This semester has been an adventure I won’t soon forget. I have learned a lot and I have certainly grown more confident. Putting myself out there on the internet is not as scary as I originally thought. I have learned that I would much rather deal in the spoken word than in the written. I never expected to enjoy doing the podcasts but it’s something I can see myself continuing in the future.
I am fairly new to Spotify and have not had time to download a lot of music so on a recent 6-hour car trip all I had was David Bowie and Phil Ochs. It was an interesting combo for sure, but it forced me to really listen to his music and the lyrics. So many of the are just as relevant today as they were then. My kids and I have played around with changing some of the lyrics to make them fit today’s world. For example, one line in “Here’s to the state of Mississippi” my 13 yr. old was particularly fond of – “Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of Donald Trump find yourself another country to be part of”. We usually talked about this while I was doing dishes with the music going so I did not get a chance to write many of them down, unfortunately.
I am thankful that this course forced me to step out in the digital world. It has been something I’ve been terrified to do and part of the reason I took this class. I learned a lot of new skills I’m excited to take with me to the real world. The infographic and the podcast were my favorite assignments and will definitely use those skills again soon.
This project did not come out even close to what I originally imagined. My first thoughts were quite grandiose and had my kids involved. Two of them are musicians, my oldest sings and the middle one plays at least 7 instruments. Well, much to my chagrin they were not as excited as I was about old protest songs. So, I scrapped that idea and decided to do the picture essay.
I was having a hard time finding the pictures I wanted to use for this and spent way too much time looking for “perfect” shots of events and people. I found images of Phil’s FBI files but had huge problems getting it to cooperate. It downloaded funny and I had no idea how to get to the page I wanted to post. Because I couldn’t get all the pages of the file I only used one of the ten I thought I had. None of the pages contained any “juicy” information so I feel like in the end one page is enough for this project.
The biggest frustration I had was with myself. I got afraid to ask questions so there were things I wanted to do but wasn’t sure I could, so I didn’t.
Also, I could not get it to embed. No idea what I’m doing wrong.
The main page of the website ( http://www.timetoast.com/ ) looks basic and minimal. Not a lot of colors, fonts or graphics. It almost has an 80s vibe to with the polka dot and stripe design. I signed up for the free version, which was quick and easy. There were 2 other options that had a monthly fee but no advertising plus some other perks. I think if the class were to use this for the project cost might be an issue. The tools we would need would cost between $6-9 per student.
The company was founded in 2008 by one man in the Netherlands who is still the CEO. I know nothing about business so I don’t know if eight years is stable or not in the tech world. He looks nice in his picture.
I found nothing specific about what images could or couldn’t be used on their site. They reccomend 40-50 events per timeline and say no more that 150 events per time line. Depending on how much information one may want to add this could be limiting. Adding too many events to the timeline could cause it to be hard to find or view. I think the event limitation alone could hinder our class project on Phil Ochs (there is no timeline yet for him on Timetoast).
For the most part, I really enjoyed this project in that it pushed to learn new skills and get more comfortable with myself. We wrote a script for the interview which was a huge help when it came time to record. Because I practiced and a good feel for what I was going to say I was a little more comfortable in front of the mic. I do wish I had loosened up a little more, so that it sounded more conversational and less like I was reading a script. I do count not sounding like a robot or whispering a win though.
The editing side was not as easy as I had hoped. There is a define learning curve to it. It takes some time figure out the flow of the interview and by that time things have already been cut and moved, which is frustrating. Knowing those things will take some time to learn. Adding in the music was not an easy task. We figured out how to get it in and fade it, but we were not able to get it before we started talking. I guess somehow in the editing process we blocked ourselves from being able to do that?
Overall, I’m happy with what we created and feel a bit more confident going in to this next project.
I downloaded all I could from Spotify and played the music while cooking or cleaning or driving, waiting for something to catch my attention.
These are my top 5
- Buddy Holly Medley
The first song that really did stand out was Buddy Holly Medley. I have loved Buddy Holly since I was little and Ochs’ medley was a perfect tribute to the singer. His voice was so close to Holly’s and you could tell that the singer heavily influenced Ochs. There was something about it I can’t put my finger on, a passion or love for the music was apparent throughout the performance.
2. I Ain’t Marching Anymore
I added this as number 2 because I feel it’s an essential Phil Ochs song and should be included on any Ochs playlist. It seems to be the one he’s best known for and kinda sums up his career as a protest singer.
3. Ten Cents a Coup
The line “I dreamed that Nixon died of a suntan” is what really caught my attention on this one. In my head I changed the names to the current administration and it seemed to fit, to my amusement. Although in the case of the current U.S. president I think he would die from inhaling fake suntan spray rather than the actual sun itself. Politics aside this was a fun song, light and playful.
4. Cross My Heart
This song struck me from the very beginning. The music tries to be hopeful and upbeat as do the vocals and lyrics but there is an overtone of sadness throughout. The singer is trying to stay upbeat in attitude by promising to give everything he has but ends the chorus with “and I hope to live” which is the opposite of optimism. His voice is haunting and beautiful in this song.
5. Ballad of Medgar Evers aka Too Many Matyrs
This song is dark and laments the deaths of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers among countless other. “Too many martyrs and too many dead, Too many lies too many empty words were said, Too many times for too many angry men, Oh let it never be again”. This song was written in 1964 and yet 54 years later we could replace the names in this song with countless other people of color who have been murdered in recent years. That is heartbreaking.
When digging through the collection online the first questions that comes to mind is naming? Why is the collection called the Phil Ochs Papers when there are clearly other materials in the collection? How are names chosen and how much do names matter?
I am fascinated with the assessing part of archiving. How does one decide what will or won’t make it into the collection? What happens to rejected items? What if one of the rejected items turns out to be of importance, do they try to get it back? Are these items recorded so they and others will know that information has passed through if they should need it in the future? I would be terrified to pass on something that may hold key information and I can imagine the archivists are to an extent as well. It seems like so much pressure but also so interesting at the same time.
I feel I am all questions at this point I am so fascinated by this process. When dealing with things like fan mail, where it may be hard to track down the original author, how does the center get permission to display?
As I stated in the last post, I have struggled with this assignment from the beginning. Some of the struggle was overcoming anxiety and over thinking about writing in such a public space. I am not yet a confident writer or researcher, so this assignment plays to all my weaknesses and insecurities.
Through the course of this assignment, I have learned that I am not great at researching. I need to learn how to refine searches to make it easier to find the information I am looking for. I was searching vague terms and getting back vague answers. I also need to set aside more time for research. I grossly underestimated the amount of time research would take for this. In the future, I will build more time into my schedule for this.
I have learned that there is a lot written about Phil Ochs and with a lack of good research knowledge I felt it was difficult to figure out exactly what I wanted to do for this project. I had a hard time finding my starting point. Once I found my starting point it was much easier to find the information I was seeking. Going forward I need to have a better grasp of what exactly it is I’m looking for before I begin.
One of the biggest eye-openers of this project was Wikipedia’s requirements for citation. I have believed until now that since anyone can edit anything at any time that Wikipedia is not a useful source. I really did not fully grasp the complexity that goes into adding information to a Wiki article or the challenge of fully evaluating a resource. I have found that Wikipedia is, however, a sound starting point for research. Looking through the sources on a Wikipedia article is a good place to search for primary and secondary sources. For future projects, I plan to look at Wikipedia reference lists to help me find solid information and use them as a foundation for my own bibliography.