We Don’t Talk in Complete Sentences

This actually killed me as I was writing out the transcript. You think you know how much you and other people say “like” or “um” until you listen to a conversation between two people. We also don’t finish a lot of our sentences, cutting off a thought before finishing it and moving onto a new one. This made writing the transcript a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I thought I could literally just write what they were saying, but if I did that to the T, a lot of the sentences wouldn’t be real sentences. It was also a little painful hearing myself stutter because all I had to do was read off the questions I wrote! I was worried (clearly being worried is all I ever do) that I would sound too unnatural if I just read off what I wrote word for word, but then that led me to trail off or talk in a round about way sometimes. I realized that conducting interviews well is harder than I expected, something that was extra apparent when I had to write the transcript and figure out how to write the weird ways I or the other interviewees talked. In the future, if I ever make another podcast, I know that I need to actually practice asking questions as well as being prepared to ask questions that come up in conversation, without being flustered and stuttering. Practice only helps me in the long run when I have to type out what I’m saying.

The Power of Editing

As I started to edit out different portions of the interviews, I began to realize how much power I possessed as an editor. In my mind, I was editing out things that didn’t seem central to the ideas of my podcast or strayed too far away from my questions, but I wondered how I was changing the perception of these interviewees. Especially because this topic is very abstract, I didn’t want their answers that sometimes didn’t answer them head on to make them look bad. I understood that this topic is difficult to speak on, but I wondered if other people who would listen to my podcast would be critical of the people I interviewed. I also saw that my own idea of what I want the podcast to sound like and the direction I would like it to go was already putting it through a biased lens. It’s funny how I started this project with a great desire to do a podcast in order to heard other people’s perspective, but in the end, my product will always been filtered through my own interpretations and conclusions, even if the original interviewee didn’t intend their message to be taken that way.

This especially made me cautious when I would write my small reflection segments that came at the end of the interviews, essentially summing up my main take away before introducing the next person. Although people know that because I wrote these questions and edited this podcast, it would have my bias, it also made me think about other podcasts that I normally listen to. At times, when an “expert” is talking, it’s easy for me to nod my head and trust that what they are saying is true if they have the trustworthy credentials. However, although I was aware of production editing out different parts, as I edited different parts together, there were times when they sounded as if two ideas were spoken one after the other when I really just spliced them together. It made me wonder how this is employed in professional podcasts or media in general, since I’ve seen for myself how I am able to combine or cut out phrases that doesn’t reflect the original way it was spoken.

I kind of went insane trying to record things

Will you see an explosion of blog posts as I attempt to make up for the 15 I should have been doing throughout the semester? Of course. Enjoy my belated thoughts on my project that both gave me joy and much frustrations!

That being said, while conducting a podcast was something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m glad for the opportunity to make one, recording myself made me want to gorge my eyes out at some points. Finding a quiet space was surprisingly difficult. Even when I was recording in my room or an enclosed space, people always found a way to make excess noise that would make its way into my recording, prompting me to delete it. I also hated when you could tell that I recorded a part that is edited together in separate chucks because I could tell from the change in my tone or volume that it was from a different recording session. In general, trying to capture the same vocal timbre throughout the podcast was difficult, causing me to re-record multiple times. I also realized how I don’t enunciate at all, which was quite annoying to listen to while I was editing, because I only made more work for myself in the end.

This process truly made me appreciate podcasts more and the consistency that is often seen in professionally produced ones. I really tried my best, but at some point, I gave up on trying to get everything “perfect” and I’m mostly satisfied with my result.

I’m trying to be a perfectionist

Making the website has been fun but I also started from scratch 10 different times… So you could say that it has also been a frustrating 2 hours. And I only did the home page… that could definitely be scrapped as well :/ (I feel weird using a texting face here but I’m going to keep it anyways). My website definitely looks a lot better than it did before though so I’m happy about that. I always think that I’m not a perfectionist (super chill person you know) but then I spend an hour on color choices or where I should put my pictures and get stressed out. Half the battle was also getting used to using WordPress. Originally I was going to use GoogleSites but it is very limited design wise, so I wanted to try a different site. At first, I used a template, but I also saw how restricting the templates were (basically exactly what was mentioned in class). I felt like I wasn’t making MY website but simply inputting my stuff in someone else’s structure (which is exactly what I was doing). I decided to start from scratch and ended up liking it a lot more in the end even if it took me a lot longer. Anyways, editing the podcast has been time consuming and challenging as well since it is new, but I am having fun since I’ve always wanted to make a podcast. I’m excited for all of the editing to be over, but I’m always trying to find job in the process, which often times, can stress me out.

#relatable

With a slew of #relatable YouTubers or social media influencers becoming very popular, the word “relatable” has slowly lost its meaning, being replaced with memes that state the obvious (of course we all experience this!) or completely unrelatable content (yeah… I totally feel when my Gucci bag gets dirtied… don’t we all??).

When the question was posed in class about art and relatability, nothing initially popped into my head. It’s probably my cynical view of the word “relatable” that makes me cringe because of it’s prevalent misuse. Perhaps something super famous, like Van Gogh’s sunflowers would be an example. It’s far away from me in distance and time, being created in France during 1888-1889. I would never be able to relate to the struggles of being an artist during that time or any of the historical and social implications he might have felt. I don’t even know what inspired this painting and what he might have thought or felt while making it. I still find a weird sense of comfort in it though. One of my favorite flowers are sunflowers, probably because of their obnoxious resemblance to the sun, making anyone feel a little bit happier. While the creation and the artists are major components I will never relate to, I can only think I can relate to the sense of comfort looking at something so yellow and bright can make you feel.

When I think about this in a bigger sense and how this connects to my project, I hope other people would feel the same way about my podcast. While they will not relate to why I wanted to make my podcast or the experience it will be to make it, I hope they would find meaning in it, whether it be comfort, wonder, or curiosity.

out of focus

While completing experiment #1 (which was writing a podcast episode) the freedom and ability to make multiple episodes on this topic led me to talk about things I didn’t care about. Since I’m used to writing long form with a thesis containing the topic of my paper, being able to make a series on any topic made me feel as though I wouldn’t have enough material or that the material I’m interested in wouldn’t be engaging for other people. With these thoughts in my mind, I created a sketch draft that included the psychology of belief, reasons why people are atheist, and an entire episode dedicated to just the background information regarding the increase prevalent of people without a religious affiliation. In reality, and this was also apparent in my draft as I had a lot more points underneath these segments, I was much more interested in hearing college students’ perspectives on their religion or why they fell away if they chose not to affiliate with a religion anymore. I think a reason why I didn’t want to focus around this, although this was what I wanted to write about the most, was because it felt weird to write about something that hasn’t happened yet (half writing in a way?). Since I haven’t interviewed people yet, how would I go about writing an experiment? The weird place of writing about something that will happen (assuming I get to interview people) made me turn more towards research or to write about things that have already been researched since it was more concrete.

In the same way, since this is a topic that doesn’t have a ton of research on it (I literally pulled most of my statistics from the same study) I felt like I was just rephrasing what has already been said. I had difficulty in trying to have a new perspective on it because I had no interviews or other people’s experiences to supplement it. Although my original interest was piqued because of the unique time I am in where my own beliefs and the people around me are changing rapidly, this was lost, the intent out of focus, as I became anxious about the execution and if other people were interested.

options, options, options

I want to make a podcast, a documentary, expand my writing. I want to write poetry, make a blog, and take a journalist approach. After the minor in writing meeting (party?), my excitement for writing ignited again. I feel like Dorothy as she enter the City of Oz, the dainty field of flowers leading to the green city (although hopefully writing will not lull me to sleep!). I want to pick every flower that appears before me, but I am also very aware of my lack of time, pressing me forward even though all I want to do is run around and explore. I am looking forward to completing the minor in writing because I am able to try out different mediums of writing that isn’t traditionally done in the classroom. I’m used to be given a topic, a rubric, a prompt, and to be able to only write long form. But for issues that I’m passionate about or interested in writing, the most effective way to convey it could be through a podcast or by using videos or visual aid in addition to my writing. I am also excited to become more flexible in writing long form by taking English classes that are required for the program. I am excited to be able to write in ways that can be more applicable in the real world rather than a traditionally essay. Before me the yellow brick road seems to fork off in many different directions, providing paths outside of the green castle that I’ve always been directed to look at.

Let’s Climb These Mountains

Discomfort. Out of your comfort zone. Not things I particularly wanted to participate in when all I wanted to do was curl up in my bed, drink some tea, and read my book that was very much targeted towards me (yay Asian American books!). Despite my sluggish movements and drooping eyes-all a result from consuming nothing but carbs today- I decided to venture onto the internet to find something I was not particularly excited to read. After literally inputting “non-fiction articles” into my search bar, I found an article on physics which reminded me that I have never taken a physics class nor do I need to in order to graduate. While I am very content on never having set my eyes on anything physics related, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see what all the buzz was about.

The moment I dived into the very appealing “The Quantum Mechanical Three-Body Problem”, my eyes immediately glazed over as I was hit by concepts I had absolutely no clue about. This entire excerpt (which is apart of a book) was based on the three-body problem, but I didn’t even know what that was. The more I read, the more I became discouraged, with my attitude ultimately dissolving into “WHO CARES?” as my frustration mounted. There were also equations and signs in there that weren’t English, so I wasn’t able to google or research their meaning unlike the rest of the article. Knowing that even in my best efforts at the time I wouldn’t be able to understand it was discouraging to say the least. I would have to learn concept after concept if I wanted full understanding, leaving me without full understanding of the article, even after all my googling. It felt like there was a giant wall in front of me, and I could choose to try to scale it or look away.

I don’t know enough about physics to dislike it, and I’m sure it is an interesting subject, but I’ve never felt a sense of urgency to learn about it. These physics concepts are always going to be here, so when I have more time I could probably learn it if I want. I’ve also lived quite fine without understanding physics, with being ignorant having no glaring, negative impacts on my life. If anything, trying to read this excerpt that is clearly meant for someone who has a physics background lead me to overestimate the difficulty of this article and underestimate my ability to understand it. But even if I did believe I have the ability to believe it fully, I fall back into my lack of urgency. Especially when the homework and responsibilities I face now are so much more tangible, leading me to complete these tasks first, having the ability to comprehend something doesn’t seem to matter as much when I don’t have time I want to sacrifice to learn it.

While for some walls like physics, not knowing it now doesn’t seem imperative, so looking away may be okay. But for other subjects like taxes, stocks, and politics that are very much looming in front of me, my complacency in climbing them and decision to avoid them is concerning. I hope that despite the apathy and tiredness from the college life that feels like weighs on my legs, I would begin hoist myself up, one foot at a time (aka defy that gravity… see that physics connection?).They aren’t going to move on their own.