Week 11: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Red Comfort

It has been a few weeks since I last updated my blog. I know. But life sometimes get in the way, like oh I don’t know a thesis to graduate from grad school. Let me tell you, not the easiest thing to write. Not that I ever thought it was, but thinking about it, and then actually doing it are two very, very different things. So the next couple of blog posts maybe centered around sugar,comfort food, and basically whatever else I want.

This week I baked some red velvet cupcakes.The problem with cupcakes is you can’t have just one. They seem small and not so dangerous. Now, you know it is not at all healthy to make some cupcakes, and eat it yourself. It would be good, don’t get me wrong, however unless you want to gain 500 pounds and have a bad tummy ache, would not recommend it. Therefore, the best solution is to make red velvet cupcakes for someone’s birthday, perhaps a red head if you got one. One of my favorites is my good friend Ginger; ironic I know. I made about 2 dozen red velvet cupcakes for her birthday recently, and although I didn’t get her review on video, as quickly as those went, I am going to assume people may have liked them.

Outside view

Outside view

Inside view

Inside view

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 fluid ounce red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cream Cheese Frosting…yummy
  • Sprinkles because you can

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy( I need to buy one of these. Although, a spoon does work my arms out). Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.( I find if you watch a bad reality television show, and then put the frosting on, works the same)

I think they turned out very well. I loved them, but probably should only bake them on special occasions. And you don’t always need a red head, but if you do it helps.

Ginger

Ginger

Creativity in Social Media

It can be said that Henri Lefebvre, a French sociologist, was a bit of a romantic at heart. While he viewed capitalism as ruining how society lives in the everyday by alienating and isolating ourselves, he stated that if we saw what it was doing to our lives and profession, we maybe to still see life’s creativity and things may turn out differently.

In a weird way, the everyday of Social Media can be seen this way. Never before in the history of communications have there been so many owners and producers. Everyday people log on to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, and everyday there is something new for them to explore and possibly produce. It might be for selfish reasons to see how popular they are. It might be to share pictures. It might be to produce a video. And yes, we may make money from it. Whatever their reasons, people are participating and adding their own content to the world, however big or small. That content is needed in order for Social Media to even exist. All users have their own level of creativity and reasons for why they participate in social media, and the numbers show that people from all walks of life are doing it, because, I think, people have, and will always have, that need to connect and feel a part of something. Those who participate are allowing their own words, their own production, and their own piece of history to be documented. Yes, they may be contributing to what is seen as the evils of capitalism; however we do that outside of Social Media. Within Social Media, creativity can blossom and change how we connect and communicate.

There is some evidence in how Social Media has effect and transformed everyday practices, but it will be years before researchers can fully and accurately determine social media in what ways social media has changed us. The research maybe based off soon to be outdated websites, social networks, and tools because how rapidly the medium is changing. But the main ideals and concepts will be able to emerge, and give a better understanding.

What can be determined at this time is the there is a market and audience who use Social Media and networks on a daily basis. The numbers, as well as the interactions, can not be denied, but rather should be embraced. Users are now creating content and sharing it, which has changed the ways in which communications is currently being conducted. It is no longer simply the broadcast model of yesterday. There is still a sender with a message, but now there are multiple receivers who are also the many senders of content. As of now there is no set model, and if Social Media continues in the same direction as it is, there will be no set model. There is no need for one. This trend may be beneficial for a diverse group of users for the various social networks because it does not appeal to simply one person or group. Social Media as a whole can reach millions of people because it can fit to anyone’s needs and/or wants, and become a part of its everyday practices. It has been shown to help people being stay in contact while still building meaningful relationships. And at the same time, it will give into what seems to be the need and want for instant gratification and distraction.

Where Social Media will go, and what its capabilities will be, is still unknown. As the technology grows, and more information emerges, the more society as a whole will know and understand Social Media and its everyday practices. In fact research of Social Media is being created by its users more than researchers because users document is growth and use just by logging on. It helps create a history of our communications, and with it, it will help create evidence for its present and future impact in the next coming years. It will be at this time when Social Media’s impact can be truly measured.

 

Life After I Gave Up My iPod

Below is a reflection of my week sans my iPod. Didn’t read it? Well let us back track:

My obsession
Why I gave it up
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven

Let’s be honest, you have time to kill. Once you have done that, you may understand my last afterwards. For the record, I am never doing this again. Almost didn’t make it:

I keep re-reading about my week without my iPod, and to be honest, at first, I sound a bit crazy. How is it that this medium has taken over my life the way it has? I know I once lived a life without an iPod, but I am not sure how to do it again. However as friends and family commented back on my blog postings, I began to realize I am not alone. Many others couldn’t live without their iPods and other forms of media for a week, and wondered how I am doing it.

By keeping a small journal and timeline of my thoughts throughout the week, I somehow found a way. I believed it better captured what I went through without my iPod. My journey showed my feelings of emptiness, withdrawals, and my dependency with this medium. At moments my feelings were heightened when people mention my week without my iPod. In a way, it made me want it more because I missed having it as a part of my everyday life and how I function with it. For me, it isn’t about the iPod itself, but what I use it for. I use it like a musician uses a metronome. It seems to keep the tempo and rhythm throughout my day, and when that was taken from me, everything seemed off, from working out to simply walking around.

As reflected throughout my notes, I felt that disconnect more than I thought I would. It didn’t seem right doing many of normal activities without my iPod, and when I tried other things, it felt as though I had put my shoes on the wrong feet. Sure I am wearing shoes to protect my feet, however it didn’t feel right. I am used to have this particular medium close by and as a part of my routine. At times, it did feel like I was wearing my shoes on the wrong feet, and while I did use other media to replace my iPod, I missed its functions and noise.

As I repeated many times, I love having noise around me whether it is music, someone talking, etc. While other media like television and radio did provide the noise I needed, I was sometimes left with little choice of what I wanted to listen to, and often times commercials and breaks interrupted the flow of the noise. Had I been plugged into my iPod with my own music and podcasts, I wouldn’t have the distractions of commercials and breaks.

On one hand, it could be said that being constantly plugged into my iPod disconnects myself from those around me, but this is not the case. I use my iPod to catch up on the latest news, talk to friends online, listen to music, and many other functions. I could do this with my phone, and do, but for me, my iPod is my choice for information and music because of its functionality. My iPod may not help my face-to-face communication; however it does help me to stay in touch with the world around while I am out living in it. I still feel connected to the world, and my iPod has allowed for such a thing to happen within my daily life and routine.

On the other hand, I can always change my routine and how I function. There are many times throughout my week and time without my iPod where I normally wouldn’t use it and/or need it. It was during these times where this medium wasn’t a part of my routine, therefore I didn’t feel lost without it and I was alright. It was moments like these that made me think maybe I could live without my iPod.

Can I honestly say I would not properly function if I had to give up my iPod forever? My first reaction is of course not. I need my iPod to live. However, there was a time I didn’t have my iPod, about 22 years beforehand, and I seemed alright. As much as media controls us, we do have the option to break away. As I have learned, that detachment can be hard, but as we have gotten use to having this particular medium, we can also get used to not having it. Media of any form is more of a want rather than necessity. It is not a part of the bottom portion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs like food, water, and shelter. One needs those things in order to survive.

Media is something we want in our lives for entertainment and to make life easier which it does, but it is something one can live without. It merely comes down to our habits, and how we choose to handle them. For me, my habits revolve around media as a way for entertainment, getting information, and getting through my day. It is media in all forms that I like having around me, and when one is taken from me, something doesn’t feel right. However, not using my iPod wasn’t on my mind all day, but rather periods of time when I am use to it. Like when I first incorporated my iPod into my routine, with practice, it can be taken away.

I maybe alright with this.

One week, no iPod: Saturday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One FirstThen Day Two. Then Day ThreePlus Day FourAdd Day Five. Don’t forget Day Six and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

8:33am: Like Sunday mornings, I usually spend a little time in bed on my iPod surfing the web. I like to check my Facebook, News, etc. without moving too much and without being rushed or having to go anywhere. For even that short time, it is how a weekend should be. No work, just peacefulness of the glowing screen.

8:47am: This whole laying here is rather boring without doing something. I could get up and start doing work. Or maybe watch TV. I will do work while watching TV. As a side note: I need to come up with another word for doing work because the negative tone of the word does not sound relaxing or something you should do on the weekend.

1:53pm: Doing the last of my homework while Cristalle finishes getting ready for the football game. Like me, she is always listening to music whether she is working out or getting ready. I wonder if she could give up her iPod for a week. I wonder where she hid mine.

2:20pm: Cristalle tells me her brilliant hiding spot was on her desk. Good thing I didn’t have time to snoop around. Well actually I probably did have time, but the reason I didn’t could have been two things. One wanted to complete the assignment. Two if I don’t see it,I won’t be as tempted to go after it. I didn’t know my iPod had been so close to me the whole time. Had I known earlier in the week where my iPod was, I probably would not have been able to do this assignment.

2:21pm: Need to steal Cristalle’s Music…and maybe iPod. Is it Sunday yet?

4:03pm: Without a set schedule like during the week, I do not use my iPod to keep track of time and things. I don’t need it for work or walking down the halls. Yes today I did miss it, but I didn’t have places to be where I felt I needed it. It could have added to the soundtrack of my life, but I did not need it. I did want and miss it, don’t get me wrong. However, it will not keep me alive and going. Although probably a little saner.

2:33am: Half asleep. Remember Cristalle told me where my iPod is. It has technically been a week. Run downstairs. Run back upstairs. Get a little lightheaded. Go to turn on my iPod with excitement in my heart. iPod is dead. FAIL!!! I think this is the media Gods little joke. I should have charged it. I guess I will have to wait a little longer.


One week, no iPod: Friday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One FirstThen Day Two. Then Day ThreePlus Day Four. Add Day Five and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

9:15am: After what happen yesterday, I thought maybe I wouldn’t worry too much about my iPod. Clearly that lasted oh a day. On the walk to class, I still miss it. Thank God tomorrow is the last day. Have I really improved since day one? I would like to think so because although I do miss it, I do not go to grab my phone to avoid people or plugged in.  But the silence of the walk still bothers me especially because less and less people are on campus.

9:30am: Still dependent on other media. Apologizing to a classmate for not telling her about the reading because all I had was her Facebook, and she gave that up this week. It is strange with all this technology and media that for some, you may only have one outlet to communicate with some friends. I maybe should get her email.

1:06pm: “Watching” TV for the last hour while working on school work.  Throughout the shows, I hear a couple new and old songs that I am needing to download. I make a mental note to download them later. At this point, I would have just downloaded them onto my iPod and be done with it, but it is the same ole song and dance.

1:10pm: Giving up! I am going on iTunes to download those songs.

1:12pm: Stupid iTunes is being a pain. Giving up that.

3:34pm: Karli has her new iPod touch! It is just like mine, but cooler. A ting of jealousy runs through my body. Does it count if I play with hers because it is not mine? Peanut gallery? Ok you win this time.

6:08pm: It is times like these that I truly miss my iPod. While I have tried to catch up with my favorite podcasts this week, I haven’t. It is a pain to me to turn on my computer, go to the podcast’s website, and download it when I can do it straight from my iPod. I rather just listen to the radio while I get ready. I know I do not get to listen to my music without commericals, but it is quick and easy. I only have a short time before I have to go. I do not need to spend it messing with my computer.

2:21am: My apartment is quiet…too quiet to fall asleep. I am a person who finds comfort in noise and being connected. It may sound weird, but I feel less alone. Shoot! What were those songs again?

One week, no iPod: Thursday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One FirstThen Day Two. Then Day Three. Plus Day Four and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

6:16am:The last time I was at the gym, homework turned out to be counter productive. This time we bring out the People magazine. I am not sure how Tiger Wood’s ex-wife and her richy rich divorce will help my future, but hey maybe I can work out longer and productive.

7:38am: Magazine turned out to be a bust. I usually work out for 90 minutes. Today was only an hour. Once the magazine was done, I felt that I didn’t have motivation or distraction to move on. I probably shouldn’t blame it on the magazine. There has been days that I didn’t have my iPod, and did exercise and push without it, but today is a day I needed a distraction.

Life can sometime get in the way of media. I know this sounds weird especially as we always seem connected, but media provides that distraction, that avoidance easier. I knew the minute I stopped working out, I would have to have one focus for the day.

Today was spent mostly in a hospital room. Without getting into personal details, my aunt gets sick from time to time, and sometimes she has to go to the ER. This happens from time to time. Sometimes it is sort of bad her sickness, while others it is really bad. Today I spent the day waiting to see what the results would be.

I do not say this to complain. I say it because this is my life today as a part of this assignment and this media journal. My focus today was on my family and being there. I know I am not a doctor and live on a graduate student income, therefore I can not help in those forms to make her feel better. How I can help and contribute is by being there as much as I can because I know she and my family would be there for me. Me being present was my job today, and I will do it everytime I am called upon or my family needs me despite my school and work.

This was my focus for the day. My focus was not on my iPod. Thoughts of avoidance and pleasure my iPod brings did not cross my mind. In the downtimes at the hospital, I caught up on school work instead of play on my phone or iPod like I usually do. Those media, at least my phone, were only used when I needed to check something. I was only reminded about my iPod when I did check my Facebook and had commented on blogs about it. I did not miss my iPod in these moments. I just laughed at what was being said and moved on.

I needed to be in the moment with my aunt, and know what was going on. Having media, like my iPod, to distract me was not needed. Did I forgo all forms of media today? No. I had my phone. I did call, text, and surf the web, but these moments were fleeting. I was still in the now with my family, and did not need to be distracted.

For today, I am alright with being partly disconnected.

One week, no iPod: Wednesday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One FirstThen Day Two. Then Day Three and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

8:53am: Getting out of my car for school, I decided to text my mom while I walk. Once I was done, I put my phone back in my backpack. Walking to class, media free, even for a few moments is really boring. The walk is not that long, but without my iPod attached to me, on the phone, or other media, it feels like the walk will never end. The creeks from days before aren’t there. No one seems to be around. All there is silence. My mind starts to wonder about the day in front of me.

9:04am: I get to class early, and instead of sitting in silence, I get out my laptop to write my blog. I can no longer stand the silence and taps of my keyboard. I plug my headphones to my iTunes, and get my music fix, even if it is stationary. I didn’t have to search the depths of my bag for it, and I have that music I need that I would usually get from my iPod. However I can’t take it with me. I am stuck in this spot. If I want to continue to listen, I can’t move. I feel almost trapped. I do like this song though.

12:03pm: Still writing for school, this time at Mike’s house. He is watching Sportscenter. Usually I would listen to my iPod as I write, but the sounds of the television act like my iPod, and somehow provide a comfort of sound. I am starting to wonder if it is the comfort of sound that I like more than my iPod. Growing up in my house and family, we were never quiet. People talking loud, singing(or trying to), and constant noise from the TV and radio was always a part of me. I am starting to wonder if it is silence that bothers me.

3:24pm: Have I ever expressed how much I hate commercials? On TV, radio, and basically anything with a commercials. I get it. You need to advertise, but the constant breaks annoy me. When the break come, I feel like it breaks my focus on the material at hand, and so it breaks my investment.

12:26am: I feel like I am out of the loop with the world. Most of my day was away from media. I mean it was there, but I didn’t really listen or register any of it. It seems those times, I didn’t care or wonder. However the minute I picked up my phone, a rush of information comes at me, and is a bit overwhelming. When I get my information and media in small doses, I feel in the loop, and my iPod helps me with this. Maybe because it is faster than my phone, and doesn’t die as quickly. But this rush is a bit overwhelming.