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AMV

Raven_hugs_beast_boy_by_devastator941-d5y2rfj

The Amateur Music Video!

Kropp was a secret geek in high school. He thoroughly enjoyed sports, rap, and women but had a soft spot for cartoons. He says he would secretly want to be a superhero if he had the chance – “a dope superhero” at that. He is currently a USC student studying environmental science, is enrolled in the NROTC program and loves to skateboard. He has very close ties with his extended family. He hopes to one day commission into the navy as an officer.

What may come to mind when reading the title is a very under-budgeted, poor music video by a new talent trying to make their way into the music industry. But, in fact, an AMV – Amateur Music Video, is something much more personal. AMV’s are composed of a song of your choice (as the theme song to a video); and by yourself on programs like iMovie and Adobes Premier Pro, edit scenes from a TV show or movie or music video that has already been published. It’s your own music video with characters and actors from your favorite media.

My friend, when he was in middle school, used to take clips from his favorite cartoon Teen Titans and create music videos. On youtube, he and thousands of others would have AMV challenges as to which video was the best – determined by those who posted the challenge and by other viewers. The editors were challenged to create something that had great images, a story or a smooth flow, and most of all the song had to represent not only the story that he was trying to tell but had to represent the characters themselves. His favorite characters were Beast Boy and Raven. Beast Boy was the comedy relief on the show – “or tried to be” he says. While Raven played “the devils advocate”. Not to mention he liked the bit of romance there was between the two.

He spent hours after school watching episodes to see which scenes would be right for the song. He then spent days cutting down the episode into scenes and then the rest of the time was devoted to synchronizing the combat and movements of the characters to the rhythms in the song.

Analysis: I also used to make AMV’s in my early high school years out of videos from Lost. One of the main reasons I did it was because after the show finished it gave me an opportunity to change some of the outcomes. I changed the romantic relationships with one love song and some downloaded scenes of my favorite episodes. I also kept the show alive by continuing to play around with the characters that would no longer show up on Tuesday nights. I think that may be the reason he did it – not just because he really liked the show growing up, but he wanted to be amongst the characters. He wanted to be a Teen Titan (c).

While he was too shy to give a link to his own videos, he gave us the link to one of his friends and competitors:

folk metaphor
Proverbs

“Measure Twice, Cut Once”

Kropp was a secret geek in high school. He thoroughly enjoyed sports, rap, and women but had a soft spot for cartoons. He says he would secretly want to be a superhero if he had the chance – “a dope superhero” at that. He is currently a USC student studying environmental science, is enrolled in the NROTC program and loves to skateboard. He has very close ties with his extended family. He hopes to one day commission into the navy as an officer.

“When it comes to sh** that matters, you measure twice, cut once.” Not only is Kropp talking about how much he loves woodwork (because he actually spends hours messing around with wood, even though he doesn’t have a woodshop area yet, he plans on getting one when he graduates college); but Kropp heard this friendly proverb from his father. When Kropp would make mistakes growing up his father would correct him and say this over and over again. He thought his dad was such a hero, such a role model. Then he heard teachers in school saying it. He felt betrayed. When he went home to ask his father about it. His father replied “Son…its a saying. Something you should live by. But something we should ALL live by.”

The way I heard about this is because he and I were working on a project together for a class. I measured the cardboard wrong and we had to go buy a new one. And there you have it. He shook his head and said “Measure twice, cut once”. When I asked him to elaborate he gave the story above. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand it. It was a common meaning – the phrase – but the context was unfamiliar to me.

Analysis: I really love this quote. My parents don’t mess around with tools or maintenance much, the way Kropp grow around a handy father. So I had never heard that saying before, but knew exactly what he meant by it. Basically, think before you do. Don’t jump into things without double-checking, holding everyone or thing accountable. He then elaborated that you could measure a thousand times though, and still end up cutting it wrong. But at least then you can say you tried.

Initiations

Crossing the Line

Steele is one of my friends I train in the ROTC program. Very interesting character. He is a freshman at USC. In his spare time he reads The Prince by Machiavelli on the Realism; an International Relations school of thought. He dates 5 women at a time and loves clash of clans.

Because Steele is in his first year he is required to take the primary courses in his first semester on Naval Contemporary and Historical Life. One of the events, when I started asking him about naval tradition as a part of folklore was an event called crossing the line. The ceremony of crossing the line is an initiation rite in many navies across the globe including the United States, Great Britain, and Dutch navy. The ceremony commemorates a sailor’s first crossing over the equator. It is rumored to have originated when the ship was passing what are called “headlands”. It’s meant to boost morale. Sailors were stuck at sea for months at a time away from spouses, family and friends. It was also dually created as a test. Senior Enlisted sailors were to make sure that the newbies on board would be able to handle themselves in the long run. Originally this was seen as an event where hazing took place. Kicking, shoving, hitting, and yelling. Now a days it’s less violent and more humiliating to coincide with the Chief of Naval Operations orders.

Analysis: This once gruesome initiation process now, entertaining tradition goes to show that the Navy is changing. We’re looking less to beat and use fear to retain our sailors. Obviously there is an appeal to toughening up the people that have to go out there and fight our wars for us. But like the Chief of Naval Operations deems necessary, one of them isn’t battering our own sailors. Today it seems like it is much more a test of mental strength. Can words break you. If words make you cry, your in the wrong business here.

Folk Beliefs
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Where The Hell Is Cuba On The Map?

Sara comes from a traditionally American family. However she told me about the time when she spent new years with her Cuban friend:

“It was very strange Alex. They filled champagne glasses with grapes! They ate them real fast. Then her grandmother walked up to everyone with a suit case. They each out an item in and then she walked around the block. When she came back she took a bucket of water and throw it out the door. What the hell!”

She later asked her friend who explained everything.

One, her friends grandmother was a bit crazy and slightly out of her mind. Two, they were old Cuban traditions – of course she was going to find it weird.

Analysis: Culture shock anyone! The twelve grapes each represent one months in the calendar. By eating them real fast after midnight, you’re hoping that good luck will come for each of the months that are to come.

The grandmother walked around asking for one valuable item from each of them. She put them in the luggage case and walked around the block to signify that the important things in life will only come with a little bit of effort and lot of hard work. To remember that the important things in life you earned and you need to continue working to keep them. Lastly the odd bucket of water is meant to symbolize all the sins from the past year. By throwing it out of the door she is asking for the families forgiveness and getting rid of all their demons.

Myths

Microwave Blindness

Sara is a very gossipy, religious, fun girl. Sophomore at USC, she’s in the Helene’s and a sorority. She’s from Anaheim, California. And she has an incredibly interesting memory and past.

Probably the funniest of my interviews was this one. Sara described to me how her friends in elementary school told her not to eat too many green vegetables because she would turn green; not to eat too many carrots because she would turn orange. She said that when her friends told her that she replied with something along the lines:

“Oh, ok. I don’t want to be green. But listen, want to know a secret. Don’t stare at the microwave when there’s food in there. It’ll make you go blind.”

I’ve never ever heard of this growing up but I have heard other friends talking about their mothers telling their young children to stay away form the microwave when it’s cooking food.

Analysis: It’s a myth! People who don’t understand microwaves sometimes believe there is some sort of deadly radiation coming out of the oven, but that’s not true. Microwaves are the same waves used by many wireless gadgets. The only difference in the case of microwave ovens is that they are a lot stronger, so they tend to heat things up when they hit them. Microwaves cannot escape from the oven, because the inside is made of metal, which blocks microwaves. And the window in front of the oven blocks microwaves, too, because it contains a metal screen with holes that microwaves are too large to pass through. This allows you to look inside the oven without being exposed to any of the microwaves. You can look for as long as you want. It won’t hurt you.

Game
general

Cooties!

Sara is a very gossipy, religious, fun girl. Sophomore at USC, she’s in the Helene’s and a sorority. She’s from Anaheim, California. And she has an incredibly interesting memory and past.

We all know and remember this one from grade school. Boys and girls at their toddler age played with each other like it was nothing. Being a boy or being a girl did not impact the way they played with each other. They may have played with their given toys (dolls versus the fire truck), but overall gender had no role in a child’s fun. Once children get to that age where they start getting curious about what’s different between me and him, it’s time to scheme up some evil plan that will keep them from playing too much with each other. There is an appropriate time in society for boys and girls to start messing around with each other physically or sexually. Society isn’t ready to see their 5 year old girls sexualized. The idea of cooties makes it seem gross and almost wrong to touch the other sex. All in playful fun, it works in a way that doesn’t damage or influence there hormonal nature at about 8th grade.

Informant:

I remember when I was little, my parents freaked out. Me and my brother…[laugh], we were playing house in our little…house kitchen play thing. And at some point, my little brother pretended to get sick. So I played doctor. But my parents didn’t really like how I was trying to heal him.” Out of context that sounds awful. But she goes to explain that she was holding a magnifying glass looking at her siblings buttox. But nothing out of the ordinary. We all get curious to understand why we were made. It’s that time in the child’s life where all they can manage to do is get in their father’s ear and pester them with millions and millions of “why’s”.

Folk Beliefs
Myths
Signs
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Friday The 13th

Treat is a new friend of mine. We shared two classes this semester. He’s a sophomore transferring from Norwich University. He is in the same NROTC unit I’m in here at USC. He’s lived in some very interesting places like Italy and the Netherlands. They move around to such cool places because his father is in the military and that’s where his father got orders to. Treat really likes ghost stories and Mythology. It was not hard interviewing him in the least bit. He had stories I had never heard of or could’ve even imagined.

Treat loves urban legends. I really like movies and documentaries about interesting and maybe even horrifying things. He put two and two together and started to chat about Friday the 13th. A great movie franchise! But where does the suspicion come from? What came first the movie or the bad luck?

Treat talks about an article that looked into what happens concerning accidents on the 13th. The article compared the ratio of traffic volume to the number of automobile accidents on two different dates including Friday the 13th. Over a period of years they mapped “the relation between health, behavior, and superstition surrounding Friday 13th.” Interestingly, they found that while consistently fewer people in the region sampled chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to accidents was higher than on the other days.

Treat says:

“Friday 13th is unlucky.”

Me: How?

Treat: Because we make it unlucky.

Analysis: Sometimes we fall into our own traps. Things happen because we make them happen. Paraskevidekatriaphobics is the disease of those afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. It’s unwise to take solace in the results of a single scientific study though. Not all culture and society should change their habits because of one sample, especially one as weird as this. Surely these statistics have more to teach us about human physiology than the ill-fatedness of any particular date on the calendar. In the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t dine in restaurants; many wouldn’t think of setting a wedding on that date. I know I won’t. So, how many Americans at the beginning of the 21st century actually suffer from this condition? You’d be surprised.

Folk Beliefs
Magic

Thors Hammer

Treat is a new friend of mine. We shared two classes this semester. He’s a sophomore transferring from Norwich University. He is in the same NROTC unit I’m in here at USC. He’s lived in some very interesting places like Italy and the Netherlands. They move around to such cool places because his father is in the military and that’s where his father got orders to. Treat really likes ghost stories and Mythology. It was not hard interviewing him in the least bit. He had stories I had never heard of or could’ve even imagined.

Treat is also a Pagan. He believes in Norse ‘Mythology’. Oden and Thor and all the other gods of Asgard resemble a huge part of who he is. Treat started practicing in his sophomore year in high school. Below he told me the story of Thors Hammer.

Mjölnir the Norse word associated or given to Thors Hammer. In Translation in means “that which marks and pulverizes to dust”. Treat tells the story of how it came to be: Loki bets with Sindri and his brother Brokkr that they could never succeed in making anything better or more beautiful than Odins spear. Sindri and Brokkr accept the bet and start crafting some magic. The two workers worked until they made thei masterpiece.

Loki in the form of a fly came by and bit them yet they continued to work. Sindri takes out a boars shining bristles (Gullinbursti) and puts it into the forge along with the pig skin. Then they put fold. Loki in the disguise of the fly comes back and bites Brokkrs neck twice. But he stilled worked.

Then Sindri takes out Odins ring – this ring duplicates 8 versions of itself every ninth night. Lastly, Sindri put iron into the forge and they stop. Loki comes in one last time and bites his brother in the eye. He stops working and blood runs down his face. It was a hair too soon. When he took the hammer out it could only be wielded by one hand!

“They still won the bet – it’s Thors Hammer” said Treat. Loki get’s his mouth shut as a means of losing the bet. mjolnir_1

 

Contagious
Folk Beliefs
Legends
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Alligators! No, not in Florida…

Sara is a very gossipy, religious, fun girl. Sophomore at USC, she’s in the Helene’s and a sorority. She’s from Anaheim, California. And she has an incredibly interesting memory and past.

Sara once visited New York with a friend of hers in high school. She had never ben before and was excited to explore the big famed city. When she got their her friend kept messing with her about the fact that their were alligators in the sewer. Every time they walked over a Manhattan grate on the sidewalk, or a manhole cover and the pedestrian’s crosswalk, her friend would tell her to “Watch out girl, jeez.” Sara was believing it too. It wasn’t until they went home to her friends mother when she asked “How come no one’s done anything about all the dumb alligators.” Her friends mother gave her a state and that’s when she knew she was punked. Her friend was then shamed and shunned for the next fifteen minutes.

The story of alligators stalking the sewers of in American cities, not just New York, is an urban mystery. Most people have heard the rumors about alligators in the sewers, in large part, because of Thomas Pynchon’s 1963 novel.

What would happen is, he wrote of the little pet alligators purchased as Florida souvenirs were eventually flushed down toilets. Then they grew and spread throughout all of Manhattan. Moving through the underground system, Pynchon told us, they were big, blind, albino, and fed on rats and sewage. Pynchon envisioned an “Alligator Patrol going into the depths of the sewer system, working in teams of two, with one man holding a flashlight while the other carried a twelve-gauge repeating shotgun.” As no one before him had, Thomas Pynchon wove the rumor of alligators-in-the-sewers through a work of fiction. But is it all fiction?

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Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine

Roses!

Megan is a sophomore in my french class. I’ve known her for a year. She’s a sweet, very soft spoken intelligent girl. She loves horseback riding. She’s majoring in creative writing and wants to be a screenwriter for Pixar one day.

 

Megan and I started talking about how she got asked to go to one of campus’ fraternity’s. A boy givers her a rose and invites her to the dinner.

Analysis:

When did this ever become a tradition? Giving dying plants to girls is romantic? Why? Today, it’s a sign of love. When was the first flower given? Why? Is it purely because of how beautiful they are. Monarchs in Europe are known for decorating their  palace quarters and land with gardens from head to toe. It was also a symbol of opulence. Flowers, even though it’s just a plant, like the rest of nature, has demonstrated to mankind its healing and powers of affection. We give and receive flowers when we are sick, weak, in love, obsessed, missing or mourning. Perhaps it’s a way to demonstrate extreme feelings.

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