I apologize for any confusion you are experiencing, but I have done some rearranging and housekeeping by separating my thoughts into two separate blogs:

1) My ‘professional’ blog exploring the use of Web 2.0 in community-building, the teaching & learning process, and summer camps.  To view this blog, please check out its new home at TheoreticalJunk.com.

2) My personal blog, which has no real focus other than to share the different observations and I ideas I have. This blog is still housed here at Rubywahoo.com, so you can read those entries by staying here at It Doesn’t Hurt To Think.

I love absolutely cheesy pop songs. I’m talking about MmmBop (Hanson), Who Let the Dogs Out (Baha Men), Upside Down (A-Teens), and any LFO song.  You know, the kind of pop songs that are played on the radio and receive overwhelming attention for about two weeks, at which point the song becomes uncool and it is laughable to admit you downloaded the song from iTunes (or bought the cassingle, since all of the bands mentioned above had hits well before iTunes entered the music scene).  The thing is, even though the two weeks have passed, I still admit with great pride the love I have for each of the aforementioned cheesy songs (and many more).

This love for cheese extends to commercial songs as well.  I decided to compile my Top 9 List to share with you.  This list only includes songs that were written exclusively for the product, company, or message they are endorsing. Therefore, you will not find songs like Feist’s “1234” (used in commercials for Apple’s iPod) or any of The Beatles’ songs being destroyed in an ad campaign for Target.  Here is the list:

1. Mercenaries 2 Video Game – “Oh No You Didn’t” (be sure to listen to the 2:54 version!)
2. Tootsie Rolls “Whatever It Is I Think I See
3. Toys R Us “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” (there are several version. I chose the 1991 version)
4. Fitness Made Simple’s “Fitness Made Simple” (it even has a funky breakdown at about 3/4 through!)
5. Snickers “A Song of Satisfaction
6. Kit Kat’s “Gimme a Break
7. Mentos “Fresh and Full of Life” (the ones with ignorant action followed by proud display of Mentos)
8. FreeCreditReport.com “New Car” or “Pirate Restaurant” or “Dream Girl
9. Pepto Bismol “Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, Yay! Pepto Bismol!

What are some of your favorite commercial jingles?  What are the cheesy songs you love, but don’t share for whatever reason?

Because it was Open Mic night!

The wife and I are fortunate enough to live very close to a cute little coffee shop, Crossroads Coffee House. We’ve stopped in several times for a delicious blended drink or snack and often stay to relax.  The cafe is never too busy when we’ve gone there, which makes it the ideal place to chat, work, surf the net, or check email when we need a change of location.  Plus, they have complimentary copies of the Inquirer and Daily News for customers to read, so there is always a nice distraction.

While there, we always check out the bulletin board listing all of the upcoming events.We set a goal of attending one of the frequent artsy performances that it hosts.  We met that goal last week when we attended the Thursday night singer-songwriter Open Mic Night.

We weren’t sure what to expect on Thursday night, given how empty the cafe usually is.  As such, you imagine our surprise when we walked in to find all but one table and chair filled with people!  We ordered some dinner and took our seats.  The host wasted little time diving into a song, plugging her upcoming performance at another establishment, and introducing the first singer-songwriter.  He turned out to be the first of 13 performers that evening, which lasted over 2 hours!

I am amazed at the diversity and sheer volume of performers at Crossroads.  Seriously — we were at an Open Mic Night in a tiny, usually empty cafe on a non-descript corner in a not-too-flashy neighborhood in Philly, and the place was filled with talented or entertaining performers.  Some performers sang political messages while strumming standard chords, and another sang quirky lyrics while strumming using what I can only describe as a reverse chord method, with his left hand attacking the strings from above the guitar’s neck.  There were a few performers who were so good, so talented, and so charismatic, that the entire cafe was transfixed on their songs.  Each of these performers plugged a future performance at a larger ‘venue’ in the city, so it is not hard to imagine them climbing the musical ladder and one day being heard on the radio or whereve you listen to your coffeehouse music (does a contract with Sirius represent ‘selling out’ for a coffeehouse artist?).

Vicky, the host, performer, and organizer, seemed to know most of the performers and was familiar with their other performances, providing a real community feel to the evening.  Even the final artist, who was introduced as a first time performer, was welcomed and encouraged by the group.  It was a nice moment, and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  In fact, we planned on going last night but were too late wrapping up dinner to make it.  I even have plans to perform in the near future…

Arcati Crisis at Crossroads Cafe

Arcati Crisis at Crossroads Cafe

Here are some websites for a few of the artists we saw last Thursday (9/11/08):

  • Ryan Tennis – Ryan’s music and performance reminded me of Jason Mraz/Jack Johnson.  He played “Livin’ It Up” at Crossroads, which you can listen to and download on his site.
  • Arcati Crisis (pictured above) – Arcati Crisis was the only duo to perform at Crossroads last week. The two seemed to be good, old friends who have a lot of fun playing together. The song they performed last week was “Fisher Price,” which you can listen to on their website.

All in all, it was a great evening that I recommend you check out at some point. I look forward to discovering more of these hidden, local (and free) treasures here in Philly!

I have been ignoring this blog, largely because I have been focusing my web 2.0 efforts on Golden Slipper Camp, where I serve as Program Director on a 24/7 basis during the summer.  I have been blogging, podcasting, and twittering for GSC and even bringing campers into the mix.  Check out the fun at the following sites:

Golden Slipper Camp Blog, hosted by Blogger (featuring podcasts as well)
Golden Slipper Camp Podcasts, hosted by archive.org
Golden Slipper Camp Photos, hosted by Flickr
Golden Slipper Camp Twitter feed

Check them out, leave your feedback, and enjoy the trip =)

In a previous entry I describe a Camp on the Web. I originally intended to simply share a new podcast I had created for Golden Slipper Camp, but went off in another direction. This entry, therefore, is dedicated to the podcast.

The first podcast features myself and Uncle Spoon, the camp’s Evening Activities Specialist, explaining our idea and plan for the podcast. Basically, we hope it helps to contribute to the blossoming online community that has developed, as described in the other post.

For now, enjoy the podcast =)

The Official GSC Podcast

I just realized I have been heavily involved in using web 2.0 to create community but that I haven’t really shared any of my efforts with the class in which I am further exploring some of these concepts. This entry started with the intention of sharing a podcast that I had just created and then expanded into a full blown entry recounting all of my online endeavors. It’s partly to share with you the way I am already using blogs, videos, flickr, social networks, podcasts and wikis, but it also became a great way for me to record my efforts and progress. It is interesting to be involved in and responsible for the comprehensive creation of a brand new community for the camp during the past 10 months, and I look forward to the future implications of the technology and this class. Without further adieu…

For those who don’t know, I am the Program Director for Golden Slipper Camp (GSC). Last summer, I decided to start a GSC blog where I gave little, periodic reports on things happening at the camp (Johnny won the talent show by burping the ABC’s, or Bunk 4 won Honor Bunk for being cleanest, etc.) — it was one of my ideas to generate some excitement with parents and alumni. Little did I realize how popular the blog would be! Parents were sending emails and phone calls sharing how much they loved knowing what was going on, and that they felt more like a part of their child’s experience.

The next step was that I set up a GSC Flickr account so that we could share the photos taken by Alisa, our camp photographer. She ended up taking nearly 14,000 pictures, and I even found ways to link them to the blog, like when we had a rainy day activity that ended with a GSC mascot contest. We had each bunk create a mascot for the camp, then took their pictures and posted them on Flickr (mascot picture pages) where families could view them and vote through the blog. We ended up crowing the winning bunk at the camp — and reporting the winner on the blog — a week later.

As soon as the summer ended, I started uploading GSC videos onto YouTube and embedding them into the blog, further generating interest from campers, alumni, parents/families, staff, and club members. I have 40 more hours of skits, songs, and fun things to upload, but my miniDV camera is on the fritz (Tweet or email me if you have one I can borrow!). One piece of advice if you do something similar for one of your organizations: set up a separate YouTube account! I have to be careful now that my identity is directly linked to the camps’ — I can’t upload some of the videos I made as an undergrad (PG-13 rated language or plots) or display my favorites for fear that a camper will see them and it will open a can of worms.

Since the summer ended, I have been using the blog to share news that is passed on to me. At this point it primarily contains announcements of things happening at the camp, contests, alumni marriages, births, and engagements. I hope to start including camper news (Honor Roll on report cards, awards won, graduations and college acceptances, etc.).

The final two pieces of this are an exploding alumni social networking site (400 members in 3 weeks!) and a brand new podcast. I realize that this is long, but just wanted to share. It is interesting to be involved in the comprehensive creation of a brand new community over the past 10 months, and I look forward to the future implications of the technology and this class.

Phew! Sorry for the length! I am very interested in having further conversations about this, and look forward to helping others enact similar efforts.

I read blogs. I also publish three (this one, plus TheoreticalJunk and one for Golden Slipper Camp). And, given the number of blogs that exist, there’s a pretty good chance that you yourself either blog or read a blog. In fact, if you are reading this right now then there is a 100% chance that you read at least one blog.

That’s why I thought an article in the latest issue (February 2008) of Wired Magazine was interesting. It explains how a Blog goes from my thoughts to your eyes, with a few stops on the way! Check it out here.