Well, this is my last blog post.  Ever.  I guess that’s not too sad, since probably no one read these and since I PROBABLY could have spent a lot more time on my posts than I did, but I will admit I’m pretty ackward when it comes to writing.  Just the essays I do for the main assignments in my course take me hours of rereading, analyzing, fixing stupid mistakes, and then fixing my fixing of my stupid mistakes, then…  Well, you can see where this is going.

When it comes to blogs, I’m nooooo expert.  I almost never read them.  So when it came to making my own blog?  That was a new experience for me.  At first I thought I could just upload the projects from my Language class, and that’s what I did.  However, I realized that it wasn’t very appealing to read, so I added a short introduction and conclusion,  and took out most of the uninteresting details from my reports.  The truth is, I could have done a lot more. And I didn’t.

So even though I did not put in as much as I could have to these projects, I hope that someone reads them and enjoys them.  And if you do, could we talk?  I’d love to meet a Spock-like character that enjoys reading boring docs 🙂

Time Travel, Old Men, and Doritos.

In the Doritos commercial “Time Machine”, a young boy named Jimmy asks a Doritos-bag-carrying man named Mr. Smith to try his “time machine” that runs on Doritos.  The man accepts, and gets in the machine.  The boy asks Smith to put his bag of Doritos in a slot to power the machine.  Smith complies, and the boy starts shaking the “time machine” while simultaneously imitating siren noises through a bullhorn.  At the same time Smith, who appears to be quite gullible, believes he is really traveling in time and starts yelling.  After a few seconds of shaking, sirens, and Smith yelling, an old man comes out of the house and yells at the boy to get off his yard.  The boy runs away before Smith gets out of the time machine, and seeing the old man instead of Jimmy, Smith assumes he has traveled in time and that the old man is Jimmy.  The commercial ends with Smith whisper-screaming “it’s the future!” while embracing the old man’s head.  While there are several smaller themes in the video which advertise Doritos directly, no one of them can or does describe the purpose of the whole video.  Instead, the producer simply makes a funny video involving Doritos.  Since mankind perpetually seeks enjoyment, tying Doritos with an enjoyable video makes the Doritos seem enjoyable, and since the viewer naturally wants enjoyment, he will in turn want Doritos.

As mentioned above, there is no main theme to this video, such as “Doritos are tasty” or “Doritos are good for everyone.”  From a viewer’s perspective, it seems that the maker of the video simply wanted to make a funny video that incorporated Doritos.  Just the fact that the video is funny advertises the product and puts it in a good light to the viewer.  To the producer, people appear to be gullible in that they will talk about interesting or funny things they see.  He doesn’t even have to talk about the Doritos, he just has to make a funny video that has Doritos in it.  After watching people will say “Did you see that funny Doritos commercial?” and as a result people will start talking about Doritos.  And later when they see Doritos while shopping they will think “That Doritos commercial was really funny!” and by thinking about them they will want to buy them.  In other words, what is IN the video is not what advertises Doritos.  Instead the video ITSELF, because of the humor of it, advertises the product.  This strange approach to advertising of drawing the audience into the commercial itself instead of the Doritos themselves seems to work, as evidenced by the five million views for the commercial on YouTube.

There are several other smaller thoughts that the producer wanted to get across that he didn’t want to be the main focus of the video.  One such statement is that “Doritos are for everyone”.  One bit of evidence for this is the fact that the man’s name is Mr. Smith.  The name Smith is the most common last name in the English language, and often represents man in general.  The fact that they show Doritos being eaten by a man named Smith can show that it is eaten and wanted by many people, since as mentioned the name Smith is a very general name and can represent a lot of people.

The humor is unmistakable in this ad.  The whole point of the ad seems to be to bring a smile to your face.  The first thing we see is a boy with a cape on, a golden retriever, a man who looks slightly disoriented, and an obviously kid-made “time machine.”  These elements combine to make a humorous scene that right away gives a feeling of happiness and childishness that will leave a smile on anyone’s face.  Other humorous points include the child’s handwriting that has the occasional backwards-facing letter, the obvious stupidity of Mr. Smith, and the cliché of the old man telling the boy to “get off my yard!”

The humor continues in the music, which adds a lot to the video, but in a very unique way.  At the beginning it is quiet with a sense of excitement and goofiness.  Later when Smith is in the “time machine” it gets louder and more adventurous, cutting out briefly to accent the fact that the boy is making sound effects.  It resumes with a greater volume when Smith is riding in the machine, and then again cuts out when the old man yells at the boy to get of his yard.  It resumes quietly when Smith steps out to the “future” and hugs the old man.  The constant pauses accentuate some of the smaller details in the video, such as what the boy is doing to the machine and what the old man sounds and acts like.  The music also works to differentiate between what the boy/old man are experiencing in the real world and what Smith is experiencing in the “time machine” by only playing music when what is happening directly affects Smith and cutting it out when the boy and old man are affected.  This interesting tactic makes for a different ad that will grab a watcher’s attention.

As we have seen, the ad does not directly advertise Doritos, but instead associates the commercial and the humor of the commercial with Doritos.  Instead of promoting a product, the producer simply makes a video that will stick in the person’s mind as being funny and good-natured that will come to mind the next time they see Doritos.  Other smaller messages are inserted here and there, such as the name Smith being used to show that Doritos are enjoyed by many people.  To add to the humor and artistry of the commercial, the music is carefully edited to emphasize details and to show the two different stories being told at the same time.  The producer takes humor and editing to make an enjoyable commercial that is more an art form than a means of advertising.  In conclusion, the ad tries and succeeds successfully to get a funny mental image across that the viewer will talk about and think of the next time they see Doritos.

NF Paralyzed: Whats the Meaning?

 

 Anyone ever heard the song “Paralyzed” by NF?  If you haven’t, you need to.  It seems like most people I know think that Christian Rappers aren’t very emotional, but this song is very powerful.
According to the dictionary, paralysis is the condition of being “partly or wholly incapable of movement”.  In the song Paralyzed by NF, we see that talked about over and over again, with him constantly saying “I’m paralyzed”.  However, Nate Feuerstein, better known by his stage name NF, does not simply talk about being paralyzed, but specifically about his emotions and feelings being paralyzed.  This strange concept of being “paralyzed” emotionally may seem strange at first, but it does make sense if you look at what paralysis means.  This definition can be connected with the idea that our emotion and humanity can leave us or get paralyzed.  We also see NF asking “when did I become so numb?”  Paralysis often includes a numbness in the part of the body that is paralyzed, and as he is talking about emotions, it makes sense that he can be “numb” emotionally since we know that that can happen (for example, depression is when you do not feel hope or happiness).  This can happen when you become adjusted to the ways of the world instead of focusing on God. His message in this song is that your emotions and your faith can become numb if you aren’t focusing on what is good to God as opposed to what is good to the world.
 NF was born in Michigan in 1991 into an unstable family.  His parents divorced when he was young and Nate ended growing up with his father.  He had a difficult childhood.  His mom died of an accidental drug overdose when he was 12 and before that her boyfriend abused him.  His escape was music, and Nate started his career with a karaoke machine in his room, playing the instrumentals on one microphone and his raps on the other.   Using the stage name NF, he launched his music career by winning second in a national Fine Arts festival for his church, and a few years later released his first album.  His hectic childhood left emotional scars, and he reveals them in the powerful lyrics of his songs.
Before we talk about the lyrics, the actual music should be analyzed first as it forms the backdrop for the lyrics.  Most of the “background” consists of piano, drums, and some dubstep.  For the most part, the background is sparse with an echo, and adds a feeling of emptiness and blankness.  This goes along with paralysis, especially when referring to mental paralysis.  This background of emptiness and nothingness works with the lyrics since mental paralysis can be viewed as nothing being thought or imagined.  Overall the lyrics and instrumentals go together to make a sad, empty sounding song.
  Paralyzed is a very deep song, and there’s a lot to look at.  For instance, in the chorus he asks “Where is the real me?”  But what is the “real me” that he is referring to?  This might not make sense from a non-Christian perspective.  However, from a Christian viewpoint, it could be interpreted that this “real me” is referring to his faith and his connection to God.  There are a few reasons why this might be valid.  First, NF says that “all the words that leave my tongue feel like they came from someone else”.  This could refer to his sinful nature having taken over him and that he no longer communes with God on a regular basis.  As a result, he can’t “feel” God’s presence anymore or make faith-based decisions because of his sinful nature getting in between him and God.
 Second, at the beginning of the second verse he says that he has “become ashamed”.  What connection does being ashamed have with being paralyzed? Again, from a non-Christian perspective it doesn’t seem to make much sense.  But from a Christian viewpoint, we can see that he is talking about being ashamed about his faith in God.  In the Bible, Jesus said to stay unashamed, and by this He was probably referring to our faith in God and to stay unashamed in proclaiming God’s Word to the world.  But for NF, without his connection with God he seems to be ashamed of his faith in God, maybe because he is ashamed that he no longer lives what God taught him and doesn’t have faith in God anymore.
 While you might not notice right away, there is a story hidden within the song.  It seems that the person singing was a Christian at one point.  However, the person slowly slid into sin, probably so slowly he didn’t even notice.  His Bible probably wasn’t being read as often as it should be, and he also probably stopped praying.  He got further and further away from God… and then realized what had happened.  He no longer had the faith in God he used to have, and now he doesn’t even know what it is to be a Christian anymore.  The evidence for this is that he says “I no longer feel things I know I should.”, which seems to indicate that he had faith at one point and he knows he should have faith, but he doesn’t anymore and doesn’t even know what faith is anymore.
It makes you wonder if this numbness is happening in your own life because, at least for the artist, it appears like he realized too late that his consciousness for God was gone and that now he can’t do anything about it, even if he wanted to.  The listener will find themselves wondering if they themselves are as paralyzed as this artist.  One will also find that they want to help this person find who he is, as it seems that he wants to feel again badly but can’t do anything himself because he is “paralyzed”.
 One set of lines in the second verse might be confusing to some people.  In them he asks “where’s the person that I know? They must have left… …with all my faith.”  As with almost everything else in this song, it does not make sense from a non-Christian viewpoint.  However, since we know from previous experience that he is talking about his faith in God, it does make sense.  The Bible says that when we are born again, we are a new person.  So he is basically saying that he slowly slid back out of the new person, and as a result of being left alone the new person left him. And when it left, he lost the faith he had gained with it and returned to his old sinful nature, unable to have anything more than a world-based view.  This seems to say that it is possible to lose your faith, and that “once saved always saved” is not actually true.
 Unfortunately, today this is a fairly common story.  Right now more than 1/3rd of the Christian teens today have left the church, mostly due to a lack of faith in God.  Again, NF serves as an example for those who have fallen or slid away from their faith and no longer have faith in God anymore.  We as Christians should reach out to those who are sliding away from their faith and help them reconnect with the Lord.  And just as importantly we need to check our own lives and make sure this isn’t happening to us as well.
 NF does a good job of portraying the image of a person who used to believe in God but has fallen off of that belief.  From asking “Where is the real me?” and “When did I become so numb?”  he asks many questions that we as Christians should make sure we never have to ask.  His use of asking questions gives the listener an impression that the singer is, in fact, “paralyzed” in his faith in God.  He also describes what it means to be paralyzed spiritually, and shows that it is possible to walk or slide away from our faith.  We hear about what it is to be ashamed in our faith, and about what we are as Christians.  Overall, he describes in a few different ways what it means and entails to lose our faith in God and to be paralyzed mentally.  This song is extremely powerful to me, and I really enjoy it.

BE CHUCK NORRIS!!!

This ad is difficult to write about, as a picture of Chuck Norris alone is worth a few thousand words.  Or an eight volume series.  But something should be said about this ad, if that’s possible.

What we notice right away is that Chuck Norris is in the middle of a roundhouse kick, the words “Chuck Norris Action Jeans” are sprawled across the top of the page, Chuck Norris’ signature is above his head, a red and white backdrop is setting the scene, a stylish pair of jeans is being worn by Chuck Norris, and Chuck Norris.  Now unlike Chuck Norris who just has to stare at a book to get the information, the subject of this ad, the pants, seems to be a good place to start. The subject of the ad is, of course, a pair of Chuck Norris “action jeans”.  Seeing Chuck Norris in the middle of a roundhouse kick wearing them shows that they are obviously either very strong, or that they don’t rip out of fear of Chuck Norris beating them up.  This mid-roundhouse kick pose adds to the “action” of the scene and solidifies the ads claim that they are, in fact, “action jeans”.

Chuck Norris appears to be staring at his boot, as if making sure that his foot doesn’t knock the word “Jeans” out of the advertisement.  Or knock the whole advertisement out of the page, for that matter.  Also, his level of concentration gives a sense of seriousness to the ad, and almost seems to say that as you have more freedom with your jeans, you can worry about other things, like the guys face your about to roundhouse kick.

What does Chuck Norris do for the advertisement?  His appearance in the ad is obvious, from his signature above his name to him accomplishing a roundhouse kick.  According to Wikipedia, “Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris is an American martial artist, actor, film producer and screenwriter. After serving in the United States Air Force, he began his rise to fame as a martial artist, and has since founded his own school, Chun Kuk Do.”  Having Chuck Norris in an “Action Jeans” ad makes sense, since Chuck Norris is a famous martial artist and actor and known for action-packed movie scenes.  The words “Chuck Norris” at the top of the page are in a font that resembles his signature, which adds a level of confirmation or endorsement for these wonderpants that they are in fact approved by Chuck himself.

The roundhouse kick that Chuck is in the middle of really puts a lot into the ad.  First, the roundhouse kick is his signature move.  Seeing it happen adds a

This appears to be a catalog advertisement as there is an order form in the bottom right corner.  Considering this, the magazine that this is in could make a large difference on how the reader would have interpreted it.  If it was in a Ti-kwon-do magazine, it would make sense that it is there as it would appeal to martial artists.  It would also make sense in an engineering, carpentry, or building magazine, since the jeans are advertised as being non-binding and will allow greater freedom of movement.  However, it would make no sense in a gardeners or children’s magazine as action is not exactly a description of either.

The price of 19.95 is listed under “Adult Size”, which leaves one wondering if there were kids sizes available, and why adults were allowed, or even able, to wear something with Chuck Norris’s name on them in the first place.  In the finer print it claims that “if they ever wear out, rip, fray, or tear” then you can return them and buy a new pair of action jeans for half the original cost.  Noting that it states “if they ever rip,” it appears to indicate that they include a lifetime warranty since it says “ever” as opposed to “within 30 days”.  I’m pretty sure none were returned, because I haven’t heard of any jeans being roundhouse kicked by Chuck Norris lately.

There is a picture of the back right pocket of these incredible pants, supposedly being worn by Chuck Norris. This helps you imagine the fit and the style of the pants.  This picture is not really needed however, as there is already a picture of him wearing them.  Also this photo is fairly small considering that you can’t see the rest of the jeans. But one should not question Chuck Norris.  He wins Connect Four games in three moves.  He can slam a revolving door.  He can do what he wants.

Looking at the fine print, it describes the jeans as being “developed by Chuck Norris for stunt fighting”, and that they are “western” styled pants.  What this adds to the ad is the confirmation that these jeans were “developed” for action and adventure, and gives them a sense of strength.  Saying they’re “western” style accomplishes the same thing.  The West is often associated with adventure, fighting, ruggedness, and action.

The phrase at the top “Won’t Bind your Legs” is pretty straight forward in that these jeans give you greater movement.  It also implies that other jeans are too restricting and that you will experience more freedom in these than any other jeans out there.  Looking at the order form, it appears that you can only order them in two sizes at once, as there are only two places to order.

Upon looking closer, we notice an advertisement in the advertisement.  In the bottom left it states that you can receive a “free catalog”.  It goes on to say that the catalog contains “Century Martial Arts products, featuring Chuck Norris”.  Some products available include “weapons” “gifts” books” and “sparring gear”.  You can gain access to all of these amazing products for only one dollar!  This is appealing to other Martial artists who are looking for more apparel like this, and for Chuck Norris fans looking for something else to add to their collection of Chuck memorabilia.

Chuck Norris is the man.  He eats meat so rare that he only eats unicorns.  Maybe if you wear the jeans, you might just be as awesome as Chuck Norris!!!

chuck-norris-action-jeans

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Me

Hello all! Welcome to my first blog ever!  As this is my first blog I should probably say something about myself.

My name is Elliot, I’m 17, and I live in Coloma, Michigan.  My hobbies include (but are not limited to) stamps, guitar, bottles, baseball cards, antiques, buying/selling on Ebay, random tinkering, and Lionel trains.  My favorite music artists are Tobymac, Jamie Grace, Lecrae, NF, Canon, Je’kob, DC Talk, Flame.  My favorite TV show is Doctor Who, and my favorite book is… is… well, either the Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Inkheart, or the Wingfeather Saga. Take your pick.

 

As far as my writing history… well there isn’t one.  Even when writing YouTube sketches I tend to make them up on the fly (forgot that hobby! check out my channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCV84nLn-Z4g45GhrH5T4_g ), so it will be interesting to see where this goes.

Anyway, thanks for reading and ill see you in the next blog!

 

Sincerely,

Elliot