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December 2006 Archives

December 1, 2006

Yes...I have taken up welding...

So I like to go down to the art studios and dabble in all the things going on there. One day I went down and worked in the clay studio and the other night I decided to do some welding with friends that were working on projects down there. Don't worry I wasn't just picking up the torch and going wild. I had supervision as well as protective goggles on to be careful and not detach my retina. Good times. Welding steel together is rather empowering.

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December 4, 2006

Dumpster Diving...Experience #1

Things in my life seem to be getting more interesting as time passes and the semester reaches a close. Over the past couple of days I have found myself being involved with many new things that I doubted at first, but then embraced them as if I had been doing them for years. I applied for another internship on a whim and was interviewed on the spot which proved to be a great thing. I also decided to write a little article on local shop owner and activist Tim Krupar for Greensburg Magazine, which is in the process of being launched. And yesterday I met with Moira Richardson to discuss some ideas I had for a short play which she really helped me with and put a spin on with the addition of a mime character. During our meeting she told me about a phenomenon known as dumpster diving. I was immediately intrigued by her descriptions of the act which included reaching into a dumpster and finding what were essentially described as hidden treasures. By the end of the conversation I was convinced that this was something I needed to try.

According to Moira you can find anything in a dumpster as long as you know the hot spots around town and what days and times to check them out. I gather that this is almost like a science for some people, complete with formulas and theories. Unfortunately I cannot reveal them at this time due to confidential rules of the act that make it seem almost elitist, but you have to understand this is a hobby for these people. You wouldn't give away all the secrets to something you enjoyed, or at least I wouldn't. I think it is a trial by error type of hobby. I will admit the initial reason I participated in the event was not out of economic necessity, but rather sheer curiosity. I think the fact that it is such an easy thing to look into a dumpster and take things really makes this appealing to me. There is not much effort involved, but then again it is much like a hunt when you are looking through the bins. That idea might not make sense, but its like so easy to do, yet you still feel accomplished when there is a good find.

The one thing that really sold me on the idea of dumpster diving was when Moira read me a list of all the things she had found in one month. It had to be close to a couple hundred dollars worth of items. I couldn't believe all the great things she had named, as well as the ridiculous idea that someone actually threw them out. Really opened up my eyes to how wasteful we all can be. The fact that one of the places we went was throwing away baby clothes that still had the tags on them made me sick. There are deserving people in the world that could use that. We are also talking about food items, toys, crafts and more. I was half tempted to take a pair of skis with the poles in a case, but then decided that I didn't need them as much as I thought I did. One thing that crossed my mind was selling the goodies on ebay and just not telling people they came from a dumpster. It is like they "fell off a truck" or something and landed in my lap.

Tonight I found a $39.99 Pre-Fab Christmas Tree and gave it to Moira as a symbol of my dumpster diving appreciation. This thingt was being trashed because the electric lights on it didn't work. This was crazy because most people could just take off the broken lights and put a regular string on it. Problem solved and money saved. I guess some of the coolest things we found tonight were a fish tank, a cane, a top hat, and some random clothes. I know you may be thinking this is weird or dirty, but let me assure you none of the people I was with jumped into a dumpster and began taking laps in the garbage. It wasn't double dare style jumping and sliding. We all just pulled the things off the top and just went with it. I really want to go again soon, and want to go to different places. All I can say is that it disgusted me how much food, and other items were simply being trashed because of little reasons. A day old loaf of bread is still good to me. If you really want to gain a new understanding of materialism, wastefullness, and economic struggle at its best, then I reccomend looking into dumpster diving even if it is only a one time thing. For right now this is all that I can really say about the topic, but I bet there will be plenty more of these stories to tell in the near future.

December 5, 2006

Writing, Digital Imaging & Design Samples...

Below are various samples of my writing, and web design projects. The writing samples are taken from several non-fiction publications where my work has appeared. My writing has also been featured on the websites of several E-magnify associates including MoGoes and Silver Lining Solutions.

WRITING
Setonian - Seton Hill University, Greensburg PA

- Store, Give, or Trash?

Delmarva Youth Magazine - Salisbury, MD

Rentals Revisited
- 5 Children and It July/Aug 2006
- Ozzie Sept/Oct 2006
- Duma Nov/Dec 2006
- EZ Money Jan/Feb 2007

E-Magnify Women's Business Center - Seton Hill University, Greensburg PA

Entrepreneur's Corner
- Entrepreneur's Corner February 2007
- Entrepreneur's Corner April 2007
- Entrepreneur's Corner July 2007
- Entrepreneur's Corner January 2008
- Entrepreneur's Spotlight July 2007

Features
- Onyx Woman April 2007
- Blogging Benefits for Businesses October 2007
- E-magnify.com Facelift Press Release

Instructional Writing
- Macromedia Dreamweaver Directions
- FTP Site Login Directions

“Building a World-Class Business” Conference
- Culture Shock March 2007
- Mary Cantando Speaks March 2007
- Creating Lasting Connections: Relationship Networking January 2008

PROMOTION & ONLINE ADVERTISEMENT
E-Magnify Women's Business Center - Seton Hill University, Greensburg PA

E-Blasts & Newsletters
- She Means Business
- E-mail Marketing Best Practices Webinar
- Web Site Design and Online Marketing Essentials
- Getting Started With An Online Store
- Participants Wanted for Research Study: Factors Which Affect Women's Acceptance of Online Mentoring
- Newsletter March 2007

GRAPHIC DESIGN
Portfolio

WEB PAGES
E-magnify.com
- Starting A Business
- Already In Business
- E-magnify.com Facelift Page

December 6, 2006

EL 405: Project 2 Progress Report...

After many hours of laboring and coding I am ready to blog about the progress I have made on project 2. I have chosen to elaborate on Stormy's IF game about the kids on the playground and so far it has been a real blast for me. She has taken on the task of re-vamping my rainforest game and I can't wait to see what she comes up with. Already I can see a difference by looking at the compiler's statement: "The 930-word source text has successfully been translated into a world with 5 rooms and 8 things, and the index has been brought up to date" that now reads "1244-word source text has successfully been translated into a world with 5 rooms and 12 things." So it is at least evident that I have added a signifigant amount of changes to not only the layout of the game, but also the amount of objects it has in it. The addition of objects was something I really wanted to emphasize.

I have strived to make this game more user friendly as well as more interactive and logical. In the sense of making it a more logical game I removed certain parts from descriptions that were not constants. For example the description of SAM cannot be playing with the ball if you just took the ball, so I generalized about her rather than what she was doing. This spares the player a lot of confusion. Some of the more prominent changes I have made involve character to character interaction and how extensive this can be. I thought we were supposed to conduct a beta test of our games on Tuesday, but that was not the case and instead we worked on HalfLife 2. It is all good though because I have had 2 non-classmates play the game I am working on and have taken notes on their reactions. In one instance I removed a player from the game after he is helped because his description and presence are no longer valid after the task that is required has been achieved. It was pointless to have the player keep doing the same action over and over again, so I made that impossible.

Project 2 Screenshot.JPG

Some notable changes that I have made are mainly visible in the meat of the game where you [EARL] are trying to help the other kids on the playground during recess. For example there is a scene where you are in a room called "Monkey Bars" but in the original version of the game there were no actual monkey bars to interact with. I added a jungle gym to this section and had the computer recognize it as "jungle gym" or "monkey bars" so that it fit a little better. I also used one of the beta testers inclination to "climb bars" as inspiration for making this possible in the game. It was their natural instinct to do so [climb], and it is the job of an IF author to anticipate what people will try to do so I added that to the game. I am rather pleased with this game and I feel like it still stays true to my wacky roots in a family oriented way. One of my favorite lines in the game is: The description of Charles is "He was fine until he became distracted by a butterfly in the distance. Oh no! Charles is dangling from the monkey bars, his sweaty hands are slipping and he is losing his grip!" I was able to have a lot of fun with the game and not be repulsive and inapropriate/weird as I normally might lean towards being.

December 7, 2006

Hammer & HalfLife 2

So this past week and a half the class (EL 405) has been working on HalfLife 2 or as I like to call it "the game that I was waiting for all semester". There was a lot of anticipation building up to this moment, believe me. We weren't at one point even sure if there would be enought time in the semester to get to it. Honestly if we could take this class all year long that would rock. But back on topic HL2 is truly awesome. This is probably my favorite thing that we have done so far in the class. What can I say? I love first person shooters, I love zombies, and more importantly I love being creative. One of the best parts about HL2 is that you have the ability to create playable worlds and levels.

After we went through a tutorial of the game in class Puff and I played HL2 one night for like seriously 3 hours. I wanted to play the counterstrike version, but ended up only playing the original HL2 game and got pretty far. I love how it is created in a Sandbox format in the regard that almost everything can be used, or picked up, even if it doesn't serve a direct purpose to your mission. The hardest part in the first couple of chapters was when I had to jump on the roof tops and escape being shot. Another part that I found difficult was when the apartment complex gets raided and you have to make it to the roof before being shot or captured. Rather disorienting at times. That was a doozy.

Most recently Stormy and I worked though the rest of the build-a-level tutorials in class and came up with some pretty sick stuff. We put 2 citizens/civilians in the game world we created along with a zombie torso that actually moves rather fast compared to the stigma that they are slow moving creatures. This torso was on a mission. We created a box that explodes and shatters when it is shot. I think one of the coolest things is the glass floor that we made because when you shoot at it the glass cracks. Below is a screenshot of the room we were working on in class. You can see here the octagon that we put in the game and the industrial texture we used. The glass floor, crate and other boxes in the background are also visible.

Half Life Screenshot.JPG

December 8, 2006

Beta Test: Project 2...

So there are still a few kinks in my game, and it was only played by one person (Amanda) in class the other day. Last night I had my friend Kaylee play it as well and noticed a huge coding error in the game. For some reason it won't let me drop the ball when you take it from the character of Sam (Samantha). When I try and drop the ball it reads it as throwing the ball at Sam and that is not what I put in there. I think the problem may come from a scene where I said Instead of touching say, "You broke Sam's nose etc etc." It seemed to be working fine in class and I am currently trouble shooting the issue. Another problem I noticed was that some of my directions (N,S,E,W) were not labeled correctly in the descriptions of each room. It was reading in some instances that the playground was west, but in fact is was north.

IF Screenshor2222.JPG

I guess I will chalk that up to human error when I was coding very late at night and I was really tired. Right now I am posting below what I have worked on since class yesterday in hopes that my peers will take a look at it and offer any advice to me. The progression of this game has proven to be a rapide and steady one. I think that I can expand it a little bit more before we present projects next week. My code is now a 1558-word source text with 5 rooms and 13 things. The other day I only had a 1244-word source text. By the time this project is complete I would like to have over 2000 words in it. That seems like a very obtainable goal. The next thing on my list of things to do is figure out how to upload my game into a Zplet Java screen that can be displayed on my blog.

Game Code (Inform 7 required to play)
CST Game

December 11, 2006

Is that a Catholic Social Teaching skill in my dumpster?...

So tonight I was out and I had this really great idea for an interactive fiction game that could deal with the CST principles that we already worked on putting into our other projects. I was thinking that it would be cool to create a game that plays off the concept of dumpster diving. Lately this has become a big part of my life so it seems like the perfect setting for a game. The whole idea of finding 'unwanted goods/items' in a dumpster and then fixing them up could make for an interesting IF game that deals with giving, sharing, and helping others. I was thinking about naming the game "Dumpster Divas" and have the main character be a woman. I suppose that the back story would be about a group of female divers that band together and form a diving team. The character's adventures would be loosely based on those that my friends and I have experienced. Inside the dumpsters of each scene would be various items that either help or hinder the efforts of the player.

I want to use hints about the places that I dive in the game as well. It would be neat to come up with code words for places that you don't want to give away. Like I might make a key word map and send it along with the game to people that I want to understand the places. For all intensive purposes let us call one of the spots "Massive Flying Bird". Who knows? Maybe I am getting ahead of myself. The game is most defnitely going to deal with different people that benefit from dumpster diving and this is going to be exemplified through the main characters collecting and sorting of the goods. For example I plan to incorporate a homeless man (I know thats cliche), a friend, an organizational group (VFW etc. ) and an average family. These are all people that the player will encounter and can help or leave alone. Points will be awarded based on the validity of the choices that the student makes. Certain dumpster items will help everyone differently. Right now I have been having a lot of luck finding holiday decorations and that might be a nice thing to put in the game. Tis the season to be giving, and what deals with CST more than helping others through good will.

I can see myself coming up with a holiday game called "Tree Bandits" or something like that because of all the fake pre-fab/pre-lit Christmas trees that I have found this year. And can I just say that all of them work and are completely lit up at my friends' homes as I blog this entry right now. It kills me to think that this particular dumpster where I found the trees was such a gold mine. In one way I was glad to have been able to fix and give away the trees, but on the other hand it sucks that it took a person outside of this establishment's inforstructure (Me) to realize the potential of the trashed goods. Why couldn't this store give the trees away to needy families without trees for the holiday? It is interesting because without naming the place I was diving I will at least say this: it is the same place where Moira found "8 cloth Halloween gift bags." See these people are throwing away things left and right.

That is what boggles me! Then I guess it also gets to me that I gave these trees away as gifts to friends, and their reactions were amazing, I can only imagine the reactions of kids/families in the community that could use these trees also. This is quality merchandise that can be used year after year. I guess I will keep ranting about this until people wake up and stop being wasteful, careless and inconsiderate. I don't by any means consider myself an activist, but I am not the type of person not to comment about something that bothers me.

EL 200....Ex 5: Group Project Work...

I feel that this semester of Media Lab (EL 200) class has been the best and most productive one that I have ever taken. This is because instead of working on ten different projects we came together as a class and focussed on two of them, each equally beneficial for the long term good of the Setonian. Though I was very much involved with both of the projects, I felt a deeper connection to the NMJ website concept and made a tip sheet about the sports section. This idea became my baby and I feel that through my work I inspired many of my classmates. I wanted to come up with a part of the website that would help my classmates as well as my writers. I know there are a lot more things I would like to do next semester to expand upon these ideas. Ultimately after putting together this sports writing tip sheet I would like to hold a workshop next semester with an emphasis on a career in public relations/sports or in sports writing.

I plan on talking to some of the Career Works people here at Seton Hill, as well as my "higher up" connections in the athletic department. It would be nice to hold the workshop as more of a seminar and invite Communications and Journalism majors with an interest in sports. For now though, I have put together a tip sheet for the Setonian's Sports Section. The second product of my work was actually a collaboration. I turned Rachel Prichard's project into a brochure format and re-organized some of her information to fit my template accordingly. I am placing a draft of this on my blog along with the handout in order to get feedback and maybe expand upon this next semester as well. I think overall I have produced several valuable projects that the class can use to benefit the Setonian. Some of the information that has been posted on my blog was more general and will be included under different sections of the NMJ site. For example the work that I have done on researching leads, and AP Style is not as section specific. I am generally pleased.

- New Media Journalism Brochure (Adobe PDF)
- Sports Handout (Microsoft Word document)

EL 405: Blog Portfolio III...

This is the third installment of my Blog Portfolio for 2006 Fall Semester: EL 405 New Media Projects. For those of you that did not follow my Blog the prior to now I will give you a brief exposition about me. My name is Leslie Rodriguez and welcome to my weblog sponsored by Movable Type. I am a junior at Seton Hill University and as part of my class and the New Media Journalism program I write and respond with blog entries on various topics.

These entries are then posted for public view on my blog. This entry acts as an introduction to my blog portfolio which includes selected entries that reflect on our in class discussions, published news articles and various texts that Dr.Jerz has assigned. The following topics will be examined and discussed in my blog portfolio:

The Collection
My best blog entries that demonstrate intellectual growth.
Entries are categorized accordingly.
Project 2 & Software Entries

Project 2 Progress Report - An overall look at the progress that I when I swapped projects with Stormy. She fine tuned and added to my IF CST game and I did the same to hers. I listed a few of the major changes that I planned to make as well as those I had already put into action.

Hammer & HalfLife 2 - In this entry I wrote about the in class tutorials we had been doing with HalfLife 2. I also expressed my enjoyment about finally getting to play the game and work on making MODs with zombies, weapons and more importantly and octagon...ohhh!

Beta Test Project 2 - Here I noted what I learned and needed to work on after holding a beta testing session for project 2. The testing involved a classmate as well as a friend of mine outside of class that was unfamiliar with interactive fiction.

Interactive Fiction: The Meaning of Life - The final blog about my Interactive Fiction game. Decided on the title thanks to the one and only S. Knight. Good times in the real of geeks...my home.

Xenoblogging

Comment Grande - A comment left on Puff's blog entry about his HL2 level with the zombie bowling.

Comment Informative - A comment I left on Stormy's wall that empathsizes with her frustration at a certain point during her IF game developement.

Comment Grande #2 - Advice that I offered to Chris about his project 2 proposal. I commented on his original idea and made suggestions about categorizing his poems and pictures accordingly.

Wild Card Entry

Is that a Catholic Social Teaching skill in my dumpster? - In this entry I proposed the idea of creating an interactive fiction game that deals with the idea of dumpster diving and incorporates the Catholic Social Teaching principles.

December 13, 2006

EL405: Final Project- Interactive Fiction...the meaning of life

The time is here and I have to present my EL 405 final project. I can honestly say it felt very effortless to work on because I had such a good time doing it. For this project Stormy and I swapped our CST games and decided it would be interesting to add on to each others work. I fixed general coding and spelling errors within the game, but also added a lot of items and several endings that the game was lacking before. The biggest thing I wanted to do was make the CST principles visible, but in a non-preachy and helpful way. Instead of out right telling the person what they did right or wrong I wrote descriptions that were more so examples than definitions of the teachings.

IFGAMEFJFJFJF.JPG

This collaboration was one that I will not soon forget because neither Stormy or I have played our original games since the modifications had been made. It will prove interesting when we present in class. Originally I had wanted to put the game in this blog entry as a playable IF Zplet, but I still couldn't figure out how to do that even after many attempts. Overall I am so pleased with the way this project went and how the class as a whole turned out. Below you can download my final project and play it in the free Inform 7 Interactive Fiction interpreter. Simply paste the coding into Inform 7 and you are set!

Final Project CST Playground Game

Ps...if you are wondering about the title of this entry ask Stormy Knight.

December 18, 2006

The Oracular Tree..."Santa's Surprise"

The Oracular Tree is another e-zine where Santa's Surprise has appeared recently. The story has now been published three times since being written last spring semester. I wrote it originally in the class Publication Workshop, which has proven to be one of the most practical classes that I have taken at Seton Hill University. I have not submitted the story for publication since the summer when I contacted over 75 different publications. Responses varied from "we have too many submissions" to "we are no longer a working publication.".And then there is always the "we are not interested at this time." Either way this experience of writing for publication has proven to be an ego boost as well as a credibility boost for my career and the way I am perceived in the professional world.

December 19, 2006

Dumpster Diving Home & Abroad...

Now that I am home, I have begun to tell more people about dumpster diving. The reactions have been mixed to say the least. My parents are rather unsure about the idea of rummaging through other peopleís things and then salvaging the best stuff for myself. I told them I barely keep any of it anyway. I first explained the concept to my father when we were driving home from Seton Hill last Friday, and he seemed to find it almost comical. As I was describing my recent diving activities, a smirk came across his face, and when I asked why he was laughing, he replied ďbecause you seem so into this.Ē I admit I was talking rather passionately about the practice. I think that the general perception by my parents is that dumpster diving is ďfor the homelessĒ and that I have no reason to be doing it.

I argue that there is no difference between the idea of taking garbage off peopleís stoops/sidewalks (furniture for example) and diving for it in a dumpster. In the end you are leaving the ďsceneĒ with great stuff that was going to be trash if you hadnít come upon it. My second argument deals with the legality of the dumpster diving issue. My parents fear legal repercussions for me and my diving team. I say the trash is fair game once it is put in that dumpster, so its not considered stealing if you take it. If I were to take the whole dumpster then we would have a problem because the dumpster belongs to a trash company that contracts its use out to a business. Therefore the dumpster is privately owned, but its contents are not. Ironically the contents become public as soon as they are put into that privately owned dumpster.

I will continue to lobby for the cause while I am home even if I donít actually get to do any diving here (though I am going to try to). It is strange because I feel more comfortable diving in Greensburg with friends than I do here alone. No one is into it yet here. On a lighter note it has become somewhat of a joke around my house at the moment anyway. I tell my parents that I am going to serve them food from a dumpster and not tell them. My father replied that he will no longer eat anything I give him of which he doesnít know the exact origin. I also joked with them about getting their Christmas presents from the dumpster (though not a bad idea) because I am short on cash at the moment.

It has been about a week since my last dive and I canít stand not going. I really feel like it has become a hobby for me and it is about the pursuit and discovery of treasures. I also get somewhat of a gratifying feeling from the act of finding meaningful things and then giving them to other people that might not have encountered them otherwise. Moira and I had talked about starting a holiday program of sorts where we dumpster dive for decorations from assorted holidays and then offer them to people that do not have decorations. This idea specifically came from the fact we found Halloween and Christmas decorations in abundance already this year. I think this would be a great idea to benefit the Greensburg community if we could get it organized.

The only thing that I worry about is running the risk of over popularizing this supposed ďundergroundĒ movement. Apparently there are some divers that take offense to letting a newbie in on the phenomenon. The way that the divers are so territorial only leads me to believe they might have a problem with a community wide event, even though they often claim to be advocates of making people aware. To me the only way I know of making people aware is to immerse them in the activity and to straight up tell them about the cause. I plan on creating an inventory of all the things I have found over the 4 times that I have been diving. I think it will be a great eye opener and I canít wait to post it. It is going to include items I found, as well as the items that my friends Kaylee and Amanda (they donít have blogs) found. I will leave it up to Moira to tell you her latest finds (donít want to spoil it).

December 20, 2006

Dumpster Inventory Round #1...

The first time I went dumpster diving it was with my friend Kaylee North and it was because Moira had told me about her experiences diving. I mentioned the idea to Kaylee and then we went one night. This turned into a two part experience because we picked up Moira along the way and then did a second dive. During our first dive Kaylee and I found:

* One 4ft Pre-Lit Christmas Tree ($39.99 value) - price tag still attached
* 1 animal/fish tank with a small crack in it (about 1ft/2ft)
* 4 Baby outfits - brand new with the tags still attached
* 1 baby bath board
* 1 SpongeBob Squarepants Christmas Stocking (new)
* 1 wooden cane with rubber stopper on the bottom (hardly looked used)

The second time I went diving it was with Kaylee again and her friend Amanda. This trip was also one that I would label a success. On this particular trip we found:

* 1 wooden picture frame (unfinished and ready for paint/primer)
* 1 large sheet of poster board
* 1 set of 3 Pre-Lit Christmas Trees ($49.99 value - various sizes - small, medium, large) - price tag still attached
* One 4ft Pre-Lit Christmas Tree ($39.99 value) - price tag still attached
* 1 plush children's train toy
* 1 set of watercolor paints (new)

I am pretty impressed with all of this from only two hardcore diving adventures. If I find that I have left anything out from this list I will create an additional "add on" entry in the near future that will feature my corrections.

Rentals Revisited: Jan/Feb Edition...

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It has been said by some individuals that money is the root of all evil, while others believe that money is the key to true happiness. Both of these beliefs, though incredibly contrast are addressed in the film EZ Money. This 86 minute movie released in 2005 revolves around three street smart siblings that mistakenly become involved in a get-rich-quick scheme. Molly, the oldest of the siblings stumbles across a questionably curious e-mail one day while waiting in the principalís office at her school. The e-mail is supposedly from a Nigerian diplomat offering $3 million to anyone who can help him transport some recently accumulated funds to an out of country account. EZ Poster.jpg

Molly immediately jumps on the opportunity to make the money and involves her younger brother Alex and their little sister Echo in the process. When Molly combines her knowledge of business with Alex's hacking skills they open a bank account online and the mysterious money is quickly transferred from the Nigerian diplomatís account right into theirs. At first glance it appears as if these entrepreneurial siblings have made their first cool million without lifting a finger, but they soon discover that nothing in life comes without a price.

After the funds transfer Alex discovers that he cannot access the account because of a power outage that occurred earlier that day, which consequently locked him out of the bankís computer system. What Molly, Alex and Echo donít know is that the EZ Loan bank where they have created an account is simply false organization created by the CIA to catch the creators of the Nigerian e-mail. The kids eventually learn that the fraudulent e-mail was not actually from a Nigerian diplomat at all, but was generated by an international mobster whose scheme has already made piles of cash.

Things become more complicated for the family when the Nigerian gangster realizes the money has been locked into the kidís account. Upon visiting the familyís home in the United States the gangster kidnaps Echo and holds her hostage until the money is returned. The plot is full of twists and unexpected turns that will keep any viewer on the edge of their seat. There is also a definite recurring theme about the real value of money in the film. A particularly memorable part of the movie is at its end when one of the CIA agents states that ďlife is more important than money.Ē If you liked the films Cow Belles, and Monster Night then I would highly recommend checking out EZ Money.

PS...This is the first text wrap I have gotten to work on my blog!

December 23, 2006

The Marijuana Debate...Comment Expansion

Comment I left of Evan's blog...with newly expanded additions.

I couldn't agree with you both (Stormy & Evan) more. I am an advocate of legalization of marijuana. I find that most of the arguments that people wage against marijuana are based on government propaganda. In fact, most of the drug laws that have been passed through out history were only put into place to control the non-mainstream races and ethnicities (basically anyone not white).

It first began with cocaine, which was said to be causing African American men (specifically newly freed slaves) to run wild in Southern cities and rape white women. Interesting how people were only concerned with raping white women rather than raping women in general. African American women were raped by white men all the time and cocaine was never even brought up as the potential cause because the raping of black women was not viewed as an issue.

These were the rumors that lead to the ban and criminalization of cocaine, which was primarily medicinal in use (though some people abused it Ė mostly whites) and accepted by society prior to the post Civil War era. Secondly the criminalization and ban of marijuana in the United States was brought about by a need to control Mexican immigrants importing the drug from South of the border, and to control immigration as a whole.

At one time if a Mexican man was found in the state of Texas to be in possession of one joint of marijuana it could lead to life in prison. I am surprised they (the government) havenít tried something like this lately. It is funny how history repeats itself. In this case we see xenophobia at an all time high (no pun intended). Drug laws are often seen as racist in nature because of these incidents.

Lastly I bring up the most ludicrous of the anti-marijuana laws over the years. It was at one time legal to grow the plant in certain states as long as the grower had what was known as a marijuana stamp tax/permit(Marijuana Stamp Act). But the trick was that in order to obtain the growers stamp the farmer had to bring his product to the registration centers. The loop whole here is that it was illegal to grow without the stamp and when the farmers showed up with their product as proof to obtain the stamp they were arrested on the spot.

This law came forth because of a Machine Gun Stamp Act that was implemented to stop mob bosses and gangsters from having/carrying the weapons. The principal in both cases was the same: show up with the item and set yourself up for arrest, which in turn deterred people from pursuing the legal means of possession because it leads to illegal activities anyway. But that is just a bit of history and my perspective on it all. In the end we just have to remember:

Whites use as many drugs as Latinos and African Americans.

December 26, 2006

Feeling professional...feeling good!

I am officially a regular contributor to Delmarva Youth Magazine, as I have written my Rentals Revisited movie reviews in the last four issues. It is a great feeling of professionalism. The editor of the magazine just added my biography to the magazine's website along with a picture. I wanted to share it on my blog as well. I can't stop saying it to myself "a published undergraduate, in the areas of both fiction and non-fiction." All of this hard work is finally coming together and paying off and I couldn't be more excited. Plus this great internship at E-Magnify next semester is going to top it all off!

DYM BIO SCREENSHOT.JPG

December 27, 2006

Summer Internship Offer #1...

I received an e-mail today from The Daily Times that they would like to offer me a summer internship. This is great because when I applied for summer internship placement through the Maryland - Delaware DC Press Association, I didn't get one. It is a long an complicated road that I have been walking on until now. I don't know if I am going to take it though because I am waiting to hear from one other organization in regards to a paying internship. That is really what I would like to have for the summer, a job where I can work in my field and get paid for it. Just wanted to tell everyone how I excited I was to have been given this opportunity. The fruits of the labor are paying off as I mentioned before and it really gives me hope for the fututre.

View E-mail

Weird Al Yankovic... My Childhood Hero...

Well I feel like now is as good a time as any to reveal that Weird Al Yankovic was my childhood hero and part of the reason that I became a writer. For the longest time I have been writing parody songs and saving them in a book. The other day I found some of them and typed them up. I was shocked how they still remained funny to me. Earlier this year I blogged about a Sound of Music re-write that I had done during a scene where the father is about to call the children down. It was funny, but I believe the songs I have written are my best parodies. I had the idea of blogging the songs over the next few days and getting peer feedback, which I am sure will be interesting. I wanted to start with a classic from the one who started it all on my blog...the one and only Britney Spears. Keep in mind I parody part of the song in some of these and don't make it all the way through. Instead of "Oops! I Did It Again" this is my song:

Britney Spears Oops! Midi File - sing along with the new lyrics below.


OOPS!... I BIT IT AGAIN

By Leslie A. Rodriguez

I think I bit it again.
I made it buh-leed.
So much more than before.

Oh doctor!

It might seem like a cut.
But that doesnít mean itís not serious.

Cause to loose all this blood now.
That is nothing new for me.

Oh doctor!

Oops!... I bit it again.
I played with my scab.
Got lost in the wound.

Oh doctor!

Oops I think I need blood, or Iím going ABOVE!
Iím hemorrhaging!

You see my problem is clear.
Been bleeding all day.
Tried plugging this gash with play dough and clay.

Cause to loose all this blood now.
That is nothing new for me.

Oh doctor!

Oops I think I need blood, or Iím going ABOVE!
Iím coagulating!

Maybe I should do this as my PODCAST next semester in Media Lab.

December 28, 2006

Self Help Tip #1 from Amy Sedaris...

I just got a new book by Amy Sedaris which leads me to believe she is the funniest woman alive. I am a fan of all of her work on Strangers With Candy and I have many of her brother's novels as well. To put things into perspective I have been watching her since the late 90's along with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert (way before his show). This book presents a comedic take on party planning and is entitled "I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence." Already I am laughing and I am only on page 18. Prior to planning the party Sedaris suggests that you must know yourself as a party thrower. The tip list she gives is listed below because I loved it.

moreaboutudhssaa.JPG

This is sure to bring me hours of joy as I plan on reading it in the tub as suggested on the list. Amy Sedaris is a jack of all trades which I hope to someday be. She is really one person that I admire greatly for her achievements in all areas of entertainment and creativity. I want to use my humor the way she does and create something wild, which will in the end be something offensive that only a select group of people will laugh at. But that is sometimes the way of the world.

Publishers Weekly quote: "Sedaris's sidesplitting guide to throwing parties hopes to return readers to the times when the word "entertainment" was "charmingly old-fashioned, like courtship or back alley abortions. While her tongue is firmly in cheek, novice party-planners will actually find some helpful hints along the way as Sedaris offers instructions and real recipes. Her tips run the gamut from how to properly freeze meatballs (freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting them into a freezer bag so they won't stick together) and deal with the inebriated ("Better to cut them off rather than pretend it's not happening and then allow them to stay over and wet your bed"). "

"Genie In A Bottle" Parody...Christina Aguilera

Actual Lyrics - I feel like to get the full effect you need to download the song as well.

Christina Aguilera Genie Midi File - sing along with the new lyrics below.


DOGGY ON A LEASH

By Leslie A. Rodriguez

I feel like Iíve been locked outside for a day full of loneliness.
Waiting for someone to come pet me.
Iím licking my lips and slobbering your way.
Are you gonna get the message today? Walk me, walk me, walk me.

Oh oh oh oh oh, my bladder says I gotta go.
Oh oh oh oh oh, but my ownerís saying no.

If you want to have a pet, baby thereís a price to pay.
Iím a doggy on a leash; you gotta walk me twice a day.

Hey you know I have to pee, please make my wish come true.
You gotta take me on a walkÖOh now I need to poo!

Iím a doggy on a leash baby.
Got to walk me right now honey.
Iím a doggy on a leash baby.
Come, come home and let me out!

Been standing all day and I really gotta go.
Just let me out and the urine will flow.
Iím waiting for someone to release me.
Legs are shaking and Iím not alright,
Gotta let me out before tonight.

Oh oh oh oh oh, my bladder says I gotta go.
Oh oh oh oh oh, but my ownerís saying no.

If you want to have a pet, baby thereís a price to pay.
Iím a doggy on a leash; you gotta walk me twice a day.
Iím a doggy on a leash baby, come, come, come home and let me out.

About December 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in December 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2006 is the previous archive.

January 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.