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I hit up this blog on technology on a pretty regular basis—I am pretty determined to be the first person to purchase the Apple Tablet if it is, indeed, real and not just some mythical fantasy of cyber geeks everywhere.

Appletablet1

Can you even imagine? A giant iPhone! Apple’s cooler version of the netbook. And I am just the consumer to buy one: my iPhone is the only thing that I have in my hands almost at all times. I have left the house without my wallet, my jacket, even my keys. But I always have my iPhone. My entire existence is on there. It is an extension of my self, merging me with technology in ways I never would have imagined. Which makes me question: Am I a cyborg?

According the semi-reliable Wikipedia, a cyborg is a “an organism that has both artificial and natural systems.” Oh yeah. That is so me. If I could have the iPhone/iTouch technology embedded into my arm, I would do it. It would be one less thing to carry.

In reality, just carrying my iPhone with me everywhere I go does not make me a cyborg in any form. But git a load of this:

500x_aimeemullinsbeachshot

I mean, how cool is this?!

This picture totally took my breath away when I saw it. I can’t even walk across campus without getting winded and this chick is running marathons on cyber legs. That is impressive enough; add in that she had to learn to walk on these legs makes my adoration grow even more so.

The use of new technologies in the medical field is baffling. When I was younger, any chicken pox outbreak was a call for old school play dates; mothers thrust their kids into infected communities to get the illness over with.

And you thought South Park came up with this!

chicekpox

My mother did this: with four of us at home, she wanted us all exposed at the same time and that is exactly what happened, from my oldest brother on down to me we scratched our way through the pox outbreak until we passed it onto other kids in the neighborhood. Imagine my awe at knowing there is a vaccination for chicken pox now, something most of you probably got as a baby. You all miss that childhood rite of passage.

From vaccinations to the cure for cancer new technology has made its presence felt. Of course, this technology also brings with it ethical issues related to cloning and bioterrorism. But just glancing at the above shot of Aimee Mullins offers some insight into the benefits of such advances in new technology.

Illness, ailment, disability…you have been p0wn3d.

Audience is a pretty big deal in writing. We have been talking about it all semester, how audience makes all the difference in composing a text—who is reading, who is taking action. As we are about to step into the Argument Project, it got me thinking about the power of audience and how technology has helped create new audiences that might not normally be there.

I have a series of videos here, the original song and the remake. Watch them. But most importantly, give them a listen. Consider how audience changes, depending on the text. Listen to the beat of the music, the vocal arrangement, the switch in genre. What’s the context? Did it change for each song? Did the voice and tone change the meaning? How might audience change the purpose of the text? Go on. Give them all a listen. I dare you.

Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”
I was a big fan of the Eurythmics in the 80s. How could I not be? Powerful female with an ultra-feminine voice yet so very, very androgynous.

Marilyn Manson, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”
Ah, Marilyn. Tried to be as powerfully androgynous as Annie but never quite pulling it off. But not a bad version. Enough for me to see him perform this in concert. Really.

Depeche Mode, “Personal Jesus”
Oddly, I could only find live versions of this song, all mellowed out acoustically. But this is the original song, a fantastic song…

Johnny Cash, “Personal Jesus”
Until The Man in Black did a cover. Fantabulous.

There is huge popularity in redoing hip-hop songs. Not certain if it’s because of the content or the opportunity to rework the beats. Perhaps both. Why do you think?

Jay Z, “Hard Knock Life”
Love, love, love the beats. I am guessing many of you have never heard the original song Jay Z sampled. You must watch it below.

Annie, “It’s A Hard Knock Life”
Originally a Broadway show with many, many now famous Annie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker, for one). This video is from the film. Chose to post this version because the choreography is just way too much fun.

Dr. Dre, “Bitches Ain’t Shit”
Yeah, I hated it when I first heard it. The lyrics got my feminist ruffles up. They are rough for my 42 yr old ears. No original video on this one so you’ll have to settle with just a listen.

Ben Folds, “Bitches Ain’t Shit”
And then I heard this version. And what do you know? A perfect example of how audience can change if the text is composed differently. Love it. Actually made me go back to the original and learn to appreciate the rhymes. Really.

Michael Jackson, “Smooth Criminal”
I’m honestly not a Michael Jackson fan but I do like some of his stuff. This is one of his I really, really like.

Alien Ant Farm, “Smooth Criminal”
And I REALLY, REALLY like this. But then, I like my music a bit on the loud side.

Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps”
For the record, let’s just establish that Fergie can do no wrong in my eyes.

Alanis Morissette, “My Humps”
Rumor has it that Fergie sent Alanis flowers after seeing this vid on YouTube. I believe it. She is just that cool.

Nelly, “Hot In Herre”
This song is pretty good. Like anything of Miley’s and Britney’s, it stirs my earworm every time I hear it.

Jenny Owen Youngs, “Hot In Herre”
But, omg. This pushes me over the edge. I love this chick. I will follow her to the moon.

This was my first record player.

RecordPlayer

It was from Fisher-Price and it played pre-formatted plastic “records” that sounded like tin. I loved it. The sound didn’t bother me as I had the freedom to play my music (all children’s nursery rhymes) when I wanted to hear it.

My mother bought me a real record player a few years later at a garage sale. This is the first album I ever bought:

Saturday-Night-Fever

OK. Stop laughing. I was 10. Disco—and this movie—was hugely popular at the time. I must have listened to that album a million times. Though I have to admit, with older siblings, my tastes quickly moved from The Bee Gees and into more sophisticated music:

Sex_Pistols

This is the first CD I ever bought:

KateBush

It was 1989 and I remember it very clearly. I eagerly anticipated the release of this CD, having been a Kate Bush fan through much of high school. At the time, music was still easily available to purchase in album form and indeed, I had the album Hounds of Love, her 1985 release.

houndsoflove

While I can remember my first album and CD, I cannot, for the life of me, remember my first cassette tape. Which is odd since I was in high school in the 80s which means that overall, I did most of my music listening on this:

sony-walkman

I note the historical ride through my instruments of music listening because now, I listen to music on this:

iphone

And this:

macbook_pro_late_2008

(OK, I admit that my MacBook is not nearly as new as this one but I am thinking Field of Dreams here: “If you build it, they will come.” If I post a pic of a new MacBook Pro, perhaps one will miraculously arrive on my desk overnight.)

As my listening pleasure has become a digital event, I realize that it is time to do something about the 7 boxes of unpacked CDs that have been sitting on my office floor since I moved here a year ago. Most of them are already ripped to my hard drive but I expect that once I actually open these boxes, I will find CDs I completely forgot about and it will feel as if I have a whole mess of new music.

I have prolonged this transfer of technology, however, because I think it will be very much like the way I felt when I made the leap from cassette to CD: as much as I loved the streamline of the CD and the larger format to read things such as liner notes and lyrics, there was something about that click of the cassette case, the smell of the tape, the need of the pencil to rewind the loose cartridge that I was going to miss.

And once I make that transfer away from CDs completely, I only have the digital version of “album art” which is small and not nearly as interesting as it was in the past. I am certainly a true believer in the betterment of our lives with new technologies and I support digital music otherwise I would not interact with it. But I will be melancholy when I sell those old CDs to a used CD store, especially Kate Bush’s The Sensual World. Just memories of the week I bought it and played it non-stop are special to my young adulthood.

What technology have you given up to move into newer forms? Are you sad to see it go?

I am not a gamer. I respect the genre and I think it is cool that people do play video games but the fact is, I have neither the coordination, nor the patience. I think it takes a certain kind of person to have the stamina to play a video game repeatedly with an attempt at moving to the next level, achieve the highest score—so not me. Knowing that something will explode, crash, disengage or otherwise crap out under the pressure of a timer pretty much freaks me out.

So I am not in on the gaming culture that exists around competition. But I do know how much games such as WoW and Halo are a part of today’s popular culture. Halo fascinates me—the graphics are amazing.

Halo

When I first saw the game being played, all I could think is that this is a long way from the Pac-Man of my generation.

PacMan

What really baffles me, however, is how completely emotional people get over video games.

I am trying to think of anything that would make me freak out this much. I admit, when a download from iTunes is hitting my computer so slow I can make a sandwich in the time it takes to hit my hard drive, I am not happy. But these meltdowns are nowhere near my level of frustration.

Admittedly, gossip has it that the videos I posted here are fake; I post them anyway, because they model a behavior that is indeed found in relation to gaming. Headlines such as this are getting to be familiar:

“Man Dies of Heart Failure Playing Video Games; played 50 hours non-stop”

What is it about gaming that brings out the worst in people?