Monday, March 12, 2007

Media Consumption Diet Meme

I didn't expect to write another blog meme, but was intrigued with one which Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By posted to which she credits two other bloggers, one of whom, Virginia Debolt, brought the meme to her attention and the other devised the meme, at Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owang. This is a very interesting project revealing some bloggers information-seeking activities to inform their lives and blog posts, from which I hope to learn.

I can recall being interested in what was occurring in U.S. political elections beginning at an early elementary school age, probably because this was a topic of conversation in my home. World awareness and interest was certainly stimulated by WWII with family members then currently being in military service abroad, coupled with knowledge there had also been a WWI in which family members and others had served in Europe. The only news information sources were radio, newspapers, plus black and white newsreels seen at a movie theater. These times were, of course, before all the other news sources were available that we enjoy today. I didn't see television until the early 1950s. During the ensuing years I followed events, issues of the day through the various outlets which were available then. My attention to news, reading of any kind, has temporarily not been as consistent the past ten months as heretofore, but new patterns are developing.

I have been using a computer for about two years and probably didn't begin to explore Internet offerings extending into the blogosphere until less than a year and a-half ago. I receive no regular news feeds as I haven't yet taken the time to figure out how to set that up. I have accumulated in my bookmarks a number of reliable news links to various newspapers, magazines as I have encountered them over these months from knowledgeable family member computer users, following links on blogs and websites, as well as specifically searching for some others -- all of which I presently visit on an irregular basis. My bookmarks have increased exponentially while simultaneously becoming grossly disorganized with the blogs and websites I've added. They are in need of reorganization using technical skills I have yet to develop.

I assess to the best of my ability the reliability and credibility of any blogs or websites I use, as I have always established with any other source of information including print, audio, video.

I have not begun to list on my blog roll all the various blogs which I visit, but am gradually adding them. I do visit them all, a very few consistently, but currently most inconsistently, and may not always leave a comment, though I usually try to do so.

About a year ago I first experimented with transferring my music to the computer, but that process is far from complete. I am selective about what type of music i.e. instrumental or vocal, a specific genre, that I play at different times when I'm using the computer, but sometimes I just want absolute quiet because in editing I read what I write aloud. I do not like headphones, instead enjoy the fullness of sound in a room or even filling the room with music, if possible, though I realize I might have to adjust should my living arrangements place me in closer proximity to neighbors.

I listen to some music on select radio stations, PBS television special music programs, including Great Performances, that are usually played in our area during pledge weeks when they ask for viewer donations to support the station.

I usually turn on a radio in various rooms of the house including my bathroom and listen to a couple of primarily news radio stations for local, national, international news headlines. They also feature periodic traffic reports, weather. I listen to them on my car radio, too, occasionally switching to a jazz music station. Weekends I sometimes listen to part of a computer expert's, Jeff Levy, call-in radio show where he troubleshoots and teaches computer use. He usually has one specific lesson at some point on his several hour program that is also available along with all the others on his website. Preceding his show is a call-in cooking show to which I sometimes enjoy listening. The hostess, Melinda Lee, also has a website with an archive full of recipes and cooking tips. I'm not sure why I even listen to the cooking show, since I don't cook that much any more, especially with my oven still out of commission.

In the years since traditional commercial network news and news specials have been watered down to cheapened entertainment shows, I have ceased viewing them regularly. I have free TV with an antenna on the roof, have access to 12 stations and several more foreign language stations, receive excellent reception. Two of the stations are PBS, a third Los Angeles County Schools (televises L.A. County Board of Supervisors Meetings,) ABC, CBS, NBC, and others, including some independents, one with the same ownership as the L. A. Times newspaper, one with the same ownership as the CBS station. Occasionally, I may watch a station or flip through local news and weather, also surf the network news shows. I go to PBS for BBC News which gives a different perspective on some events. Frequently I view The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Washington Week In Review, California Connected, and occasionally, California's Gold, The Charlie Rose Show, Tavis Smiley.

Strictly entertainment shows I view at PBS often include Masterpiece Theater, but currently the others I would view in drama, comedy, mystery series (all from Great Britain) are repeats I've seen. Sometimes commercial TV viewing includes 60 Minutes, depending on show content, also, Cold Case, Boston Legal, selected specials. I view little television, especially beginning in the past year due to my inconsistent viewing habits, despite how this list may read.

I have no desire to subscribe to cable or satellite, but am familiar with their offerings from viewing them over the years while visiting family members who do subscribe. I subscribed for a time when cable first came into being and we lived in an area where that was the only way television signal reception could be achieved. There have been a few programs I would have enjoyed seeing but watch them, or excerpts on the Internet, i.e. Jon Stewart; including some on HBO, but I sometimes rent them on DVD later. Periodically I see cable TV shows or their excerpts on the Internet.

I utilize Mozilla Firefox, have email; in the past have used Skype successfully, but no longer do so. My home telephone is a land line which was necessary for my husband's Pacemaker checkups, that I continue to use for local and long distance calling. I may consider a DSL package to include my phone (changing from my current DSL provider) but also am considering VoIP alternatives. I might become more interested in other options if and when I convert to wireless, but I would like a hands free ear piece with microphone allowing me mobility through the house if such equipment is available for other than a cell phone. A month ago I purchased a Tracpone Prepaid Wireless to carry in the car strictly for emergency purposes, but activation is incomplete.

I haven't been to a movie theater since my husband and I went to see "The Remains of the Day" some years ago, learning through that experience, when he missed the feature's conclusion, that he was no longer able to comfortably and enjoyably sit through an entire showing without several intermissions. Even then, I found the experience unpleasant for different reasons, because the surround sound system was programmed too loud for my auditory sense as I'd noticed with theater movies for several years. Many others I know have expressed the same problem with the sound systems, complained to theatre personnel, but nothing changes, I'm told. I stuffed tissues in my ears a couple of times which helped some, but was generally unsatisfactory due to altering the actors vocal quality, or sudden changes in volume resulting in their speaking in low soft tones. This and music too loud on headsets already has had and will have serious implications for an increased incidence of hearing loss for all generations, especially younger ones, now and in the future.

Our town is expected to have a theater in a newly constructed extension of our downtown area, so anticipate enjoying the movie theater experience again with the first feature possibly opening as early as this coming fall. They will feature independent, foreign and other special films. I hope it proves to be successful, draws some of the young locals and college crowd along with other local and surrounding area residents.

I rent DVDs locally at a store catering to tastes like those planned for the new theater, or I sometimes go to a regular video rental store. However, I watch movies rather erratically and may go for lengthy periods without seeing any, so a regular DVD subscription service is not cost effective for me -- had one a few years ago for about $9 monthly at a local video store before Netflix and others. Found there were too many months when there was nothing I wanted to see, or that I would rent movies to be sure and get my moneys worth and I was watching more movies than I really wanted or would have ordinarily watched. When they claimed a computer error had accidentally cancelled me on this trial and they wouldn't be able to reinstate me, that I would have to purchase another plan they had which was more expensive, I said "No, thanks."

I subscribe to John Hopkins "Health After 50" which I've done for several years, after rotating annually a number of the health newsletters distributed by prominent name universities and hospitals. I receive a number of weekly, monthly professional newsletters, journals, reports which I review. I recently pared down other subscriptions I liked, that I could never find time to adequately read, like National Geographic, Smithsonian, Sunset Magazine, Arizona Highways, Forbes, Money, The Economist, Wired, PC World, others. I now receive Scientific American, Consumer's Report, Westways, AARP. I purchase individual issues at the store of Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report if I see an article of interest, or often I can find a link to access the desired article on the Internet.

I subscribe to three newspapers: Los Angeles Times, but if they follow the direction the current publisher wants to take the paper, by turning it into another Hollywood entertainment rag, with just local news (which likely won't include our area,) eviscerating the paper's international news standing, I will probably cancel my subscription. Without the L. A. Times national and international newspeople and focus, that will leave only two U.S. papers of value for me, the New York Times and Washington Post, but I currently subscribe to neither. I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal which also allows me to access it on the Internet, but I may cancel. I have a subscription to a daily local/surrounding area newspaper, and a bi-weekly city paper. I do have access to some of these and other newspapers on the Internet, and take advantage of any links or opportunities to visit any other newspaper websites on occasion, but none regularly.

I have a backlog of unread books, but find myself purchasing more whenever exposed to them in a bricks and mortar bookstore which I prefer to visit over shopping online, but I do purchase both places i.e ordered three books online just last night around the midnight hour. I'm partway through a couple of books, including, What Are Old People For by William H. Thomas, M.D. I am susceptible to book threads with one leading to another, and so on. The thread can be following an author or a subject evolving to related subjects or new authors. There are times when I read extensively in the various sciences, behavioral studies, communication, aging, death, dying, but have tired for now of heavy duty philosophy, psychology, or other such theory-laden analytical tomes in deference to biographical and autobiographical accounts of figures, books with perspective of newspeople covering events in my lifetime, their views of current events and the future.

Lighter reading can include writers such as Tony Hillerman, Annie Prouix whose fiction describes with respect a culture, a vivid sense of place, others. I occasionally visit a used bookstore where they will also buy back used books. Since I began blogging I had a period of reading a number of books including writers journals.

I've probably told you more than you wanted to know. My activities in all areas are evolving, in part as my technical skills increase, but then technology is evolving also, so a year from now what I might write could be somewhat different.


  1. That's a very interesting meme, Joared, and you certainly did it justice with your detailed answers. I won't do that one, but will say that you and I agree on the loudness of the sound in movie theaters. It is totally unnecessary, but it seems we have to get used to it, because repeated complaints have done nothing to solve it.

  2. Re the loudness of the audio in theaters - I think it must be for all those baby boomers who've been listening to music too loud all their lives and gone deaf...

  3. kenju and ronni: thanks for bearing witness I'm not the only one to notice the loud audio in theaters. You may have a point, Ronni, but I hated to say it 'cause some of them are learning the hard irreversible way. ;-)