Voice Overs

December 13, 2010

All right, I have my coffee and some rice.  Time for the next in a line of installments.

I have a voice over Web site, but it is not finished.  Nevertheless, it is here.  A number of weeks ago, I asked my advisor if he knew anyone needing a voice for voice overs.  He put me in touch with a local production company.  I threw together a demo, and the owner posted it on his company’s Web site.  Later on, I edited it and posted different demos to the Voice123 Web site.  I still have another demo to record and post…perhaps after this morning’s final exam.  Then, it is time to devote all time to auditioning for (and hopefully getting) voice over jobs.  The microphone pictured is the MXL V88 large diaphragm condenser microphone…the same type I own.

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I Guess it Fell Through

December 12, 2010

MicrophoneThe quickest blogs to write are about myself since I do not have to study mass quantities of news articles before writing them.  One thing I am involved with is recording voice overs, but that is the next blog.  To accompany that, I am trying to begin announcing.  I had a gig lined up with a classmate, who I will call THEGUY.  I had received word that I was lined up to serve as ring announcer and cameraman at an upcoming event.  THEGUY was providing transportation and such, so money was not a particular issue.

The event was supposed to take place last night (Saturday, December 11).  Earlier in the week, I sent THEGUY a couple messages requesting his phone number and further details pertaining to where I was supposed to be, as I did not (and do not) have his number.  I also sent him my phone number.  Nothing.  The next day, I sent an E-mail to his listed E-mail address, and I searched for him in the university’s E-mail directory.  I am still not sure the latter is his address because I have yet to receive a response to any messages.

Michael BufferI am assuming last week, being the beginning of finals, left THEGUY insanely busy.  Better yet would be to receive a message saying something along the lines of:  “Event was canceled…moved to next weekend…you are still announcing.”  That would be awesome.  Nevertheless, an out-of-town friend may be able to help me find possible work.  It will be some traveling, but experience is experience.  The man pictured to the side is legendary boxing announcer, Michael Buffer.

Cram Redux

December 12, 2010

Okay…I have let my blog go—my bad.  To rectify the situation, I will kick off I.t.M.C. Cram Night 2010.  Actual event?  Only for myself and (probably) a handful of other students in the same class.  After this post, I will have 32 of the goal of 48 blogs for the semester…leaving 16.  That’s right, folks—I have approximately ten hours to write 16 blogs at 100 words each.  I should get close, but I do not completely expect to hit 16.  I would consider ten to be quite the accomplishment.  Unfortunately, I will have to take a break shortly, but I can at least get another blog typed before then.

An entire night of blogging and coffee…looking forward to it.

Mono Lake Alien…Sort Of

December 2, 2010

Mono LakeSo it is not an alien, but it is closer than we have come before.  In 2008, a team of researchers headed by Dr. Ronald Oremland of the US Geological Survey found bacteria that used arsenic as an energy source to photosynthesize carbon dioxide into food.  The samples were taken from Mono Lake in California.  The evidence suggested bacteria photosynthesized before the presence of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.  Lakes similar to Mono Lake are fed by hydrothermal waters, drawing arsenic from surrounding rock.  In 2009, Professor Paul Davies (a physicist at Arizona State University) encouraged scientists to look to arsenic-rich environments and hydrothermal vents for a “second genesis” of life on Earth.

PoisonIt was an accepted fact that life on Earth is not possible without six elements—carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus.  However, Professor Davies and his team have raised bacteria from Mono Lake in a lab to find it has substituted arsenic for phosphorus.  This differs from the 2008 discovery because, instead of merely respirating arsenic, the bacteria has incorporated arsenic into its DNA.  This means an element found to be poisonous to life is the very element the bacteria in question need to survive.  Davies suggests this points to an adaptation, rather than a new life form.  Still, the discovery shows life is not limited to practical conditions on Earth.  Furthermore, this shows the lack of understanding we have of the scope at which life can be sustained.

Oglethorpe and EmoryIf life can thrive in, or adapt to, conditions we originally thought to be impossible, it becomes easier to consider the possibility of lifeforms developing in other unthinkable environments—possibly other planets.  Once people accept life existing outside of Earth’s atmosphere, it is just a hop, skip and a jump to public acceptance of the existence of other celestial/planetary environments conducive to development of such lifeforms into something intelligent.  Aliens to the right are Oglethorpe and Emory from the show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force…not exactly intelligent lifeforms.

Dick Cheney

December 2, 2010

Dick CheneyFormer US Vice President, Dick Cheney, is supposed to be charged in connections with bribery from his days as Halliburton‘s CEO.  A Nigerian anti-corruption campaign uncovered scandalous details surrounding the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.  Halliburton, Saipem and Technip are being investigated for illegally paying $180 million to Nigerian officials to win a $6 billion contract for the LNG plant.

Dick Cheney created KBR, Inc., a military contracting company.  Halliburton and KBR have split, so Halliburton is trying to use that to distance itself from the case against KBR…not going to work.  In 2009, KBR and Halliburton pleaded guilty to paying the bribes prior to 2007 in a US case, paying a $579 million fine to the US.

Every time I hear of Dick Cheney, I think of the movie, W. (pronounced “dub-ya”).  It is a great movie offering an interesting spin on the George W. Bush story.  Playing the role of Dick Cheney (great performance) is the great Richard Dreyfuss.  Not only is he quite amusing in the role, but he also bore a striking resemblance to Cheney.  Cheney is pictured above, and Dreyfuss is pictured below, playing the role of Cheney.  If you get the chance to watch W., take it.Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney

Iran Being Kept in Check?

December 2, 2010

Iran NuclearSo Iran is set to go nuclear in a couple months…for energy purposes.  Through the Wikileaks document dump, evidence of Iran’s long term plans has come to light.  According to this source, certain documents indicate Iran can produce a missile capable of reaching the US by 2015, given outside assistance.  The documents also indicate Arab states have secretly encouraged the US to strike by force, though the US has chosen to communicate concerns with Iran through diplomatic channels.

F-35Nations possibly in Iran’s crosshairs are not without defense.  We entered a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, including up to 85 F-15 fighter jets.  The Gulf is covered.  Israel is sitting tight, as well, with 20 F-35 Lightning II stealth bombers for $2.75 billion.  That is diplomacy.  At least Arab states will be armed to advance on Iran, themselves.  Iraq has also been armed to the tune of $13 billion, but that was bound to happen to ensure its own security.  Eventually, this is going to come back to bite us.  It happened when the US sold weapons to Iraq decades ago, and it happened when the US assisted Iran with the beginning of its nuclear program.  Iran goes nuclear, and the US seals deals for about $75 billion in a matter of months—nice chunk of change.

In case diplomacy fails, someone has undertaken other missions to slow down Iran’s nuclear development.  A very sophisticated worm, called “Stuxnet,” moved through computers until it arrived at computers within the nuclear facility.  “Shall we play a game?”  The worm did not take the facility offline; it merely slowed production to a crawl, as the worm produced inexplicable data inconsistencies through equipment malfunction for a period of months.  The software clearly targeted Iran nuclear facilities, leaving to question “whodunnit?”  It is believed a consortium of private interests from the west (a.k.a. here) carried it out, considering the many different angles the worm covered, such as apparent familiarity with the different hardware encountered in the facility.

Mossad BriefcaseOther methods include attempting to take out the scientists, themselves.  Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to cars belonging to two scientists as they commuted to work separately.  One was killed, and the other was injured.  This resulted in Iran beefing up security for its nuclear staff.  Iran openly blamed western and Israeli forces of carrying out the attack.  Lately, a British newspaper (the Independent) ran a story indicating obvious involvement by the Mossad (Israel), MI6 (UK) and the CIA (US).  The CIA is fully capable of terrorism (Khaled al-Masri), and Israeli forces are certainly forces to be reckoned with, being no strangers to assassination.  My first thought is Ziva David from NCIS.  The Mossad’s tactics, combined with Britain’s admission of using “intelligence-led approaches,” and Arab states’ encouraging involvement of the US do make for interesting discussions.

North KoreaWith its nuclear facility fueled by Russia (and missiles supplied by North Korea using Russian technology), Iran has overcome tremendous obstacles in pursuing its nuclear goals.  This indicates halting the program will require drastic action.  Use of crippling cyber worms and the picking off of staff one-by-one or two-by-two will do nothing more than make Iran more determined to accomplish its goal, extending its hitlist in the process.

The Wiki has Leaked Again

November 30, 2010

Wikileaks LogoWikileaks has released its latest batch of files. However, these files are unlike those previously released. These files were gained from leaked internal communications regarding diplomatic relations with other countries. This means the files contain what leaders of Country A really think of Country B.  Some of these files are recent, but they are supposed to date all the way back to 1966, in some cases.  US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has been running around frantic trying to sweet-talk countries whose integrity may be compromised.  Prior to the release, Wikileaks was hacked, resulting in users losing access to part of the Web site.  As a fail-safe, copies of the files were sent to several major newspapers, including the UK’s Guardian.  The New York Times was supposed to receive the files in advance, but Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, did not send the NYT copies…it had to request the files from the Guardian.

The files are out, and the collection (so far) is available for your viewing pleasure at this location.  The number of files available is, supposedly, to reach 251,287.  If the page does not appear, refresh the page until it does.

I have cruised some files to see how bad they are…how can anyone interested in conspiracy theories resist such a temptation?  And who does not want to know such priceless tidbits as the reason behind Iran’s denying the US women’s badminton team visitor visas in 2009?  By the by, Iran denied the visas because the US announced the arrival before Iran wanted them to.  Iran wanted to control the media coverage because officials did not want Iranians to show up, en masse, and display American flags and such in support of the American team…not very surprising.

Dubai Knowledge VillageAnother interesting bit is the University of Connecticut almost established a campus in Dubai in 2007.  However, plans were halted when it came about that United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulations would have prohibited entry into Dubai by citizens of Israel.  Though the University of Connecticut did not make it, the US does have representation in the Dubai Knowledge Village.

More communications from 2007 bring Israel into the mix.  Mainly, their interests in changing the regime presiding over Iran.  They planned to do this through their “Five Pillar System.”  One of these pillars is “Sanctioning.”  Israel said sanctioning was the most effective method, at the time, bringing three Iranian banks to their fiscal knees…sounds like a vaguely familiar strategy where banks are concerned.  The current President of Iran (both now and at the time of document creation) is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He could have been voted out of office in 2009, but he won amidst claims of fixed votes.  Protests have continued, and some have ended violently thanks to the Basij, a volunteer Iranian militia.  One such case is that of Neda Agha-Soltan (NSFW, depending whether you watch the video or not).

Julian AssangeThere are supposed to be files revealing how US officials feel about other world officials, so I am going to wait until the entire collection is online before searching for those documents.  Apparently, the US says India is a “self-appointed frontrunner” for a UNSC seat…but India self-appoints itself as a lot of things, including being congruent to China on many levels (this occurred during Copenhagen Agreement talks).  US officials say they are currently looking into possible criminal charges for Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.  However, the search for a basis on which to arrest him does not look hopeful.

Obama’s Bloody Lip

November 27, 2010

Barack Obama BasketballWhile playing basketball with friends at Fort McNair yesterday, President Barack Obama was (presumably) inadvertently elbowed in the mouth by Rey Decerega, an associate with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.  Back at the White House, hours later, medical staff gave Obama 12 stitches to close his lip.

President Obama has now joined the ranks of past presidents injured while in office.  Among them are George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.  George W. Bush suffered scrapes to his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees when he lost control of his mountain bike in 2004.  This was one of many health issues for Bush.  Bill Clinton required knee surgery in 1997 after he fell while exiting a golfer’s home in Florida.  He tore more than half of the quadriceps tendon in his right knee.  Ronald Reagan suffered a punctured lung (via bullet) during an assassination attempt in 1981.  For a longer list of past presidential injuries, visit this page.

US President SealPresident Obama must be commended in a regard:  He was playing basketball at a base located in Washington D.C., but he did not seek medical attention until he arrived at the White House, hours later…at which time he was given stitches.  This either says Obama is a trooper or the White House hands out unnecessary stitches.  Whichever may be the case, an elbow to the mouth never tickles.  I am interpreting the incident as a good indication of Obama’s character.

I am not one for basketball, but I have played (and will continue to play) my share of racquetball.  On an unrelated note, Barack Obama has yet to make his way into a spellchecker, I see.

TSA Policy Change…Not

November 22, 2010

President Barack ObamaLast I posted, airlines were losing friends…fast.  President Barack Obama is urging the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to place significant consideration on developing “less intrusive” inspection methods.  He then likened the TSA to his counterterrorism team in that both groups must consider whether the respective chosen courses of action are necessary or not.

According to ABC News, the TSA announced it is testing full-body scanners capable of showing nothing more than a stick figure, though no sample image is available.  It is odd that dumbing down an image is considered a technological advancement, but there you TSA Admn John Pistolehave it.  As a side note—ABC News ran a story indicating the scanner images are not very detailed prior to my previous TSA post, so I do not place a lot of weight on ABC News stories regarding the TSA.  The TSA also attempted to reassure the public the screenings will be “minimally invasive,” but the organization gave no indication of enacting an actual policy change.  Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, even expressed how she would not want to go through airport security.  Fox News also acknowledged implications made by Transportation Security Administrator, John Pistole:

Pistole appeared to shrug off statements by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the agency would look for ways to alter screening techniques that some passengers say are invasions of privacy.

Rep. Ron PaulEnter:  Ron Paul and his proposed American Traveler Dignity Act.  He stepped in front of the House of Representatives and gave an excellent speech, in which he suggested members from various branches of government go through the scanner and the pat-down, which he referred to as “groping.”  Paul also made reference to the money trail and possible health risk associated with the full-body scanners.  It is nice to see Ron Paul get back in touch with his Libertarian roots.  Though he always runs on the Republican ticket, this introduction of legislation does not fit the ideology of conservatism (Republican).  Why?  Because the bill will be effectively extending the power of the federal government to regulate air travel.  Paul has voted against similar extensions of power in the past.

Charlie Sheen Losing his Sheen?

November 22, 2010

Charlie SheenIn October, Two and a Half Men star, Charlie Sheen, trashed a hotel room.  He paid $7,000 in damages after being arrested.  A porn star, Capri Anderson, was found locked in the bathroom.  At first, she told fans she was fine, and she did not indicate otherwise to police.  Now, she is coming back to file civil suits against Sheen  for offenses including abuse, assault and false imprisonment.  She acknowledges she was a paid escort, who was willing to do more than escort…when Sheen produced drugs, she took off her dress.  Also, she refuses to say what, exactly, set Sheen off to supposedly calling her a whore and threatening to kill her.

Capri AndersonCharlie Sheen‘s camp claims the so-called “adult actress” is attempting to cash in on Sheen’s celebrity status.  This is possible, but Sheen does have a history of being a semi-out-of-control party animal.  Still, Capri Anderson definitely waited long enough to report her account of what happened.  And with an interview by ABC News, she has already begun cashing in—regardless of her intentions.  Profiling for the sake of argument, Anderson does seem like the high-maintenance weasel type who appears capable of utilizing such an opportunity for the money.

At the beginning of November, Charlie Sheen filed for divorce from Brooke Mueller.  This is that supposedly charming third time for Sheen.