June 30, 2008

Conference on "The Obama Effect"

Call for Papers:
"The Obama Effect"
October 23-25, 2008
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Now that he has become the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic Party ticket, Barack Obama has challenged conventional wisdom about race, politics, media, and generation. In this historic election year, it is imperative for scholars and professionals in a wide variety of disciplines to reflect upon the potential effects of Obama on: American and global public opinion; party politics; voter participation; media representations; international relations; religious discourses; and constructions of racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender identities.

This conference invites papers from scholars and professionals working from different perspectives on the phenomenon of presumptive Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama's political career. Our goal is to create a conference that will showcase various and interdisciplinary approaches to the "Obama Effect" to provide participants with a multi-faceted view of the past year's campaign and its potential effects on a wide range of social arenas.

Essays and research papers from scholars, journalists, political consultants, community activists, and others are desired. Accepted papers will be considered for inclusion in an edited collection. We are particularly interested in receiving papers that address recent developments in the campaign, and seeing papers on the following topics:

  • Michelle Obama and/or her marriage to Obama
  • Obama's family relationships
  • Young people and the election
  • Hate-group websites and reactions to Obama
  • Mixed race identity
  • International responses to Obama's candidacy
  • Perspectives from Latina/os, Asian Americans, and Native Americans
  • Religion
  • Recent speeches/responses from other candidates

Abstracts must be emailed no later than July 18th.

Contact for abstracts or questions:
Dr. Catherine Squires
Cowles Chair for Journalism, Diversity & Equality
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Murphy Hall 111
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0418

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:33 AM

June 21, 2008

first digital story's "final cut"

On May 23 I posted an entry about my first experience with digital storytelling, in a class at the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS). The class did not include the production of a final version of a digital story; the last draft that students leave behind is cleaned up by the staff and a final cut mailed later, along with all of the source files. I received my stuff earlier in the week, and was a bit disappointed in the CDS "final cut." They made four changes: (1) inserted a promo at the end, (2) shaved 39 seconds off the length (from 4'49" to 4'10"), (3) sped up the final "It is what it is" text crawl, and (4) produced a smaller QuickTime movie (320x240 vs.720x480 of the draft). I don't mind change #1 at all, and changes 2 and 4 are OK (though slightly annoying), but #3 messes with an artistic decision, thus it ain't cool at all! Compare for yourself: Walt draft cut vs. CDS final cut. I'll have to take my source files &mdash which included a date change correction (May 18 -> May 17) that I made just before class ended but did not have time to render &mdash and create a true final cut....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:33 PM

June 16, 2008

The Happening

Yesterday I saw The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan's new film. Before seeing this movie my expectations were primed by claims like "this movie could not have received less than a R rating!" and "Shyamalan returns to the style of The Sixth Sense!" I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more if I had gone in knowing that the movie is a significant departure from M.N.S.'s other movies (while still beautifully shot): there are no special people/people with special powers, and while his other movies are clearly about the supernatural, The Happening is not. It's more of a thought-provoking Fall movie vs. a fluffy popcorn Summer blockbuster. So check it out, but be prepared to experience something different....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:59 PM

June 14, 2008

waiting for more BSG

The mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica has aired, and the next set of episodes won't begin until 2009. Frak!

Posted by wrjacobs at 7:46 PM

June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

Today is a Friday the 13th. As of 9:45 AM (U.S. central time): I had an early morning nightmare (I rarely have nightmares; in this one I had to go on a 3-hour car trip with a neighbor I don't know well, AND he invited a complete stranger to join us!), woke up to discover that the DVD player was left on all night (which has never happened before), am having problems scheduling a routine medical exam (the scheduler did not read my initial email correctly), my internet connection is super slow, and a work problem that I thought was solved has been reopened. Hopefully the morning will be the worse part of the day....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:52 AM

June 9, 2008


For the first time ever, yesterday I bought movie tickets online, via Fandango. It was definitely an underwhelming experience, as (a) my preferred theater is not in the Fandango network, so I had to go to choice #2; (b) they tacked on a $1 "convenience charge" that one does not pay at the theater; and (c) I had to go to a kiosk to print tickets vs. being able to print them at home. So given that you pay more and don't really save time (assuming that you get tickets from the kiosk anyway &mdash like I do &mdash instead of getting in the longer human ticket agent line), what's the point? I suppose that one benefit is being guaranteed a seat vs. getting to the theater and being frustrated by sold out shows, but that doesn't outweigh the drawbacks. As a birthday present I received 50 Fandango Bucks, so once those are used up (pretty quickly with the frakking service charges!) my account will be cancelled....

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:48 PM

June 7, 2008

Yes, We Can

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:51 AM

June 6, 2008

women's Olympic basketball

American women's basketball star Becky Hammon will play for the Russian national team in the upcoming 2008 Olympics, even though she has no Russian heritage and does not speak the language. Interesting....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:11 PM

June 5, 2008

Obama's historic moment

Many African Americans are pleasantly surprised by Senator Obama's breakthrough as the Democratic nominee for United States President.

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:15 PM

June 4, 2008

Obama-Chappelle '08!

I think that Obama should select Dave Chappelle as his running mate. Their tagline, of course, would be "Yes we can, bitches!" :). On the real, though, Chappele should do a sketch about this and upload it to YouTube or something....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:40 PM

Obama's St. Paul rally

Last night V and I joined 16,998 folks inside St. Paul's Xcel Arena as Senator Obama claimed the Democratic Presidential nomination (15,000 others could not get in and watched the rally outside on a JumboTron). It was a truly amazing experience! Yes We Can!

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:34 PM

June 1, 2008

Home Tour stats

Yesterday I received info on attendance at the 2008 Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. We had an official visitor count of 390, which put us in the middle of the pack: we were #26 out of 50 houses in total numbers. Overall attendance was down due to the less-than-ideal weather, but still, 390 folks tromping through a house is no joke!

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:32 AM