Arlington, the cyclonic activity driving the tornado broke up and killed the storm over the immediate area.

I never heard of any other tornado related damage occurring in North Arlington or the Mid-Cities area, so as far as I’m aware, that was the end of this particular tornado. I couldn’t even begin to try and put a dollar amount to all the damage caused in the area, but despite all the damage there were never any fatalities or serious injuries. This is also true for the entire North Texas area that this system of storms broke out in. For this, I feel truly blessed. North Texas is a big place, that’s what I keep telling people anyways. Not 1 death or serious injury when 16 tornadoes decide to wreak havoc on an area bigger than some countries.

I was stuck up in Denton in my Spanish class while all this was going on. I don’t know if my Spanish professor has ever heard of a tornado before. I know she’s never seen anything like this crap in Spain before. I tried as hard as I could to get out of there, because if I was going to die, it wasn’t going to be in a Spanish class at UNT. Unfortunately the stairwells were completely blocked, so I couldn’t even get off the level I was on.

I hate being stuck inside for this kind of thing, though if I was in Arlington this time, I might have been singing a different tune. It was really hard being stuck up in Denton and not down there. I had to rely on texts and Facebook to get the most up to date news on what was going on. It was also frustrating for a while not knowing if my friends and family were safe or not. Texts only move so quickly in emergency situations. I’m just glad everything turned out alright for everyone that I care about.

I made it back to Arlington, finally, on Wednesday afternoon. I got to see for myself just what happened. These are some of the pictures that I took.

It was amazing and horrifying seeing these things. It was a relief though seeing people come together to help each other out, and again it was amazing knowing that no one was seriously injured in all this.

Seeing my hometown in such a tattered state puts a lot of things in perspective. We’re only here on this earth for a short time, and we need to make the most of the little time we have. You never know when something is going to come out of left field and destroy everything you’ve ever known

Make the most of your time, and live your dreams, because there may not be a tomorrow.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw