Monday, January 30, 2017

Kids These Days


Okay, now what I want to talk about is the concept of being what is considered to be an old man in today’s society and having to put up with what the youth of America is doing today.

Part of the reason why I am talking about this is that last year, I downloaded an installment of a locally-produced podcast called The Retro Ave. It’s a podcast show where they talk about movies, games and more. They ended their most recent podcast with a rant about the state of today’s kids. And the hosts of the podcasts are both in their early 30’s. Anyway, that rant got me thinking and in a way, I want to throw my two cents in.

I am in my late 30’s and I am well aware that this society is so technologically advanced and dominated by social media and iPhones that it has impacted this generation to the point where it puts my generation to shame. It seems that nowadays, kids are more obsessed with their Xboxes, Playstations, iPhones, Facebook, Instagram, taking bathroom selfies while making duckfaces… I could go on. As a result, kids are less motivated and less likely to carry on a conversation without having to look at their phones every five minutes and texting or hanging out on Tinder or whatever kids do these days.

Now I know when I first started out on this social media adventure about 10 years ago, I have been guilty of becoming too consumed with social media. However, around the time I started out on social media, it was still a growing medium. Back when I started out, the dominant social media outlet was Myspace even though YouTube and Facebook both existed but both were nowhere near as big as they are today. And some of the content posted on Myspace prompted my local library to ban the use of Myspace because there were some pics of half-naked chicks on there, pics of people drinking in bars, and you get the idea. Not much different from what goes on today but even back then you could see how social media would become a dominant force in today’s society.

Also, what they talked about in the podcast and this is also something I have noticed firsthand is how the youth these days have a sense of entitlement, meaning having everything handed to you instead of going out and working for it. There is also a lack of creative ideas, lack of originality and you can definitely see all that in today’s movies and music. Today’s movies are way less original and way more dumbed down than the movies my generation grew up with. Of course there are some exceptions like the Marvel movies and of course The Force Awakens. But these days, it’s all fake CGI destruction porn fests, horrible comedies, universally despised love stories like Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey and any movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel and don’t get me started on the endless barrage of remakes and reboots even of movies that don’t need it.

With TV, same notation. Nothing but reboots, sexually explicit teen shows and of course reality shows that largely send out the wrong signals to people and actually generate role models that are largely negative. The most notorious example of negative role models projected onto today’s youth are the Kardashians who are practically the poster children of shallowness and they’re also the very face of the Hookup Culture. And then there are reality shows such as Teen Mom that teaches girls that if they get pregnant, they can automatically get a reality TV deal and they can act as bad as they want because it’s profitable. To the rest of us, that’s sad.

Same rules also apply to the music industry. It seems like lately (with some exceptions) nearly all of today’s music is centered on one thing and one thing only: Sex. I have nothing against sex, but even I have to agree that it’s gotten out of control. The music more or less glorifies the hookup culture and as everyone knows today’s dating scene one of my favorite things to rant about. Today’s “musicians” clearly can’t sing or perform without the either the assist of autotune or trashy outfits. And I come from the generation that gave us Madonna and Britney Spears among others but compared to the likes of Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, their music is actually classier. Nowadays, everything more or less is manufactured and that is why I prefer the music from when I grew up (meaning 80’s and 90’s music) to about 10 years ago. It’s pretty much after 2005 where a majority of music went downhill and hasn’t looked back since with Justin Beiber as the crowning achievement.

Now that you mention it, I really am sounding like an old man. However, in recent years not only have I reinvented myself as a movie reviewer, I have also decided to reinvent myself as a sort of social commentator mainly because before I started the whole Internet thing I was originally planning to be a writer and one of the basic and probably the best tools in a writer’s arsenal is the art of observation. And I have observed a lot about this society over the past several years and I’m clearly not liking what I’m seeing.

Getting back to the podcast, one of the hosts also made the remark about today’s generation and said that he has turned into the principal from The Breakfast Club. And it’s the scene where he’s talking to the janitor about his life as a principal and his relationship with the students and the principal makes the remark in almost a fearful tone that “someday these kids will be taking care of me.” And the janitor is kind of like “No they won’t.” The same rule applies to today’s generation because I know that they’re not gonna take care of me when I go. I come from the tail end of Generation X and most of my age group comes from Generation Y and as far as our relationship to the Millennials go, my generation as a whole has turned into the principal from The Breakfast Club. Yeah, folks. That’s scary. And the worst thing about that is that there’s no stopping it.

Yes, folks, that old Chinese proverb rings true “May you live in interesting times.” Kids these days.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Back to Work



Well, I’ve taken enough vacation time from making videos online. Time to get back to work on making videos.

Yesterday morning I finally managed to film my Top 5 Best Movies of 2016 video for my Blackcatloner Reviews show and I was originally going to upload it yesterday at the library but my editing software was acting pretty slow. Guess it only works when I’m not near a Wi-Fi source. So I ended up uploading it today on lunch at work.

In case you are curious as to what video editing software I use, I use VideoPad Video Editor and I have been using it since 2012 when I returned to video making after my Great Hiatus. And here’s where I let you in on some of my production secrets, such as how long it takes me to produce a video. As far as how long it takes me to produce a normal video, it usually depends on how long the video is and since the finished reviews are usually between five and twenty minutes long on average, it takes me anywhere from two to four hours to edit an average video. Again, it depends on the length of the video. Since I learned the fine art of editing during my time at Herkimer College, I have started shooting all my normal videos (where I’m sitting in front of my laptop) all in one take, flubs and all. And then it takes about two to four hours to edit the video down to its final length. And once again, depending on how long the video is, it normally takes anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours to render it for upload to the Internet.

And as far as uploading to YouTube goes, since I have to rely on public Wi-Fi because I don’t have Internet at my house, how long it takes to upload depends on where I am. When I uploaded up at the college, uploads were almost instantaneous (usually about five minutes or so.) During my post-college career, I usually upload videos during my lunch breaks at work and there it usually takes anywhere from five to twenty minutes to upload one video. However, uploading videos at the library is a little trickier because sometimes uploading longer videos takes forever. So that’s why I usually try to upload shorter videos (meaning videos that are either less than ten minutes long or smaller file size like my recent podcasts) when I’m at the library because they don’t take very long to upload. I usually try to avoid uploading videos to YouTube when I’m at McDonald’s or Burger King because uploads usually take forever.

So that’s pretty much a behind-the-scenes look at how I make my videos and post them online. Like I said, I’ve taken enough time off from videos. Time to get back in the habit because not only do I have more reviews I want to do as well as some more video ideas. At first, I was planning to replace the vlog series with the podcasts but as usual, I am having second thoughts. I mean, hey, it’s my show. It’s my YouTube channel. I do what I want. So I’m gonna be bringing the vlog series back and the podcasts will also be considered part of the series as well.

Right now, my biggest obstacle and this has always plagued me during my Internet career has been my lack of consistency, many of which can’t be helped because you know… life. Sometimes it saps your creativity and it leaves you kind of lethargic and drained. Plus, scheduling time to do videos is a bit of a challenge because I have Tuesdays and Saturdays off from work. And I guess that’s part of the reason why I started writing blogs again: To basically get my thoughts out there when I don’t have time to do a video or if it’s something that I can’t do a video on because also living in a town where nothing remotely exciting happens is a bit of a challenge to do videos on.

Also, the weather isn’t really helping things any. So far, we’ve had more snow this year than last year but the weather still hasn’t decided what it wants to do. One day it’s fifty degrees out. Another day it’s snowing. Right now, we’re under a lake effect snow warning and it hasn’t really done anything. Some flurries here and there and it was also windy as hell out but other than that, no real blizzards yet. But sometime this week, walking to work is going to be interesting, not that I haven’t walked to and from work in worse weather than this, especially during those long years on overnights. I’ve walked to work in blizzards. I’ve walked to and from work in twenty below zero weather. I’ve even walked to and from work in flood conditions. If anyone can handle that, they can handle anything.





Saturday, January 21, 2017

Milestones

Figure it's time to post a new entry here.

I spent the last week trying to add updates to my laptop which I have been trying to do for the last couple months now and not much has been going on. Of course as of yesterday, Donald Trump has now made it official and I did manage to see him take the oath before I went back to work. Even though both TV's in the breakroom were showing the inauguration, I was watching it on live streaming on YouTube while trying to upload one of my older videos to Vidme without much success.

But then again, I'm not posting this to talk about Donald Trump becoming president. Instead as I sit here in the library, I figure I'd elaborate on this year being yet another milestone year for me. Like I said, I'm supposed to get my degree in Communication Arts New Media from Herkimer College in the mail sometime within the next couple of weeks which marks the end of almost a year and a half of waiting not to mention four and a half years of actually going to college. And who knows where I'll be after that. But all I can say is that hopefully things will really start picking up for me.

And on top of that, the fact that I am graduating from Herkimer College this year also coincides with the fact that it has been nearly twenty years since I graduated from Red Hook High School. In fact, even as I write this there are plans for a twenty-year reunion to which I have been added to the group page on Facebook. At press time, they're aiming for late July. So far I have not committed to anything yet but we'll see. I do remember one of the early posts I made when I first started up my main website (which I'll get to in a minute because that is also celebrating a milestone this year) was about the fact that I was dreading returning for my ten-year reunion because let's face it, I haven't really changed all that much since high school except for the location and we'll just leave it at that. But as far as the twenty-year reunion goes, I'll just have to plan it by year.

In the meantime, my main website is also celebrating its ten-year anniversary this year. Last year I celebrated ten years as an Internet blogger and a presence in social media and next year, I will be celebrating ten years as a YouTube video maker. It all goes by so fast. And speaking of which, I have been toying with some new ideas for upcoming videos and I may just focus on reviews and I might do a podcast every now and then. What it all boils down to is that I am thankful to the Internet for continuing to allow people like me to have a platform to express my creativity that would have otherwise gone to waste in the real world.

But no matter what happens, it looks like 2017 is gonna be a pretty interesting year.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Did Not Get Engaged


Best meme ever!

One of the big holiday traditions that has emerged in recent years has been the fact that people announce their engagements usually on Christmas by way of Facebook. In fact, nowadays you can carry out whole relationships via Facebook or any other social media platforms to the point where it has become commonplace.

This year, I might have had at least three online friends (and quite possibly more) announce their engagements online over the holidays. However, I am happy to report that I was not one of them. In fact, I stumbled across a meme that became popular and had been widely distributed and it was a text image designed to look like a Facebook status that says “Did not get engaged.” And of course, the date underneath was December 25 and below that, there is a little caption that says “See nonexistent relationship here.” I thought it was a good meme that I decided to not only share it online but also download it and use it for the purpose of this post. And there’s a good bet that I will be posting it again next Christmas.

Prior to becoming part of the Internet, I had not had any luck with women and it carried on even after I joined the online community. I have met quite a bit of people online in the ten years I have been on the Internet. Out of the numerous people I met online, I only met a handful of people offline. A couple of them even sent me Christmas cards. However, nothing really happened as far as anything long-term goes. The last time I was actually interested in a woman was back in 2011 and as you can guess, that didn’t go anywhere.

And now that I’m inching closer to 40, I am starting to think back on how I was back in high school and my twenties and that while high school and 20-something me would not be thrilled with the prospect of not getting married and having a family, soon-to-be 39-year-old me says that it’s for the best. After all, things have gotten bad in the dating scene with people relying on Tinder and it’s quite obvious that they’re not looking for long-term relationships not to mention that the pickin’s are very slim and a very high divorce rate. It’s all a game where the only way to win is not to play. For the most part, I’ve opted out. And trust me, I’m not really losing sleep over it anymore. 

So in short, all I gotta say as far as whether or not you’ll see my Facebook status say “Got engaged” next Christmas is “Don’t hold your breath.”

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Expanding Horizons and Where You Can Find Me



Since I started up this blog, I have also decided to add another site to Blogger and it’s a site I have been trying to move to Blogger for a while. The same night I posted my previous entry, I posted a written review of Rogue One to my new Blogger site. You can find the site here at http://blackcatlonerreviews.blogspot.com.

Think of this as my way of expanding my horizons further on the Internet, especially since my college degree is pretty much on its way.

And while I am on the subject on where you can find me in this wild and wacky social media world, you can find me on the following sites:


I also have other sites on Blogger. For example, my website Tales of the Blackcat, where I post my short stories and autobiographical essays can be found at http://talesoftheblackcat.blogspot.com
I also have my site on the Chester Gillette murder case which is my oldest site on the Internet: http://bloggillette.blogspot.com

And I also have my site Net Neutrality Awareness that I set up while in college: http://netneutralityawareness.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resolutions



Well, here it is, everyone. By the time you read this, we will officially be in 2017. Happy new year, everyone.

2016 was definitely a roller coaster ride, wasn’t it? Whether it was all the celebrity deaths or the fact that Donald Trump has now been elected President of the United States, it was a roller coaster ride in every sense of the word. As for me, I made it through the year perfectly fine. This year marked the first year that I didn’t have to go to classes up at the college even though there was still some drama involving me getting my degree as in why I haven’t gotten it yet even though I was supposed to be done in December 2015. It turned out that there was an error on the part of the college where I was supposed to take a class that was no longer offered at the college as part of my requirements for my degree so I took another class as a substitute course. Thing was that the paperwork was never filed with the registrar’s office so I had to straighten that out. And now that I got it straightened out, I am now set to finally get my Associates Degree from Herkimer College in February. Not in time for Christmas, but in time for my birthday.

I also managed to get out to the movies more in 2016 as opposed to last year where I only saw The Force Awakens. I saw almost every major event movie with the exception of Suicide Squad. As far as the best movie of the year goes, I would have to say that Deadpool was the best movie I saw all year and the Ghostbusters reboot was the worst. The worst movie was actually a tougher call for me because it was either that or Batman vs. Superman which was another movie I was disappointed in. But as opposed to Ghostbusters, Batman vs. Superman had some redeemable qualities. And Ghostbusters I saw for free at Herkimer College so you can’t accuse me of being paid off by Sony.

2016 was a milestone for me as far as my Internet life goes. This year marked ten years since I officially started my journey into the world of social media with my first blog site on Yahoo 360. Also that year, I started my blog site on the Chester Gillette murder case to tie in with the centennial commemoration that year and I also signed up for YouTube that year even though I wouldn’t start making videos until 2008.
On the YouTube front, I was able to do more videos this year. I started out by resurrecting my hour-long format show where I talk about several things at once but I had the same problems as the last time I tried it as far as time goes and also finding stuff to talk about.  Then I tried cutting it back to half an hour and then finally going back to the weekly vlog format I did from 2010-2012. I eventually decided to start up Blackcatloner Reviews as a separate series again and I also decided to review religious movies like God’s Not Dead 2 and Old Fashioned. And I ended the year by replacing the vlog series with a podcast show that is available for free download on iTunes.

In the midst of that, I also discovered a new video sharing site called Vidme which I signed up for in October (ironically around the same time that I signed up for YouTube ten years ago.) As it turns out, my videos got more views on Vidme with each upload there than my more recent uploads on YouTube. That in addition to the crap I had to deal with, especially with the riffs on the Public Domain educational movies and I decided it was time to move on. As of a couple weeks ago, my channel has officially become verified which is pretty much the equivalent of being a YouTube partner.

So why have I decided to go back to writing? Well, I guess it has to do with the fact that I am getting older. Believe it or not, I am inching closer to 40 and I am not getting any younger. In fact, age is part of the reason why I decided to switch to podcasting. Plus, I think that writing again might be better for me because there are some things that are better told either through written word or podcast rather than video. But don’t worry, I haven’t fully abandoned video making entirely. I’m still doing the reviews show as videos plus some other things as well.

This year, I will also be hitting some milestones. In addition to me finally graduating from Herkimer College, this year marks ten years since I launched my official website which is on Wordpress even though I started it on Blogger first. This year also marks twenty years since I graduated from Red Hook High School. So who knows what else will happen this year? I guess that’s part of the reason why I decided to start this new blog. So, we’ll see how this goes.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “How do you find time for all this stuff?” If it’s something you enjoy doing, you make the time.

And for the record, I didn’t see the ball drop this year so I ended up watching Taxi Driver instead. I’m normally not one for making resolutions but I probably should consider eating better. I eat out frequently but eating at McDonald’s and Burger King is kind of a necessary evil because they have free Wi-Fi. I should probably give up on online dating as well. But as far as online dating goes for me, I have had no success and no matter how much I try to quit it, it’s like an itch you can’t help but scratch. Not to mention that at my age it’s not getting any easier. Again, we’ll just see what happens.

So here’s to what I’m hoping will be another good year. And I hope to keep up this blog for as long as I can.